Brand Repositioning, Revitalization and Rebranding Project

Brand Repositioning, Revitalization and Rebranding Project

Description:
Brand management is a long-term process that involves awareness of the unique challenges that confront the brand as it progresses across the different stages of its life. In other classes we consider how to “birth” resonant brands, how to nurture promising brands, and how to leverage brands for growth into adulthood, but what do we do with brands that have passed “middle age”? As brands mature, they can lose vitality and resonance that translates to declining share and sales. Mature brands can attract new users that dilute the very meanings that gave the brand life. Brands are often brought to profit by riding a trend only to find that they later are abandoned by it. If motivated, consumers can reposition our brands for us and take them into challenging new directions. The forces of culture are forever misaligning our brands, zapping brand meanings of their resonance, and making our brand positionings stale. Mountain Dew, Old Spice, J&B, Chrysler, Dove, Burberry’s, Accenture, BMW, Samsung, JC Penney’s, Macy’s, Talbots, Ducati, Canadian Tire, Northeastern University, the Republican Party, Phillip Morris, and China: in almost every product category we can point to once prominent and admired brands that fell into (and sometimes recovered from) this state.

For obvious reasons, managers generally prefer to fix stagnant brands than introduce new ones and brand stewards draw from a portfolio of strategies to turn stale brands around. Sometimes management tweaks the marketing mix or brand elements in make-overs that breathe new life into stagnant brands. Sometimes, they attempt a radical repositioning, fundamentally changing the target audience, product, competitive set, and the very meanings of the brand. Sometimes a total rebranding is enacted and the old brand is abandoned. Brand revitalization may be chosen over brand repositioning or rebranding, with updated interpretations of the brand’s central meanings and new cultural strategies to reinvigorate the brand. Whatever the “flavor”, repositioning addresses a challenging and complex problem that risks diluting hard-won brand equity and alienating or perhaps losing core users in the chase for new opportunities for the brand. Brands often get embedded in a particular generation that eventually ages out of the franchise, and as managers at Harley-Davidson, Eileen Fischer, or J&B would tell you, courting two generations is “tough.”

In this exercise, you will identify and present a case study in which a mature brand was repositioned (successfully or unsuccessfully) and in the telling and critique of the story of this brand at the cross-roads, deduct lessons and take-aways about revitalizing and repositioning brands. Why was the brand revitalized, repositioned or rebranded; what problem was management trying to solve? What was the repositioning strategy; what tactics brought the new brand alive? Was the effort sound and successful; why or why not? What lessons and take-ways does your case offer for repositioning brands?

The case analyses are due and presented in class on October 6. Cases should be prepared and presented in PowerPoint, with your presentations uploaded before class to the Course Resources folder, “Team Assignment: Brand Repositioning, Revitalization and Rebranding.” Visual material should be leveraged to bring your case alive. Teams will have 17 minutes to present; the class will engage 8 minutes of questions with each team. Strict time limits apply. To ensure executability within the allotted time frame, teams should plan on 10-12 slides for the presentation. Final reports can contain additional slides up to a 20-slide limit. Teams may also include associated notes pages to amplify the points in and logic behind slides. Supplemental analytic tables or appendices are accepted provided these are interpreted in and have inferences for the analysis presented in the report.

Readings that may support your assignment are referenced below:
Aaker, David (1996), “Resisting Temptations to Change a Brand Position/Execution,” The Journal of Brand Management, Vol 3, 251-258

Jacobs, Harrison (2014), “11 Major Rebranding Disasters and What You Can Learn from Them,” Business Insider, April 4,

Keller, Kevin (2013), “Chapter 13: Managing Brands Over Time,” Strategic Brand Management, NY: Prentice Hall

Wansink, Brian (2001), “Revitalizing Mature Packaged Goods,” Journal of Product and Brand Management, 19 (4), 228-242.

Brand Relationship Strategy Project

Brand Relationship Strategy Project

Description:
Lured by tech-enabled opportunities to use customer data to build customized and profitable relationships, companies have invested heavily in customer relationship management (CRM) systems that quantify the value of customers. But critics note that CRM has devolved into customer profitability management: an efficiency-driven, company-centric practice that moves people to higher tiers of profitability by managing costs-to-serve but provides little insight into why and in what ways people relate to brands. To optimize CRM capabilities for branding, managers must develop a deeper appreciation of relationship psychology and fundamentals. First, relationships are not all created equal and different relationships require different ways of relating. Despite the reality of “brand relationship portfolios”, managers remain fixated on advancing high-commitment, high-passion “marriages” and ignore other strategically critical relationships formed with the brand. Second, relationships are dynamic phenomena that evolve over time and with each interaction. CRM strategies must consider migration across the relationship portfolio: transitioning weaker to stronger relationships, diffusing or shifting negative relationships to more positive or neutral templates, and growing those relationship templates with strategic significance for the brand.

In this assignment, students will analyze relationship data for a category and set of brands, and develop a relationship strategy for a brand of their choosing. Strategies should include: (1) A summary and diagnosis of the brand’s current relationship portfolio, providing insights into its composition, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities; (2) Strategic recommendations for improving the portfolio over time, including a clear statement of prioritized strategic goals, persuasive rationale for strategic recommendations, and clear directional statement regarding where the relationship portfolio is headed; and (3) Two to three tactics for achieving the top two priority strategic goals.

Relationship strategies and the analyses that inform them should be prepared in PowerPoint and uploaded before class to the Course Resources folder, “Team Assignment: Brand Relationship Strategies”. Final reports should adhere to a 20-slide limit (using 16-font or higher). Teams may include associated notes pages to amplify the points in and logic behind their slides. Supplemental analytic tables/appendices are also accepted provided these are interpreted in and have inferences for the recommendations and analyses in the report.

Students may find the readings below useful in preparing their assignments:
Alvarez, Claudio and Susan Fournier (2012), “Brand Flings: When Great Brand Relationships are Not Built to Last,” in Consumer-Brand Relationships: Theory and Practice, S.

Fournier, M. Breazeale, and M. Fetscherin (eds.), London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 74-96

Avery, Jill, Susan Fournier and John Wittenbraker (2014), “Unlock the Mysteries of your Customer Relationships,” Harvard Business Review, Spotlight on the Marketing Organization, July/August, 72-81.

Fournier, Susan (2009), “Lessons Learned about Consumers’ Relationships with their Brands,” in Handbook of Brand Relationships, Priester, MacInnis, and Park (eds.), N.Y: M.E. Sharp, 5-23

Fournier, Susan and Jill Avery (2011), “Putting the Relationship Back in CRM,” Sloan Management Review, 52 (3), 63-72

Fournier, Susan and Jill Avery (2011), “Managing Brands by Managing Brand Relationships,” in Perspectives on Brand Management, M. Uncles (ed.), Prahan, Victoria: Tilde University Press, 225-248.

Miller, Felicia, Susan Fournier and Chris Allen (2012), “Exploring Relationship Analogues in the Brand Space,” in Consumer-Brand Relationships: Theory and Practice,

Fournier, Breazeale, and Fetscherin (eds.), London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 30-56

Brand Portfolio Strategy Project

Brand Portfolio Strategy Project

Description:
One of the keys to managing brands is to consider them not only as individual performers, but as members of a holistic and integrated system where brands work to support one another. Brand Portfolio Strategy is the strategic discipline concerned with the totality of products and brands that a company brings to market and the architecture structures that unify those offerings. A sound brand portfolio aligns with and supports business goals and strategies and considers the perspective of customers because their view is the foundation for the strategy. This project engages a brand portfolio audit to design a brand portfolio that clarifies the strategic roles of different brands in the portfolio; jointly maximizes the value of individual brands and synergy across brands; identifies priority brands and candidates for deletion; considers the corporate brand connection and relationships among branding elements to improve the flow of equity to the firm; and optimizes clarity and differentiation across brands in the system.

As before, brand portfolio strategies and the analyses that inform them should be prepared in PowerPoint and uploaded before class to the Course Resources folder, “Team Assignment: Brand Portfolio Strategies”. Final reports should adhere to a 20-slide limit (using 16-font or higher). Teams may include associated notes pages to amplify the points in and logic behind their slides. Supplemental analytic tables/appendices are also accepted provided these are interpreted in and have inferences for the recommendations and analyses in the report.

Students may find the readings below useful in preparing their assignments:

Aaker, David (1996), “Managing Brand Systems,” in Building Strong Brands, ed. D. Aaker, NY: The Free Press, p. 240-267

Aaker, David (2004), “Chapter 1: What is Brand Portfolio Strategy,” in Brand Portfolio Strategy: Creating Relevance, Differentiation, Energy, Leverage and Clarity, NY: The Free Press, 3-33

Aaker, David (2004), “Chapter 3: Inputs to Brand Portfolio Decisions,” in Brand Portfolio Strategy: Creating Relevance, Differentiation, Energy, Leverage and Clarity, NY: The Free Press, 65-96

Aaker, David (2004), “Chapter 10: Toward Focus and Clarity,” in Brand Portfolio Strategy: Creating Relevance, Differentiation, Energy, Leverage and Clarity, NY: The Free Press, 289-317

Aaker, David (2004), “Leveraging the Corporate Brand,” California Management Review, 46 (3), 6-18

Ashkenas, Ron (2014), “Basecamp’s Strategy Offers a Useful Reminder: Less is More,” Harvard Business Review Blog Network,

Hill, Sam, Richard Ettenson and Dane Tyson (2005), “Achieving the Ideal Brand Portfolio,” Sloan Management Review, Winter, 85-90

Kumar, Nirmalya (2003), “Kill a Brand, Keep a Customer,” Harvard Business Review, December, 86-95

Timberlake, Cottin (2014), “P&G Plans to Shed 100 Brands to Focus on Top Performers,” Bloomberg Business Week, August 1

Brand Blog Project

Brand Blog Project

Description:
Over the course of the semester, you will write a weekly blog on a brand of your choice.

Choosing a Topic:
For your topic, you will analyze a particular brand (Apple, Starbucks, Prius, American Red Cross, Greenpeace, etc.) Your chosen brand should be broad enough to provide you with plenty of inspiration for weekly discussion throughout the semester, but narrow enough to allow you to focus in and research something in depth.

In your first blog post, you should outline your idea for a brand topic and tell me why you are interested in studying it and what you think the potential is for learning. I will respond with my thoughts about whether your topic is appropriate for study. Once you have received my comments, you may begin your blog.
Weekly Blogging Activity

Each week, you will write a short blog post (1,000 words) about your brand, relating it to the readings and discussions we have in class. Below are weekly questions to guide your blogging. Answer these questions in your weekly posts.

The general business media (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Business Week) or specialized marketing trade magazines (Advertising Age, AdWeek) are good sources of information about your topic. I have also posted links to several brand blogs that may be helpful on the course website. You may also want to find current books devoted to your brand. You may embellish your blog by posting relevant news items, videos, and/or photographs; however, your grade will be based on your own description and analysis of your brand.

Make sure that you are moving beyond description (describing your brand’s activities) to analysis (analyzing your brand’s activities and/or performance in relation to brand theories). Use the chart below to distinguish between description and analysis:

Brand Associations Exercise

Brand Associations Exercise

Description:
To have students elicit and analyze brand associations for leading global brands.

Materials needed:
White posterboard sheets with sticky stuff on the back (one for each student)
Markers (one for each student)
Brand logo printouts

How to run it:
Print out logos from the Interbrands Top Brand survey. Paste each logo to a whiteboard sheet and hang all of the sheets around the classroom. Be sure to have enough brands to work on so that each student can be standing at a sheet. Hand each student a marker and have him/her go to a sheet.
(20 minutes) Students should start with one sheet and then work their way around the room trying to hit as many brands as possible. While at a sheet, they should quickly write down anything that pops into their head about that brand – thoughts, feelings, people, words, phrases, etc. in bullet form. If students get to a sheet that is already filled in, they should place check-marks next to things already on the page that represent their thoughts about the brand, i.e. things that they agree with. If they disagree with something that is already up on the sheet, they should put an X next to it. Then, they should add anything new that occurs to them about the brand. Let students get to at least 10 different brands in the exercise.

(20 minutes) Come back together as a class and discuss what is up on the sheets.

Start with general questions:
Was this hard or easy for you to do? Why?
What patterns do you see across brands?
What differences do you see across brands?

Then, get more specific:
What kinds of brand associations are there? Probing for functional, emotional, attitudes, identity-related, user-imagery, etc. Also probing for positive vs. negative. Can reference Aaker’s brand association article here entitled “Beyond functional benefits”.

Where do brand associations come from? Probing for marketer-authored vs. consumer authored, culturally shared vs. idiosyncratic, heard vs. experienced, inherent to the product/service or created through storytelling (advertising and other marketing communications).

Which brands have few brand associations? Why? What does this say about these brands? Differentiate between low brand awareness (i.e. brands like Cisco, HSBC which are unfamiliar to most students) and weak brand meaning. Point out that certain brands (i.e. Cisco, SAP) are leading global brands, but they have very low awareness and meaning for a student target market, but great strength in their own B2B target market.

Which brands have many brand associations? Why? What does this say about these brands?

Brand Meaning and Personality Exercise

Brand Meaning and Personality Exercise

Description:
To have students explore and analyze brand meaning and brand personality using a variety of market research techniques.
Materials needed:
• Exercise worksheets for each student (see attached)
• Each student needs to work with a particular brand – if they are working on projects for the semester, they should use their project brand.

How to run it:
Group students into pairs and distribute the worksheet below.

Tapping into Brand Meaning Exercise

Team up with a classmate and explore brand meaning through the following exercises. As you go through the exercises, think about which ones are offering the most interesting insights. Take turns talking about each of your brands using the different techniques.

1.) Free Association
Ask your partner to write down ten things that pop into their mind when you say your brand. If they have no trouble doing so, ask them to write down five more.

2.) Brand Association Prompts
Ask your partner to fill in the blanks for the following statements:

When I use this brand, I get ________________.

The job that this brand does for me is ____________________.

When I use this brand, I feel ________________.

When I use this brand, I am ________________.

When I use this brand, the type of people I relate to are ________________.

3.) Brand Personality Projection
Ask your partner to answer the following questions and probe with follow up questions to understand their answers and uncover deeper meanings:

If your brand was a person, who would it be?

What demographic traits would it have?

What activities would it enjoy doing?

What personality traits would define it?

What kind of lifestyle would your brand enjoy?

Who would be your brand’s best friend?

If you could have a conversation with your brand, what would the two of you talk about?

What kind of music, movies, television shows would your brand enjoy?

4.) Sensory Techniques
Uncover the sensorial properties of your brand by asking the following types of questions. Remember to probe to understand the deeper brand meaning behind your brand.

What does your brand smell like?

What does your brand sound like?

What does your brand feel like?

What does your brand look like?

What does your brand taste like?

(30 minutes) There are four exercises on the worksheet. Pairs should run through each exercise for each of their brands.
(15 minutes) Come back together as a class and discuss what happened in the pairs.

• Which of the four market research techniques did you find most (least) valuable? Why?
• Which market research techniques would be most valuable to a brand manager? Why?
• How did the type of brand meaning elicited vary across market research technique? Probe for functional vs. emotional, facts vs. attitudes, culturally shared vs. idiosyncratic, marketer authored vs. consumer authored, etc.
• What did you learn about your brand that you didn’t know from your own experience? What surprised you?

Brand Identity Exercise

Brand Identity Exercise

Description:
To learn how to analyze various brand identity elements including name, logo, symbols, colors, characters, spokespeople, slogans/tag lines, packaging design, etc.

Materials needed:

Physical samples of two brands from the same category (one of each for every two students)– one relatively rich in brand narrative with relatively strong brand identity elements, but largely unknown, especially to your students (low awareness/high meaning narrative) and one relatively poor in brand narrative with relatively weak brand identity elements, but widely known, especially to your students (high awareness/low meaning narrative). These will help you differentiate between building brand awareness and building brand meaning. This semester, I used two brands of iced-tea. My low awareness/high meaning brand was “Rob’s Really Good Half and Half” and my high awareness/low meaning brand was “Nestea Iced Tea”

How to run it:
Group students into pairs and distribute the product samples. Remind students of the various brand identity elements and the criteria by which you would like them to judge them (list on the board).

(20 minutes) Ask students to analyze the brand identity elements of each brand and evaluate them on the following criteria (introduced in a lecture earlier in the class):

• Is it memorable?
• Is it meaningful?
• Is it likeable?
• Is it differentiated from the competition?
• Is it transferable? (product extensions/brand extensions)
• Is it adaptable? (across cultures, across target markets)
• Is it protectable? (by trademark or patent)

(20 minutes) Come back together as a class and discuss what happened in the pairs.

• Which is the stronger brand identity? Why? Probe to draw out differences between awareness and meaning. Students are likely to prefer the low awareness/high meaning brand, but ask them to consider why the high awareness/low meaning brand is doing so well in the marketplace. Make the point that having a good brand narrative is not enough and that brands need to spend to build awareness. A good story that no one has heard of means nothing in the marketplace.
• How did each brand use its brand elements to build brand meaning? Which elements are contributing to the brand meaning and which are not?
• Which brand elements are most memorable? most meaningful? most likeable? most differentiated from the competition? most transferable? most adaptable? most protectable?
• How would you improve each brand’s identity?
• How important is brand meaning in this category? Why? What types of brand meaning are most important?
• How important is brand awareness in this category? Why?

Brands in Culture Exercise

Brands in Culture Exercise

Description:
Illuminate the culturally shared meanings of brands through cultural analysis of how the brands are used in popular culture.

How to Run it:
In advance of the class session, deliver the following assignment:
“Think about movies, television shows, songs, videogames, etc. that feature brands. How is the brand used to tell the story in each of these mediums? Who are the characters using the brand and what defines them? How does the brand help the story move along? What types of movies, television shows, songs, videogames feature the brand?”

In class, prompt discussion of the cultural meaning of brands with the following questions:
1.) Why do popular culture artists (writers, songwriters, movie and television producers) use brands in their work?
2.) Which types of brands are most used in popular culture? Why? What does this usage say about the brands?
3.) How does this type of usage help and hurt the brands? What are the opportunities and risks for brand managers?

LOGORAMA Exercise

LOGORAMA Exercise

Description:
Illuminate the culturally shared meanings of brands through cultural analysis of how brands are used in a popular movie

Materials Needed:
Student access to the short film Logorama, which can be found at http://vimeo.com/10149605

How to run it:
Logorama is a short 16 minute film that was directed by the French animation collective H5, François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy and Ludovic Houplain. It was presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2009 and it opened the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Recently, it won a 2010 academy award under the category of animated short.

The film depicts events in a stylized Los Angeles, and is told entirely through the use of more than 2,500 contemporary and historical brand logos and mascots.

WARNING: Logorama contains explicit profanity and is for adult audiences only. If you are uncomfortable watching the film, please contact me and I will provide you with an alternative assignment.

Once you have watched the film, answer the following eight questions.
1.) Which types of brands are included in Logorama? Which brands were noticeably absent from Logorama? Why were you surprised not to see these brands?

2.) Why do you think the film’s directors chose to include the brands they did in the movie? Choose three brands featured in the film and analyze what messages they carried or helped convey in the plot through their brand meaning.

3.) The film’s producer claimed, “I’m the producer of the film, so I have to thank the 3,000 non-official sponsors that appear in the film. And I have to assure them that no logos were harmed in the making of the project.” Was he correct? Did the film build or destroy brand equity for the included brands? Why?

4.) How exactly did the film’s directors parody different brands? How harmful are these parodies overall to the brands’ image?

5.) Analyze the Ronald McDonald character that you saw in the film and its effect on the McDonald’s brand equity. If you were the brand manager for McDonald’s, how would you respond to Logorama? Would you a.) sue the producers for violation of your trademark, b.) ignore it, or c.) pursue a path somewhere in between? Why?

6.) A brand manager from Cash Converter, a brand featured in the film sent this email to Logorama’s directors, “Thank you, I just saw our logotype in some pictures [from the film] and we appreciate you used the logotype in the middle of all the big brands. It matches perfectly with our strategy that you put Cash Converter on the main street, in the heart of the city, thank you so much!”. How has Logorama increased the brand equity of Cash Converter?

7.) Given the guidelines for branding in Web 2.0, what advice would you provide to brand managers regarding Logorama?

8.) Looking at Logorama as a whole, what does the film tell us about the role of brands in contemporary life? Is this a positive or negative view of branding and our consumption culture? Why? What is the overall message the directors are trying to convey?

Consumption In Virtual Worlds And Online Communities Exercise

Consumption In Virtual Worlds And Online Communities Exercise

Description:
For this lab, you will explore how emerging social media applications have facilitated the formation and growth of subcultures of consumption and brand communities. This assignment is designed to illuminate how consumption brings people together into communities and the role that consumption plays in the creation and maintenance of societies.

Phase 1: ONLINE OBSERVATION
You have your choice of completing this assignment in two different types of online consumption cultures: either Brand Community Web Forums OR Virtual Worlds.

Brand Community Web Forums
If you choose to do your lab in brand community web forums, you are required to study two different types of sites: a pro-brand community and an anti-brand community. You will use non-participant observation, i.e. you will observe, but not interact with your chosen brand communities.

Observation Site #1: Pro-Brand Community
For your first site, please find an online community which is pro-brand, i.e. in which supporters or fans of a brand interact with each other. You can find numerous brand fan sites dedicated to car brands, technology brands, clothing brands, etc. Examples include  (Porsche brand community),  (Corvette brand community),  (Star Trek brand community),  (Lost brand community),  (Red Sox brand community), or  (Nike brand community). Go to the web forum area of the site and spend some time reading the conversations that people on the site are having with one another. Your job is to observe, but not interact with the participants in the web forum. Notice what they are talking about and more importantly, how they are interacting with each other. You will have to read through many conversations (check the archives) to get a sense of their social relationships.

Observation Site #2: Anti-Brand Community
For your second site, please find an online community which is anti-brand, i.e. in which people who are opposed to a brand interact with each other.

Examples include
www.ihatestarbucks.com or www.homedepotsucks.com. Go to the web forum area of the site and spend some time reading the conversations that people on the site are having with one another. Again, your job is to observe, but not interact with the participants on the web forum. Notice what they are talking about and, more importantly, how they are interacting with each other. You will have to read through many conversations (check the archives) to get a sense of their social relationships.