Build a stronger brand relationship by breaking down your walls

22 Jul
22 juli, 2018

So we’re up to our fourth date in this article series about brand experience strategy. Isn’t it about time to break down your walls and get personal in this relationship? If you’re here for a first date, though, you may want to go back and start with the proper introductions when we defined what we wanted out of the brand experience.

Because today, we may need to get into some tough love: dealing with the silos in your organization. The question is are you working with each other or just near each other?

When it comes to the brand experience, people in different silos or departments of a company will give different answers about how to deliver on it, which is often fine because each role has a different part to play in the brand experience. However, what we’ve discovered is that rarely do these different departments talk with each other about the whole brand experience. They’re mostly focused on creating AN experience instead of synching up THE brand experience over time. And supporting agencies, consultancies, suppliers and producers rarely know what all the rest are up to. Actually, even within companies, most departments don’t really see their role in the brand experience or get any meaningful insights, data or strategy for it.

But whether you do or not, your customers will connect the dots. In fact, they don’t even see dots. They see one brand. They don’t distinguish between your customer service and your sales team, your product and your social media presence. An inconsistent or “meh” experience in one area reflects on them all. You cannot expect people to buy what you’re selling when they don’t “buy what you’re selling.”

“X brand’s products are supposed to help us be carefree and happy, but their customer service sounds like the grumpiest place on earth.”

“Yeah, Y brand says they believe diversity is strength, but did you see they just partnered with Z brand, the most male-dominated company in their industry?”

People may not say these things out loud or even think them in words at all, but they do feel them. And as brilliant minds like Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman have proven, we aren’t the rational creatures we like to think we are. We choose with our gut and our emotions first and rationalize afterwards. Even in B2B. We’re all human and we judge companies on how they act all the time, not just how they act in public.

So, together with relevance and gaps, we want to find where in your organization things may be a bit isolated or misaligned – the silos – and then help bring you in sync.

Our team at Graal Brand Agency is exploring how to help companies become more modular than siloed – orchestrating a smart way to share information and cross-pollinate ideas as departments come in at different times depending on needs and stages of the brand experience. We help as a showrunner, keeping the holistic brand experience in sync over time, and ensuring every role is informed, inspired and focused in their part of the experience – allowing them each to shine in their areas of expertise without maverick experiences spinning off into inconsistent brand experience.

This true collaboration also hinges on measuring right. Companies can no longer accept siloed efforts, but that also means companies need to start measuring departmental performance on collaborative efforts and results, not just their own functional performance.

So after defining brand experience, introducing the infinity loop, talking about relevance, looking for gaps and dealing with silos, now we have only one moment left together. And it’s all about sharing special moments. So slip into something comfortable and meet me here again tomorrow.

Mind the gaps for the highest return on brand equity

21 Jul
21 juli, 2018

If you’ve been following along in this article series, we’re now on our third date. This is getting serious. Or maybe for some it’s our first date. Either way, if you need a quick reminder of our dating profile, skim through the previous articles about defining brand experience and making sure yours is relevant.

We’ve covered the foundations for creating a lifelong relationship with customer, employees, investors and everyone important for true brand love. I.e., building up a stronger brand equity. Today, we’re talking about #2 of our four essentials for mapping the brand experience: gaps.

Brand equity is the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself (thanks, Oxford Dictionaries). Getting the highest return on that depends on the seamless experience, because where there are gaps equity leaks out.

As a simple example, let’s say you’re a B2B brand that stands for simplicity. Well, if finding a parking space outside your sales office, figuring out your check-in system, and hooking up my laptop to your conference room WiFi are just complicated, you’ve already lost me on simplicity. Now there’s this subconscious break with your brand experience that you have to work harder to recover from in your next interaction with me.

As we work with the Brand Experience Infinity Loop, we need to be on the lookout for gaps, and realize they can happen anywhere.In fact, one of the less recognized ways companies are leaking brand equity is through internal gaps, like employee happiness, which radiate outward to affect customer experience. Internal gaps are often the first gaps we look for when helping with a company’s brand experience strategy because the customer experience depends on employees embracing and sincerely expressing the core of what their brand stands for. Not to mention that employee happiness and brand love is proven to increase productivity and profitability.

At Graal Brand Agency, we’ve just been part of a success story with a client that recovered from a low point in both results and employee energy – doubling their EBITDA in three years. A revitalization of their brand played an important part, as we focused on the brand experience to energize employees. And let me tell you, the celebration party when they hit their target was pure love. Now, we can’t wait to release their brand experience externally. Here’s just a peek.

And you can check out their brand music on Spotify.

Now, finding gaps in your brand experience is not a failure. Everyone has them. But not everyone is looking for them actively in the right places. So finding gaps is the best kind of opportunity. It gives you an edge because you can work on closing them and strengthening your brand experience over your competitors’.

So now we’re three articles into our relationship: THE brand experience, relevance, and gaps. For our fourth date tomorrow, we’re getting personal and breaking down your silos.

How relevant is your brand experience, really?

20 Jul
20 juli, 2018

If you’ve read my previous article, you know we’re working with a holistic definition for brand experience. We’re treating it like a lifelong relationship rather than just a date now and then (it’s THE brand experience rather than AN experience). That means it’s not just the impression you make in that little black dress you save for special occasions, but it’s also who you turn out to be in everyday reality, sans makeup in rush-hour traffic.

You see, people are demanding more from the relationship today. According to A Great Place to Work, “people are holding the companies in their lives to a higher standard as consumers, investors, and employees. In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, consumers now seek ‘value and values.’”* And they are not afraid of speaking up about it … or putting their money where their mouth is.

“More than 71 percent of Americans are part of a ‘spend shift,’ in which consumers are actively aligning their spending with their values. This shift cuts across demographic groups and is rewarding companies that demonstrate transparency, authenticity, and kindness in their operations.”* 71 percent. This is no mere blip.

People want to know you stand for something more than products and profit and, if you want it to lead to sales, it had better be something that’s relevant to them. So relevance is the first of four essentials for brand experience strategy that our team at Graal Brand Agency is exploring.

Relevance is about putting human experience and values at the center of all your business decisions. It isn’t about jumping on the latest trend or technology. It’s about taking the time to understand what matters and why. To be proactive about human behavior instead of reactive.

But I understand it’s tough to take that time today. Companies are caught up in keeping up. If we just look at one part of the brand experience alone – marketing – it used to be that Mad Men could get away with producing four great pieces of content in a year, now we need 4,000. But volume and speed may not get you where you want. Speeding up might just be doing the wrong things faster.

So if we’re working with the Brand Experience Infinity Loop to help map a strategy, our first step is making sure your map is even in the right galaxy.
We need to get the “why” right. To understand what actually drives choice. Not based on our assumptions, or even why people tell you they choose in focus groups or the typical survey. Because more often than not, they’re lying, and they don’t even know they’re doing it. (Actually, in partnership with some brilliant PhDs from Lund University, we have a way around that. If you’re interested in what we call our “lie detector” just ask about the Graal Brand Potential Analysis. Because the foundation of any great relationship is honesty, right?)

So how do we find true relevance and values? Right here, at the core.

If you’ve worked with any brand strategists, then you’ve probably seen some variation of this model. Imagine it’s the cross-section of a sphere and at the core is where we figure out who you are – your purpose, your values, your personality and vision. Then we work our way out to create the external identity.

Of course, where it gets real is in the experience: your communication and behavior.
People may understand your purpose and values, but they believe it based on the experience – all of it – across every interaction with every part of your company over time.
The brand experience is the only thing customers, media, employees, etc. truly see of your brand. Without it, even the best brand platform and design remain just words and colors on a piece of paper.

But you can’t just skip ahead to GO and collect $200. There is no brand experience strategy without the core. Notice I said “strategy” because there’s always brand experience. But giving you some sort of control over it and making sure it’s based on values that actually drive sales and motivate people, requires the time and work to establish a strong core that’s relevant to the human experience.

So now we’re two articles into our relationship: defining brand experience with the infinity loop and relevance. Ready for a third date? How about tomorrow we take the next step … and mind the gaps.

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* Bush, M. C. (2018). A great place to work for all: better for business, better for people, better for the world. Oakland: Berrett-Koehler, pp35-36.

Oh, for the love of brand experience

19 Jul
19 juli, 2018

Brand experience is one of those buzzwords that’s shooting right to top of mind today. More companies are realizing the impact it has on everything from sales to employee happiness. But for some reason, the definition of brand experience is all over the place. So I’m taking the chance to straighten it out, if there’s any power in my influence to do so.

And it starts, as most important things do, with love. Brand love, in this case. You see, love isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things. We love, we choose, we forgive a brand not because of any one gesture, but because of all of them. And there it is …

To be strategic about it, when we talk about “brand experience” we need to make sure we’re not talking about just AN experience or experiences (an event, experiential campaigns, etc.), but rather THE experience. The whole of it. The perception that all those things create in people’s minds and hearts over time.

Basically, your brand experience is a lifelong love story – well hopefully it’s lifelong. That’s why it’s so important to define and work with brand experience as a holistic, long-term strategy. Treat it as a relationship, not a date.

So back to AN vs. THE. You can create AN experience that impacts THE brand experience. What you cannot do is create THE brand experience with AN event or campaign. Actually, this should take some of the pressure off to perform in any one moment. Every little thing doesn’t need to be AN experience, but rather support THE brand experience. (Because admit it, aren’t we a little tired of seeing everything proclaimed to be an experience? “Our login experience.” “Our bathroom experience.” Uh ok.)

THE brand experience is truly greater than the sum of its parts. So to work strategically with it, we need a new kind of map. One that’s more inclusive than what our other models give us.
For example, we have the traditional sales funnel. It’s been around for ages and it works, but it’s not the whole story of what’s driving choice towards brands today. And we have marketing action plans that take us towards awareness and leads. But again, that’s only a part of the experience that drives choice. And now we also have digital user experience and customer journeys meant to ensure a seamless path to purchase across all the channels. And this loops in a whole lot more of the brand experience, but still …
You have all sorts of touchpoints not covered within these models – from your lobby ambiance to employee happiness to your policies for suppliers – and we have a need to plot and understand their effect on the whole, too. Because my experience waiting in your lobby or my feelings about how you treat suppliers are as much an experience of your brand for me as using your product or seeing an ad. And they influence my decisions.

I’m sure you can see where this is leading. What we need is a more holistic and strategic model for working with THE branding experience. So here is what I’m calling The Brand Experience Infinity Loop.
Now this isn’t about creating yet another model. It’s about allowing this simple yet powerful visual to give us the right mentality for working with THE brand experience.

The infinity loop draws people in and keeps them there. From exploring a need, to discovering solutions, to evaluating your brand, choosing you, using your product, loving you and advocating for you. Over and over again. There is no end point, there is only forward movement and continuing relationship. The brand experience is this pulsing, organic, fluid energy that literally loops in every part of your organization. This is what strong brand equity looks like.
So where do we start? How do we map a way forward with all of this? That’s what I and our team at Graal Brand Agency are exploring, and this post barely scratches the surface. I’d love to share four essentials we’re working with right now for brand experience strategy.

But for that, you’ll have to come back for a second date, err post, tomorrow. And then maybe we’ll have the start of a beautiful experience.

Visste du detta om Google?

17 Jul
17 juli, 2018

Google är världens mest besökta sajt med 3-4 miljarder sökningar per dag.

Mängden sökningar gör Google till ett fantastiskt analysverktyg. Du kan snabbt och enkelt få fram vad som intresserar dina potentiella kunder just nu och vad de kallar det du vill sälja. Använd detta för att SEO-optimera din site och för AwWords om du behöver.

Googles algoritm som bestämmer var din webbplats hamnar i sökresultatet förändras ständigt för att ge bästa möjliga sökresultat. En sak som Google alltid värderar är bra innehåll som kontinuerligt uppdateras.

Vårt sökande förändras: 15-25% av alla sökningar som görs idag har Google aldrig sett förut. Vi söker idag ofta på hela fraser, t ex ”Vem uppfann skiftnyckeln?”. Google har blivit mycket bättre på att förstå sökningarna och föreslår olika tolkningar på för breda sökningar.

Kvalitativt innehåll allt viktigare. Google värderar hur du matchar sökningar och belönar de som är duktiga genom en ”quality score” som kan sänka priset på Awwords-annonsen rejält.

Google tillhandahåller massor med kunskap om hur du bäst arbetar med SEO och Adwords. Ladda hem och använd det som bas. Och bäst av allt – det är gratis….

The Glossary of Marketing

12 Jul
12 juli, 2018

Bob Hoffman är en underbar kritiker till reklambranschen som bl a bloggar på ”The Ad Contrarian”. En reflektion är branschens egenhet att ständigt hitta på nya obegripliga begrepp. Om du någonsin tvekar om vad byrån menar, så kan du läsa sanningen här…

Engage – bother
Brand architect – account executive
Authentic – true sounding
Transparent – natural looking
Content – anything on the web
Branded content – anything on the web with a logo
Compelling content – content
Conversation – retweet
Follower  – stranger who wants something for nothing
Advisor – LinkedIn term for unemployed
Community – strangers who once clicked
Meaningfulness – (no one knows)
Branding – anything with a logo on it
Activation – when marketing people actually do something
Workshop – meeting
Roundtable – meeting
Summit – meeting
Town hall meeting – meeting
Training session – powerpoint-induced napping opportunity
Webinar – digitally delivered powerpoint-induced napping opportunity
Traditional – stuff we don’t do well
Brand advocate – customer
Brand ambassador – customer
Storyteller – copywriter
Passionate – opportunistic
Evangelist – inflexible bore
Data-driven – unimaginative
Brand purpose – something our CEO’s spouse is into
Disruptive – something our CEO’s daughter is i
Target audience – people like us

Awapatent blir AWA

10 Jul
10 juli, 2018

Som ledande konsultbyrå inom immaterialrätt (intellectual property – IP) vet Awapatent att kunderna har ett allt större och bredare behov att skapa finansiellt värde och business av sina intellektuella tillgångar. Det handlar alltså inte bara om att skydda sina nuvarande tillgångar, utan också om att skapa kommande. Branschen – och framför allt Awapatent som aktör – rör sig från att prata huvudsakligen om intellectual rights och intellectual property (trademarks, patent, o.s.v.) till att prata om intellectual assets. Hur hjälper man kunderna att skapa värde i stället för att skydda rättigheter?

För att supportera det nya förhållningssättet och tydliggöra det mervärde Awapatent erbjuder marknaden, genomförde man – i samarbete med Graal Brand Agency – under våren ett ompositioneringsarbete i samband med att man bytte namn från Awapatent till AWA. Namnet blev mindre, men kostymen större.

”I samband med varumärkesarbetet insåg vi också att vi hade vuxit ur vår varumärkespersonlighet, hjälten som skyddar kundernas rättigheter. Vi är i dag en tydlig creator som skapar möjligheter för våra kunder att utvecklas och som leder vägen framåt.” säger Birgitta von Friesendorff, Head of Communications på AWA. ”Det ledde till att vi satsade på att ta fram ett helt nytt kommunikationskoncept för att spegla vårt vässade erbjudande på marknaden”, säger hon.

”Tidigt i processen var det tydligt att AWA hade för avsikt att göra arbetet rätt, även om det innebar att överge sin bekvämlighetszon och bryta ny mark. Det har funnits en kompromisslöst hög ambitionsnivå från deras sida genom hela arbetet, man har inte ryggat för att ta sig an dagens disruptiva affärslandskap heads on. Det har varit oerhört spännande att jobba med en så förändringsvillig och modig kund.”, säger Emma Nilsson, varumärkesstrateg och byråchef på Graal Brand Agency.

Arbetet har innefattat framtagande av ny positionering och varumärkeslöfte, ny logotyp och reviderad grafisk profil, samt nytt kommunikationskoncept.

Arbetsgruppen består av:
Anders Adolvsson, Creative Director, Graal Brand Agency
Ann-Christin Lindstedt, Brand Developer, Graal Brand Agency
Emma Nilsson, Brand Strategist, Graal Brand Agency

AWA är ett ledande företag inom immaterialrätt med verksamhet i främst Europa och Asien. Kunderna är innovationsintensiva företag – från startups till ägarna av världens mest kända varumärken och patentportföljer. AWA hjälper dem att skapa affärer av sina idéer och innovationer.

AWAs 180 patentkonsulter, jurister och andra immaterialrättsexperter har djup kompetens inom såväl immaterialrättsstrategi och juridiska tjänster som patent, varumärke, design och upphovsrätt.

AWA grundades 1897 och har i dag 300 medarbetare på 15 kontor i Sverige, Danmark, Kina och Hongkong samt representationskontor i Tyskland och USA. Omsättningen 2017 var 659,5 miljoner kronor.

www.awa.com

B2B 2.0: Ladda ner din sommarpresent från Pyramid, Petra och Graal

05 Jul
5 juli, 2018

Dagens köpare har världens alla leverantörer på sin bildskärm och genomför största delen av köpprocessen på egen hand. De gamla säljknepen är historia – säljarna möter numera väl förberedda, kunniga köpare som kräver lika professionellt bemötande.

Idag är målet med marknadsföringen inte bara att sälja, utan att göra det lätt att köpa. Betydelsen av teknik och kvalitet i B2B-reklamen minskar och ersätts av varumärke och emotionella argument. Och det är på den digitala arenan som allting händer.

Business to Business 2.0 är den första marknadsföringsboken som utgår från den nya verkligheten. Du får stöd och hjälp genom praktiska checklistor, konkreta tips, goda råd och instruktiva praktikfall. Använd den som uppslagsbok, inspirationskälla eller handbok. Den systematiska arbetsmodell som presenteras i den här boken har redan hjälpt tusentals företag och organisationer att utvecklas, växa och ta plats på världsmarknaden. Nu är det din tur.

Du laddar ner boken här utan kostnad.

Skön sommarläsning från vännerna på Pyramid, Petra och Graal!

PS: Vi håller sommarstängt v 30+31 och njuter av solen. Behöver du nå oss hittar du våra mobilnummer på webbsidan.

Huafon goes Europe

05 Jul
5 juli, 2018

Kinesisk aluminiumjätte väljer Pyramid som partner för intåg på den europeiska marknaden

Huafon är ett privatägt, kinesiskt kemi- och metallföretag med över 10 000 anställda, som verkar inom fem affärssegment: värmeväxlare, PU resins, syntethic resins, samt spandex och microfiber. Inom ramen för sin värmeväxlarverksamhet producerar man aluminium av exceptionellt hög kvalitet och har en produktionskapacitet på 150 000 miljoner ton/år.

Företaget är en gigant på den kinesiska marknaden, men relativt okända på den europeiska, vilket man har ambitioner att snabbt ändra på. För att göra intåg med avtryck i Europa, valde man att samarbeta med Pyramid för att ta fram en kommunikationsplattform anpassad för den europeiska marknaden. I förlängningen avser man också se över sin varumärkesplattform för att säkerställa att positionering och marknadsföring driver tillväxt och affär på bästa sätt.

Som första samarbetsprojekt har Pyramid tagit fram ett kreativt koncept för Huafons medverkan på 10th International Congress and Exhibition on Aluminium Brazing 2018 i Düsseldorf 12-14 juni, samt all kommunikation innan, under och efter mässan.

Arbetsgrupp på Pyramid:
Maggie Crusell, Copywriter
Ricky Fasshauer, Art Director
Filippa Nelson, Project Manager
Emma Nilsson, Brand Strategist

För mer information, kontakta Emma Nilsson,
emma@graal.agency, 0730-866875

Take it further

03 Jul
3 juli, 2018

En av Alfa Lavals största och viktigaste mässor är Achema. Liksom för 3 år sedan ansvarade Pyramid för tema, design och kommunikation. Årets tema var ”Take it further” under vilket kommunikationen byggdes runt fyra fokusområden.

Alfa Lavals kompetens presenterades via experseminarier och en omfattande interaktiv presentation i ett Experience center.