Greg Berube – Strategic Brand Development

The Brand’s a “train wreck”……..!

We’ve all seen it, heard it and sensed it – a brand in a downward spiral with no hope or leadership or clear thinking to pull it from the fire. How can a brand fall from a place of prestige in such a short time? –

It happens!
Disasters happen – consumers change – marketplaces evolve, all of these situations leave a brand, it’s values, importance and story open for interpretation and speculation.

Strategically it’s best to take the Brand on a journey rather than the Brand leading the journey – this takes supreme discipline coupled with the ability and want to always need to “tear-down” and evolve the brand leading the consumer on a wonderfully fruitful relationship. This relationship needs to equal value and revenue for the shareholders.

Currently the NHL and NHLPA are on the brink of disaster – both sides are locked in a labour dispute with no resolution in sight. Both sides have taken their fight to the streets and the press and both are determined to win or save face at all costs including their Brand. For years, the NHL Brand has bridged the gap between sports and entertainment in a very positive way – they have provided entry points and created Brand ambassadors – all this Brand value seems to be in jeopardy at the moment. The ability for the consumer to forgive this transgression remains to be seen.

RIM continues to insist its Brand is not dead – they bring new products to the marketplace with long lead times in a marketplace that wants it “now” – a marketplace that demands “more” from each new product regardless of manufacturer plus a leader worth following. Loyal consumers and Brand disciples have been let down and are left defending their Brand decision.

In both cases it can be rectified:

  1. People – invest in people and train them – people will be the source of your Brand message. The ability to attract and retain dedicated people will be the Brands source or root of success.
  2. Unique Offering – your specific offering to the marketplace must be reviewed and evolved for the Brand to move forward. What the Brand offered two years ago may be the same – how you message the offering has and will continue to change. Stay up to date.
  3. Service – the battlefield seems to be service – interaction with your target group will most likely occur at a service level – positive interaction will result in a new or re-confirmed Brand ambassador.
  4. Take a Stand – here’s what we do and we do it well – this should be the cornerstone of the Brand value. Again how this message is brought to the marketplace may need to be evolved.
  5. Define the Target Audience – know who you’re targeting – feed them the information they need to become a Brand disciple – decisions are easy at that point. Your target audience also moves – be nimble – don’t lose sight of them or what’s important.

Lost revenue will be difficult to explain to shareholders.  In particular with Brands that have always been seen as strong.

The redevelopment and reintroduction of the Brand will need careful stewardship and message engineering to ensure positive revenues in the future.