ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.
Building Brand Value – Part 1

Building Brand Value – Part 1

What Is Brand Value?

Brand value can be a company’s most valuable asset, but too many companies don’t prioritize building brand value as part of their strategic imperatives. In my new series for AYTM, Building Brand Value, you’ll learn what brand value is, how to develop it, and why it matters. Think of it this way — would Apple agree that prioritizing brand value is not important? Would Disney? Your company should give building brand value the investment it deserves, and you’ll reap the long-term rewards that brand value and brand equity can deliver. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 4

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 4

Market Segmentation as Part of Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is most successful when the right audience gets the right brand messages and experiences. In Part 4 of the Brand Marketing Basics series, you’ll learn how to make sure that happens. If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 of the series, follow the links to catch up. It’s important that you understand what brand marketing is, the elements of brand marketing, and how to use market research to improve brand marketing before you read Part 4 of the series. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 3

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 3

Using Market Research for Brand Marketing

Part 3 of the Brand Marketing Basics series on the AYTM blog discusses the use of market research to develop and track a company’s brand marketing efforts. First, be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series to learn what brand marketing is as well as about the 5 E’s of Brand Marketing success. Both articles will help you to better understand the concepts discussed here in Part 3. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 2

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 2

The 5 E’s of Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is essential to brand building success, as you learned in Part 1 of the Brand Marketing Basics series. Now, it’s time to learn about the core elements of brand marketing — what needs to go into every brand marketing effort your company pursues to develop the brand and build brand equity. Think of every marketing initiative as a brand marketing opportunity, and you’ll be on the right track to success. Read more

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 1

Brand Marketing Basics – Part 1

What Is Brand Marketing?

If a brand is a promise to consumers and marketing is the process of creating messages, programs, and experiences that motivate consumers to purchase products and services, then what is brand marketing? That’s the topic of my new series for AYTM — Brand Marketing Basics. In Part 1, you’ll learn what brand marketing is and how to get started in developing your brand marketing plan. Read more

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 3

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 3

Using Brand Research to Identify Brand Engagement Opportunities

It’s nearly impossible to build brand engagement if you don’t know what added value consumers want and are willing to accept from your brand. That’s where market research comes into the picture, because it can help you identify those consumer wants and needs, many of which are rooted in emotions. If you missed earlier parts of the How to Build Brand Engagement series, you can follow the links to learn what brand engagement is and the steps to build brand engagement. Now, let’s talk market research and brand engagement! Read more

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 2

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 2

5 Steps to Build Brand Engagement

In Part 1 of the How to Build Brand Engagement series, you learned what brand engagement is. Now, it’s time to learn how to build brand engagement. There is a pattern you can follow to build brand engagement, and following some simple tips, you’ll see increased brand engagement very quickly. Read more

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 1

How to Build Brand Engagement – Part 1

What Is Brand Engagement?

To build a brand successfully, you need to build brand engagement. You need to give consumers a reason to want to take time out of their busy days to engage with your brand. Ultimately, you want them to engage with your brand again and again — and tell their friends and family to engage with your brand, too. That means you have to answer to key questions before you can build your brand: what do consumers want that my brand can deliver which will jump start engagement and how can I motivate consumers to engage with my brand? Read more

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 2

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 2

In Part 1 of the Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions series, you learned about the choices companies have to make when they acquire brands through a merger. Newly acquired brands can retain their original brand names, take on the acquiring company’s brand name, or a dual-brand could be created as a transitional device (although in some instances, the dual-brand stays around for many years).  One of the most important steps that should be taken before any decisions about the combined brand portfolio should be made is conducting consumer market research. Read more

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 1

Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions – Part 1

Recently, AOL closed AOL News with a brand strategy that would make its acquired Huffington Post the primary brand identity for its online and mobile news and commentary content publishing. Mergers and acquisitions of companies and brands usually mean the resulting brand portfolio has to be evaluated and changed. Why do some brands pursue a decentralized brand portfolio strategy while others choose centralized strategies? That’s the focus of my two-part series on the AYTM blog, Brand Strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions. Read more

Brand Engagement Takes Marketing Gold at 2012 Olympics

Brand Engagement Takes Marketing Gold at 2012 Olympics

The 2012 Olympic Games are a brand-heavy event. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do, it’s likely that you’ve come into contact with some form of Olympics-related marketing from brands in recent months. Now, that the Games have started, it appears that brands are taking the concept of event sponsorship to a new level and reaping the rewards. Read more

The Slow Death of Demographic Segmentation

The Slow Death of Demographic Segmentation

In 2007, I wrote an article for Drew McLellan’s popular Marketing Minute blog called Is Demographic Segmentation Dead? Fast forward five years and the debate over the lifespan of demographic segmentation is still going on. Market segmentation is more complex than ever and the “old rules” are continually questioned. The “new rules” of segmentation have yet to be fully defined. In fact, it’s a constantly moving target, and marketers have to be more flexible and intuitive than ever. Read more

Brand Review Basics – Part 4

Brand Review Basics – Part 4

External Primary Market Research

So far in the Brand Review Basics series, you’ve learned what a brand review is and about the secondary research and internal primary market research you should conduct as part of a comprehensive brand review. Now, it’s time to learn about the external primary market research that is essential to a successful brand audit. Remember, you can’t assume that you understand how consumers perceive your brand and what’s important to them. You have to ask them. Read more

Brand Review Basics – Part 3

Brand Review Basics – Part 3

Conducting Internal Primary Market Research

The brand review process doesn’t end with secondary research, which you learned about in Parts 1 and 2 of the Brand Review Basics series. To fully review a brand and position it for ongoing success, you must conduct primary market research as well. In Part 3 of the series, you’ll learn about the internal market research you need to conduct in order to complete a comprehensive brand audit. Why is an internal audit so important? The answer is simple. If your employees don’t believe in your brand, why should paying customers? Read more

Brand Review Basics – Part 2

Brand Review Basics – Part 2

Conducting Secondary Research

In Part 1 of the Brand Review Basics series, you learned what a brand review is and how conducting one can benefit your business. Now, it’s time to dive in and learn what kind of secondary research a comprehensive brand review entails. Keep in mind, this secondary research is just one part of your brand review. You also need to conduct primary market research, so stay tuned for Parts 3 and 4 of this series to learn more about primary research. For now, let’s talk secondary research and brand reviews. Read more

Brand Review Basics – Part 1

Brand Review Basics – Part 1

What Is a Brand Review?

When was the last time you conducted a brand review? Every brand should be tracked on an ongoing basis, but a brand review (often called a brand audit) is a far more comprehensive analysis of every aspect of your brand that you can imagine. A thorough brand audit could take one month or six months depending on the size of the business and scope of the brand architecture. While few companies invest the time or money into a full brand review, this is the only real way to assess the health of a brand to ensure it’s positioned for success in the future. In my new series for AYTM, Brand Review Basics, you’ll learn what a brand audit is, how it can help your brand, and how to get started with your own review. Read more

NBC and Microsoft Split – Which Brand is the Biggest Winner?

NBC and Microsoft Split – Which Brand is the Biggest Winner?

When NBC and Microsoft entered a joint venture nearly two decades ago, MSNBC was born, and many people in the branding community wondered, “Why?” On July 15, 2012, the relationship came to an end when NBC News announced that it had acquired 100% control of MSNBC.com. Immediately, all traffic to MSNBC.com was redirected to NBCNews.com. However, the MSNBC brand won’t die, and a new MSNBC.com site will debut in 2013 without Microsoft. That leads many to wonder, which brand is the biggest winner? Read more

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 4

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 4

Promoting, Tracking, and Researching Ebook Performance

So far in the Using Ebooks to Build a Brand series, you’ve learned what an ebook is, how to plan an ebook, and how to write an ebook. Now, it’s time to learn how to promote and track your ebook’s success as well as about the follow-up market research you should conduct in order to analyze performance based on consumer perception. Turning an ebook into an effective content marketing initiative takes more than clicking a publish button and making your ebook available online, and that’s what Part 4 of this series covers. Read more

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 3

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 3

Writing a Brand Ebook

Once you’ve established your brand ebook goals and you’ve conducted your initial market research to determine what your ebook should be about (as you learned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series), it’s time to start writing. Most of the content, design, and production decisions you make for your ebook should be based on that market research, so gather your data and let’s get started. Read more

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 2

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 2

Planning Your Ebook

In Part 1 of the Using Ebooks to Build a Brand, you learned what an ebook is. Now, it’s time to learn how to plan your brand ebook. While it might be tempting to sit down and start writing about a topic related to your brand and business or a topic you know well, doing so might not be the right strategy. What you want to write about might not be what your audience wants to read. Therefore, before you start writing, you need to take time to develop an ebook strategy and plan. Read more

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 1

Using Ebooks to Build a Brand – Part 1

What Is an Ebook?

Ebooks are an important part of a content marketing strategy that can help any brand in any industry. In my new series, Using Ebooks to Build a Brand, you’ll learn how you can create ebooks effectively communicate your brand promise, develop your brand reputation, and that build your audience and your business. Before we can dive into how to do it, you need to understand what an ebook is and how it fits into an integrated marketing plan. Read more

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 4

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 4

Relationship Brand Examples to Benchmark

So far in the Relationship Brand Basics series, you learned what a relationship brand is and why it should matter to you, how brands become relationship brands, and the research you should conduct to position your brand for relationship status. Now, it’s time to learn about some of the best relationship brand examples, which you can benchmark as you develop your brand strategy. Read more

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 3

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 3

Using Market Research to Build a Relationship Brand

To successfully build a relationship brand, you’ll need to spend time conducting market research and managing customer relationships on an ongoing basis. That’s the subject of Part 3 of the Relationship Branding Basics series. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, you can follow the links to learn what a relationship brand is and how brands become relationship brands. Now, it’s time to learn how to get started in developing a relationship brand by taking the first step and researching your market. Read more

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 2

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 2

How Brands Become Relationship Brands

In Part 1 of the Relationship Brand Basics series, you learned what a relationship brand is and why relationship brands matter to consumers, marketers, and companies. Now, it’s time to learn how brands become relationship brands. It’s an easier path for some brands than it is for others. Some brands are inherently more emotional in consumers’ minds, such as entertainment brands, while others, like utility brands, have to work harder to develop emotional connections with consumers. However, any brand can grow to be a relationship brand with consistency, persistence, and patience. Read more

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 1

Relationship Brand Basics – Part 1

What are Relationship Brands and Why Do They Matter?

Relationship brands are the most powerful brands in the world. They can come from any industry and are one step away from exploding into cultural phenomena. In my new series for AYTM, Relationship Brand Basics, you’ll learn what relationship brands are, why they matter, how brands become relationship brands, and how to build relationship brands. You’ll also learn from some of the best relationship brand examples, so you can get on the right path to turn your brand into a relationship brand, too. Read more