Strategic Brand Transformation

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“What important truth about how brands grow do very few people agree with you on?”

If you know the answer to this question then your brand should be in great shape. It will give you a competitive edge and will free you from the weight of competition.

Most of the answers we get to this question are unimportant, untruthful, are already in the public domain, or all three. If you have insights that are both important and truthful that’s great, but there is no competitive advantage if everyone agrees with you on it.

If you know what everyone else knows – and nearly all corporate strategy and brand strategy documents look alike  - then don’t expect to transform your brand’s performance.

I’ve worked in partnership with Imperial College Business School to offer a unique open course that focuses on driving brand growth and meets three simple but crucial criteria:

  1. It is important. Everything you learn relates to achieving growth and doing so at a lower cost to the business – no exceptions.
  2. It is truthful. The content strongly correlates with growth to a near-perfect level (almost 90% correlation across over eighty categories and thousands of brands).
  3. Few people agree with it. We’ve surveyed over 16,000 business leaders and marketing experts and they get most of the answers to our quiz about how to drive profitable brand growth wrong!

The business literature is littered with cases of big and many famous brands that have invested tens of $millions in reaching out to their target audiences, only to see sales and revenue fall off a cliff. Why does that happen?

Basically, it's due to failures on two fronts; first there has been an absence of evidence of what's worked (and what hasn't) until now, and second, if aware of the evidence, brands have been unable to adjust their growth strategies and tactics accordingly. 

Here are three examples of brands that failed to keep up with these developments:

  1. JC Penney launched a new “Fair and Square” pricing strategy which saw prices drop by an average of 40%. Within a few months, store traffic and sales had tanked by 20%. By 2014, the retailer had lost $6bn in annual revenue.  
  2. Burger King had also invested vast sums in Marketing and R&D over the years, but revenue plummeted from $2.5bn in 2010 to $1.1bn by 2015 and is very slowly recovering.  
  3. Proctor & Gamble wrote down the value of its iconic Gillette brand by $8bn in 2019.

If you know what everyone else knows – and nearly all corporate strategy and brand strategy documents look alike  - then don’t expect to transform your brand’s performance.

In the last 12 years, we have worked with over two hundred brands to understand the dynamics and the true drivers of profitable business growth. The most important discovery was to find there were discrepancies between what businesses thought and what customers thought, felt and did, and how to influence their buying behaviour.

Not only were these brands missing out on opportunities to grow, but they were spending much more on marketing than they needed to as they later found out.

In 2021, we have woven all of these insights and understanding into a new programme for business leaders and marketers who are 100% committed to seeing their brands start to fly or fly again and 100% open-minded about how to do that.

The Strategic Brand Transformation Imperial Virtual Programme is an intense three-day programme on transformational thinking about brands.

  1. It will challenge you. Growth is hard but it’s easier when you know the truth about how to do it. And even more likely if you know things that are true that your competitors don’t.
  2. It reveals little-known content. Knowing about the strengths and limitations of the brain; how customers make their buying decisions and getting deeper insights into customers buying behaviour are the foundations of the program and the foundations of any transformation strategy.
  3. It uses our award-winning online learning Hub. We will deliver live, interactive sessions, hands-on, break-out group activities, case study analysis, problem-solving, peer discussion and personalised self-assessment.

Led by myself and Imperial’s Dr Omar Merlo, an expert in strategic marketing and customer engagement, the programme will bring together a diverse range of professionals who hold responsibility for innovation and growth: business leaders, C-suite executives, strategy leaders, marketing and brand managers and customer experience managers who will combine and challenge your thinking, ideas and understanding.

What can you expect to learn from the programme?

By knowing more about the brain, how customers make buying decisions, what behaviour to influence and how to influence them, your thinking can only be more robust and more effective. Through this way of thinking you can engineer real change in your organisation, at a time of unprecedented change, uncertainty and untested economic conditions.

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About Ingo Karpan

Professor at Karlstad University