Posts tagged Warren Ellish
Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is helpful to anyone who wants to influence other people. Whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and make an impression that lasts.
One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – - the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no one else’s brand does as well and that your target cares about?
When defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this.
When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association Show, International Franchise Association National Convention and Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else?Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – - average, just like everyone else and good.
Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate.
For more information on how to quickly and affordably position and brand your business to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach Warren directly at 303-762-0360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A branding and brand positioning expert speaks with Blue MauMau at the International Franchise Association’s annual conference on how a brand can be lifted. F. Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and Senior Lecturer at Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management, conducted a workshop on the “Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Franchise into a World-Class Brand at this weeks IFA convention.
Mr. Ellish has a long history in the franchise industry, including being a member of the core start-up executive team at Boston Chicken (now Boston Market). He has held key marketing positions at Red Lobster and Burger King and has consulted for a long list of start-up, emerging and turnaround restaurant and franchise brands.
Here are highlights from the complete interview.
BMM: How can franchisors and franchisees maximize their brand image?
Summary: Franchisors need to work hand in hand with their franchisee advisory boards in developing a clearly defined brand positioning statement for their brand.
Ellish: When I consult with franchisors, I want to engage the entire executive team and the franchisee advisory board members in everything we do from a brand strategy standpoint. And this starts with developing the brand’s positioning statement. It’s important for the group to co-write brand positioning and then endorse the strategy and programs that are the end result of that brand positioning. If only one group is involved in the process, the potential to fully maximize the franchise brand’s potential in the marketplace is minimized. Since the franchisees are closest to the customers, they need to be a part of the brand positioning process. Franchisor CEO’s that I have worked with who have utilized this approach have seen it work very successfully. For it to work, the franchisee advisory board members must pledge their support to endorse and move forward with the work that the group jointly develops and agrees to, even if as individuals they are not in total agreement. Complete franchisor and franchisee alignment is key to successfully implementing marketing strategy and programs.
BMM: Is there a particular process you follow when working to maximize a franchise brand’s potential?
Summary: When it comes to the franchise brand, every member of the organization on both the franchisor and franchisee side has to deliver the same message.
Ellish: It’s important that each company develop and then deliver a clearly defined brand positioning statement with complete management alignment behind that positioning. I like to ask three short and simple questions before starting the brand positioning process with a franchise organization to help determine if their franchise brand is strategically positioned and if its message is being clearly communicated. I ask each member of the senior management franchisor team and the participating franchise advisory board the following three questions.
- What business are you in?
- What is the target market for your brand, or said differently, what is the audience or group you are trying to persuade to use your product or service?
- What is the point of difference for your brand? List no more than three differences.
An important aspect of number three is to establish what sets the brand apart from others in the frame of reference or business that they are in. This involves establishing a point of difference that is: Pre-emptive, ownable and defendable.
A franchise brand wants to make sure its points of difference are not points of similarity to the competition or simply points of entry in a business, which I so often see.
BMM: What do you learn when you ask these questions?
Summary: I typically see significant inconsistencies in the answers to most if not all of the three questions as well as points of difference that are nothing more than points of similarity to everyone else that they are competing with.
Ellish: This is not an unusual result for most companies. If the core management team and the franchise advisory board members have such differences in their answers to these core brand questions, can you imagine how difficult it will be to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand to your employees and in turn to your customers? As the message moves through the organization, so much gets lost in the translation. It is important that everyone in a franchise organization fully understands and recites the same message.
BMM: Once the branding strategy is implemented, what can the franchisor do to achieve success?
Summary: Franchise organizations need alignment not only between franchisor and franchisee, but also between marketing and operations.
Ellish: Successful marketing is the result of close cooperation between the marketing and the operations teams. The marketing team is responsible for the first 50% of the process with the operations team responsible for the second 50%. Let me explain. The marketing team develops and implements messaging and programs to generate awareness and trial for the brand based on leveraging the brand’s point of difference. The object, of course, is to reach a specific audience, driving potential customers to visit or use the brand’s product or service. It is then operation’s job to deliver a flawless experience, consistent with the brand promise, to the customer. When marketing and operations work together in this way, the result will be repeat customers, positive word-of-mouth recommendations and business success.
If you’re interested in brand positioning or branding, you may have come across the work of Warren Ellish, a renowned practitioner and speaker on brand positioning and branding, a faculty member at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and the President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group. Mr. Ellish will be presenting his thoughts on brand positioning at the IFA Convention February 13, 2012 (a week from today) at 10:15AM, and we thought it might be a good opportunity to ask him a few questions about brand positioning and branding as well as his thoughts on the session he’ll be presenting at #IFA2012. Full interview at: http://www.franchisedirect.com/blog/franchise-direct-interview-with-cornells-warren-ellish/
Marketing: Brand Positioning – Is your brand strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated?
Is your brand strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated?
Are you sure?
The effective development of brand positioning for any brand will aid in getting your desired message across and make an impression that lasts. Positioning is the way in which you want the consumer to think about your business (products and services) relative to competing brands. It is the most basic of all strategic statements, provides the blueprint for the marketing and development of the brand, and focuses the efforts of all those involved in brand activities.
Without a concise brand positioning statement with a competitive “point of difference” and complete management alignment behind this positioning, it will be difficult to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand. A brand must make a strong impression that lasts and translates into profitable sales and long-term growth.
You don’t have to embark on a lengthy and expensive consumer research study to find out. Just try this quick and easy exercise. You may be surprised by what you learn.
Ask each of your direct reports, each member of your marketing organization, and key external strategic and creative resources (including key consultants and all ad agency team members) to answer the following three questions:
- What business is your brand in? Your “frame of reference”.
- What is the “target market” for your brand?
- What are the “points of difference” for your brand? Note: List no more than three.
Analyze your results (or have the submissions sent to me and I will analyze them for you). If you observe either or both of the following, your brand positioning can most definitely be strengthened:
- Significant inconsistency in the answers to most if not all of the above three questions.
- “Points of difference” that are really “points of similarity” to your competition or simply “points of entry” in your business – and not pre-emptive, ownable and defendable attributes that are important to your target market.
I understand that you and your team know your business better than any outside consultant, marketing or advertising company does. Where I can assist you is by starting with my proprietary one-day positioning methodology, working directly with you and members of your team, to clearly state and communicate the core elements of a successful positioning for your brand. The end result will be the development of a concise positioning statement, agreed upon by your core management team that reflects the following three elements:
- Target market (the customers you are marketing your products/services to)
- Frame of Reference/Competitive set (what business you are in)
- Point(s) of difference (the specific consumer benefit that is preemptive, ownable and defendable that you want consumers to associate most readily with your products/services).
The positioning statement will be summarized into the following format:
To _______________ (Market Target), Brand X is the brand of _________________ (Frame of Reference) that is/that offers ________________ (Point of Difference).
Your brand will be in good company. I’ve used this approach to successfully position hundreds of well-known brands for a diverse group of companies, from Fortune 500’s to start-ups and turnarounds. Our positioning work includes international, national, regional and local brands across many industries.
You can also hear me speak more about “The Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Franchise or Restaurant Into a World-Class Brand” at the upcoming International Franchise Association (IFA) Convention in Orlando, FL on February 13th and at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago, IL on May 7th.
For more information on how to quickly and affordably properly position your brand to compete successfully in today’s competitive marketplace visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach me directly at 303-762-0360 or email@example.com.
Today marks the launch of our new website at www.ellishmarketing.com. Please check out the new website and let us know what you think.
As a leading authority on brand positioning and marketing to a wide range of businesses including restaurants, dental practices, retailers and consumer product companies, we will be blogging on subjects relevant to these core practice areas.
The new EMG website contains over a dozen success stories featuring examples of positioning brands to effectively compete in today’s competitive marketplace, identifying breakthrough consumer insights, launching new concepts and products, and revitalizing turnaround businesses.
Marketing speaker Warren Ellish, a well-respected practitioner and lecturer on the topic of brand positioning (Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management faculty), who is personally responsible for developing the brand positioning for hundreds of well-known international, domestic, regional and local brands is also featured in the website. His upcoming speaking engagements at the International Franchise Association Convention, the National Restaurant Association Show and at top business schools are highlighted.
“The new Ellish Marketing Group website clearly communicates our marketing and consulting core practice areas and discusses the successes we have had with our clients using our Six-Point Approach of positioning, focusing, planning, developing, executing and evaluating,” said Warren Ellish Founder, President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group. “Our internally developed website brings a new approach to websites being social.”
Special thanks go out to the EMG team of Jim, Jeff, Jason (our three J’s) and Lauren for making the new site a reality.