A stronger brand – that’s our hope for every marketing oriented leader and professional that reads our insights on Branding Strategy Insider. Since 2006 we’ve shared thousands of thought pieces on the most important concepts in brand management. This year was no exception. From start to finish we recorded the shaping forces of strategy, markets, culture, consumer behavior, over-communication, category disruption, the speed in which our discipline is changing and how brands are responding to earn a place in the future.
Thank you Branding Strategy Insider readers for helping us along the journey; offering your ideas, questions, suggestions, opinions and sometimes opposing views. You have helped shape us as authors, educators and brand strategists, and have helped make Branding Strategy Insider the leading resource for marketing oriented leaders and professionals.
As we soar into a new year with more wisdom in our possession, let’s look back on the 30 most read thought pieces of 2018 on Branding Strategy Insider. May they help you develop and release your brand’s full potential.
1. Beyond The Purpose Of Brand Purpose: It’s increasingly clear that today you have to stand for something if you want to remain standing. The explosion in purpose-led brand and business transformation is upon us, and it is far from over.
2. How Brands Compete And Win: Brand battles consist of far more than just marketing tactics and consume significant managerial attention.
3. The One Competitor Marketers Underestimated: An amplified need to belong and check status has turned into hundreds of millions of personal advertising campaigns, all competing against brands for attention. Going forward, your job as a marketer is not just to engage one audience group. You also need to engage friends of friends.
4. How Brands Can Avoid Culturally Flammable Ideas: If not careful, flammable ideas can quickly hijack, jeopardize and further deteriorate your marketing activities and decrease brand value.
5. The Role Of Branded Content In Building Brands: Branded content is about the powerful intersection between brands, culture and people. It’s not a discipline. It’s a new mind-set and culture.
6. Brand Management In The Age Of AI: AI is changing your brand. Is your brand changing with it? Most of us are already awash in articles and studies about AI, blockchain, marketing automation, analytics and big data. But this focus on tools and tactics diverts our attention from the brand management implications these tools create.
7. Successful Brand Cultures Live Their Beliefs: Nearsighted brand leaders imagine their brands first from the outside in, believing that attitude – what they say and how they posture matters most. Leaders with the modern legacy mindset build from the inside out in accordance with beliefs that drive behaviors because actions matter more than words alone.
8. The Future Belongs To Brands That Connect Ideas: When Steve Jobs said he was “shameless about stealing great ideas,” he meant it in the Picasso context. Anyone can copy a competitor. True innovation occurs when you build on the ideas that came before you.
9. Brand Innovation: A New Disruption Theory: A new disruption theory counters the globally renowned, but intrinsically flawed idea that disruption is about companies who undermine legacy players based on a new technology at a lower price point. An idea that fails to explain the iPhone, Uber, Tesla, Airbnb, Flatscreen TV’s, Netflix, 3G and most of the world in which we live.
10. Four Elements That Shape Brand Experiences: To build more relevant experiences you need to take a step back and consider the context your brand and the associated experiences will be built within.
11. How Semiotics Helps Brands Encapsulate Value: No brand is an island. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, although marketers often mistakenly manage their brands as if they were islands unrelated to the physical and cultural environments of their customers.
12. Solving Brand Problems With Behavioral Science: One of the appealing aspects of behavioral science is that rather than being a single, over-arching theory, it’s a broad collection of biases. That means it’s flexible enough to be applied to the variety of problems we’re trying to solve for brands.
13. Four Things I Learned Building The Calvin Klein Brand: For over 17 years (1999-2016) I served as the CEO of Calvin Klein and I had the distinct pleasure of being able to work with one of the world’s most preeminent creative geniuses of our time, Calvin Klein. In order to maintain the Calvin Klein brand, I followed four rigorous steps in the execution process to make sure the brand stood the test of time.
14. Brands And The Changing Art Of Persuasion: The tools of persuasion may have changed, but the art of persuasion remains an essential role for strategists..
15. The Most Successful Brands Don’t Focus On Buyers: What makes a brand successful in the digital age? A recent study suggests that digital brands don’t just do things differently; they also think differently. Where traditional brands focus on positioning their brands in the minds of their customers, digital brands focus on positioning their brands in the lives of their customers.
16. Patagonia In The Making: My Founder’s Story: I know it’s unorthodox to be guided by both karma and profits, but that’s just one of many ways we break the rules of business these days. I think of Patagonia less as a conventional brand selling products than as an experiment, an evolving means of using business to solve social problems.
17. The Power Of Subtle Branding: What’s the minimum a customer needs to recognize you?
18. The New Era of Brand: Data, AI & Consumer Control: Many of the business fundamentals we’ve learned have been turned on their heads (or at least their sides) by the fourth industrial revolution. The same is true of branding.
19. Brands Need Both Hard And Soft Power: All companies want their brands to be powerful. Often, power is equated with worth, valuation, stock price, access to capital, growth, market share, category dominance, etc. This is what we define as hard power and its only part of the equation.
20. Building Brands With A Female Lens: The history of brand management dates back roughly seventy-five years, built in a time where men were men and women were housewives.
21. Confusing Brand Positioning With Brand Purpose: When purpose gets confused for a position, (how the brand is perceived in the context of competitive alternatives) brands lose their ability to differentiate and compete.
22. Marketing Flaws For Powerful Brand Differentiation: How admitting your flaws can lead to stronger bonds and brands.
23. How To Map Your Customer’s Journey: To identify the opportunities for growth along the customer lifecycle, it is first important to understand the customer’s experience engaging with the company and its product or service.
24. Eight Requirements For New Market Success: Why is it that some great ideas take forever to take root, whereas others flourish fast? What lessons do these patterns of struggle and success hold for new markets today?
25. One Rule For Making Brands More Memorable: We tend to remember the final moments of an experience and the most (or least) enjoyable parts. Psychologists call this the peak-end rule. This has important implications for brands.
26. How Brands Can Convert Data To Insight: Brands that focus most on the unchanging man will win the insight war.
27. Brands And The Paradox of Growth: Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the silent killer of growth.
28. How Brands Can Compete In A Polarized World: Marketers don’t have it easy right now. Accelerating change is happening globally, but around the world, markets differ in how much they trust the information they get. Here are 5 key insights for competing in a polarized world.
29. Building Brands On Community And Belonging: Brands positioned with our community in mind are often perceived as extensions of our own personas, in sync with how we define ourselves today and who we aspire to be.
30. Why All Brands Need A Brain Trust: Creating a Brand Brain Trust is a very good idea for any company that is focused on protecting and nurturing goodwill and its market capitalization.
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