Brand Management 101 Primer for Non-Marketing/Brand Senior Executives (CEOs, COOs, CSOs, CHROs, CFOs, CIOs, etc.)

 

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

The Brand Process Life-Cycle

During my career non-brand professionals and executives have asked me privately what the brand life-cycle looks like from a 50,000 foot level (a.k.a. a simplified elevator pitch version). I finally sat down the other day to map this life-cycle process out and the above chart is the simplified (level 0) representation of this process. I am calling this my brand management primer 101 for non-brand and marketing executives (CFOs, CSOs, CHROs, CIOs, etc.). The overall process consists of four (4) major life-cycle stages as follows:

  1. Plan the Brand – Plan the brand such that both quantitative and qualitative brand goals are achieved

  2. Position the Brand – Ensure the brand is positioned well in terms of market, competitors, customers, prospects, etc.

  3. Deliver the brand promise – Deliver upon the expectations of the brand in terms of stakeholders, regulators, customers, brand interested, etc.

  4. Analyze the Brand – Determine if the brand is reaching its intended goals in #1 above

For each of the phases above, I included a sample objective (one of many) for each phase. These objectives while similar across many companies, the specifics objectives would be tailored for each individual company.  The important thing to remember with the above is that the life-cycle processes need to be constantly reviewed and enhanced over time utilizing a continuous improvement process approach and methodology.

Included in the above graphic is a sampling of analysis techniques for each lifecycle phase. When the process lifecycle details are determined, the analysis and ‘health check’ metrics would also be determined in order to continually gauge the overall progress of the brand toward a set of goals and objectives.

For those more analytically inclined and as an example, we might decide to use a time series or multivariate analysis in determining the marketing effectiveness on the brand(s) in the “Analyze the Brand” phase. On the other hand, a time series analysis would be used to help illuminate brand trends, issues and opportunities in historical data over a period of time as well as be used to predict future values based on previously observed values. For example, it can be used to illustrate the brand decline curve of defecting customers beyond the time that a brand is first launched as to predict the rate of decline into the future for use in projecting future revenues.

Brand Health Analysis Techniques

Brand Health Analysis Techniques

The chart above highlights two of the brand analysis techniques mentioned in the previous graphic, that being the Brand Pyramid (Health) Analysis (also commonly referred to as the brand funnel analysis if viewed from bottom to top) and the Brand Pyramid Conversion Analysis. This is meant as an overview, the next graphic takes a deep dive into each analysis technique. The key to the above chart are the questions to the left of each section as these a key in determining overall brand health.

Brand Pyramid (Strength) Analysis

Brand Pyramid (Strength) Analysis

The above chart illustrates the Brand Pyramid (strength) analysis and is sometimes also referred to as the brand health funnel analysis. In this consumers are queried about a set of questions regarding the brand. In order to qualify for the next level query, the consumer must have answered “yes” to ALL of the previous, lower level questions. For example, a consumer would need to “buy” the product to be able to “use” and only then would they be able to rate how well “satisfied with” they are with the brand (products/services).

In a perfect world, the pyramid would look more like a square with 100% of people going from “aware” all the up to “pay premium”, but the above represents the real life pyramid and what real brand analysis results typically look like.

Brand Pyramid Conversion Analysis

Brand Pyramid Conversion Analysis

The above brand pyramid conversion analysis measures the brand health slightly differently in that these are the conversion rates of audiences at each level of the brand pyramid.  To use an example, if 100 people were queried about the brand, a full 93.5% were aware of it. Of that 93.5%, 89.5% were familiar. Of the 89.5% that were familiar, only 83.5% (or 69.8 on previous chart) had a high opinion of the brand. This analysis reveals that, while people were familiar with the brand, many didn’t think very highly of the brand due to some negative perception that will need to be determined for root cause(s) (i.e. pricing, quality, warranty, features, etc.).

Is your organization planning on launching new brand or optimizing an existing one? If so, give me a call, I call help you achieve world-class brand programs that enable you to surpass your competition and bring your organization or agency to the next level of brand management excellence.

Lastly, this is just one article of 40 total I have written on Customer strategy, CRM, marketing, product management, competitive intelligence, corporate innovation, change management – all of which I have significant experience in delivering for Fortune 500 companies.  In fact, my blog is now followed by nearly 158,000+ world-wide and was just named one of the top 100 CRM blogs on the planet by Feedspot, alongside Salesforce.com, Infor, Microsoft, SAS, etc. – Reference this informative site here: https://blog.feedspot.com/crm_blogs/

 

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The Importance of the Brand Value Chain (BVC) to Attaining Market Leadership

A High Performing Company with All Value Chain Links Strong (No Brand Value Links Broken or Sub-optimized):

Company Brand Value Chain
Company Brand Value Chain

How a Broken Value Chain Impacts Your Company

In order for your company to have a chance at being a market leader, it is important for it to have all links in the brand value chain attaining top effectiveness. Just one broken link in this brand value chain (BVC) can bring your whole company down and subject your company to the following risks:

1)      Loss of Market Share as compared to your competitors

2)      Inability to close sales

3)      Lack of marketing leads and inquiries

4)      Declining customer base over time including customer defection to the competition

What is the Brand Value Chain (BVC) you might ask?

The Brand Value Chain is defined as the effectiveness of the sum of all company functions delivered to your customers and the marketplace: Marketing, Sales, Product/Service Quality, Customer Service, Pricing, Warranties/Returns, Customer Relationship & Experience Quality, etc.

Brand Value Chain Defined
Brand Value Chain Defined

Therefore, when one link of the brand value chain is weak or about to break, the following rule regarding brand image almost always holds true:

Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule
Brand Image & Brand Value Chain Rule

Symptoms of a Broken Value Chain:

  1. Your sales team just can’t seem to close the deals. Potential broken value chain links: Poor customer service, product utility/quality, pricing.
  2. You have great products, pricing and customer service but nobody has heard of you. Likely broken value chain links: Poor marketing and/or sales operations.
  3. Your customer base keeps declining year-over-year: Likely broken value chain links: Poor customer service or eroding product quality or pricing.
  4. Your marketing generates a plethora of leads that are not closed or turned into sales deals: Likely broken value chain links: Sales operations and marketing-sales lead management procedures are non-existent or sub-optimized.

Examples Companies with Potential Broken Value Chains:

Every day we see examples of companies that seem to have everything going for them except one weak link in the brand value chain that brings the entire perceived brand value down. Some examples are as follows:

  • Comcast – great programming, great marketing/sales, great products, great technology & infrastructure but perceived bad customer service and pricing creates a negative impression of the company by many customers and prospects – their company’s Achilles heel.
  • Searsgreat products, good pricing, good in-store sales, etc. but is severely lacking in marketing and promotions including in-store and on-line customer experience design which tends to brings down the other great intra-company performers and has led to a decline in the customer base.
  • General Motorsgood pricing, promotions, dealer sales, etc. but perceived increased negative product quality due to the number of recent recalls has brought many questions regarding the GM brand. These questions about product quality could impact customer retention and acquisition in the longer-term.

How the Broken Value Chain Impacts Company Performance:

What all of these examples show is that a company must deliver great performances in every category to become a market leader. One broken link in the brand value chain is enough to reduce the company to a market laggard and risks them going out of business over time if not rectified.

The following chart illustrates how one broken brand value chain has the ability to bring down the entire company and risk its overall viability:

Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain
Company Impacts of the Broken Brand Value Chain

 

How to Identify & Rectify a Broken Value Chain:

What steps can you take to identify and then rectify a broken brand value chain (BBVC) you might ask? Here are some easy steps to take to first, identify and then rectify a broken value chain:

Proven Methods to Identify a Broken Value Chain (BVC):

 

  • Inter-departmental peer reviews – How well do our peer departments think we are performing?
  • External departmental & function benchmark reviews – how well are doing vs. market leading company’s similar function (e.g. sales to sales or marketing to marketing performance comparison)?
  • Customer external scorecard reviews – How well do our customers and prospects think we are performing?

 

 Methods to Rectify a broken value chain:

  1. Perform Six-Sigma process and effectiveness improvement reviews
  2. Invite customers to participate in focus groups and advisory councils to help identify ways to improve the department’s effectiveness (sales, marketing, customer service, etc.)
  3. Form Improvement “Tiger Teams” consisting of inter-departmental high performers to assist with increasing functional performance.
  4. Invite outside and leading consulting firms to help infuse a holistic set of industry best practices across and within company functions – marketing, sales, customer service, pricing, etc.
  5. Tie performance and variable rewards to customer rated scorecards where company employees only get paid bonuses when our customers rate us as high performing.
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