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Change Is The Mother Of Brand Innovation

Q – How do you know when its time to consider making a change to your brand?

A – When there’s been a change in your business.

In point of fact, that’s not entirely true. There are actually quite a few different symptoms that could possibly indicate a branding problem. Symptoms like flattening sales or high employee turnover, among others. (All of these symptoms will be addressed in a future blog post.) However, when high turnover occurs, most businesses look elsewhere for answers. They almost never consider that a weak brand might be a significant contributing factor to the problem. But a change in the business itself? That is one time when management is likely to think about their brand. Because any significant change at all could have a serious knock-on effect. It could result in a change in company culture, a change in positioning, or some other important change in the way the business relates to its market. Let’s look a little closer at how change can affect your brand.

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Topics: Innovation

The Terrifying Challenges of the Luxury brand – redux

Because of the holiday weekend, we're repeating a popular blog post from the past. This one first appeared on December 18, 2017. Please enjoy.

So you want to launch a luxury brand. I hope you’re well capitalized. In fact, if we were friends, I’d probably try to talk you out of it. There are so many hurdles, so many barriers to entry above and beyond the not insignificant hard work of starting any business. According to Gian Luigi Longinotti-Buitoni, President and CEO of Ferrari North America, when you’re selling luxury, you’re selling dreams. So, to build the luxury brand, not only do you have to reach your market like any other brand, you have to reach into the dreams of your market and become a fixture there. And that is exceedingly difficult. But when you examine the journeys of successful luxury brands, there is not much of a clear pattern to follow. There is no road map, only landmarks. And the threats are many.

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Topics: Innovation

Fitting A Brand Into Its Culture

Not talking about corporate culture here. Not talking about brands being cultured, as in “Lah-di-dah. What a boring art show. I think I’ll have another canapé.”, either. No, I’m talking about the culture at large, which still is localized at different places around the world. American culture is not British culture is not French culture is not Chinese culture. And even those very distinct cultures can break down into smaller sub-segments. But with all those cultures that global brands have to take into consideration, there’s another trend moving in the opposite direction. And that is that all these cultures are blending too. Populations are moving in all directions. Cultures are mixing, influencing one another. There’s a restaurant in Los Angeles that advertises its Vietnamese/Salvadoran cuisine. In the US, we feel that immigration gives us strength. That’s been our history, anyway. But in Europe, cultural integration is a more difficult process. The jury is still out on whether that can be satisfactorily resolved. But what does it all mean for your efforts to run a business and make a living? What does it mean for your brand?

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Topics: Innovation

Does Your Brand Repulse New Hires?

The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) has done some studies that confirm what everyone reading this will already know. The primary concern of middle market companies in the US today is finding and retaining qualified people to get the work done. It’s a problem, in fact, that’s approaching crisis-level concern. But the NCMM isn’t content with simply restating the obvious. They’ve looked deeper to determine why this is such a chronic problem and what middle market businesses can do about it. They’ve found that most of these companies have neglected to build what they call an “employer brand” and an “employee value proposition”. But is building a completely new brand, specifically designed to appeal to job candidates, really the answer?

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Topics: Innovation

Innovating Brand Culture

I recently met a woman who is a conflict resolution professional. She works with management and employees to address disparate approaches to corporate culture. When is an employee just not fitting in? Who needs to change to achieve a better fit? How can we mediate that change to everyone’s satisfaction? Add to that, over the holidays, I finally got around to reading Fusion, an excellent book by the inimitable Denise Lee Yohn. In it, Yohn shows how good companies fuse their external brand with their internal cultures to become great companies. (That goes along with what I continually preach – The same brand strategy that attracts your best customer also attracts your best employee.) These occurrences, so close together, made me want to revisit the very nature of corporate culture and improve my understanding of what it is, how it relates to branding, and how brands and cultures can be used to transform one another.

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Topics: Innovation

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