Brand Gap

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Notes from The Brand Gap: Revised Edition
by Marty Neumeier

Vicious Circle vs Virtuous Circle

The Brand Gap Circles.png

The Vicious Circle of Research & Development

  • R&D Investment
  • Initial Marketing Success
  • Competitive Pressure
  • Price-cutting

This continues until you are forced out of the market.

The Virtuous Circle

  • Cultivation (Mandate to question all assumptions)
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Validation

Leapfrog the status quo & begin the cycle again

A brand is NOT a logo.
A brand is NOT a corporate identity system.
It's a person's GUT feeling about a product, service or company.

On Branding

  • A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It is not what you say it is. It is what THEY say it is.
  • Process of good strategy with good creativity.
  • Foundation of the brand is trust.
  • Value of your brand grows in direct proportion to how quickly & easily customers can say yes to your offering.
  • Make sure your symbols are compelling.
  • Stronger the brand, the greater the profit margin.
  • A charismatic brand (product/service/company for which people believe there is no substitute).

Differentiate

  • 3 questions:
    1. Who are you?
    2. What do you do?
    3. Why does it matter?
  • why does your product matter?
  • Moved from - What it is? / What it does? to "How you'll feel/who you are".
    From features|benefits|price -> experiences|personal identity
  • Brand names are tribal gods
  • Can't be #1 or #2 -> refine your space

Collaborate

  • Specialist beat generalist: Survival of the fittest
  • How a brand should fit its space is determined by the brand community

"It takes a village to build a brand."

  • More collaborative = more specialized
  • 3 basic models
    1. one-stop shop
    2. the brand agency
    3. the integrated marketing team
  • Speak in prototypes
    • cut through marketing red tape
    • leads to gut feeling talk and gut feelings

Innovate

  • Design NOT strategy that ignites passion in people
  • Radical innovation can render competition obsolete
    • When everyone zigs, zag
  • How to know an idea is innovative?

It scares the hell out of you.

  • Expect innovation from people outside the company (or who THINK outside).
  • make sure the name of your brand is distinctive, brief, appropriate, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, likable, extendible, and protectable
  • Logos are dead -- Long live Icons & Avatars
  • Packaging is the last and best chance to influence a prospect this side of the counter
    • make sure to adhere to "natural reading sequence"
  • avoid 3 common barriers (web) innovation
    1. technophobia
    2. turfism
    3. featuritis
  • Not INNOVATIVE, it's NOT MAGIC

Validate

  • communication needs to be a dialog
  • feedback (audience research) can inspire, validate innovation
  • research - GOOD - can get a brand out of reverse
  • focus groups use to FOCUS research, not BE the research
  • use qualitative research for epiphanies that lead to breakthroughs
  • measure company's brand expression for ...
    • distinctiveness
    • relevance
    • memorability
    • extendibility, and
    • depth

Cultivate

  • Alignment, not consistency, is the basis of a living brand.
  • Living - the brand is a never-ending play, and EVERY person in the company is an actor
  • Run all decision through - "Will it help or hurt the brand?" Brand-o-meter
  • The more important a brand the more vulnerable it is (to failed launches, drop in quality, or whiff of scandal).
  • More collaborative a brand, the more centralized its management needs to be.
    • In the future we will see strong CBOs (Chief Brand Officers) needed
  • Branding is a process. It can be studied, analyzed, learned, thaught, replicated and managed.
  • Each lap of the branding circle takes the brand further from commoditization and closer to a sustainable competitive advantage.


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(download the PDF presentation of ideas in The Brand Gap)