STEP TWO: VISION in VS .NET

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STEP TWO: VISION
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Destination
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Brand positioning to keep brand on track
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Departure
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Figure 31: GPS for brands
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of relevant and differentiated extension ideas However, several challenges face any team undertaking this task
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The masterbrand challenges
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Positioning a mono-product brand is relatively straightforward, provided that there is a clear product truth on which to build However, as you start to stretch, the brand positioning challenge becomes a whole lot harder On the one hand, you need a big idea that makes sense of the wider product range, ensuring that coherence and consistency are maintained Otherwise, each product takes on a life of its own and the masterbrand is relegated to the role of a token endorser of quality On the other hand, you need a vision that stimulates rather than sti es innovation This task is made all the harder by the numerous stakeholders who want a say in the strategy development process Cutting them out with a dictatorial approach might work
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BRAND STRETCH
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if you are a visionary and all-powerful CEO like Michael Dell or Jeff Bezos, but in most companies this is a recipe for dissent and disaster However, the alternative of seeking input from different sources presents its own challenges
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Too many cooks spoil the brand
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Many companies struggle with masterbrand positioning, as they work bottom up , starting with the existing product range and trying to nd a common conceptual thread This is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle with too many pieces, and ones not even designed to t together in the rst place Teams from different product categories or geographic markets invariably end up ghting their corner A watered-down compromise is drafted to keep everyone happy, but this bland and uninspiring strategy gathers dust in the ling cabinet, being of no practical use to anyone
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Back to the future
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A better way to develop a masterbrand positioning is to start with the future and work back to reality This also involves working top down : from masterbrand to products (Figure 32) A multi-country, cross-category team working on the Knorr food brand used this approach to develop its global vision The breakthrough came by getting people to ditch their current
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LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR POSITIOING Bottom-up
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Product 1
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Product 2
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Product 3
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Top-down
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MASTERBRAND POSITIONING
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Product 1
Product 2
Product 3
Figure 32: Different approaches to brand vision
STEP TWO: VISION
product- or market-based viewpoints and work together on a new, future-focused idea for the brand They were encouraged to act as the board of the Knorr company rather than as local marketing barons and asked some challenging questions: What sort of brand did they dream of having in four or ve years time What were the values they wanted to defend and ght for What promise would they make if they were inventing a product range from scratch What was the bigger purpose they had beyond merely selling individual products
This process created more energy, enthusiasm and engagement than would have been achieved by starting with what was currently on the table (see Table 31 for more visioning process tips) A masterbrand promise about giving people the con dence and support to get more out of everyday food was developed This was brought to life with the rallying call more taste in your life on the brand s website The team then worked on the ideal product range to bring this idea to life This has led to innovation such as the UK launch of Knorr Vie soups, which are enjoyably tasty but also help you get the recommended ve daily portions of fruit and vegetables In addition, other products in the Unilever portfolio that tted the vision were rebranded as Knorr, such as the Chicken Tonight range of cook-in sauces Finally, support was reduced or removed on older and more traditional products that did not t as well with the vision, such as bouillon cubes and gravy mix
Table 31: Vision team tips Overall: Experience on 50 brand visioning and positioning projects shows that many of these fail to add enough value to the business They end up being theoretical exercises that go through the motions , lling in boxes but not driving a better brand mix The following tips have been learnt from the more successful projects that did actually make a difference: 1 Strong, senior leadership: any project needs a senior person with real in uence to lead it First, they have the credibility and the experience to win over people on the team and persuade them to make compromises Second, they have the con dence and authority to make key decisions, even when these do not please everyone 2 A team not a committee: the Knorr project described earlier had a core team of only eight people, with representatives from global strategy, key markets and the two agencies The two key criteria for the core team are business in uence and added-value thinking People who do not contribute on at least one of these levels are spectators not participants, and their input can be gathered off-line outside the key workshops 3 Start with the end in mind: there should be a clear idea of how the strategy is going to drive a better brand mix The team should know which mix development projects will be inspired and guided by the new strategy In the case of the visioning work on Omo, one of Unilever s biggest detergent brands, the strategy project fed directly into briefs for packaging, advertising and promotion The idea of helping children grow and develop by giving them the freedom to get dirty was quickly brought to life in communication with the tagline No stains, no learning