If you have experienced a decrease in your rankings and traffic since the 2013 Google Hummingbird Algorithm shift – you may have spammy links to blame.
I have written about creating “category-of-one” brands before. Most brands spend their time trying to increase their share of existing markets. They pursue many different tactics to do so, from innovating new product functions and features and offering price promotions (which erodes brand equity) to improving product quality and creating value-added services. Some even create highly entertaining ads hoping this will help them break through the category messaging clutter. The problem with these approaches is that they are incremental and most of them can be very easily matched by the competition.
We have been hired by a number of companies to move them from a brand position based on unique product attributes and features to a brand that is highly emotionally connected to its customers based on aspirational qualities and shared values. Some of these companies have adept brand management functions with rigorous quantitative research and analytics. Unfortunately, some of these companies also insist that we conduct quantitative research to discern statistically significant differences between how their brand delivers on a variety of product functions and features (and sometimes customer benefits) versus the competition rather that yielding to a process that identifies deeply held customer values through qualitative research and then links those values to authentic brand values through a more intuitive and exploratory strategic process.
In brand management, there is a time for quantitative analysis and there is a time for qualitative discovery.
If you want your brand to connect with people on a deep emotional level, qualitative discovery is the approach you want to take.
While higher education is a very crowded market, there are some colleges and universities that have differentiated themselves in highly compelling ways. Here are some of my favorite examples of this:
Naropa University: Transform Yourself, Transform the World
The Naropa Experience: Perform in an Indian classical music ensemble. Write a thesis on creativity and social action. Take yoga for credit. Volunteer in a community garden. Study Tibetan. Spend the weekend at a meditation retreat. Intern at the Peace Jam Foundation. Conduct research on the nature of consciousness.
I have positioned five wealth management brands and over a dozen other financial service brands. Most people, when thinking about wealth management brands, think the target customer is fairly straightforward – anyone who has more than $250,000 or $500,000 of investable assets – individuals or institutions. And while most wealth management firms’ customers would meet this criterion, this is not the bulls-eye of the target.