Branding matters. Because branding matters.
07 Dear friends: Spring is here and things are looking brighter. The cover of this issue reflects the changing season while what’s inside represents a healthy mix from the past,the present and the future. Our feature on the Best Branding in 2012 is a look back at brands that got it just more than right the year before. Celebrity brand match has always been a case for the jury and the article on celebrities and their brand associations will leave you thinking further on those lines for sure.When you are up against the wall, that’s when you begin to do your best marketing work as has been proven by Starbucks and its Customer Loyalty initiatives articulated inside. Anand Narasimhan makes a strong case for the ‘ against ‘ in his article on Branding with the Enemy.The regular marketoon by Tom Fishburne makes a strong case for Brand Loyalty.Content Marketing is now ubiquitous and on everyone’s radar but how many of them are getting it right is examined in the Six Principles of Great Content Brands.David Ogilvy’s expulsion for no reason from Oxford and then going on to be labelled the World’s Greatest Marketer also finds pride of place in this issue. There is an in depth analysis of brands and the non profit sector which our readers will definitely profit from. There is lots more to dig into so keep flipping & Happy Reading. Best always
Suresh Dinakaran Managing Editor: Suresh Dinakaran Creative Head/Director Operations: Pravin Ahir Magazine Concept & Design/ New Media Specialist: Mufaddal Joher Country Head, UK: Sagar Patil Country Head, India: Rohit Unni Brand & Business Developer: Andre Van Helsdingen Brand & Business Developer: Dipti Vaidyanathan Web Specialist: Prasanta Kumar Sahu Online Support: Mahendra Kumar Behera
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Looking Back At 2012’s Best Branding Lessons From the Greatest Marketer of All Time... Expelled From Oxford Why Starbucks’ Customer Loyalty Is More Lucrative Than Any Ad Campaign Six Principles of Great Content Brands American Airlines Rebrands Itself, And America Along With It Real-time brand management requires more than just a quick reaction Emerging Technologies Demand New Marketing Fundamentals A Prized Tag: Wrist Brand Gold-standard precision, avant-garde technology, prestige and reliability.
Branding with the Enemy VH1’s Smart New Branding Takes A Backseat To The Content Branding in the professional services world. Oprah’s biggest branding failure and what we can learn from it Celebrity Brand Match: Heidi Klum, David Beckham, Justin Bieber and more...
Book, Line & Sinker The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector
Blast from the Past
Looking Back At 2012’s Best Branding Belinda Lanks
NASA’S LOGO REDESIGNED TO BE TRULY OUT OF THIS WORLD NASA’s logo hasn’t changed in the last 50-odd years. Except when “the worm” replaced it for two decades, the so-called meatball has been the agency’s official emblem. But with space funding drying up, NASA could use an overhaul, figured Viewpoint magazine in 2010, so it tasked Base Design with the job. The result: a neutral mark, befitting the post–Cold War era, eclipsed by a giant sphere (which could be Earth or another planet). Sadly, NASA passed on the idea.
A “LIVING” LOGO FOR WIKIPEDIA, WITH MORE THAN 3.2 MILLION VARIATIONS For Viewpoint magazine’s “Overhaul” feature, Moving Brands reimagined Wikipedia’s puzzle-globe logo as a mutating mark that changes as much as a Wikipedia article itself. Suzanne LaBarre details the process: “The designers drew a mark out of just five lines, a nod to the five principles Wikipedia operates on. That produces a ‘W’ with nine equidistant nodes, one for each of the encyclopedia’s nine sister sites. From there, a second line courses through and around the W, with its precise look changing depending on what keyword you search.” That renders 3.2 million different permutations, which may not be enough for a site that, as LaBarre notes, devotes a whopping 29,000 words to 7th Heaven episodes alone.
THE SURPRISINGLY SMART STRATEGY BEHIND LONDON’S INFAMOUS OLYMPIC BRANDING Say what you will about the London Olympics’ branding, the designers behind it were wellintentioned. In an interview with Co.Design, Wolff Olins’s Brian Boylan and Ije Nwokorie explain how their logo, which has been widely criticized for its dissonance, was intended to be something “you could bump into on the street” … as opposed to something that felt “official.”
A STUDENT’S SMART MICROSOFT REBRANDING IS BETTER THAN THE REAL THING Last year, Microsoft nabbed some design cred for its Surface tablet and Metro UI, but it’s new branding was, well, woefully uninspired. Andrew Kim, a 21-year-old student, shows the company how it could have been done. The campaign, which Kim threw together during a three-day charrette, uses “the slate”--a parallelogram motif based on the windows of corporate office towers-as the basic building block. Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan writes, “The slate lets Metro, Microsoft’s UI design standard, shine. Introduced last year, Metro sets the graphic standards for the company’s tablet and phone interfaces. But Kim points out that the 2012 logo’s forced perspective conflicts with the colorful, simple squares of the Surface UI. The slate, meanwhile, fits in with the flat Metro style perfectly.” If Microsoft doesn’t hire Kim for its next redesign, Pentagram, responsible for the brand’s last iteration, should be next in line.
IKEA’S NEW FOOD PACKAGING MAKES CRAB PASTE LOOK GOOD Ikea turned to Stockholm Design Lab to create minimalist packaging that would convey the Scandinavian delicacies inside at a glance, even while retaining their traditional Swedish names. The result: With the visual aid of a fish printed on a can, a consumer can easily translate “skarpsill” into “sardine”.
A DEFT REBRANDING OF CANADA TACKLES ITS HAZY IDENTITY ABROAD What comes to mind when you think of Canada? Maple leaves? That beer with the maple leaf on the label? Not a very nuanced picture, is it? “Studio 360”, a radio program hosted by Kurt Andersen and produced by WNYC and PRI, decided to tackle Canada’s image problem, particularly in the U.S., and commissioned Bruce Mau Design to rebrand the entire country. The campaign includes images bracketed by two red bars and a simple tagline--”know Canada”--reflecting the premise that Canada didn’t need to be rebranded; Americans just needed to be educated.
David, The Goliath
Lessons From the Greatest Marketer of All Time... Expelled From Oxford Matt Dalesio
The marketer in question is, of course, David Ogilvy. He was given the educational opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to study at the prestigious University of Oxford. He was expelled, with the reason undisclosed, in 1931. Ogilvy never had a college degree, proving you don’t need to have a marketing degree to be a fantastic marketer. However, the experiences in the years that followed did shape him into one of the greatest marketers ever.
The Wilderness Years After a brief stint as a kitchen monkey in a Paris hotel, Ogilvy started working for the Aga Cookers company in England, selling stoves door to door. It was his first taste of marketing, and he excelled, eventually writing a sales manual for Aga salesmen described by Forbes as “probably the best sales manual ever written.” After fortuitously landing a job at a London agency in part because of that very manual, in 1938 Ogilvy was sent, at his request, to the United States to attend George Gallup’s Audience Research Institute in New Jersey. He cited this experience as a huge influence on his thinking, because he learned not only research methods but also how to apply findings to real life. In the 10 years that followed, Ogilvy worked for British Intelligence during the World War. He purchased farmland in rural Pennsylvania, where he lived among the Amish. By 1948 he realized that farming wasn’t his calling, and he moved to New York to start his own ad agency.
Founding an Agency Ogilvy became a founding member of Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather (which would eventually become Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide), even though he had little experience as an ad man. But after writing ads for such companies as Lever Brothers, General Foods, American Express, and Shell, Ogilvy soon became one of the most prominent figures in the world of advertising. Ogilvy on his successful ad copy: “They made Ogilvy & Mather so hot that getting clients was like shooting fish in a barrel.”
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Why Starbucks’ Customer Loyalty Is More Lucrative Than Any Ad Campaign Sheila Shayon
Occasional coffee drinkers and Starbucks junkies alike all visit the Seattle-based brewer’s shops for the same reason, and it’s not a caffeine kick. The java giant is just as recognized for its lifestyle brand as it is for its beverages, and that may be just the thing missing from competitors’ offerings. Despite the fact that Starbucks recently took a second-place post against McDonald’s in a social hospitality survey, the company continues to be the most relevant coffee shop brand around—and they don’t even try that hard. While other brands like Wendy’s, Subway and McDonald’s have stepped up both their coffee game and their social engagement, Starbucks still outperforms nearly all consumer brands when it comes to collecting brand fans “despite taking the exact opposite approach,” notes Econsultancy. With over 33 million Facebook fans, Starbucks is one of the most “liked” consumer brands, surpassing McDonald’s (with over 27 million “likes”), which has more locations and a longer history. Walmart, which has about 27 million “likes,” posts several times a day, while Starbucks “often goes weeks without posting anything.” However, when the Starbucks social team does post to the network, the photo or status attracts more than 150,000 “likes” and thousands of comments— which the social team doesn’t ever seem to engage in. The same goes for the company’s Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ accounts, which boast millions of followers with little to no effort shown on Starbucks’ part. The concept is mind-boggling, especially to brands like Taco Bell, which launch huge, global, interactive campaigns on social media with only a slight chance of the same kind of consumer impact that Starbucks seems to have. While their social presence (or lack thereof) doesn’t quite amount to the company’s success, its real estate sure does.
With an outpost on seemingly every high-traffic corner in the U.S. and a growing international push in China and India, Starbucks may occupy more small business space than actual small businesses. But according to brand expert Priya Raghubir, a marketing professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, location is only a small piece of the popularity pie for Starbucks. So what gives? According to a report by The Huffington Post, Starbucks customers are loyal—like, ride or die loyal. “Starbucks stands for coffee; it’s converted that into an experience,” Raghubir told HuffPost. “People really have [gotten] to know Starbucks as the quintessential coffee shop, where they can sit and be welcome over a cup of coffee.” This sentiment differs from other small coffee shops, where loyal customers are considered “coffee snobs” and a walkin customer might detect an air of snootiness. Raghubir points out that the chain has gone out of its way to create a comfortable, welcoming environment where customers are happy to spend a few hours with friends or make use of the free Wi-Fi. Perhaps the company’s motto is best described in CEO Howard Schultz’s book “Onward” where he says that Starbucks’ mission and social contribution is “human connection.” “Starbucks never set out to be cool,” he says. “We set out to be relevant!” “It is the experience of going to Starbucks,” that makes it stand out, Raghubir says. “I think they [the customers] value the convenience, they value the welcome, they value the fact that they can find the Starbucks anywhere ... and offerings are uniform.” In other words, Starbucks goes out of its way to make each location feel uniquely yours, and that, Raghubir says, builds brand loyalty.
The Content Pitch
Six Principles of Great Content Brands Doug Kessler
Doug Kessler is a co-founder and the creative director of London-based B2B content marketing agency Velocity, which publishes a steady stream of content about content marketing.
You’ve probably noticed that there’s an awful lot more content out there this year than there was last year. Project similar growth in the next year or two, and you’re looking at an Atlantic-and-a-half of new content, all begging for your customers’ attention. On the one hand, it’s a good sign: It shows that marketers are getting hip to the power of content. On the other hand, if you’re a marketer, it’s also a warning sign.
A Great Content Brand is the only thing that will protect you from the erosion of engagement that the vast majority of content marketers are about to experience.
With that in mind, we created a new rant on SlideShare called “Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge.” It’s a plea to all marketers to start focusing on one thing: creating a Great Content Brand that’s strong enough to survive the coming deluge.
So it’s important... maybe the most important thing you can put your time, energy, and budget into. Take a look at the slides and we’ll reconvene below: h t t p : / / w w w. s l i d e s h a r e . n e t / d o u g k e s s l e r / c r a p - t h e - c o n t e n tmarketing-deluge
14 When Ann Handley saw this rant, she suggested I write a followup article that expands the Six Principles presented on pages 30-36 of the presentation. And when Ann Handley asks you to expand, you bloody well expand. So here’s a fuller version of the Six Principles Great Content Brands. 1. Be the buyer Everything starts with the buyer’s challenges, needs, prejudices, and concerns. Perhaps that has become something of a truism in content marketing, but it’s way too important to let that fact kick it off the top of the six principles list. Great content brands are always built around the challenges and interests of their target audiences. That appraoch isn’t just a veneer of empathy pasted into your brochureware; it’s a real understanding of the things your prospects actually care about— not just what you wish they cared about. Understanding your prospect’s world takes a bit of work. But no effort will ever deliver a higher return. If you have doubts about your own company’s understanding of your prospects, do this work first. Take a few buyers to lunch. (I recommend sushi, but a decent southern barbecue works, too.) (Or risotto.) Do it. Really. 2. Be authoritative Stay in your sweet spot, where the things you understand better than anyone else intersect with the things your prospects really care about. You know how you read one e-book and come away thinking “Meh”? Then you read another and come away thinking, “Wow!”? (Speaking of which, might I suggest Velocity’s B2B Marketing Manifesto?) The difference is almost always a matter of authority. When you write from a position of authority, you write useful, interesting content. When you bluff, you write hollow, obvious content that may sound good but convinces no one. And authority is all about writing from your sweet spot (we talk about this in our Content Marketing Strategy Checklist, and we’re really big believers in it). Basically, you can screw up three ways: 1. Pandering. You write about things your prospects care a lot about, but you have no special authority or perspective regarding those topics. You might get their attention, but you will not have reward that attention with something in return. And people hate giving their attention to things that don’t deserve it. 2. Navel-gazing. You drill deep down into your company’s expertise, but if your prospects don’t yet care... you’ll only embarrass yourself. 3. Blathering. If you create content that neither speaks to your prospects’ concerns nor offers expertise, you’re really cranking out the crap. If you stay in your sweet spot, your content will be 100 times more likely to get consumed, shared, liked, and tweeted. So, spend time getting your team to agree on where your sweet spot is, then build your content strategy and editorial calendar around it. And that leads us nicely into... 3. Be strategic One-off content campaigns don’t add up to a content strategy.
get the content under their noses, and how you’ll measure success. The checklist mentioned above can help, but it’s not rocket science. The important thing is to aim before you fire—and build consensus around where you’re aiming. If you don’t have a content strategy yet, write one tonight on the train home. Fifty Shades of Gray (Kindle edition) can wait. 4. Be prolific Content marketing is a marathon, not a shotput toss. Each new piece of content has a shorter and shorter “golden period,” when the most people want to get it and share it. The “Crap” slide deck itself is hot as I write this, but views will be down to a trickle by the time you read it. So we all need to build efficient content machines that can keep the frequency up without sacrificing quality. That means a good mix of content types, from quick blog posts to short videos to 80-page e-books, and everything in between. To do that well, you need... * Good writers who understand what you do * Good designers who know how to sell a story You can’t go hunting for those people every time you need to create something. You need to have them on staff or tap inside a friendly agency that you keep close. Find the best talent that you can afford. Reward it. Stroke it every Tuesday. Do whatever it takes to keep it happy. 5. Be passionate If you don’t care about this stuff, why should anybody else? Passion is the secret ingredient of content marketing, so it’s a shame it sounds like the latest CD series from a “personal improvement coach” (“Order now and get my ‘Slam Dunk Your Soul’ video!”). Passionate doesn’t mean fake enthusiasm or free-form extroversion. It means finding the things you really are interested in (with any luck, they are somewhere in your sweet spot), then using content to discover and explore the things that make it so interesting. That kind of passion is contagious. It’s really hard to resist. Here’s the hard part: if you’re just not really that interested in your company’s sweet spot topics, you need to find something in there to interest you or... get another job. You set the ceiling on how much your readers can care about any given topic. Aim for nothing less than Sistine. 6. Be tough on yourself You know whether you’re being lazy. Don’t be lazy. It’s OK to fire off a blog post in half an hour—as long as you signal to the reader that’s what you’re doing. But the bulk of your content marketing program will come from putting in the time to make each piece as good as it can be. That means lots of rewriting—which most people hate. It also means sharing your earlier drafts with people you respect and asking their opinion. You don’t want to waste their time, so a lot of your work needs to happen before you ask. Then you need to take their views into account... and rewrite again. If that isn’t your idea of fun, find someone whose idea of fun it is. You can find them in places like chess clubs or under rocks. Also LinkedIn groups.
“Fire and forget” content marketing is so last year. If you’re like most marketers, you’ve at least dipped your toes into content marketing—and it felt great (as great as a toe can feel).
Be prepared to invest serious resources in content marketing. If you do, the payback will be significant. If you cut corners and invest half of what you should, you’ll get back a tenth. Or some similarly alarming ratio.
Now it’s time for a proper content strategy. Why? Because your resources are limited and your competitors are getting good at this, too.
Let’s sum this puppy up
A content strategy sounds intensive and expensive, but it needn’t be. It’s just a summary of who you want to reach, what you need them to do, what content you’ll create to encourage them to do it, how you’ll
A Great Content Brand could turn out to be the single biggest asset you ever create for your company. But, in an era when every other brand is sacrificing writers to the God of Content, it’s getting harder and harder to do.
So much for Loyalty
American Airlines has just rebranded for the first time in over 40 years. The AA logo of yore is gone, replaced by the Flight Symbol, a red and blue eagle crossed with a wing. And every plane will be tagged with a high-velocity abstraction of the American flag on its tail. There’s logic behind the decision: AA recently ordered 550 new planes. Many will have composite bodies that can’t be polished with the mirror shine of American’s existing fleet. The look had to be reassessed for brand continuity, so the company has spent the last 2+ years with Futurebrand reconsidering everything from the plane’s finish (it’ll be mica silver paint) to the logo to the website to the interior seats to the terminal kiosks. But it all started with a question: “What are the things that are relevant from all over the world about America?” Rob Friedman, VP of marketing asks. “Technology. Entertainment. Progress. These things people really feel are American attributes,” Futurebrand’s Chief Creative Officer Sven Seger later answers. “We didn’t make this up. It’s from people all over the world.” In approaching the redesign, American polled both their own employees about what defines the American brand (the answers were predominantly the planes’ silver fuselage and the eagle logo) and the larger globe about the American country (which is where tech, entertainment, and progress come in). What they were looking for was, not just what is American Airlines, but what is America in the age of globalization? “The old identity was slightly skewed to a more powerful American image. We needed to move it to, we call it ‘American spirit.’ What’s the side of America people really, really love,” Seger explains. “People have huge love for the eagle, but not necessarily the eagle in the downward position potentially attacking someone.” So AA kept the eagle, but it ditched the talons and transformed it into the Flight Symbol. It’s both a bird and a wing. But instead of being focused on the hunt, it’s focused on the flight, because sleeping through a coast-to-coast red eye doesn’t make you Top Gun. (Whether you like the new logo or not, as an American citizen, I’m glad it’s been changed.)
American Airlines Rebrands Itself, And America Along With It Mark Wilson
Futurebrand’s research also found that the American flag, of course, was another defining trait of America itself. The challenge was, how does American portray America without becoming blindly patriotic in the global market? The solution was a striped abstraction of our flag, augmented into a high-velocity graphic printed on each plane’s tail to make aircraft seem like they’re flying, even when they’re sitting still. In other words, they ditched the stars in favor of the stripes. “With stars, the design has a different connotation,” Seger says. “It gets you quickly into the 4th of July. It doesn’t get you to technology and progress.” Interestingly enough, you won’t see this flag abstraction anywhere else in AA’s rebranding--which includes everything from the insides of their planes to the kiosks at each terminal. In these spaces, American focused on the Flight Symbol. Spaces will be filled with blue, the new blue of American, specifically to complement the eagle. “We brought the sky down to the ground so the symbol, the eagle, can actually fly,” Seger says. “It’s blue; it’s very optimistic.” Additionally, the interiors of both terminals and planes needed to capture the specific feel of America’s interior design. Admittedly, we’re not a country known for its avant garde furnishings, but we are known for craftsmanship. Futurebrand interpreted this as using wood that’s “a little bit heavier” mixed with steel. The buzzword they used was “seamless tech,” an implication of technology behind comfort, or a wholly redesigned in-flight entertainment system. No doubt, not everyone will like AA’s reboot. The original brand has been seared into our consciousness for decades. Even Futurebrand admits to mocking up several ideas that were far more conservative, polishing the old logo and typography but not fundamentally changing it. But as an American, I have to say, I greatly appreciate the rebranding of how a corporation is ultimately representing my country, not as an aggressively postured world power, but a TV-loving society that likes to travel and makes a decent table.
New Media to Now Media
Real-time brand management requires more than just a quick reaction Jeremy Epstein
When Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reached for a bottle of Poland Spring water during his response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, it quickly became a social media meme. That incident could have been exploited in the moment by Poland Spring or parent Nestle, a real-time marketing amplification to match the “Oreo standard” from this year’s Super Bowl power outage. Instead, it was a day later when Poland Spring posted a picture on its Facebook page (which still garnered an impressive response). Ah, what could have been. Some argue that not every marketing opportunity is worth pursuing, and that is certainly true. However, there’s a big difference between choosing not to respond and not having the capability to respond. What’s missing from the analysis of the Oreo story is that the event on which the brand capitalized occurred during the Super Bowl. The brand already had a command center set up. It had brand and agency representatives all in one room. This type of gathering is the “black swan” event, as we have increasingly fewer cultural moments that bring us all together. Social and the Internet have fragmented attention and channels, so moments when a brand can focus all of its resources on one thing (the Super Bowl, the Olympics, etc.) are few and far between. Yet, these kinds of marketing opportunities will still arise … and perhaps come even more often. As Jay Baer correctly points out, “Permission is the Enemy of Speed,” and for a brand to “win the speed race that has
no finish line,” it must empower employees on the front lines to make decisions — sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but always empowered — to fan the flames. But empowerment alone doesn’t go far enough. It’s necessary but not sufficient. What’s also needed is global social infrastructure that ensures social marketing gets in front of the right people at the right time. To do this, large companies attempting to manage a large volume of messages require: 1. 2. 3. 4.
A rules engine that can automatically tag, prioritize, sort and filter messages based on keywords, geolocation, influence or custom profile properties. A natural language processor to score messages for sentiment or intent. An automated workflow to route messages across teams, functions, divisions or geographies. A message queue that lets individuals pass opportunities to other groups without having to know the name of a point person.
That’s the tip of the iceberg, because we haven’t even talked about security, governance, permission, compliance and other concerns. Oreo set a high bar in the Super Bowl. Poland Spring showed the height of expectations. All of this represents a tremendous opportunity for brands. Acting quickly after the fact — or even during the moment, in real time — is critical, but so is global social infrastructure to ensure consistency of brand voice.
A New Paradigm
Emerging Technologies Demand New Marketing Fundamentals Anthony Mullen
Marketers Who Try to Respond with Today’s Practices and Skills Will Fail Emerging technologies--from smart objects and wearables to behind-the-scenes taxonomy tools--are radically changing how customers think, act and relate to others. And in turn, forcing a rebuild of how brands must go to market on every dimension. It’s clear that marketers who try to respond to this seismic shift with today’s practices and skills will fail. So how can marketers adapt? There are four fundamentals to consider:
is one such disruptive personal agent for consumers, repositioning the search paradigm from on demand to always on. The agent proactively searches for relevant content for users based on web history, location and other contextual cues before presenting the information speculatively. Expect to see more and more of these consumer controlled software agents brokering brand relationships and permissions.
Design is the new marketing
People are the regulators
The efficacy of turnkey marketing solutions used to engage with customers is waning. Your brand is more than what you say it is; it’s also what you produce and the experiences you create. This means in order to differentiate and go deeper with customers, brands must now design their own unique interactions and experiences. Marketers can take a page from areas such as game design--for years this practice has woven stories, personas and smart objects into virtual environments, allowing people to play and achieve things together and alone. These play arenas can help create positive sentiment that persuades customers to follow the path to purchase. To master this fundamental, marketers must look to add new skills such as those of game designers or content producers to the standard mix of copywriters, art directors and agencies.
Thanks to new tools and channels, our connected society has taken the reigns of control when it comes to regulating brand interactions. But this isn’t all bad news for marketers. With more intelligence based upon more sophisticated permissions, brands have the ability to move from rudimentary advertising to more nuanced advice. For instance, CRM systems in 2012 began to live alongside richer consumer data gained from social graphs. Publishing systems morphed into dialogue systems through social and web 2.0; and B2B and B2C technologies converged to provide more flexible people and group-based systems. Yes, brands should continue to see consumers as the star of the show, but now it’s time to support them intelligently or else risk being locked out completely.
Value is the currency Value has always had its place in marketing-- brands are built upon its promise. But what’s different now is the efficiency and speed of the value exchange, which when understood, gives marketers more powerful tools to acquire customers and build-long term loyalty. But it’s important to remember that consumers are now acutely aware of the barter value of their data and the power they wield in exchange. As a result, marketers must demonstrate real value to gain customers. Tactics such as content marketing and ‘freemium’ models demonstrate an understanding of giving first to receive in return. As Evernote CEO Phil Libin has said, “The easiest way to get one million people paying is to get one billion people using.”
Agents broker relationships
Even when people and devices use a brand’s app or website, there are multiple levels of mediation at play--hardware, operating systems and browsers are powerful ecosystems each with their own gravitational pull and controls. This is a new type of intermediary--agents that are intellectually curating consumers’ experiences and, in doing so, mediating the brand relationship. Google Now
Nature thrives on complexity and so too does innovation. As of yet, few marketers are meeting the demands that accompany this seismic shift in consumer behavior, and the effects are showing. More than half of US online adults are already annoyed by the amount of advertising they see and 37% would rather not be contacted by brands at all, according to new Forrester data. The brands that will survive this disruption will be those that embrace the growing complexity of the consumer/ brand relationship. The result will be a marketing mind shift that leads to competitive edge innovations.
A Prized Tag: Wrist Brand
Gold-standard precision, avant-garde technology, prestige and reliability. Dipti Vaidyanathan
Four attributes that symbolise the TAG Heuer philosophy since its founding in 1860, when Edouard Heuer set up the company’s first watch making workshop at St-Imier in Switzerland. From the first patent in 1882 to the world’s first mechanical wrist chronograph to measure and display 1/1000th of a second in 2012, TAG Heuer continues to be at the forefront of some of the most spectacular innovations in watch making history.
The list of celebrities who swear by Tag Heuer is powerful, endearing and grown over time Maria Sharapova, Lewis Hamilton, Cameron Diaz, Shahrukh Khan, Fernando Alonso, Alain Prost to name a few. Tag Heuer’s list of brand ambassadors articulates the strength, aura and enigma of the iconic watch brand. And in the process creating an onslaught of aspiration and a legion of followers.
24 Over the years, TAG Heuer has penetrated into markets globally and currently, majority of the revenues come from USA, UK and Japan. However, the company is seeing increased growth in 3 markets – Russia, China and North Korea - and these regions are expected to contribute a significant portion of the company’s turnover in the coming years. Then of course is the emerging Middle East and its growing consumer base that has developed an appetite for luxury brands. Tag Heuer was the first Swiss watch brand to establish an office in Dubai in 1995. According to results released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry in 2012, UAE ranks amongst the top 10 countries importing Swiss watches and is followed by Saudi Arabia at 14. Despite the current political tension, there is also considerable growth in countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The official distributor of Tag Heuer in the UAE is Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, leading retailer of luxury timepieces in the Middle East. In addition, there is 1 boutique store in Abu Dhabi and 2 in Dubai. This includes the recently renovated
its success, has also diversified the branded offering with its own range of smart phones, bags, glasses and related accessories. The company was purchased by TAG Group (Holdings) S.A. in 1985 and the Heuer brand became TAG Heuer. In 1999, TAG Group sold the brand to french luxury goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). The acquisition helped the Tag Heuer brand to scale up and expand thanks mainly to the history, credentials & experience of LVMH which as an organisation has nurtured phenomenal brands like Louis Vuitton, Hennessey, DKNY, Dom Perignon, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Geurlain, Berluti, Fendi, Kenzo, Hublot, Moet & Chandon to name a few. Despite the LVMH association, Tag Heuer continues to hold its own and markets the brand through a lot of high-profile
and re-launched boutique in BurJuman, Dubai to match TAG Heuer’s latest retail concept and shopping experience. There are also plans for expansion in the next few years. So what distinguishes Tag Heuer from competition, considering an excess of logo-speckled watches vying against one another? According to Luc Decroix, General Manager, Middle East “despite the different Swiss-made watches available in the market, Tag Heuer has managed to hold its own thanks to a niche but loyal target audience created over the years. We compete with brands like Omega and Longines. However, Tag Heuer is positioned to reflect a dynamic and sporty image that appeals to a 2550 years demographic with owners taking pride in its utility, youthfulness and aspirational value. The ‘Avant-Garde’ in our slogan essentially defines our customer profile - those who are experimental or innovative by nature possibly with respect to art, culture and politics. Similarly, we choose our ambassadors carefully, ensuring that their personality and values are in sync with that of Tag Heuer.” In the last few decades, the brand has evolved with different watch making innovations and, on the strength of
Dipti Vaidyanathan is Brand & Business Developer at ISD Global. She can be reached on email@example.com
events and initiatives. In the UAE, they recently partnered with the Dubai Autodrome to promote and develop motorsport in the region and also sponsored a Leadership for Women MENA conference in Dubai in 2012. They have also been the official sponsors of the Dubai Desert Challenge for the past five years. The company also roped in Mohammed bin Sulayem, UAE champion driver and one of the Arab world’s famous sportsmen for endorsing the brand in this region. Moreover, they are present on the online front with an interactive Facebook page targeted to the Middle-east consumer base. Overall, Tag Heuer aims to expand its visibility and market hold and continue innovating and improving their icons. In this region particularly the UAE, consumers are likely to see a lot more visibility from the brand in the coming years. We’d only say ‘Watch out’.
All for ‘against’
Branding with the Anand Narasimha
Here’s a point to ponder. What motivates and unites people more- fighting for a cause or against an idea? History provides us the answer. During the French Revolution the oppressed bourgeois’ united against a common enemy- the feudal and exploitative French monarchy and sent them to the guillotine. Soon after, once the enemy was dead, they were plagued with infighting and rivalry. The Allied Forces were united and driven against Nazi Germany, symbolized by Adolf Hitler. Even the capitalist and communist blocks came together, to demolish their common enemy. But once, the Third Reich fell, the communist and capitalist blocks were polarized, leading to the Cold War. Ironically, Hitler, a master of propaganda himself, identified an enemy in the Jewish community, as a threat to pure Aryan supremacy. Visionaries like Mahatma Gandhi (Quit India Movement against British Colonialism), Dr. Martin Luther King (American Civil Rights Movement against racial discrimination) also succeeded by defining an enemy to fight against. More recently, Anna Hazare’s Lokpal agitation was named ‘India Against Corruption’ (and not ‘For an honest India’). So, fighting against an enemy generates a more powerful emotional response, than just supporting a cause, which tends to be more of a reason led route. As the saying goes, “Reasons lead to conclusions, emotion leads to action.”
Battle for the consumer’s mind In the world of branding too, we have stories of brands that have actually gone beyond product propositions, to define an ‘enemy’ (a belief, convention or behavior in society & culture). These brands have taken a ‘stand’ against their enemy to connect with and unite their consumers, through an emotional turbo-charge. When Steve Jobs launched the Apple Macintosh in 1984, the enemy was: ‘People have to be computer-literate.’ The stand the brand took: ‘Computers have to be people-literate’. This idea has driven the design of Apple products ever since. The Volkswagen Beetle took a stand, ‘Small is beautiful’ against the American belief (enemy), ‘Big is beautiful’ and created a cult. Harley Davidson countered the onslaught of Japanese bike-makers in the U.S. by taking a stand that ‘bikes were about freedom & adventure’, against the popular notion that ‘bikes were about speed & power’. Contrast this with Coke and Pepsi treating each other as the enemy and setting off the Cola Wars. More recently, Diesel, an irreverent brand that drives counter-culture came up with this. It took a bold stance in its campaign ‘Be Stupid’, against the trend of ‘an over smart society that creates a safe, formula driven world which inhibits risk taking.’ As an extension of the campaign, it created a ‘Facepark’ in Berlin, a real world spoof on Facebook, where people gathered to mock the overdose of virtual social networking.
A new battle cry for brands Whether the brands we have discussed, embarked on these strategies by default or by design may be debatable, but it leads us to a new ideology for brands. In a world of growing parity, where product performance is becoming table stakes, brands need to go beyond just talking about themselves, to propagating a larger worldview. With consumers becoming smarter, cynical and information rich, Branding needs to evolve from the conventional ‘points-of-difference’ (POD) to a ‘point-of-view’ (POV) approach. It’s becoming less about ‘what I am known for’ but increasingly about ‘what I care for’. In their brand planning process, the folks at Ogilvy call this the ‘Big Ideal’ (as against the conventional ‘Big Idea’). For TANG, the juice concentrate brand targeted at kids, Ogilvy created a powerful Brand Ideal, ‘Long Live Kids!’ This came about by taking a stand against the enemy-‘society is pressurizing kids to become grown up too soon and behave like adults’.
The ‘Enemy-Stand-Mantra’ construct In this context, I have developed what I call the ‘Enemy-Stand-Mantra’ construct. Here’s a look at the construct: Brands are going beyond just promoting themselves, to promoting a larger world view. They do this by: • Fighting an ‘Enemy’- a commonly held belief, convention or behavior in society & culture • Taking a ‘Stand’ (against the enemy) - with a strong point-of-view on what they care about. • Propagating a ‘Mantra’- expression of the brand’s defining point-of-view
A commonly held belief, convention or behavior in society
The brand’s point of view (against the enemy) on what it cares about
Expression of the brand’s defining point-of-view
Let us look at examples of how the points-of-view of some brands fit into this construct:
Stereotyped beauty- tall, blond, Every woman can be beautifulslim and fair of any shape & size
Real beauty for real people
Apathy towards social issues
It’s time to awaken and act
Jaago Rey! (Arise! Awake!)
Fear of getting clothes dirty
Don’t let dirt be a spoilsport
Daag Acche Hain (Dirt is good)
It is both important and interesting to note that the ‘Mantras’ of these brands are derived from their product functionality. For example: Tata Tea’s functional benefit is ‘Refreshing’, which fits in with ‘Awakening’. Similarly, Dove’s ‘1/4 moisturizer beauty care’ seamlessly flows into ‘Real Beauty’. Here’s some food for thought. While discussing this construct in my Marketing Communications class, I gave my students an assignment to work out the ‘Enemy-Stand-Mantra’ for this campaign of Idea Cellular.
Can you spell out the Enemy, Stand and Mantra for this campaign?
The war ahead While in the examples discussed, the ‘Enemy-Stand-Mantra’ construct has been retrofitted to demonstrate the concept, it is a useful tool to work out the ‘big ideal’ for your brand. While working on a female deodorant brand in India, we used this construct to good effect and timed the campaign to break on ‘Valentine’s Day’ across television and social media:
Increasing incidents of moral policing of the youth
Let nothing come in the way of living life on your terms
Stop me if you can!
Applying this construct to develop your brand strategy requires 3 key elements: • From product to people: you need to focus more on ‘what people care about’ and less on ‘what your product does’. Horst Rachelbacher, the founder of AVEDA has this to say, “My brand is not interested in competing. It is interested in making a contribution.” • Developing sharp antennae: you must have an intuitive ability to pick up signals from society and culture. The owner & founder of Diesel, Renzo Rosso says, “My first inspiration is always in the street. Listening to and watching people.” • Laddering up your functionality: your brand’s mantra must be in sync with its functional benefit and product offering (and not a force fit). So, the next time you think about how to make your brand famous, rich and loved, try branding with the enemy. It could be half the battle won.
Anand Narasimha, is Dean & Professor of Marketing at IFIM Business School, Bangalore. With over 25 years of experience in Brand Marketing, Advertising and Consulting, he describes himself as a ‘Brand Mentor’. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Style & Over Substance
VH1’s Smart New Branding Takes A Backseat To The Content Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan
A few weeks ago, VH1 quietly unveiled a new brand identity, designed by a small team at New York agency Gretel. The network’s old logo, a multicolored gradient confection with a squiggly tilde crown, has been replaced with a thick sansserif logo rendered in deep purple, tagged with a plus sign (+) that grows from the H. It’s the network’s first new logo in a decade, but the change was noted by relatively few online. According to VH1 President Tom Calderone, that was the idea. “We did this with a bit of stealth,” he told me during a phone interview. “The idea was to let it happen organically.” After all, for every high-profile corporate rebrand, there’s a high-profile public backlash. But more than that, the new logo is meant to fade into the background of the network’s content--a visual bridge between topics and shows, rather than a representation of VH1 itself. “The plus became the connective tissue for the language,” says Gretel’s Keira Alexandra, “a language of short textable bursts, of search terms and tags, of endless streams of hyperbolic, enthusiastic, obsessive cultural knowledge.” On VH1’s website, it functions as a header for each piece of news: Taylor Swift’s New Boobs gets the double tag “Gossip + What The?” A Rihanna interview gets “Interview + DGAF Attitude.” The plus sign is actually a fairly modern invention. It’s technically a logogram symbolizing et, the Latin word for “and.” Most scholars place its first use around the 16th century as a shorthand for “more than.” For VH1, its vagueness had an obvious appeal--it was a way to connect their increasingly divergent properties without having to generate thousands of iterations, as with their old logo. “The last thing you want to do is hand over a burdensome brand guide,” says Gretel Principal Greg Hahn. “Instead, you want to provide a sensibility that allows people to say, ‘Oh, I get it, I know what to do, I know where to take this,’ without having to look back at a giant binder of dos and don’ts.” But the plus sign’s visual clarity might be more important than its syntactic clarity. VH1 has seen a huge ratings spike over the past year, and it owes a lot of that success to the Internet--the online chatter generated by snarky recaps, tweets, and posts about their reality lineup. But the old logo was suited for televisions, not smartphones. “It wasn’t designed for anything digital,” Calderone says. Forget about making it a favicon; even on computer screens, the old logo looked messy and loaded slowly. The plus logo is designed to look as good at 10 pixels as it does at 1080. “The new logo pops more on mobile platforms,” he adds. The plus doesn’t have what Pentagram’s Paula Sher recently called “gradient colors and gee-whiz sparkle” for which many online brands are opting these days. Instead, VH1 and Gretel opted for a logo that acts more like punctuation, while the content--Rihanna et al.--becomes the brand.
Branding in the
professional services world Jon Geldart
Brands are all around us. We all recognise strong and important brands, such as Microsoft, Porsche, Rolex, and even new emerging market brands such as Haier from China. However, many people do not think about accounting and consulting firms as brands. It used to be that being a brand was the sole preserve of consumer goods companies who used big advertising campaigns on television to build their brands. When people talked of brand in professional services the words fell on deaf ears. But the world is changing and never more so than in the professional services, accounting and consulting market. Brands in this profession are now as important as those in the commercial and public world. People buy brands and people make up businesses. We buy brands as much at work as we do at home. The attributes and qualities, values and reputation, of business brands give us the security and reassurance we need as we seek partners to help us expand markets, buy and sell businesses, obtain access to capital and to manage our finances. So a strong reputation, supported by a strong value proposition, or brand, is an essential in the accounting and consulting profession as much as it is in any aspect of our lives. Even more so as our businesses become increasingly regional and global. There are a few global brands emerging in this market space. Most business people have heard of Accenture, PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst and Young. More and more are aware of the choice offered by the emerging ‘mid-tier’ international firms such as Grant Thornton. Grant Thornton started as a merger between a British and an American accounting firm over 100 years ago. Developing into an alliance with a strong Indian firm it then grew, as did many of these organisations, into what it is today, operating across 124 countries, with over 35,000 people and revenues in excess of $4.2bn. It is widely recognised as one of the strongest international professional services firms, with a brand reputation to match. How has Grant Thornton managed to achieve this? From its original inception as a group of firms loosely connected by an agreement to refer clients to each other, it is now seen as a powerful single global brand, serving national, regional and global clients. In short the organisation has determined two very important and fundamental things which all brands must do to develop, endure and survive. Firstly it has agreed globally who it wishes to serve as clients and secondly it knows what it stands for. These two seemingly simple matters are best described as helping dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth. It is a simple phrase but it is the mantra behind the ‘brand’ of Grant Thornton. Expressed externally in the
single line, ‘an instinct for growth’, the entire global business is committed to providing high quality advisory services to its clients. It is a simple truth that all business decisions are balanced on the tension between rational, attestable, irrefutable, data based facts, and intuition and experience. This delicate balance between reason and ‘business instinct’ is very real to the modern business person. Whether they are in a family owned business, large corporate entity or even government, decision makers use a blend of both reason and instinct in their everyday lives. Grant Thornton excels in understanding these tensions and is particularly skilled in supporting dynamic organisations in making the right decision. It seems so easy to say, such a simple idea. Of course it is obvious when you talk in this way that a firm of professional advisors would help their clients to balance the decision making efficiently and effectively between the numbers and the insights that support an organisation in its market and its customers. However, to get over 100 different organisations around the world to agree that this is the best way to single out and express what they are about and how they will go to market, was a key development in moving Grant Thornton from a business to a brand. It was also a real challenge and achievement! On 19th February 2008 the global organisation changed its external look and global brand design overnight. Every website, brochure, letter head, compliment slip and business card as well as buildings and even staff buses were rebranded. In a carefully orchestrated and phased switch the old look and feel of the brand developed in the 1980s moved to the modern purple colour combined with a specially designed ‘möbius strip’ based logo. It signalled the rebirth of the global organisation and the start of a 5 year ‘differentiation journey’ that culminated in November 2012 with the global launch of the ‘an instinct for growth’ line and a single global brand promise combined with global advertising and messaging. Grant Thornton has come of age.
30 2008 was a ground breaking development in the global accounting profession and the change for Grant Thornton was swiftly followed by a rebrand at Ernst and Young, then BDO and more recently PwC. Suddenly an organisation that had not been taken really very seriously by many was catapulted into the limelight. There are many examples of organisations which have changed their outward designs and logos, thinking that they had therefore rebranded themselves, only to fail because that is all they did. Without the fundamental shifts in business focus and aspiration, along with the deep internal change management programmes to support the external changes, such cosmetic makeovers soon flounder and splutter to a halt. They are consigned to the dustbin of business history because they are superficial and little changes. They fail to change their business along with their logo. They then fail to really differentiate themselves, to recognise a brand is made up of its internal culture and capabilities as well as its physical materials, brochures, web sites and the other essential communication materials. As a result they fail to evolve. There are also examples of businesses that have done exactly the opposite. Organisations such as IBM or Accenture who have rebranded and repositioned themselves are wonderful success stories. Globally organised and structured, driven and managed effectively, every element of the brand and offering is carefully crafted to ensure that the customer receives the very best service and solutions wherever they are in the world. The IBM experience is based on a real understanding and consistent delivery of what IBM looks like, feels like, behaves like and performs like. In looking back at the proud success of Grant Thornton, which in 2012 became the fastest growing international accounting organisation (with over 10% growth), it is worth looking at the ingredients behind that success. With a long way still to go, and grow, to achieve its stated aim of being the preeminent
provider of advisory services to dynamic organisations globally, are there any lessons to be drawn? I believe there are. First and foremost was the utter commitment of leadership to the ambition and desire to really differentiate the organisation. Without this ‘tone from the top’ nothing would have happened. Leadership believed in the ambition and were prepared to stand or fall on its achievement. The consistent, almost relentless, nature of the global and country leadership’s repetitive communication of the goal, the ambition, the brand promise, the target audience and the high expectations placed on every person across the organisation, was, and is essential. To have every country team, every person facing the same way, unified behind a consistent vision was key. A relentless focus on quality is also at the heart of the success. Professional ethics, independence, strong corporate governance and the determination to deal quickly and strongly with those who failed to uphold the agreed standards, played a critical part of the story. Building a strong brand across a global professional services organisation is a complex and complicated task. It has required much time and effort, and money, to truly unearth the difference that is Grant Thornton at a local, national, regional and global level. The search was for something that would genuinely reflect the essence and spirit of Grant Thornton and the core need of business leaders around the
world. “An instinct for growth” is the external expression of both those ideas. There is also a phrase that encapsulates the internal expression of the brand and that characterises the successful delivery of the Grant Thornton brand globally. That phrase is: ‘Every day I make a difference’. This phrase recurs again and again as you talk to the people in, and clients of, Grant Thornton. Making a difference to clients, colleagues and yourself is at the beating heart of the organisation. It is this phrase which forms the core of the employer brand. Ensuring an equal focus on the internal aspects of the brand is as important, if not more important, than the external. When you put everything together in a global brand there are a million things you could say about it. There are a million touch-points, a million phrases and thousands of people with billions of human interactions to consider. In a service organisation, even more so in a professional services one, it is the people that are the brand. The partners, directors and people of the organisation bring it to life and make it real for clients and can elevate or destroy the brand in a moment. In this global village with nanosecond communications, across borders and time zones, through social media and the internet, a brand can take years to build and moments to crash and burn. In the professional services world the demise of Andersen is the best example of a strong brand shattered and broken. It was the Enron scandal that reduced Andersen from its seemingly unassailable position as a global accounting powerhouse to a cautionary tale. It was here where the perceptions of a lack of independence brought down a global brand which had taken over 80 years to build. A focus an independence is critical to the integrity of a professional services brand. Without trust a professional services brand is nothing. The lesson for any business, no matter where it is in the world or whatever product or service it provides is that brands are precious and fragile things. They are subject to close and detailed scrutiny
by all. From the global financial crisis which has destroyed the credibility of so many financial institutions, and the failure and disappearance of many, to the horse meat scandal in the UK, the BP Mexican Gulf disaster, or the powdered milk contamination story in China, brands have a responsibility to their customers, and to the world. The increased transparency as well as consumer power created by global media means brands must discharge this responsibility with probity and extreme care. If they do not they will fail very publically and very quickly. In the professional services world the pressures are acute and the challenge as tough as any industry but there is a special responsibility here too. Without the assurance and support of these organisations and the services they provide to stakeholders and shareholders the very fabric of the global capital markets is at risk. This is a heavy burden indeed and one which makes defining and delivering differentiated brands at a global level an awesome and challenging task. Grant Thornton is one global professional services organisation which has risen to this challenge. It has done so as it strongly believes that if it did not then it would wither and die. As the professional services market becomes as crowded and competitive as the world of consumer goods, it is only brands and well differentiated brands at that, which will win in the global marketplace.
Jon Geldart is the Global Head - marketing and communications, for Grant Thornton International Limited. Jonathan.email@example.com
To Own or not to Own
Oprahâ€™s biggest branding failure and what we can learn from it Henna Inam
Brand Oprah was flying high, and then she made one critical branding failure - a failure that caused her to drop in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list from No. 6 in 2010 to No. 50 in 2012. The measure of any brand is its intangible value or reputation, and the intangible value of Brand Oprah has declined. She seems to have lost her way. So, what is this branding failure and what can we each learn from it for our own personal brand? Oprah was the poster child for knowing and leveraging your personal brand. Her personal story of overcoming childhood challenges, and her motto of “Live your best life” was a master brand. It sold optimism, resilience, and the ability to be the master of your own destiny. “I’m hard-pressed to think of a stronger brand than Oprah, and I’ve studied 200 years of brands,” Harvard Business School professor Nancy F. Koehn said of Brand Oprah. At its height, her show had 12 million viewers. She stayed on message as she launched her magazine. The brand ultimately made her rich, with an estimated fortune of $2.7 billion, according to Forbes. Now, her personal brand seems to be lost. Since she ended her show in May 2011, magazine readership is down by 22%. Her cable network, OWN, has suffered low ratings and management shakeups. What’s the critical branding error? Knowing how to evolve your brand in the face of change. This is a critical skill to master given the rapidly changing environment we face.
Here are four lessons each of us can learn from Brand Oprah’s failures. Know what creates core value for your brand Brand Oprah’s strength stemmed from her connection with viewers. Her presence with her audience every day forged that connection and allowed her to influence them across a wide spectrum of her products. The authenticity, transparency and empathy that makes Oprah who she is didn’t change. What did change and is a core part of value creation is her daily access to her viewer base. Do you know what the source of value creation is for your brand? Don’t take something away that your most loyal consumers love Coca-Cola learned this lesson the hard way when the company replaced Coca Cola with New Coke in 1985 - a new and improved flavor that won in blind taste tests. They learned that a brand is not just a product with its product benefits. It is a bundle of emotions that people associate with it. At Procter & Gamble, before we changed an existing product, we would always test with our most loyal consumers first. Oprah made the mistake of taking away what endeared her to her consumers - their daily access to her through her show. Instead, she tried to take the next “logical” step of owning a network. As we think about career planning for ourselves, how often do most of us blindly follow the “logical” next step in the hierarchy? Instead how about we understand where will “Brand YOU” thrives the best and create a more authentic path for ourselves. To reach new audiences, start with your core brand promise To stay relevant, brands must evolve to fit the goals they have or adapt to changing market conditions. At P&G, as we extended our brands to new audiences, we knew we had to find the balance between stretching what the brand stood for and appealing to the audience’s needs. Oprah’s been trying to court younger audiences for her magazine (women in their 30s instead of the current 40s and 50s). She even went on Comedy Central with Jon Stewart to extend her reach. To appeal to younger audiences, should she go to Cosmo-type headlines (“90 Sex Positions to Try before you Die” comes to mind)? No. She’s got to find what within the Oprah brand would appeal to younger women as she evolves that brand. As I navigated the change from being a chief marketing officer in a corporate environment to being an entrepreneur, I had to start with my core - what motivated me and made me successful. I had to match it up against the requirements of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. In the last two years as an entrepreneur, I have found that drive, resilience, passion, empathy are transferable skills. I needed to figure out how to apply these skills in a way that created value for the new audience. Failure helps you learn and come back stronger Failure is a wonderful learning opportunity. The one thing we know about great brands is that they endure in the face of failure. Tylenol came back stronger from its tampering crisis. The scandal led Tylenol back to its core — safety above all, including the hard decision to spend millions of dollars to take Tylenol off of shelves. And the brand used the opportunity to connect more powerfully and authentically with consumers, creating tremendous long-term value. I believe Brand Oprah is resilient. True to herself, she is being transparent about her mistakes. She is going back to the core of what created value - her ability to connect with audiences. In November, she partnered with Huffington Post to create Huff Post OWN to provide on a popular platform the kind of “Live Your Best Life” advice for which she’s known. Her OWN ratings have gone up since she brought back the things her fans love: the book club, celebrity interviews, etc. Oprah’s lesson was to realize the source of value for her brand. Her fans wanted her.
Bottom line: Know your brand. Your authenticity is what creates connection and authenticity and connection never go out of style - even if the world around us changes.
Fame and Fortune
Celebrity Brand Match:
Heidi Klum, David Beckham, Justin Bieber and more... Mark J. Miller
New Grownup Burger Recalls Grownup Film Moment The words burger, Heidi Klum and bourbon aren’t generally found in the same sentence, but that’s changed now that Carl’s Jr. will become the first fast-food chain to release a burger branded by a liquor. The Jim Beam Bourbon burger will start being sold Monday night and to celebrate the moment, the chain has turned out a sexy ad featuring supermodel/businesswoman Heidi Klum reprising one of American film’s sexiest characters, The Graduate’s Mrs. Robinson. In it, Klum seduces the camera and her naïve young male costar while chowing down on a massive Jim Beam burger. (Don’t worry, teetotalers. Unlike the famed Mrs. Robinson, the burger is alcohol-free.) “Higher-end restaurants have long served menu items flavored with branded spirits but, until now, they had yet to find their way onto fast food menus and we considered it our mission to change that,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, according to a release. “The sweet, smoky flavors of Jim Beam bourbon go really well with the great taste of a charbroiled burger, and the folks at Jim Beam were just as excited about the pairing as we were.” Sexing up chowing down can get messy, as witnessed in a “making of ” video, but Klum seems to have enjoyed the experience: “I’m not sure who had more touch-ups—me with the hair and lip gloss or the Bourbon Burger with the readjusting of the lettuce, spritzing of the tomatoes and fluffing of the bun,” she said.
David Beckham Prompts PSG Rebrand, Wows/Woos/Whoops! in China Back in January, Paris Saint-Germain shelled out £3.4million ($5.2 million) to soccer legend David Beckham (who is turning it all over to a children’s charity) for him to play ball for them for the rest of the season. He may be gone soon enough, but the team is taking the opportunity to rebrand itself while he’s onboard. Qatar Sports Investment recently took over the club and isn’t just sinking massive dough into bringing in players like Beckham. “The stadium is being renovated, a new training centre created, the infrastructure improved, an academy for training local talent founded and the funds for the PSG Foundation tripled,” according to Britain’s CreativeReview.co. Along with all that came a new logo for the team that will likely lose a part that’s been with it since 1972 (except for a four-year, mid-90s stretch): a baby’s cradle that represents the birthplace of King Louis XIV. Some fans weren’t thrilled with the redesign, particularly the new coloring, but the team is soldiering on, just as Becks is, with another rebranding effort that he’s attached himself to via PSG: Chinese footie. While international club football teams take a break for World Cup qualifiers, he’s on a five-day tour of China to help revive its image and has so far unveiled a massive Chinese tattoo on his torso that translates to “Life and death are determined by fate, rank and riches decreed by Heaven,” kicked the ball around with youngsters, and fell on his butt demonstrating a free kick. While it appears that Beckham is having a grand old time, it remains unclear if he can really help turn the image around of Chinese football, which the Guardian calls “an enterprise so burdened by corruption and general ineptitude that even official media treat it as an embarrassment.” Back in February, 12 clubs and 58 current and former officials, players and refs were punished for match-fixing and bribery over the last 10 years. A few smiles from Beckham may not be enough. “I think they have tried everything to sort out China’s football problems and they can’t think of any solutions, so they are trying to divert attention by bringing Beckham in,” said Rowan Simons, the author of Bamboo Goalposts, a memoir about two decades of coaching and playing football in China, the Guardian reports. Only time will tell.
Adidas Looks to Justin Bieber to Reach Teens Justin Bieber turned 19 on March 1 and the grownup version of himself is a little different from the fresh faced youngster that a good chunk of female record buyers fell for back in 2009 when his first EP came out. During one week recently, Bieber got booed by fans when he arrived late for a concert and, a few days later, “struggled with his breathing and fainted backstage at a London show, was taken to a hospital and then was caught on camera clashing with a paparazzo,” the Associated Press reports. This all came on the heels of pics of Bieber smoking pot making rounds on the Internet. Bieber may have apologized for the pot-smoking images, but he seems to be heading into another level of celebrity where he takes his Beliebers a little too much for granted and that’s not a good sign for Adidas, which signed Bieber on to be the Global Style Icon for its NEO line back in October. Last week the label released a new lookbook featuring Bieber trying to look tough and cool while wearing the apparel. The brand also signed Beiber’s ex Selena Gomez as a style icon back in November... awkward!
NBA Star Goes High End on Watch Deal The Los Angeles Lakers have a deal with Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot and now the current star of the iconic (yet struggling) team, Kobe Bryant, has a deal with them to show off the timepieces that average between $20,000 and $30,000. Chump change for Kobe. New Honest App Will Help New Parents Overshare Actress Jessica Alba has gone all in on motherhood, recently releasing a book, “The Honest Life,” about how to create a healthy environment for kids. Now her year-old company, The Honest Company, has released a new app, HonestBaby, that lets parents “monitor their child’s development, growth, and activity” in such areas as feeding, sleep, growth and diapers. Start getting ready for those fascinating status updates, non-parents. Gwyneth Paltrow Dons Lot78 Every star is looking to make a few extra bucks and Gwyneth Paltrow is no exception. Consumers can now witness her wearing the urban apparel of Lot78 and the company surely hopes folks will then order themselves the look, too. Miranda Kerr Splits From David Jones After five years as the brand ambassador for David Jones, 29-year-old Australian model Miranda Kerr is moving on because “contract negotiations reportedly fell through.” Another Australian model, Jessica Gomes, is apparently happy with the terms offered. She’s signed on to be the new clearskinned face of the brand. Kidman Wants You to Notice Her Watch The first thing people notice about Nicole Kidman isn’t likely her watch, but she’s lent her name and her elegant come-hither looks to a new commercial for the Omega Ladymatic. Manny Pacquiao Joining Jordan Brand? Welterweight boxing champ Manny Pacquiao is as beloved in his home country of the Philippines as Michael Jordan was during his days leading the Chicago Bulls to six national championships. Now the word from Forbes is that the pair are close to pairing up with a deal that’ll help Pacquiao pad the $6 million he already made out of the ring last year. Michelle Wie Helps Kia Hand Over a Car U.S.-born golf star Michelle Wie may have just renounced the South Korean citizenship she was born with, but that hasn’t stopped her from being the brand ambassador for South Korean automaker Kia. She just took part in a ceremony to donate a 2014 Kia Sorento CUV to a program at California Army Base Camp Pendleton that “provides free mentoring and tutoring to at-risk elementary-aged children of military families” there. Reggie Watts Wants to Save Your Money (and the World) Comedian and musician Reggie Watts is happy to charge you money to see one of his shows, but he’d like to save you some cash in another way while also helping to save the world. Watts lends his voice to “The Price of Carbon,” a video from Al Gore’s advocacy group, Climate Reality Project, that aims to show consumers just how a poor environment is taking money directly from their wallets.
Book, Line & Sinker Brand Digital
Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success
In BrandDigital, author Allen P. Adamson writes, “It used to be said that a brand was what people said about you when you weren’t in the room. These days a brand is what’s said when you’re not online.” A poignant observation, which leads to the major point of this book: in today’s digital age everything—and nothing—has changed. Indeed, with today’s skeptical and savvy consumers, a book like this is a welcome guide to understanding how people, technology and brands create a very real perception.
By Allen P. Adamson
Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success analyzes important breakthroughs in brain science and facial coding to inform author Dan Hill’s compelling conclusions and insights on storytelling, sensory payoff, defusing skepticism and other branding essentials. A blend of psychological lessons and industry applications, Emotionomics bridges the humanity of the heart and the logic of the mind in an artful and skilled discourse on the business of life.
By Dan Hill
The Global Brand
Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, explores how to employ techniques that leverage social media as a communication venue, and not a sales floor. From establishing a brand as a “known good” to dealing with negative feedback, it combines the best in old-school respect, business savvy and etiquette with modern-day technology, social platforms and consumer behavior.
In The Global Brand: How to Create and Develop Lasting Brand Value in a World Market Nigel Hollis confronts the dilemma all brands must tackle when going global: how to communicate a cohesive, international brand strategy to people who view the world differently. By examining mega-brands from Coca-Cola and Pampers to Nokia and Google, Hollis explores the importance of authenticity, innovation and engaging complex cultures to establish relationships with local demographics.
By Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
By Nigel Hollis
The Nature of Marketing: Marketing to the Swarm as well as the Herd
Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want and Buy by Juliann Sivulka, tells the story of women and the ad business, and that of all people—how we become empowered by respect, independence, and confidence. From the early 20th century when agencies first hired women to learn how to sell to women, to modern milliondollar ad firms run by female executives, this book explains how women brought style and substance to both a business and a nation.
By Juliann Sivulka
By Chuck Brymer
Branding Only Works on Cattle
Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore
It is a little disconcerting to pick up a book that claims to dispel hackneyed branding techniques and clever gimmicks, and then offers up a title like, Branding Only Works on Cattle: The New Way to Get Known (and drive your competitors crazy). Yet, author Jonathan Salem Baskin provides an interesting read as he attempts to frame his point that “Most branding is a waste of money” by exploring case studies such as Burger King’s creepy King and arguing about what “branding” really means.
By Jonathan Salem Baskin
In The Nature of Marketing: Marketing to the Swarm as well as the Herd Chuck Brymer, President and CEO of DDB Worldwide, unpretentiously explains how digital communities are changing the way people communicate and interact with brands. From targeting influencers and analyzing blogstorms to grooming brand attributes and developing conviction, Brymer explores the opportunities and hazards endemic to social networks, modern technologies, and swarm and herd behaviors.
In, Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore, Neale Martin explains how consumer response is guided by the subconscious mind. Martin provides a practical guide to the human psyche and the behaviors that form a habit: discovery, purchase, and use. From analyzing neurons in scientific experiments to broad theories regarding advertising campaigns, this book explores the psychology of consumers without reducing them to brainless purchasing machines.
By Neale Martin
By Gerald Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman
Perhaps the most effective way to communicate complicated thoughts, ideas, or emotions is through metaphor. And metaphors are part of that complicated soup of memories, fears, and sanctuaries known as the subconscious—that abyss of the brain coveted by branders, marketers, and advertisers across the globe. In Marketing Metaphoria authors Gerald and Lindsay Zaltman delve into the “deep metaphors” that influence human, and consumer, behavior. By tracing the roots of the unconscious mind to the seeds of the “seven giants” of deep metaphors—balance, transformation, journey, container, connection, resource, and control—the authors provide a psychological map for industry experts who truly wish to explore insightful and innovative ways to reach consumers.
Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice
Edited by Keith Dinnie
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guerrilla Marketing
Passion Brands Passion Brands, author Kate Newlin explores a phenomenon branding industry enthusiasts can’t always explain. As the field of behavioral economics intensifies, experts are beginning to isolate the motivations behind consumer perspectives and purchases. Newlin insightfully explores just how passion brands such as Fresh Direct, IKEA, Apple and Red Bull—among many others—have become part of individual purchasing routines, society and culture.
With a sluggish economy, businesses are looking for new and cheaper ways to promote themselves and market their products. Given that scenario, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guerrilla Marketing could not have arrived at a better time. Authors Susan Drake and Colleen Wells deftly explore the basics from defining and appealing to target audiences to exploiting the many assets of viral marketing and the Internet—all while avoiding the pitfalls of misdirected resources and bad buzz. By Susan Drake and Colleen Wells
By kate newlin
Branding Your Business
By James Hammond
As the title indicates, this book is for business owners who wish to develop their brand. Branding Your Business provides a comprehensive analysis of branding from its very basics to the industry’s more complex, psychoanalytical nuances. By building on the fundamentals, author James Hammond creates a coherent argument regarding the components and benefits of branding for independently owned businesses that don’t necessarily have the financial resources to hire outside experts. From simple advice on telephone etiquette to branding strategies that cater to the five human senses, this book demonstrates—with the help of questionnaires, quotes, images, and real-life case studies—how and why branding can work for everyone who is honest with themselves, their employees, and their customers.
The Shift: The Transformation of Today’s Marketers into Tomorrow’s Growth Leaders
By Scott M. Davis
Graphic Design: The New Basics
By Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips
From Iceland to Egypt, countries across the globe are capitalizing on the power of branding to promote the values indigenous to their respective heritages, cultures, economies, environments, ethnicities, and histories. Determining a candid national identity, however, is not a simple process. But, in Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice, author Keith Dinnie explains the complexities of nation branding in straightforward prose, supplementing each of the ten chapters with poignant and revealing case studies. Industry experts will learn how traditional strategies and concepts such as brand equity, competitive identity, and internal branding relate to the growing and compelling business of nation branding.
In the foreword to Graphic Design: The New Basics, the authors clearly designate their intended audience: “This is a book for students and emerging designers, and it is illustrated primarily with student work, produced within graduate and undergraduate design studios.” Yet the scope of the book is expansive, and takes a compelling look at the evolution of modern day graphic design, beginning with Germany’s Bauhaus school in the 1920s to works from contemporary young and gifted design students from rural America to China, India, Japan, and the Caribbean. The material focuses on building ideas and connections around two-dimensional design by offering chapters that explore point, line, plane, scale, texture, framing, layers, grid, and several other important concepts essential to intriguing and communicative design.
We live in transformative times, and never has there been a better environment in the branding industry than now for books like The Shift, which offers readers an analytical and factual account of the past and present alongside advice on how to navigate the future. Author Scott M. Davis, a senior partner at Prophet and adjunct professor at Northwestern University, argues that the future belongs to nimble organizations that empower CEOs and CMOs by having them work closely with marketers to galvanize networks, spur innovation, inspire sophisticated marketing approaches and, finally, implement a vision that makes the customer the focus of business strategies.
A Fine Line: How Design Strategies Are Shaping the Future of Business
By Hartmut Esslinger
A Fine Line, by Hartmut Esslinger, explores the unholy alliance of creative design and practical business. And it’s surprisingly soulful. The book draws on Esslinger’s wisdom as an accomplished professional—he’s the founder of frog design— and a thoughtful person. Its meticulous and relevant insights—citing real world examples and companies—on everything from innovation and industrial-cultural colonialism to originality and manufacturing plants, offer branding enthusiasts a unique understanding of how design influences the entire production process and beyond.
Cause & Effect
The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector Nathalie Kylander & Christopher Stone
Many nonprofits continue to use their brands primarily as a fundraising tool, but a growing number of nonprofits are developing a broader and more strategic approach, managing their brands to create greater social impact and tighter organizational cohesion.
Nonprofit brands are visible everywhere. Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, and World Wildlife Fund are some of the most widely recognized brands in the world, more trusted by the public than the best-known forprofit brands. Large nonprofits, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross, have detailed policies to manage the use of their names and logos, and even small nonprofits frequently experiment with putting their names on coffee cups, pens, and T-shirts. Branding in the nonprofit sector appears to be at an inflection point in its development. Although many nonprofits continue to take a narrow approach to brand management, using it as a tool for fundraising, a growing number are moving beyond that approach to explore the wider, strategic roles that brands can play: driving broad, long-term social goals, while strengthening internal identity, cohesion, and capacity. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, recently appointed Tom Scott as director of global brand and innovation. Oxfam International embarked on a confederation-wide “global identity project.” And GBCHealth was one of several organizations completing a rebranding process. Brand managers in these pioneering organizations were focusing less on revenue generation and more on social impact and organizational cohesion. Indeed, some of the most interesting brand strategies are being developed in endowed, private foundations with no fundraising targets at all. “We’re catalysts,” says Scott. “Could we have greater impact if we leveraged our brand in different ways? What difference could it make to attach our logo to things to move conversations forward or elevate certain issues? Can we use our brand to elevate other brands?” The questions Scott asks aren’t about raising money. Instead, they are about how to leverage the Gates Foundation brand in the cause of greater public discourse and social impact. Although the ambitions of nonprofit brand managers are growing, the strategic frameworks and management tools available to them have not kept up. The models and terminology used in the nonprofit sector to understand brand remain those imported from the for-profit sector to boost name recognition and raise revenue. Nonprofit leaders need new models that allow their brands to contribute to sustaining their social impact, serving their mission, and staying true to their organization’s values and culture. In this article, we describe a conceptual framework designed to help nonprofit organizations do just that. We call this framework the Nonprofit Brand IDEA (in which “IDEA”
stands for brand integrity, brand democracy, brand ethics, and brand affinity). The framework is the result of an 18-month research project we led with colleagues at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and collaborators at the Rockefeller Foundation. Building on previous work in the field, we conducted structured interviews with 73 nonprofit executives, communication directors, consultants, and donors in 41 organizations. Then we analyzed these interviews to learn how leaders in the field are thinking about nonprofit brands today and how they see the role of brands evolving. The Nonprofit Brand IDEA emerged from the distinctive sources of pride that nonprofit leaders expressed in what they do—pride in the social mission, participatory processes, shared values, and key partnerships—and from the distinctive role that they said brand plays to create greater cohesion inside their organizations. We developed this framework to capture the most striking things we heard in our interviews, but we’ve found that it also gives nonprofit leaders a vocabulary with which to manage in the new brand paradigm. Before we explain the framework in more detail, it is important to be clear about what we mean by brand and how the use of brand is evolving. ROLE OF BRANDS A decade ago, the dominant brand paradigm in the nonprofit sector focused on communications. Nonprofit executives believed that increased visibility, favorable positioning in relation to competitors, and recognition among target audiences would translate into fundraising success. Branding was a tool for managing the external perceptions of an organization, a subject for the communications, fundraising, and marketing departments. In contrast, the emerging paradigm sees brand as having a broader and more strategic role in an organization’s core performance, as well as having an internal role in expressing an organization’s purposes, methods, and values. Increasingly, branding is a matter for the entire nonprofit executive team. At every step in an organization’s strategy and at each juncture in its theory of change, a strong brand is increasingly seen as critical in helping to build operational capacity, galvanize support, and maintain focus on the social mission. By now it should be clear that we are defining brand quite broadly. A brand is more than a visual identity: the name, logo, and graphic design used by an organization. A brand is a psychological construct held in the minds of all those
aware of the branded product, person, organization, or movement. Brand management is the work of managing these psychological associations. In the for-profit world, marketing professionals talk of creating “a total brand experience.”3 In the nonprofit world, executives talk more about their “global identity” and the “what and why” of their organizations. But the point in both cases is to take branding far beyond the logo. It should be no surprise that nonprofit executives define brand in for-profit language. Business language is spreading in part because it is proving useful to nonprofit executives in communicating with board members and donors whose own roots are in the for-profit world, and because many of the people managing brands in the nonprofit sector have themselves come from for-profit businesses. Indeed, we were struck to find that the majority of the nonprofit brand managers we interviewed during our research had worked first in the commercial world. Even with this convergence between the nonprofit and forprofit sectors, the nonprofit brand managers we interviewed said that brands do play distinctive roles in the nonprofit sector. These differences relate to the role of brand in driving broad, long-term social goals, the role of brand inside nonprofit organizations, and the multiplicity of audiences that nonprofits must address. These differences may come down to questions of emphasis and focus, since brands in the forprofit world also contribute to long-term business purposes, play internal roles, and speak to multiple audiences. Still, we believe the greater weight given to these roles in the nonprofit sector is fundamental, rooted in the fact that each nonprofit advances a multiplicity of value propositions, irreducible to a single monetary metric, most of which can be advanced only if the other organizations in its field also succeed.4
Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace puts it. Scholars studying nonprofit branding similarly worry about the “overcommercialization of the [nonprofit] sector and misappropriation of techniques developed specifically for the commercial environment.” The second source of skepticism is that brand management is sometimes seen as a top-down shortcut to avoid a participatory strategic planning process—an effort by top management to impose greater conformity in goals and priorities. Indeed, many people we interviewed drew contrasts between rebranding efforts and strategic planning. Because rebranding is usually staffed differently and organized with less participation than strategic planning, the new brand can feel peremptorily imposed from above. These concerns can be especially great when a new leader initiates a rebranding as part of an aggressive effort to change the way an organization works. Third, brand skeptics sometimes worry that a focus on branding is grounded in the vanity of an organization’s leadership rather than the needs of the organization. “I’ve seen situations in foundations where the brand, the reputation, has become an end in itself, or just too personal to the leadership, rather
“Brand becomes critical when you’re seeking to create partnerships, when you’re seeking other funders, and when you’re looking to associate yourself with people in the field,” explains Diane Fusilli, a global brand consultant and former communications director at the Rockefeller Foundation. “A strong brand helps bring greater credibility and trust to a project quicker, and acts as a catalyst for people to want to come to the table.” ENGAGING BRAND SKEPTICS The Nonprofit Brand IDEA is based on two themes that we discovered during our research: the distinctive sources of pride that nonprofit leaders have in their organizations, and the distinctive roles that brand plays inside these organizations to create cohesion and build capacity. We turn first to the sources of pride. Interestingly enough, the way that we identified the sources of pride was by first listening to nonprofit leaders express their skepticism about the role of branding in the nonprofit sector. It turns out that the old brand paradigm has produced a deep current of skepticism about branding within nonprofit organizations, making many nonprofit leaders ambivalent about both the concept of brand and the terminology of branding. Although some branding professionals urge nonprofit leaders to push past this skepticism, we believe the skepticism suggests how nonprofit brands might be managed differently from their for-profit counterparts. Our interviews surfaced at least four legitimate sources of skepticism. First, many nonprofit leaders still widely associate branding with the commercial pursuit of monetary gain. Brand skeptics think of the premium prices that for-profit firms charge for brand-name products and worry that this elevation of brand over substance will debase their work. They worry that the names of their organizations will be inflated beyond what the quality of their work alone would support, as the pursuit of revenue becomes a goal in its own right. They also worry that their organizations will be “selling ideas the way you sell cereal,” as Mahnaz Afkhami of the Women’s Learning
than a tool for fulfilling the mission,” says Katherine Fulton, president of the Monitor Institute. We also found a broader concern that branding was sometimes driven by values that are antithetical to the organization. “Campaigns like “save a slave” seem to exploit suffering or marginalization to grab people’s attention,” says Afkhami. Beneath both these examples lies distrust of the value that is motivating what might be an otherwise well-intended branding effort. The fourth concern skeptics have, particularly in organizations that work regularly in coalitions and collaborations, is that one organization’s powerful brand will overshadow weaker brands, reinforcing, rather than correcting, imbalances of power among partners. When large nonprofits insist that joint activities conform to their idea of quality, brand management by the larger organization can feel to the weaker organization like bullying, and these bully brands give brand management a bad reputation. As Ramesh Singh, former chief executive of ActionAid and now with Open Society Foundations, notes: “There’s a tension between bigger brands and smaller brands. The bigger international NGOs and philanthropies can (sometimes) push their own brand more, to the detriment of other organizations that can become invisible, and it’s always resented.”
Cause & Effect
Viewed more positively, each of these four strands of skepticism reveals a corresponding source of pride in the nonprofit sector: pride in the mission of an organization, pride in participatory planning, pride in the values that define organizational culture, and pride in supportive partnerships. The Nonprofit Brand IDEA builds on these four sources of pride, as well as on the distinctive role that brand plays in the nonprofit sector, to which we now turn. BRANDS BRING COHESION AND CAPACITY Just as the brand skeptics led us to the four sources of pride, the brand enthusiasts we interviewed focused our attention on the important role that brand plays inside nonprofits to create organizational cohesion and build capacity. Many of our interviewees felt that a brand plays different roles with different audiences. Internally, the brand embodies the identity of the organization, encapsulating its mission, values, and distinctive activities. Pip Emery, who co-led the most recent global identity project at Amnesty International, puts it this way: “If you don’t know where you’re going and why you’re relevant, you don’t have a brand.” Externally, the brand reflects the image held in the minds of the organization’s multiple stakeholders, not just its donors and supporters but also those it seeks to influence, assist, or reach. A nonprofit brand is most powerful when the organization’s internal identity and external image are aligned with each other and with its values and mission. As brand consultant Will Novy-Hildesley describes it, “Brand is an exquisite bridge between program strategy and external communications.” Indeed, it is often a misalignment between internal identity and external image that is the impetus for rebranding efforts in nonprofit organizations. The result of alignment in mission, values, identity, and image is a clear brand positioning and increased cohesion among diverse internal constituencies. When an organization’s employees and volunteers all embrace a common brand identity, it creates organizational cohesion, concentrates focus, and reinforces shared values. As Marcia Marsh, chief operating officer of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the United States puts it: “Our brand is the single greatest asset that our network has, and it’s what keeps everyone together.” The result of this alignment and clarity in positioning is greater trust between the nonprofit and its partners, beneficiaries, participants, and donors. Because nonprofit organizations rely on establishing trust with many external audiences, doing what you say you do and being who you say you are is crucial. The role of brand within nonprofit organizations is therefore cyclical and can be captured in a model we call the Role of Brand Cycle. In this model, brand is nested within organizational strategy, which in turn is nested within the mission and values of the organization. Brand plays a variety of roles that, when performed well, link together in a virtuous cycle. A wellaligned identity and image position the organization to build internal cohesion and trust with external constituents. Organizations can leverage these to strengthen internal capacity and achieve impact in the world. The resulting reputation then enhances the identity and image of the brand with which the cycle began. (For a diagram of this model, see “The Role of Brand Cycle.”)
THE NONPROFIT BRAND IDEA Having explained the distinctive sources of pride that nonprofit leaders have in their organizations, and the important role that brand plays in building organizational cohesion, we turn now to explaining the Nonprofit Brand IDEA framework. The four principles of Nonprofit Brand IDEA are brand integrity, democracy, ethics, and affinity. Brand integrity means that the organization’s internal identity is aligned with its external image and that both are aligned with the mission. We use the word integrity to mean structural integrity, not moral integrity. Internally, a brand with high structural integrity connects the mission to the identity of the organization, giving members, staff, volunteers, and trustees a common sense of why the organization does what it does and why it matters in the world. Externally, a brand with high structural integrity captures the mission in its public image and deploys that image in service of its mission at every step of a clearly articulated strategy. Singh talks about brand identity and image as “two sides of the coin,” and explains that in his experience, their alignment “allows us to focus, to be brave … to speak out.” At ActionAid, he says, brand integrity allowed the organization to create relationships with people in the peasant movement “without which we wouldn’t have been able to work.” Brand democracy means that the organization trusts its members, staff, participants, and volunteers to communicate their own understanding of the organization’s core identity. Brand democracy largely eliminates the need to tightly control how the brand is presented and portrayed. The appetite for brand democracy among nonprofit leaders is largely a response to the growth of social media, which has made policing the brand nearly impossible. Alexis Ettinger, head of strategy and marketing at the University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, puts it bluntly, “Given the rise of social media it would be insane to try to singlehandedly control the brand.” Brand ethics means that the brand itself and the way it is deployed reflect the core values of the organization. Just as brand integrity aligns the brand with mission, brand ethics aligns both the organization’s internal identity and its external image with its values and culture. This is about more than being known as an ethical organization, but extends to the organization’s use of its brand in ways that convey its values. We heard many stories of lapses in brand ethics, such as using pitiful photographs of an organization’s beneficiaries to motivate donors. Yasmina Zaidman, communication director at Acumen Fund, contrasts these exploitive images with Acumen’s tagline “Seeing a world beyond poverty.” Acumen avoids “images of poverty that … dehumanize the people whom we want to actually help,” she says, instead promoting images of “pride and dignity.” Brand affinity means that the brand is a good team player, working well alongside other brands, sharing space and credit generously, and promoting collective over individual interests. An organization with strong brand affinity attracts partners and collaborators because it lends value to the partnerships without exploiting them. “We came to view ourselves not as being the leader, but as a partner of choice,” explains Peter Bell, former CEO of CARE. Organizations with the highest brand affinity promote the brands of their partners as much as or more than they promote their own brands, redressing rather than exploiting the power imbalances that inevitably exist in any partnership or collaboration.
Cause & Effect
PUTTING IDEA TO WORK In the section that follows, we explore ways that nonprofit leaders can use the four principles not only to enhance their brand, but to improve the effectiveness of their entire organization as well.
Nowhere is the practical value of brand integrity more evident than in the relationship of brand to an organization’s theory of change. At WWF, for example, part of the theory of change depends on the organization’s ability to persuade some of the biggest multinational corporations to enter into partnerships that lead the companies to change their business practices. WWF’s strong global brand is crucial to its ability to establish these partnerships. “You’re big, we’re big, so we understand each other,” as Emily Kelton, director of corporate relations at WWF US, puts it. Having a strong brand establishes a kind of parity between WWF and the companies they want to influence. By starting with a theory of change, and looking for the contribution that brand can make at each step, it keeps the brand tightly aligned with mission and strategy. Brand democracy requires a fundamental shift in the traditional approach to brand management. Organizations aspiring to brand democracy do not police their brands, trying to suppress unauthorized graphics or other representations of the organization, but strive instead to implement a participatory form of brand management. They provide resources, such as sample text and online templates, that all staff can access and adapt to communicate the mission, strategy, work, and values of the organization. As part of an effort to strengthen the brand at WWF US, for example, what began as an internal competition among staff to craft a single “elevator speech” revealed the greater power of personal statements over uniform corporate slogans. Instead of picking one winner, they selected three entries as samples to encourage everyone to personalize the brand. “One single company line doesn’t work,” says Kerry Zobor, vice president of institutional communications at WWF US. “It just doesn’t ring true.” For brand democracy to produce a consistent image, however, requires strong organizational cohesion supported by a strong internal brand identity. Brand democracy is not brand anarchy. Organizations need to establish parameters for a brand, even if the space within these limits is large. Rachel Hayes, senior director of communications and community engagement at Oxfam America, describes this as “creating bookends.” “These are the boundaries of our brand. And within those boundaries, each affiliate will have the ability to dial up and dial down certain messages to meet their local
market, but they will be unified in overall look, in overall voice, and in graphic standards so that we do convey one brand.” Embracing brand democracy leads to the need to manage brand ethics. The risk here is not brand anarchy, but rather any individual expression of the brand that offends or contradicts organizational values or culture. Traditional values statements seem inadequate to this task, for the values made explicit in such statements tend to be at a high level of abstraction. The brand images that cause concern for brand ethics often are themselves the catalyst for making tacitly held values explicit. For example, when one chapter of Amnesty International developed a video game designed to engage young people in the movement to abolish the death penalty, others in the organization became uncomfortable. There was nothing about the game that deviated from the mission, but some people thought making a game out of something deadly serious violated organizational values. The organization’s value statements provided a starting point for serious debate about how the game would shape Amnesty’s image. The result was a robust discussion in which the chapter leaders convinced others of the value of the game, so that it was retained. The practical implications of a commitment to brand affinity are especially clear in coalitions, where multiple organizations join in a common cause that has its own image and identity. Nonprofit leaders in such coalitions often worry that the collective identity will overshadow their own brand, and we heard stories of coalitions—such as the “Make Poverty History” campaign—that collapsed because of this concern. The TckTckTck campaign, in contrast, deliberately allowed the brands of individual members to remain prominent. In this coalition, each organization retained its own identity and logo, which Christian Teriete, communications director for the Global Campaign for Climate Action, describes as a flotilla of ships with distinct brand flags. “Everybody [has] this little additional flag on the top mast that [has] the [coalition identity]. So, in a way, we are all different groups, but we are all united.” FURTHER IMPLICATIONS In addition to providing a framework for nonprofit managers and organizational strategists to better manage their brands, the Nonprofit Brand IDEA may also prove useful in managing other tasks, such as board governance, global operations, and risk management. An organization with a low profile and very little reputation may be willing to take great risks, but once the organization has established a trusted brand it may be hesitant to pursue projects that could put the brand at risk. We explored this issue in our interviews and were impressed at how often the inevitability of this dynamic was rejected. Nonprofit leaders acknowledged that there can be tension between brand protection and the risks inherent in innovation or advocacy, but these are tensions that good management should be able to handle. Indeed, it appears that high brand integrity may, by strengthening internal cohesion and trust among partners, enable an organization to do more, which may translate into a greater willingness to experiment, take risks, and drive innovation. Looking ahead, we expect nonprofit executives, boards, and staff to become increasingly confident about managing their brands in distinctive and powerful ways. Just as the specification of theories of change has given nonprofit strategy a distinctive feel, brand integrity, democracy, ethics, and affinity can help distinguish brand management in the nonprofit sector.
If you want to know about the first mover advantage in branding (and the Neil Amstrong analogy), or learn about brand differentiation from r...
Published on Apr 1, 2013
If you want to know about the first mover advantage in branding (and the Neil Amstrong analogy), or learn about brand differentiation from r...