Brad VanAuken

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 […]

Ethical Issues in Marketing

by Brad VanAuken

What are some of the ethical issues in marketing? First and foremost, we should not be using marketing to make a product that is clearly harmful more appealing to people—for instance, selling cigarettes by appealing to people at a deep emotional level. This can be achieved by linking the cigarette brand to independence, rebellion, good times, or coming into […]

Brand Life Cycles

by Brad VanAuken

Brands personify organizations, products, services and other entities. In this way, they take on human qualities, human qualities that often lead to shared values and emotional connection. But what types of qualities should a brand take on during different stages of its life cycle?As you think about this, think about romantic relationships that lead to […]

Differentiating on the Unexpected

by Brad VanAuken

Opaque is an all in the dark restaurant. With the help of a giant crane, Dinner in the Sky serves just that, dinner in the sky. Southwest Airlines differentiated itself based on a sense of humor. Build-A-Bear Workshop decided to involve the customer in the creation of the product. Having conducted hundreds of focus groups, […]

Competitive Strategy 101

by Brad VanAuken

One of the concepts that I recall from my Competitive Strategy course at Harvard Business School (based on Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy book) is that to win in the marketplace, you need to pursue of of the following three competitive strategies – value, focus or differentiation. That is as true today as it has ever […]

Brand Identity Posts

by Brad VanAuken

Over the years, I have written a number of blog posts related to brand identity. Here are 38 of them.Brand Identity ElementsBrand Identity for the 21st CenturyBrands and IdentityCreating a Robust Brand Identity SystemBrand Architecture and IdentityBrand Architecture QuestionsCompulsive Naming SyndromeRobust Brand IdentityBrand NamingBrand NamesBrand LogosBrand TaglinesCollege and University TaglinesCity Mottos/Taglines/SlogansImportance of All Five Senses […]

Brand Research

by Brad VanAuken

Throughout the course of my career, I have commissioned, conducted, moderated or analyzed hundreds of brand research studies. Here is a compilation of the blog posts I have written on brand research.Market Research Marketing ResearchTypes of Research for BrandsExploratory Brand ResearchQualitative Research Leads to Emotionally Compelling BrandsImplicit vs. Explicit Purchase MotivatorsProjective Research TechniquesLaddering ResearchFocus Group ModerationPeeling […]

Think Like The Customer

by Brad VanAuken

I was meeting with the marketing committee of a not-for-profit organization on whose board I sit earlier today. We were discussing a major report that we intend to release to the community. The report is on a rather technical subject – river quality – and we talked about crafting frequency asked questions (FAQ) to accompany […]