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Brand Strategy

Repositioning a behemoth brand
for market expansion

Move

Background

In 2014, our client, a leading telecommunications and technology provider, was seeking to improve their brand performance. Our client had won market share from broadcast and cable competitors, yet the brand suffered from low consumer affinity and pockets of resentment. Despite the importance of its services to customers, the brand was still perceived more as a utility than as a provider of media, a promoter of technology, or a curator of experience.

Having worked with the client for over five years, CMG had developed a reputation for penetrating strategic thinking. The client sponsor, then VP of Brand Development, and his manager, SVP of Marketing Communications, were confident that CMG could bring the intellectual rigor that Comcast needed to develop a truly compelling and unique brand strategy.

In June 2014, our client engaged us to develop a higher-order brand strategy for their brand, centered on a unifying purpose, a core customer benefit, and an aspirational vision. Our scope of work involved four milestones:

  1. Describe a compelling and evolved brand position.
  2. Create a destination for the brand based on quantitative metrics and targets.
  3. Express the brand vision across multiple customer touchpoints.
  4. Provide a framework for brand ‐driven decision-making for the whole organization.

Think

Over the years, we’ve developed a unique approach to brand strategy supported by several guiding questions and frameworks. Collaborating with our client’s team over four months, we used these frameworks to stretch their thinking about their brand’s underlying purpose, its core benefit to consumers, and the kinds of experiences consumers have with the brand.

Guiding Questions

The four guiding questions we posed to the client’s team formed the basis for the rest of our work:

  1. Who is your product or service for?
  2. What category is it in?
  3. What is the primary differentiating benefit?
  4. What are the means by which their brand will deliver the proposed benefits?

Target Market Analysis

Having worked with the client on their 2015 marketing strategy, we had an intimate working knowledge of their served and target markets. The insights we had gained into their target market’s demographics, psychographics, and motivations provided a strong foundation for our brand strategy work.

Category Exploration

The telecommunications, media, and technology categories are converging. We pushed our client to consider this reality and asked them: “What category are you actually in?” In focused conversations with the our client’s team, we challenged their preconceptions and expanded their perspective on the question. Ultimately, we earned alignment on a category adjustment, and then analyzed the positioning and capabilities of the category’s key players, helping our client understand the gaps they could fill.

Primary Differentiating Benefit

Great brands anchor on customer benefits, expressed in simple, accessible, credible terms. We employed two proven methodologies to explore and prioritize the range of benefits that customers enjoy with our client’s brand. First, we listed the advantages out and arranged them along a spectrum. On one end were product features, such as “fast internet access.” At the other end were those deliberately out-of-reach aspirations, such as “joy.” We then ran a benefit-mapping exercise that narrowed down the list to distill the brand core benefit. The answer lay in the confluence of three forces: what consumers wanted, what the company was good at, and what openings existed in the market

Case Study Graphic_ Comcast

Do

We recommended shifting the client playing field from utility and service delivery to technology, entertainment, and experience. Our client’s competitors would no longer be infrastructure players, but the big dogs in consumer technology: Apple. Google. Netflix. Amazon.

Our thinking had led us to this point. Now it was time to execute.

Here’s where the fourth guiding question came in: what are the means by which the client will deliver the proposed benefits? Together, CMG and the client created a brand-building strategy that would enable the client to achieve a stronger position and more positive associations in the minds of its stakeholders. To back up the strategy, we established quantitative targets and priorities for hitting them.

Comcast_1

Our client’s brand was missing the mark being perceived as a utility brand with customers feeling resentful and not connected to the brand.

Move

This will be no small shift, but we believe it’s an ideal position for our client. With the new category and unifying purpose, our client is better positioned to reconfigure how consumers think about their brand, and to break through the customer-satisfaction ceiling that exists for traditional cable companies. As a technology player, they can also credibly move into adjacent spaces to expand their market reach.

Potential Realized

We anchored our recommendations in our mission: to help companies realize their potential. The new positioning will allow the client to connect with customers and earn their endorsement, promoting our client’s growth in the long term.

Our client has been thrilled with the strategy and has quickly made the invigorated their brand position a central pillar of its internal operations and decision-making. The client is working to embed the brand intent in every employee’s behavior and customer touchpoint. The brand principles are displayed around the client headquarters, and they serve as the basis for new product design, messaging, and rollout.