Displaying items by tag: Brand commentary

It’s a sad week for many Aussies as the news breaks about the end of an era, the end of 72 golden years of Holden as an iconic Australian brand.

But the writing was on the wall and the time has come for many automotive brands to take stock of the current market, keep up with technology and consumer demands and embrace the new future of the automotive industry.

BrandMatters’ Managing Director, Paul Nelson reflects on the brand:

“I’m a multi generational Holden fan and my sentiments are a mix of nostalgia and frustration. Sad to see the demise of a brand that was part of my social fabric growing up. Frustrated to think of what might have been, with a different mindset.

So what happened? To me it ultimately came down to leadership looking backwards on what made the brand great in its heyday and losing connection with the next generation of consumers and what they were looking for in an ideal car.”

So what were the factors that contributed to the demise of the Holden brand?

1. The brand suffered from its US owners (General Motors) who didn’t have visibility or a committed understanding of the Australian market. 

2. Holden sales have been in systemic decline, especially since the decision to stop manufacturing here was announced in 2017. As a global player, GM would have been looking at this market and making decisions on the best way to exit.

3. The dependence on Commodore as the replacement for the Kingswood, when the market demanded a much broader range of styles and sizes of vehicle. 

4. Since local production stopped, GM were committed to sell what they had, rather than what we wanted. After all, the Australian market would have represented a very small, and potentially insignificant share of its overall focus. GM further claim their focus was on left-hand-drive markets – Australia today is right-hand drive which, at only 25% of all cars manufactured, meant higher re-tooling costs. 

5. As the range was narrow and the relevance too low, so was the investment in brand building and advertising. A drop in loyalty and pride in owning a Holden soon followed, as Holden had decreasing relevance with a younger audience, who aspire to new emerging, efficient, environmentally friendly brands that increasingly are the norm. 

In a statement made by GM’s President, a nod was made in recognition of the love of this brand in the Australian market “At the highest levels of our company we have the deepest respect for Holden's heritage and contribution to our company and to the countries of Australia and New Zealand," he said. So what was it? What led to the failure? Was it the traditional marketing forces?

It could well be argued that it lacked market commitment, product range, competitive offers and customer understanding. Its brand weakened dramatically as a result. All these factors meant it didn’t take long to lose relevance for today’s customers.

So it was all these local factors that began to spell the end for Holden. But the bigger and more fundamental factors were global.

Global competition ultimately caused the demise of this local brand. In an industry with such high manufacturing costs, a focus on innovation and the need for economies of scale, it seems near impossible for an automotive brand to be localised like the Holden brand was.

At BrandMatters, we love the festive season.

In our last blog for 2019, we wanted to share ‘what matters’ to us as Christmas approaches, what campaigns have caught our imagination, what brand needs to consider in 2020, and most importantly, our recommendations for summer reading and listening. We hope you enjoyed 2019 as much as we did.

Storytelling in the festive season

Christmas offers brands a unique opportunity to focus on emotional storytelling and reinforcing values. Here’s what’s caught our eye this silly season.

  • ING has launched a Christmas campaign to support its Corporate Social Responsibility program 'ING Dreamstarter', an initiative that helps to launch and grow start-up social businesses looking to make a real difference in their communities and the world. With 10 million unwanted gifts discarded each festive season, this fantastic initiative asks consumers to purchase ethical gifts they really want.

  • Woolworths 'Discovery Gardens', a powerful promotion that made a very big impact in many Aussie family homes this year, a great alternative ‘collectable’ to the usual cheap plastic throwaway items that quickly end up in landfill. This campaign tapped into the ‘pester power’ of children but also showed Woolworths was listening to the environmental concerns of their customers.

  • The 'Buy from the Bush' campaign encourages city folk to buy their Christmas presents from country vendors to support them during the drought. This simple concept of sharing and supporting small businesses has gone global. Here is the link, we highly recommend it for any gift purchasing you may need to do.

  • Uber Eats ‘Tonight, I’m eating’ campaign was simple, humorous and memorable. It certainly sparked conversation, they have successfully localised the campaign with celebrities such as ‘Farnsie, Barnsie and Ahnsie’ and of course Sharon Strzelecki (Magda Szubanski). It really cut through the white noise with simple broad appeal, it also delivered some PR value to offset the cost of it all.

  • Tourism Tasmania released its new brand campaign ‘Come down for Air’ which is appropriate given the air quality in Sydney and other major Australian cities at the moment. It truly captures the essence of what Tasmania offers visitors.

  • Some brands still run the big-budget festive season commercials, two great examples every year are John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

Where to for brands in 2020

Here are our top tips for brands in 2020:

1. Authenticity and Transparency

In the digital age, access to information and social media sharing has meant brands need to be open books. Consumers are looking for honesty and authenticity, and reputations can be damaged in a split second, via a 144-character tweet. Brands need to take a longer-term view by simply putting their customers rather than profits at the forefront of their strategy.

As a Forbes article put it:

“Your brand, these days, is the community of people that sustains you, advocates you, talks about you and consumes you. Yes, that means they buy you and (this bears repeating) they buy into you.”

It is not just consumers judging brands, employees are also choosing brands who are values-driven. Employees are also choosing to work for brands who align with their own values. In the race for the top talent, authentic and transparent brands will prevail. Our blog, An employer’s guide to (re)building trust in a disillusioned world, outlines the importance of employer branding.

2. Sustainability

Brands need to act responsibly and do more to weave sustainability into their future strategy. The pressure is coming thick and fast, not solely from consumers but also from regulators, employees, investors and shareholders. Our recent blog outlined some great examples of brands who are leading the way in sustainability, as well as some suggested approaches for brands to instigate change.

Another great example is the online fashion retailer, Everlane – their very clear philosophy is: “Exceptional quality. Ethical factories. Radical Transparency.” Throughout the online shopping experience, shoppers can click on links to read about the factories where the products are made, they have a very clear breakdown of the price you pay and what goes where.

3. Distinctiveness

How do you ensure consumers will choose your brand over your competitors? The answer lies in how successfully the brand articulates and presents its unique qualities. Brands need to ensure they leverage their most distinctive qualities and assets in order to drive preference.

A Forbes article described brand as "wholly relevant and as necessary as lungs" and in today's commoditised world, brand is what gives an organisation a distinctive edge. Consumers can no longer be told what to think, they need to feel the connection and whole-heartedly buy-in.

4. Customer Experience

Make doing business with your brand easy and fast. Having a good user experience or customer experience in both online and offline channels is essential. Removing any barriers to purchase and earning the trust of your potential clients when they interact with your brand will give them the reassurance and confidence they need to do business with you.

As an example, think Xero – simplifying and beatifying accounting software was a breakthrough. Xero made book-keeping accessible to small business owners and have focused on supporting small business with each of their software developments. 

Time to relax this summer

Looking for some summer inspiration? Here’s our collective top 10 list for reading and listening that we’ll be doing over the break:

  • The Weekend, by Charlotte Wood. Beautifully written book and groundbreaking in its treatment of ageing and friendship.

  • Zero to One: from the founder of PayPal, by Peter Thiel. The book explores uncharted frontiers and the future of companies.

  • Her Kind of Luck, by Michelle Balogh. A combination of memoir and biography of the writer’s great grandmother.

  • Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins. This book describes the role of the mind and overcoming adversity from a guy from the wrong side of the tracks who went on to be an inspirational Chief of the Navy Seal.

  • On Writing; A Memoir of the Craft, by Steven King. Part memoir, part master class - this book describes his experiences as a writer and his advice for aspiring writers.

  • Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. This book takes us on a tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think.

  • Here’s the thing – a podcast by Alec Baldwin bringing listeners into the lives of artists, policymakers and performers.

  • No such thing as a fish - if you’re into fun and random facts this is a podcast for you.

  • Heavyweight - Jonathan Goldstein’s podcast goes back to the moment everything changed, aiming to give closure to everyday people when personal circumstances took a path that was never resolved.

  • Inside influence - a podcast by Julie Masters a series of interviews with masters of influence, a surprising and diverse series of guests from an FBI hostage negotiator to artists and CEOs.

The BrandMatters team wish you good health and happiness over the holiday season and throughout 2020. We thank you for your ongoing support. We’ll close on Tuesday 24 December and will burst open on Thursday 2 January 2020.

All the best for the festive season.

Monday, 04 February 2019 11:21

The launch of a rebrand is an exciting time for any business. If you’ve been through the process before then you know it’s no small feat to undertake. A successful rebrand lies in the extensive and meticulous preparation that goes behind it – there’s more than just changing your logo and updating your marketing collateral.


The why and how of rebranding

Rebranding is an incredibly powerful opportunity for companies to evolve with their target audiences, thereby strengthening their market presence and connection with consumers. The key to this evolution ringing authentic and finding a foothold with both old and new customers is ensuring that there is a carefully considered underlying strategy, one that can be translated into a story that immediately makes sense to your audience. The telling and retelling of this story is what solidifies the new brand in the minds and hearts of consumers, until your new brand becomes firmly established and recognised. You can read more about how a rebrand can strengthen a business in our handy ebook The Guide to Rebranding.


What’s critical to consider in rebranding?

Discovering how you want to position your new brand requires a fair bit of looking inwards as this is a chance to re-establish your position in the marketplace. Strong brands are self-aware ones, built on a strong foundation of market and audience research. Only when you really understand what your business stands for, what your target customers want, and what will set you apart from the competition, can you build a brand that has lasting value.

Once you build out the essence of your new brand, it’s important to consider how it will be launched. Making a list of all the touchpoints and materials that need to be rebranded is critical to making the transition, from old to new, a smooth one. A missed touchpoint can lead to confusion and dilute your new brand launch. Our Brand Audit Checklist is a helpful tool to guide you in reviewing the logistics of getting your new brand out to your audiences.


Criticality of the digital audit

Beyond the day-to-day activity of making the new brand visible to the world, there’s one important factor in rebranding that is often undervalued and overlooked: the impact your rebrand might have on your SEO. Online visibility is hard earned and it can sometimes takes years to build up your search engine ranking. Ensuring you take the steps to mitigate potential risk to your Google ranking is as important as launching the visuals of your new brand.


What to consider from an SEO perspective when you’re rebranding


If you end up creating a new website, ensuring all pages from your old website redirect to the new one is important. Your new website’s domain authority won’t be as strong as your old one right off the bat, it takes time to build this. To push users in the direction of your new website you can employ automatic redirects to the relevant pages on your new website. This will start automatically navigating traffic via redirects to your new website until such a time that your new website outranks your old and you can pull the plug on the old domain. It’s critical to also consider the links that exist within pages and articles, to ensure all digital touchpoints consistently point to your new website.


All the hard work you’ve put into creating and publishing content will have gained you authorship and authority, especially if backlinks exist from external sources. These backlinks are key to boosting and maintaining your search engine rankings. Make sure you comprehensively audit all external sources who have referenced and linked to your content, and request that they update these backlinks to where the new pages are housed on your new website. The more credible backlinks exist in the web, the better your ranking.

Search terms

It can take time to rank for certain Google Keywords, so it’s important to start the process of researching what terms you want to be ranked for early. Names that are constructs and made up terms have the advantage of being a unique search term and easier to rank for. There might be some unique positioning or products that come with your rebrand and it’s a good opportunity to ensure these keywords are ranked for when users are searching.

For more information on things to consider when rebranding, download our Brand Audit Checklist which includes a section on SEO considerations.

As the public hearings of the Banking Royal Commission conclude, and the level of consumer distrust can be seen to rise, we ask what financial services brands can do to survive in the future? What will consumers demand of them? What can they do to start rebuilding relationships with their clients?

BrandMatters' Managing Director, Paul Nelson, provides his insight into how financial services brands need to consider their next 12 months.

What factors led to the current environment in the financial services sector?

In hindsight, the reasons why this occurred become obvious:

  • a consistent market and media focus on market performance and shareholder returns
  • a protected market with little competition and almost insurmountable barriers to entry
  • a highly sophisticated sales infrastructure, with short-term incentives, layered right through the organisation
  • an under-resourced and slightly intimidated regulator – ill-equipped to detect or handle the sheer scale and number of scandals that have occurred over the decades.

At the heart of it all, has been a culture of self-preservation (either market or personal returns, or both) at the expense of the individual customer or client. It has taken some time for the Commission to delve into how deep this all goes.

Looking back on the timeline, it was as early as 2008 when Jeff Morris first blew the whistle on a CBA financial planner who was clearly taking advantage of several elderly and vulnerable clients. This was only scratching the surface of the scandals that were about to appear. Even the regulator ASIC was brought into the spotlight in 2014 when in a series of investigations by Fairfax Media and Four Corners further uncovered facts that ASIC had failed to act on several whistleblower complaints – it was this scandal that then led to the Senate inquiry.

With the Senate recommending a Royal Commission into Australia’s banking and financial services industry, it was clear there was the potential to uncover misconduct in an industry deemed as one of the most trusted – the one that manages and controls our money, our superannuation funds, our hard-earned investments and life savings.

So, as the hearings continue, and more truths are revealed, it appears that the customer and their needs have become very much sidelined. The main game has been played at the customer’s expense as the industry’s profits, bonuses and shareholder returns kept soaring. The focus on risk management, was around risk to future revenues including incentive schemes and remuneration structures rather than protecting customers.

Throughout the entire 70 or so days, the commission has repeatedly come back to two connected areas: remuneration and culture.

There is widespread agreement that inwardly focused remuneration schemes that prioritised sales and profit over customer benefit, have caused a great many of the sectors problems, and created a ‘win at all costs’ culture.

What will consumers demand of FS brands in the future?

In the past 6 months since the Royal Commission commenced, consumer satisfaction ratings with banks has dropped from 81.2% to 78% as reported by Roy Morgan. A 4% drop doesn’t seem so bad and would indicate that the clear majority of customers are still relatively satisfied with their bank. However, it is important to note that this is the lowest satisfaction rating banks have seen in more than seven years. Are customers resilient or feeling completely disempowered across the whole situation?

In terms of what consumers are expecting or will demand from FS brands, in this situation, it certainly needs much more than just an official mass produced letter from the corporate communications team, or a press release issuing an apology. There needs to be fundamental evidence of change, including a meaningful change in the business model and evidence of positive brand values.

The top 10 brands consumers trust in Australia at the moment do not include the top 4 banks – ING and Bendigo Bank are the only brands from the financial services industry to make the list.

There is no doubt that trust in brand is difficult to earn, very easily lost and once lost even more difficult to regain.

As inconvenient as it might be, a recent report indicated that 1.3 million Australians are considering opening new bank accounts in the next 6 months – so there is no room for complacency by any of the banking brands. Brands in other sectors are demonstrating customer service excellence. FS brands can learn from other industries and put technology and transparency first.

What immediate and long terms changes need to occur for the industry and the industry’s brands to move forward in future?

First and foremost, there must be a united front. A true commitment from the entire industry to work towards rebuilding consumer trust. A collective action and a collective promise made, shared and then kept. Admittedly much easier said, than done.

What’s needed is an entirely new approach, a new norm to be created where customer centricity is the key focus – in the knowledge that from truly satisfied customers profit will prevail, and shareholder returns will come. A new focus on serving and improving the lives of their customers will prove they can be profitable and trustworthy at the same time.

Again, you may think this sounds very idealistic, but that is how dramatic the shift needs to be – a bank can put its customers first, can have a broader purpose, can nurture and create a new and positive culture. One that focusses on delivering for customers and that isn’t all about internal remuneration.

This needs to be a significant transformational change that creates a culture of putting customers first.

For financial service organisations, this needs to be a massive cultural shift. One that is driven both from the top down and the bottom up. And a new employee value proposition is needed to bring meaningful purpose back into the equation.

It needs to be everyone’s responsibility. Gail Kelly, former Westpac CEO reflected on her time stating, “I wish I’d done more personally to identify some elements of poor practice. You can no longer look at averages and make assumptions. You need to look into the detail, at the entire bell curve, particularly at the areas that have gone really wrong, where the most vulnerable are being impacted, and learn from that.”

A deeper understanding of the issues would enable both policy and behavioural change with reforms which need to be communicated to all stakeholders in order to achieve the desired outcomes.

In the recently released G30 Report on Banking Conduct and Culture, titled BANKING CONDUCT AND CULTURE A Permanent Mindset Change, of which Ms Kelly co-chaired, many additional recommendations can be found, within the Executive Summary and throughout the entire report. There are a great many observations in the report together with 12 separate recommendations.

From a far more personal point of view, we suggest a few immediate changes and recommendations that would bring about positive change which include:

  • Ongoing relaxation around regulation and licensing allowing a greater level of competition in the industry. This will force the major players to be fairer and more responsive to their customers’ needs. We are already seeing new entrants and disruptors entering the market including neo and fintech banks. ING seem to be leading the way in putting the customer first, and they are being rewarded for it. Obviously appropriate regulatory oversight of this expansion goes without saying.
  • In terms of the official regulator – change needs to occur, including resourcing – but beyond that what the new form or system of regulation will look like, remains to be seen.
  • A new shared vision and code of practice to create shared value for a much wider group of consumers, investors, and the broader community.
  • An entire industry-wide, as well as an individual focus around remuneration structures and incentive schemes. This needs to fundamentally consider the link between quantitative sales targets and compensation, to minimise misconduct and help individuals ensure that they prioritise meeting customer needs.
  • A new code of conduct, or an industry-wide charter. Clearly, it will be very difficult to align competing interests, businesses and brands, but if not now, with this burning platform, then when?

Finally, FS brands need to start with the biggest piece in the complex world of brand – and that is a vision. A reason to exist, a reason to get up out of bed, to serve customers and do what you do. A vision that is compelling and drives a positive internal culture. A focus on culture that serves and encourages the appropriate behaviours through every strata of the organisation – including middle management and especially client-facing staff. For financial services brands that means creating a vision that creates buy-in from all employees to say ‘hey, we are here for a broader purpose than simply profit’ – we must be here to do more than just create value for shareholders.

Is the industry up for this level of change? Well, the jury is still out on this. However, there are already signs of change. The disposing of wealth and insurance businesses and other potential conflicts of interest, together with a renewed focus on their core functions should see the capacity to drive new and better outcomes for customers. This includes being far more sensitive to customers human needs.

For financial services brands - it is time to listen, learn and act. We believe the time is right for change. With significant rewards for customers, for brands and shareholders. In terms of a make or break moment for FS brands – it feels like this is the moment to take positive action. Be bold, make the first move.

Friday, 21 September 2018 16:18

Strawberries - A crisis of confidence.

There’s no doubt that the crisis facing the strawberry industry could not have come at a worse time for the strawberry farmers of Queensland.   Within days of a needle being found in a punnet of supermarket-bought strawberries, and at the peak of the Queensland strawberry season, all punnets of Queensland strawberries were withdrawn from sale.  Not only is this a major blow to strawberry farmers and the people who work in the processing, packing and distribution chain, but it now appears that a number of overseas trade partners have blocked Australian strawberry imports as well.

This crisis can’t be classed as a “usual” corporate crisis situation.  There’s no specific company scandal such as executive misconduct, an act of violence, equipment malfunction or security breach. In fact, there’s not really a specific company that’s been targeted.  It’s an industry-wide crisis, and as such needs to be addressed in a different way than the usual corporate crisis situation.

Usually, crisis situations are dealt with through a proactive crisis management plan – acknowledge the problem, get outside help, seek to isolate the specific brands and markets involved, monitor key public messaging and respond on the front foot.



So what can the strawberry industry do?

The biggest challenge facing the strawberry industry is to restore public confidence and provide ongoing certainty about the safety of the processes and distribution of their product.  They need to take charge of the situation, and for this to occur, communication is key.  The public need reassurance that measures have been taken to protect consumers from further incidents.  Some measures are already in place, for instance, metal detector checks from the production process through to the supermarket sale.  This is a positive and active measure that will help reassure the consumer.

The industry could also publicly seek assistance and support from the major chains and distribution outlets.  After all, they can suffer reputational damage as a result of this crisis too.

And never underestimate the power of the public to rally behind an Aussie farmer in trouble.  The public campaign to “cut it up, don’t cut it out” is gaining traction and being promoted through TV, radio and social media, and with a couple of high profile, fair dinkum Aussies endorsing the campaign, it can only help to generate a positive reaction to the strawberry “brand”.  The industry could also get social media and high profile personalities involved – there’s nothing like social media to spread a message.

Traditional media can also play a part, with breakfast TV and radio, evening news and lifestyle programs focussing on positive stories, and support of the farmer and their communities.

Why not give strawberries away, not throw them away.  Hand out cut up strawberries in high profile locations, with information about their nutritional benefits and taste qualities.  There’s nothing positive about images of strawberries being bulldozed.

And finally, get a PR firm involved.  They will present, craft and manage media messages and attention, organise a communications plan for both now and in the future and implement a risk management plan for any future crisis situations.  A good investment and something that would really have helped in hindsight.


And what happens if they don’t do something?

The industry must proactively respond.  Otherwise, they risk the remainder of this season’s sales, and possibly next year’s as well.  The steps are clear – remove the risk, control the commentary, restore confidence and get the public on board.   And buy some delicious strawberries!

We’ve been interviewed by the BBC on this story for their Asia Business Review show on Friday 21st September, where we highlighted the points raised above. We’ve also been interviewed by their online edition. You can read that article here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45584140 

Whether you are creating a new brand or refreshing an old brand, your brand strategy, story and marketing strategy is one of the most important steps you will take in building your organisation. Your brand should give your product or company a unique personality, communicate your point of difference, attract the brightest and best people and be compelling to your target audience.

At BrandMatters, our belief is that strong brands sit at the intersection of strategic insight and creative magic. Our team have been creating Australia’s strongest brands for decades (Paul Nelson – BM’s head honcho has been in the game for longer than he wishes to admit) with experience across a range of industries, including FMCG, Financial Services, Education and Fintech.

In some cases our clients come to us with a brand conundrum, a brand that just isn’t cutting through or a brand that fails to talk to the target audience.

In other cases they come to us with nothing at all – we love brand creation, we live and breath brands and the idea of giving birth to a brand excites us to no end.

Choosing the right brand agency to work with can be a challenge; you need to consider your budget, but you should also feel comfortable that the agency is the right fit from a vision and values perspective.

As a brand agency, our values are front and centre in everything we do. A focus on listening, empathy, delivery, respect and growth is what makes working with us unique. And we wouldn’t be an agency worth our salt if we didn’t ensure these values weave their way through everything we do.

We have developed a methodology which is based on reducing complexity, maximising stakeholder engagement, ensuring alignment with your business objectives - and of course achieving results.

It see’s us turn data into insights, vision into a brand and messaging into marketing strategies that stand out for our clients.

This methodology comprises three distinct phases:

1. Consult - Brand Research
2. Create - Brand Strategy
3. Express - Brand Visual Identity


1. Consult

During this phase we focus to understand your business – including your business goals, marketing objectives, market, customer and competitors. Our aim is to clearly define and articulate your challenge – by not only mining the opinions of your team but also your customers, stakeholders and partners. This indepth research and insight gathering process is the key to the success of the subsequent phases.

But it’s not just the data that we gather, through a specialist approach to quant and qual research – but our ability to turn this data into insights. That’s because we innately understand why people do what they do (ourselves included), and so we are able to share with you the fundamental truth of why your audience behave the way they do towards your business.

Every client is different and this phase can range from desk research to indepth interviews, brand tracking, qualitative and quantitative research. We will recommend the most effective mix of research to uncover the sights required to get the brand strategy right.


2. Create

During this phase we create your brand strategy. We incorporate the brand insights uncovered in phase 1, along with our experience, industry benchmarking and of course creativity to craft your brand positioning – a definition of your uniqueness in the market place – your brand positioning will help you have a clearer picture of what your brand should communicate – at every touch point.

From here, you can choose to go deeper, defining your brand architecture if you are planning on taking to market multiple offers, and the communications tools that express your point of difference consistently, in a way that resonates with your audience.

As part of this phase, we also make recommendations on the naming of your brand, or renaming, or rebranding if required. In terms of your brand identity, our senior designers will use the knowledge gained from the strategic insights and brand positioning to inspire development of a new visual identity. This includes logos, colour palettes, graphic devices, typography and image libraries. This is where your unique positioning will start to feel real, as strategic rigour and creative excellence combine.

3. Express

In this phase, we will help you bring your brand to life with consistency as the key. We express it visually, verbally and experientially, across all touchpoints and channels. We develop your brand stationery, website, templates and any other communications collateral.

To ensure consistent application of your brand, we develop comprehensive brand guidelines for employees, suppliers and partners. We can also develop your go-to-market strategy and execute campaigns for your customers and employees.

While we believe phase 1 and 2 are important – a winning strategy would be nothing if it was not implemented or executed with excellence. Tracking the success of the activity and brand health is also an important part of this phase – with tracking you can enable your brand strategy to be agile – learning from experience and improving along the way. Your brand will hold incredible value over time, if nurtured and respected.

There are many agencies out there – some specialise in digital marketing, some in coming up with creative concepts. Our speciality is insight driven, strategic brand development and execution. Get in touch so we can discuss your situation and show you how our guiding principles to brand creation can help you grow your brand into your most valuable asset.

Wednesday, 08 August 2018 09:16

Paul Nelson was interviewed by Sarah Porter BBC News, on the role of brand loyalty in Apple's success.

As part of our brand commentary series, each week members of the BrandMatters team will discuss some of the week’s biggest, and most newsworthy, brand challenges.

Building a strong brand can be an expensive exercise. Recent news articles have reported that a single advertisement in the 2018 Super Bowl would easily cost upwards of $5 million. Whatever size your marketing investment is, successful companies need to continually ask themselves - what is the actual return in terms of building a solid reputation, and maintaining a strong, trustworthy brand?

Tracking ROI of your advertising investment has become a lot easier in terms of click throughs, conversions and sales revenue, but understanding the impact of your marketing efforts on your overall brand awareness, perception and acceptance is just as important, especially for the longevity and success of your business.

Within brand research, brand tracking is a common quantitative method of measuring changes in brand perception over time. Habitually tracking can keep your brand on track and also provide opportunities to tweak or pivot if necessary.

Brand tracking has two main advantages: 

  • It quantifies ROI through looking at shifts in brand saliency, consideration, brand imagery and referral levels before and after any marketing activity.
  • It can also lead to marketing improvements and guide strategic decision making by highlighting where your brand is strong, what activity is working and where there is opportunity for improvements. 

Health checks on your brand are as important as health checks for yourself. Early detection of a problem can mean the difference between success and failure. Receiving an objective assessment of how your brand performs in the minds of your clients or consumers, will provide you the necessary insight on whether your marketing efforts are working, whether your customers are understanding and receiving the message you intended, and your brand integrity is tracking in the right direction according to your vision.

What do you need to consider in your brand tracking journey?

Before you dive into a brand tracking exercise there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Budget
  • Time
  • Resources


A brand tracking exercise varies depending on the depth and method you choose, but what most determines cost is who you decide to survey. BrandMatters would recommend that while it’s important to understand your brand amongst target audiences, having a broader perspective of your brand in the general market can also help you see opportunities who may have otherwise overlooked.


Measuring and monitoring your brand can be done annually, ongoing throughout the year, or intermittently post campaign activity. Again, it all depends on the level you are investing in the brand awareness and how quickly and accurately you hope to keep track of the results.


Brand tracking can be done from within, for example, surveying your customer database or externally with the help of an agency. BrandMatters can design and implement a tracking program for your brand, and deliver the insights in a way that will help your team stay focused on execution of the marketing activity. As an added advantage, for B2B businesses, we have an active normative database of 15,000 business owners and decision makers that you can tap into from an overall market perspective of your brands performance within a B2B context. The two can be combined to give an understanding of the variation between your own customers and the general market.

Businesses who fail to make their brand investment accountable lose the opportunity to improve and refine their strategy going forward. Brand tracking should uncover strengths you can build on and challenges you can address — and suggest changes you should make to your brand strategy

Get in touch with our research team at BrandMatters and we can prescribe the best brand tracking program to keep your brand at its optimal health. You may also wish to download our Guide to Brand Research which provides valuable information on the different types of brand research, and provides you with a toolkit for managing your brand research project.

Friday, 13 April 2018 17:28

In the past, brand positioning was considered extremely important for B2C businesses, but largely irrelevant for B2B businesses.

The majority of views were that:
  • price is the driving force behind decision-making purchases in B2B
  • B2B buyers are rational decision-makers unmoved by emotional factors, including brands
  • relationship between sales reps and buyers and that the sales reps are more important than the brand
  • B2B products are too complex to be reduced to a tagline 

However, those views have changed, and most people now understand that branding is every bit as important for B2B businesses as for B2C businesses.

B2B buyers are people, and people are emotional. People largely make decisions relying on their first impressions of stored memories, images and feelings. These emotions impact economic decision making. In one sense, brands inherently operate on an emotional level by stimulating that part of the brain that stores emotional reactions. By nurturing the right brand associations in your prospects’ minds, you can begin closing the deal before the selling has even started. Trust can be achieved by being the dominant player in your market, or by achieving thought leadership early in the buying cycle.

The benefits of a strong B2B brand

B2B businesses can benefit greatly from a strong brand. A strong B2B brand:

  • ensures your brand stands out and cuts-through in its category – it gives customers a reason to choose your brand over competitors
  • creates customers with a predisposition towards your brand, and an increased willingness to try it
  • shortens the sales cycle
  • enables your brand to charge and sustain a price premium
  • enables your brand to build trust with its key stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, distributors, partners, intermediaries etc.
  • it creates loyal customers, advocates, and even evangelists, out of those who buy
  • lowers sensitivity to price increases
  • attracts and retains the best employee talent.
  • the financial pay-off

Because brand-influenced emotional reactions impact buyer decision making, those companies with strong brands usually achieve better financial performance. In fact, McKinsey states that their analysis shows that B2B companies with strong brands outperform weak ones by 20 percent.

Examples of strong, successful B2B brands


A global brand known around the world as the leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft, Boeing has successfully owned this positioning. However, from a B2B perspective, they are also leaders in manufacturing defence, space and security systems, with a vision to be the largest aerospace company with innovation at its core. Boeing’s focus on innovation attracts and retains the best talent, which is vital in a company that relies on the best and brightest to continually innovate in their industry. 


The most recognised email marketing service provider, MailChimp has traditionally positioned themselves as the ‘lead in’ or ‘go-to’ email marketing tool for beginners or smaller businesses. Mailchimp has managed to grow the brand and its values into a more professional B2B offering that can scale as your business scales. Awareness, ease of use and technical integration abilities has driven larger companies to buy into the brand and remain loyal. By targeting beginners to email marketing, MailChimp also wins loyalty from users who don’t have time to learn a new system as their business grows.


Adobe showcases its superior products direct to the consumer by utilising the branded house approach with each of their product offering (eg. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Cloud, Adobe Spark), this has increased the awareness of their brand to consumers. Adobe’s B2B offering is positioned as more of a partnership than a product or service offering. Adobe has positioned the brand as the creative solutions partner for businesses. Therefore, Adobe has pitched their brand squarely at ‘creatives’ who are also seen as trendsetters or forward thinkers, and have thus altered their brand strategy.


Perpetual is an ASX-listed, diversified financial services company with three separate, yet connected lines of business. These are Perpetual Investments, Perpetual Private and Perpetual Corporate Trust. Perpetual is one of Australia’s largest and most awarded wealth managers, an expert adviser to high net worth individuals, families and businesses, and a leading provider of corporate trustee services. It’s a brand that has a very positive culture and prides itself on building teams around its strong investment philosophy and process, rather than creating “rock star” fund managers.
We’re proud to have assisted Perpetual across brand strategy development and see them as the most trusted financial services brand in Australia.

The BrandMatters team are experts at creating strong, relevant and enduring B2B brands. Check out our many B2B case studies and contact us to find out more.

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