Volume 9 (2020-21)

Each volume of Journal of Brand Strategy consists of four 100-page issues, published in print and online. The articles published in Volume 9 are listed below. Further articles scheduled to be published in Volume 9 are available to view on the 'Forthcoming content' page.

Volume 9 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice papers: Winning against a dominant brand
    David Aaker, Vice Chair of Prophet and Professor Emeritus, Berkeley-Haas School of Business

    The successful e-commerce-first brands competing against Amazon provide a road map for any firm going against a dominant player in any category. These brands engage in strategic jujitsu by exploiting Amazon’s vulnerabilities — an impersonal/functional image, being the everything store without in-depth credibility in anything, and often having the personality of a-powerful giant lacking humour or warmth. Strategies that work include developing credibility for their subcategory, a simpler choice set, a brand community, a higher purpose, a personal touch, being the feisty underdog, positioning to highlight advantages and expanding the distribution footprint by adding storefront synergies.
    Keywords: underdog brands, e-commerce strategies, dominant brands

  • Competencies-driven development: Focusing on key skills for communicators in a quickly converging consumer environment
    Tracie Haas, Vice President Corporate Responsibility, Brand and Communications, AbbVie

    Professional development for communicators needs to be revisited through the lens of the digital world in which we operate. Every day, new ways of engaging with consumers are added to the marketing mix, and the worlds of marketing and communications are quickly converging. What matters to the business is the impact brands make irrespective of the internal functions driving execution. An individual’s ability to keep the pulse on the external world, have the courage to focus on the right things and ultimately generate measurable impact defines their success in this world and illustrates the communicator of the future. To guide the development of these communicators, AbbVie’s Corporate Responsibility, Brand & Communications (CRBC) competency framework includes specific skills rooted in a simple three-pronged model: know the context, prioritise and align and drive impact. Ultimately, the up-levelling of talent is bolstered by the need to redefine communications, accommodate increasingly interconnected functions and achieve success in advancing brand objectives and protecting business reputation.
    Keywords: communications, integration, business, framework, brand, marketing mix

  • The importance of being not too earnest: Creativity in the boardroom
    Gordon Euchler, Head of Planning, BBDO Germany and Nils Liedtke, Senior Expert, McKinsey & Company

    Strategy has become ever more analytic, digital and data driven. Creativity is often a mere afterthought — only allowed to paint the products or services that were developed analytically. This paper argues that creative masterminds should take their rightful place in the boardroom and inspire companies for more imaginative and successful strategy. With three examples — T-Mobile, Volvo and O2 — we show how creativity can help to set the strategy, define the market and make products better.
    Keywords: creativity, strategy, marketing, creative strategy

  • Bridging brand and experience design
    Adrian Ho, CEO and Founding Partner, Zeus Jones

    While true, the idea that brands are defined by experiences masks a complex set of dynamics that dramatically affects the development of branded experiences. This paper explains the different evolutions of branding and experience design to show how the converged field of brand experience design inherits ideas from each former discipline in non-intuitive ways. The central shift in thinking is that experiences are defined by brands rather than the other way around. A strong brand — one with a clear and compelling purpose, one with a clear set of emotional associations — is essential for a strong brand experience; therefore, branding practitioners and designers must strengthen their brands in order to deliver powerful brand experiences. Contrary to popular opinion, experiences by themselves will do little to strengthen a weak brand. In addition, this paper presents a set of concrete tools and techniques to help brand experience designers build this new thinking into their work.
    Keywords: branding, experience design, value, convergence, digital disruption, culture change

  • The use of timing to increase personalisation, message impact and response rate
    Tony Rizzo, Chief Marketing Officer, Marquis Software Solutions

    The purpose of this quantitative experimental study was to understand if the use of marketing automation utilising transaction recency compared to a mass-market approach generated statistical significance and an increased response rate. To answer this question, direct mail was used as an instrument to test this hypothesis. The study contained a sample of individuals from nine participating financial institutions. Each participant received one of two direct mail treatments, containing either time personalisation or no time personalisation. Evidence of a statistically significant relationship was found between time personalisation and consumer response, χ2 (1, N = 43,581) = 25.16, p < 0.001. The effect size for this finding, Phi, was small, 0.024. In this analysis, there was a statistically significant association between time personalisation and consumer response. The time personalisation response rate was 1.56 per cent versus a 0.99 per cent response rate for the no time personalisation treatment. Time personalisation of a communication was statistically associated with consumer response within the financial services direct mail marketing channel. This has implications for the marketing professional seeking methods for increasing customer engagement, brand affinity and profit while utilising the bank’s on-premise data and marketing automation tools.
    Keywords: marketing automation, direct mail, personalisation, financial services

  • The state of the creator economy
    Ryan Schram, Chief Operating Officer, IZEA

    The `State of the Creator Economy’ research initiative provides an in-depth view of how the maturation of social media and other industry-relevant changes have affected consumers, marketers and creators. This marks the eighth year of the study, which aims to provide ongoing measurement of and insight into how influencer marketing (IM) and content marketing are both perceived and used. It offers information necessary to better understand the shifting trends in marketing strategies, consumer behaviours and creator habits. The study, commissioned by IZEA Worldwide, was conducted in partnership with Research Now, The Right Brain Consumer Consulting and Lightspeed GMI. It leads the charge for the industry, providing an independent lens through which readers can view the current marketing landscape -- content marketing and IM in particular -- from the viewpoint of consumers, marketers and creators. Researchers surveyed 606 client marketers from Research Now’s B-to-B National Panel, 242 IM and content marketing creators from the IZEA database of partners and 1,000 consumers sourced from Lightspeed GMI’s Domestic U.S. Panel.
    Keywords: influencer marketing, creator economy, consumer behaviour, marketing message, marketing strategies, content marketing

  • The evolution of naming rights agreements in the United States
    Tim McGhee, Founder, MSP Sports & Entertainment

    Companies have used naming rights of sports venues in the United States for over a century. Up until approximately 30 years ago, sponsors utilised these investments almost exclusively for building brand awareness. More recently, marketers that have invested in naming rights opportunities have utilised the platform provided by these high-profile venues to create fully integrated marketing programmes. This paper, through several examples as well as a case study, outlines the various objectives a sponsor seeks to achieve through their naming rights agreements. In addition to the significant branding afforded sponsors that affix their name to a venue, naming rights can also provide a showcase for a company’s technology as well as a means to drive significant revenue either directly or indirectly from the rights holder. By tracing the evolution of naming rights sponsorships, a reader can see why they are typically the most expensive marketing expenditure a company will make with a rights holder.
    Keywords: sponsorships, naming rights, sponsors, venues, marketing expenditure, branding, sports marketing

  • Research paper: Firearms, brass knuckles...and Instagram: Intended and unintended influence of social media advertising
    Valerie K. Jones, Associate Professor and Ming (Bryan) Wang, Associate Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Understanding the influence of social media advertising is critical to brands today. This study explores how Instagram advertising from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), largely featuring confiscated weapons, influences attitudes towards the brand and, unintentionally, towards gun control. A between-groups online experiment found that brand attitudes were not influenced, but light crime show viewers and video game players exposed to TSA’s Instagram content showed higher support for gun control than heavy violent crime show viewers and video game players. This research provides practical insight into how a government agency brand communicates with the public subject to its services. It also has theoretical implications, extending priming and desensitisation literature in exploring the relationship between violent social media images, prior exposure to violent media and gun control attitudes and, ultimately, suggesting that brand social media content can unintentionally influence attitudes towards social issues.
    Keywords: social media, Instagram, branding, social issues, gun control, priming, desensitisation

Volume 9 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Case study: Improving campaign performance using purpose marketing: Case study of Run For The Oceans
    Christoph Kullnig, VP of Marketing, Anja Obermüller, Head of Product Marketing and Katherine Aichhorn, Content Product Owner, Runtastic

    The importance of purpose-driven marketing has risen to new heights in the last few years. At Runtastic we did not simply want to follow a trend, but rather to play a pivotal role in shaping what such marketing looked like and what level of impact it could have. Building on our past effort into our annual Run For The Oceans campaign, we aimed to give this campaign and its essential cause — raising awareness of the marine plastic pollution crisis — an unprecedented level of importance in terms of our purpose marketing efforts, striving to create an impact far greater than we ever imagined possible. This paper outlines where we began, what measures we took to increase our scale and reach and how the outcome exceeded our wildest expectations. It is a study of the degree to which purpose marketing and corporate social responsibility matter to consumers in this day and age and how user engagement can be greatly improved by recognising the value consumers/users place on such topics.
    Keywords: purpose marketing, mobile marketing, app store optimisation, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, user engagement

  • Practice articles: Financial engineering can destroy brands, but there is a way forward
    Larry Light, Chief Executive Officer, Arcature

    Financial engineering can destroy brands. Financial engineering erodes brand trust, which takes time to rebuild. Effective, proactive brand management can breathe life back into broken brands. As the examples of Olive Garden and RH show, there are basic, fundamental actions that brand leaders must execute to put brands back on track for enduring profitable growth.
    Keywords: brand, financial engineering, high quality revenue growth, marketing, value extraction, value creation, Olive Garden, RH

  • Pandora’s box? The promise and peril of branded content partnerships
    Winfried Daun, Group Head of Advertising, Brand Strategy and Media and Sven Schäfer, Head of Advertising and Content Marketing, UBS

    Branded content has long been an essential instrument in Marketing’s toolkit, as it allows companies to inform and entertain and, most importantly, engage their audiences in ways that traditional advertising rarely does. While proprietary content activities require organisations to invest heavily into editorial resources and processes, the co-creation of content with an established publishing brand is an alternative approach that many brands have started utilising in the past few years. These branded content partnerships, often referred to as native advertising, offer considerable benefits, including the content credibility of a legacy editorial brand, as well as its storytelling, production and distribution capabilities. Journalists and researchers alike have emphasised the risks posed by such a collaboration, as it threatens to blur the boundary between editorial and advertising content and lead to an audience’s negative perception of both content sponsor and editorial partner. Much less attention has been paid to the operational challenges that brand practitioners are faced with when producing branded content, particularly when partnering with a media house. On the basis of more than a dozen bespoke native content projects developed with leading editorial brands such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, this paper summarises potential pitfalls along the entire value chain, from original content development to questions of brand visibility and editorial support to active promotion and distribution of the content. In light of the increasingly broad creative offering from media houses and their direct collaboration with advertising clients, the paper concludes by investigating potential risks of disintermediation posed to traditional creative and media planning agencies.
    Keywords: brand journalism, native advertising, content marketing, brand strategy, financial services

  • Trust-based marketing leadership: What senior leaders should be focusing on during brand plan reviews
    David Davidovic, President, pathForward

    Virtually every marketing team, in every company and in every industry, goes through the yearly, if not more frequent, ritual of developing and presenting its business/marketing plans to its executive team. This process can involve considerable time and expenditure. In very many cases, executives’ own blind spots of their role in the process can have a host of negative consequences for the quality of the plans themselves and, just as importantly, for the motivation and engagement of the team. When leaders second-guess the work done by expert and dedicated teams or use the ritual as an opportunity to micromanage or grandstand, there can be many consequences, some of which are outlined in this paper. This paper discusses ways to make it right, and offers a number of tips for leaders to consider as they manage and conduct brand strategy and plan reviews. The current author believes that embracing some or all of these tips will result in not only better plans, but also more engaged and motivated teams.
    Keywords: brand plan, strategic plan, marketing plan, engagement, culture, motivation, plan review

  • Why brands looking to stand out should look to stand-ups
    Leigh Kessler, VP of Marketing and Communications, CharityEngine and Steven Robins, Managing Partner and Principal, NECG

    The authors met when they were both standup comedians, and they soon realised that they also had branding in common. After spending their adult lives achieving success in both, they have concluded that they are essentially the same thing. That is what this paper is about. Whether you are branding yourself as a stand-up or your self, product or service for business purposes, if you can communicate your unique capability and your passion to innovate around that capability, and if there is a demand in the marketplace for that capability (whether the market knows it yet or not), you have a formula for success. But if you cannot articulate and communicate it in a clear and confident voice that feels unique, authentic and desirable, then you cannot transcend the noise to even be considered by your buying audience. Stand-ups understand better than anyone else how to deliver a unique, differentiated message around their authentic passion and capabilities. It certainly applies to Jerry Seinfeld and Aziz Ansari, #7 and #49, respectively, on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 50 Stand-up Comedians of all Time (Love, M. (2017) ‘50 best stand-up comics of all time’. And it also applies to ‘Wow’ ideas with billion-dollar valuations and carefully calculated grabs of market share that facilitate incremental growth — like Dollar Shave Club and BioTrue Contact lens solution. All four are market leaders who broke out by adhering to an authentic and differentiated offering driven by passion and capability. This paper explores how.
    Keywords: comedy, humour, stand-up, Seinfeld, branding, authenticity, voice

  • Research papers: Esport sponsorship: Practitioners’ perspectives on emerging trends
    David J. Finch, Professor, Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University, Gashaw Abeza, Assistant Professor, Towson University, Norm O’Reilly, Professor and Director, International Institute for Sport Business & Leadership, University of Guelph and Anthony Mikkelson, Research Assistant, Mount Royal University

    This paper aims to explore emerging trends in Esport sponsorship from the perspective of the industry’s practitioners. A series of expert interviews were conducted with two expert groups in the Simulated Professional Sports (SPS) genre of the Esport industry: property executive and sponsorship executives. Findings outline six emerging trends in Esport sponsorship: the generational challenge, the SPS community’s bond, converging SPS digital assets and sponsorship, authenticity and SPS sponsorship, endemic and non-endemic sponsorship, and the potential of Esport athletes. Theoretical and practical implications as well as suggestions for future research are provided.
    Keywords: video gaming, electronic sports, simulated professional sports, Twitch, League of Legends

  • To market, to market: How creative treatments of in-store branded content impact sales
    Joann Sciarrino, Director and John Prudente, Research Associate, Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations, Moody College at University of Texas at Austin

    This paper explores the effect of creative treatments for in-store branded content (also known as branded entertainment) on beer and wine sales for 48 campaigns across 85 grocery outlets. The effectiveness of creative treatments for in-store, at-shelf branded content, has been little researched. Study 1 measured test brand sales of in-store, at-shelf branded content versus same brand sales for no in-store, at-shelf branded content (control). Study 2 utilised factor analysis to uncover the underlying dimensions of the creative treatments for the test brands. Study 3 utilised partial least-squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) to assess the importance and contribution of creative treatments on sales of the test brands during the campaign period. Data reveals that, despite the crowded visual environment of grocery retailers, in-store, at-shelf branded content for selected beer and wine brands had significantly higher sales versus the pre-campaign or control condition, with the creative treatments of empathy, emotion and message, film quality and local/sustainable garnering the strongest positive imputed relationships to sales.
    Keywords: branded content, product promotion, point of purchase, digital out of home video, retail marketing