Its time to complete our look back at our favourite posts from 2016. Here are our top posts of 2016 from July to December, following the earlier post on the 1st half of the year.
July - What makes a winning brand team?
Our partner in Buenos Aries, Diego Kerner, posted on how to have a winning attitude that propels a team to engage senior management, enthuse the whole organisation and overcome the multiple roadblocks that occur in any brand strategy or innovation project. These qualities included self-confidence, ruthless focus and a hunger to grow.
August - FMCG brands get fit for the future
Our new partner Jon Goldstone joined us from Unilever, where he was UK VP of Marketing. In his first post he looked at how consumers goods brands needs to stay fit to compete in the future. He suggested the recent acquisitions by leading companies gave a clue about the way forward.
- Unilever's $1billion acquisition of Dollar Shave Club buys access to new capabilities and new channels, including owning 'the route to consumer'
Danone’s $12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave acquires a set of marketing skills that traditional FMCG companies have been struggling to develop organically – the ability to connect with a very specific target in a way that feels relevant and authentic, seamlessly blending traditional and social media.
September - How Snapchat keeps things fresh
This special post by Gen Z bloggers Jessica, my 18 year old daughter, and her boyfriend Lewis looked at how Snapchat has built a business valued at over £15 billion in only 4 years. Snapchat has done this by sticking to what made it successful at the start, whilst improving the basics of the service and adding new features to keep it fresh, such as face filters (see below). This has allowed it to maintain and build interest with its core target of Gen Z and Millenials.
October - Rebooting brand strategy for a digital age
In this post we shared findings from our our 9th brandgym survey. This showed that with so much time, effort and energy being spent on digital channel selection and execution, the fundamentals of brand strategy are being neglected. 91% of the marketing directors surveyed agreed that "the key to effective digital marketing is clear brand positioning" And yet most of the same marketing directors also agreed that, "with the focus on digital/social marketing, brand strategy gets overlooked". This risks brand equity being diluted over time as the brand message and experience get fragmented across an ever-increasing number of channels.
To inspire marketing and agency teams to rediscover the power of brand strategy we propose to "reboot" it for the digital age, including:
- Injecting a greater sense of purpose into brand positioning
- Gaining even deeper insight into consumers’ lives, hopes and concerns
- Making brand positioning simpler and more visual for more inspiring creative briefs
November - The power of sonic branding
This post covered a fascinating talk called “The Power of Sound: Making Every Second Count,” by award-winning composer Joel Beckman. This hit a nerve with me, as I have long been a believer in the power of "sonic branding". Joel quoted research showing that brand advertising using sound or music fitting with the brand had 96% higher recall than advertising with no sound, or the wrong type of sound. For example, windscreen repair company Autoglass have used a musical slogan for many years: "Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace." This is used in the UK but also in France, where it is "Careless répare, Careless replace."
December: Brand stretch learning from Air BnB, Uber and Snap
In this post we looked at three cases of digital brand stretching are in fact quite different and have varying chances of success. Whilst Snap sunglasses seemed like a PR gimmick, Airbnb's stretch into offering travel services with Airbnb Trips seemed more promising.
The size of prize should be HIGH, with additional revenue but also a strengthening the core, making the home rental offering even more attractive, and adding to the core brand idea of 'Don't stay there, live there'. Ability to win is also HIGH, as the stretch builds on the brand's expertise in travel, and can also leverage the knowledge of the company's thousands of hosts. Many of the services such as hire cars and flight can be seamlessly and easy integrated into the website.
So there you have it, another year over, another 104 blog stories about brand-led growth which we hope have inspired you and given you some practical ideas for your own brand.
All the best for the new year and see you in 2017!