Book Summary: Zag

Nowadays, establishing a brand is difficult.

The issue, according to Marty Neumeier, is clutter. There's a lot of product clutter - there are too many items and services to choose from.

There are too many features in every product, resulting in feature congestion. Advertising clutter abounds, with far too many media signals. There's message clutter, which means there are far too many pieces in each message. Finally, there's channel clutter, which refers to having too many contending channels.

In this overview, we'll walk you through 17 actions to help you build the brand you've always wanted. But first, a few things need to be cleared up.

First, let's define what a brand is. "A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company," Marty says. It's not about what you say; it's about what other people say.

Second, nowadays, developing a brand isn't only about selling items and services. It's all about bringing folks into a tribe that they can rely on. Your purpose is to assist customers in answering the question, "What will I become if I buy this product?"

Finally, your business should be on the lookout for market white space. The idea is to play where there is no competition, not to be better than the opponent.

You have the essential components of a Zag when the focus is combined with distinction, reinforced by a trend, and accompanied by captivating messaging.

Want to get started?

Step #1: Who are you? (Focus)

A male overlooking the mountains and finding out the areas of interest.

Discovering white space with a brand is useless unless you have the expertise, authority, and desire to sustain it day after day, year after year.

Self-examination questions:

  • Where do you have the greatest trustworthiness?
  • Which of the following areas do you have the greatest experience in?
  • What are your areas of interest?

Take action:

  • Write your brand's obituary in the future.

Step #2: What Do You Do? (Focus)

The second stage is to determine why you exist in the first place, aside from generating money.

Google's mission, for example, is to structure the world's information and make it universally available.

Return to step #1 if it requires more than 12 words, or put it away for now and come back to it later.

Self-examination question:

  • What do you do for a living?

Take the following actions:

  • Make a decision on what you want to achieve other than selling a product or service.
  • In 12 words or fewer, state your goal.

Step #3: What's Your Vision? (Focus)

Do you have a clear idea of what your brand's vision is? You must be prepared to offer a clear picture of your company's future.

The ultimate vision was John F. Kennedy's declaration that "a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s" would be achieved.

Self-examination questions:

  • What do you want to achieve in the next five, ten, or twenty years?
  • What are some ways you might make this idea tangible and exciting?

Take the following actions:

  • Create a vivid image of your future.
  • Try it out on a genuine communication piece.
  • Return to it and make it even better.
  • Use it over and over to demonstrate your company's direction.

Step #4: What Wave Are You Riding? (Trends)

A female following the social trend and capitalising on a trend to success.

Do you know which wave your company is currently surfing or will be riding in the future? Developing a business without capitalizing on a trend is possible, but it is far more difficult.

It's the difference between paddling a surfboard and riding the wave, as Neumeier explains.

Self-examination questions:

  • What's driving your company's success?
  • How strong is it?
  • Is it possible to ride many trends at once?

Take the following action:

  • Create a list of the trends that will drive your company forward.

Step #5: Who Shares the Brandscape? (Differentiation)

According to Neumeier, zagging compels us to characterize our organization based on what makes us distinctive rather than what makes us desirable.

That is why it is critical to know who your competitors are in your sector. In every category, positions #1 and #2 are the ones to have. It may be argued that if you are #3, you should want to topple #2. Anything lower than #3, though, should prompt you to consider creating a new category in which you can be the best.

Self-examination questions:

  • In your area, who else tries to compete?
  • In the views of customers, who comes first, second, and third?

Take the following actions:

  • Discover how customers feel about your brand.
  • Create a plan to become number one or two.
  • Alternatively, take the initiative and be the first to do something in a different category.

Step #6: What Makes You The "Only" (Differentiation)?

A female and B female different from each other. As a brand, we need to differentiate ourselves from others.

The only (___) that (___) is ours. Put the name of your category in the first blank, then your zag in the second.

To assist you to locate your onliness, here's a more extensive version of the activity that uses Harley Davidson as an example.

  • What is it: The only motorbike manufacturer in the world. As a result, large, noisy motorbikes are produced.
  • Who is it for: macho men (and macho wannabes).
  • Where: most of the time in the United States.
  • Why: Who wants to be a part of a band of cowboys?
  • When: at a period when personal freedom is dwindling.

Self-examination question:

  • What is it about your brand that makes it unique and compelling?

Take the following actions:

  • Make a clear statement about your internet presence.
  • Fill in the blanks with what, how, who, and why, where, and when.

Step #7: What Should You Add or Subtract? (Differentiation)

Less is indeed more. Learning when to add and delete is the skill of creating a zig-zagging brand.

So here is the rule of thumb to follow. If adding a new aspect to your brand puts you in direct rivalry with a stronger competitor, you should reconsider.

Self-examination questions:

  • What aspects of your current brand are weakening your uniqueness?
  • What may new brand aspects help you improve your onliness?
  • How do the remaining components fit into your plan?

Take the following actions:

  • Write a list of all of your existing and future offerings, as well as brand aspects.
  • Make a decision on which offerings to keep, sacrifice, or add to the mix.
  • It's best to err on the side of sacrifice if you're going to be nasty.

Step #8: Who Loves You? (Focus)

The purpose of this stage is to identify brand aficionados.

All brands, according to Neumeier, are formed by a community, which includes partners, suppliers, consumers, non-customers, and even rivals.

A brand is really an ecosystem in which each player gains and provides.

Self-examination questions:

  • Who are the members of your brand's community?
  • How do you balance the "gives and takes" such that everyone is satisfied?

Take the following actions:

  • Make a diagram of your company's ecology.
  • Determine how each person will give and profit.

Step #9: Who's the Enemy? (Communication)

A knight protecting a female from the dragon.As a brand, we need to continuously find a battle to conquer, and show how we are different.

Apathy is the death knell when it comes to creating a brand. Rather than waiting for a battle to come to you, you should go out and find one.

Take on the most powerful and successful rival you can find. The idea isn't to overthrow the huge dogs but to use the principle of contrast to highlight your zig-zag.

Note that the opponent isn't always a company, but rather the old method of doing things.

Self-examination question:

  • Which of your competitors can you portray as the villain?

Take the following action:

  • Make it very clear to your consumers what you are not.

Step #10: What Do They Call You? (Differentiation)

This phase is all about coming up with the perfect name.

Self-examination questions:

  • Is your brand's name helping or harming it?
  • Is there a way to modify it if it's causing you pain?
  • Is there a way to work around that if it's too late to change it?
  • Is it appropriate for brand play? Is it able to stand on its own "creative" legs?

Take the following actions:

  • Pick a good name that is unique, concise, and acceptable.
  • Ensure it's simple to spell and say.
  • Check to see if the name may be used as a web address.
  • Consider how simple or difficult it will be to defend yourself legally.

Step #11: How Do You Explain Yourself? (Communication)

Depending on your onliness claim, a trueline is the single truthful thing you can declare about your brand.

It has to be something that your rivals can't or won't claim and something that your consumers value and trust.

People may use the following trueline to characterize Southwest Airlines: You can travel almost anyplace for less than the cost of driving.

It's only a short step from a trueline to a customer-facing tagline once you've got one.

When Southwest says, "you're now free to go across the nation," for example, they're expressing their trueline in a more refined manner.

Self-examination question:

  • What is the one true statement about your company that you can make?

Take the following actions:

  • Make a tagline that explains why your brand is appealing.
  • All commas or "and" should be avoided.
  • Make a tagline out of your trueline to utilize with consumers.

Step #12: How Do You Spread the Word? (Communication)

A social media manager managing the social media discussions and making sure that the messages aligns with the brand.

A zig-zag marketing strategy will look much bigger than it is.

That's because you'll only compete in events where you have a chance to win significantly.

Self-examination questions:

  • What's the best way to explain your name, trueline, and tagline?
  • How can you use messaging to enlist brand advocates?
  • How can you ensure that all of your communications are in sync with your zig?

Take the following actions:

  • Ensure that your message is as unique as your brand.
  • Just compete at touchpoints where you have a chance to win.

Step #13: How Do People Engage With You? (Communication)

Understand that best practices are generally common when defining your value proposition and how people will encounter you. Ensure your touchpoints are determined based on basic principles.

Self-examination questions:

  • What are you trying to market, and how are you going about it?
  • In white space, which touchpoint will allow you to compete?

Take the following actions:

  • Compare and contrast your value offer with that of your rivals.
  • Determine which areas of competition you can completely avoid.
  • Find consumer touchpoints where you won't face any competition.

Step #14: What Do They Experience? (Communication)

Customers interact with your brand at certain touchpoints, so deciding which ones to use and controlling what happens is crucial.

Self-examination questions:

  • What methods will customers use to discover more about you?
  • What is the best way to "enroll" them in your brand?
  • At each touchpoint, who will be your rival?
  • What should you do with your marketing budget?

Take the following actions:

  • From non-awareness to complete enrollment, chart the customer journey.
  • Place your bets on the zig-zag encounters.

Step #15: How Do You Earn Their Loyalty? (Communication)

A queen sitting on a throne with a crown, showing loyalty. Just like a brand, we need to earn our customers' loyalty and make us the 'throne'.

Devoted customers stop evaluating other brands, seek your brand by name, advocate your brand to others, wait a bit longer and travel farther to obtain your brand, tolerate brand expansions more readily, and keep paying a little extra.

Self-examination questions:

  • What can you do to assist consumers in erecting obstacles to the competition?
  • What can you do to prevent starting a "disloyalty program"?

Take the following actions:

  • Begin by being devoted to your consumers.
  • Don't make new clients feel like they're being penalized or left out.
  • Give existing customers the tools they need to refer new consumers.

Step #16: How Do You Extend Your Success? (Focus)

When a firm expands from a single product to a series of products, it enters the brand portfolio business.

Brand portfolios may be organized in two ways.

  • The first one is a "house of brands," which implies the corporation sells various brands. With trademarks like Tide, Crest, and Old Spice, P&G is the most well-known case.
  • The "branded house" model is the second, where the firm is the brand, and the goods and services are subsets of the primary brand.

Self-examination question:

  • How do you maintain the brand expanding year after year?

Take the following actions:

  • Pick between a branded house and a house of brands.
  • Include extensions that support the concept of the brand.
  • Extensions that detract from the brand's significance should be avoided.
  • Extensions that put you in direct rivalry with leaders should be avoided.

Step #17: How Do You Protect Your Portfolio? (Focus)

A knight armour with a shield and lock protecting the brand's portfolio.

Contagion, confusion, contradiction, and complexity are four risks that brand portfolios confront that single brands do not.

Synergy's evil side is contagion. If one of a branded house's product lines has a problem, it might spread to the others.

Another issue is confusion. We have no idea what Crest is all about when there are 17 different kinds of toothpaste.

A third issue that arises when a firm seeks to expand its brand abroad is a contradiction.

Customers, not firms, define brands. Therefore people from various cultures may have different perspectives on the same product or company. In certain cultures, Disney, for example, may connote "wholesome amusement" and "cultural imperialism" in the other.

Finally, there's the issue of complexity. Multiple sectors, products, and expansions can quickly result in an out-of-control and difficult-to-manage brand portfolio.

Clear responsibilities, connections, and limits for brands are necessary for managing a brand portfolio. The capacity to say no is the most critical duty in brand creation (once you've developed one).

Self-examination questions:

  • How can the sum of the parts be greater than the parts?
  • How can you actually focus when you're under a lot of pressure to make money quickly?

Take the following actions:

  • Avoid C-Sickness, which includes contagion, confusion, contradiction, and complexity.
  • Recognize the long-term consequences of brand expansions.

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