A quick health check for your brand in the new year

With 2018 kicking in, do you know how well your brand is performing? Here is a quick 10-min test that might just help you to know if your branding and strategic decisions are taking you in the right direction, present status of your brand health, and thus helps you in analyzing your brand, so you know the next measures you should be taking.

This quick test for your brand is surely not scientific, but it will surely give you a hint as to where you might want to focus on your brand, and might consider taking a deeper research.

So here is the test. Below mentioned are certain points, on a scale of 1-10, assign each of the statements a score (10 being the best). This will be the assessment of your company’s health and performance. At the end of the questions, just add up the score where 100 will be the best score possible. That easy!

 

Strategy:

1. The organisation’s mission / vision and purpose are elaborately defined and quiet inspiring

2. The brand positioning and strategy are very clearly made and easily differentiable

3. The leadership team and the management at the organization tell the same unified story about the brand

4. The employees also clearly understand the brand story and convey the same

 

Support:

5. The tone of communication by the brand is well defined and its guidelines are in place

6. The organization is using state of the art graphic trends with established rules

7. The company’s brand architecture is clear, and in return guides product branding decisions

 

Brand Effectiveness

 

Execution:

8. The organisation’s message to its existing consumers is crisp, clear and to the point

9. The company’s social media efforts and online experience resonate with the brand communication norms, and follow the brand story and architecture

10. The external market branding is also in sync with the brand

 

So how did your brand fare? Were you able to decipher the areas of improvement that your brand is looking at? Were you able to rate your organization against each of the statement mentioned? If you think your brand might be facing a problem, then this is the time to take the corrective measures.

Bottom line – Keep close tabs on your brand’s performance. How would you ever know your brand is performing well, if you don’t measure its effectiveness!

 

From all of us at Whyletz, we wish you a healthy, happy and hearty 2018!

Action is Paramount to a Successful Brand Strategy

You are what you do, and not what you say you’ll do.

The simple truth which proves itself time and again in the business world.

Strategy and planning are crucial for the success of any kind of execution. But, without action, these remain just words. Actions are necessary to translate an idea to reality. It is only the reality that can be sensed, measured, evaluated and refined.

At the basic level, Brand Strategy is nothing but Strategy! A good brand strategy is the one that is constructed around well defined and orchestrated set of functional and emotional experiences that one wants their customers to experience when they communicate with the company. Strategy and Action, both are indispensable to Brand Building and that is the reason, many organizations suffer at the hand of execution in spite of having built beautiful websites and content.

 

Having worked extensively with companies to execute their Branding Strategies, here are some points that ensure an appealing reality experienced by customers.

  • Brand Roadmap: The roadmap allows the organization to identify the initiatives, both, internal and external which play a key role in delivering the (customer) experience, which the Brand Strategy aims for. It also enables the decision-maker to begin to execute and take action immediately with clear set priorities and assigned resources.
  • Customer Experience Innovation: One of the most critical and time taking process. A successful Brand Strategy is always associated with a set of customer experience innovations that align with what people think when they interact with the brand. E.g. if the brand strategy is built around notion of agility, Brand roadmap should be designed in such a way that it improves and delivers customer experience while reinforcing agility at every step.

Customer Experience

 

  • Corporate Narrative: The strongest brands tirelessly focus on re-shaping the industry dynamics in a manner that is completely in sync with their own brand vision and strategic growth plans. This can be achieved through a carefully designed corporate narrative, which presents an inspiring yet believable future that can be made possible by the company’s unique value and perspective.
  • Measure: The old saying “You cannot manage what you can’t measure” could not be more true! Brand performance needs to be measured and managed at regular intervals, which needless to say, needs to be done with precision. This is an important step, as regular check-ups will help the organization take the corrective measures in time and help in achieving the intended goal.
  • Employees First: Last but not the least; your employees are your key to develop your brand. Employees’ clear understanding and avid endorsement of the brand strategy (with its purpose, vision and benefits) are essential to ensure customer interactions result in the desired impression and associations. Let’s remember – Brands are created by the people, for the people!

 

Action is paramount to realize the potential of any Brand Strategy, as long as it is resolute, planned, smart and honest. Else, it is just motion.

Which branding structure suits your organisation?

Branding, as it stands today is quite critical for any product being launched. Depending on which organization it is coming from, a good branding strategy can either help a brand stand out from the rest of the products launched by the company or stand very much among them while communicating a story in complete synchronicity.

This can be distinctly understood by the two methods of branding discussed below: Individual Branding and Umbrella Branding.

 

Individual Branding

Johnson & Johnson brands

When an organization launches a myriad of products under different bands of brands, it is known as Individual Branding. For example, Johnson & Johnson has Dettol as the antiseptic range, Neutrogena as the women skincare range, and has kept Johnson & Johnson separate for the baby care line of products.

Umbrella Branding

Amul-brands

Whereas Umbrella Branding is a technique where new products are launched under the same family or the umbrella name. Here, none of the products are disintegrated to form another umbrella and every product being introduced in introduced under the parent umbrella. For example, Amul has a line for milk, butter, cheese, buttermilk, ice cream under the very same brand of Amul.

Coming to strategically think of it, while Johnson & Johnson had to start from a scratch while it launched Neutrogena, Amul ghee or cheese while being launched just coined on the brand name of Amul which had already been established in the market. But at the same time, if there is one quality flaw in Amul, e.g. Amul Milk does not meet the quality benchmarks then the whole of the brand Amul suffers including the butter, cheese, and ghee line-ups.

Pros of Umbrella Branding

  • A new product being launch under an Umbrella or Family can always pull leverage on the already established brand image in the market. It need not have to compete in the market with its competitors and establish a ground for itself.
  • Cost of brand creation is also minimized for the new product introduced in the line-up.
  • Umbrella branding helps the new product position itself rightly in the market, in the initial phase itself.
  • Advertising and promotional activities can be all combined, with only parent brand being advertised while all the products in the line – up are advertised automatically.
  • Cost of Advertising and Promotions is grossly reduced, as marketing for individual products is not required. One promotion for the parent brand acts equally for all.
  • Benefits from economies of scale and product range efficiency
  • Can offer sales and combine promotions across many categories and markets
  • There is a huge scope of upselling the products. If the consumer has one good experience with one of the products of the brand, they will not mind exploring the other products under the same brand.

Cons of Umbrella Branding

  • Quality of brands within Umbrella band may vary
  • Impact of bad publicity will impact the entire brand
  • Easy to overextend the umbrella brand
  • Difficult to achieve distinct brand identity

Pros of Individual Branding

  • Each product has its unique image
  • Facilitates the positioning process, can position all the products uniquely without making trade-offs
  • Works best when a company has several unrelated products
  • The company does not tie its reputation to any product – if one product fails, the entire organization’s image or name is not hurt.

Cons of Individual Branding

  • More efforts are required to establish the brand
  • More finances are required to establish and keep up the brand
  • All the promotions and adverts are distinct and need to be done separately for each brand
  • Can cause an imbalance within the company as no clear brand lines are present

Though, while there are many branding techniques, given the pros and cons, these two might help to decipher the start of the technique being put into practice. Aiding the organization to understand if the product’s interest lies in sync with the Parent Brand or need to carve a niche of its own.

Individual or Umbrella, the real focus lies in if the brand and product are complementing each other and how the brand links to its consumers! We have a lot many examples of both kinds around us. While Amway, Amul, Google, FedEx etc. are examples of good Umbrella Branding, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Hindustan Unilever are successful examples of Individual Branding.

The Brand Strategy Roadmap: How To Guide Your Brand’s Successful Future

Why is Brand Mapping Important?

Brand mapping is used to understand the positioning of a brand with respect to the attributes in any brand. In brand mapping, a large number of attributes are shown on the axis and a number of brands are rated on several of these attributes i.e areas of interest of customers.

Marketers have always had to juggle two seemingly contradictory goals: making their brands distinctive and making them central in their category. Central brands, such as Coca-Cola in soft drinks and McDonald’s in fast food, are those that are most representative of their type. They’re the first ones to come to mind, and they serve as reference points for comparison. These brands shape category dynamics, including consumer preferences, pricing, and the pace and direction of innovation. Distinctive brands, such as Tesla in cars and Dos Equis in beer, stand out from the crowd and avoid direct competition with widely popular central brands.

brand map graphic
Centrality v/s Distinctiveness of the Brand

Striking the right balance between centrality and distinctiveness is critical, because a company’s choices influences not just how the brand will be perceived, but how much of it will be sold and at what price—and, ultimately, how profitable it will be. And yet, marketers have lacked the tools needed to get this balance right.

Traditionally, companies have analyzed brand positioning and business performance separately. In order to locate the gaps in the market and gauge how people feel about their brands, marketers have used perceptual positioning maps, which typically represent consumers’ perceptions of brands or products on opposing dimensions, such as budget versus premium or spicy versus mild. To assess performance, they have used a different set of strategic tools that map or measure brands on yardsticks such as market share, growth rate, and profitability.

 

Brand Roadmap Plan Elements

Vision: What do you want your brand to be in the next 5-10 years? Vision gives everyone on the brand a clear direction, it should be measurable (quantitative) and motivating (qualitative). It should push you so much that it scares you a little, but excites you a lot.

Purpose: Why does your brand exist? Keep asking yourself why you do this, to find the personal motivation hidden in the brand. Articulating your purpose can be a very powerful way to connect with both employees and consumers, giving your brand a soul.

Values: core beliefs of the brand that shape the organization as to the standards, behaviors and expectations. The brand has to be able to stand up to and consistently deliver each value.

Goals: What do you need to achieve? Specific measures of brand health and wealth, related to consumer/customer behavioral changes, metrics of key programs, performance targets or milestones on the pathway to the vision. It’s the brand scoreboard.

Key Issues: What is getting the way from achieving your vision/goals? Deep analysis highlights what’s driving and holding the brand back, as well as future risks and untapped opportunities. Issues are asked as a question to provide the problem to which strategies become the solution.

Strategies: How can we get there? Strategies are the “How” you will win the market. Choices based on market opportunities, using consumers, competitors or situational. Strategies should have a pinpointed focus providing a breakthrough on the pathway to the brand vision.

Tactics: What do we need to do to execute the strategy? Framed completely by strategy, tactical choices deploy your limited resources against brand projects, the most efficient way to drive a high ROI.

 

The Brand Strategic Roadmap helps gain agreement, makes focused decisions and keeps everyone aligned.

Understanding the Right Brand Architecture and Driving Success

What is Brand Architecture?

Brand Architecture refers to the logical, strategic and relational structure for brands. It is defined as an integrated process of brand building through establishing brand relationships among branding options in the competitive environment.

What is the role of Brand Architecture?

Brands play a huge role in our lives. Some of us work for one of them. Some of us are them. We even know the smallest and latest brand extensions when it comes to a prestigious parent brand. Just like Toyota owns Lexus and Nissan has Infiniti, there exists different types of Brand Architecture in this world that facilitates understanding the brand better.

Monolithic Brand Architecture

In this approach, there is a unique brand name that serves the purpose. It will be associated with all the brand extensions. The brand name here has the major role to play, as it is the one that attracts customers, adds value and drives buying decisions. A monolithic brand architecture capitalizes on deep, established customer loyalty—its target audience cares less about product features or benefits than they do about the brand promise they know and love. The perfect example could be FedEx. FedEx Kinko’s provide different services when compared the parent brand. But shares its credibility by carrying the FedEx factor in it.

FedEx Brand Architecture

Endorsed Brand Architecture

This is exactly the opposite of what we just read above. Here the product names play the key role. The parent brand or company doesn’t make a big impact. Brands or products are independently known for their value and drives purchases. The synergy between them is often mutually beneficial, as well. Examples for Endorsed Brand Architecture include General Motors and Procter & Gamble. Everyone talks about Chevrolet and Opel as different brands. They would even choose Vauxhall over Opel, even though all these brands are under General Motors.

Hybrid Brand Architecture

This is a combination of both. In this context, brand extensions may or may not be given separate identities. They could also be associated with the parent brand depending on the situation. It enables companies to have independent strategies for various brands, and at the same time they could also leverage on the equity of the master brand when required. A good example could be Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands.

These three are the common structures employed in Brand Architecture. When deciding on a structure to be considered, it is essential that it has to be aligned with the organization’s strategy.

Regardless of your company’s size, effective brand architecture can enable you to:

  • Segment your messaging and services so that each of your target audiences hears what they want to hear and gets precisely what they’re looking for.
  • By establishing an intuitive brand architecture, you set the stage to easily add products or services as your brand grows. Your brand becomes a modular entity primed for the addition of new sub-brands. Bolster confidence among stakeholders in the strategic direction of your brand.
  • A brand with well-defined brand architecture is a brand that’s thinking about future growth. And future-minded brands are a reassuring sign for investors and employees alike.
  • When divisions or sub-brands are clearly delineated, customers can understand their unique value propositions. Plus, a customer of one sub-brand is more easily converted to a customer of another sub-brand than a cold customer with no history.

The upshot of all of the benefits above is the most valuable asset for any company: brand equity. Growing your brand equity gives you compound returns as industry authority and marketplace valuation grow with it.