One of my new years resolutions was to read one business related book every month. Well, it’s March and I just made it through January’s book. Ta-da!
Moving right along… the book I chose to read was Star Brands: A Brand Manager’s Guide to Build, Manage & Market Brands by Carolina Rogoll. I had the chance to see Carolina speak at HOW Design Live a few years ago, when she was getting ready to debut this book. I found her to be incredibly informative, with a huge depth of knowledge about building brands. I mean, as someone who has been in the business for over a decade building brands for Procter & Gamble, and who teaches a Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, you know this woman knows what she’s talking about.
The book begins introspectively, helping the reader to assess the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of their brand, and moves right on into helping develop that brand’s ideal or their ‘why’. It’s meant to be a brand manager’s guide, so other important aspects of the book include determining what phase the brand is in: is it growing? Does it need to defend it’s position? Or could it be a matter of simply milking the brand for what it’s worth, and moving on? This status for the brand helps to determine later communication strategies, what research may be required, how to determine your marketing mix, and how to present these goals to stakeholders in a way that will get the company on board with the plan for the brand.
It’s a lot of really great information, most of which is currently outside of my normal day to day. For me, where I found the most value currently was in the focus on building up my business’s brand ideal. She and her contemporaries have found that companies who take time to really craft their brand equity are more likely to succeed, even by as much as 400 percent (Ref. 1)! “Proof that a well-defined ideal is well worth developing and nurturing.”
The brand ideal is the epitome of a larger idea of crafting a brand’s Brand Equity Pyramid. As Carolina describes it, “The value of brands is based on the theory that a well-known brand is likely to generate more sales than one that is lesser known, as consumers will perceive the products or services of a well-known brand as superior. Therefore, a brand creates equity, or value, by having a recognized brand name this is associated with a particular product or service offering”. Crafting a brand story with this idea in mind is the goal behind creating your own Brand Equity Pyramid.
While this may work for large companies that specialize in things like selling detergent on a global scale, it also can work for small business owners, like ourselves. Simply because our reach may not be global, or as far reaching as some companies, does not mean that we can’t benefit within our target markets by carefully differentiating our own brand stories, or Brand Equity Pyramids. It also sets the stage for meaningful brand growth beyond the products and services we currently offer.
So how to go about it? A Brand Equity Pyramid is in a way more far-reaching than a mission statement alone, so time must be taken to really hone in on the messaging you want to relay through your brand. For the most help, I recommend purchasing Carolina Rogoll’s book, but below I’ve shared a brief overview of how the Brand Equity Pyramid works and what each section means below. I’m currently working on my own brand Pyramid, and truthfully, it’s already helping me shape an idea of my business that I had loosely, but hadn’t totally defined. By defining it through the lens of the Pyramid, I’m getting ideas for ways to deliver on my messaging that I might not have come up with otherwise! So take a look, try it for yourself, and definitely get Carolina’s book for more inspiration and instruction!
Reference 1: Jim Stengel, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies (New York: Crown Business, 2011) quoted in Carolina Rogoll Star Brands: A Brand Manager’s Guide to Build, Manage & Market Brands (New York: Allworth Press, 2015), 64