You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from August 8, 2012 through October 10, 2012. You can also view the most recent posts.
I serve as one of the judges for The HUB Prize 2012, presented by The Hub Magazine. As such, I got a preview of the winner for excellence in the retail experience. First place went to a New Delhi flagship store for Asian Paints, the third largest paint firm in India. It took retail innovation to a new level.
The concept started with the insight, garnered in part from in-home interviews, that consumers were not comfortable with color experimentation in their homes. They found paint a confusing category and were even intimidated by the idea of choosing colors.
The solution was a retail store that provides personalized color solutions within a magical in-store experience. It begins at the store entrance, where consumers step on footstones of different colors to activate a play of light and color that involves a huge chandelier and the external façade signage. This warm-up gets the consumer into color experimentation, shows how color affects space and the displays impact of light…
October 10, 2012 • Permalink
Moving a brand into a value arena has exceptional risks not found in other brand extension contexts. But the decision is often based on business logic driven by the attractiveness of the value market and the ability of the firm to compete. As part of that business decision and its implementation, brand strategists should be able to identify the specific business rationale and the risks of the available brand options. .
A value market may be compelling for a premium brand faced with maturing markets that exhibit perceived product sameness. The value subcategory may exhibit growth and vitality as customers become more price sensitive, as value retailers like Target, Home Depot, and Office Depot become more important, or as some innovations like the Crest Spinbrush make a value offering more relevant. Further, there may be competitors in this space that are getting a foothold and have the potential to encroach on the mainstream markets. It can be strategically important to blunt their…
October 3, 2012 • Permalink
Restaurants are interesting to me, particularly because there is frequent innovation-based differentiation driving emerging subcategories and strong brands with a lot of energy. In restaurants, there are a lot of levers to pull and there are significant customer engagement possibilities. A lot can be learned from restaurant brands that are hitting a home run.
A fast food brand located in San Francisco, The Melt, caught my eye because it not only has a differentiated offering but also has the opportunity to connect with customers in different ways.
The Melt has a simple menu that harkens back to the days of grandma’s fixing lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. There are five kinds of cheese, each with a matched bread, five soups, interesting drinks such as Izze Sparking Pomegranate, five desserts including a Chocolate Marshmallow S-more’s Melt, and a breakfast menu that includes Steel Cut Maple Raisin Oatmeal and Banana Maple Waffles. It is the only restaurant…
September 26, 2012 • Permalink
Democrats always seem to lose the all-important discussion framing battle. But with “vouchercare,” they’ve finally won one.
“Vouchercare” describes the republican approach to the reform of Medicare. It frames the discussion around the concept that a fixed price voucher will be given to retired people who must then accept the risk that the insurance industry might price coverage higher than the voucher or, worse, will not insure them at all. It frames the discussion making “vouchers” front and center. Republicans must defend the vouchers instead of discussing the limitations that their approach is intended to address.
The label “vouchercare” has (ironically) been defined by republicans, which makes their effort to reframe harder. The concept “care” as in “Obamacare” implies the essence of a medical insurance program. And “vouchers” are defined by the long-term republican position on education reform. The basic idea is that if parents are given vouchers…
September 19, 2012 • Permalink
Creating effective brand portfolio strategies is one of the most difficult and critical challenges facing today’s executives. Too often, the family of brands generates customer confusion, inefficiencies, mixed opportunities, and misallocation of resource rather than supporting each other and the brand’s underlying strategy. Gathered from my book, Brand Portfolio Strategy, here are 10 guidelines that point toward the creation of a cohesive, effective, well-defined brand portfolio strategy.
1. Make sure that each brand has a well-defined role or set of roles to play in each product-market context that it is expected to contribute. Each brand needs to be actively managed in order to be successful within that role. In particular, brand building resources should be allocated on the basis of these roles and not based on the sales and profits they are currently generating. For example,…
September 12, 2012 • Permalink
A key ingredient to success is to have a clear, realizable, impactful business strategy. But what is a business strategy? I developed my view for part of my book, Strategic Market Management (updated edition coming soon), and I deduced that four dimensions define it. The first concerns where you should compete, and the remaining three concern how you should compete.
The first dimension concerns the product-market investment strategy, the scope of the business and the dynamics and resource priorities within that scope. Which products should be offered, and which segments should be targeted? Which should get aggressive investment to enter or grow, which should get minimal investment, and which should be milked, exited or avoided? Where should growth come from? Options include bringing existing products to new markets (market expansion), bringing new products…
September 5, 2012 • Permalink
Apple’s court win over Samsung feels good. Finally, a firm in the consumer electronics sector has stood up to those that copy substantial, transformational innovations that have resonated in the marketplace. That means that others will have the motivation to engage in “big” innovation, and the innovators will have a chance to benefit from their extraordinary advances and time to improve and leverage those advances. It just feels right.
The only way to grow is to innovate and create “must haves” that define a new category or subcategory (as documented in my book, Brand Relevance). All of that “my brand is better than your brand” marketing rarely creates real growth. The problem is that big, impactful innovations are often copied, so building barriers is necessary for success.
August 29, 2012 • Permalink
For over a decade, Burger King has experienced mismanagement of relevance challenge by a series of “new” owners. Menus were not suitable for large, important segments such as women, families and the health conscious. At one point it was all about the young male and their burgers, but even this group was attracted to new fries/burgers/shakes concepts with attractive personalities and/or local connections. The experience was inconsistent and at times disappointing. The advertising and the “King” symbol was ineffective and even strange even to the young male. For many in the broad market that needed to be served, Burger King was simply irrelevant.
As recounted by Jordan Melnick in QSR, CEO Steve Wilborg, who was hired in 2010, may have finally gotten it right. In April of 2012 Burger King announced a four-prong initiative to make the brand relevant to more than the young male burger crowd. In particular,…
August 22, 2012 • Permalink
Another election, another framing battle. And once again, the Republican party seems to have the edge. Tax relief, death taxes, pro-life, small government, tax and spend. Why don’t Democrats come up with these kinds of memorable, emotive frames?
Take this election cycle’s biggest controversy: health care reform. Republicans sidelined their rivals by framing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act around “mandates” and “taxes,” and by calling it “Obamacare.” Who could possibly support “mandates” or “taxes?” And “Obamacare” certainly doesn’t provide associations with any positive elements of the act. This leaves Democrats once again playing defense. How could they let it happen again? They’re just not the best marketers.
Being able to frame the discussion by imposing a perspective that’s driven by a label is key to winning — whether it’s a divisive political argument or a tough brand battle. The linguist, George Lakoff (…
August 15, 2012 • Permalink
The CEO of Chick-fil-A reportedly said on a syndicated radio show, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’” The quote and other statements about gay marriage resulted in a firestorm of criticism including statements from several major city mayors saying that his firm and its opinions were not welcome. However, the belief that this controversy will hurt the company and its brand is, in my view, misguided.
The generally accepted hypothesis is that a brand should avoid controversy, because it will alienate a portion of its customer base. So the best course is to remain agnostic with respect to any controversial issues, at least visibly. Following this logic, the Chick-fil-A position was therefore at the intersection of a smaller brand mistake and a larger brand blunder with lasting implications.
This hypothesis is probably true for brands such as Coca-Cola…
August 8, 2012 • Permalink