brand value

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Brand strategy is more effective when understood and acted upon internally. Frankly, it’s the best way to get brand value disseminated externally. But most companies don’t really work this way. Ninety percent of brand word is external. Typically delivered through advertising, PR and promotion. 

Educating every employee in brand strategy, i.e., “claim and proof planks,” is the best and fastest way to have an impact.  It multiplies the power of branding exponentially.

The claim for a healthier-for-you cookie company was “Craft cookies au naturel.” The planks were “naturally moist,” “healthier properties” and “complex flavors.”  By understanding these simple values, every employee at every stage of development, manufacturing, delivery and marketing, can make easier decisions. There are no forks in the road. No room for interpretation. The talking points are set. These aren’t just words on a box but strategic selling points that add value and deflect competition.

Get the strategy right, get your internal house in order, then broadcast the brand value. Don’t ever forget the employees.

Peace.

 

 

  

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Chicken of the Sea.

chicken of the sea

Wikipedia explains the brand name Chicken Of The Sea thusly.

In the “old days,” fishermen referred to the white albacore tuna as “chicken of the sea.” It was called this because the white color and very mild flavor reminded them of chicken. The founder of the company thought this would be a unique name for a brand of tuna, and the Chicken of the Sea brand is now widely known in the Americas.

Chicken of the Sea is a venerable brand just about every American knows. There’s that. To jettison a well-known name at this juncture might be considered silly, but not to me. It’s time to find something with a little more positive brand value. Something that isn’t a joke punch line.

Even with Chicken of the Sea being a master brand name for salmon, clam, shrimp and mackerel, I’d lose it. Chicken of the Sea is synonymous with tunafish – which is not tuna anymore, it’s tunafish – a canned variation packed in water or oil.  The brand name has gotten old, silly and can be so much better.

It’s time for a change Thai Union Group (owner). I’m betting with a little smart brand planning, brand design and naming, you will be able to steal some share from Bumble Bee before next summer. Peace.

 

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One of my mantras is “provide every company employee with an understanding of the brand strategy.” A brand strategy being the organizing principle that drives value. Bank account value. Which is fed by perceived consumer value. When employees know the brand strategy, the good ones pursue it, use it and think about it — even on weekends.

At Zude, a start-up I was a part of in the web space, the brand strategy was “the fastest, easier way to build and manage a website.”  The CFO of Zude Jeff Finkle used to say that every employee walking to their car at night should ask his or herself “What did I do today to make Zude a faster, easier way to build and manage a website?”

When Larry Page took over from Eric Schmidt as CEO of Google, he declared this as a company mission: “To get Google to be a big company that has the nimbleness and soul and passion and seed of a start-up.”  Not a brand strategy.  It’s an operating or operations strategy. Certainly it’s laudable and good business. Certainly employees can ask themselves as they leave the building if they passed the litmus. But it’s inward focused and brand strat needs to be outward focused.  Beware the difference. Peace.

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When I was a kid, there was your metropolitan newspaper and three TV news channels.  You couldn’t change public opinion with a bulldozer (settle your shit down Steven Doescher). Today there are scads of news channels, podcasts, blogs, feeds and streams all of which update by the minute.  One silly statement by a presidential candidate can be captured on a Canon video camera, edited on a Macbook Air and PAC’ed onto the evening news before the sun rises again.

Marketing is a little bit this way.  There is macro marketing, one big idea (or as Strawberry Frog calls it a “movement”) and there is micro marketing, use of media and messaging dashboards designed for instant wins. The ROI huggers love the latter.  Big picture people don’t.

The divisiveness between macro and micro marketing is not dissimilar to that of democrats and republicans. Or Hatfields and McCoys. But it’s in the middle that we must and will land.  You might think a brand planner (me) would favor the big honkin’ idea – and I do.  But I also favor proving that idea and its supporting principles, every day through effective, on-plan tactics.  

Those jockeying the dashboard without a brand plan are likely to fail. If you have a brand plan you have a voice.  Otherwise, you are likely speaking in tongues.  Peace!

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