Brad VanAuken

Brands & Goodness

by Brad VanAuken

According to BrandForward’s research, one of the top attributes brands strive to be is trustworthy. Related to this, brands usually also strive to be customer service oriented, responsive, reliable and dependable. Other research has shown that people want their brands to have positive intentions toward them and to be capable of carrying out those positive […]

Finding the Hook in Marketing

by Brad VanAuken

I just returned from a local Boy Scout council marketing committee meeting. One of our agenda topics was the promotion of Earth Day merit badge workshops. The two merit badges in question are “Energy” and “Nuclear Science.” Two professors from SUNY Geneseo are teaching the workshops. Professor Dennis Showers, an Eagle Scout and author of […]

Brand Sounds

by Brad VanAuken

Visual identity elements are the first things that come to most marketers’ minds when brand identity is mentioned. However, visual identity elements appeal to just one of the five senses – sight. Today, I want to call your attention to how sound is used to identify brands.Over time, there have been many powerful advertising jingles. […]

Brands vs. Brand Names

by Brad VanAuken

All brands have names and identity systems. The identity systems typically include type fonts, colors, icons and other visual elements. Sometimes they also include auditory, olfactory, gustatory and tactile elements. And they sometimes include taglines. The brand name can convey a specific intended meaning or feeling or it can just be a name that has been […]

Marketing & Common Sense

by Brad VanAuken

Marketing seems to have gotten so complicated. People speak of CRM and SEO. Successfully navigating social media seems difficult for many people. There are an increasing number of new communication platforms. How does one plan media across so many different channels? Marketing research now includes online focus groups, eye tracking and brain scanning among several […]

Customer Service Comes of Age at Insurance Companies

by Brad VanAuken

In 1999, BrandForward conducted a comprehensive study of brand equity and brand perceptions in the insurance industry. The study gathered metrics on more than 200 insurance brands. The results were not flattering. All insurance companies but one (State Farm) disappointed their customers when it came to claims. This contributed to a lack of loyalty, focus […]

50 Growth Strategies

by Brad VanAuken

Most every organization intends to grow. In fact, if an organization doesn’t continue to grow it generally must do the opposite because costs continue to increase whether the organization grows or not and it is difficult to continually pass the cost increases on customers without eventually experiencing decreases in unit sales.    The ways in which […]

Objectives and Strategies First, Please

by Brad VanAuken

At a recent marketing committee meeting for a local not-for-profit organization, we immediately dove into what to do regarding a number of marketing tactics from website, newsletter and Facebook page to brochures, videos and member database. The intent was to prioritize the tactics as a part of the organization’s marketing plan. The problem was not […]

The Importance of Colors In Marketing

by Brad VanAuken

Color is one of the most important considerations in your brand identity system, as colors have a significant impact on people’s emotional state. They also have been shown to impact people’s ability to concentrate and learn, as well as a host of other psychological associations. For instance:Non-primary colors are more calming than primary colors.Blue is […]

What Do People Need Most?

by Brad VanAuken

People with plenty of money often do not have a lot of time, while people with a lot of time frequently do not have a lot of money. And many people do not have enough of either. It is the lucky few who have plenty of time and money. Time and money are the scarce resources […]

The Elements of Business and Marketing Strategy

by Brad VanAuken

The terms “business strategy” and “marketing strategy” are used a lot, which begs the question, “What are the components of these strategies?” Here are some of the strategic questions that businesses should be asking.BUSINESS STRATEGYWhat is our mission?What is our vision?What are our values?Who will we serve?What is the most advantageous business model for us?What […]

The Exploding Use of Drones in Marketing

by Brad VanAuken

According to Gartner, the drone market grew 36% to 2.2 million in unit sales and $4.5 billion in revenues worldwide in 2016. But according to the Consumer Technology Association, 2.4 million personal drones were sold in the US alone in 2016, more than double the 1.1 million sold in 2015. Regardless of the exact numbers, […]

Big Data and Customer Targeting

by Brad VanAuken

Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media and networking websites coupled with smartphone GPS, AI and big data analytics allows the marketer to target customers in a way that was never possible before. Not only can the marketer target based on demographics, psychographics and physical location but also on intangibles such as highly correlated behaviors, purchases, web […]

Give the Gift of Brand Aid!

by Brad VanAuken

‘I am a huge fan of Brand Aid #2 and have been using it in my keystone graduate class called IMC 463 Brand Communications Decisions. I feel your book is one of the most practical and valuable books ever written about brands. I love the checklists and remind the students that your book is my […]

Industry Game Changers

by Brad VanAuken

Over time, there have been a large number of industry game changers. They completely disrupt an industry and often put even dominant share leaders out of business. As examples:The Ford Model T largely put horse and buggies out of businessComputers replaced typewritersVacation timeshares created a whole new industry, as did timeshares of private jetsThe Internet […]

Brand Manager’s Span of Influence

by Brad VanAuken

A brand is experienced at each customer touch point. So, the brand’s perceptions are created, reinforced or diminished at each customer touch point. And given that a brand must consistently deliver on its promise wherever it is encountered, this argues for an extremely large span of influence for the brand manager. As an example, consider banking. […]

Tapping Into Self-Esteem Affirming Symbols

by Brad VanAuken

Winning a cheerleading contest. Spending time with a cousin on a sailboat. Attending a prestigious university. Winning a fiction writing contest. Traveling across the ocean on an ocean liner. Performing as a soloist in the church choir. Spending Christmas Eve with your family. Scoring the winning goal in a hockey game. Riding with a neighbor […]

Brands & Tribalism

by Brad VanAuken

As in the television program, Cheers, everyone wants to belong somewhere.  Everyone wants to call some place home. Nuclear and extended families have always been tribes. Often, churches are tribes. Some times, towns are tribes. Schools can be tribes. Increasingly, political parties are tribes. Is your state a blue state or red state? You may […]

What’s Your Brand’s Buzz?

by Brad VanAuken

A brand is owned in the minds of its customers. So, what is your brand in their minds? Do you know?  If not, do you know where to go to find out? You can always use marketing research, but today, the Internet provides an unfiltered ongoing look into your customer’s minds. And it is as […]

Peeling Back the Onion

by Brad VanAuken

Sometimes, in brand research, one must continue to “peel back the onion” to better understand what the consumer is really saying. Recently, a client of mine (a heath care system) discovered that it was delivering well against convenience and accessibility. They discovered this through a quantitative brand equity measurement survey. Multiple data points pointed to […]