Paula Alexander was the guest speaker at our April Marketing Mondays™ event, sponsored by Quarry and The Research Triangle Foundation. As Director of Global Insights for Burt’s Bees, the well-known maker of earth-friendly natural personal care products, Alexander began her presentation by providing a solid foundation on the topic of branding, including:
- A brand is simply a promise, with the ability to influence a purchase decision.
- Brands are defined by both the best and worst products and services you make; by award-winning advertising plus the horrible ads that slipped through the cracks; and by the accomplishments of your best employee as well as the worst hire ever made.
- Building brands requires building relationships and dialog, building trust, building congruence, and building culture into every action.
At Burt’s Bees, the brand building process starts with insight that drives strategy, which then drives planning and execution. Alexander defined insights as research, dialog and understanding. She suggested leveraging “the power of listening to create meaning” and that “insights are in people, not on paper.”
Alexander went on to talk about how Burt’s Bees builds relationships with their ‘North Star’ consumer – the core, highly loyal user of the brand. She encouraged the audience to meet these users “where they are” and connect them to the brand DNA – which she defined as a deeply emotional idea that touches people at their core and gives the brand purpose and meaning. She also suggested that all actions must be true to the brand DNA even as the brand evolves over time.
After reviewing some branding examples from Dove and Guinness, Alexander then looked at her work with Burt’s Bees. Using a brand model called “The Greater Good” Alexander highlighted how Burt’s Bees is living their brand in all aspects of product, place and positioning:
- Leading in developing a ‘natural’ standard.
- Developing items with the purest ingredients.
- Partnering with retailers to set a vision for certified natural products.
- Driving sustainability business practices.
As Burt’s Bees continues striving towards being 100% natural, they have already achieved their 2020 goal of producing zero waste in all their facilities. At the same time, Burt’s Bees has clearly been driving ‘consumer delight’ with their products through innovation. From awareness to trial to usage, Burt’s Bees has proven they can grow their market share year after year.
Alexander ended her presentation with 5 tips for building strong brands:
- Know your customer – start and end with dialog.
- Position your brand – identify brand DNA and architecture.
- Relationships – execute programs on target with brand DNA.
- Brand leverage – build programs and partnerships to cultivate DNA.
- Track brand equity – and adjust marketing efforts accordingly.
There was a lot of material presented here, and Paula Alexander has kindly agreed to share her slides with anyone interested in her presentation.
If you would like a copy of this presentation, please leave a request here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.