Belinda

Belinda

Thursday, 25 November 2021 16:18

Part Four: Asset and Wealth Management

The Australian asset and wealth management industry as we know it is changing, and it is changing fast.

Whilst navigating the immediate pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has dramatically accelerated in a digital and workforce transformation, both of which have had a significant impact on the future propositions of traditional asset and wealth management brands.

Not only has the mechanics of the industry shifted, so too has the target audience, from the baby boomer, a male-dominated, white-collar audience to young, financially literate, tech-savvy investors, who expect more collaboration and a deeper connection with the brand they choose to align themselves with. 

Part Four: Asset and Wealth Management will explore:

  • The accelerated digital transformation
  • Embedding ESG across investment approaches
  • The Impact of cost pressures and profitability
  • Transforming business models and ways of working

In this transformative period, there are powerful opportunities for asset and wealth management brands to capitalise upon.

It is time for brands in this sector to pioneer a new way forward.

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It’s no longer an option for brands to ignore sustainability. Consumers are demanding brands step up and prove they are authentically determined to prioritise planet alongside profit. It is not just consumers demanding this, but employees and investors are also prioritising sustainability when they make choices as to who to work for, or who to invest in.


Sustainability needs to be considered whether your brand is a new brand or well-established. Many of the world’s largest organisations are driving sustainability in their strategic goals, through a number of initiatives and ambitious target setting.

Brand action on sustainability

Brands can bring sustainability into their strategy in a range of ways. Some of these actions include:

  • Lead by example, internally and externally
  • Create products with less packaging
  • Invest in recycled packaging
  • Use natural, organic ingredients
  • Introduce eco-friendly options that are more affordable
  • Insist on sustainable practices within supply chains
  • Set emissions targets and put in place action plans to achieve sustainability targets
  • Focus on reducing waste (reuse, recycle, repair)
  • Minimise pollution
  • Offset carbon
  • Contribute to environmental causes
  • Be vocal in supporting sustainable initiatives
  • Invest in local production options where possible
  • Use and invest in renewable energy and technology
  • Partner with organisations who can help with your brand achieving sustainability targets
  • Educate consumers on how to be more sustainable

One thing is certain, brands will not survive if they continue with business as usual if that doesn’t address sustainability in some way. Even if we put a fraction of the effort that went into tackling COVID-19 into addressing climate change, we will be in great shape for a greener future.

Consumers demand sustainability

Consumers have the power to choose sustainable options, but brands need to build trust and prove their commitment through action. They must practice what they preach. It can be confusing for consumers, especially with the amount of greenwashing that has already started to take place. Government and regulatory bodies are cracking down on greenwashing in advertising, organisations such as B Corp are creating strict certification criteria for companies to adhere to which is one way for brands to build consumer confidence.

Brands need to highlight their sustainable values in their marketing communications but also hold themselves accountable.

For brands, the challenge of sustainable transformation is balancing the profitability and day to day operations of business as usual with making the necessary changes to reach sustainability goals. Some sectors and industries will find it more challenging than others. But every step and action does count and every day we are reminded of the urgency to act.

At the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, targets and agreements were signed, however consumers were left wondering if they went far enough?

The agenda had all the right intentions – cutting our reliance on coal, oil, and gas, reversing deforestation, and mitigating against greenhouse gases. Greta Thunberg and other prominent climate activists say it was a failure and that agreements made by world leaders were not enough to tackle the climate crisis we are facing.

The sustainability journey for brands

Some brands, large and small are already leading the way in their industries while others are not sure where to start. The first step is to set goals and understand the concerns and perception of your brand in the eyes of consumers. Brand research can give your organisation a clear understanding of what your customers expect and enable you to set out plans to achieve this.

A great example is Bank Australia. Their ‘clean money’ policy promises their investments will only focus on planet positive initiatives such as clean energy, sustainable investments, not-for-profit and community. They have promised not to invest in fossil fuels, live animal exports, the arms industry or gambling and tobacco.

The good news is that every industry is taking responsibility for reducing emissions and planning their path to net zero. Even leading players within the mining industry such as BHP and Rio Tinto have agreed upon reaching the net zero goal by 2050. The hope is that they stick to this and with continued pressure from government, investors and consumers will achieve this sooner and build upon this commitment with other opportunities such as moving away from coal and into renewables.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behaviours and attitudes around the globe at such a rapid pace, brands must take the time to understand their customers and clients new context. Brands need to question everything they thought they knew about their customers, as well as how much customers know about them. That includes what they do and how they do it.

Brands who act now will reap the rewards

Brands proactively changing to sustainable strategies will reap the benefits of this new context. It is now a strategic imperative for brands to be sustainable because consumers are expecting it.
So how will your brand prioritise sustainability? BrandMatters can tailor a research approach that will uncover the expectations of your core clients so that you can ensure your strategy aligns with what is most important to your customers and what will set you apart from your competitors.


Contact us.

As we approach the silly season (even more silly when you consider the past year we’ve had), your business strategy and brand strategy goals for 2022 may require reinvigorating.

For many B2B organisations, your team may be experiencing burnout, they’ve been slogging away at home without a great deal of outside influence. January is an ideal time to harness the collective intelligence of their teams to align vision and goals ahead of 2022. Workshops are an ideal vehicle to achieve this alignment as your team returns refreshed from a well-deserved end-of-year break.

Is it time to ask:

How can we gain clarity on our brand positioning and renew its meaning?
How can we ensure my brand messages are clear and understood by our target audience?
What ideas can we bring to start the year off with a bang?
How can I ensure my team is aligned and on board with our brand values?
How can I ignite my team’s passion in the new year?

Facilitated workshops not only allow you to leverage your existing resources and gather smart ideas, they also ignite collaboration and help bring teams together behind a common goal.

What workshop will ignite your team in 2022?

The Brand Distillery – BrandMatters Positioning Workshop

If your brand positioning is a bit foggy post-COVID-19, the Brand Distillery Workshop is a great way to gain brand clarity and power your business into the new calendar year. This strategy-led workshop is designed to uncover the essence of your brand and the clear benefit it delivers to your core audience. It’s the ‘a-ha’ moment your team needs to get back into gear and on the same page for next year. Read more about this workshop here.

Project Planning Session

Are you planning to launch a major initiative, a merger or acquisition, a rebrand, or enter a new market with a new product? These projects impact many departments over and above the daily BAU, and many other conflicting priorities arise over time. A planning workshop is a strong mechanism to help align teams and efforts in advance of the new calendar year, to ensure all stakeholders agree on a clear, delineated path forward.

Brand Activation Workshop

Is your brand feeling a bit flat or staid? Does it need just a bit of energy injected to make it sing in 2022? This workshop is designed to extract your key objectives, key channels and clarity on what tactics and activities will drive the best result against a manageable action plan and/or calendar.

Employee Value Proposition (EVP) Workshop

With the great resignation looming, organisations need to build their brands from the inside out, with motivated and committed employees who understand the organisation's vision, values and behaviours. An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) – when aligned and clearly articulated – shapes the culture of an organisation and is central to the employee experience. This experience will assist the organisation’s ability to attract and retain the best possible talent in the market. 

Developing a Value Proposition Workshop

Does your organisation have a clear view of the value it brings to your customers? Or is it opaque or confused? Over time, value propositions may become blunted as businesses evolve, and even marketing professionals may have difficulty in translating this for the business. This workshop is designed to sharpen your organisation’s focus in developing a value proposition that can be delivered by all your teams across all their customer interactions.

Bringing your team on the journey is a great way to keep them motivated, refreshed and energised. BrandMatters are experts in facilitating these workshops and it is an ideal way to ensure you get the most out of your ‘internal brains trust’ to kick start 2022 with a clear vision and direction.

Contact us to talk about your brand challenge for 2022 and how we can help.

 

If you hear the statement ‘this product/brand is suited to everyone’, you should be concerned that it may well translate to ‘this product/brand is not going to suit anyone’.

All too often, products are developed and brands are created and then launched to market without any real thought as to who they will appeal to. Some organisations try to cast a wide net and reach a mass-market audience with their new product or brand, however, this approach will quickly consume your entire marketing budget. A more effective approach is to start with some brand research to identify and get to know who your brand appeals to and why.

Understanding who you are targeting and what is relevant to them is the first of many vital steps in your brand strategy.
Brand research can help you answer the all-important questions:

  • Who does our brand appeal to?
  • What are the main concerns our customers currently face?
  • What resonates with them about our brand?
  • What is our key point of difference when compared with our competitors?
  • What barriers do we need to overcome in order to grow?

Brand research will uncover the data and insights required to gain a deeper understanding of who you want to attract with your brand and will help you develop your brand positioning, brand story and key messages so that your brand resonates with your targeted audience. Once you have the data it is important to create a face for that data – this is where customer personas come into play.

Customer personas bring to life a detailed fictional representation of the different segments that make up your target audience. Most organisations will have more than one persona to represent their ideal clients. Personas are used widely by marketing leaders as a useful way to bring their target market to life. A detailed persona provides all levels of the organisation with a clear view of the wants, needs, goals and problems faced by that client. In most cases, these personas are created by using a mix of real data gathered through research along with hypothetical scenarios. Personas are then used to make decisions that will motivate your target market to purchase your product or service.

The right mix of quantitative and qualitative research will help define your personas

While personas are fictional characters, it is important to base them on real evidence derived from brand research. This data can come from surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, online communities and data analytics. It can also be created within the organisation based on your team’s knowledge of their core customers. Creating personas from this data will make it easy for everyone in the organisation to understand and make customer-led decisions when it comes to the brand, product or service.

Building your ideal client personas

If your business has been operating for some time, you would already have a good understanding of your existing clients. Analysing your past clients who have shown brand loyalty and have advocated for your brand is a good place to start building your personas. If you can pinpoint common traits of these clients, then you can start building your personas.

However, it is important to look further as your ideal customers may not be within your existing clientele. This is where the data from brand research will help you build out potential personas that you may have not identified yet. These personas could present growth opportunities for your brand.

Depending on your brand and market segments, you may need to create multiple personas. The most common profiles are grouped by demographics, psychographics and behaviours.

Some of the demographic data may include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Marital status
  • Number of children
  • Vehicle type
  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Business maturity
  • Years of service

Some of the psychographic data may include:

  • Aspirations and goals
  • Interests and activities
  • Personality and values
  • Lifestyle and priorities
  • Fears and possible objections

Behavioural considerations include:

  • Online analytics such as interactions with social media, email opens, web traffic and other online interactions
  • Reviews, and feedback from existing customers
  • Activity post-marketing campaigns and brand tracking
  • Customer surveys and online community feedback
  • Focus group feedback

Targeting Your Ideal Clients

Once you have your personas mapped out and you know who you are targeting, it will be much easier to direct your brand strategy and marketing messages to that audience. You will see your marketing effectiveness skyrocket and your entire organisation should be able to better understand what they need to do in order to provide a positive customer experience for these clients. Your brand will naturally attract like-minded clients and filter out the wrong ones.

Your ideal clients will connect with your brand and it will feel like a natural fit for them and they will develop trust and loyalty for your brand. Rather than a brand that is made for everyone, they will believe that this brand was made for them.

At BrandMatters, we can help you build out your ideal client personas. We will design a bespoke research plan that will extract the data needed to create your personas, and then work with your team to build out these personas and position your brand to meet their needs and expectations.

Client personas will enable you to gain clarity, create a consistent brand story and key messages so that you can attract your ideal client instead of trying to be everything to everyone.

Times have changed for superannuation brands. Renewed regulatory changes have empowered members to make more informed and active decisions about how their retirement savings are managed. Superannuation brands must consider not only their performance but their corporate social responsibility credentials and member priorities. How well funds understand their members’ needs has never been more critical, and beyond these capabilities, a unique and differentiated offering is essential to help superannuation brands stand out from the crowd.

A powerful way for funds to differentiate themselves is via enhanced and more effective member communications and engagement. According to Mercer Australia, only 54% of superannuation executives believe their member offering is unique and sets them apart from the competition. 

Superannuation brands must find a way to connect and remain consistently present and relevant to members throughout their careers. They need to be considerate of member needs no matter what age - 18, 36 or 50 years old, member needs will constantly change and the new choice world that funds find themselves in is more likely to promote consideration amongst members about whether the fund they started with at 18 is the best fund for them at 36, 50 and beyond.

Is your brand unique and relevant to your audiences?

In overall terms, to respond to these new challenges and build more distinctiveness into both brand and market offering, superannuation brands will need to have a deeper understanding of their members’ needs, wants, motivations and concerns. With change comes both risk and opportunity. How informed you are in relation to your members will determine whether you win or lose members and subsequent fund flows.

Brand research allows you to distil your brand down to its pure essence, finding the unique space your fund’s brand can occupy that will dramatically separate you from the similarity of other funds across the category. A strong brand shapes perceptions and influences decisions such as whether to stay with an existing fund or leave for a different offer.

By using research, your brand will be able to inform the development of a growth-focused plan that can help tighten marketing communications and strategy. By understanding your brand and members more clearly, you can ensure your communications are more effective and consistent, across both internal and external stakeholders.

Sharpen marketing expenditure and demonstrate member values

Apart from the efficiency benefits that research can provide, it can also allow your fund to avoid the wrath of the regulators in their ‘sole purpose’ tests. These tests are in place to ensure that all activities and investments being undertaken by a superannuation fund are to safeguard and grow retirement savings for members.

The industry came under significant pressure and criticism as part of the Financial Services Royal Commission for the volume and percentage of member returns which were being invested in advertising and sponsorship activities, neither of which directly benefited their members.

The marketing of superannuation brands has always been a contentious issue, given their legislated sole purpose to generate investment returns for members. But with greater marketing, superannuation funds can achieve greater economies of scale, increasing the pool of capital they have to invest for their members.

In superannuation, performance obviously matters, and pointing to the scoreboard has long been an effective defence used by brands when asked about ethical and transparency concerns. It was a line adopted to great effect by AustralianSuper Chief Executive Ian Silk at the Financial Services Royal Commission, for example, when he said the outperformance of industry funds over retail funds justifies their multimillion-dollar TV advertising campaigns.

Regardless, through research data and analytics, you will be more easily able to demonstrate how your marketing investment is improving member outcomes by highlighting the key benefits of your brand in the market, whilst also warning your members of the weaknesses inherent in the competitive environment.

Change is the only constant in this renewed superannuation landscape

For a number of years now, the superannuation industry has been awash with talk of change. Every year, the calls grew louder – underpinned by new developments that, at times, have been both startling and game-changing.

We are likely to see fewer overall brands in the sector, headlined by some very large funds, some moderate sized funds, and those in niche markets. There will be increasing competition, but likely more improved benefits for members with greater engagement between themselves and the brands they choose to align with. Understanding the unique makeup of these audiences is critical in this period as superannuation funds look to carve out a distinctive and sustainable position in the market.

It’s fair to say the level of change currently impacting the superannuation industry is unparalleled and likely to be the most significant it has ever faced. David Knox, Senior Partner and Global Pension Expert Mercer Australia said it best, “what happens over the next two years is expected to shape the industry for the next 20 years.”

At BrandMatters, our business is to help financial services organisations navigate their brand through the changing circumstances and uncover the insights that will guide a successful path forward. Now is the time to learn more about what will make your superannuation brand unique and compelling to your members. Feel free to reach out to BrandMatters to discuss your unique situation.

note:
This article and insights are part of a larger deep dive into the trends impacting upon brands in the superannuation landscape. To learn more, feel free to download Part 3 of the Outlook for Financial Services Branding, where we explore the changing expectations for superannuation brands in greater detail.

At a time of volatility, it is harder than ever for brands to cut through and connect with their clients. The goal posts were well and truly shifted for everyone and many brands scrambled to pivot, reallocate resources or were forced to go into hibernation.

Some brands pushed through and continued to focus on the long game. Brand leaders and marketers have been faced with major challenges, all at an incredibly rapid pace. For some the tough decision to strategically prepare for short-term pain to enable long-term gain has or will pay off as we emerge from this latest installment of the COVID-19 crisis.

At BrandMatters, we’ve assisted brands with brand research, brand strategy and brand design and have witnessed firsthand, the importance of staying true to your brand values, keeping the client front of mind, and nurturing your internal brand even through the toughest times.

Pivoting or hibernating has been necessary for business survival, but for brand equity, we believe staying true to your brand positioning and brand story will prove just as powerful in the longer term, post-pandemic.

So which brands have demonstrated the critical traits that will see them through to the other side of this pandemic? Our team of passionate brand advocates have put together a list of the brands we feel will pull through even stronger than ever as we emerge from these unprecedented times.

Here is our list of brands that have impressed us recently:

ABC

Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, was quick to respond back in March in terms of its key role as Australia’s ‘truth teller’ broadcaster. Even though they’d been hit with major budget cuts, they did what Australians expected of them and that is show up and keep us informed.

They quickly adapted their news coverage, pivoted to zoom, and focused on delivering the news and programming online via ABC iView. They have created several versions of its ‘I Am Australian’ song, with a virtual choir made up of everyday Australians singing from their homes during the various lockdowns. The various iterations include one sung by students of Broome Primary School in Yawuru language which resonated across the nation to remind people we are still connected, despite the physical disconnection.

The ABC has a role to keep Australians informed, educated and entertained, more so during these COVID-19 times, with trusted content and services accessible to all Australians.

Qantas

Of all the industries affected by COVID, aviation was undoubtedly one of the hardest hit. Throughout the pandemic, they’ve been in the public eye, with news of staff standdowns, billion dollar losses, and numerous press appearances by Alan Joyce publicly pleading with governments to make decisions on timelines for domestic and international borders to reopen.

As avid travellers, who all have family overseas and interstate, our whole team was moved to tears by the recent advertisement release by Qantas encouraging Australians to get vaccinated. The tone and messaging of the campaign fits with the airline’s brand positioning and values and is part of a broader ‘Be Rewarded’ campaign.

Airbnb

Another tourism brand that has not been able to operate in their normal capacity, Airbnb has shown resilience and even managed to continue with a successful IPO in the midst of the pandemic.
Airbnb have been focused on brand building with their latest campaign – made possible by hosts and have introduced measures in preparation for the return of travel. These include strict disinfectant protocols and relaxed cancellation policies.

They’ve ramped up focus on experiences and introduced virtual experiences to their suite of offerings. Recognising the increased use of at-home devices, Airbnb have introduced virtual background images of its stunning spaces, free for download and use.

Service NSW

Of all the organisations and brands that have been thrust into the limelight, it has been Service NSW. Not only have they had to change their entire business strategy from a predominately face to face model, but they’ve also had to roll out, at rocket speed, a range of new initiatives to support their customers (the entire adult population of Australia). This included the NSW COVID Safe Check-in App and a range of other initiatives together with business grants and disaster grants for Australians who have had their income impacted by the pandemic.

The next step from a tech perspective is managing the integration between mygov and Service NSW in order to allow vaccination status to be easily identified as we open up. These integrations and improvements would normally take a government department several years to implement. Service NSW has been incredibly focused on the end customer and enabling them to get what they need.

VERO

One of BrandMatters’ long-standing clients, we may be a little biased here. Vero is focused on building relationships and truly partnering with insurance brokers by giving them a better understanding of SMEs and their attitudes towards commercial insurance.

The annual Vero SME Insurance Index provides unbiased insights into the needs and pain points of SMEs in Australia. This research is conducted annually to help insurance brokers better understand their core target audience.

In 2020 the Index was released just as COVID hit in March and Vero knew that SMEs were facing difficult times that would not be reflected in the report. As a result, Vero commissioned an additional SME Insurance Index COVID-19 Pulse Check, which provided actionable insights for brokers into the challenges being faced by SMEs during the pandemic and what they could do to support them during this time.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc for SMEs, the Vero Business Recovery Grant was created to help existing Vero SME customers deal with the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

To read more about BrandMatters’ involvement in creating the Vero SME Insurance index visit our case study.

Aesop

Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aesop has become one of the most respected skincare brands in the world. During COVID times, many luxury brands have suffered as a result of tighter consumer spending. Aesop has continued to grow and has stayed focused on offering innovative, unique products and experiences as well as showing continuous genuine dedication to producing sustainable products and design.

Part of this sustainability journey is a strong focus on climate action and reducing their carbon footprint. In 2019, Aesop committed to becoming net-zero by 2030 and established a science-based emission reduction target by the end of 2021. So far, they have earned certifications from B Corp, Cruelty-Free International and PETA as well as achieving carbon neutrality through carbon offsetting across the global business for their 2020 operations; an achievement verified under South Pole’s Climate Neutral label. Not losing sight of the importance of sustainability throughout the pandemic will see them emerge as a leader in this category.

TAL

TAL is a leading provider of life insurance products within Australia. TAL have been actively campaigning throughout the pandemic on the importance of ‘Insuring this Australian Life’ which has been their tagline for some time. It has resonated well throughout the past few years, with Australians faced with bushfires, floods and of course the pandemic, ‘Insuring this Australian Life’ is about the only way to describe it.

The marketing lends naturally into our need to protect what we have, our families, but also to be smart in a time when there is unrelenting change and uncertainty of the rollercoaster of environmental and social disasters. TAL’s marketing doesn’t feed into a reactionism to make things as they were, but it does tap into the need to create one constant that can be relied on in an ever-changing world.

TAL’s existing tagline and approach was right for the time and enabled them to consistently reinforce their messaging as the last 2 years have unfolded. It is in contrast with MLC’s “Life Unchanging” tagline which, whilst also tapping into protecting what you already have, slightly jars as one thing life is not right now is unchanging.

Xero

Xero is a cloud-based accounting software platform for small businesses with over 2.7 million subscribers around the world. From the onset, the Xero brand was very clear in its positioning of ‘beautiful accounting software’. Xero was a disrupter in this market and a game changer for small businesses.

During the pandemic, Xero has released a series of initiatives to help connect with their target audience, however they have not deviated from their core offering. For most small businesses, who were trying to cut costs, Xero was one of the subscriptions that still represented value during the difficult times.

Xero continued to focus on product improvement – continued to focus on making accounting for small businesses beautiful, by simplifying everyday business tasks and integrating with other systems commonly used by small business owners such as Square, Receipt Bank and others. From a communication perspective, they’ve released a series of guides for small business start-ups and a podcast series called ‘What led you here’ where Xero’s CEO talks to founders and entrepreneurs about their business journey. There is also a series of articles sharing Xero customer stories.

A clear brand positioning is a key to success

As a brand agency, we are always on the lookout for brands to advocate for. We love to see brands do great things and inspire people, and these are just some of the brands we’ve noticed over the past few months while in lockdown. 

Importantly, these brands have proven that brand building is not just about advertising and pre-purchase communications. It requires connection throughout the entire organisation at every consumer touchpoint and must involve other parts of the business – fulfillment, sales and customer service.

Brands are realising the role of brand is more than just the ‘typical’ marketing function and that organisations must create an environment that better integrates brand into the entire organisation.

Ultimately brands with a strong positioning have proven they can successfully navigate a crisis by adapting their brand to the changing environment.

These brands will come out the other side much stronger.

Is your brand ready for lift-off post pandemic? Get in touch if you are ready to take the next step in clarifying your brand and forming a closer connection with your customers.  

Thursday, 30 September 2021 09:29

Part Three: Superannuation

Evolving your superannuation brand so that it complies and exceeds over the long term.

In recent years, some of the most fundamental changes to the superannuation industry have been ushered in, tasked with transforming business models and delivering enhanced value for members.

Considering the impact of sustained regulatory pressures, combined with the rapid consolidation of funds providers, brands in the sector are facing greater uncertainty and turbulence than ever before.

In Part Three of the Outlook for Financial Services Branding, we explore the key shifts impacting brands in the superannuation landscape, as well as the priorities for brands as they navigate this continually changing environment.

Part Three: Superannuation will explore the:

  • Sweeping reform set to drastically shift the landscape and reprioritise member benefits.
  • Power of culture as a strategic asset, and the positive impact it has on underlying performance.
  • Sustained implications of industry transformation and consolidation.
  • Importance of navigating the increasingly sophisticated expectations of members.
  • Role and future of ESG and impact-driven superannuation brands.

Download Now.

Brand positioning is an important tool that helps to clearly articulate why your brand exists. Brand positioning will ultimately define how your clients view your brand and why they choose your brand over others in your market.

Brand positioning is the key to brand strategy, it is not what your customers see, but how it makes them feel. Brand positioning will become the essential ingredient in your long term business objectives, aligning your team and creating clear and relevant communication with your customers.

In order to distill your brand’s positioning, you must first decide…

  • Who is your ideal target audience?
  • Who are your main competitors in the market?
  • What makes you different and what will ultimately make your target audience choose you over your competitors?

At Brand Matters, we have worked with a vast number of organisations in crafting and defining brand positioning statements that set the course for a strong brand strategy.

We’ve recently launched The Brand Distillery Workshop. This one-day workshop is designed to extract the true essence of your brand by harnessing the expertise of our brand strategists and the business intelligence that sits within your team.

Defining your brand positioning is about finding clear and ownable space within your market.

For example, can your brand own any of these positions in the market?

  • The best quality or premium option
  • The best value or well-priced option
  • A challenger or disrupter
  • Most trusted or established
  • The leader in the field

There are several options for positioning and your brand strategy should define your objectives before you can establish your clear and ownable brand positioning.

By way of example, Ferrari would not go after the position of value; consumers are not choosing to buy a Ferrari because of the excellent value it represents. They are choosing instead to align themselves with the prestige and quality that is inherent in the Ferrari brand positioning.

Once you establish the clear space in the market that you can realistically own, your brand strategy should set out how you go about doing this. Pinpointing a brand positioning that is achievable and believable is critical in your brand strategy. Once you establish this, it will impact every business decision that is made, and keep you on track to delivering on the expectations of your target audience.

You will need to examine the gap between your brand positioning and the current market perception. Brand research can assist you in getting a true understanding of where your brand is now in the eyes of consumers/clients.

Once you have established the gaps, your brand strategy should set out your approach to close those gaps.

Bringing your brand positioning to life

Once you have established and agreed on your brand positioning it is important to determine the ways in which this positioning is brought to life. It should be evident during every interaction your customers have with your brand/organisation.

Brand positioning affects everyone within the organisation – it is not just a function of the marketing team. Everyone within the organisation should know what the brand positioning is and have it in mind throughout the day to day context of their roles.

As with any communication, there should be close and continued monitoring of your brand’s positioning and proof points, as well as brand tracking to ensure it is resonating with the market.

Once you’ve decided on your brand’s positioning, this becomes your foundation when you build the brand experience across your entire marketing and communications strategy.

Brand positioning will feed the other elements of brand strategy

The key elements of your brand strategy include your brand story, customer and employee value propositions, your brand’s visual identity and the tone with which you communicate with your team and customers.

Defining these elements based on your strong positioning and then carefully executing them across all touchpoints is crucial in creating an emotional conection with your customers and building your brand equity.

The importance of brand research in formulating your brand strategy

Brand research will help uncover insights about your customers, competitors and the market. The answers and insights uncovered through the research process will help develop your brand strategy.

Whether it’s an extensive exploration with consumers and businesses, or leveraging and interrogating existing knowledge through desk research or in-depth interviews, there is a range of brand research options. Feel free to contact BrandMatters, we can determine the right-sized research program depending on the complexity of your brand challenge.

Is your brand positioning crystal clear?

At BrandMatters, we’ve helped reposition brands, create and establish new brands and reaffirm existing brands within their existing market position.

Now is a great time to get clear on your brand strategy goals and defining your unique positioning is the first step. Get in touch with our team, we are passionate brand advocates who thrive in solving complex brand challenges.

 

What is brand positioning, and why is it so important?

Brand positioning (also known as a brand essence) is the distillation of all the elements that exist in your brand. It’s a single thought that ties everything together, it is the distillation of your purpose, your values, your archetypes, your propositions.

As such, senior leaders should use it to guide decisions, marketers should use it to guide the tonality of brand communications, designers should bring it to life visually, HR teams should use it to guide recruitment. In short, every touchpoint of your brand is consistent and single-minded with the brand positioning as the beacon.

Where all other elements of your brand strategy say, ‘what you do’, your brand’s positioning expresses the ‘how you do it’.

At BrandMatters, we see brand positioning as the “red thread” that binds an organisation – the most critical, single organising thought that ties everything you do together.

A strong and well-defined brand provides several immediate business benefits:

  • It delivers cut-through in cluttered categories, enabling your brand to stand out.
  • It gives customers a reason to choose you over the competition.
  • It helps validate customers' choice.
  • It enables you to charge and sustain a price premium.
  • It allows you to build trust with key stakeholders.
  • It will help you attract and retain the best employee talent.
  • Ultimately, a strong brand positioning creates clients who are disinterested in alternatives.

Why do you need a strong positioning?

A strong positioning sets the distinctive position your brand can adopt within its competitive environment. It enables your target audiences to tell your brand apart from others in the market. It specifies and expresses your brand’s point of difference – how it is unique and compelling.

There are a few other key components in a strong positioning:

  • Consistency – Every interaction a customer or employee has with your brand should bring to life this single governing idea. As such, they walk away with a single impression made up of hundreds of moments that have been created with one thought in mind.
  • Efficiency – Making decisions inside any organisation can be time consuming. Your brand positioning will ensure every single person, from a customer service representative to a HR director is empowered to make decisions because they understand your way of doing things.
  • Clarity – Brands are complex, the way you express and go to market with your offer evolves and changes, but how do you remain clear on who you are, and are not? A strong brand positioning is your stake in the sand, whilst propositions and communications can evolve, advertising changes and your mission alters as you achieve more and more, your uniqueness, your DNA, your essence remains and serves to give clarity as to who you are for your staff and your customers. 

How strong is your brand’s positioning?

There are many ways to evaluate the strength of your brand’s positioning, but we find it easiest to look through four lenses, asking yourselves whether your positioning is credible, relevant, differentiating, and sustainable.

  • Credible – Is it an achievable stretch for the business and will stakeholders buy into it? Does it align to the needs and expectations of defined customers/clients? Does it work across short term and long term objectives? 
  • Relevant – Is it relevant to all customer segments?
  • Differentiating – Does it enable any first-mover advantage in the category? Is it claimable and therefore ownable prior to additional entrants arriving in the market?
  • Sustainable – Is it suitable as your brand enters new/different markets? Will it encourage new product/service development? Does it challenge and invigorate current employees and the concept of change internally?

What is the role of brand positioning in your wider brand strategy?

Your brand’s positioning informs your wider brand and business strategy, the platform from which organisations can set the strategic rationale for all corporate decisions.

It feeds into your brand’s proposition; the succinct summary of what key benefit your brand offers to customers; then informs and leads the narrative and personality of your brand. This includes your brand story (the who, what, when and how that makes your brand different, including reasons to care), key messages (to externalise your positioning through tactical communications), tone of voice (the language that expresses your brand’s personality) and the elevator pitch (the 30-second description of your brand that succinctly articulates your business).

Your brand positioning will also dovetail to bespoke customer and employee value propositions, helping to articulate the value of your brand and what it brings to clients, customers and employees alike. A strong brand positioning will help ensure there is greater clarity and consistency in these propositions.

The final core component that brand positioning informs is in your visual identity, especially in brand logo and visual expression systems. Ensuring these are also aligned to your positioning will provide your brand with all the tools to differentiate itself in the market and build a sustainable and growth-orientated business moving forward.

Introducing BrandMatters' Brand Distillery Workshop – Building engaging and emotionally relevant brands, all in one day.

When looking at the brands that we engage with, either in the consumer or business world, one thing becomes clear. A strong brand, one that attracts the brightest and best, is so distinct and single-minded, that even when the logo mark is covered, the experience and tonality is so distinguishable that you identify it immediately.

That’s the power of brand positioning. With a single and ownable brand positioning, you will have carved out a brand that delivers that clarity of intent at every touchpoint. If you remove it, it becomes hard to create that consistency of experience.

At BrandMatters, we truly believe in the capabilities of a strong brand positioning in driving organisational growth. It’s one of the reasons why we have developed an entirely new, comprehensive one-day workshop aptly named ‘The Brand Distillery’, where we set out to engage your people to uncover this critical component of your business.

This new solution is designed to deliver the most important aspects of your brand and more, in a single engaging, collaborative session with your employees. In our experience, getting your people aligned in an interactive workshop environment delivers the nuance that binds the outcomes of the session to them, ensuring the results resonate for years to come.

If you and your organisation would benefit from a solution such as The Brand Distillery Workshop, reach out to the team at BrandMatters. We can put together the right approach for your business to enable you to achieve this essential component of your brand and business strategy.

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, it is essential to plan for the brand.

In mergers and acquisitions (M&A), business leaders are often confronted with countless decisions and strategic challenges. Too often, way down on the list of considerations is how to manage the evolving brand strategy of the renewed business.

It’s one of the main reasons that up to 83% of mergers and acquisitions fail. But it doesn’t need to be this difficult. By placing brand strategy at the centre of the strategic decision-making process, organisations will have greater success in bringing their different businesses together.

The brand strategy guide to mergers and acquisitions explores the different considerations for leaders as they embark on this complex journey. This guide will provide answers to one the most overlooked components of successful M&A initiatives, the importance of getting brand strategy right. Download our free guide and get the critical support you need.

Key take-outs from the guide:

  • The criticality of strategic M&A initiatives as a tool for business and brand growth.
  • How to build a well-evidenced business case for brand research through the different phases of the M&A process.
  • The role and importance of a strong brand architecture strategy in helping customers navigate the renewed structure of the brand.
  • Techniques to assist in reflecting and communicating the refreshed strategic intent and culture of the business.
  • How to keep your internal and external stakeholders aligned and engaged, to reduce turnover and uncertainty.

To download, complete the form below:

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