Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into action...in a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

First Name:
Last Name:
email:
Tipsheet Archive
Randall's Resources
Whenever I speak or write, I often prepare extra "bonus" materials.
Enter the Resource Code to access this special content:
Resource Code:
Try this example Resource Code: eventplanning

Marketing Strategy

Insight: Rebranding recipe

by Randall Craig on September 23, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Branding, Insight, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: , , ,

Have you wondered why an organization’s rebrand doesn’t seem particularly right?  That maybe they missed something along the way?  A bad rebrand can mean that at best, it doesn’t deliver the expected benefits, and at worst the brand is ridiculed in the market.

There are no shortage of these flubs – here are two:

  • The American SciFi cable channel renamed itself SyFy, presumably to appeal more widely.  Syfy is British street slang for syphilis, which definitely does not have much appeal.
  • When Houston Oil and Internorth merged, they chose the name Enteron.  This name was quickly discarded, as it was discovered to be the anatomical name for  intestines.  They then shortened it to Enron, which of course went bankrupt after the discovery of accounting irregularities. (Maybe they should have kept the name Enteron?)

So what does a successful rebranding recipe look like? Here is our approach, boiled down to ten practical steps:

  1. Rebranding scope:  Is it to change the name?  Change the logo and visual identity? “Refresh” the logo and visual identity?  Completely change the brand positioning?  Change the underlying attitudes and organizational culture?  Depending on the initial scope – and the scope might change after the discovery audit and competitive analysis – the investment and the time required can vary significantly.
  2. Discovery audit:  To determine where you want to go, a realistic assessment of your current brand is critical. Using surveys, focus groups, and interviews, ask three key questions:
    • What are the current brand attributes in the eyes of future target prospects/clients/members?
    • What are the current brand attributes in the eyes of staff and leadership?
    • What (future) brand attributes are important, by key audience?
  3. Competitive analysis:  What brand attributes are critical in the market, and how are competitors positioned?  For example, assume that the critical dimensions are price, expertise, and trust; imagine a 3D graph with each on an axis.  Where is each competitor in this space?  Where are you?  And is there a spot that is unoccupied?
  4. Positioning statement, Brand Promise, and Personas:  These define the core attributes of the brand, and the key aspirational messages for each persona. (Personas are representative descriptions of each key audience.)  Looking at the brand through the eyes of each persona puts meat on the brand skeleton, and allows an exploration of how the brand might be executed.
  5. Validation:  This means testing the positioning statement and brand promise, both internally and externally.  It can be as robust as national market research by persona, or as simple as an informal discussion with key audiences.
  6. Name discovery and research: If a name change is involved in the rebranding, this is the process that converts the positioning statement and brand promise into potential name candidates.
  7. Validation:  The names must be tested for meaning in different languages, cultures, and geographies.  There also needs be checks for existing domain names, trademarks/copyrights – and Google.  When there are several name options, ask focus groups to rate each option against the desired brand attributes.
  8. Logo and Visual Identity:  This begins the process of transforming the brand from words into its visual representation.
  9. Validation:  Often times, there are several visual identity and/or logo alternatives.  Use focus groups to rate each option against the desired brand attributes.
  10. Collateral production:  This includes the production of business cards, stationery, signage, powerpoint and word templates, website, social media, etc.

A rebranding process is only half-done if it stops at the production of the collateral – the brand must be launched.  The rebranding opportunity must also be used to lock in other changes, both in attitude and in behavior. This can be accomplished in many ways:

  • A launch event
  • A PR campaign
  • An advertising campaign
  • Employee training
  • New perks or policy changes
  • Internal town halls
  • Management shuffle
  • New management metrics
  • Improved internal communications
  • New business processes

Does a rebranding effort need to have all ten of these steps?  No – the effort accordions up or down, based on a number of factors, including business criticality, timeline and deadlines, budget, and management priorities.   Recognize however, that your risk increases dramatically as less effort is spent.  (Syfy, anyone?)

This week’s action plan:  Strong brands get stronger because they approach branding strategically, not opportunistically.  This week, use the rebranding process as a checklist: which activity (Discovery audit, Competitive analysis, New collateral, etc) can best strengthen your existing brand?

Marketing insight #1:  Of the ten rebranding steps, notice that a full half of them are external validation?  This ensures the brand’s market relevance and impact.  And of the ten launch activities, seven of them are internal?  Only if your brand is strong on the inside, will it be strong on the outside.

Marketing insight #2:  While brand standards are critical for consistency, locked-in-stone branding can become brittle and break.  The best brands have some built-in flex.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

{ 0 comments }

If you are a service provider, how do you set your price? And if you are a buyer, how do you know whether the price that you are given is reasonable? Beyond the obvious, price itself is an indicator of a number of factors: value, credibility of the service provider, work effort on the project, and risk.

While some may say that pricing is an “art”, it isn’t: it is bound by three specific factors:

1) Cost of delivery: Beyond the cost of labor, there must be sufficient margin to pay for staff training, technology, rent, and all of the other overheads involved in running a business. If these aren’t covered, the business will eventually become unsustainable.  What to look out for:

  • Expensive offices and other signs of excess? (costs will be higher)
  • Senior staff on the engagement, vs junior staff? (costs will be higher)
  • Little investment in professional development, or reduced project scope? (costs will be lower)
  • Corners are cut (costs will be lower; more on how to avoid corner-cutting.)

2) Competitive dynamic: Setting prices too high usually results in disqualification. Setting prices too low breeds suspicion: has the work effort been estimated properly? While it may seem that this factor might not apply when there is no competition (eg for a unique service or a monopoly) there is always competition: the project can be executed internally, or it can be shelved.

3) Budget: If the budget is lower than the price, then the cost of delivery and competitive dynamic make no difference – there won’t be a deal. What to look out for:

  • Unrealistically low budgets: To win an engagement with an unrealistically low budget, either scope must be cut or more junior staff must be used. Or, the project will end up with a greater number of “change requests” and a higher total price.
  • Very high budgets:  If the budget is higher than price, it will be harder to justify the project’s ROI.
  • No budget provided: This is a no-win situation for everyone, as some service providers will deliver a Mercedes Benz-priced proposal, others a Toyota, and others a low-end Ford.  The truth is that each service provider can deliver the engagement at all three price levels: without budget guidelines, it is impossible for the buyer to tell which is best.

This week’s action plan:   If you are a buyer, this week look at your procurement process from your service provider’s perspective: how does your process influence pricing?  And do you provide budget guidelines?  If you are a service provider, this week look at your pricing process: when was the last time it was updated?

Marketing Insight: Price is also an indicator of risk. A low price typically means less work effort, more junior staff, and higher risk. Price is also an indicator of brand equity, which, again, is connected to quality, assurance, and risk. Build your brand, and it is easier to justify a higher price, notwithstanding the cost of delivery, competitive dynamic, and the budget.

Marketing Insight #2:  The best buyers understand that price is only one factor: experience, references, availability, and terms and conditions are all part of the equation.  How do you compare on these, relative to your competition?

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

{ 0 comments }

Digital Governance

by Randall Craig April 15, 2016

In the olden days, “digital” meant getting a computer on your desk, and learning how to use newfangled spreadsheets or word processing programs. At some point later, “digital” meant email.  Today, it encompasses the broad range of technologies from the web, to social media, to marketing automation, CRM, mobile, and more.  It encompasses internal collaboration, external marketing, and client […]

Read More

Brand Building: Strong On the Inside

by Randall Craig February 5, 2016

How much does your organization spend on your brand? Usually, this question yields answers in the following categories: logo design, collateral production messaging, and ads. And for more sophisticated organizations, it also includes elements of Social Media. While all of these items are important, this list is missing the two fundamental delivery mechanisms of the brand itself: people, […]

Read More

Intranet Maturity Model: Strong on the Inside

by Randall Craig September 18, 2015

Very often marketers look to the logo, web, advertising campaigns, and earned media to execute a brand strategy.  But how might they look internally to do the same?  Or rather, where might they look internally to do the same? One of the most important systems within an organization is the intranet.  While the external website is […]

Read More

Nine Key Marketing Automation Sequences

by Randall Craig July 31, 2015

Back in the dark ages of the internet, building “the list” was a best practice for email marketing. The theory was great: send a monthly ezine, sales offers, and any other buzzworthy content down the pipe and a certain percentage of people will “convert.” Money automatically transferred into your account as the list was monetized. Today, however, […]

Read More

Viewpoint: the Unintended Consequences of Low Fidelity

by Randall Craig July 10, 2015

It wasn’t that many years ago that both people and organizations craved higher and higher fidelity: 7.1 Dolby Digital sound, Ultra High Definition TV screens, and so on. Today though, mobile (and digital) is driving size in the other direction: smaller. An unintended consequence, however, is that the fidelity of the user experience has also dramatically shifted downwards: Mobile phone operators […]

Read More

Today Marketing or Tomorrow Marketing

by Randall Craig June 26, 2015

Think what it was like to be Lewis Downing Jr:  Back in the mid-late 1800’s, he was the President of the Abbot-Downing Company, one of America’s most celebrated stagecoach manufacturers.  He was at the top of his game, literally opening up the west with his vehicles.  Lewis Downing Jr. supported an entire industry, from wagon wheel makers […]

Read More

Methodology, Standardization, Effectiveness, and Efficiency

by Randall Craig August 8, 2014

Have you ever wondered how Starbucks, Mcdonalds, or any global retailer guarantees both consistent service and consistent food quality?  Or how KPMG, Baker & McKenzie, or any global advisory firm provides the same quality of work, no matter the jurisdiction? Behind every successful french fry, coffee, or advisory engagement is one thing:  methodology. Methodology is […]

Read More

Exceeding Expectations

by Randall Craig July 18, 2014
Thumbnail image for Exceeding Expectations

Two people walk into the campground office. The park ranger warns that there are bears – and that it is dangerous. The first camper quickly replies – “that won’t be a problem”. The ranger says, “I hope you can run fast – very fast”.  “Not really,” the camper replied. “But I am faster than the […]

Read More

Real World or Digital

by Randall Craig June 27, 2014

Despite the near ubiquity of Social Media, you can’t say hello to your Starbucks barista there.  You can’t see your team’s body language during a meeting.  You can’t celebrate with friends and family in real-time.  Everything seems to be in 2D – at best a reflection of what is happening in the real world. Interestingly, […]

Read More

CASL: Double Opt-in is not Express Consent (and vice-versa)

by Randall Craig June 20, 2014

With seven-digit penalties, many marketers are looking carefully at how they are addressing the new Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL). Unfortunately, many are making a critical error that may later haunt them – and cost.  They are assuming that an email “double-opt-in” constitutes Express Consent. Sometimes it does – and sometimes it doesn’t. First, some definitions.  […]

Read More

20 Year Internet Anniversary

by Randall Craig May 23, 2014

What were you doing on the Internet 20 years ago, circa 1993/1994?  At that time, there were only between 200 and 2000 websites, depending on how you counted.   Most people had no idea what the web was all about, and email was still a big leap for many organizations. 20 years ago was when I […]

Read More

Action Bulletin: Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

by Randall Craig May 14, 2014

There is no doubt that SPAM – unwanted commercial electronic messages – is a major problem.  It consumes internet bandwidth, clogs our inboxes, and saps productivity.  The solution – spam filters – often makes the problem worse by wrongly filtering legitimate communications into the junk mail folder. Another solution, legislation, has existed on the books […]

Read More

Social Media Slimming Down: Costly or Gone

by Randall Craig April 25, 2014

There is no question that LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking platforms around. It connects, credentializes, and recruits. It provides a glimpse into the professional lives of those we know, and those we don’t. But it has been providing less, and less, and less. Consider the following: LinkedIn answers – gone LinkedIn polls […]

Read More

Learning Strategy from McDonalds… and Five Guys

by Randall Craig February 21, 2014

There is an important lesson to be learned from fast food menus, and particularly, the vastly different strategies of McDonald’s and Five Guys. For those who aren’t familiar with the McDonald’s menu, there is something for everyone: burgers, fish, chicken (in a bun or nugget-style), salads, fries, gourmet coffee and desert.  If you arrive for […]

Read More

Insight: Marketing Beyond Commitment with the Relationship Chain

by Randall Craig January 10, 2014

The Relationship Curve is one of the most important Marketing 2.0 concepts around.  It states that as relationships improve over time, the target person (prospective client, prospective member, prospective employee, etc) moves through the stages of awareness, preference, trial, and commitment. The job of marketing is to put together initiatives that help that target person […]

Read More

Ten Tests: Can Your Website Live Through One More Year?

by Randall Craig August 23, 2013

How long do you keep your car?  Some people swap their car every 2-3-4 years, while others keep them for ten, and run them into the ground.  There are pros and cons to both strategies, and endless arguments about which is best: older cars have higher maintenance costs, sport some rust, and look dated.  But […]

Read More