As principal of Matli Group, I had the opportunity to work with a great team of hand-selected specialists in brand, marketing, consumer insights and creative strategy and execution. My job was to bring all of these voices into an easy-to-explain process that I could show to clients. The clients weren't really interested in methodology for it's own sake of course; they were interested in how hiring us would help solve their problem. Those problems ranged from needing to figure out how to monetize brand IP without wasting money pursuing dead-ends; to needing a clear go-to-market plan that fit a specific budget; to improving their funnel dynamics and conversion rate (I use the e-commerce terminology here, but this applied to enterprise sales organizations as much as it did to retail and e-commerce clients).
Over time, our process and approach was distilled down into a methodology that could be clearly explained. We could attach metrics to each goal and measure how well we were achieving the goals the client set for us – and we could clearly illuminate from day one how a multi-year engagement would unfold. Clients, we learned early on, hate surprises. And their bosses don't like open-ended engagements.
While the example below is not comprehensive, it does showcase our basic approach and many of the tools we developed to guide the process and show how a process that could seem cerebral and impractical at time had measurable impact on tangible, real-world user experiences, products, launches and marketing communications. We used variations of this and other proprietary methodologies on brands including: Lego, Capitol Studios, Warner Bros classic properties such as Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, Fox's Alvin & the Chipmunks franchise, Iron Mountain and many others. In subsequent years, I've used some of these tools for brand strategy work for Universal Music Group and Westfield Malls as well... and of course I brought it with me to LeapFrog Enterprises where it became the internal process for brand managers to define positioning strategy for new product launches.
Strategic Approach - Capabilities:
A few of the core tenants underlying an approach to brand and marketing strategy that is both data-driven and intrinsically creative... Spoiler-alert: at the heart of it all is an obsessive focus on the end user/customer. The whole thing could be termed Empathy-Based Brand Strategy.
Part of the Methodology is an understanding of what consumer and market research is needed to produce which kinds of insights – and how these insights intersect to form core brand strategy, marketing strategy and product strategy. This is the first map we've ever seen of this process.
Here's an example of how we used the process to develop different market segments for Capitol Studio... Quantitative insights led to marketing strategy for their DTC Mastering business; Qualitative insights informed the B2B messaging for their enterprise Studios business.
This Venn Diagram is a snapshot of the components that create positioning and lead to marketing, messaging, line extension and growth strategies... each two info groups interact to inform an aspect of the total strategy.
Without a lot of detail you can see how the brand's past, reputation and core audiences directly influence the brand extensions it can move into at low risk – with highest upside.
Here you can see the Positioning Methodology used to define the brand experience, messaging and UX for 3 segments of Capitol's business – providing clear creative direction to teams to execute effectively.