A New Brand World | Scott Bedbury

Summary of: A New Brand World: Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the Twenty-First Century
By: Scott Bedbury


Embark on a journey exploring the fascinating realm of brand leadership with Scott Bedbury’s insightful book ‘A New Brand World: Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the Twenty-First Century’. This summary will delve into important concepts such as brand essence, intangible brand experiences, and the significance of change for a brand’s survival. Discover vital lessons from real-life examples like Starbucks, Nike, and Harley-Davidson to understand the importance of nurturing brands and maintaining their unique value throughout dynamic business environments. Get ready to soak in the knowledge of how to create powerful brands that create lasting impressions and emotional connections.

The Power of Building a Brand

Building a brand is vital to a business’s success, and it is more than just brand awareness. Marlboro was once a well-known brand, but its failure to improve its products and marketing led to its downfall. On the other hand, Harley Davidson gained success by allowing customers to customize their experience of the brand. Starbucks invested in delivering a consistent experience to create a strong brand without spending much on marketing. Building a strong brand includes defining and protecting the brand’s essence, connecting emotionally with customers, and making the brand’s values essential to the organization’s atmosphere. To survive, businesses must change their product and marketing strategies; otherwise, they become commodities with no brand value.

Nike’s Inflection Point

In the mid-1980s, Nike faced a crisis as it lost its top spot to Reebok and suffered a decline in sales. To redefine itself, Nike had to ask fundamental questions about its objectives, identity, and success measures. The company realized that a product is not just an artifact but a means of providing customers with experiences. Nike had a core identity as a hard-core shoemaker for male athletes, but it needed to become more inclusive to satisfy diverse constituencies. Nike’s inflection point required the company to define itself beyond making excellent shoes for top athletes and grow as a sports and fitness brand. Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign became a powerful statement of the brand’s inclusiveness and its commitment to providing something for everyone. Nike’s reinvention exemplifies how brands are defined by the experiences and actions they offer throughout their lifetime.

Nike and Starbucks’ Brand Research

Nike and Starbucks utilized Brand Strength Monitor (BSM) research to understand how customers perceive their brand rather than using traditional market research. Nike interviewed core customer groups to understand their impressions and feelings towards the brand. The BSM revealed that young males were Nike’s core customers, leading the brand to focus on customer reactions and feelings towards the brand. Similarly, Starbucks’ BSM research found that customers associated the brand with experiences rather than just coffee. This insight led Starbucks to focus on creating consistent and excellent experiences for customers, which had implications for product selection and packaging. The essence of the Starbucks brand became “Rewarding Everyday Moments.” Both Nike and Starbucks’ BSM research indicates that understanding a brand’s core substance is vital for growth.

The Power of Brand Mantras

A brand mantra is more than just a slogan. It is the essence of a brand expressed in a few words. It helps companies make strategic decisions in alignment with the brand’s identity. Nike’s brand mantra, “Authentic Athletic Performance,” allowed the company to reject incompatible products, while staying the course and resisting tempting revenue opportunities. Rediscovering a brand’s essence can reinvigorate it, as demonstrated by Disney’s “Fun Family Entertainment,” Chrysler’s Viper, and Apple’s iMac. The New Beetle also captured the essence of the old Beetle for Volkswagen. A brand without a clear identity stands for nothing.

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