NP Connects brings together leaders from a variety of backgrounds to share real-time perspectives on a range of topics. We recently heard from Larry Gulko on the topic of brand building thought leadership.
Larry is a brand architect and strategist, executive coach, and growth advisor with a track record for positioning an eclectic range of brands to compete more effectively in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. He founded BRAND: NEW DAY, a company-focused, virtual and in-person, brand-building strategy retreat, created and moderates the annual Harvard Business School Association CEO Brand Leadership Roundtable, and is the co-host of Name Brands, a CBS Boston podcast leadership series.
- Brands often fail when they lose focus of their market or if they never had a focus. Expanding across channels or products stretches a brand and can diminish its value.
- Companies should become specialists in their category. Those that are generalist lose market share. Appealing to everyone is not the way to go. Department stores are generalist retailers and are losing market value. If you have 15 sub-brands, concentrate on the top three. Each new category should become a new brand.
- Recognize that your brand is trying to build customers to want your brand. Few brands are needed. No one needs a specific cell phone. They want it. Companies should focus on providing remarkable service or value because clients will want it and will pay for those goods or services. Become a want, not a need.
- Bold and disruptive thinking sustains a company, not necessarily revolutionary. How do you reinvent your company? A well-established manufacturer of percussion instruments today is experimenting with new materials. What are you doing to make your company obsolete and bring on the next generation of products?
- Leaders should focus on their brand versus a brand name in order to create an emotional connection to a brand. A recent survey indicates that CEOs work 65 hours a week but only spend 3% of their time with consumers. Losing connections with clients is a risk to a brand.
- How often should a company revisit their brand? Look every quarter. There's so much noise today. Take a deep dive and create a think tank lab to review and pivot if needed. Keep your thumb on the pulse of the brand and the market. Bring different voices, not just marketing, to the discussion – manufacturing, finance, HR, customer service, etc.