All posts filed under: General

Thanks for a great year

Thanks for a great year

order isotretinoin online overnight shipping As summer finally shows its face in my part of the world and the year counts out, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who take the time to read, to comment and to publicise my posts. A blog is definitely a labour of love, even in this age of content marketing, and having others read, respond and feed into issues that catch my eye is hugely satisfying. I’m often asked why I invest so much time posting. Three reasons. I’m a brand geek. I love the ways brands work. I enjoy the ironies of how they work most effectively. I find them a great lens through which to look at business problems. Secondly, I’m an avid reader and Upheavals is a great opportunity to share thinking that inspires me, from a full range of sources. Thirdly, preparing posts generates amazing conversations with all sorts of people – from those I know very well (that’s you Christine, Alex, Blair, Jeremy, Sherryl, Di, Simon, Sarah, Mike, Adrienne, Gren and Sam) to marketers like …

Inspiration: Step 2 in building a purposeful culture

buy provigil overnight shipping An amazing thing happens when you ask people to imagine their current workplace working to its potential. First, they smile. Then they hesitate. Then they want to talk about everything that’s wrong and why a better workplace is not real or practical or feasible. If you’re patient though and you persist, slowly, very slowly, they start talking about what’s possible. And once that happens, before long, there are diagrams and dreams and the volume in the room rises from a gentle murmur to an excited buzz. It’s hard to get people to quantify the possibilities. All their disappointments and concerns quickly crowd in to stifle the magic. But if you ask them patiently to put that aside and form a vision of what work should be like, aspiration slowly gets the better of them. This isn’t about creating a dream kingdom. In fact, what works best I’ve found is getting people to forecast what a “better us” looks like – and a key component to achieving that is asking them to find proof for what’s …

Design strategy: Designing for outcomes

http://oceanadesigns.net/images/granite/prada-gold/prada-gold.jpg I’ve always loved this quote from Dean Poole. Design, he says, is creating things for clients who “don’t know what they want until they have seen what you’ve done, then they know exactly what they want and it’s not what you did.” So often, companies get design wrong. Designers frequently argue clients get the aesthetic wrong. That may be true, but I think it’s deeper than that. Actually, more than one party can get the function of design wrong. Design actually fails when people haven’t designed in human terms exactly how they want the recipient to act/react. Recently, Seth Godin observed that great design is about getting people to do what you want. “The goal,” he says, “is to create design that takes the user’s long-term needs and desires into account, and helps him focus his attention and goals on accomplishing something worthwhile.” I agree – and that changes the question that every brand owner should ask of their designer. The question is not so much “will they like what they see?” but “what will …

Brand extension: when is it an extension of perceived risk?

We tend to judge the likelihood of whether a brand extension will work on the compatibility that consumers will feel between the brand they know and the extension they are being asked to accept. As Brad VanAuken has observed, “Any brand extension into a new product category must reinforce one of those primary associations without creating new negative, conflicting or confusing associations for the brand. If this rule is followed, the brand extension will actually reinforce what the brand stands for.” In fact, providing that association is strong, Nigel Hollis says, “the fit between the brand and the category does not need to be based on a direct application of the brand’s functional credentials”. The need for structure Now, in a new study discussed here, Wharton marketing professor Keisha Cutright and co-authors James R. Bettman and Gavan J. Fitzimons of Duke University, contend that, alongside the quality of the product, the way it is marketed and the fit with the current identity, consumer psychology also has a role to play in whether a brand extension flies …

What makes a great brand story?

Storytelling is of course very much an idea whose time has come. And brands are increasingly using story formats to express themselves and to explain their place in the market and the world. But, if I may reference Sheryl Sandberg, what gives a story “lean-in” value? In this 2012 TED talk, filmmaker Andrew Stanton explains that we humans love stories because of their affirmative value. We need that affirmation, says Stanton, and stories provide that connection. Stories, he says, work across time and allow us to find similarities with others. In his presentation, Stanton draws our attention to six great guidelines: • Make me care • Make me a promise right from the start • Give people enough to put the rest of the story together • Stories should be inevitable but not predictable • Stories must mix anticipation with uncertainty • As a storyteller, your main responsibility is to invoke wonder They’re great rules. But what do they mean in terms of how we craft the story of a brand? What are the guidelines …

Don’t just provide reasons to buy. Change the reason for buying.

It’s tempting when your product all but parallels that of your competitors to be drawn into a meaningless war: a fight for market share that revolves around devaluing (looking to price the other guy out), trivial pursuit (nit-picking on features in a bid to show technical advantage) or overshadowing (spending up large in mainstream media in a bid to raise “awareness”). The problem with chasing competitive preference is that brands spend far too much time focusing on the competitive aspects and far too little insight on identifying where the preferences could lie. All three approaches above are looking to provide consumers with reasons to buy, but while they may change perceptions, they actually do little to change affinity. It’s a distinction that’s easily overlooked. Changing what consumers think of you for now does not automatically translate into a shift in how consumers feel about you – especially in the longer term. They may, as a result of the above actions, see you as offering them more value, they may like the fact that your product …

The future myth

Transformation isn’t about plotting a meeting point for your brand with the predicted future. It’s not about getting to where the puck will be, to paraphrase Wayne Gretsky. Because depending on the arrival of the next big thing or that breaking wave, that hot new trend, the long-awaited demographic or anything else for that matter is conjecture. Banking on it is simply speculation. To evolve successfully, brands must grow out of what they have into what they need to be. They cannot shape the future. They can only shape their future. That is what they have control of. That is what they are responsible for. The customers they take with them into the future. The actions they drive in the future. The products they will make. The culture they build for the future. All strategists and decision makers can and should read out of the macro-trends, and even the supposedly “specific” future trends for that matter, are the broad indicators of the change that’s coming and perhaps a sense of where it might be coming …

Market leadership: you can’t lead as a brand if you follow another brand.

Looks to me from this article like Samsung are going down the same competitive route as others before them in their battle with Apple. They’re looking to out-do them and to build a reputation and loyalty for themselves that replicates the following that Apple has. Here’s the thing. As soon as any brand does this, there’s a very real risk that what it is actually doing is fighting with its perceived nemesis on their terms and therefore, subconciously or not, by their strengths. Because of the underlying references, Apple also becomes a focus and therefore, by implication, an authority. And all this within time and space that Samsung is paying for and looking to own. Unless they are very careful, there’s a real risk here that Apple could be allowed to Occupy Samsung’s marketing real estate – by Samsung itself. After all, Apple is very good at being Apple. And their consumers love them for the brand they are. It’s not smart brand strategy to address a strong brand competitor at their strongest points. If …

Is thinking a desk job?

Over at Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni asks :Where do you do your best thinking?” For me, it depends on the problem. And what I think and even how I think about something is directed by that. Here are my seven favourite approaches: 1. Sometimes it’s sitting somewhere quietly with a pencil and paper and just writing thought sequences down until something clicks. Usually that’s about rethinking the associations. Scrabble means charades with a touch of Pixar over a business model. 2. I read avidly for the same reason. It’s all about finding different lines of logic. Disrupting. That’s really good for new products or ideas where there is no precedent or if you need to put daylight between what normally happens and what will need to happen for the brand you’re working on. Read about a completely different situation, and then apply what you got from it. To find out more about this, read The Medici Effect. 3. Other times it’s a walk – to get sensory inputs such as eye contact, noises, colour, vistas. …