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Our Perspectives On Managing Brands

Marketing professionals have appreciated the power of brands for generations. In recent years, however, brands have gained the attention of board-level executives and the investors they seek to attract.
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These new "brand audiences" have developed an appreciation for the value of brands. They understand that brands are both business assets and business tools. Increasingly, they want to shape their companies as "branding organizations".
Companies are changing the way they way the approach brand management. Traditionally, the focus has been on image and communications. Brand management was delegated, at least to some extent, to advertising agencies and design firms.
This model continues to work for some companies, but brand leaders are looking for more. They appreciate that customers and consumers receive brand impressions from a variety of sources inside the organization and beyond. When these sources are in alignment with communications, powerful and cost-efficient brand-building occurs. When alignment breaks down, the result is customer confusion and wasted resources.

Such inefficiencies cannot be tolerated in today's business environment. A new, more holistic model of brand management has emerged. The new model seeks brand-building contributions from every area that is significant to brand audiences. Branding is everybody's business.

This new, broad-based model of brand development is a complex proposition for management. It expands the number of brand-building variables and the number of brand-delivery agents inside and outside the company. It poses the issue of "who's in charge?", and offers large potential rewards to managers who overcome the challenges.
One of the key issues in holistic brand management is finding capable outside partners who are objective and unbiased. Traditional providers such as advertising agencies will understandably favor the solutions they offer. In addition, these providers may have limited experience and capabilities in important brand-delivery areas such as customer support, product/service design, pricing, and distribution channels.
Role of Brand
When companies embrace holistic branding as a management tool, brand strategy assumes a new role. It not only has to be right, it has to be a guide to practical actions and behaviors in diverse areas of the business. Brand strategy has to function in the customer service department just as well as it does in the marketing department.
In developing holistic brand strategies, it is important to avoid old-model assumptions and the pursuit of creative "silver bullets". The strategy process should be open-minded and inclusive, and it should understand that brand strategy is a long-term commitment. The best processes concentrate on gaining a deep understanding of how target customers make brand choices in the category. They seek out the facts.
To get implemented, brand strategy must be endorsed by top management, and it must be do-able in the "real world" of company resources and capabilities. In our experience, the best way to develop such strategies is to involve the people who will implement them.
Where We
Fit In
SDR Consulting works with clients as a specialist partner in the area of holistic brand strategy and brand implementation action. Because we do not offer creative services such as advertising or graphics materials, our advice and support is open-minded, objective, and unbiased. We support clients on limited issues as well as broad, strategic initiatives.
We offer a proven brand management consulting process and the tools that make it work. In particular, we provide sophisticated brand analysis tools that support key strategy decisions with reliable, quantitative information.

SDR Consulting approaches each assignment with the mindset of learning which brand strategies will be most effective and which brand-building actions will provide the greatest return on investment. Our consulting methods help clients produce branding action by promoting involvement, teamwork, and consensus-building across the organization.