Strategic Public Relations
Focused on public relations strategy within the integrated marketing communications mix.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003  

Brand Map

One way to make sure your company is not a victim of brand anarchy is to put steps in the planning process that ensure each tactic clearly ties to the brand and supports it. This can be done with a planning document designed to bridge between brands and tactics

This “brand map” clearly establishes how the tactic supports corporate goals. More importantly, it is used to show that the tactics must support corporate goals and be measured. We discussed the need to measure across tactics consistently. A brand map supports this effort and defines these metrics. The end result is much more than a set of identity standards to follow. A brand map serves as a planning tool that ensures marketing dollars are not wasted on efforts that do not help a company achieve its goals.

At least two of our clients rely on brand maps. One client refers to them as Brand Implementation Standards (BIS). Another client refers to them as Brand Execution Guidelines (BEG). I offer up a third name —Brand Operating Overview (BOO). BOO is designed to scare the competition. Fine, you won’t find that one on acronym finder anytime soon.

Whatever you call it, a brand map is a substantial step in the planning process that ensures all marketing efforts represent the brand efficiently and effectively. Far too often at the project level, we lose touch with this.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 2:14:00 PM

Sunday, July 27, 2003  

12 Months & Counting

It is a year to the day that SPR began. Thanks to all visitors—frequent and accidental. Thanks also to Martha Stewart. Searches on her public relations efforts must land me pretty high in searches. My log files show a lot of referrals from this. Most of all, thanks to Tom Murphy for shining a light on my site. The traffic and e-mail exhanges are appreciated.

CNN is noting the debate over displaying photos and video of Saddam's sons in the news. Some heavyweights weigh in on this including our friends at the Poynter Institute.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 3:17:00 PM

Friday, July 25, 2003  

How to Handle a Sensitive Subject

We have all been bombarded by pictures of Saddam’s sons lately, or at least knowledge of these pictures. It is good to see some guidelines for handling this sensitive situation on (Poynter Pointers?). It is good to see logical considerations to make on a very emotional subject. I wish these very guidelines were used during the 9/11 coverage as well.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:00:00 PM

Thursday, July 24, 2003  

Measurement Gets Serious

CoreBrand and the Bank of New York are now distributing stock research that uses brand equity to help formulate investment recommendations PR Week reports.

This is huge and, CoreBrand claims, the first time brand equity has been integrated into stock valuation.

CoreBrand has been measuring brand equity as a percentage of market cap for awhile now. SPR reported on this a year ago. But in this latest news, it is estimated that a company’s brand is responsible for up to 20 percent of a company's total market capitalization. 20 percent. Too bad marketing does not get comparable budgets, eh?

This statistic, compared against our budgets, shows the value marketing can bring to a company. And yet, marketers aren’t *really* measuring their results. Every marketer wants to provide “data points” that show a return on investment. The above news makes this holy grail—measurement of the creative discipline—even more coveted.

But year after year, marketers simply do not measure all of their efforts. The efforts that are measured do not yield consistent data that can be compared against other components of an integrated plan. Ads use readership surveys, public relations placements use ad equivalency, Web sites use traffic and trade shows use leads—qualified and unqualified.

So before we proudly note a brand's financial heft, we need to slow down and revisit the path to proving this out.

Align marketing tactics to the strategy. Keep all tactics focused and clearly supporting your strategies and objectives. Do not allow brand anarchy to rear its ugly head.

Measure comprehensively and consistently. Measure each effort and choose one metric you can track across all efforts. Qualified leads are a great choice. But can you track all of your efforts through the lead generation pipeline?

These steps put you in a position to provide data points that can really prove marketing's effectiveness. But even then, you need two years before you can really show improvement against a baseline. Details, details.

CoreBrand’s deal with Bank of New York bodes well for us. It is not as flashy as using publicity and earnings to measure celebrity, but it does not have to be. CoreBrand helps show marketing’s bottom line impact. If marketer’s realign their efforts and measure accordingly, the opportunities are endless.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:40:00 AM

Saturday, July 19, 2003  

No Go for Joe

Here's a quick update to my "Strategy—with a Kung Fu Grip" story below. The original GI Joe prototype, the very first action figure, failed to sell at auction.

Well, there's still a lot of value in the strategy lessons CNN's first news story taught us. Check it out below.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 1:09:00 PM

Strategy—with a Kung Fu Grip

CNN reports the prototype for the original GI Joe is going on the auction block—bids will begin at $600K. In addition to expensive toys, this news story reviews some classic strategies.

First off is the classic razor/razor blade strategy. Companies sell the razor/primary product at a low price to gain market share. The companies make money from the volume sales of the razor blades/related product—the blades are bought frequently on an ongoing basis.

GI Joe’s creator realized Barbie makes most of its money off the accessories. The razor/razor blade strategy has worked well for many companies, but not most dotcoms. Appropriately enough, the now defunct Industry Standard discusses razor/razor blades as it applies to dotcom business models trying to build an install base.

The other strategy I’ll call “What’s in a name.” While Barbie is a doll, it was clear boys would not play with dolls—especially back in the early 60s. This realization transformed GI Joe from a doll into the first action figure. He created a brand new product category in the process. The rest is history. You can point to similar examples, starting with cologne and perfume, and they all point to the power of naming.

Hard to believe there is so much story behind a doll, er, action figure. Well, now you know. And remember, GI Joe always says, “knowing is half the battle.”

posted by Kevin Dugan | 1:20:00 AM

Tuesday, July 15, 2003  

Brand Anarchy

Why is everyone so ga ga over Google? First we abuse the English language and use the word as a verb. Now we see Yahoo and Overture merging to take aim at the uber-engine. This should be interesting as I am tired of hearing people gush over Google. It's a search engine people!

As the headline notes, this post is not to rant about search engines. It is about a great article in this week's Brandweek on Brand Anarchy.

We see examples of the concept quite frequently. We also call it "strategy drift" or straying from the strategy. It starts innocently enough when an opportunity presents itself that doesn't quite fit into the existing strategy. You proceed with this project and set the precedent for future projects to break the rules. The next thing you know, you are planning a new integrated campaign after the last one lost its focus.

The waters muddy by not following your strategy closely. If you have been thorough in creating your strategy, stick to it. All good processes revisit the strategy annually to tweak it as needed.

If an opportunity comes your way that does not support this strategy, don't do it. It might seem great, but will it further your cause? It certainly won't help you measure campaign results consistently.

Similarly, don't implement an off-strategy tactic simply because "we've always done it over the years." This year you need to make a change. Habitual marketing never helped a company set financial performance records.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 9:11:00 AM