7 key lessons in brand management

Today some of us Marketing Academy Scholars attended The Annual as guests of Marketing Week. There were many fantastic speakers including Syl Saller from Diageo and Paul Dickinson of Virgin Atlantic who I am sure I will come to mention in late posts however, today I am going to focus on the wise words of one Mark Ritson, Professor at MIT, a brand consultant to some of the world’s most prestigious brands and a man that really knows how to bring subjects to life.

His speech highlighted the following 7 things that brand teams should really focused on:

  1. Remember what the word brand means
    The word “brand” is derived from the Old Norse brandr, meaning “to burn.” It refers to the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products. Marketeers need to remember that their brand is about heritage, place, time and ingredients.
  2. Targeting means two things
    Targeting isn’t just about identifying who your target market is, it is also about identifying who you want to exclude from your brand. He said “When you try to be all things to all people, you end up pleasing no-one”. It is about having the guts to target a smaller pool of customers, which he says many marketeers don’t get.
  3. Your consumers define your competition
    Competitors are of a particular threat to your business if you dont consider them as competitors. By asking competitors who else comes to mind when they think of a product like yours it will through up early warning signs.
  4. Brand positioning – keep it tight
    When thinking about brand positioning it is important to remember that the most important person in the process are the staff serving them. Less is more when it comes to positioning, keep it simple in order to be heard, otherwise the brand message can get lost, a bit like a game of chinese whispers! Forget all the marketing models and keep it to just 4 words, noone will remember more than that.
  5. Avoid the usual suspects in the brand words
    Mark highlights the usual suspects he sees all the time are:

    • reliability
    • integrity
    • innovation
    • excellence
    • trust

    He also claims that market leaders will not have any of the above words in their brand positioning.

  6. Consistency is overrated
    Strong brands don’t have to be constant. Brands should be disruptive, in honour of their brand DNA. If they are they shouldn’t be able to be copied.
  7. Don’t be afraid to kill brands
    In a portfolio of brands the weak ones should be killed off so that the others have more reasources to grow. It will create greater value.

If you have found the insights above of interest you may want to read his articles in Marketing Week.

I will do my best to write up more insights from the conference shortly.


About vickimcivor

A marketeer who loves brands, communications and digital. You can visit my personal blog at www.vickimcivor.com or follow me on twitter at twitter/vickimcivor. I also contibute to posts on www.themarketingacademy.wordpress.com and www.veryboredcook.co.uk
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3 Responses to 7 key lessons in brand management

  1. Great summary Vicki. It was truly inspiring stuff. Mark, if you’re reading this, thanks again for an awesome session.

  2. Hey Lucie,

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for writing these up from Mark. We’ve just been using them in a workshop in the office around branding and well, having them written up like this is just super useful.


  3. Eeek… credit where it’s due Whatley. The lovely Vicki is actually responsible for the write-up, but thanks!


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