Brand Ideas

Brand Architecture

  • Brands Engagement & Connection Through the Media

    For any brand, advertising is the voice of the brand. What brand likes to communicate, advertising is the source to convey the message to consumers to inform to pursue and to entertain. Through advertising, brands inform about core benefits, purpose and awareness. Persuasion creates consumer urge for the brand. Entertainment engages consumers and attracts their attention.   

    To drive awareness, brands need to stand out, be seen and engage consumers. The best strategy for the brand is to budget advertising money as much as it can be possible. To invest in mass media to gain entry into the consumer’s mind using TV, digital, viral video, out of home, or magazine. Where it makes sense, sponsorships, and experiential events can increase the consumer’s familiarity with the brand.

    To move consumers to the consideration stage, use influencers to teach those seeking to learn more. Use public relations to make the brand part of the news, whether through traditional, social, or blogger channels.

    For more complex or higher risk purchase decisions, consumers will rely on search for almost everything, even if to confirm what makes sense. Marketers can use search sites, such as Google, expert review sites, and online content, or long copy print media.

    Media options to help trigger purchase, include point-of-sale advertising, with in-store signage, displays, and sales materials to prompt consumers at the purchase moment. Remarketing is a great tool to push consumers who might feel stuck at the consideration stage to reconsider and buy.

    It is crucial to engage and to connect consumers through the media plan and it is more crucial to create media content that explains the real purpose of the brand to fascinate brand story where consumers are most willing to engage, listen, think, feel, and act in ways that payback to the brand.

    The purpose cannot be fulfilled without the understanding of consumers’ life moments with a clear understanding of emotional benefits as pursued by the consumers. Media creative execution should be patched with emotional benefits for the consumers, linked closely to the consumer’s life moments. An excellent tool to use is to map out the “day-in-the-life” of the target consumer and place messages where they are most likely to engage. Using consumer insights to make the messages personal to make consumers feel special and attached to the brand.

    Media plan must begin shifting to a maintenance media plan, enough to maintain the brand’s leadership presence and perception. Stay aware of the competitive activity, which may force to adjust budget levels. At this point, the brand can shift some of media resources into enhancing the consumer experience, to retain happy consumers, and to drive a deeper love to harness an army of brand lovers. The brand can begin creating shareable experiences for brand lovers to share with their friends.

    Days were gone when Old-school marketing used to yell their messages at every possible consumer using mass media, then move consumers naturally through the brand funnel from awareness to purchase and loyalty. With so few media choices, consumers could not escape the advertising. If consumers did not respond the first time, show it to them again and again. Back in the days, it was all about the interruption of consumers, with brands focused primarily on day-after brand recall. Many times, the more annoying the ad, the better it would work. This media planning is not quite the sophisticated media strategy brands need today.

    New-school marketing whispers to the most loyal brand fans, hoping they drive awareness with influence on their friends. The word of a friend will bring more influence to their purchase decision than a random TV ad. As the brand moves to the masses, consumers look for the advice of trusted peers whom they respect to know enough about the latest and greatest of the category. They also look to the brand lovers, giving them evidence the brand does deliver what it promises.

    In the end, it is imperative that media plan should map out where consumer open to listening. Brands must strategies media plan to place media on the part of the consumer’s life where they will watch, listen, learn, engage, decide, and act. Align with life moments, whether they are parts of the day, the week, the year, or even milestone moments in their life. And win the hearts and minds of the consumers.

  • Balancing Act: Business, Brand and Behaviour

    In today’s fast-paced marketing world, it is essential to create awesome balancing alignment among business, brand and behaviour. The alignment has great potential to gain a new customer baseline and further enhancing consumer values. This balancing act is the most crucial aspect while planning brand strategy and special focus should be considered at the start of the brand architecture.

    It is important to understand this alignment to its core and what does the alignment mean? It is not just a stand-alone theory it is a combination of various aspects, especially a major act of behaviours. Besides, the alignment must keep focus for the collective efforts of the company, brand custodians and interactive characteristics to keep synergy.  

    The alignment must be fully focused to collaborate business, brand and behaviour. On the business side, thinking about the organizational purpose, organizational vision, organizational mission, organizational strategies. At the brand level, it’s about the customer value proposition, brand positioning. And the behaviour level, it is about organizational values, employee value proposition, organizational competency framework, organizational leadership model.

    All of these are various codes of behaviour that the companies subscribe to their people, their employees to take part in. And they think about the relationship between these, are companies’ strategies pulling all in the same direction or are pulling all in different directions and ultimately also think about the relationship between these at a more fundamental level. Companies need to think about the business, does it allow a certain brand to come to fruition to build a certain brand, maybe the company’s heritage.

    On the other hand, if companies think from the brand to the business, what is the right business structures, systems, processes, that bring their brand to life? That allows it to exist? That support it? If the company think about the behaviours, it’s also a two-way street from the brand. On the one hand, gatekeepers can think about well, what is the organizational culture? What are the behaviours, that they need to exist to deliver the brand? But it is not easy because at the corporate level strategy gatekeepers have pushed this to the extreme, to build and have a strong organizational culture. Above all, they must ponder upon on a point that what are the types of brands that they can support?  

    This alignment need goes both ways if companies think about these balls swinging back-and-forth. Now, this is not just an internally focus exercise. The public eye is increasingly on the alignments of these various components. This alignment between the three B’s is not just something that companies need to be concerned with internally. For operational; purposes but it’s part of the reputation, the way consumers and competition observe and evaluate in the market place.

  • Designing Good Brand Experience, Winning Consumer Mind

    Designing brand experience is an artistic approach to the brand purpose that can be an important aspect of winning consumers’ hearts and minds and mapping consumer journey. In today’s brandy-brand world, like everything else in brand management, designing a purposeful brand experience is the most sought-after brand strategy. The process is intense and requires a well-designed game-plane because it is about how companies go about designing experiences; as a way to differentiate their brands, it might be useful to think about how companies think of differentiation in the more traditional sense. 

    One-way companies have visualized differentiation through performance curves, which is also known as value curves. But what companies are doing they are going from the various attributes that their products and services have to the consumer benefits. And then they ask themselves for these consumer benefits. For example, how white is any company washing powder wash, or how reliable is any company’s service? And of course, the most important one maybe, or one of the most important ones, is affordable. Companies must know what cost is offering it? Is your brand affordable to the customers? And the companies can visualize that the value companies provide based on that. And companies can think about well how do they line up. Companies must consider the comparison to the competition and look for those points of difference. Now, these tend to be measurable components of the companies offering, quality dimensions, and tend to be quite functional as a result. Now, if that’s the spine driving the company’s differentiation that passed, things have shifted quite a bit. The spine for an experienced delivery is the customer journey. 

    What are the different journeys one company’s customers go through as they interact with their offering over time and across different parts of the organization? Whereas service in the old model tends to be quite reactive, problem-oriented. These are real events and experiences companies should have that celebrate the brand and maybe shine a bright light onto where the companies have a point of difference, in terms of the brand purpose or the brand positioning. And importantly, it’s also about making that journey as smoothly as possible. From an experience standpoint, and just to what any brand appetite is to think of the most mundane products or services and how companies can enhance them with an experience. And of course, for some brands, the experience is core to their brand promise. For Disney, the magical experience you have in their theme parks. For Nespresso, the experience you have in making coffee. 

    Of course, companies want to offer an experience that can benefit them in building their brand image. In unsurprising ways, companies don’t think or even observe as companies destroy the customer experience. Moments that we think are insignificant, like two staff members talking to each other In the store, might be seen not as insignificant but as indifferent or signally indifferent towards the customer. So really, nothing is neutral when it comes to the experience, and it’s sometimes taking those very mundane aspects of the experience and branding them. 

    For example, Singapore, where the brand is about customer service. The flight attendant, which they’re called in the old days at least, Singapore girls, if you went to the bathroom, you would return, and you would see your seatbelt folded in a certain way on the aeroplane, which signalled the attention to detail, the service orientation, of the company. And many companies have also transformed themselves from being product providers to experience providers. 

    Another example from Hong Kong is Hong Kong Gas or Town Gas. They isolate. Now, these are monopoly providers. Their competitor is electricity providers in Hong Kong, and they really went down that route of efficiency. So, how do I provide you with this commodity, the gas, at a lower price?

    And the first app they produced was also to, and you could read your gas meter by yourself. We didn’t have to invest in the cost of the person coming to your home and reading your meter. But then something happened inside the company. They asked themselves the question, well, who are our best customers? Why are they using gas? And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our best customers are those who love cooking. They cook with a very high hit in those works, and they use a lot of gas, so they said, well, what is the purpose of us providing gas? And that purpose became very much around cooking. And rather than using the mobile app to reduce cost. They said, well, how can we enhance that brand purpose? So how can we share with our consumers’ recipes, for example? How can we give them tips for cleaning their pots? And rather than preventing our people from visiting our customers. Let’s think about all the touchpoints we have and turn them into kind of the voice of the customer. They learn about the customer so that we can enhance our services and customer experience. They visited their customers much more than the companies that made the woks or even designed the kitchens, and they became such experts that they have their range of kitchenware. They even have a restaurant called Flame, where they have cooking demonstration classes for their customers. And this permeates the entire organization. The senior management, including the CEO, will spend time visiting customers in their homes to be reminded of the purpose of cooking, which is really about the customer experience. And surprisingly, they’ve won major awards, and they’ve continued to win major awards for their services going forward. They’ve also built such a strong customer relationship that they now have their credit card service and gas, which you might imagine is really about safety. They even offer insurance to their customers. They’ve gone from providing a commodity product which is gas, to a customer relationship around cooking and safety in the broader sense. They now own the customer relationship, and it’s transformed their business.

    Companies can already see in that story from Hong Kong gas, their seven or at least seven stages in designing and delivering on a customer experience that is on-brand. The first one starts by understanding what the brand purpose is from an experiential component. It’s about doing. Why am I doing this? Why am I buying this product? And that’s really, one can call it designing the purpose and if you think about it, well for Hong Kong Towngas, this was about cooking. For Nike, it might be about running. And to understand what that purpose is, from a doing standpoint, that already puts companies into the realm of experiences. And then companies think about that purpose. 

    The second step is to understand the customer journey, and you want to map that out. What are all the different “things” that customers are doing? Well, they’re learning about your product. They’re navigating the information. They are buying. They’re trying. They’re using. They’re disposing of. These are all different events, if you will, in that journey. And you want to map those out, not just from a basic service standpoint but from a brand standpoint. Is it undermining companies brand promise, or is it demonstrating, delivering on the brand promise? Not like slapping your logo on something, but maybe like in the Apple store, the idea of creating, being creative, being evident at each of those steps and adding up consistently.

    To deliver on that, of course, companies have to map the various touchpoints of the organization against those different moments that matter in the customer journey. That’s the third aspect. Think about your organization, how it has all those various silos. And the customer is cutting across them over time. Across these different touchpoints. 

    The fourth step then is to think about how I can go from maybe a generic or poorer experience to creating one that is meaningful, rich, and on-brand. How do I express the brand experientially? That’s the fourth step.