You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from August, 2011 (5 total). You can also view all blog posts.

Nation Branding Part 2 — Opportunism, Support and Leverage

In a previous posting, I indicated that in my talk directed at the Council for Nation Branding established by the President of Korea I discussed the importance of creating a strategy that would include objectives, target marketing and brand vision. With a strategy in place, I identified four effective nation branding tools: hosting a global event such as the World Cup, creating events such as the Korean Knowledge Forum, identifying symbols such as the Guggenheim at Bilbao, and supporting the work of corporate brands such as Samsung and Hyundai.

My theme was that, in my view, efforts of the council to build the Korean brand should focus on opportunism, support and leverage. I suggested the council should not sponsor or direct brand building programs, especially local ones, nor expect an ongoing budget to create communication programs.

Opportunism: In my view, the council…

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August 31, 2011  •  Permalink

Whole Foods Market Invents a New “On-Brand” Category

Whole Foods Market is testing four prototype “Wellness Clubs,” stores that apply the exercise club model to food. For $119 and $45 a month, you get access to club services that teach you about healthy food and cooking and allow you 10% reduction on your Whole Foods Market purchases, which will defray much of the monthly fee.

The concept supports and enhances the Whole Foods Market brand, which is all about having a passion for buying, preparing and enjoying healthy food that is natural and organic.

The Wellness Club has a host of services. A chef will teach you to prepare a dish such as mango quinoa porridge and tell you which ingredients to buy in the attached store, or how to cook kale, the new wonder food. Lifestyle evaluations are available. There are courses and lectures by medical doctors, a reference library, skill-building classes, support clubs and coaching. Shopping will be guided by having products that meet the club's "code of health" and carry a Wellness Club…

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August 26, 2011  •  Permalink

Nation Branding — What Works?

This week I will be speaking at the inaugural conference on nation branding, a project the President of Korea initiated in 2009 to create a nation branding program for Korea.

In preparing my talk, I attempted to identify the most effective nation branding tools. I came down to four.

The first is the hosting of global events such as the Olympics, the World Cup, the British Open, The Australian Open, or the G20. Such events get enormous visibility through media coverage, they provide all sorts of positive associations, and they generate visits from influential people and others who will talk about their experiences.

The second are events created and owned by the country. They can be within a country, such as the annual Korean Knowledge Forum that attracts luminaries and thought leaders around the world, or the Singapore Film Festival. These events also provide visibility, association involvement and visitors. The events can also be hosted outside of the country,…

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August 22, 2011  •  Permalink

The Single Most Common Branding Mistake

The most common branding mistake, in my view, is to focus solely on functional benefits based on the assumption that customers will have the motivation and capacity to seek out relevant objective information and apply that information to a structured decision process leading to a logical decision.

The mistake is particularly prevalent in the high-tech and B-to-B world. However, we know that the driving assumption is nearly always very wrong. Further, superiority on functional benefits that matter to customers is difficult to create. Even when they emerge, competitors usually copy or appear to copy them quickly.

The alternative is to surround the brand with bases of a customer-brand relationship that go beyond the offering. Consider dimensions such as:

• Shared interests—Pampers on baby care, Muji on lifestyle.

• Personality—Zara as trendy, Virgin as irreverent and creative.

• Passion—Whole Foods Market’s passion about food, Nike’s passion about…

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August 12, 2011  •  Permalink

Creating Shared Value vs. Leveraged Social Programs

Michael Porter and Mark Kramer writing in HBR (December, 2006 & January-February, 2011) advance the idea of creating shared value by developing strategies and policies that enhance the competitiveness of the company while advancing social and economic conditions of the community. An alternative that has similar objectives but may be easier to implement and justify is leveraged social programs, programs that leverage a firm’s assets and skills and have a direct effect on brands and customer relationships.

Shared value can be achieved by offerings that address social needs as GE has done with ecomagination, by sustainability programs such as those of Walmart, or by enhancing rural development and water conservation for communities where there are local operations as Nestle has done.

Shared value suggests that profits that are imbued with a social purpose can enable companies to grow while advancing…

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August 2, 2011  •  Permalink