30 Must Read Articles On Brand Management

30 Must Read Articles On Brand Management

As we look ahead to a new year and a new decade we can be optimistic knowing that we have more wisdom in our possession to navigate the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that lead to stronger brands.

Since 2006 we’ve shared thousands of thought pieces on Branding Strategy Insider, focused on the most important concepts in brand management. This year was no exception. From start to finish we recorded the shaping forces of strategy, markets, culture, consumer behavior, over-communication, disinformation, category disruption, the speed in which our discipline is changing and how brands are responding to earn a place in the future.

Thank you Branding Strategy Insider readers for helping us along the journey; offering your ideas, questions, suggestions, opinions and sometimes opposing views. You have helped shape us as authors, educators and brand strategists, and have helped make Branding Strategy Insider the leading resource for marketing oriented leaders and professionals.

Now let’s look back on the 30 most read thought pieces of 2019 on Branding Strategy Insider. May they help you develop and release your brand’s full potential.

1. Brand Transformation And Self-Awareness: Many businesses operating today have business models with very tenuous and weak foundations, often because they have very limited self-awareness.

2. Defining The Boundaries Of Brand Activism: Today’s brands need to have a clear strategy of what they stand for and what they stand against as well as an ironclad commitment to that strategy. While controversy may be a key component it’s important to remember that while your brand is about you, – it’s not just about you.

3. 10 Strategies For A Brand Turnaround: The key to reviving a brand is to identify the key motivation(s) that is/are dragging it down, and then to implement a range of approaches that see you addressing that across a number of fronts. Here are ten we have seen work for brands fighting for relevance.

4. Imitation: The Weakest Brand Strategy: For some organizations the temptation to copy the value created by others is too hard to resist.

5. Applying A Go-To-Market Lens To Your BrandAs brand strategy and business strategy start working together, the resulting practices begin to bring brand managers closer to and deeper into workflow and planning around innovation, service development, business model and operations. It’s therefore worth thinking about bringing go-to-market efforts into the brand strategy, development and activation realm — or at least bringing some go-to-market thinking into the brand world.

6. How Flaws Make A Brand More Appealing: The best application is to admit that your brand has a flaw. Foolhardy? Not if you consider how many of the leading ad campaigns have done so.

7. How Brands Can Create Value Through Tradeoffs: A customer-centric lens allows companies to understand how they can make trade-offs to increase value. Deeply understanding customer demand allows you to shift from spending on unnecessary, overvalued attributes and invest in important jobs that the market under-appreciates and that will make a difference.

8. Why Brand Stories Succeed Or Fail: What Makes A Story Effective? The answer lies in the understanding that stories are about managing threats.

9. Marketing And The Fallacy Of Short-Term Selling: Most marketers assume that, if you look after the short-term, the long-term will look after itself. But this is dangerously wrong. The key is to understand that marketing works in two very different ways.

10. Why Do Your Customers Buy From You? Rarely is a better product mentioned, and seldom is a lower price seen as the reason customers buy from us. In other words, the “reasons customers buy from us” reside almost entirely in the interactions that take place in the marketplace: trust, reliability of supply, service, knowledge, and experience cannot be made in a factory, nor packaged and sold off the shelf.

11. Leading Brands Remove Life’s Frictions: We are witnessing entire industries being revolutionized by brands that remove macro and micro friction.

12. Why Global Brands Fall Into The Gap Of Meaning: There are many disconnects in branding, marketing and business today, but they all have one common denominator: the erosion of meaning. When basic meaning structures are destabilized in brands, it then influences the brand’s relevance, trustworthiness, ability to create long-lasting value, attachment with people and positively impact social change.

13. Applying Hollywood Story Techniques To Brands: Every brand has a story. They are the platform for meaning and motivation. Make sure yours is as powerful as your offering.

14. How New Disruptive Consumers Are Buying Brands: If you’re not opening social portals for your consumers, you’re not just losing business. You’re losing the game.

15. How To Identify The Drivers Of Willingness-To-Pay: The willingness-to-pay for a product or service is a result of three factors: how much a customer likes your product or service once he has it; how easy it is for him to obtain it; and how expensive it is to own the product. We will refer to the first part as consumption utility, the second part as accessibility, and the third part as the cost of ownership.

16. How Brands Can Combat The Silo Threat: Wherever your business does not have a shared way to align data, process, technology, goals, metrics and KPIs — and an explicitly shared vision of what the brand experience should be — you create the potential for customer service and brand experience failures that cost you customers, reputation and money.

17. How Product Categories Influence Brand Loyalty: How do product categories affect loyalty? There are three factors at play: consequence, choice and parity. And those in turn should affect how you brand and market to maintain loyalty.

18. How Brand Identity Can Be Flexible And Consistent: Think about how you can bend your brand’s identity to fit into our ever-changing world.

19. Seven Ways To Build Socially Impactful Brands: We all need each other to make what we do more meaningful, more powerful, and reach more people. To do that, we should follow these seven principles.

20. Brand Strategy: Differentiation Versus Centrality: Brands in a category are typically more similar than they are different. They have to be. They’re both trying to appeal to the large middle of the market.

21. Why Consumers Choose One Brand Over Another: The brain has three criteria that guide consumer choices of one brand over another.

22. Six Ways To Measure The Value Of Brands: If brands that stand the test of time establish emotional and financial value, how can they assess and measure that value?

23. Half Of Customer Happiness Is Surprise: Companies and brands must keep the joy of anticipation, and memory, in mind if they are to deliver true happiness to their customers.

24. Three Ways To Build Brands That Are Culturally Relevant: Brands can maximize the opportunity to do something that extends beyond the transactional nature of goods and services to contribute to the social good. Here are three ways to do this.

25. Brands Need To Fulfill The Quest For Meaning: Consumers are on a quest to find meaning and brands that succeed are the ones that help them fulfill this quest.

26. Key Considerations For Brand Architecture Strategy: Leading global brands have a strong brand strategy founded on the uniqueness of each product or service and a well-defined brand architecture that provides clarity, leveraged brand equity and makes a meaningful connection with customers and stakeholders.

27. Why Sensitivity Is Behind The Strongest Brands: While the business world moves at its greatest pace, brands must remember that the basic expectations of the people it serves are holding steadfast. And that the customer’s experience with your brand will always be shaped by the driving power of human needs.

28. Brands Need Brave Innovation To Win: Ironically, the biggest problem in innovation today isn’t that it’s too hard to make a new product. It’s that it’s too easy to commercialize a new product. Given the democratization of design tools, widely available contract manufacturing, and direct to consumer distribution, anybody who is serious can get a product to market.

29. How Points Of Parity Benefit Brands: There is a value in creating points-of-difference for your brand, but there can also be value in the points-of-parity with alike brands, particularly when you would benefit from a strength in numbers.

30. Brand Architecture’s Critical Role In B2B: Sound brand architecture for B2B firms is not just a means of differentiating from competitors, but also supports the sales process, underpins customer relationships, and sustains trust with customers. Brand architecture can help overcome the risks that B2B customers perceive at each phase in the evolution of a business relationship.

Honorable Mention: How The WaMu Brand Disrupted Banking: As a branding professional I remember WaMu for the true pioneer that it was, the one that successfully disrupted an entire industry with a different, more human approach to banking.

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