Most brand strategists focus on developing points of difference that will give consumers good reasons to prefer their brand. The key to winning is assumed to be differentiation.
However, if there is a key “must have” dimension on which your brand is perceived to inadequately deliver, your brand will not be considered. You will not be a player, which means you have no chance of winning – no matter how compelling your point of differentiation is. It will not compensate for a fatal liability.
The solution? Change that liability into a point of parity (POP). In other words, change that liability so that on that dimension the brand is “good enough” to no longer exclude it from the conversation. The point of parity concept provides another perspective on how to make or keep a brand relevant. In this post, I’ll discus two different points of parity you should consider experimenting with. …Continue reading
Killing Giants is a provocative book written by Stephen Denny in which he outlines 10 strategies that have worked when small firms took on the giants in their industry – firms with marketing scale, distribution clout, buying power and strong brands. In looking at these strategies, it appeared to me that nearly all had a relevance interpretation. They were reframing a category or creating a new subcategory based on a “must have” that did not exist before, or they were affecting the visibility battle that is part of gaining relevance. Consider the following strategies:
Fight the giant where its size no longer matters. Boston Beer’s Samuel Adams brand (“not a beginner’s beer”) defined high-quality craft beer, a new subcategory in which Budweiser and the others were not relevant players.
Bring innovations to the market faster than the bureaucratic big guys. Intuit used quantitative and qualitative customer insight information to continuously improve their Quicken and TurboTax products. As a result, they became exemplars and kept refining the subcategory definitions, making the challenge of becoming relevant a moving target. …Continue reading
How the Retail Giant Is Transforming Itself
It’s been a long journey back for The Gap, but there’s a light showing that signifies it is finding its way back from both a leadership and relevancy perspective.
Recent headlines speak to this. Financial performance has been trending up. It’s been getting kudos for creative marketing and merchandising – from the bricks and mortar launch of its hugely popular Piperlime online clothier to Banana Republic’s very successful tie-in with AMC’s Mad Men. Then there’s the inspired move to bring on Michael Francis (former Target CMO and JC Penney president) as its first marketing creative advisor.
Seth Farbman, brought onboard 18 months ago as the Gap’s first Global CMO, has been steering the Gap’s transformation. During a recent presentation as part of Prophet’s Change Agent Webinar Series, Seth discussed the journey. Portions of his commentary follow: …Continue reading
Great Britain has journeyed from cover stories of violent riots and Scottish independence to post-Olympic harmony and, well, stories of Scottish independence on page three in just about a year. Like big brands, nations can move with remarkable speed from one end of the reputation spectrum to the other. The challenge is to sustain the momentum and leverage the attention.
Great Britain is faced with some major challenges: high unemployment rates (over 8%) and a decrease in high street spending to big business difficulties and political conflict. With the recent surge in national pride, however, Great Britain has the potential to take advantage of the excitement and build on the enthusiasm.
With the recent end of the Olympics and Paralympics in London, one fears that the British capital will go back to its eye-contact-avoiding nature and busy (read: bossy) environment. With inspiration from the Sydney Games in 2000 (top city brand in 2007 and 2008 and now home to 65% of all financial activity in the country) and some of the key brand portfolio objectives we often advocate at Prophet, I believe London should prioritize the following three areas:
- Long term commitment to continue development in the East End and beyond (expanding the moment)
- Investments in education to provide the skills to keep drawing international businesses to the country (extending the moment)
- Learn from and continue current successful initiatives such as CompeteFor that benefits small businesses and opens up the competition (seizing the moment)
In brand language, these three areas leverage the current assets and focus on long term growth through synergy, relevance and sustainable value creation (innovation). In a time of recession, it will take a great deal of political courage. But on top of that, it will require some serious team work. Hopefully Team Great Britain is up for the challenge.
photo credit: @Doug88888 via photopin cc
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, they… …Continue reading
A serious threat facing most brands in dynamic markets is the loss of relevance because the category or subcategory they are serving is declining. Customers are no longer buying what the brand is perceived to make. New categories or subcategories emerge as competitors’ innovations create “must haves.” This dynamic can happen even if the brand is strong; customers are loyal; and the offering has never been better, thanks to incremental innovations.
Relevance dominates. If a group of customers wants a battery powered car it does not matter how much they love your hybrid brand. It will not be relevant. A newspaper can have the best new coverage and editorial staff, but if readers are diverted to cable news or blogs, relevance will decline. The ultimate tragedy is to achieve brilliant differentiation, winning the preference battle, only to have that effort wasted as its relevance declines.
How does a brand stay relevant? How can a brand avoid the disinvest or milking decision? There are four strategies that can work. …Continue reading
Companies, and especially those in the FMCG world, have a profound interest in understanding where their consumers are heading. Cool hunters, trend watchers, urban influencers: all of these subjects have become a known and relevant part of the corporate world, with the objective of better understanding how consumers’ lives are evolving and how this can translate into innovative products and services. …Continue reading