Insights are the pot of gold that many businesses dream of but rarely find. Why is that? Are you one of them? If so then I have some practical ideas on how you can get much, much better at insight development.
#1. Insights don’t come from a single market research study
Management often thinks that insight is “just another word for market research”. I remember one of my previous CEOs saying exactly that to me just before he addressed the whole market research and insight’s team at our annual conference. I am sure you can imagine what a panic I was in as he walked up to the mike!
Insights are a challenge to develop and are rarely, if ever, developed from a single piece of market research. Each market research project is designed to gather information in order to answer one or more questions. Whilst it may enable a business to make a more informed decision based upon the objectives, insight development is quite a different process.
Insight development involves integrating, analysing and synthesising all the data and information you have about a category or segment user. Then summarising it into knowledge and turning that knowledge into understanding. Only then are you ready to develop an insight.
All brands should have (at least) one insight on which its image, personality and communications are built. For example
AXE (Lynx in UK): (young) men want to attract as many beautiful and sexy women as possible. This is one of their newer ads, where the seduction is a little less in your face and more subtle – but still there.
Haribo Starmix: There’s a child inside every adult. This “Kid’s Voices” campaign has been running for years and manages to surprise and delight with each new episode.
Dulux sample paint pots: I love to decorate my home, but I don’t want to look stupid by choosing the wrong colour. Although these are now a standard offer for many paint brands, Dulux were the first to understand the problem facing potential home decorators.
Insight development will provide the basis on which you will define the actions that are needed to change the behaviour of your target audience. It also provides a solid framework on which to build your communications’ strategy.
#2. Insight development is based upon a desired behavioural change
When your sales, marketing or management look to improve their business results, their real objective is to change the behaviour of your current or potential customers’ behaviour. For example:
From buying a competitive brand to purchasing yours.
From using your services once a month, to once a week.
Moving customers’ beliefs about your brand from a traditional or classic brand, to a more modern image.
Changing customers’ perceptions about the price of your brand from expensive to good value for money.
Because insights are based on a desired behavioural change, they usually contain an emotional element that is communicated through advertising. The emotion that is shown in your communications is more likely to resonate with customers if it does stimulate their emotions. They are then more likely to remember your brand and may be more motivated to take the desired action you have identified.
If you are looking to increase sales or improve your brand’s image or equity, look to connect emotionally with your (potential) customers. Identifying the behavioural change you need your customers to make is a foundational step of insight development.
#3. Insight development needs more than Insight professionals
Although this may sound counter-productive, insights really do benefit from working from differing perspectives to get to that “ah-ha” moment, that many refer to. A deep understanding of customers and their reasons for behaving in a certain way, comes from looking at all aspects of their lives.
If you only review the actual moment when they choose or use a product or service, it is highly unlikely that you will develop that deep understanding you need. What happens before and afterwards also leads to their choice or that of their next purchase.
This is why it is important to work as a team when developing insights. Depending upon the issue or opportunity identified, the team can be made up of people from marketing, sales, trade marketing, production, packaging, advertising, innovation, and / or distribution. And these people don’t even need to work on the category in question; sometimes it is by taking ideas from different categories that real insights are developed.
#4. Insights are usually based on a human truth
The insights that resonate best with people are those that are not only emotional, but are also based upon a human truth. As you can imagine, these two elements are closely connected.
A human truth is a statement that refers to human beings, irrespective of race, colour or creed. It is a powerful and compelling fact of attitudes and behaviour that is rooted in fundamental human values. It is something that is obvious when quoted, but is often ignored or forgotten in daily business.
Human truths are linked to human needs and although it’s validity has been questioned in the past, it is seeing a revival today. The covid-19 virus has moved all human being back to a search for the basic levels of safety and health.
Examples of human truths used by some brands include:
Parents want to protect their children.
Men and women want to find love.
People want to be better than others.
If you are struggling to find an insight, it can help to review which level of needs your target audience is on and see how your brand can respond to help answer it.
Following on from the above points, it is particularly interesting that once found, an insight can be adapted to be used by different brands. There are many examples of this, particularly amongst major FMCG / CPG companies.
So take a look at your competitors’ communications and see if you can identify the insight on which they are built. Do the same for other categories targeting a similar audience. Sometimes you can use the same insight for your brand as they are using. But I would only recommend this if you are really struggling to develop your own insight.
One very successful example of this is the advertising for Omo / Persil from Unilever and Nestle’s Nido. They are both based on the insight “I want my child to experience everything in life, even if it means getting dirty.” Take a look at the two ads below and see what I mean.
Unilever’s Omo: shows that a good mother lets her child experiment and learn – even if this means getting dirty. If you don’t know their advertising, then check out one example from this long-running campaign.
Nestlé’s Nido: illustrates this need as a mother providing the nourishment for healthy growth which allows her children to explore the outside world safely. If you would like to see a typical advertisement, check it out on YouTube here. Interestingly, Nestlé has used this same insight to develop advertising for its bottled water in Asia and pet food in the Americas too.
Another example of a shared insight is again from Unilever and the local Swiss supermarket Migros. The insight is “Young women want to be appreciated for who they are and not just their external looks.”
Unilever’s Dove was the first brand to recognise and benefit from this insight. Their famous Real Beauty campaign resonates so well with young women that many other brands copied it, especially their Evolution film. Here is one of their more recent ads that I’m sure will give you goosebumps.
The Swiss Supermarket chain Migroshas a store brand “I am” which uses this same insight across all their health and beauty products. Somewhat unusually, the brand name itself is based upon the same insight, and its advertising repeats it several times: “I am – what I am”.
So there you have them, the five ideas that I came up with and numerous examples to help you to develop better insights more easily.
Although you probably already have your own process for creating them, I know from experience how hard it can be to find insights from all the information you gather.
I hope this short article has assisted you in your search for those “golden nuggets”. Do share your own ideas for making insight development easier, I would love to hear from you.
C³Centricity uses images from Pixabay.com.
Do you need help developing or updating your own Insight development process? C3Centricity offers several 1-Day Catalyst training sessions on the topic. We will work with your team to review and revitalise your own insight process, or will define a proprietary one that integrates into your other internal processes.
Your brand is not what you think it is! It is what your customers think it is; its brand image, personality and its value to them.
I was lecturing at Miami University a while back on brand image and personality. These are two vital elements of branding. They need to be clear and consistently represented in all your communications.
If you’re having issues with your own brand in either of these areas, then you’ll find the following article both interesting and valuable.
Why We Buy Brands
According to Wikipedia, a brand is:
“a set of marketing and communications methods that help to distinguish a company from competition and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers.”
Although this definition in my opinion, is a little sterile for something as exciting as branding, I do like that it mentions customers. However, for me, a brand is created in both the minds and hearts of its customers.
There has been so much said about the importance of emotions and resonating with the customer, that we should no longer forget them. And this is where image and personality play vital roles. They are both more or less created in the heart, rather than in the mind of the customer.
We often buy brands without even knowing ourselves why we buy them. We can, of course, provide a clear, reasoned answer if asked, but explanations come from the mind. The heart is what makes us buy.
A brand is made up of a number of components, with which people learn to identify and recognise it. These include its logo, colour, pack, shape, taste, aroma, sounds and feel. There may also be other things which are directly associated with the brand, such as a celebrity, an event or a cause it supports.
A brand needs to have a clear image, personality and equity in the minds of its customers. These come as the result of these branding elements as well as the customer’s own personal experience with it.
All these factors must be respected in order to build a strong brand with which customers can identify themselves. If they’re not, then the brand is at risk of not developing correctly, or even worse, of becoming just a commodity.
It is vital for marketers to know and understand what their brand means to customers. Not just what it means for their organisation. And then, of course, to follow it over time through regular measurement.
A brand is associated with many statements or attributes. These are what current and potential customers think or feel about it. They may have resulted from exposure to its communications, as well as from their own personal experiences.
These elements are usually grouped into three types: the rational / functional benefits, the subjective / emotional elements and the cultural / relational factors.
The third group was added by David Armano of Edelman Digital almost ten years ago. I like his additional idea because the relationships a brand builds with its customers have become vitally important in today’s world of social media. I have noticed that he recently started referring to these as societal rather than relational, in line with today’s more usual vocabulary.
Rational / Functional benefits include things on which most people would agree and recognise. For example being crunchy, colourful, available everywhere or delivered in a glass bottle.
Emotional / Subjective elements are those which vary between customers and their own, personal appreciation of the brand. These might include good value for money, better quality, or gives the best service.
Cultural / Relational (Societal) factors are those associated with a brand’s trust and responsibility. Customers today are increasingly interested in how a brand or corporation addresses its use of resources and whether or not they are sustainable and ecological. Brands also depend on recommendations from others, so word of mouth, especially online, has become a vital additional source of reputation. The attributes measured could include trustworthy, a brand I’d recommend or cares about its customers.
The Power of a Three-legged Brand
David Armano showed that incorporating all three elements into a brand’s image results in a stronger brand. It is much more likely to have a better performance than those brands which don’t include the societal elements.
He reported that it is in recommendations and sharing brand content that the most positive impact can be found today.
Customers are also more likely to share their personal information with the brand and to buy it more often. Both of these actions demonstrate an increase in trust, a precursor to both loyalty and advocacy.
One further impact of trust is that it results in customers defending the brand. This is a wonderful support to have in a world where everything is known at the click of a button. A brand which has the trust of its customers will be more often forgiven for the occasional mishap.
I am often surprised by the lack of understanding about how to measure brand image when I work on branding issues with clients. Even large companies don’t do a good job of it in general. And some have never even measured it, preferring financial to customer metrics to manage their businesses.
Others measure too frequently, in the hope that their latest advertising campaign has had the desired impact. This is rarely the case, as images take time to change.
Another problem I find with many clients when I first start working with them, is that the choice of attributes is often sub-optimal, to be polite. The factors included should be selected to cover all the main elements of your desired image as well as that of the competition.
I have often seen clients happy that they are scoring better than their competitors. However, when I examine their metrics I find that they are missing those which would better represent their competitors’ brands. No wonder they are doing well!
A further mistake I encounter is trying to measure advertising slogans. While it is important to understand whether your message is heard and understood, this should not be done in a brand image survey. Advertising slogans should be evaluated through a communications test.
Brand Personality & Values
Brands have personalities, just like people. It was Schwartz who first identified the ten human values which make up our personalities. They are important to understand, especially for regional and global brands, because they cut across cultures.
Our values also determine our behaviour. Plato identified the typical patterns of human behaviour, which he called archetypes. The Swiss psychologist Jung then used this concept in his theory of the human psyche. But it wasn’t until Margaret Mark that they were first correlated with brands in her excellent book “The Hero and the Outlaw.”
The twelve archetypes are illustrated above, together with some sample adjectives to describe them. It is important to understand how customers see your brand. Do you know?
The image on the right shows examples of brands with each of the twelve personalities. Where would you place your own brand?
The personality of your brand should resonate with your customers, either because they are similar, or because they provide the dream lifestyle your customers desire.
Either way, it is essential to understand what role your brand is playing.
The personality of your brand should resonate with your customers, either because they are similar, or because they provide the image your customers desire. Either way, it is essential to understand what role your brand is playing.
Brands can represent any of the twelve archetypes, which are usually divided into four subgroups, as follows:
Stability, control: Caregiver, Ruler, Creator
Risk, achievement: Hero, Rebel, Magician
Belonging: Lover, Jester, Everyman
Learning, freedom: Innocent, Sage, Explorer
As the diagram above shows, there is no ideal archetype and brands can successfully grow by representing any of them. What is vital is that the archetype is portrayed consistently across all communications and visualisations.
During my lecture at the University of Miami, I shared many examples of brand images and personalities. These included showing how some brands have successfully managed to change theirs.
Two of the brands we discussed were Axe and Old Spice because they have gone through some interesting evolutions over the years. Most recently it even appears that they are overtly challenging each other through their advertising.
Take a look at the ads below and see if you can identify the archetypes before continuing to read the post.
AXE: This Unilever brand has been portrayed as the Lover, the Hero and most recently as the Everyman. Here are a couple of their ads to show the transition from Hero (Fireman) to Everyman (Find your magic).
In particular, note the shower sequence at the end of the second Axe commercial (a slight - or is it a sly - dig at Old Spice?) and the heroic fire demonstration in the Old Spice ad!
OLD SPICE: This P&G brand has been portrayed as the Explorer, Everyman (The Man Your Man Could Smell Like) and most recently as the Rebel (Rocket Car) - or is it, Hero? Let me know which you think in the comments below.
As I did for Axe, I've selected an older and a more modern example of their campaigns, so you can compare the change of approach.
I am looking forward to seeing how these two ad campaigns continue to develop. It is clear that Unilever and P&G are closely following and perhaps even being inspired by each other. Those are two of the actions of great marketers.
Finally, I couldn't leave the topic of personalities without mentioning Apple. Often seen as the Creator archetype, Apple went as far as to visualise their persona and personality in their "Get a Mac" campaign. (see example from AdAge below)
The ads featured two men, called Mac and PC, comparing their functionalities. The campaign ran from 2006 to 2009 and was a hilarious success, positively impacting the Mac's image. In the ads, they describe themselves as:
Mac: Cool, trendy, young, friendly, casual, reliable, fast and looking for fun.
PC: Boring, formal, cold, old, unreliable, slow, not inspiring.
Which two archetypes do they suggest? Answers in the comments below, please.
A brand's equity is the value of the brand in the eyes of its customers It is the power it has derived from the goodwill and recognition that it has earned over time.
A strong brand equity comes from the development of a robust image and personality. Both of these need to be reinforced by every advertisement, message and promotion that the brand produces. Consistency is vital to growing a strong equity.
The results of this consistency will be both higher sales and profits, due to being valued more than your competitors.
Steadiness is vital to growing a strong equity. The results of being consistent will be both higher sales and profits, due to being valued more than its competitors.
Global Brand Equity Rankings
The importance of a brand's equity is clearly indicated by the many different sources of regional and global brand equity rankings published each year.
The two most well known, Interbrand and Millward Brown's BrandZ, have slightly different algorithms and therefore results, but both include financial as well as consumer metrics.
Interbrand's model has three key components:
analysis of its financial performance
analysis of the role the brand plays in purchase decisions
analysis of the brand’s competitive strength.
Together with extensive desk research and an expert panel assessment, Interbrand also includes data from Reuters, Datamonitor and media platform Twitter.
Millward Brown's BrandZ
BrandZ, on the other hand, uses a mixture of financial information and customer surveys. Their proprietary research covers 3mio consumers and 100,000 brands in more than 50 markets. They too measure three things:
How “meaningful” the brand is, its appeal & ability to generate “love” and meet the consumer’s expectations and needs.
How “different” it is, what unique features it may have and its ability to “set the trends” for consumers.
How “salient” the brand is, whether it springs to mind as the consumer’s brand of choice.
BrandZ's 2016 results showed Google overtaking Apple as the most valuable brand in the world. However, in 2019 Amazon has leapfrogged the competition to be crowned the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand for 2019, breaking Apple and Google’s 12 year hold on the top spot.
So there you have it. All the major points a marketer should know about brand image, equity, personalities and archetypes.
A marketer's role is primarily to defend and grow its brand's image and equity through a strong personality and consistent communications. If you are not succeeding in all areas then you are almost certainly challenged by weakening sales.
Brand image usually declines before sales do, so it is an invaluable measure of your brand's health. If you would like to learn more about measuring and analysing brand image, there are several chapters dedicated to the topic in my book "Winning Customer Centricity".
Don't forget to add your answers to the couple of questions I asked in the article in the comments below. Let me know what you think about defending brand image and growing equity. And I'd love to hear about your own brand's archetype and whether you had trouble in defining it.
This post uses images from Denyse's book "Winning Customer Centricity". Find out more HERE.
A New Year tradition we started here at C3Centricity back in 2011, is to share our most popular brand building strategies and posts of the year. This gives everyone a chance to catch up on our best posts that they may have missed.
This year has been a particularly successful year for C3Centricity, with many of our newest post getting the top scores globally. This is quite tough for a blog that has been running for almost eight years and highlights the quality of the content we share with you! So have a look at our list and see if your own favourites are there. If not, then please let us know in the comments. Thanks.
This post shares the highlights of recent research into how market research departments can become true business partners, rather than being viewed as a mere cost center. It also shares ten steps to reinventing and upgrading your market research department. If you believe that you could be getting better support on your customer understanding and insight development, then these ten ideas will take you a long way to doing this in 2019.
Many CMOs are frustrated by their lack of recognition by their fellow c-suite colleagues. If this is your case, or you are new to the position and want to make an impact quickly, then this is a must-read post. It shares the most collon opportunities and challenges you may face and suggests five areas to (re)visit which will provide a new and fresh perspective on their business.
These are the most shared marketing infographics of 2017. As usual, for each one we have added an action for you to take based upon the topic covered.
What was new for last year is that many marketing infographics that were shared were actually about content marketing. It’s as if “true/traditional” marketing doesn’t exist any more! That in itself says a lot about the focus of marketers these days! Are they right to do so? I don’t think so, but let me know your opinion.
In its simplest form a customer first strategy is about thinking customer first in everything you do. Yes I know it sounds easy but it really isn’t. It doesn’t come naturally, at least to start with. And it involves a culture change to move the organisation in this direction. But I can assure you it’s worth it; its value is now well proven.
This post lays out the importance of being data driven, innovative, collaborative and agile to succeed a customer first strategy. It also shares the seven reasons most companies fail.
This post shares the three lessons learnt from a personal (bad) experience with a hotel chain and its “guaranteed lowest price” promise. These are: 1. The customer journey needs to integrate all possible contact points. If it doesn’t you could alienate your customers before they make a purchase. 2. If you mess up admit it and correct the situation. People understand that mistakes get made. While they may forgive you if you quickly put it right, they will never trust you again if you pretend nothing is wrong. 3. Follow up to make sure the customer is happy. In the heat of the moment a customer may feel satisfied that something was done. However in the cold light of the next day, week or month they might feel that what you did was not enough.
In working with clients around the world and in numerous industries, I have found that many are lost by the wealth of information that is available to them. In fact it seems to drown out their reasoning of what to do and they remain frozen in indecision.
If this is your situation, just follow the detailed steps of this post and you will soon be doubling, quadrupling, if not 10x the ROI of your data!
Your brand is not what you think it is! It is what your customers think it is; its brand image, personality and its value to them.
If you’re having issues with your own brand in either of these areas, then you’ll find this article both interesting and valuable. It covers why we buy brands, the different elements of a brand, the three types of attributes you should be measuring for your brand. It then goes on to review brand personality and the main archetypes with some great examples.
This article has been amongst the top twenty posts every year ever since it was first published back in 2013, a staggering five years ago! If you haven’t read it yet, then you really have been missing out on some surprising facts about insight development. Perhaps one of them is the reason that you are still struggling to develop valid and actionable insights? Check it out and see what you have missed all these years.
We all know how extremely demanding consumers have become. Constant innovation and novelty has made us all more impatient and critical. We want things better, faster and sometimes cheaper as well. And customer satisfaction is becoming insufficient to drive growth alone. Marketing must deliver more!
This article shares three examples that provide a clear roadmap for anyone wanting to move their customer service and engagement to the next level, by offering more than mere customer satisfaction.
All brands and services need to choose a group of customers that they are going to satisfy, since it is impossible to satisfy everyone most of the time. This means that you need to make a choice and agree to ignore some of the category users you could appeal to, in order to totally satisfy your target customer.
Although this may sound counter-intuitive, segmentation is the only way to ensure you have the best possible chance to satisfy the needs of your targeted customers.
When I look back at these top ten posts I am proud that most of them are from 2018. After almost eight years, it seems that what I am writing today is more in line with marketers’ needs than previous posts which have been around for much longer.
There are a few exceptions to this, my evergreen content on topics that will always appeal to marketers young and old. This year, as in the past, they are on the topics of Brand image, equity and personality, Insight development and Principles of segmentation. I think this makes a lot of sense as they are fundamental skills that every marketer needs, even in this digital age.
Now my question to you dear reader, is what topics you want me to cover in 2019? If you have reached the end of this post then you must be a keen supporter, so I will offer a free e-book to everyone who completes our short survey in January 2019. Just click on the button and you will be taken directly to the survey. Once completed you will receive an email with a link to download the ebook “Secrets to Brand Building” for free – it’s normally US$ 4.95!
Be a true leader; share this post with the members of your team who need the inspiration and support.
Your boss expects you to be able to answer all his questions and especially to know your customers. Here are the 13 things your boss is likely to ask you and a handy Checklist to prove to him that you know your customers better than he realises.
Everyone speaks about customer centricity and the importance of the customer, but just how well do you know yours – really? The following is a checklist of 13 facts you need to be able to answer in order to know your customers as well as you should.
As you read the post, keep tabs on your answers and share your final score below. I’m offering a personal 50% discount code to spend in store for everyone who publishes their score here in July 2018. And if you’re the boss, I’d love to hear how well you think your team would do – 100% of course, no?!
#1. Who is your customer?
OK I’m starting off slowly, but do you know who your customers are? Not who uses your category, but who the people are that actually buy your product or service today? How much do you really know about them?
The C3Centricity 4W™ Template is a great resource for storing all the information you have on your customer. Download a free copy and watch the related videos HERE.
#2. What business are you in?
Although this refers more to the category than the customer, it is important to ensure you are looking at it through the eyes of your customers. Many organisations are working with industry definitions rather than customer ones. What about you? If you want to know your customers, you need to understand what category they think they are buying.
This is one of the essential elements you need to understand in order to know your customers deeply. It is something that many organisations don’t take the time to clearly identify, which results in an incorrect appreciation of their market and competitors. By not correctly identifying the category you are in, or plan to enter, your innovations will also lack the success you are hoping for.
For instance, are you in the food business or the pleasure business, beverages or relaxation? One of my clients wanted to launch a fruit flavoured soft drink and thought they were competing with other soft drinks. When we worked together we discovered that they were actually competing in the energy drink business!
Again another slow starter to show you know your customers. Here you want to make sure that you have correctly identified what market you are actually competing in and who are your competitors. It just might not be the one you think!
Also, do you know as much about your competitors’ customers as you do about your own? Complete a SWOT to know exactly where you stand with them – although it’s probably best to wait until you have read the next eleven points before actually doing this.
Once you know who your competitors are, use the 4W™ Template again for each of the major ones and add information to it every time you learn something new about them.
#4. What do they buy?
What and where your customers buy your product should have been covered in point #1. (If it’s wasn’t, make a note to gather that information and add it to your 4W™ template.)
Now you should look at how much your customer spends on your product or service and how much they have available. How does what they spend compare with the amount they spend on your competitors? Is your share of category and wallet growing? If not, why not?
Other information you need to gather to know your customers in this area is how they react to promotions. Do they only buy on promotion? Do they buy in bulk? Do they have size or packaging preferences? All this information will help you to get into the head of your customers and really know them.
Understanding the shopper, who is not always the person who uses or consumes your product, is also essential information you need to have at your fingertips for this section. If they are different people (mothers, housekeepers, single mums) then I would suggest you also develop a 4W™ Template for the shopper too. In this way you can compare and understand the similarities and differences between the buyer and the consumer. I’m sure that having personas for both will also impress the boss and show him/her that you really know your customers!
#5. What does your customer need?
I’m not speaking about what he says he needs, but what he really needs and perhaps doesn’t even know yet. What would surprise and delight him? What does he need that he only knows he does when he sees it?
Apple is one company that seems to be very good at getting at peoples’ unarticulated needs. Be inspired by them to know your customers as deeply as they do.
Apple have people queuing up to buy one of their new products even when they already have a perfectly functioning older model. Do they really need this new version? No. Do they want it? Perhaps! But, what their real emotion is, is a desire, a craving for the latest version, whatever the price! Wouldn’t you like customers to feel the same about what you have to offer?
#6. What do they think of your price?
Here consider not just the price they pay, but also the cost to them of their actual purchase. Do they buy online with packing and shipping costs extra? Do they have to drive out-of-town or even further to be able to purchase? All of these add to the perceived cost of your brand.
In order to know your customers, you have to calcualte the total cost to them of buying what you have to offer? And how that price compares to the total value they place on it?
Value will automatically include comparison to competitive offers, so ensure you include an evaluation of their brands’ values too.
Review the elements of your offer which your customers value and which they value less. Is there room for renovation to include more of what they like or to remove what does not bring value – and usually involves cost for you. Spend your manufacturing and development budget on things your customers value most.
Packaging today goes far beyond protecting the product inside and making its on-shelf presence more impactful.
It is a further medium for communications and also for showcasing your value and USP (unique selling point). However, many organisations have still not realised this. You can therefore get ahead of the competition when you know your customers deeply and their packaging preferences. Read “Is your packaging product or promotion?” for more on this topic.
Packaging is also an important part of your manufacturing costs so its value to the customer should be critically assessed. Even if you reduce your carton strength or pack content because you can, it certainly doesn’t mean you always should. Perhaps your customers don’t immediately notice the changes, but one day they will wake up and re-evaluate the value they are getting. Your packaging which is now made of flimsy carton, will appear to them as being of lower quality and this perception mat get transferred to its contents. Upon evaluation of your total offer, they then might decide to switch away!
Product testing is an often overlooked essential of concept development. Even if a product is tested before launch, and supposingly does well (or it wouldn’t have been launched, I hope) competition is constantly changing, as are your customers’ tastes.
Therefore it is important to keep an eye on your performance over time. Annual measurement at the very least and preferably also of your major competitors is the minimum, to keep your finger on the pulse.
Another important aspect of product testing is to keep track of the metrics over time. It is not sufficient to test versus your previous offer or that of your major competitor. Incremental changes may not be immediately noticed, but can become significant over time. And this applies to product just as much as to its packaging mentioned above.
If you don’t have the budget for regular testing – and I would question why you don’t for such a critical element of you mix – there are other things you can do. Follow social media comments from your customers for one. These provide invaluable input not only on your product’s performance and that of your competitors, but online comments can also supply ideas for renovation and innovation.
As with product testing, this is another of the on-going performance metrics, to ensure you know your customers. In addition, the earlier you start testing within the communications development process, the less money you will waste on multiple advertising concepts. I am continually appalled at just how many companies waste large portions of their marketing budget by producing multiple ads, sometimes to practically air-readiness before choosing the final direction.
Of course, your ad agency will never complain about you working in this way, but couldn’t the money be better spent elsewhere? I highly recommend you check out PhaseOne’s unique tool for early stage, confidential global communications evaluation.
Their clients rarely develop more than two ads and often by testing early-stage concepts, they develop only one. Think about how much money you could save by doing this! Contact meif you’d like to hear how businesses globally are benefiting from this approach and saving tens of thousands in ad testing..
#10. What do they think about your online presence?
It’s not so much what they think here, but more about do they even notice? Unless you know your customers’ habits online, you are unlikely to be where and when they are ready to receive your messages.
Instead of choosing and using just the most popular online websites – like everyone else – your work completing point #1 will indicate which are the most visited by your customers. For some brands an online presence is of minimal importance, whereas for others it actually replaces more traditional forms of advertising. Think of RedBull as just one powerful example of this. Although they now advertise both on and offline, they started building awareness through social media and word of mouth alone.
#11. What do they think of your social media personality?
You can’t hide your personality on social media, nor delete what you have shared. The words you choose for a Tweet, the ideas you share on FaceBook, the images you post on Pinterest, all build to a picture in the minds of your customer. What image do you think was created in the minds of people who read the following Tweet exchange from Nestle?
Treat your online discussions in the same way you would any other form of communications and use the same tone and spirit. Just because it’s new media doesn’t mean it is less important or serious.
As the above example shows, mismanagement of customer connections on such platforms cannot be removed – even if as Nestlé did, you take it off your own website – it will always be online for others to find and haunt you with!
#12. Why do they buy?
There are many “why” questions I could have added here, but this is fundamentally the most important. If you know why people buy and how you are satisfying their needs, the more likely you are to satisfy them.
In addition, if you frequently monitor their changing needs and desires through trend following, the more likely you are to continue to enjoy increasing customer satisfaction.
I’ve saved the best for last. Why are you in the business you are in? Are you looking to grow a products’ sales, increase distribution for your other products, make a different product more attractive (or a competitors’ less attractive), or are you just milking profits? All of these are valid reasons, but you need to be very clear on why, in order to know how to answer all the other questions.
The BCG Growth Share Matrix is a well-known tool you can use to check that you really understand what you are trying to do. This verification will enable you to eliminate the actions that don’t align with your objectives and mission for your brand.
So there’s my 13-point “Know your Customer” checklist to enable you to know your customers well enough to answer any question your boss may ask of you.
I suggest you go back to the top and revisit each point and answer them truthfully. By reviewing all 13 I am sure that your thoughts will have changed or at least been modified as a result of this new perspective.
And if you yourself happen to be the boss, why not ask your team how many they can answer? Let my know your score below; be the first to confirm that you can answer all 13!
If you or your team can’t answer all 13 questions, I have a solution. Book a 1-Day Catalyst training session and be amazed at the progress & changes!
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What habits have you become so comfortable with that you don’t even notice or question them? With today’s fast-paced world, businesses need to be constantly adapting and preparing for the future.
These thirteen marketing quotes (plus a bonus one!) are amongst my favourites of all time. They will hopefully excite and inspire you to consider what changes you need to make to become even more successful through a customer first strategy.
As is the tradition at C3Centricity, there is a recommended action for you to take for each quote. How many will you complete?
#1. “There may be Customers without Brands, but there are no Brands without Customers.” Anon
This has to be the most important marketing quote to remember for all of us wanting to be more customer centric. It’s also one of my favourites, as I’m sure you’ve realised!
Brands depend on customers and if companies remember this, then they can only succeed. If however they get so tied up in their products & services that they forget their customers, they may enjoy their work but their brands will always be vulnerable to competition.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Watch the Customer First Strategy Webinar HERE
#2. “Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets.” Nido Qubein
One of the biggest mistakes marketing can make is to not appropriately define its target audience. It is understandably hard for a brand manager to accept that he can’t please all category users and that his target sub-category is smaller than the total category he thinks he could attract.
By trying to please everyone, we end up pleasing no one! So bite the bullet and reduce your target category size by being more precise in selecting and describing your audience.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Learn the essentials of targeting HERE.
#3. “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” John Russell, President, Harley Davidson
If they aren’t already included, then every employee should have regular customer connections added to their annual objectives. Whether they are the CEO, an Executive Vice-President, a machine operator, sales clerk or brand manager, they all need to understand how their day job impacts the satisfaction of their customers.
Customer connections also inspire new thinking, can identify previously unknown issues and excite everyone to think customer first in everything they do.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Sign up below for the FREE Customer First Strategy Webinar.
For more ideas about getting to know your customers, join the FREE Customer First Strategy Webinar. In it, I share many Tips,Tools and Templates to improve your Customer Targeting, Understanding & Engagement to Grow your Business Faster.
#4. “If you use standard research methods you will have the same insights as everyone else.” David Nichols
When was the last time you revised your market research toolbox or refined your insight development process? It’s a rapidly changing world both technologically and societally-speaking. The methods you use to observe, understand and eventually delight your customers should be moving as fast, if not even faster, to stay in touch with the market.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Attend a 1-Day Catalyst session reviewing all your market research methodologies and metrics. Find out more HERE.
#5. “The structure will automatically provide the pattern for the action which follows.” Donald Curtis
There has been a lot of discussion about the new roles of the CMO, CIO and the creation of a new CCO (Chief Customer Officer) position. Perhaps it is time for your organisation to review its structure and see if it is still optimal for the business of today, as well as of tomorrow.
As mentioned above, the world is changing rapidly and you need to keep abreast of these changes to stay in the game. Who wants to find themselves the equivalent of the Kodak or Borders of 2017?
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Develop plausible future scenarios to prepare for possible opportunities and threats. Contact us HERE.
#6. “Customer Service shouldn’t be a department, it should be the entire company.” Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos
This is one of my all-time favourite quotes from a man I truly admire, for truly “getting” customer centricity. Their slogan is even “Powered by Service”! As already mentioned above, every single person in a company has a role to play in satisfying the customer.
Zappos have an integration program for all new hires – including the EVPs – that incorporates time at their call centre answering customer queries. What a great way to show a new person what the company is really about.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Why not start a similar introduction programme in your own company and organise regular customer connection sessions? We can show you HOW.
#7. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust
Today’s customers are very demanding which has prompted many companies to increase their innovation and new product launches. However, it has been shown that renovation is as important as innovation in keeping customers satisfied (find links to relevant articles HERE).
Instead of forcing your marketing and R&D to meet certain percentage targets of new launches, most of which will be destined to failure according to latest statistics, why not review your current offers with new eyes?
If you truly understand your customers, you will quickly find small changes that can make a significant impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty, when you take their perspective. And as an added bonus, if it solves a frustration of theirs, it might even bring you increased profits, since the perceived value will be higher than the cost.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Download the free "Secrets of Innovation" eBook by completing the form on the right-hand side of this page.
#8. “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos
In the past, most companies were more concerned with the reputation of their brands than they were with that of their company, other than with investors. As consumers become interested in knowing and adhering to the policies of the companies behind the brands they buy, it is vital to manage your image from both perspectives.
In addition, if your company isthe brand as is the case of Coca-Cola or Red Bull, then this is vital to follow very closely. The same applies for any organisation that is considering adding their company name more prominently to their packaging.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Review whether there are differences between your company and brand images and whether they are complementary. And book a 1-Day Catalyst Training Session to ensure you are measuring the right metrics to optimise your images.
#9. “The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Chinese Proverb
Today’s customers often have more complex paths to purchase in many categories than they did in the past, so thinking of the simple awareness to loyalty funnel becomes less relevant.
In order to understand the purchasing of your brand, think information integration, as customers are becoming as savvy about products as they are about themselves. They seek out information based on the size of their budget and take the time needed to make what they consider to be an informed decision.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Check whether you are in every relevant touchpoint with appropriate information for them. Learn more about optimising your communications HERE.
#10. “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Winston Churchill
If your world has changed then so should the metrics you use to manage the business. Annual reviews of your KPIs should be made, if not even more frequently.
Also, review last year’s business results in comparison to the metrics you have been following. Were you correctly assessing the environment, the market and customer behaviour? If not, then it's probably time to update your KPIs.
#11. “The fear of being wrong is the prime inhibitor of the creative process.” Jean Bryant
Do you embrace entrepreneurship in your organisation? What happens when someone fails whilst trying something new? The more accepting you are of relevant trial and error exercises, the more likely it will be that your employees will share their more creative ideas.
If failure is punished, then they will be reluctant to try or even propose new things and your business will stagnate. This is a great time to review your ways of compensating creativeness as well as how you share learnings from failures.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Download the FREE "Secrets to Actionable Insights" below.
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#12. “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information.” T S Eliot
Do you ever take decisions based on information or knowledge? If so then perhaps you should reconsider your insight development process.
While information and knowledge are essential to a deeper understanding of your customers, it is only when you have integrated everything you know and understand about them, that you can begin to develop insights that will positively impact your customers’ behaviour.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Sign up for a 1-Day Catalyst Training Session on "Insights to Action" or "Insights to Impact." More information HERE.
#13. “If you can’t sum up the story in a sentence, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Garr Reynolds
Taking the decision to share information and understanding in a new way through storytelling, will have a profound impact on the way your employees think and remember the essential understandings of your customers.
Before every presentation ask yourself what is the one sentence that sums up everything you want to share.
If you can't come up with one, then perhaps you don't know what you're talking about, or perhaps you just need more time to practice.
So there you have thirteen marketing quotes that will excite and inspire most people. And because I promised you a bonus if you read to the end, here is one more which aptly sums up all the others.
It is the one message out of all these marketing quotes from Charles Darwin which remains vital to remember in this awesomely changing world we live in.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, it is those most responsive to change”
If you have your own favourite marketing quote that inspires you to change your business practices in 2017, then please share it below. We would love to hear from you and we promise we'll add it to our growing library of quotes, with appropriate credit to you. (Fame at last!)
For even more inspiring marketing quotes, why not check out our website library? it's regularly updated.
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Last week I asked whether it is employees or customers who are more important to an organisation. If you missed it read “Customers Care About a Product’s Value, Not How the Company Treats Employees” now and catch up.
I knew it would be a provocative question but I still didn’t expect quite so many comments! So this week I decided to be just as provocative and talk about the issues that challenge many businesses. And where the answer to whatever problem they have is actually quite simple. For me, customers are the answer! They can either answer or help you overcome any challenge or issue you may have. Read on and then let me know if you agree.
How can I innovate more successfully?
According to an excellent article by Harvard Professor Dr Srini Pillay “Humans have anatural aversionto innovation because it involves a healthy dose of uncertainty and risk.”
Unfortunately, we try to reduce this risk by referencing past events to help us to predict the probability of our future success. Dr Pillay concludes that possibilities rather than probabilities are more likely to lead to better results.
I would concur with this statement, as the world is changing too fast to rely on past events as a predictor of anything in the future. This is why I say that customers are the answer!
It is only by getting closer to our customers and being constantly curious, that we have any chance of increasing our success in satisfying them.
It therefore makes sense that we involve our customers in helping us innovate. Not as a judge of concepts, which is what many businesses do. This is wrong because we know that consumers don’t know what they want, at least not until they see it.
However, they do know what their pains are; what is wrong with a product or service and what they would rather have. Co-creation and in fact ongoing conversations with our customers is the only way to stay ahead of the game.
They conclude that it takes many skills and cultural changes for most organisations to become more innovative. These include:
Audacity and grit: The determination to continue despite failure. And I would add the acceptance of failure and the license for employees to fail too.
Strong leadership and true collaboration:An inspiring vision and the tenacity to make it happen – together.
Give employees autonomy. We all need meaningful work. The chance of helping an organisation grow is what motivates top employees. That and the freedom to make decisions based on clear goals but without directive processes on how to meet these objectives.
Build platforms, not products. This may be the hardest for many organisations to grasp. Giving your customers the opportunity to decide what and how they use what you produce, and how it should be changed is the route to success. Networks and co-creation are the future that is already here. And customers are the answer!
Think like engineers and customers.Everyone in an organisation should be encouraged to look at problems from the customer’s perspective. It always amazes me how we seem to “take off our consumer hat” when we arrive at our place of work!
Know that money only gets you so far. Innovation has a much shorter shelf-life than it used to. In fact, best-in-class organisations have a continuous process ingrained in their culture.
Get acquisitions right. Many companies are looking for acquisitions for a way to quick-start their innovation. But it is difficult to get the timing right. The current value is good but potential growth is better.
The article concludes with an interesting comment that it is “leadership in business model innovation that offers the deepest and most transformational insights.” I would add it’s our customers too!
You’re measuring your sales and hopefully the trend is upwards. You’re following your distribution and hopefully it’s expanding. You’re calculating your profits and hopefully those are also rising. What else are you doing to follow your brand?
You would be amazed at just how many brand managers stop there! Even those in major CPG companies! It’s not enough. You know nothing about your customers! Your forecasts are based on outdated information from the past. (and if you didn’t skip to this point but read the previous one, you know why that’s insufficient)
The health of your brand and a good estimate of at least its short-term future comes from your work with customers. From brand image and equity, to co-creation and observation, your customers are the answer.
There is an additional bonus in following your brand image and that is that it acts as an early-warning signal. This is because it almost always starts to decline before your sales do!
The reason for this is that we are creatures of habit, retailers included. Change is difficult as a decision has to be made. So we tend to continue with the same products and services until something important happens. Important in the eye of the customer that is.
It may be a new brand introduction, a price promotion, bad publicity or negative comments on social media. If these are important enough to customers then they may decide to change brands. And if this impacts a lot of customers, the sales decline can be fast and significant.
Better therefore to follow your image as well as comments on social media.
Social media platforms can provide a wealth of information about your brand. Of course, different people adopt different platforms for different uses. Pew Research ran a useful analysis in their Social Media Update 2016 of the demographic similarities and differences of channels in the US. It is definitely worth a read to understand these differences, as well as to identify the best platforms for your own brands.
The sort of information that can be gathered from social media includes:
Natural vocabulary used by your customers.
Issues customers have with products and services, often in real time.
Trending topics of interest; use trend alerts rather than the keyword tool from Google, which is slower to update.
Regional or country differences from topic frequencies.
Observation and listening in person can provide extra benefits that social media can’t. The two information sources are thus complementary. In fact, I would consider them to be the best way to identify brand issues, long before running any market research surveys. For more on best practices in customer closeness sessions, check out “Five Rules of Observation and Why it’s Hard to Do Effectively.”
As you know there are basically only three ways to grow your business:
Get more customers to buy.
Get customers to buy more.
Get customers to buy more frequently
You will see that all three ways involve the customer; of course, they do! As you know, one of my favourite quotes says “There may be customers without brands, but there are no brands without customers.” If you still haven’t understood the message, your customers are the answer to everything!
Just think about that for a moment, please. A simple but profound statement, don’t you think? Therefore, your customer is the solution to your business growth and profitability.
Speaking of which, sometimes a business is growing but has done so by slashing prices and being on constant promotion. This doesn’t grow your brand, it demolishes it! Both its value and reputation! Read more about this and head the warning in “Are you on the Way to Brand Heaven or Hell?”
A far better way to grow more profitably is to understand the value that you offer to your customers. This is done through a PSM (price sensitivity measurement), a price trade-off study (BPTO) or similar survey. These will provide you with the information you need to understand your customers’ perception of your value. Whether your price is too high or too low, you’re leaving money on the table and could be more profitable.
Why is market research not enough to understand my customers?
There are so many reasons why running market research is insufficient to really know and understand your customers and your business. I don’t know where to start, but here are a few reasons I’ve come up with (please add your own in the comments box below):
Projects are sample based.
They are at best snapshots of current opinions and behaviours.
The information can quickly become outdated.
They ask questions.
They have limited focus.
People don’t tell the truth.
People don’t know why they do what they do.
Results are extrapolated.
Results are open to interpretation.
I could go on and on with this list – and again feel free to add further ideas in the comments below – but you get the idea.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of market research. BUT done by experts. Unfortunately, with the ease of connecting with people online and the simple survey platforms offered for free, it is easy for anyone to run a research project today.
It’s great that people see the benefit of surveys, but as this subtitle mentions, it’s not enough for truly knowing and understanding your customers. Also, if the reasons I gave above are not enough, there’s something else!
The biggest issue from my perspective is that understanding takes far more information than any single market research project can provide. Yes, it may deliver certain answers to a finite number of questions, but to understand your customer you need to get intimate.
There are many organisations that understand the importance of the customer and yet still hesitate to start walking the talk of customer centricity. If you’re one of them, then here are a few statistics that should convince you – and your bosses – of their importance:
Customer centric organisations are 60% more profitable. (Source)
The average revenue growth of Customer Experience Leaders is 14% points higher than that of the laggards. (Source)
64% of people think that customer experience is more important than price in their choice of brand. (Source)
I don’t think anyone can read those numbers and not be excited by the potential for growth. So what are you waiting for?
As you see, our customers can provide many if not all the answers to almost any question we may have about our businesses. After all, we are in business to make a difference to our customers lives in one way or another. So it is surprising that we still go looking for our answers elsewhere.
If I haven’t highlighted your main business challenge for 2017, then please add a comment below. I’m sure the customer will still be the answer – but prove me wrong!
If you’re ready to adopt a Customer First Strategy, book a free half-hour advisory session with me directly in my calendar, so we can go through your priorities and discuss solutions.
Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about what brands are, above and beyond their names, logos and the product or service they offer.
Which of them have a face, a voice, an aroma, a unique packaging, a slogan or a sound that immediately identifies them? And if they do, what does it bring in addition to the brand in terms of brand recognition?
Here is a very personal perspective of some of the best examples in each area. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.
Some of the faces which represent brands are of celebrities, others of unknown people who become celebrities.
One of the first faces I think of for a brand is Flo from Progressive. She has won the hearts of Americans over the years, with her helpful but quirky discussions with potential customers.
Flo has also made insurance less confusing and more friendly through her “girl next door” looks and sparky attitude. Here’s one of the more recent ads with Flo.
In 2012, an animated box was added to their campaign concepts, to represent the company’s products. Apparently, the vast number of ads with Flo – over 100 – had resulted in a “love her or hate her” relationship as some found her off-putting.
Take a look at an example below from a few years ago and decide for yourself if the animated box is better than Flo.
George Clooney has been the face of Nespresso for many years now. He started as smooth and superior, but over the years he has become more approachable, even funny. The latest commercials actually show him being injured in various ways, from falling pianos to “Mafia-type makeovers!” They are always entertaining, even for non-Nespresso drinkers.
Perhaps Nestle is trying to open their appeal to younger coffee drinkers who enjoy humour and hoping that the videos get shared on social media?
There are many other examples of “faces” that we now immediately recognise and associate with their brands. Even if some have been dropped over the years, they still maintain their strong connection:
SC Johnson’s Mr Clean and the muscle man
Quaker Oats and the Quaker.
Coca-Cola and the Polar Bear
Marlboro and the Cowboy – Darrell
Duracell / Energiser and the Pink Bunny
Each face is chosen to represent the brand because it fits with the values with which it wants to be linked.
The Muscle man suggests toughness, never tired, perfect for house cleaning when you want the quickest and easiest solution to difficult jobs.
The Quaker implies integrity, harmony, simplicity, perfect for natural products.
The PolarBear is associated with cold, stimulating, refreshing liquid (ocean), perfect for a carbonated soft drink.
The Cowboy suggests independence, freedom, strength, perfect for a masculine brand.
The Bunny implies endurance. never-ending energy, perfect for a long-lasting battery.
The advantage of a cartoon character over a real person is that associations are unlikely to change. Just consider some of the recent sporting disasters which resulted in brands firing their “faces”.
Almost all celebrity spokespeople are required to sign an agreement containing certain moral or behavioural clauses. These give the brands the right to cancel a contract if the celebrity does something which could be damaging to the brand. Nike has done this with Maria Sharapova, Manny Pacquiao, Michael Vick and Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods was apparently dropped by Gillette, Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and Tag Heuer. Wow, that must have lowered his income somewhat!
Find out more about the challenges of choosing a face for a brand in this article on advertising law, and this one on the top 15 athleteswho were dropped by their sponsors.
Sound / Voice / Tone
Besides the faces of celebrities, some brands have adopted a very individual voice or sound. These can be actual voices, such as the infamous Budweiser’s Wassup campaign that was first aired in 1999. (yes really that long ago!) Or the tones used in print advertising, which has become even more important with the rise of social media.
George Clooney is definitely a smooth talker, at least he was in the first ads he did for Nespresso. With time, he has become more self-deprecating and funny, as in the above commercial. As already suggested, perhaps Nestle wants to move its brand image and reputation to appeal (also?) to younger coffee-drinker?
Both Coke and Pepsi use sound to great effect. For Coke, it is the ice being dropped into a glass and then Coke being poured over it. For Pepsi, although it may have started by using the sound of the ring pull releasing the fizzing bubbles from the can, the brand now introduces unknown music performers with their “sound drop” campaign.
Kellogg’s believed that the reason for their success was the sound their cornflakes made when they were being eaten. In fact, they hired a Danish sound lab to recreate the Kellogg’s crunch for inclusion in their advertising. It became so identifiable and uniquely Kellogg’s Cornflakes that the company went on to patent it.
One of their latest developments is the creation of the world’s first light therapy bowl. Although only in prototype form, for now, it is part of a project to help beat SAD. I find this a particularly interesting development, that they are experimenting with adding sight to their already well-known sound.
Unilever’s Magnum is another brand with a distinctive sound. The ice cream is instantly recognised today from the cracking as the model bites into the chocolate coating. This sound is used at the beginning and at the end of the ads for their bars; pity the music in between is somewhat irritating, at least to me! And recently, they have added the cracking sound to the advertising for their new range of chocolate topped ice cream tubs, albeit it more discreetly.
Moving on to the tone of voice on social media, some of the best examples I’ve come across include:
Innocent: Would you be interested in following a Twitter account that posted about natural fruit drinks all day? Probably not, and Innocent Drinks clearly understands that. Instead of simply advertising its juice products, Innocent posts chuckle-inducing, highly relatable content. It comes across as Innocent being just a friend who is always coming out with random, yet spot-on observations of life. Who wouldn’t want to follow them on Twitter for this daily dose of fun?
Tiffany: This brand mixes product images with thoughtful commentary such as the example below. It continues its elegant, cool sophistication of its physical presence admirably. It also uses its signature colour in large blocks for instant recognition.
Old Spice: Having been successfully relaunched with its “Man your man could smell like” campaign, which was directed at females, it recently moved to a more irreverent and fun tone which is particularly appealing to younger men. At least that’s what I think because most of their new ads certainly don’t appeal to me! Let me know what I’m missing in the comments, please!
Smell is the only one of the five senses which connects with the right-hand side of the brain. This is where creativity, emotion and hunger are processed, and memories of pleasurable experiences are stored. Therefore smell is the sense which can trigger an impulse reaction.
Branding is about creating an emotional connection with users and therefore aroma is a powerful ally in doing this.
There is little logic involved in impulse purchases! For this reason, aroma is being increasingly used to build brand recognition even further. It is a powerful yet subtle way to gain customer loyalty, especially in such industries as retail, hospitality, healthcare, finance or any enclosed environments. You find yourself feeling good in certain places without really knowing why.
Aroma is so powerful, that some brands have been created or relaunched using it as their USP. Think Herbal Essences as one example. It was originally launched as a single shampoo. But in the 1990s it was relaunched using commercials featuring women moaning with pleasure while using the product. The shampoos offered “a totally organic experience” thanks to their unique and luxurious perfumes.
Even if the groaning has gone away, the perfume of the shampoos remains the luxurious spirit of the brand, as shown in this latest commercial.
Colour and shape are important elements of recognition. But packaging goes way beyond this today. A pack can become a brand’s signature, whether through its unique form, touch or sound. Yes, a pack can have a sound too – see the numerous examples below.
When thinking shape, Coke obviously springs to mind first, but Toblerone chocolate, Perrier water and Pringles chips also have distinctive packs. Their success can be witnessed by the copy-cat look-alike packs that have been launched by competitors ever since. In some cases even the pack’s colour is similar, making brand identification on-shelf more of a challenge.
Unique forms have also become important in a number of industries as a way of combating market saturation or stagnation. These include cigarettes, candies, condiments and perfumes. In the later, product shape plays a vital role since the bottles are transparent and the majority are colourless too. Luxury can therefore only be suggested through the caps’ materials and the form of it as well as of the bottles.
Shape can also be used as a differentiator in providing additional benefits. Think about the Heinz Ketchup squeeze bottle or the pump dispensers offered on products from cosmetics to liquid hand wash.
Companies are paying more attention to the sound their products’ packaging makes too. There is the well-known clunk of a luxury car door (not sure if we would call it a pack!), but also of the lid closing on a Pantene shampoo bottle. The click of a pen cap or mascara wand when closed are studied and evaluated so that they give just the right sound for associations with luxury or safety.
Branding is becoming ever more challenging with the explosion of products and new product offers being launched each year. Therefore to stand out from the competition, a brand needs more elements to identify its image and personality.
As I have shared, a brand’s face, voice, sound, tone, aroma and pack all increase its differentiation and enhance brand recognition.
In addition,research showsthat stimulating more of a user’s senses significantly increases loyalty. It has been estimated that senses account for 25-30% of a brand’s revenue! So what are you waiting for?
For more ideas about improving your Brand Building, check out our other content. And if you need more support then contact me here: https://c3centricity.com/contact
If the headline caught your eye, then you are probably challenged by a declining brand. Am I right?
Unfortunately for you, I’m not going to give you an easy five-step solution to turn around that faltering, or dying brand. And I will chastise you for letting it get that far! But I’ll also give you five ideas to help you understand why your brand is declining.
I was speaking with an ex-colleague of mine who is frustrated by her boss – aren’t we all at times? She is working on a brand that is globally doing OK, but the brand image results are beginning to show some worrying signs. The most important attributes identified for the product are all trending in the wrong direction.
Her boss continues to argue that since sales are good, why should they worry? He even went further and claimed that as the brand’s sales were doing well, there was no reason to continue to measure its image! This is just madness; wouldn’t you agree?
Brand image metrics are one of the best ways to follow the health of the brand – if you are following the right attributes.
By right I mean metrics that are relevant for the brand and the category. I have heard marketers request to measure their advertising slogans in a brand image study. This is obviously wrong, but it still comes up regularly when I’m working with a relatively inexperienced marketer. The reason you don’t is because slogans change, but the essence of a brand shouldn’t.
So if you don’t measure its advertising (directly), what should you measure? I think that the three most important areas to cover are:
the rational, functional benefits
the emotional, subjective benefits
the relational, cultural benefits
Let me give some examples, so you better understand:
Rational, Functional: removes stains, has a crunchy coating, offers 24-hour service.
Emotional, subjective: trustworthy brand, high quality, makes me more attractive.
Relational, cultural: a Swiss brand, trendy, traditional
In addition to these three image areas, I would suggest you also follow the brand’s personality and value perception. Both of these will impact its image and can provide clues to help understand changes in the image.
One further best practice is to also follow your main competitors so you have a good perspective of the category and its main selling points. Sometimes declines in image come from a competitor emphasizing an attribute for which you were previously known. As a result, although your brand hasn’t changed anything, its association with the attribute can decline due to the competitive actions.
Coming back to my friend and her manager, she asked me what she could do to persuade her boss to continue measuring brand image. This is what I told her to discuss with him.
Review the attributes that have been measured, especially those showing the largest changes. Can you agree on why these have happened? Are you measuring the right metrics that cover the category or are you in need of updating them? Markets change and perhaps your attributes no longer reflect the latest sensitivities. This might be the reason for the image declines while sales continue to rise because the brand corresponds to these new customer needs and desires.
Review customer care line discussions to see what customers are calling in about. See if there are any comments that tie in with the image attribute changes. These discussions will also highlight any areas that you are not currently following in your image tracker – see #1.
Review your customer persona. Have you followed their changes or are you appealing to a new segment of users? If the latter, this might explain the sales increases. However, if you are measuring your brand image on a sub-group of category users that no longer reflect your current customers, this could explain the decreasing metrics. For more information on how to complete a detailed persona description, check out “How well do you know your customers?”
Review market dynamics. If you are following sales and not share, you may be losing customers to other brands which are driving market growth. This might explain why sales are growing, but the image is declining.
Review social media discussion. Today we have the luxury of finding out what people really think about a brand from discussions on social media. If your brand has a solid following or a respected customer base that shares their experience online, then this is a great way to know what is working and what is not. People tend to share negative experiences more than positive ones, so rather than taking offence we can obtain valuable information about a brand’s vulnerabilities.
These five areas will make for a lively discussion for my friend and her boss. They should also provide the necessary information for you to slow and hopefully reverse the negative sales trend of your brand. Of course, once you have the knowledge on what to do, you will need to take appropriate actions, but I’ll cover that in another post.
Have you tried other ways to manage a declining brand? Have I missed other actions to take to better understand what is happening? If so I’d love you to share your own experiences.
This post includes concepts and images from Denyse’s book Winning Customer Centricity. You can buy it in Hardback, Paperback or EBook format in the members area, where you will also find downloadable templates and usually a discount code too.
The book is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook and in all good bookstores. If you prefer an Audiobook version, or even integrated with Kindle using Amazon’s new Whispersync service, it’s coming soon!
Last week I spoke about five of the most important actions you can take when starting your journey to improved customer centricity. If you missed it, you can read the post here; it will be good background information to build from for this week’s ideas and suggestions.
In this post, I would like to continue to support your efforts with some suggestions on an area that many struggle with, that of connecting with and underst anding your customers.
I believe that one of the main reasons for this, is that the target customer segment has been poorly defined. Perhaps it is too wide, such as all category users, or only superficially described just in terms of demographics. C³Centricity’s 4W™ Template, free to download in the members area, will provide a simple way for you to complete a more detailed description of your customer. Once you have that, you can then start to connect with them to deepen your underst anding of them.
1. Retail connections
There are numerous ways that an organisation can connect with its customers. If you have a retail presence, then this is as simple as going to a few of them and then talking to the customers present. If you yourself don’t own the outlet then you will need to ask permission of the owner, but since retailers are also interested in getting to know their customers better, they will usually accept in exchange for your sharing any learnings with them. (>>Tweet this<<)
Another opportunity to connect with your customers in retail is through promotions, demonstrations and sampling activities. These have the added benefit of being able to speak with customers who are already interested in what you have to offer, because they have stopped beside your st and. They also are generally morewilling to take the time to talk to you even if they are busy, something which can be a struggle if you are just walking up to customers in the store. (>>Tweet this<<)
In addition, I have found that both these exercises can be a great way to improve your image with the retailer and may even warrant special treatment for your br and.
2. Secondary connections
If you don’t have the luxury of meeting your customers in person, then there are still ways to learn more about them. If you have a call centre, then why not listen in or even spend time answering calls? It is both a rewarding and useful exercise to do. This is why many organisations such as Zappos, make their new employees do just that in their first few weeks after being hired.
Market research projects are also another easy way to observe and listen to your customers, although in general you will be a silent observer behind the interviewer, who is asking the questions. Some people prefer to follow focus groups or in-depth interviews, even from behind the two-way mirror, since they will have the opportunity to impact the discussions by feeding questions to the moderator.
A third way for you to make these less direct connections is by following social media discussions. These can either be on the major platforms such as Twitter, FaceBook, Pinterest and Instagram, or your company’s own panel if you are lucky enough to have one. In either case, I would encourage you to observe and not get actively involved in the conversations. There have been many infamous embarrassments caused by under-qualified people responding to heated customer conversations on social media. DiGiorno (Nestle) and Progressive are just two of the more recent examples; this post gives many others that can heed as a useful warning should you be tempted to get personally involved.
3. Website connections
Today, most organisations rely on some form of online presence, to be available wherever and whenever their customers would like to connect with them. Understanding why your customers need to contact you is important to providing them with the best experience.
The first place to ensure you are supplying the right information is on your contact page. Are you requesting customers to complete an online form where you request many details from them? If so, it is definitely worth checking if everything you are dem anding is really necessary for that first connection. Name, email address and perhaps telephone number if you plan to call them back, should be sufficient, together with the reason they are wanting to contact you.
Secondly check that you are giving your customers multiple ways for them to contact you. (>>Tweet this<<) The form mentioned above is a rather anonymous connection, since there is no way for the customer to follow up, other than by sending a second completed form. The vast majority of consumers hate such forms with a vengeance and prefer to chat directly, or at least to be given alternative contact choices. Therefore you should provide your email address, telephone number and ideally a postal address. How many times have you been interested in a company only to find that you don’t know in which country they are based? Frontiers today are more linguistic than geographical, so your customers have the right to know whether or not they can visit your offices in person.
One area where this becomes vital is in online purchasing. Ensure that you make it as easy for customers as possible to shop your website. Enable them to check-out as a guest if they want, rather than imposing the completion of a long form of their details. Kissmetrics wrote a great post on this topic, with good and bad examples, which is worth a read if you are selling online.
Finally you should check the performance of your website; how many visitors do you have, where do they come from and what are they looking for in terms of information? This underst anding could be a whole post topic on its own, but since there are many already available, suffice it to say that if your website is getting few visits or your customers are bouncing away quickly, then it is not serving its purpose of building a relationship with your customers. (>>Tweet this<<)
4. Sharing connections
Meeting and getting to know your customers is probably one of the most enriching and inspiring experiences an organisation can have. (>>Tweet this<<) There is so much you can underst and about your current category and br and users by talking to them, that everyone should find ways to do so on a regular basis. As already mentioned, this could be by speaking with them directly whilst shopping, during a market research project, or over the internet.
You won’t be able to speak to everyone, so you will also rely on your colleagues to make such connections, or even external hostesses. This is why it is important that you get a full debrief, ideally in person, whenever you can.
It amazes me every time I speak to demonstrators, that they just go home at the end of the day with rarely any sort of debrief back to the client. On the rare occasions when they do tell their supervisors something of interest that they discovered, they are generally met with a lack of interest and enthusiasm. What a waste of intimate knowledge about the customer, their likes, dislikes and unmet needs and desires! Therefore share whatever you learn with your colleagues and ask them to do the same.
These are four ways for you to get a deeper underst anding of your customers and which are probably already available to you today. How many are you using on a regular basis? Which have you found to be the most useful or inspiring. Please share your experiences below; it would be great to hear about your own successes.
Have you already taken your mid-year vacation, are you currently on it, or are you eagerly anticipating your departure, as you finish all those last-minute tasks?
If it’s the latter, then you will find this checklist extremely useful. For those of you who have already taken your vacation, then this list will provide you with a simple way to catch up and even get ahead of your colleagues, before they return. Either way, enjoy this quick “To do” list for an easier Summer at work.
1. Check Customer Changes
When was the last time you reviewed your customer persona or profile? This should be a document that you keep near to you at all times, and update with new information every time you learn something. (>>Tweet this<<)
If you don’t yet have one, then you can read this post on how to complete one quickly and easily. There is even a free template to store all the information, which you can download from the Members area. (FREE to join)
With people changing fast in response to the incredible progress witnessed today, in technology in particular, you have to constantly keep abreast of your customers’ changes. (>>Tweet this<<)
2. Check Sales to Plan
This might sound like a no-brainer since I am sure you are certainly already following your sales monthly, weekly, if not daily. However rather than the simple comparison to plan, mid-year is a great time to review versus your annual objectives and make the necessary adjustments to meet them before it’s too late. If you wait until everyone is back in September, it will almost certainly be too late to have much impact on the numbers.
The other “no-brainer” that some top managers seem to forget, is to check your market shares and segment shares, not just your sales progression. Even if you’re growing at 20% p.a. if the market is increasing at a faster rate, you will be losing share! (I’m always amazed to find just how many companies are still only following sales and profits)
3. Check Communications to Image
Again it is easy to get lost in the detail and end up reviewing merely the creative of your past, current and planned advertising. However, this is a great time to assess in detail the first six months’ advertising of both your br and and its major competitors.
What is the overall message? Is everything coherent and building towards a story (>>Tweet this<<), or does each campaign appear to be an independent part of the total puzzle? It is surprising how few marketers ever look at all their campaign ads together and yet this is what the customer will see and hopefully remember – at least in a best-case scenario – over time.
At worst your customer will only see a selection of them across all the campaigns, which makes it even more important that your messages are coherent and building your story and image, or at the very least are complementary over the year, as well as years.
4. Check Distribution and Stock
Summertime can often be a strain on distribution and stock levels, as people leave on vacation and less experienced temporary personnel are hired to replace them. If your product is weather sensitive, such as ice cream, soft drinks, or Bar-B-Q articles (in Summer), stock levels can vary tremendously. Make sure you have plans in place to reduce or increase deliveries based upon these external factors that are out of your control.
Especially where temporary staff are concerned, whether on the retail or manufacturer’s side, they might not underst and the possible wide variances in stocks that can quickly take place. This must be carefully explained before the more experienced staff leave on vacation.
5. Check Value versus Price
In addition to (hopefully) good weather and variable distribution, summertime is also one of the major periods for sales and discounts. This is because retailers often want to clear seasonal stock in preparation for the new articles to come in the Autumn. Therefore price tends to become a more important decision factor for customers (>>Tweet this<<) as they witness and welcome the increase in price cuts and promotions.
Depending upon your industry, customers may therefore start to compare your price to the articles on sale and decide that it is no longer worth its (higher) price, because in the current climate, it has become of lesser value to them.
Whether you respond to this with your own sales prices, or bundle promotions, it’s clear that price cannot be left until your return.
6. Check how your Customers will be Serviced
Customer service excellence has become an increasingly important part of most products. Just because it is vacation time, doesn’t mean that you will no longer receive customer complaints and comments. Will they be h andled in the usual, efficient way or will time to respond be negatively impacted by the vacation period and perhaps less experienced personnel?
Customers remain just as impatient as ever, to receive a response to their contact with you, so you will need to ensure that your service continues at the same quality level.
7. Check for any New Trends that are Developing
Although you should be working with longer term future scenarios, rather than just following trends, it is always good to keep your finger on the pulse. This should be a part of point #1 above on customer personas, but I have separated it, as there may be new trends developing which might offer opportunities for new products, services or even categories.
In order to be ready to benefit from any new market situation when you return from vacation, before you leave, put in place a social media scan and analysis around any new emerging trend. This way you will have all the information available upon your return to decide whether or not it is something worth considering.
These are the seven most important items which should be on your pre-vacation marketing checklist. In fact it’s a checklist my clients work with all year long! Is there anything else that you would add? If so, I’d love to hear what is on your own pre-vacation checklist. Just leave a comment below.
If you are not yet a C³C Member, sign up (for free) in the C³C Members area. You’ll get a discount code to buy the book, many useful templates from it, as well as case studies, videos and audio presentations to download.
I recently spent a few days in a condo that I have rented before in Miami Beach. It is a wonderful penthouse suite with panoramic views of the sea to the east and Miami city and port to the west. I rent it because I am always delighted to spend a few days of vacation in such a perfect place.
However, this last time I wasn’t happy. What has changed? Very little really but enough to make me feel disappointed. That made me reflect on how quickly our customers can move from delighted to dissatisfied because of some small detail we might have overlooked or which we ourselves see as irrelevant. Let me explain.
I arrived at the condo building, but the usual doorman with whom I had built a good relationship has been replaced by a new person. Just as efficient but not “my” doorman; he didn’t know me so he came across as less welcoming and friendly. In the business world our customers like to be recognized for their loyalty.
The condo was as perfect as ever, but had obviously been cleaned in a rush in time for my arrival. It smelt wonderful of course, but I didn’t notice the high-sheen tiled floor was this time wet and I went skidding onto my backside as soon as I entered. Customers notice when things are wrong more than when everything is right.
The usual paper products were supplied, but only four sheets of kitchen roll and not many more of toilet paper! No big deal but it meant I had to immediately go out and buy them first thing the following morning instead of lazing at the beach. Customers will sometimes buy a competitive product rather than go searching when yours is out-of-stock.
I went to bed early upon arrival because I was tired from the sixteen hour trip and the six hour time difference. I had never noticed before but neither the blinds nor the (too short) curtains cut out the daylight, so I tossed and turned for hours before sleep finally took over. Small issues with your product or service may go unnoticed – at least until there are many more “small issues.”
I am explaining these details to demonstrate how little things can build upon one another to create dissatisfaction. The same can happen to your customers. So ask yourself, what little changes have you been making that your customers haven’t (yet) noticed?
Reducing pack content just a little
Reducing the cardboard quality of packaging
Making the flavouring just a little more cheaply
Increasing the price just a few cents
Shipping just a few days later than usual
Call centres being not quite as friendly as they used to be
Response time to queries and requests a little slower than before
These adaptations are unlikely to be noticed by your customers at the time they are implemented, unless they are already unhappy with your product or service. The minor changes you have been making over the past months or years will have gone by without any impact on sales. Therefore you decide to make a few more. Each will save you a little more money, which adds up to big savings for you.
However, one day your customers will notice and question their original choice (>>Tweet this>>). To avoid this slow drain on your customers’ satisfaction and delight, here are a few ways to avoid this situation arising in the first place:
When you run product tests, compare not only to the current product and your major competitors but also to the previous product. (or its ratings if the product is no longer available)
Run a PSM (price sensitivity meter) or similar test to check levels of price perceptions and acceptable ranges.
Measure br and image on a regular basis and review trends not only the current levels.
Check that call centres are judged on customer satisfaction and not (just) on the number of calls answered per hour.
Offer occasional surprise gifts or premium services to thank your customers for buying.
Aim to make continuous improvements in response times both online and in call centres.
Perhaps surprisingly, in many categories, customer satisfaction, loyalty and delight come from the small differences and not the big basics (>>Tweet this<<). For example:
Consumers are delighted by the perfume of a shampoo more than by the fact that it cleans their hair.
Amazon surprises and delights its customers by occasionally offering premium delivery for the price of st andard.
Kids will choose one fastfood restaurant over another because of the “free” gifts offered.
Women love to buy their underwear from Victoria’s Secrets because they walk out with a pretty pink carrier bag overflowing with delicate pink tissue paper.
Men buy their girlfriends, wives and mistresses jewellery from Tiffany because they know that the little aqua box they present to their loved one already says it all, even before it is opened.
A car is judged on its quality and safety by the “clunk” of the door closing, more than its safety rating.
In today’s world of dwindling product / service differentiation and an overload of choice, which I already spoke about in the last post entitled “Do your Shoppers face a purchasing dilemma? How to give the right customer choice every time”, your customers want to be made to feel cared-for, not cheated. Find new ways to surprise and delight them and they will remain loyal, even if you have to increase your prices. As L’Oreal continues to remind its consumers every time they buy one of their products, “They’re worth it”.
If you would like to review your br and building and learn new ways to catalyse your own customers to greater loyalty and delight, then contact us for an informal discussion of your needs. I know we can help.
How do you develop your br and strategy and vision? Do you just take last year’s document and revise it? Do you build your plan based upon the sales and profit increases imposed by management? Or do you start from your target customers’ perspective?
You know me well enough to have guessed that as a customer centric champion, I am going to say that the third answer is the correct one. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take neither last year’s plan nor management’s targets into account. Rather I’m suggesting that as you are selling to your customers, they should be top of mind.
If you believe that your own br and planning process could do with an update, then read on; I have gathered together some of the latest ideas and best practices to inspire you to make a few improvements.
One of my favourite quotes on planning comes from Alan Lakein, an American businessman and author:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” (>>Tweet this<<)
Another from A. A. Milne the English author and playwright says:
“Planning is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up” (>>Tweet this<<)
So let’s start planning so we don’t mess things up!
Where you are – the situation analysis
The first step of the process is to run a situation analysis. This phase can include, but not be limited to, a review of market shares and trends, your current customer persona, your br and’s current image and changes, as well as the full details about your offer – price, packaging etc. Here we’re not speaking about the industry definitions, but the consumers’ perspective, or course. You will also need to do the same for your major competitors, but more about that below.
Who are your customers?
anding” width=”349″ height=”197″ /> The 4 Ws of targetingThis should be a no-brainer and yet I am constantly surprised just how many clients are unable to answer this question in detail. They may succeed in being relatively specific on demographics, as the above example mentioned, but not much more.
Only be completing a detailed profile, or persona as many like to call it these days, will ensure you are starting from the best possible position.
What is your current image?
A br and image and equity review is essential for both new and existing br ands. What category are you in? Is that an industry definition or a customer one? I remember working with a client who thought they were competing in the carbonated soft drinks market. In discussing with consumers we found they were competing in a mush wider arena including carbonated soft drinks AND fruit juices, because their drink contained real fruit juice.
The segment in which you compete is vital to underst and, as you will then review how your image compares to those of your major competitors. If you don’t know in which segment(s) you are competing, the latter are going to be difficult to identify.(>>Tweet this<<) And you may miss a major one through your limited view, as did my client mentioned above.
Another client of mine wanted to sell a new service for young people but its corporate image was one associated with older businessmen. It would have been a huge struggle for them to change this image, so I suggested removing the company name from their packaging. Would you believe it? The br and took off immediately because it could then position itself as a product for their precise target group and adapt communications to them. It worked – big time!
Why you got here – your key issues & opportunities
Based upon your br and audit and situation analysis, you should be able to review your current positioning and see whether you are still aligned with the vision you set. You will also have a good underst anding of your major competitors as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
Knowing where you are and why, you can now start to identify what gaps exist and the reasons for them. The actions that you plan to take could be a change to your communications to emphasise a different strength of your br and; or maybe you decide to exp and distribution to better cover your weaker regions; or maybe it’s time to launch a line extension or even a completely new br and. See why the situation analysis is a vital step to conduct before getting into strategic action planning?
Where could you go – your vision
I mentioned earlier about management’s targets that may have been set for your br and. Often these have been developed with a view to the total business needs and then attributed to each br and or category in which the company is active. It is your job to review what is possible, not just what is dem anded.
Whether the targets are too high or too low, you need to review both the budget and actions needed to meet these targets and inform management early if they are not aligned.
I know that this won’t make you popular, but at least it gives management the chance to adjust their own plans based on such input and they may be able to adjust them across their full portfolio.
How can you get there – your strategies & tactics
Now your targets have been reviewed and agreed with management, they need to be translated into strategic initiatives you will plan for the year. At this stage keep them high level. Review how you are going to meet them, remembering that there are basically only three ways to grow a business:
get more people to buy
get people to buy more
get people to spend more
Decide on which one (or more) methods you will concentrate on and then you can identify the actions needed.
If you are working with a declining br and, then you can still review these three methods but you will use them to defend your share. For this you will need to underst and which of them is the major cause of the decline and then identify tactics to reduce these losses.
What you need to do – your actions & limitations
Planning your activities need to be done with careful thought and thoroughness. You need to take into account many internal as well as external factors. For instance:
How does your plan fit with those of the other company initiatives? The salesforce won’t be able to work on every br and at the same time.
Is your br and seasonal or impacted by outside conditions? Weather, local celebrations, holidays or cultural habits can all impact dem and for certain categories and br ands.
Do your competitors have an identifiable planning that you can either interrupt or avoid?
What personality does your br and have? Your activities need to fit with your br and’s personality, which you will have checked during the review of its image.
What budget do you have? Better to concentrate on a few touch-points than to cover all of them so thinly your efforts have almost zero impact.
How do your communication plans fit across all the media you will use. They don’t have to be identical but together they should build a complete story.
Those of you that are regulars here know my love of threes. Therefore another useful way to work in a simple but not simplistic way, is to plan three strategies and have three tactics for each. Nine actions are more than enough for any br and.
When presenting your plan, don’t get hung up on the numbers. Tell a story about your vision; where you are today and how you plan to get to where you are going. Use numbers to support your ideas not to blind or drown the audience.
The same goes for your wording. Be precise and succinct, not long-winded in order to just fill the plan template – I think every company has one, no? Organisations oblige managers to use st andard templates, but treat them as guides and not as a bible. I have never heard of a plan being criticised for being too short, although I have of course heard them being criticised for lack of relevant content, which has nothing to do with its length.
What are your best tips for a successful br and strategy? I’d love to hear your own recommendations, especially if you are using a different process.
If you would like our support in developing your br and strategy, vision and plans, then please contact us here; we are sure we can help.
C³Centricity used an image from Kozzi in this post.