Weaving the brand into the fabric of retail
Blue Yonder specialises in delivering pricing and replenishment solutions to the retail sector, driven by their own proprietary artificial intelligence software.
Their solutions take a myriad of data sources (from the weather, the time of year, promotional activity, etc.) and predict with an extraordinary degree of accuracy what the demand will be for every single product in a supermarket – that’s around 45,000 products in a typical supermarket!
I was brought in to help Blue Yonder better engage with retailers, who tend to only want to deal with other retailers and are suspicious of anybody from outside their industry – let alone a bunch of data scientists!
Together with their senior management and marketing team, we used the brand strategy process to do four things differently.
Firstly, we stopped focusing on the science and started focusing on the problems the science could solve. Don’t say how it’s done, say what it will do! It’s a common challenge, particularly with tech companies who will often focus on how the solution is delivered and not what the solution delivers. And yes, it is compelling to share how the solution is delivered as it’s often the thing that differentiates one tech brand from another. So it has its place but not until after the benefits of the solution are communicated.
Secondly, we gave up re-inventing the wheel by creating standardised messaging templates that ensured teams could get on with selling and not having to keep inventing ways of talking about the brand. Usually, the first question on an RFP (Request for Proposal – the process that a sales team will need to go through to be considered for a project) is to define what the company does. Not always easy, but if there is already a standardised message in place it makes it a lot quicker to do.
Thirdly, we re-developed the brand to reflect the retail world – for it to feel like it is part of the fabric of retail through its choice of language, imagery and identity. We did an exercise in the workshops where we explored what colour would best represent the corporate world – the answer being blue. We then explored what colour best represented the world of retail – with the answer being anything and everything! This helped us see the need to move the brand identity that was predominately blue to one that could be seen to engage with all kinds of colours, and so reflect the retail sector it was serving.
Fourthly, we changed the language of the brand. Retailers like to talk to retailers and use a language specific to their sector. This is not unique as it simply reflects that fact that, in effect, if you speak my language you will probably be aware of my problem and will be in a better position to help than someone who doesn’t ‘speak retail’. This doesn’t mean a website full of jargon, but it does mean referring to their challenges in their language and labelling your solutions so that they are understood by the customer. And by language think words, images, infographics.
The resulting brand strategy and evolved brand identity were introduced to the teams across the network, a new website was launched along with a suite of new communications products, sales teams were equipped with the new messaging, even the office interiors were re-designed to ensure their focus was always top of mind. The first campaign in fact exceeded our KPI’s by more the 400% and since then, has been sold and is now part of National Panasonic (Japan’s 5th most valuable brand as it happens!).
If you want to explore how brand strategy can help get your brand better aligned with your sector, why not join me for a complimentary 2 hour taster workshop, you can find the details here.
I founded the specialist brand strategy practice The Brand Arrow® in 2009 and have delivered over 120 assignments in Europe and North America in a variety of sectors across B2B and B2C.
I regularly speak at conferences, business schools and facilitate workshops. As well as that, I’m an accredited Vistage CEO network speaker and a Course Director for the Chartered Institute of Marketing.