To find out how your brand can be lucky in love this year, take a look at our Valentine’s Quiz and make your way through the relationships maze. When you get to the bottom, you’ll discover our secrets to building a happier, more fulfilling relationship with your consumer…
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With pressure on budgets, time efficiencies and the need for global solutions we are finding that we are increasingly running meetings and insight generation activities virtually. However as with face to face meetings the secret to success is in good planning. A couple of tips that we have found useful:
Share before the meeting – its a good idea to share profiles of team participants prior to the meeting so that everyone knows who each member is and what their strengths might be – sharing photos and biographys really helps to make meetings less faceless and to increase dialogue and trust.
Set clear objectives and have clear processes – what is the purpose of the meeting, what will sucess look like. Its even more important than in face to face meetings that everyone knows what they are trying to achieve and that someone is organising how to meet this goal.
Be clear if the meeting is about information sharing or dialogue – different tools are good for sharing: such as webcasts. Other tools are better for dialogue: Webex can be great for collecting comments and votes.
Share before meetings - virtual meetings are more successful if everyone is on a level playing field in terms of information. Give everyone the opportunity before the meeting to read and digest so that the meeting can be used to disscuss and move forward.
Level the playing field – if its going to be virtual make it virtual for everyone don’t have a few people dialing in from other markets – they will feel marginalised and it will be likely the meeting will not be set up in a way that makes it easy for them to contribute.
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This is next in a series of posts which will discuss the question of the tools every good marketer should have in their tool box. Last time Segmentation, today the topic of brand positioning.
Unlike in previous posts there is no widely used standard model to describe brand positioning so rather than trying to convince you of the advantages of an onion over a pyramid, a key over a wheel or an eye over a temple, I’ll simply focus on what these various models tend to have, and perhaps should have, in common.
Whatever visual metaphor you decide to use, they all claim to have a similar goal – to articulate what your brand is all about clearly and succinctly. In their book ‘positioning’, Al Ries and Jack Trout offer the following definition:-
“To succeed in an over-communicated society, a company must create a position in the prospect’s mind, a position that takes into consideration not only a company’s own strengths and weaknesses, but those of its competitors as well”
The models also tend to have the same components. Below is a list from various brand positioning models with suggestions of the questions which lie behind
- Competitive context/frame of reference/what market are we really in/what need are we meeting?
- Enemy/what is our primary source of business? Who or what are we going to take share from?
- Target audience/ what sort of customer do we imagine most wanting what we have to offer and in what situation?
- Core communication target/who do we want to engage with ?
- Insight/what underlying truth have we uncovered which makes what we have to offer relevant and motivating?
- Brand proposition/what do we have to offer, what’s the story we want to tell about our brand
- Brand discriminator/what makes us different
- Benefit/what’s in it for the customer? What does our brand do ? How does it make the customer feel?
- Reasons to believe/support/why should the customer believe us? What’s our proof?
- Brand roots/origins/source of authority/what else do we have to make us credible?
- Brand values/beliefs/character/personality/what do we stand for? How do we want to be described?
All the commonly used models tend to work in the same way
- Prioritise a (single) key target group
- Identify a (killer) insight into them
- Develop a single-minded proposition
As The Value Engineers is a strategic brand consultancy, we must declare an interest in this topic.
Our perspective on most of these models is that they blur the distinction between a brand’s longer-term essence and enduring purpose and the need for potentially multiple shorter term propositions.
We have therefore developed our own framework.
When it comes to defining the core of your brand positioning, we’d recommend three must haves.
The brand’s long term-desired purpose, its right to exist
The principles and beliefs that dictate how the brand behaves
The style and tone with which the brand expresses itself and shapes how it behaves.
Answering the questions and completing the remaining components in the more traditional model is more about defining your go-to-market proposition.
In the end, these tools are part of the process of getting to clarity and if you can align your team and your organisation around the simple framework above you will have a strong platform from which to compete for share of mind.
In brand positioning , less can (definitely) be more
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This is the next in a series of posts which discuss the question of the tools every good marketer should have in their tool box. Last time the Kano Model, today Segmentation.
Segmentation is as old as the Caesars – Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est
If you’re not thinking segments, you’re not thinking marketing’ said Ted Levitt and he’s still right.
There are of course many different types of segmentation – attitudinal, behavioural, occasion-based, needs-based, location based, demographic, geographic, psychographic, hair colour based, whether you prefer to pour the milk in first or the tea etc.
To enable you and your organisation to derive commercial benefit – for the segmentation to prove its ROI – it must drive decision making and therefore be predictive about future customer behaviour, not just explain why red heads prefer the milk in last.
In the end a good segmentation is a tool to help you focus your marketing efforts and make choices.
I’m not going to argue for any specific type of segmentation since your segmentation should be tailored to your organisation or brand’s unique capabilities and business objectives (otherwise everyone would be targeting the same segments in the same way) but suggest you reflect on a few fundamental principles of what a good segmentation should do:
- Make intuitive sense and be recognizable in the real world
- Be predictive of the choices people make (in the future, not just the present)
- Be robust enough to hold up to scrutiny (otherwise you might as well have sketched them out on the back of an envelope)
- Have enough (but not too many) segments of sufficient size for you to make meaningful choices about where to focus resources
- Be replicable so you can find the red haired segment who like the milk in first in other data sources and when you want to find out their views about your brand or target activities towards them
- Be used – which means making sure the relevant people in your organization can also see the segments and find the insights inspiring and actionable
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This is the next in a series of posts which discuss the question of the tools every good marketer should have in their tool box. Last time Ansoff’s Matrix, today the fishbone diagram.
More properly known as the Ishikawa diagram, this is a great tool to understand cause and effect.
It was developed by Kauro Ishikawa as one of the seven basic tools of quality control.
In a marketing context it can be used as it was designed ie a way to analyse root causes of a problem or situation and also to help guide the development of a concrete and detailed plan to achieve an objective ie what are the tangible steps needed to take you from ‘as is’ towards ‘to be’.
Either put the issue ‘head’ of the fish ie at the right of the template and work back from there or add a box describing ‘as is’ situation at the ‘tail’ and ‘to be’ at the ‘head’ and work out what you need to do to get there.
As so often the underlying premise of the approach is common sense.
What are the causes of this, what causes the causes, what can be done to address these causes ?
What are the headline strategies we need to undertake to achieve this goal, what we do need to do to make this strategies tangible ?
In my experience this approach is linked to another concept of Japanese origin – 根回し- Nemawashi which translates literally as ‘digging around the roots’.
If you want to move a tree you need to dig up the roots.
The bigger the tree, the deeper and thicker the roots. It takes time, energy and effort to dig up the roots so its sometimes easier to cut through. However if you cut off a root too close to the trunk, the tree will die. If you spend too much time digging round every single root, you’ll never move the tree.
Nemawashi is the process of probing around the roots of an issue to discover where and when to cut and when to dig.
Combine the deductive reasoning of the Ishikawa diagram with the concept of Nemawashi and you have both intellectual clarity about the marketing issue you are addressing and an effective way to make progress towards your objective combining concrete planning with stakeholder management.
Not a bad template for engaging your colleagues in your marketing strategy and plan ?
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