In early 2002, Scott Bedbury offered nine ways to fix a broken brand. Yesterday, Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge published a piece on second acts for old brands. They're an interesting comparative read. First, Bedbury's nine points of exploration:
- I know that my brand is broken -- I just don't know why.
- My brand changes direction with each new product and marketing campaign. Everything is disconnected and off on different tangents. How do I keep it cohesive?
- My brand is boring. It doesn't create excitement in my customers or in my employees. (And it's been a long time since it excited anyone on Wall Street.)
- My brand is dead.
- My brand is stuck in the past.
- My brand is too narrow.
- My brand is immature.
- My brand isn't cool.
As a corollary, Jeff Himmel, chairman of the Himmel Group, which has helped turn around brands such as Ovaltine (yum) and Lavoris (huh?), offers the following 12 "musts":
- Point of difference. Will consumers buy this product instead of another brand?
- Unique selling proposition. Does the product tell a unique story?
- Make the brand stand out.
- Dominant share of advertising.
- Frequency of advertising. Make sure the message about your product is repeated over and over to the public.
- Listen to the consumer, and then listen again more carefully.
- Produce creative advertising that strikes a chord with the consumer.
- Control commercial production costs. (He tends to only spend about $2,000 producing a commercial.)
- Use your money to place ads, not make ads, and get a dominant share of advertising.
- Live in a state of perpetual paranoia and always know what your competitors are doing.
- Consider the X factors about your product. For example, does it have an existing distribution, or will it have to be created from scratch?
- Have discipline to follow all the points on this list.
While Himmel's list seems more tactical than strategic in nature -- and seems to address other traditional sales and marketing concerns as well -- the two approaches work well together. While Bedbury may be more descriptive -- in terms of identifying why a brand isn't working -- Himmel's prescriptive advice may go far to help fix a broken brand.