Brad VanAuken

Mastering the Art of Brand Engagement

by Brad VanAuken

Brands that engage their audiences grow and thrive. Brands that don’t survive or gradually wither away. So, what are the key elements of engaging brands?Establish compelling mission, vision and values.Build internal consensus and alignment around the mission, vision and values.Embrace 360 degree engagement of all employees, strategic partners, vendors, customers, volunteers, members, board members, etc. […]

Is Your Brand Still Relevant?

by Brad VanAuken

When talking about brands, brand managers often mention relevant differentiation but a less talked about topic is brand relevance. What happens when your brand is no longer relevant to its target customers? What happens when it is decreasingly relevant to any customer? What are the signs that your brand is losing relevance?If you are a […]

Brand Leadership

by Brad VanAuken

Unfortunately, there are too few true leaders in this world. Authentic leaders, not just people assigned to leadership roles, possess a number of unique qualities. They are visionary, charismatic, introspective, compassionate, decisive, and above all, inspiring. They tend to be self-aware and curious. They care about people and enjoy lifelong learning. And often, they embody […]

Identifying Riding Lawn Mower Brands by Color

by Brad VanAuken

I live in a town in which the minimum acreage per residential parcel is 3 acres. However, many of my neighbors have 30 acres or more. People live in this exurban location because they like its rural character. Many people fancy themselves as gentlemen farmers and some have horses and chickens and even llamas and […]

Fast Food and the Customer Experience

by Brad VanAuken

McDonald’s recently created a marketing campaign promoting its new customer service including mobile ordering, customer touch screens and table service. Panera Bread has been using customer touch screens for awhile now. Wendy’s has upped its game with very friendly and efficient staff who always greet customers and help them however they can. My local Boston […]

Brand Identification in Advertising

by Brad VanAuken

While great ads will immediately capture your attention, draw you in, tell a story and make you laugh or cry, sometimes those ads miss one very important element – identifying the brand that it is advertising. There are many ways to make sure the brand is present throughout the ad. The advertiser could display the brand […]

Animals in Advertising

by Brad VanAuken

Those of us who are old enough remember Kellogg’s Frosted Flake’s Tony the Tiger. Leo Burnett also created Charlie the Tuna for StarKist and Morris the Cat for 9Lives. And Taco Bell used a chihuahua dog in its advertising.But lately, more and more advertisers are using animals in their ads. One might ask “Why?” It […]

Using Lexicon to Build Brand Mystique

by Brad VanAuken

Some activities have their own lexicon, as do some brands. When I was growing up, I fished for muskies, walleye, perch and bass with my family. We took an annual two week vacation at Black Lake and spent much of our time fishing. Later in life, I took up fly fishing. In regular fishing, people […]

Marketing & Sales

by Brad VanAuken

Marketing and sales are important partners in increasing an organization’s revenues. However, some might perceive them to be an odd couple, but more about that later.First, marketing and sales are different. Marketing has many sub-disciplines but overall it is the organization’s investment in identifying and building demand for its products and services. Sales, on the […]

Most Popular 2017 Branding Strategy Source Blog Posts

by Brad VanAuken

These are the nine most popular Branding Strategy Source blog posts from 2017:The Elements of Business and Marketing StrategyThe Twelve Key Elements of MarketingBrand SWOT AnalysisThe Quick Brand Health Assessment Online Brand Management and Marketing Resources Brands and Tribalism United Airlines Just Can’t Get it Right Brand Tonality Naming Brands For more information on brand management and marketing, purchase Brand Aid […]

Brands and Distribution Strategy

by Brad VanAuken

When I am advising start-ups and rapidly growing brands, often distribution strategy is critical to the success of the brand. Choosing the right distribution channels in the right order can make a big difference in three ways: (a) brand awareness building, (2) brand accessibility and (3) brand positioning and quality perceptions. Usually, start-up brands have little […]

Brand Management Today

by Brad VanAuken

In the past 30 years, I have witnessed significant changes in brand management and marketing. In this post, I will summarize what has stayed the same, what has changed significantly and what some of the most important considerations in brand management and marketing are today.What has remained important over time:Having carefully identified the brand’s target […]

Purchase Patterns of Wealthy Households

by Brad VanAuken

There are many stereotypes about how the wealthiest households spend their money. Here are some of the research-based findings on that topic.According to a The Wall Street Journal article, the most popular cars among people in the wealthiest 25 zip codes in the USA (median home prices from $3.4 to $6.7 million) are: Tesla Model […]

What a Chief Marketing Officer Needs to Know

by Brad VanAuken

Today’s chief marketing officer (CMO) has to have a very broad set of skills. Here is a longer list of skills and abilities one should look for in that individual:Demonstrated ability to lead and inspire teamsPassionate customer advocacyBusiness development skillsExcellent analytical skillsStrategic visionCreative thinkingA passion for continuous learningA willingness to stay abreast of the latest […]

Growth Strategies for Risk-Averse Organizations

by Brad VanAuken

I recently received this question from a blog reader: What are the most effective marketing and growth strategies for risk-averse organizations?First, one must assess the source of the risk aversion. Often it is insularity. The organization doesn’t know any markets other than the ones it is currently serving or it doesn’t know how to produce […]

How Can Start-Up Brands Beat Well-Known Brands?

by Brad VanAuken

I was recently asked two related questions: Why are new no-name brands able to topple big decades old brands in today’s environment? How can a small start-up brand effectively challenge older established brands?There are so many different ways to answer this, many related to technology, but some also related to legacy brands resting on their […]

Marketing 101

by Brad VanAuken

This year, I am volunteering on six not-for-profit marketing committees. These committees are usually comprised of marketing professionals from the community. Some are retired and some are in between jobs, while most are just busy marketing professionals who are generous with their time and talents. One of the committees on which I volunteer is associated […]

BrandForward’s Next Level Growth Process

by Brad VanAuken

BrandForward is proud to introduce a new proprietary process that guides our clients to identify opportunities for accelerated growth. This process features opportunity identification maps, an online survey instrument and a strategy formulation workshop among other components. It helps you identify new markets, new revenue streams, new business models and new competitive strategies. It also […]

Brands are People Too

by Brad VanAuken

Brands are the personification of organizations and their products and services. In this way, those organizations and their products and services can take on human qualities. They can stand for something. They can make promises. They can have personalities. They can share values with their customers. They can be funny. They can be friendly. They […]

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 […]