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Showing posts from November, 2009

Repositioning a brand.

Last week BD ’M presented a deep dive into brand repositioning case studies to identify the strategies that drive success, as well as the mistakes marketers must avoid. Dave Daily, Christine Dennis and Amber Greenwalt worked with me on researching these cases. We examined repositioning efforts over the last several years across a range of CPG , B2B and corporate brands. As a starting point we isolated the most common strategies that marketers employ, levers that are often used in tandem for maximum effect: New visual identity New meaning and context. New behaviors (distribution, media, promotion, product, etc). New target audience. New pricing. After examining each of these brands we identified seven success factors shared by many of these marketers, and some cautionary notes: Clearly define the problem. Don’t fix what isn ’t broken. ( Walmart did this particularly well.) Find a new positioning from within the truth of the brand. Be credible. No skin grafts. ( Cisco

Design as a business strategy.

I've written on several occasions about the value of embracing design thinking as a business discipline , not just as an aesthetic process. Design thinking forces executives to view the world from the customer's standpoint. It focuses on the overall experience and not just the tangible product. It requires reductive thinking. All very healthy business practices, not simply design practices. Roger Martin, Head of Canada's Rotman School of Managemen t, brings some fresh thinking to the topic, continuing the trend of B-Schools thinking and educating more like D-Schools. According to Martin, business leaders who embrace design thinking focus more on the possibilities over the existing framework, they balance analysis with intuition, and they discard templates in favor of fresh solutions when attempting to solve strategic challenges. Another piece I read recently by Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds in the MIT Sloan Management Review further illuminates the similari

Finding the competition's Achilles' heel.

We often see companies attempt to compete against a successful category leader through price cuts and other forms of discounting in an attempt to maintain market share. This is usually the sign of a company that is out of ideas. A smarter strategic response is to see if you can turn the leader's strength into their vulnerability. I was reminded of this while reading a Wall Street Journal article on how Illy has chosen to compete with Starbucks. Starbucks’ strength is its ubiquity. Illy cannot compete by building more brick and mortar. So its response is to piggyback on the ubiquity of local independent coffee shops, signing contracts with cafes that agree to serve Illy exclusively and allow Illy to exert quality control. Starbucks’ strength becomes its vulnerability – too many stores result in too much overhead and fewer opportunities to grow. Illy becomes the cool indie brand. We see this same dynamic at work in other categories. Amazon turned Barnes & Noble’s s