The book How Brands Grow was released in 2010 by author Byron Sharp, the director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at the University of South Australia.
Since then, it’s gained significant attention for turning marketing strategy on its head. Byron pokes holes in the underpinnings of classical marketing strategies by bringing hard evidence proving they don’t work. His key themes on abandoning loyalty programs and consumer segmentation and instead focusing on driving mental and physical availability are well documented, articulated and thought-provoking. Yet, often they are ignored due to the perceived revolutionary change they require.
It’s tough to change overnight. Large companies with a strong belief in these strategies can struggle with how to implement this new way of thinking. While the laws of marketing he shares postulate big shifts in marketing strategies, it doesn’t mean that you have to revolutionize your entire marketing strategy overnight. By leveraging an entrepreneurial mindset, you can apply his recommendations quickly and iteratively to determine what could be most impactful for your company or brand. Below outlines some tips to smartly leverage his recommendations without assuming too much risk:
1. Ask Yourself – What has to be True to Make this Work? If you’re interested in testing a penetration strategy without focusing on loyalty, what needs to be true for that to be successful? How about if you want to test the idea of not using a consumer segmentation as a go to market strategy? Once you’ve chosen one of Sharp’s key strategies to test, make a conscious effort to not allow yourself to say “there’s no way this will work within my company,” and assume that it must work. If it absolutely must work and be successful, what are all the elements that have to be true? Think through the implications on: consumer reach, marketing dollars, media agencies, commercial and product innovation, brand assets, and other elements critical to implementation and success.
2. Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Once you’ve built out your assumptions on what needs to be true for your strategy to work, identify a small-scale, minimum viable product to test the waters. Focus only on the most critical elements of the strategy to implement as the rest will be learned and built into future iterations. For inspiration, check out a blank business model canvas to help think through the details of your MVP.
3. Learn and Build Iteratively: Once you’ve built the bare minimum product, get it out into a controlled market to learn. Don’t wait until the end of your test to understand if it was successful. Allow yourself to pivot your test and objectives while learning to truly enable breakthrough insights and impact.
Leveraging the ideas within How Brands Grow could mean sizeable growth for your brand and are at least worth exploring and testing. Try out some of our tips to help explore without assuming too much risk.
The Garage Group helps corporate teams take an entrepreneurial approach to strategy, insights, ideas and brand architecture directions that drive trial, repeat and innovation strategy.