CIM/UEA Marketing Club, 25/02/2021 — Every Brand Needs a Point


The second webinar of this academic year hosted by CIM Greater London took place on the 25th of February 2021.

The webinar started with Phil Preston, the CIM Volunteer Partnership Manager, briefly introducing the CIM Marketing Club, Graduate Gateway programme, and encouraging students to sign up for the newsletter designed to support their studies and update them on the latest trends in the marketing world. You can sign up to receive the Graduate Gateway Newsletter for free here.

Next, Bruce M McKinnon, the guest speaker of the event, lead a lively and informative presentation on the core benefits and the building blocks of a strong brand strategy. Bruce is the author of the award-winning book ‘What’s Your Point?’, and founder of The Brand Arrow, a specialist brand strategy practice with clients in Europe and the US across many sectors, including artificial intelligence, fashion and software among others.

Bruce also hold a CIM Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing, and regularly speaks on the subject of branding at conferences, schools and CIM events.

Bruce kicked off the presentation with a story to illustrate the power brand strategy can give to an organisation. He recounts meeting Jeff Moore, the founder of the Canadian coffee company ‘Just Us’ and asking him the story behind the name of the company. Although Jeff initially found it quite difficult to answer this question, he eventually decided that the meaning, and most importantly the point, behind the name Just Us was the idea that “there is no them and us, just us (the human family)”.

According to Bruce, every organisation needs a point, which he defines as a sharp definition of its focus, which is ultimately going to stick in people’s mind.

He continued the presentation by walking us through the definition, purpose and benefits of a brand strategy. His main points are summarised below.

What is it?

Brand – a product or service that delivers a consistent and distinctive benefit to a customer. It also contains a set of characteristics to differentiate itself from its competitors and remain familiar to its customers.

Brand Strategy – the role of a brand strategy is to discover, define and order the different facets of the organisation (eg. products, messaging, values, etc.), and represent their purpose and character in a way that is true and relevant to all of them.

The Big 6 Brand Strategy Benefits

  • It represents and therefore directs the whole organisation giving it a much better chance at success
  • It makes strategic decision making easier so resources will be better distributed, boosting the company’s resources.
  • It defines a vision your whole team can understand and somewhere to head towards.
  • It distils your true value and strongly defines and delivers the organisation’s key messages.
  • Makes you relevant to the customersand different from the competition.

What you need

There are four main elements needed to create a brand strategy:

  • Vision – a big, broad and long definition that explains the destination of the brand. It also outlines the barriers (things that could potentially slow you down or stop you) and drivers(assets we have that will help you move towards the vision) to reaching it.
  • Positioning – the DNA of the brand; it shapes how it develops and how it communicates. It describes what makes the brand unique to your team. Afterall if your team doesn’t understand your brand then what hope do customers have? Bruce advised Positioning was best distilled into one or two words and was aimed at an internal audience, whereas the Proposition was consumer facing.
  • Proposition – expressed the positioning to your team and then your customers. It is a slogan that introduces your brand to your customers.
  • Values – the character of the brand. These are influential internally, they as a benchmark for your team when making strategic choices. They are also influential externallyas they help your customers recognise you.

What it provides

  • Key message – it ensures the brand is both relevant to customers and different from the competition. It should prioritise communicating the benefits the brand can provide for the customer.
  • Elevator pitch – describing what specific problem customers are facing can be solved by the brand.
  • Brand name – should reflect the benefits and direction of the brand.
  • Logo – it’s an expression of the brand, it helps graphically communicate your brand. The logo of a brand needs to be distinctive, relevant and memorable

The webinar ended with a brief Q&A session, with the speaker providing more depth to the topic of brand strategy.

The event was overall very enjoyable and interesting, it provided useful knowledge and tips on how to implement a successful brand strategy. The recording of the webinar can be found on the CIM YouTube channel.

By Jasnoor Singh, CIM/UEA Marketing Club Student Representative

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