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” →
Does your brand deliver what it promises? To make that happen, both strategy and operations must be on the same page.
Strong brands aren’t just the result of a brilliant brand strategy or excellent execution. In fact, the best brands are companies who have figured out the ideal mix of both. To illustrate the importance of that concept, I have often used this simple chart: The Branding Zone Model for Living Your Brand.
My favorite branding clients have been companies that “bend sheet metal for a living.” In other words, they are industrial enterprises such as Dresser Inc., or technology equipment suppliers such as ThermoQuest. Their executive teams are sharp professionals, but most began their careers as engineers or chemists, not business managers.
Continue reading “The branding zone: where business strategy meets operational reality” →
“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” →