What is the brand strength hidden in your perceived weakness?
Does your company want to be branded as the market giant? Before you answer, consider the success of organizations that have sold themselves as giant killers instead. Most companies are not the dominant feeder in their category; for them, being a niche competitor can be very rewarding both in profitability and consumer loyalty.
One of the most well-recounted examples of this principle is the Avis “We Try Harder” campaign launched in 1962. Trailing Hertz, the top rental car company in the nation, Avis promised that as the underdog, they would provide better service with a try-harder attitude. The campaign, created by Doyle Dane Bernbach, is considered a classic example of embracing your perceived faults and making them brand strengths. Continue reading “Embracing Your Underdog Brand Identity” →
Take time to find out what people really find fascinating (hint: it isn’t you).
Brands are often perceived in human-like terms. You would think most brand communicators would realize this, but it is surprising how often sales organizations exhibit the worst instincts of human behavior as they search for sales messages with consumer appeal. Continue reading “Adding F-A-B to your brand – translating features to advantages to benefits” →
Is your company a Ford or a Ferrari? You might be surprised that your managers and employees aren’t on the same brand wagon.
This is an enjoyable way to begin the brand discussion with a group, using a forced relationship exercise. It generally creates good discussion and gets participants out of their normal frames of thought. The exercise is basically a technique of forcing yourself to think of your organization’s brand in terms of another product or industry. “If our company were an auto manufacturer, which would it be?” Since we often understand other companies’ brands better than our own, it is a means to start fresh in our thinking. I usually pick three from the list posted at the end of this article and spend about an hour on the discussion.
This technique, in various forms, is also known as a forced analogy, “How is my problem like a (insert random object).”
One approach in a forced analogy is to compare a problem or an organization to the various aspects of something else that is familiar to the participants. How is this similar to a shark’s teeth, a shark’s skin, a shark’s living environment, etc? Continue reading “Forced relationships, a fun brainstorm to begin the brand process” →
“With that much horse manure,” she exclaimed, “there must be a pony in here somewhere.”
Here’s a useful tool for how to develop a brand, leading your team through the brand discovery process. I’m including it here with relatively little explanation, as most of it is Branding 101 stuff. It isn’t brain surgery, but it takes skill and diligence to pull together a successful brand strategy in actual practice.
The name Pony Sheet came from the old story about the young girl whose parents took her out to the barn on her birthday and announced, “We have a big birthday surprise for you.” Opening the door, she spied a huge pile of horse manure in the middle of the floor, a rather disappointing sight. Yet being a young optimist (most children are), the lass clapped her hands with joy. “With that much horse manure,” she exclaimed, “there must be a pony in here somewhere.”
In discussing what is a brand with executives, I use the pony story to illustrate the long, often frustrating process of digging through mounds of information and piles of attributes that everyone thinks must be included in the brand. At some point, it seems much like digging through a mound of horse manure, but with diligent effort, I can promise that eventually, we will discover the pony.
Continue reading “The Pony Sheet – how to develop your brand and ride it” →