Simplicity is the focus in ‘The Power of Belonging’

Simplicity

The simpler the Brand, the better it can be understood, or on a more fundamental level:  the better it can be experienced

The overcrowding of the Brand, whether via an over-extended Brand Name and product lines, can leave the audience confused, or worse, leave them to fail to even form a perception of the Brand

Simplicity helps you to maintain a focus and address the Brand with one aligned message. Think of how simple and elegant Polo is, Polo is all about ‘Lifestyle’ not cuts or fabrics. Starbucks is simple: It’s coffee

Do you remember Kmart? Kmart tried to do and sell everything there was to sell, and when more categories that were focused upon came into the same industry, Kmart lost touch and its fate was clear, Kmart failed to evolve and specialize. Walmart has everything, but managed to be clear in its Brand Positioning. Everyone knows that Walmart undersells all its competitors, a Mission to which it has always been committed. Walmart is also close to nearly every neighborhood in America and thus has the reach to simplify its Brand in that direction. The days of commodities are over, today everything is about the Brand, the simpler the Brand the better it’s understood and serves the audience

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 28th February, 2015

SPECIALTY: One of the Laws of ‘The Power of Belonging’

The above image is of Brand names that sell Makeup

  • Sephora is SPECIALIZED in Beauty Products
  • Macy’s is SPECIALIZED in Up-Scale Fashion Retail
  • Sephora is a Destination offering first hand experience for beauty products
  • Macy’s is a Destination for retail fashion (i.e. beauty products could be third or fourth priority in the minds of the customers during their experience)

Specialty is one of the 10 Laws for Brands to succeed in generating/maintaining ‘The Power of Belonging’

What happens when you create a product or service and you want to sell everything? You end up selling nothing! The saying might be old, but it’s true to this day: Jack of all trades, master of none. Focus on your specialty. Be the master of one thing. You can’t be the master of millions

Starbucks specialized in upscale coffee and coffee drinks. If it sold other things, it was because those things (from mugs to music) go well with coffee. It’s all about the coffee experience. Successful Brand Pros are able to let their audiences know they stand for something, rather than for many things, or for whatever they think they might be able to sell. Remember the number 7? That’s a magic number in many cultures, perhaps because that’s about how far our memories go. For some reason we can relate to things in sevens. 7 wonders of the world, 7 Chakras, 7 Heavens, among many others. How much diversity in your Brand your audience can cope with isn’t up to you; it’s up to the audience’s brains. Think in terms of the ‘Rule of 7’ with regards to your Brand as being the outside limit of how far your family of products and messages can extend

Let your Brand stand for something, specialize like Starbucks for Coffee, Lipton for Tea, Xerox for Copy, Al Baik for Fried Chicken with Special Garlic sauce (not burger or seafood), Apple for Digital Lifestyle, Facebook for Social Networking (worth pointing: Linkedin is between Business Networking and Recruiting, so it needs to specialize)

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 22nd February, 2015

Brands work well with Segments

There are different sets of Needs to different type of Segments under one Category. Each segment has a different set of Values and Benefits, the more the Brand is focused on each segment; the higher the significance of the Brand

One of the major challenges many companies face is keeping a Brand focused in order to address all different sets of values and benefits. This line extension challenge became a nightmare for heads of Marketing and CEOs

Brands are like humans who can’t be everything, they need to standout for a single well-Differentiated Essence. The more the Brand is focused to a segment, the more it is preferred

Brands these days lack consistency they are constantly pressured by the Board from day one on functional deliverables such as ‘instant’ Sales. It took Starbucks 40 years to where is is today, it took Coca Cola a century to reach where it is today

It took Google 20 years to reach where it is today, but did Google display Brand Arrogance? When a Brand becomes very significant, the Board thinks competition is irrelevant and the same Brand name as well as principles start to address all segments. Google+ and Google Buzz are good examples in Social Media category wherein the 1st trial i.e. Google Buzz, failed and in the 2nd trial Google+, is barely surviving. Google is THE ‘World of Information (web links, images, videos, maps and so on)’ but after the success of Google Search Engine, Google became both Information and Tools. Does Google need to revisit its Mission and separate Information and Tools? I say yes, that will even make Google more significant on both information and tool fronts

It took these global Brands that long to build their presence, it surely should take Brands from the Middle East that long (IF Brand and Branding Strategies are in place) or longer if the right ingredients are missing

Brands and Branding are complex. Not every Consultant, head of Marketing/CMO or Advertising agency can literally deliver what’s expected. You need the subject matter EXPERTS to guide both the CEO and the management, through

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 8th February, 2015

Strategizing Reach

I discussed with few Marketing consultants on the recent Reach Strategy as a Channel: ‘Starbucks Mobile Truck’, seems like franchise orders are working well for the Seattle Coffee Brand. This phenomenal Reach Strategy will improve the company’s bottom line and expand Reach further. Now Starbucks could be at your doorstep

Starbucks plans to launch mobile truck cafés across America, your Coffee two steps closer to your office, home and work. Wait! are you at the park? Starbucks is there too, are you at fairs, festivals and etc, they are there too. Are you at the beach? They are there too

No need to brew your morning coffee, just walk out of your door and pick one on your way to work or college, this easily puts Starbucks ahead from their competitors if there are any at this stage

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 22nd August, 2014

Starbucks needs money! Adding Beer and Wine speaks volumes

The change of Brand identity by Starbucks Management was more than just about losing their identity but also about moving into other categories as I’ve stated previously. Given the word “coffee” was struck out from the new Starbucks logo design, their entire Brand identity changed which completely gave away their new positioning of entering into Other Beverage categories. I will add to that but to reiterate what I said in my previous article, “Starbucks: What’s next?” totally proves my point made in my assessment on what the management’s intentions were for the Brand.  More importantly, USA Today‘s article echoes my sentiments but again remember: No one changes anything without a reason. Management doesn’t think about consumers…ONLY Marketers do!

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

Starbucks: What’s next?

Starbucks removed the name and the word coffee from its identity not only to recreate the new logo, but because they are about to expand the category or move into a new category. Such acts by corporate management indicate only the additional products that we will witness beside the coffee. The question is what would it be? TEA? Considering the Starbucks example, there is a difference between the case studies of: McDonald’s, Nike and Starbucks

  • Remember one thing that McDonald’s removed the name and added the tagline, “I’m lovin’ it” which drove from their new positioning. This made McDonald’s the Emotionally attributed Brand over the second runner up in the burger joint category which is Burger King (which is the Functional Brand)
  • In the case of Nike, by removing the name and adding there tagline “Go Free” as part of their new positioning, it drove the Brand into the world of limitlessness and become more Humanist. Nike’s tagline was another strong emotionally driven tagline while Adidas, the direct competitor, stayed on as the Functional Brand. If Nike kept “Just Do It” and removed the name Nike, it will only keep the Brand Functional and not Emotional (in direct competition with Adidas)

Starbucks is an Emotionally-driven Brand and without the tagline imposing on the visual logo, it will only stipulate that it’s superior to the consumers’ experience. The whole Starbucks franchise came to life to offer the Italian coffee experience. Again, we see the Emotional Brand over the Functional Brand, which is the essence of the coffee experience in America: Coffee and Cream.  This puts it in direct competition with:

  • McDonald’s coffee
  • the corporate office building’s coffee services
  • $3 coffee
  • coffee from the pot
  • Dunkin’ Donuts

The prevalent question would be: Is Starbucks planning to move out of the category, rather than stay in and focused?

I predict Starbucks is moving outside of the category or expanding the category, which to me builds up to the most unprecedented SHOCK OF THE CENTURY in Brand/Branding history. A Brand with such magnitude in perception is shifting to move its Brand shape and environment from the coffee culture and experience to ‘Coffee + Tea + Whatever’s in the cup’. The paradox is (which few of us know) that the Brand Positioning “Is third place from home”. If Starbucks added a tagline for their new positioning it would at least give a direction to the new Brand Positioning and experience, in which I agree IF it’s within the category and disagree IF Starbucks is moving outside the category

Starbucks’ major challenge for coffee has been and will be the Far East and South East Asia where the Brand faced resistance from the average Far Eastern consumer who is attached to the Tea culture whereas Globally, it faced resistance from the health conscious audience who are massively on the rise. This leads to a serious question:

Did Starbucks management decide to revisit its strategy and change its external Corporate strategy that led to this new Identity?

I don’t know if Starbucks can sustain itself by flooding the new identity into the minds of the current generation and by changing the longstanding perception of Starbucks as ‘Coffee and for Coffee’ in the past three decades. This extreme shuffle would unquestionably drive the Brand to lose its current Brand Essence and Nature. The Human nature is as strong as Brand nature and both are dictated by senses as to which we are associated with as well as to what our minds accept

In the cases mentioned above, Nike remains in the Sports products category and McDonald’s is in the Burger category. Both re-positioned their brands from being Functional to Emotional, while their competitors remained Functional. I truly believe the issue here, is much more than identity. It’s about the Brand changing its nature.  Starbucks is moving into a new category or expanding the current category while maintaining Coffee as a word in the minds of the audience. The name will always remain throughout the platforms of communication, but removing a name from an identity that is associated with coffee and the word coffee itself, can only instruct the extreme change we are about to witness from the brand that was once known to be the ‘Coffee Spiritual Leader’

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

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