brandtuitive

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I was talking to a colleague last week, a newly minted consultant, who asked my opinion on licensing brand strategy.  I suggested once a brand strategy is sold, it makes sense to put an annual license fee on the strategy, for as long as the company uses it. A nominal amount. Rather than simply sending an invoice each year, the fee should come with value. And that value is an open-ended offer to the client to share work with me for validation – so they know it’s on strategy. The fee would also cover an annual refresher or training course on the brand strategy – one which new employees or agencies should attend.

One of my biggest regrets with What’s The Idea? is that I often finish a brand strategy then sail into the sunset; leaving the brand and marketing managers to deal with compliance. At mid-size, small and start-up companies marketing directors typically don’t have these skills.

My friends at Brandtuitive are good at this. They make sure training is part of their engagement. The notion of making a company pay a recurring annual fee for training and compliance, albeit a small one, makes lots of sense. But is has to be more about compliance than a license of the idea. (And remember “Campaigns come and go, a powerful brand strategy is indelible.”)

Thought?

 

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When I was a kid in the business the worst thing a supervisor could say to you — and it happened to me — was “you need to be more strategic.” Ouch. So I worked on my strategy chops. I read Peter Drucker, marketing manuals and texts, participated in corporate task forces. I sponged up strategy and I did fieldwork.

Today, as a consultant, I offer two outputs: brand briefs and marketing plans. The latter provides obs, strats, targets and tactics and is critical for successful business…at least the obs and strats are. The marketing plan is what builders need before that start assembling things. It’s the bread and butter of my consulting practice. People can execute, given a plan.

But the real magic is in the brand brief. It conditions employees to sell and position. It boils down the marko-babble into an easy-to-understand, differentiated, business winning value proposition. Brand briefs are the elixir of success. Yet some clients and minions nod their heads toward the brand strategy (one claim, 3 proof planks) but don’t really live it. Whenever I see this at an ex-client it hurts. BrandTuitive, brand planning friends in the city, do a whole training session, post strategy, to insure unrequited brand strategy doesn’t happen. I think I may try putting training into my next proposal. Unrequited strategy is too painful. It hurts too deeply. Away unrequited strategy!

Peace.

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The Exploratory

As a consultant I am a big fan of the exploratory meeting. Both parties at exploratory meetings are explorers. And I love explorers. Consumers are explorers. But, sadly, we don’t always treat them as such. As much as brand planners focus on repetitive brand behavior, we know that the “buy moment” (as my friends at BrandTuitive call it) is best when exciting and enthusiastic. Dull and droning buy moments create “satisfied” moments. “Satisfied customers will leave you everyday” someone recently said in a seminar.

So we explore. In search of new stories. New ways to share. New people and inspiration. Every day is exciting for the explorer. And if you can make your consumer’s day a little more exciting, a little richer, you are doing your job. Peace!

 

 

 

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I was director of marketing at an educational technology company named Teq a couple of years ago and though the fit wasn’t a good one (I got canned) it was one of the most important weigh points of my career. It was there that I was introduced to the sciences of teaching and learning. It was there that I studied pedagogical theory and practice. I walked the halls of K12 institutions in rural and urban settings. I read kids compositions hanging on the wall. I was steeped in learning.

What was career-changing was coming to the conclusion that branding and marketing are best when focused on learning. When consumers are allowed to learn about product value, come to their own conclusions, and personally experience the “buy moment “ as my friends at BrandTuitive would say; then, they are likely to purchase with greater loyalty.

Today a study confirmed that students, especially African Americans, learn better by participating. When lectured (the way of most schooling), students don’t learn as well, but when engaged, in participatory mode, in teams, and with real-time exercises, they outperform.

This is how marketing should be. More experiential. Less tutorial. Less half duplex. (Full duplex is what you hear on your land line. Half duplex is what you experience on your cellie.)

A good brand plan provides demonstrations of the brand claim. Not messaging fodder. Real experiential examples. This is how the mind shift in marketing begins. Peace.

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