Thought Leadership

Check out our most recents posts

To view are most recent posts and articles please head on over to our Linked

30 Choices that can Make or Break Your Brand

Tweet The “Elements of Value” HBR article by Bain & Company Partners (Eric Almquist, John Senior, and Nicholas Bloch) is a must read for Brand Builders. While the authors don’t specifically discuss “Brand Positioning” and Points-of-Difference / Points-of-Parity, their 30 Elements Pyramid is a “must have” tool in the toolbox for anyone doing positioning work.…

Read More»

Take the $$$ and Run

I recently purchased a new luxury car. I won’t reveal the Brand nor the dealership because my intent is not to harm, but rather to share marketing lessons from a customer experience debacle.  After 15 years of loyalty to Lexus, I decided to try a new Brand. In the auto industry, trial stakes are high…

Read More»

Two Tips to Building “Emotional Connection”

There’s no doubt that the Marketing world has progressed from “technology push” to “consumer pull”. Some great companies pride themselves on being consumer centric, and adopting “Consumer is Boss” mantras, which help guide innovation and marketing towards consumers’ needs and desires. Yet many Brand Builders still find true emotional connection elusive. Common approaches include building…

Read More»

New Years Resolutions & Brand Stewardship

About 2/3’s of us make New Year’s Resolutions. Only 8% are kept. Lose weight, get organized, spend less, help others, more time with family… The reason most of us fail most of the time is simple. We’re instant gratification junkies. Doing something we don’t really want to do, something hard, for the promise of long-term…

Read More»

How Heroism Hurts Brands?

A new study by Wharton Professor, Keisha Cutright, has broad implications for Brand building. The study — Doing It the Hard Way: How Low Control Drives Preferences for High-Effort Products and Services — finds that “when people feel a lack of control over their lives, they will seek out products that require them to put…

Read More»

Powerful Marketing Lessons from Canyon Ranch®

I just spent a transformational week at Canyon Ranch®, a health & wellness resort in Arizona. I went at the suggestion of a client who had just been… I learned a lot about health and wellness, as expected. I also got some powerful lessons on brand building: Power of purpose, which emerged from the founder’s…

Read More»

Counterintuitive Brand Differentiators (Terminix story)

I recently returned from a 2-week trip late Friday night. Exhausted, I slept-in on Saturday, forgetting a routine Terminix® Pest Control visit I had scheduled. When I awoke, after the appointment time, I wondered if I’d missed the doorbell? Or was this service was an outdoor only visit? I’d need to find out. But the…

Read More»

Consumers Best Interest at Heart

Consumers want to do business with companies that have their best interest at heart. But what does this look like to consumers? Some years ago, I had the privilege of serving as an Advisor to Dr. Gerry Zaltman’s “Mind of the Market” Lab at Harvard. “Best interest at heart” was one of many studies conducted…

Read More»

Are you following “Reliability” off a cliff?

Observation: Emphasis on reliability over validity unwittingly stifles Marketing innovation. Roger Martin (former Director of Monitor Company and Dean of the Rotman School of Management) teaches the following lesson on reliability and validity: Reliability focuses on producing a predictable, consistent outcome. The IQ test focused on ‘little logical puzzles’ is highly reliable. “The problem is…

Read More»

Understanding Drivers – ‘Make or Break’ for your Brands

One of the most important ingredients in successful Brand Positioning is fully understanding both Category Drivers and Brand Drivers. This alone can make or break a Brand, and is surprisingly often not well understood. Category Drivers are motivations behind participation in a Category. People buy laundry detergents to clean clothes. People stay in hotels to…

Read More»

On Empathy: Why Should You Care?

Article contributed by Cindy Tripp, Design Thinking Specialist, Leonora Polonsky & Associates LLC I love Tire Discounters.  How can that be?  It’s simple — Tire Discounters has empathy for me: They greet me with respect and have a comfortable waiting room. Often they provide immediate service, even without an appointment. They know that I only…

Read More»

Barking Dog Teaches Marketer about Brand Integrity

“Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions”. — Wikipedia My experience this weekend with Kimpton’s “pet friendly” policy was a lesson on brand integrity. I was at a Kimpton in DC, sans pet.…

Read More»

Crossing (Perilous) Boundaries

Stretching a Brand into adjacent Categories can be one of the best ways to build shareholder value — and one of the most perilous. Arm & Hammer®, Dove®, Marriott®, Dole®, Disney®, and Crayola® got it right. But Brand graveyards are full of adjacencies gone bad: Harley Davidson Perfume®, Virgin Cola®, Olay Cosmetics®, and Ben Gay…

Read More»

Are You Faithful?

Article contributed by Matt Carcieri Strategic Marketer and Branding Expert, Leonora Polonsky & Associates LLC Brand-building is an exercise in self-discipline. What consumers value in a brand is its familiarity and clarity of meaning.  As brand-builders, the way we create business value is by deepening that familiarity and intensifying that meaning over time.  That requires…

Read More»

Hey, Watch Your Language!

This warning, often spoken by parents to their kids, is one Brand Builders can benefit from as well. As Brand Builders, we make choices about words — sometimes without sufficient attention to the power of words — to frame propositions to our advantage… or not.  One of the beauties of taking your language up a…

Read More»

Inside Out Brand Building

All Brand Builders invest to build external consumer resonance. Exceptional Brand Builders invest in what Lisa Hillenbrand at P&G dubbed Inside Out Brand Building — activities that result in employees understanding, embracing, and activating the Brand. Often, issues with external communications are manifestations of internal problems. Top 10 ways to ensure your employees build your Brand: Discover and Communicate compelling Brand…

Read More»

What’s More Important? Your Car or Your Brand?

Most of us believe in “annual check-ups”. We visit our Docs for annual check–ups. We have our cars serviced every 10,000 miles. We’re on tilt, but we pause for these check-ups. After all, early detection can be life-saving. What about our Brands? Do we step back from daily fires to systematically assess their Health? In “The Brand Report Card”…

Read More»

Want to GROW Profit +400% ?

Interested in ideas about Brand Purpose/Ideals and Promise that can sharpen your Brand positioning and improve your profitability by 400%? I hope this will clarify how Brand Purpose/Ideals and Brand Promise are different and similar, and inspire you to pursue a Purpose Driven path for greater growth. Brand Purpose/Ideal Why a Brand exists besides earning money.…

Read More»

What’s Your Story?

A story is a narrative designed to interest, create a connection, amuse, or instruct. People are wired for story. Stories fire people up, inspire, strike a chord, capture imagination, and build affinity. Stories create memories. They transmit information efficiently. Brand Stories are a powerful tool for building Brands. In addition to evoking emotional connections with…

Read More»

Non-Functional Benefits — Precision Positioning

Many Brands are missing an opportunity to define the non-functional aspects of a Brand’s positioning more deliberately and precisely.  Capturing the following basic positioning elements is standard fare:  Promise, Points-of-Difference, Points-of-Parity, Personality.  Brands are also increasingly articulating a Purpose and underlying Values.  Some go the extra step of distinguishing between Functional and Emotional Benefits.  The term…

Read More»

How Human Is Your Brand?

Article contributed by Suzanne Tosolini Brand Strategist – Leonora Polonsky & Associates LLC At the 2011 Cannes Festival of Creativity, there was an overriding message:  Brands need to become more human. This humanity is evident when a brand tells its story in a way that entertains, teaches, or provokes and shares its values and ideals…

Read More»

Discountitis, Value, & Brand Equity

Al Reis’ recent Ad Age article “Discountitus” points out that in some industries brand differentiation is history, and success lies in deep discounts (airlines, insurance, retail). Another recent article highlighted the continued migration from Brands to Private Label. These articles raise an important question. When should “value” be part of a Brand’s Position, either as…

Read More»

Dumpster Diving to Delight

Brand stories are a wonderfully rich way to share defining moments that epitomize the essence of a Brand. My favorite is the legend about a man in Alaska who took a pair of used snow tires to Nordstrom’s return counter. He was asked what he paid and promptly given a full refund – without question.…

Read More»