What are the best brand strategy examples to learn from?
Here's a great place to start.
There's a set of ‘superbrands’ that top the charts.
34 of them in total.
Read on to find out who they are, with examples that highlight what to focus on when creating brand strategies for your clients or business.
There are three global brand valuation studies (Kantar's BRANDZ, Brand Finance and Interbrand) that identify the world's most valuable brands, producing a top 100 list every year. (Brand Finance do a top 500).
They use different approaches to assess brand value, but some brands successfully appear on every one of these lists.
There are 34 in total - and while they are very different businesses, when it comes to brand strategy, they have some things in common.
There are common questions they answer to define what their brands are all...
Do you ever need to convince clients of the value of brand strategy?
Are you wondering whether it's worth adding brand strategy to your skillset?
It helps to have some hard proof on why brand strategy is worth investing in.
Fortunately, there's a lot of research available now to help. What it shows is:
The answers to the questions in a strong brand strategy have been shown to:
Read on for all the detail…
Do you find that jargon is one of the most confusing things about brand strategy?
Should you create a positioning or purpose? Mission or vision? Values or beliefs? A brand personality or archetype?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one brand strategy template that works for all brands?
Well, there is, and there’s no jargon in sight.
But it took me a while to get to the right brand strategy template.
10 years ago, I was as confused as you might be feeling.
For the first decade of my career as a brand strategist, I worked at some of the biggest branding and advertising agencies.
I had to sell the agency's brand strategy approach, which included a template that got blank looks from many clients.
It was full of jargon, focused on the thing the agency made most money from (design), and rarely engaged any of the C-suite.
But I knew that a brand strategy should be more impactful than this: it should give a business the clarity,...
Developing a brand strategy is one of the most important things for any organisation to get right. Brand strategy has been proven to increase market share, help companies grow faster than others, help to retain employees and attract new talent and focus and improve innovation.
The world's best brands follow a tried and tested brand strategy development process that I want to share with you here. They know if you get your brand strategy right, it can be one of the best long-term levers for business growth.
But this long-term aspect of a brand strategy is one of the challenges.
Because companies don't change their brand strategy often, there are not many people within an organisation who know how to create one. Experienced CEOs and CMOs can work for decades without ever spearheading a brand strategy project.
So if you’re suddenly in this position of needing to create a brand strategy for your client or business, you need an approach that you can...
These are my cats, Coco and Cotton.
Just two of a multitude of distractions that can mean brand strategy projects for my clients may not get done as efficiently as I’d like.
As much as I LOVE creating brand strategies, they can be a bit of a slog. And a recent survey of the people on my newsletter showed that the topic of being ‘brand strategy efficient’ was one people wanted some guidance on.
So here’s what I’ve learnt, the hard way, to shortcut this process for you.
I used to be so guilty of this one. A transcript of an interview would come in that I needed to analyse later as part of a report; I couldn’t resist a quick skim through.
Flicking through a book or article that I wanted to pull from for a blog in a month’s time.
An email that I’d already scheduled to deal with tomorrow.
An article that I'd...
Writing a purpose. Have you tried it yet?
Defining a purpose really means identifying WHY a business exists. It’s one of the four questions you have to answer for a client when defining their brand strategy.
But do a quick Google of the topic, and you’ll see lots of scathing comments about purpose done badly or ‘purpose-washing’.
So how can you ensure you create the right answer for your client?
Well, start by understanding the 3 ways it goes wrong.
The first problem with purpose is lack of AUTHENTICITY. Or just not telling the truth.
There are some great purpose statements out there from brands like Tesla, Warby Parker and Patagonia.
But these don’t suit every brand.
If you’re not in business to save the planet, solve racial inequality, save the whales… then don’t pretend you are.
The idea that your brand needs to be ALL about social mission – that...
One of my brand strategy clients, The Berkeley, won The Cateys this month - what they call "The Hotel Oscars".
The Berkeley hotel stands out in the crowded field of luxury hotels in London because they really know what they stand for. Part of the work we did together was to codify WHO they are and HOW they do things - what many companies call values, but they call 'The Berkeley Spirit'.
When we wrote the words under The Berkeley Spirit, one of the phrases we used, that we debated for a while, is the idea of having the ‘freedom to break the rules’.
Now, in luxury hoteliery they get measured. A lot. By many outside organisations trying to rank them on things like, 'Did they answer the phone in 3 rings?'. 'Is the knife half an inch from the side of the plate?' On the details that constitute excellence - or so these companies say.
So telling their staff that they have the freedom to break the rules was a...
"We want our brand to be like Warby Parker!"
Heard this one recently???
It used to be, “We want our brand to be like Apple!” (then Patagonia, Tesla and Toms…), now Warby Parker are in the mix.
It's easy to scoff at this - particularly if you're working with a long standing, firmly for-profit business with no social mission baked into their business model. But here's a thought. Every brand CAN be like Warby Parker.
Instead of dismissing comments like these, we should be helping clients understand how.
Before you start to tell me that this is the worst advice - that brands that try to create some sort of brand purpose that is inauthentic with their business practices are brands of the very WORST kind…
I get it.
But there’s a different way to look at this.
If we strip out all the terminology around brand purpose and social mission and we just look at what Warby Parker say about their brand, then we have a model that ANY brand...
After 20 years working as a brand strategist, I’ve seen and heard a lot of confusion about brand strategy.
While it’s the most desired skill CMOs are looking for this year, not many people are offering it, because it appears to be so complicated.
But brand strategy is a really powerful business tool when understood properly.
So here’s the four biggest myths about brand strategy that add to all this confusion, and what you really need to know instead, to help you understand how it can elevate your business.
This view is what prevents solid businesses from building great brands.
Let’s start by being clear on what each of these things are.
Brand strategy is your decision on what you want to stand for: the associations you want to build about your brand in people’s minds.
‘Branding’ is the process of creating distinctive signals...
Brand strategy has been of great value to me – it’s been a lucrative career path for 20 years. But - full disclosure - I suffered from 'Brand Strategy Imposter Syndrome' for a number of years. Even when I was a senior brand strategist at one of the world's most famous branding agencies, I was always nervous I'd be 'called out' somehow. And partly that was because I had no back-up. Great designs and logos? My agency had these in spades. Data, facts and research on why brand strategy was necessary for a business and how it impacted their bottom line? Tumbleweed...
So when I set up on my own I made sure I developed this back-up. Because many times on my 20 year journey I’ve had to explain why brand strategy is valuable for my clients. Typically not to CMOs – they get how it’s critical for all branding and marketing activities (but often don’t focus on its impact beyond this).
The challenge is...