Brad VanAuken

The Secret Ingredient – Caring About People

by Brad VanAuken

Most markets are populated with mature brands that struggle to maintain differentiation because it is easy for competitors to match any function, feature or service that is of value to customers. Most sources of differentiation don’t last that long anymore. They quickly become “cost of entry” benefits.But in working with more than 200 brands across […]

Sharing Your Brand’s Values Through Storytelling

by Brad VanAuken

Sharing a set of values with customers is one of a brand’s most important sources of emotional connection with its customers. I have written before about brands that do this well.There are a variety of ways to communicate those values, but one powerful way is through brand storytelling, especially if the story is about the […]

Focusing on the Why

by Brad VanAuken

Another common error in marketing communication is focusing on the product or service description including its functions and features rather than focusing on the end customer benefit, the why. People will read further once you have gotten their attention. And you get their attention by speaking to one of their desires, fears or problems. Only […]

Less is More

by Brad VanAuken

A common mistake inexperienced marketers make is to cram too much information into marketing copy. I have seen this manifested in several ways:Too much copy on PowerPoint slides – often full screen visuals with no copy are the most effectiveToo much copy on product packaging, especially for products that are displayed at point of purchaseToo […]

Brand Visual Style

by Brad VanAuken

Part of a brand’s identity system is its visual style. So what are the components of its visual style? Here is my list:Color paletteTypefaces and graphic stylesTypes of images used (size, shape, subject matter, feeling, illustrations vs. photography, medium, special effects) Graphic symbolsShapesTextureDistinctive patternsFormLayout and horizontal vs. vertical blocking Use of lines or bordersSharp vs. soft edgesValue […]

Brand Voice

by Brad VanAuken

Your brand’s voice is comprised of its tone and its word choice among other components. Together with your brand’s archetype, personality and visual style, your brand’s voice helps you to personify your brand. Any or all of these might be components of your brand’s voice:ToneAccent (socio-economic, regional or foreign)Young or matureVocabulary (frequently used words and phrases […]

Brands and Habits

by Brad VanAuken

Habit:A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetitionAn established disposition of the mind or characterCustomary manner or practiceAn addiction, especially to a narcotic drugWe all have habits. For instance, we order the same menu item every time we go to a specific restaurant. Or we purchase the same brand of soda pop. Or we start our day with a cup of coffee and the morning paper. Or we go to the gym and work out every morning. Some of our brands […]

Most Important Qualities for Brands

by Brad VanAuken

I have posted one or two articles on the brand personality attributes that organizations most often choose for their brands. In this article, I will share the qualities that I believe are most important for brands to possess. I am basing this on the qualities that people seek most in others. I think this is […]

Identifying Target Customers

by Brad VanAuken

Identifying and describing the target customer should always the first step in any brand positioning process. If you don’t know who your customer is, how can you successfully position the brand? In our brand positioning workshops, we usually get people to identify the primary, secondary and tertiary customer targets. Sometimes, they describe the current customer […]

Creating Compelling Places

by Brad VanAuken

I have on occasion written about creating place brands and have provided links at the bottom of this blog post to those previous posts. However, today I am writing about how to create compelling places upon which the brands would be built.Aesthetics always matter. The natural and built environment (architecture, landscaping, etc.) contribute to that […]

Mayo Clinic Advertising

by Brad VanAuken

I am impressed with the latest Mayo Clinic advertising campaign. The ads feature people leaving their homes with loved ones making their way to a destination – Mayo Clinic. The ads are very emotional with stunning visuals, a reflective mood, poignant moments and few or no spoken lines. The music is emotional the way our […]

Sling TV

by Brad VanAuken

I love the Sling TV ads. Here’s why. Like the first GEICO ads that featured a cute gecko as a mnemonic device to help you remember the name, Sling TV uses strong references to swinging to do the same. Further, like the GEICO ads, it is entertaining and funny. The commercials might even be described […]

Dissecting the Apple Brand

by Brad VanAuken

While Apple has never been a client of mine, I have been an Apple customer for years. I am writing this blog post from a MacBook Air attached to my iPhone while listening to iTunes. I am writing this because the brand has been a very successful iconic brand and I thought it would be […]

Brand Positioning Components

by Brad VanAuken

Brand positioning components will likely vary depending on which brand consultant or marketing agency you use. These are the core elements that most consultants or agencies use:Target customer definition (demographics, psychographics (lifestyles, attitudes, values, behaviors, job titles, etc.)Brand essence (the heart and soul of the brand – it’s timeless quality – in the form of ‘adjective […]

Emotionally Connecting with Your Customers

by Brad VanAuken

Most brands want to connect emotionally with their customers but few actually do. What does it take to create that emotional connection?Brands that create emotional connection are deliberate about achieving it. First, those brands and their brand owners often have a strong set of values, values that they ultimately share with their customers. For example, […]

Online Brand Positioning Workshop

by Brad VanAuken

Now BrandForward’s highly successful, often emulated, brand positioning workshop is available online. It will provide you with everything you need to position your brand to win. And, even better, we are offering a May 2019 only substantial price discount. CLICK HERE to sign up for the workshop.

Insights from 20 Years as a Brand Consultant

by Brad VanAuken

Over the past 20 years, I have been retained by more than 200 organizations to help them with their brand problems. I thought it would be interesting to share with you what I believe to be the root causes of some of these problems. Here are the types of problems that I have encountered (that […]

Establishing Brand Metrics

by Brad VanAuken

Often, organizations will use awareness, preference, rank in consideration set, share of wallet, Net Promoter Score and other brand loyalty measures, customer satisfaction, distribution and market share as the primary brand measures. Awareness is important because without awareness, the brand does not exist in the customer’s mind. Preference, rank in consideration set and share of […]

Top Posts from Each of the Last Six Years

by Brad VanAuken

In case you missed them, these are the most popular posts from each of the past six years:2014 – When Brand Tactics Overshadow Brand Strategy2014 – The Poison Parasite Defense2014 – Basic Human Needs and Branding2015 – Nine Favorite Brand Management & Marketing Books2015 – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 2015 – Brand Attributes, Benefits & Values2015 […]