Why Brand Planning is More Important Than Ever in 2022

Brand strategy has always been important. It’s how I was ‘brought up’ as a strategist. A recent rise in brand strategy interest can be attributed to market shifts and consumers’ changing affinity patterns. So, what’s changed in the role of brand strategy and how can companies adapt to stay ahead of the competition?

Let’s dig in a bit…

The Rise in Brand Strategy and Market Changes

Market research is a vital aspect of brand strategy. But how we conduct market research is becoming more focused on pre-consumer happenings. As cited by Forbes, insights are gathered from product designers and marketers before the product even reaches the hands of consumers.

This is thanks, in part, to changes in technology, which allows for greater access to data – and more of it. But what does this mean for businesses? Simply put, you should use every person in the ‘chain of production’ in the role of brand strategy. Everyone will be producing data, so use it to your advantage to use this data to improve your product before customers see it.

Reputation and Ethics

Company reputation isn’t a new focus, but the rise in brand strategy has changed what it means to consumers. As you may already know from our ‘Young Affluent’ focus several years back, consumers do show allegiances with their spending. This is particularly true within sustainability and young affluents.

But how does this fit into the role of brand strategy? Put sustainability front and center if you plan to win the youth market. That said, make sure your efforts are genuine because people are good at sniffing out ‘greenwashing’. Conduct market research to see what competitors are doing and decide how your company can improve its sustainability. Finally, make it visible and honest, and stick to your goals.

Final Thoughts on Brand Strategy

The role of brand strategy is always changing, and it can be difficult to keep up. If you’re looking to ground your marketing efforts with integrated brand strategy, AlixCompany can help. Since 2008, we’ve been helping advertisers and marketers move the meter from thinking to knowing by truly getting in-stream with consumers in today’s marketplace.

AlixCompany is based in Austin, Texas with Regus offices all over. We help brands move the meter from thinking to knowing by truly getting in-stream with consumers in today’s marketplace. For more information on our qualitative, quantitative, and planner-for-awhile (PFA) services please visit www.alixcompany.com.

POSTED BY Alix Morrow AT 9:56 am

Black, Brown, & Rando Pump Selling

A good friend was transferred to NYC to manage a women’s shoe store in Herald Square. Over lunch sometimes, when we were both living in NYC, she would share with me valuable me sales tips. This one day in particular she said, “It’s helpful when you are resourceful and provide what they need – sometimes they don’t know what they need.”

She continued by sharing how a customer would come into the store looking for a classic black pump heel. She would bring out that pump and also provide the same pump in brown. Additionally, she’d bring out a ‘rando’ pump that was the hottest selling pump of the season. Four times out of ten customers would purchase that second pump, two times out of ten they would purchase the rando, and every once in a while – they’d purchase both!

What’s your brown and rando pump when customers ask about a black pump?

Alix Morrow is the Founder and Chief-Make-It-Happenator at AlixCompany based in Austin, Texas. AlixCompany helps brands move the meter from thinking to knowing by truly getting in-stream with consumers in today’s marketplace. For more information about our qualitative, quantitative, and planner-for-awhile (PFA) services please visit www.alixcompany.com or call us at 512-537-8503. We make house calls and welcome referrals. 

POSTED BY Alix Morrow AT 10:10 am

The Us in Trust

If you’re touching any facet of communications, you’re in for a climb as “trust in all information sources [is] at record lows”.

Just like the ‘us’ in trust is important – the ‘and’ in brand is equally as important. Trusted brands close the value-destroying divide between ‘brand’ and ‘performance’ marketing which fosters loyalty, engagement, brand exclusivity, and lastly relationships.

When you Google ‘trust’ you get 6,490,000,000 results. That’s 13% more than COVID-19 (5,650,000,000), 90% more than Cola-Cola (653,000,000), and 93% more than Joe Biden (456,000,000). (Source: Google search; June 20, 2021)

Edman’s Trust Barometer shows “trust in all information sources [is] at record lows”.

Trust at Record Lows

Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2021, p24; https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2021-01/2021-edelman-trust-barometer.pdf

For Our Business Right Now

Most interestingly for the communications business, is how trust serves as a bridge for accomplishing both short-term and long-term goals.

Tom Roach’s blog post “The Wrong and Short of It” is my favorite for setting this up more. He writes, “Short-termism and long-termism are both just wrong-termism. So let’s end the false choice between long and short-term marketing tactics, maximise the compound effects of getting them working together in harmony, and start to close the value-destroying divide between ‘brand’ and ‘performance’ marketing. It’s limiting marketing effectiveness and brand growth, when we’ve never needed them more.”

No more short-term, long-term… trust is uniquely an “all-term” mechanism. And, we desperately need “all-term” thinking right now.

What “All-Term” Thinking Involves

More specifically, what does “all-term” thinking involve? It’s more than quality and affordability. Like any lasting relationship, it boils down to being reliable, honest, authentic, transparent, and care-full.

Motivating Behavior

Source: March 2021 HarteHanks Behavioral Index, p49

Essentially and in the simplest terms, it’s how a brand behaves. Ah, yes – finally to behavior (my favorite)!

The Us in Trust is Rooted in How a Brand Behaves

Psyche.co published a nice bit in 2020 on ‘How to Know Who’s Trustworthy’ which maps out five virtues of “intellectual dependability” to lean on when “knotty problems call for sound advice…”

  1. Intellectual benevolence – genuinely caring about your wellbeing
  2. Intellectual transparency – sharing perspective with the motivation of helping you progress
  3. Communicative clarity – removing or resolving sources of ambiguity when communicating
  4. Audience sensitivity – an appreciation of an audience’s distinctive features
  5. Intellectual guidance – displaying a certain open-ended wisdom in supporting you with inquires

(Source: Pysche.co, Psycho Guides, November 2020; https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-spot-whos-trustworthy-and-whos-not-on-what-matters?utm_source=Psyche+Magazine&utm_campaign=9ab72309f6)

If we’re pulling apart the ‘us’ in trust, then we need to also look at the ‘and’ in brand. That is, trusted brands enjoy more loyalty AND more engagement AND acceleration along the marketing funnel AND exclusivity in the category AND lasting consumer relationships. WARC published a nice piece last February on this for subscribers here. (https://www.warc.com/content/article/bestprac/what-we-know-about-brand-trust/110020, February 2021)

So, to pull it all together – trust levels suck right now. In order to improve as communicators, we need to move from short-term/long-term to “all-term” thinking. Just like the ‘us’ in trust is important – the ‘and’ in brand is equally as important. Trusted brands close the value-destroying divide between ‘brand’ and ‘performance’ marketing which fosters loyalty, engagement, brand exclusivity, and lasting relationships.

POSTED BY Alix Morrow AT 10:15 am

Sharing Some Know-How as a Branding Panelist

🔥 HOT TOPIC! Check out the recording from a branding panel I was on in July, hosted by the Austin Retail & eCommerce Group:

We chat up where to start with branding, why care about branding, branding misconceptions, most important bits to branding, impact of COVID, data + branding, and branding predictions for the next few years.

Thanks again Lori Appleman and AJ Davis for having me.










POSTED BY Alix Morrow AT 9:05 am

Best read yet IMO on this hot topic of Branding. Nicely said, Tom Roach.

The Wrong and the Short of it, published by Tom Roach on July 17, 2020:


Nuggets pulled directly from the post to spark your interest in reading the full post:

…There are irresistible pressures pulling marketers towards the short term. And there’s also a huge asymmetry in terms of accessibility to ‘performance’ channels vs ‘brand-building’ channels. Google, Facebook, Amazon and other platforms have given millions of businesses of every size and type, easy, self-service access to a giant direct response advertising eco-system. And this universal accessibility is also ensuring there’s a ready and growing supply of ‘performance’ marketing specialists and a dwindling supply of ‘brand’ marketing specialists – a factor that further exacerbates the divide.

…It’s never been more important to make every marketing $ work as hard as it possibly can. We’ve never been more aware that without short-term success there may not even be a long-term for some of our brands. And the best way of securing both will be to embrace the fertile middle-ground that lies in combining the power of short and long-term effects…

…It’s important to say that long-term growth isn’t just achieved by adding up a series of short-term effects. It’s more complicated than simply being additive: it’s a multiplicative, compound effect, which starts slowly but strengthens over time. And whilst all long-term growth actually has roots in the short term, only some kinds of short-term activity also lead to long-term results.

POSTED BY Alix Morrow AT 8:55 am

Texas Hold ‘Em is Just Like Good Strategic Planning…

This ‘Freakonomics’ podcast posted got me thinking. I thought you might also enjoy it.

Host Steven Dubner interviews Maria Konnikova about her new book, The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and WinThe book chronicles Konnikova’s journey from poker novice to poker professional. What I liked about it (and why I purchased the book just after listening) is the relevance for our business. Our business is seemingly just like poker; with psychological components and also frameworks. Too much ‘data-head’ and you’re playing chess, too much chance without any framework and you’re playing roulette. Poker sits nicely in the middle with both frameworks for solutions and human observational elements – just like good strategic planning! The title needs more work IMO, but that’s another conversation.

Check out the podcast and transcript here: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/konnikova-biggest-bluff/


POSTED BY Alix Morrow AT 8:48 am