Optimizing a Cluttered Brand Portfolio for a Better Looking ROI

Challenge: A company’s new C Suite Leadership team was looking to focus their limited resources to drive flagging revenue and market share.

Approach: We first conducted a full-day immersion work session with the CEO, CMO, and other key stakeholders to explore and align goals. Then we used an iterative research process to uncover marketplace insights, opportunities for growth and assess business impact. Finally, we brought the strategy to life by developing specific activation plans. Key steps in the process included:

  • Identified internal myths the business was operating under (including: this was a price-driven commoditized category, blue collar men were the optimal target, and one brand could capture the entire demand)
  • Determined the optimal number of consumer-facing brands to capture the largest consumer share while avoiding cannibalization
  • Identified the key consumers to target for each remaining brand in the portfolio
  • Developed a differentiated and compelling brand positioning for each brand that leveraged existing strengths and identified realistic stretch equities
  • Conducted internal immersion & activation sessions with each operating unit where we; 
    • Explained the new brand positioning in terms that were functionally appropriate (e.g. primarily pictures and voice of the customer for the Education & Training Team versus data and detail for the Marketing Team)
    • Brainstormed tactics for activating the positioning that were operationally feasible (e.g. with only a 5-person national training team, within the capital budget constraints or within an acceptable technology development window)
    • Uncovered existing operational challenges that represented barriers to success – including the sheer volume of responsibilities asked of the customer-facing hourly employee that impeded their ability to deliver the behaviors that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty

Results: The company implemented 3 of the tactical activities developed during the immersion workshop that delivered benefits important to the target customer and were feasible to implement in the short-term. After these activities were implemented, customer satisfaction measures increased by over 10% leading to incremental revenue gains. And with that success, the whole company became energized brand evangelists.

Stemming Share Erosion in a Heated Competitive Battle

Challenge: A QSR chain with franchise locations throughout the US was the market leader in its category but was facing stagnant revenue as competitors were slowly chipping away share. The company wanted to reposition its brand among younger “Millennials”, a group that the company believed offered the best prospects for jumpstarting growth.

Approach: We gathered consumer insights using both qualitative and quantitative research to:

  • Understand consumers’ needs in their own language
  • Determine the current brand equity
  • Build an objective view of the competitive landscape – identifying where opportunities and challenges lay
  • Identify the key consumer segments to target for growth – based on brand affinity, upside econometrics and actionable behaviors
  • Develop a brand positioning based on emotional and functional benefits that conveyed compelling differentiation among the target consumers

Results: While targeting Millennials was initially believed to be the optimal source for revenue growth, objective evidence showed that only a small sub-segment of Twenty Somethings were open to increasing their share of wallet with this brand. Instead, the greater opportunity for revenue growth came from targeting older families. This consumer segment spent much more per month in this category and had a greater affinity towards this brand, making the potential revenue opportunity larger. To capture the greatest revenue potential, messages that were compelling to both of these consumer groups were developed for the subsequent advertising campaign.

Revitalizing a B2B Brand to Build Differentiation in a Commoditized Category

Challenge: A large, multi-national B2B industrial corporation was facing insurgent competition from emerging market countries. To build a foundation for future revenue growth, the company needed to revitalize its brand to differentiate itself in the changing market environment.

Approach: We dove deep both internally and externally to assess realistic market opportunities and then craft a positioning that would create compelling differentiation. As part of the project we:

  • Interviewed key internal executives to gain a comprehensive understanding of the business’ challenges and opportunities
  • Conducted global qualitative and quantitative research to determine the functional and emotional drivers of choice for senior B2B executives and to identify the specific language that resonated across titles and countries
  • Determined the optimal brand positioning framework that was both credible and compelling
  • Developed a messaging framework that brought the new brand positioning to life for each key audience

Results: When, at first, the engineering driven CEO and senior leadership team had trouble picturing how the brand strategy related to their roles, we translated the positioning into a series of messaging narratives. These narrative elements were then successfully incorporated into a holistic communications plan, including PR and tradeshow activities, employee engagement programs, and on-campus recruiting.