Brian Creath

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

And Now, The Brand Renaissance.

In Advertising, Brand, Marketing, Messaging, Positioning on May 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm

monarch-butterfly_800x600Those who have called a death to brands have severely underestimated their potential. In fact, as I suggested in an earlier post, brands – true brands – may be the answer to many of our current marketing ills.

In a recent post, entitled, Branding: The Next Generation, Martin Lindstrom of Branding Strategy Insider, says this: “There’s every indication that branding will move…into an even more sophisticated realm — reflecting a brave new world where the consumer desperately needs something to believe in — and where brands very well might provide the answer. I call this realm the HSP — the Holistic Selling Proposition.” Lindstrom’s HSP (Holistic Selling Proposition), follows an evolution that began with Rosser Reeves‘ original USP (Unique Selling Proposition). “Each holistic brand has its own identity, one that is expressed in its every message, shape, symbol, ritual, and tradition — just as sports teams and religion do today.”

True brands — those that can establish honest, credible rapport with customers — will thrive in our new marketing world. And while Lindstrom’s vision of ‘brand nirvana’ for some brands (think Harley-Davidson), is certainly accurate, there is also a place for those brands that simply have a relevant and differentiated premise, act on purpose and keep their promises. These brands listen to customer wants and needs and consistently incorporate comments and feedback back into their evolution and growth.

Not because they have to; but because they want to. Brands that work to become a conduit between company and customer, rather than a top-down contrivance of management, will win in our new marketing world. Those that do not will continue to function as an over-dressed product or service, but not a brand.

The days of so-called ‘branding’ (slapping a contrived name, a cool logo and a generic tagline on a product or service) are over. But the dawn of true brands — born of mutual respect, need and conversation between organizations and audiences — well, those days have just begun.

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth, here.


The Economy Is Ready To Grow. (Is your brand?)

In Brand, Brand Relevance, Brand Strategy, Business strategy, Corporate Marketing, Marketing, Messaging, Positioning on May 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm


By most accounts, including the recent address to Congress by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and a report by Charles Schwab’s chief investment strategist, the economy is about to start growing. By any measure, that’s good news for business, and even better news for the business of marketing. But before we dust off old marketing plans and begin to assess current budgets, let’s take away some learning from the recession.

As attention turns to marketing again, companies first need to admit that the business world has changed. Dramatically. And with it, the landscape that every brand now faces. In our new reality, brands cannot simply shout hollow promises; they must provide real value. Value, that can withstand the test of customer discussion and feedback. Social media has forever changed the ‘contract’ that companies have with their customers. Customers that don’t like your product, service or brand now have a forum through which they can instantly tell you — and others.

Today’s brand must hold true value, defined on the basis of long-term human benefit, rather than short-term shareholder value. Value, that an organization can honestly deliver on every front — from marketing and sales, through customer service and behavior, to management objectives and actions.

It’s easy to see that the tactical world of marketing has changed. From the death of the newspaper industry to the rise of social media, the communication paradigm is in transition. But before you address this obvious media shift, I implore you to study the relevance of your brand. Before you throw an old, inside-out promise into a new, outside-in world, your brand and its messaging will need a few tweaks. Some brands, more than others. Please, before you spend a nickel on execution, re-stage your efforts based on this strategic reality. Your customers, and your shareholders (in the long run), will thank you.

Is your company ready? Are your brands? Is your message? (By the way, if you need a bit of strategic assistance, I know a firm that can help.)

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth, here.