Brad VanAuken

Choosing the Right Competitive Frame of Reference

by Brad VanAuken

It is more important to choose an appropriate competitive frame of reference for your brand than you might think. The competitive frame of reference has significant implications for competitive strategy, brand strategy and brand positioning. And it has significant implications for brand research, including brand equity research.As I am in the midst of conducting a […]

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

by Brad VanAuken

Organizations of all types contact us when they need help with their brands. Often, we work with very strong brands that want to improve their marketplace positions. At other times, we work with brands that may have lost their edge or even their way over time, either because they had become complacent or because of […]

The Quick Brand Health Assessment

by Brad VanAuken

You know your brand is winning in the marketplace when:The brand is mentioned to customers and potential customers, and they brim with enthusiasm in their response.Your brand’ s external messages “ring true” with all employees.Employees are enthusiastic and consistent in recounting what makes their brand special.The brand’s market share is increasing.Competitors always mention your brand […]

Bed Bath & Beyond – A Simple Marketing Tactic

by Brad VanAuken

As we approach mid-summer, retailers have begun merchandising back-to-school items (always a depressing thing to me because it reminds me of the fleeting nature of the summer months). Bed Bath & Beyond is no exception to this practice. My wife arrived home yesterday with a “School Information Document” for the University of Rochester that she […]

Online Brand Management & Marketing Resources

by Brad VanAuken

ONLINE BRAND MANAGEMENT RESOURCESwww.brandingstrategysource.com—Branding Strategy Source provides practical information on brand research, strategy and positioning. It also covers brand equity measurement, brand architecture, brand extension and other brand management concepts.www.clickz.com—Marketing news and expert advice, with a comprehensive archive of articles on all aspects of marketing.www.iab.net—The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media […]

What Really Matters in Building Strong Brands?

by Brad VanAuken

So what’s the bottom line? What really matters in building strong brands? This is what matters:Creating an interesting and memorable identity and consistently presenting it over timeGaining deep customer insight through market researchOwning a benefit that really mattersStanding for something admirable or importantCreating a compelling brand storyMaximizing brand presence (through communication and distribution)Promoting brand buzzAnticipating customer […]

Personal Branding

by Brad VanAuken

My favorite definition of a brand is “the personification of an organization or its products and services.” In this way, the brand can hold a certain set of values, stand for something, have a personality and make promises. It can also connect emotionally with its customers and its other audiences. That is why the notion of […]

Understanding the Competition

by Brad VanAuken

WHEN A COMPANY positions its brand in a customer’s mind, it is positioning that brand against other brands. It is critical to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each of those competitors along with the industry structure itself. (In fact, wise organizations dedicate a person to understanding the competition.)Important sources of competitive information include:Competitor […]

The Most Pressing Brand Management Issues

by Brad VanAuken

Since November 2016, we have fielded a continuously running survey of marketers’ most pressing brand management and marketing issues. Specifically, we asked marketers to indicate how important each of 29 different marketing issues were to them and how easily they could address these issues internally or with external resources. The respondents represented a wide variety of […]

Branding and Accessibility

by Brad VanAuken

Accessibility is one of the five drivers of customer brand insistence in our proprietary BrandInsistence (SM) brand equity measurement system. Accessibility is critical in converting preference or need into an actual purchase. Time and money are the scarce commodities in most peoples’ lives, therefore accessibility is related to locations, hours of operation and price. If […]

Brand Management & Marketing Issues Survey

by Brad VanAuken

Please share what your most pressing brand management & marketing issues are by taking our survey here.

The Gestalt of Branding

by Brad VanAuken

Are you responsible for marketing your brand? If so, you probably do one or more of the following to promote your brand:Television advertisingRadio advertisingPrint advertisingDigital advertisingOutdoor advertisingUnusual media advertising (sidewalks, busses, sandwich boards, etc.)Collateral materialsDirect mailWebsiteContent strategyEmail newslettersBlogsSocial media interactionSearch engine optimization (SEO)White papersPublic relationsPitching stories to news outletsPublicity stuntsOther proactive publicityConferences, events and ralliesContestsMembership […]

Mass Appeal vs. Niche Brands

by Brad VanAuken

It is important for every enterprise to identify and even anticipate consumer needs and then satisfy them. The more solid the product or service, the larger market share one is likely to achieve. Today, I want to talk about the difference between mass appeal brands and niche brands. I will use hotels as the example product […]

Brand Identity for the 21st Century

by Brad VanAuken

Brand identity management is a key component of brand management. The number of brand identity firms and graphic design firms that create identity systems and logos are practically countless, though their capabilities typically vary widely. Traditionally, brand identity systems have included one or more of the following:NameGraphic mark, emblem, symbol or iconTypefontsColor paletteTagline/sloganSubrands, endorsed brands […]

Brands & Positive Emotions

by Brad VanAuken

Research has shown that positive emotions and especially social connectedness leads to increased health. Kindness and compassion and the sense of belonging all contribute to positive health. In her book, Positivity, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson says that data shows that negative emotions, such as fear, can close down our ability to function, whereas positive emotions open […]

La Posada Hotel

by Brad VanAuken

“Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, ArizonaSuch a fine sight to seeIt’s a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed FordSlowin’ down to take a look at me”Take it Easy by the EaglesMy wife an I are on on two-week Grand Circle tour of the National Parks in Arizona and Utah. We started […]

Brands that Harken Back to Simpler Times

by Brad VanAuken

Some people embrace change and even are the drivers of change. They are the visionaries. They are constantly thinking several steps ahead and imagining what could be. They are very comfortable with uncertainty and have no interest in clinging to the past. They can create order from seeming chaos. And many of them are happy […]

In a Way, It’s All the Same

by Brad VanAuken

I live in the world of brand promises and brand positioning. I help people determine their brand’s essence. And I help them determine their brand’s mission, vision and values. And their brand’s archetype and personality. Some consultants help people discover their brand’s “true north,” while others help people determine their brand’s mantra. One consultant I […]

Brand Management & Marketing Posts with the Most Shares

by Brad VanAuken

Here are my brand management and marketing posts that have been shared the most:When to Reposition a BrandTrademark LawSuccessful Advertising ApproachesGive the Gift of Brand AidIntegrating Brand Strategy with Business StrategyBrand StorytellingAutomobile Purchases and Self-Image ReinforcementMarket ResearchMaslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsBrand Architecture QuestionsSome of My Favorite TaglinesSmall Business Marketing TechniquesBrand Positioning is More Than a Tagline […]

Brand Management’s Rewards

by Brad VanAuken

I previously listed the business benefits of strong brands. Today, I want to talk about the intrinsic rewards of building strong brands. Strengthening brands creates better customer experiences. It can do this by improving products, customer services and a myriad of other things. Ultimately, thoughtful brand management will lead to an improved world. How does this […]