September 15, 2008

Reinvigorating Your Brand

Welcome to the September edition of Work. This time of year just seems to evoke change. Maybe it’s the start of the school year, summer vacations coming to a close or the return of Ugly Betty and Monday Night Football. Whatever the case may be, it’s a time of transition. So we thought it
would be appropriate to focus this month’s issue on Marketing Makeovers.
We reveal our makeover for Dillard’s Westbound Collection in the
Shameless Self–Promotion feature.

But let’s not say goodbye to summer just yet. We still have many days of fun in the sun yet to come. So go out and enjoy, check out our Get Out and Stay Out section for some great ideas.

All the best,

MDG Team

Marketing Makeovers - Reinvigorating Your Brand

Brands are a lot like people. They have a unique personality, a set of core values, a personal history and experience highs and lows throughout their lifecycle. Just like people, brands need to change with the times, update their image and evolve. The major difference is that as people we can accomplish this by renewing our wardrobe, investing in a self–help book or following the advice of the latest makeover maven. Changing a brand image however, is a bit more complicated. This is not an impulse decision but one that requires serious strategic planning and is most often made in reaction to shifts in market share, consumer perception or roll out of new features or product.

So how do you evaluate if your brand needs a facelift? While monitoring market share is a good place to start, it’s vital to create on-going dialog with consumers. You need to know how your brand is perceived by customers and stakeholders, therefore you need to start asking some pertinent questions.

  • What does the brand represent in the hearts and minds of consumers?
  • What expectations does the consumer have of the brand?
  • Are there any unintended positive attributes that you should capitalize on?
  • Are there any values that are no longer relevant?
  • Is the brand perception consistent throughout all customer contact points?

Once you’ve conducted your research you can begin to formulate some conclusions.

Sign of the times

Maybe you’ve learned that your brand feels dated and think it’s time to give your logo the heave–ho? Don’t take the wrecking ball to your visual identity just yet! It’s best to make gradual changes. Drastic moves may alienate and confuse your current consumer base. Think evolution rather than revolution.

Change comes from within
What if your brand is a bit out of focus? Take Starbucks for example, after months of declining stock prices they brought back the company founder and chairman Howard Schultz who plans on bringing ‘laser like focus’ back to the business. “Successful fast-growing businesses can sometimes find that their success had unintended consequences,” Mr. Schultz said, in a conference call with investors. “We lost the focus on what we once had, and that is the customer.”

As the old saying goes, change comes from within. In other words, marketers need to clean house internally before presenting a fresh face to the public.
This may involve conducting a brand audit and revisiting the brand positioning, strategy and value. It is vital for your constituents to adopt the change if you want your consumers to follow.

Keep in mind, change may not come easy: you will have supporters as well as foes. The important thing is to not loose sight of your goals and stay true to course. When you have your ducks in a row you’ll want to develop a plan to instill the new attributes in the minds of constituents. Once you achieve internal adoption, it’s time to reveal your new image to the public.

Get Out and Stay Out

MDG staff can help keep the good times rolling with some fun events both near and far!

Harvest Festival
When: October 4, 5, 2008, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Where: El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Rhode Island School of Design Student Sale
When: October 11, 2008, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Where: Benefit Street, Providence, RI

Wife Carrying Championship
When: October 11, 2008
Where: Sunday River Resort, Newry, Maine

Pumpkin Festival
When: October 25, 2008
Where: Keene, NH

Shameless Self-Promotion

Dillards needed to reinvigorate an existing brand. MDG was brought in to update the Westbound identity and more accurately convey the spirit of the collection. In order to speak to today’s woman, MDG created an apparel identity program, in-store presentation, point of purchase and other elements that included a dynamic new logo, sleek typeface and energetic lifestyle imaging. The modern stylist campaign lives under the theme “Find your life’s direction.”

Culture Club

Here are our picks of what to read/watch this month.

Book: Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tricks for Better Writing by
Mignon Fogarty

TV: True Blood, HBO

Film: Man on Wire