Tuesday, 22 February 2011 13:31

Brand Navigation

We've discussed the reason for and directions of brand management recently, and this time we'd like to revisit the topic. We were distracted by something shiny last time, Super Bowl Ads, but we're ready to get back on topic. Today FiG is offering some specific means to help companies vitalize brands.

Developing Brand Awareness

With long-existing brands consumers still recognize the brand but may think of it only occasionally. Consumers overlook certain brands they represent their product with too narrow a function; Gatorade used to be for replenishing yourself during exercise, now they market three separate products for pre, during, and post exercise. Two main ways to expand brand awareness are either to increase use of a brand or find new ways to broaden uses of a brand. Or both! (what Gatorade did)

  1. Increased Use: It is often recognized as the safest and easiest way to create new sources of brand equity, because it doesn't require changes in brand image or positioning strategy. Let's imagine FiG as a new juice brand; to increase the usage of the juice, FiG can either increase the amount of use (how much consumers use it)-Change FiG juice's bottle from 500 ml to 700 ml; or increase the frequency of use (how often consumers use it)-Having a campaign to Drink FiG all the time: Drink it when you get up in the morning, after meals, during a workout, ect... (wow, that'll make you regular). Some tips for a brand to increase the frequency of a brand's use are

    • Improve top-of mind awareness-Link your product with a benefit, "Helping children get clean water"--Ethos Water

    • Tie into the culture of holidays, seasons, sports, and other events--Coca-Cola =X-Mas, just ask the polar bears or Santa himself

    • Illustrating better performance than the old model or your competitors

    • Making the product easier to use-like "Fun size" packaging

  2. New Ways to Use: Companies can run new ad campaigns or merchandising approaches to promote the new usage. For example, a coffee filter company that wanted to sell more filters could run ads touting it as an item to polish shoes and windows, no really it was in a Cornell study. Companies can also use PR to educate consumers about new uses. Real Simple Magazine demonstrated 6 new ways to use toothpaste last year. Furthermore, companies can expand usage by researching current customer segments. Comparing loyal and heavy users with less loyal and light users usually provides insights into potential opportunities for further growth.

Strengthen Brand Image

Sometimes, revitalizing a brand requires more than just developing brand awareness. Marketers may need to create new marketing initiatives to improve brand image, which may include repositioning and brand element changes.

  1. Repositioning: One way to understand the repositioning approach is to consider it simply as a reminder for consumers of the virtues of your brand that they now to take for granted. Recall how Apple refreshed your awareness of reliability, counter-culture, ease of use, and being young and cool by running the Mac vs. PC ads. Kellogg's Corn Flakes ran a successful ad campaign with the slogan "Try Them Again for the First Time". In these successful cases, marketers used a "look at it again strategy" to connect consumers with these heritage brands.

  2. Brand Elements: Brand elements are those trademark-able devices that serve to identify and differentiate the brand, such as brand names, logos, symbols, spokespeople, tag-lines, packages, and so on. Some of them are easier to change, and they can be slowly modified and updated over time. Sometimes a brand needs a more immediate overhaul, in these situations serious consideration should be taken.  These changes should involve tons of market research and solid reasoning. Packaging is typical an easy type of element to change ("New look same great taste"). Brand names and logos are usually the ones which marketers need to take great care to preserve the most salient aspects of. If you remember, Coca-Cola tried to change itself with New Coke, which cost the company a lot of consumer loyalty. Recently, GAP had to get rid of its new logo due to the massive negative marketing responses, remember if you reduce the quality of your products to cut costs you can't hold your old logo responsible for decreased sales. Right now Starbucks is under the spotlight for a series of changes, including products, price structure, logos- or I should say "Brand". Whether you agree with this move or not, you have to admit it takes courage to change a brand. Just look before you leap! However, these examples don't mean brand elements are too risky to change. For example, Kentucky Fried Chicken abbreviated its name to the initials KFC in an attempt to convey a healthier image. And FiG has helped Amazing Moves successfully update its brand that conveyed the essence of their business while remaining recognizable to their existing clients.

After our three week discussion of brand management we hope you find something valuable to examine about your brand and some thoughts on whether you should and look into refreshing your brand equity. If your brand needs navigation, you know where to find FiG.</p.

A great quote from Kevin Keller:

  • "Brands are like ships. A brand heading in the right direction absorbs a lot of mishandling before it stops dead in the water, or goes off course. A brand heading south takes effort and time to turn around. Think through all of the similarities and you'll soon find yourself wondering why brands aren't staffed like ships. True, most brands have a captain, several admirals, and assorted crew to run the engines and polish the brass. But all too few brands have a navigator whose job is to keep the ship on course towards a destination that is far over the horizon. "