10 Things Brand Leaders should do this week before the Holiday Break

Gone-on-HolidayI know this week comes fast and it can go just as fast.  I know real work happens, but not that much.  My hope is that you got everything last week because you’re going to notice your boss or subject matter experts bolting for the doors, faster than you think.  

I always enjoyed this week.  Here are the 10 things you can do to put the week to good use. 

  1. Get all your finances in order.  Most marketers are bad at managing the books.  Use this week to do billing, expenses, accruals and budgeting for the year-end as well as for Q1 of next year.   The more you do this week, the less you’ll need to do the week you get back.  Take advantage of being close to the finance folks, just in case they need help with added spending at the last-minute.
  2. Do a thank you lunch with your agency key contact person or even the creative team on your brand.  The agency party is done, maybe the last shoot happened last week.  Now is not a bad time to get out and just thank your agency for all the work and talk about what you want to do next on the brand.   
  3. Come up with a list of new years resolutions you want to do for next year.  Try to frame it around developing one new skill, enhancing a leadership behaviour or gaining a new experience.  Take a somewhat selfish approach to this resolution, thinking about your longer term career.Slide1
  4. Set personal development goals outside of your company’s highly constrained year end review.  It depends on how good your review was.  But many organizations have goals that focus just on the results and not enough on your development.  
  5. Put your feet up for half a day and go through 5 very important strategic questions on your brand.   1) Where are you?   2) How did you get here?  3) Where could you be?  4) How can we get there?  5) Are we getting there?   When I was a brand leader, I would go through these same questions every six months to keep us on track.  I’d put 2-3 points for each question, and ensuring that it told the complete story on the brand.  It’s a great tool to keep pushing beyond where you are now.  
  6. Wander around and thank everyone who works on your business.  Use this as a chance to connect by talking about what they are doing over the break.  (not about what you are doing)  You might be surprised to learn something you never knew:  where is home, how many kids, names, ages, etc.  As a leader, get a little bit personal.  
  7. Create a twitter account and see what your consumers are doing.  Not enough Brand Leaders actually have an active Twitter account.  I think you have to force yourself to start tweeting.  Take a walk in the shoes of your consumers.  Go visit some of your favorite brands and see what they are doing so well, or not.  Interact with a brand or two and see if you get a response.   Twice now, McDonald’s has replied immediately saying someone would follow-up.  That was amazing.  But both times, no one followed up.  That was bad. 
  8. Order a marketing book on-line to read up on over the break.  Most Brand Leaders get so busy, they don’t keep up with the trends in the market place.  
  9. Have at least one heart-to-heart talk this week, whether that’s with a peer, your boss, your agency person or someone who calls you boss.   What a great week to have one of those 2-3 hour talks.   If you are lucky, you might hear some feedback on you.  Say thank you.  
  10. Clean up your office and your email.  Block off an afternoon.  Clear out emails, sort other emails into folders you never got around to doing.  Throw out some files, clearing out some space for next year.  If you’re disorganized, use this time to get yourself a system.  
Happy Holidays from Beloved Brands.  We’ve enjoyed having you read our work.  Enjoy the break. 

 

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help train you to be a better brand leader
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The love and tradition behind the Starbucks Red Cups

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If you have been into a Starbucks the last few weeks, you’ll certainly feel the magic of the holiday season.   Every Starbucks feels well-decorated but never over stated.   You can smell peppermint and ginger as soon as you walk in.  If you want to add some flavor to your regular Latte, you can go for a Caramel Brûlé, Eggnog or Peppermint.  And if you want to try one of the Christmas deserts, there’s Gingerbread loafs, Frosted Snowman cookies or the Cranberry Bliss Bar.  Better yet, have you had one of those incredible Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops?  

And of course, there is the Starbucks Red Cup.

As the red cups arrived at Starbucks as early as November 1st, you could see the Facebook posts and my 15 year-old daughter was “SO EXCITED” count down(her words)  But it is such a great understated brand cue for Starbucks to link into the holiday season.  They are in year 10 of the cups, and it’s become something we now connect with the modern day world of Christmas.  

When you look on-line, you’ll see how big these little red cups are.  There is a website dedicated to the countdown.  And of course there are tons of tweets about the Red Cups, every time a consumer has one for the first time, signalling their excitement to all their network. That’s tons of free media.  

Starbucks is a Beloved Brand

In the consumer’s mind, brands sit on a Brand Love Curve, with brands going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved Brand for Life.  At the Beloved stage, demand becomes desire, needs become cravings, thinking is replaced with feelings.  Consumers become outspoken fans.  It’s this connection that helps drive power for your brand: power versus competitors, versus customers, versus suppliers and even versus the same consumers you’re connected with.  The farther along the curve, the more power for the brand.  It’s important that you understand where your brand sits on the Love Curve and begin figuring out how to move it along towards becoming a Beloved Brand.love-curve-detailed

When you reach the Beloved stage like Starbucks, it becomes all about the experience and the magical moments you can create.  While you can continue to attack yourself before others can attack you, it’s also about maintaining the love by creating a bit of magic to surprise and delight your most loyal consumers.  For a brand that taps into routine, having a regular set of drinks and desserts around Christmas gives the consumers some festive favorites to liven up the routine a little bit.  Being a life ritual each and every day gets even bigger when you become a tradition each Christmas.

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From a pure business point of view, Christmas starts November 1st all the way to December 31st, which means that one-sixth of the year, you are in red cups.  After 10 years of red cups, Starbucks fully understands how the simple gesture connects with consumers and how it links Starbucks to one of those holiday traditions.  

“When the cups turns red at Starbucks, that’s one of the first cues that the holidays are upon us. The emotional connection that our store partners (employees) have when they open that first box of the red cups and start using them that first day, and the emotional connection they see from their customers, that’s what we strive for. They see that surprise and excitement: ‘Oh, the red cups are at Starbucks!”

– Terry Davenport, Senior Vice President, Global Brand

On top of that Starbucks now has captured the entire calendar with specials around Valentines, St Patty’s day, Easter, Summer Drinks and Halloween (personally, I love the pumpkin stuff).

To stay in the holiday spirit, you can read up on how John Lewis has been using Christmas ads for the past 5 years to really connect with the consumer.  Click on this to get to the article:   John Lewis Christmas ads

Hope you are ready for the Holidays and that your brand results have been strong this year

Do you want to be an amazing Brand Leader?  We can help you.  

Read more on how to utilize our Brand Leadership Learning Center where you will receive training in all aspects of marketing whether that’s strategic thinking, brand plans, creative briefs, brand positioning, analytical skills or how to judge advertising.  We can customize a program that is right for you or your team.  We can work in person, over the phone or through Skype.  Ask us how we can help you. 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  gr bbi picWe believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  Our President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham.robertson@beloved-brands.com or follow on Twitter @grayrobertson1

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to help train you on positioning that will help you to be a better brand leader