Understanding Muslim Beauty: The endless growing opportunity

Apr 25 2017 Published by neilgains under Asia trends

What is the real opportunity for Muslim beauty? Let’s start with the numbers, which are truly impressive, before sharing  some research on what Muslim women want from beauty and the relationship between beauty and Muslim values. Let’s then look at one beauty brand that I think has been successful in capturing these needs and values, before putting Muslim beauty into a broader context of global beauty trends. Read more »

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5 Ways Brand Stories Connect

Mar 31 2017 Published by neilgains under storytelling

We all understand the impact of stories in our lives, and increasingly businesses are taking storytelling more seriously as a skill to develop and nurture (I’ve recently run a Storytelling training program for one such business in China and have another public course running in May). But what is it about story that connects so powerfully with us, and how does the psychology of story mirror the psychology of brand choice? Here are five ways that stories tap into universal human behaviours.

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The esSense of a new insurance brand? (The Importance of Brand esSense #6)

Feb 14 2017 Published by neilgains under brand essense

Walking through Singapore yesterday, I noticed for the first time the eTiQa insurance brand, owned by Maybank. Perhaps I should have noticed the brand before, but I was struck by the colours and naming of the brand which struck an immediate resonance for the category.

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Marketing to Consumers’ Instincts

Dec 14 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

There are now many books about the application of behavioural science to branding and marketing (including Brand esSense). The Business Of Choice by Matthew Willcox is a recent edition is one of the more readable ones, summarising many of the core ideas of behavioural economics in a very business-focused and reader-friendly way. Uniquely, the coverage extends to thinking about the role of human nature and culture in shaping consumers’ decision-making.

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The Beauty of Believing in Brand Values

Nov 28 2016 Published by neilgains under brand essense

Reading Generation M recently (review here) made me think long and hard about the relationship between religious or spiritual beliefs and brand values. TapestryWorks’ research on Asian beauty has highlighted the gap between international brands and the aspirations of many Asian women. This gap is nowhere clearer than Indonesia, where many local brands “feel” much more in tune with local culture, a culture which is very strongly informed by Muslim values. Read more »

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A Gap in the Toblerone Brand (The Importance of Brand esSense #5)

Nov 10 2016 Published by neilgains under brand essense

Why, oh why, oh why? Why would any brand manager take the most unique, distinctive and well known asset of a brand and change it?

Well Mondelez know better and have widened the spaces between the well known chunks of a Toblerone chocolate bar in order to save money (perhaps inspired by Brexit and rising ingredient costs). You can see the original and “gappy” versions of the product above.

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The esSense of Brand Extensions

Apr 15 2016 Published by neilgains under brand essense

What should marketers know about brand extensions, and the role of their brand meaning in shaping their decisions about how far they can stretch their brand? We all know about the many failures of brand extensions, so how do you avoid them?

The key is always to understand the esSense of your brand and what it means to customers. Successful brand extensions are able to leverage a brand’s esSense, while many unsuccessful brand extensions simply don’t fit with what the consumer already knows about your brand. Read more »

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Which Burger Archetype Wears the Crown? (Importance of Brand esSense part 4)

Mar 02 2016 Published by neilgains under brand essense

McDonalds and Burger King have recently been in the news with their tit-for-tat advertising in France, and in many ways the exchanges are a good summary of the history of advertising between the two. Whatever you think of their burgers, or of fast food in general, the story of McDonalds and Burger King communications has frequently been the story of the small guy chasing after (and reacting to) the big guy. Through its history and size, McDonalds often seems to have had the upper hand and the more consistent brand story (although things seem to be changing more recently).

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Weaving Sense, Symbol and Story into Brands

Feb 11 2016 Published by neilgains under brand essense

The central argument of Brand esSense is that brands can leverage multiple touch points to enhance their brand identity by sending consistent messages across the stories they tell, the symbolism that they use and the way that they engage the different senses in customer experience of interacting with the brand. Building consistency and linkage across brand stories, symbols and sensory experience enables brands to build stronger assets that increase the mental and physical availability (i.e., visibility) that drive brand growth (read more on this here).

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Are You Available? (Part 2)

Feb 10 2016 Published by neilgains under consumer psychology

In How Brands Grow Part 2, Jenni Romaniuk and Byron Sharp continue the arguments of the original book (read a review here) with much more evidence and detail on a range of specific topics including emerging markets, service categories and luxury brands.

The evidence they present is clear, consistent and comprehensively nails many of the marketing myths that they sought to challenge in the first book. And specifically they seek to challenge the “but my category is different” argument with data from a range of categories and markets including China and Indonesia that will be of interest to readers of this blog. Read more »

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