Brands to Keep an Eye on in 2019

“Never make predictions, especially about the future.”

Casey Stengel

Although this is a smart quote to follow by, especially with today’s growing trends and improving technology, there are plenty of brands to not only learn from, but to keep an eye on in terms of branding .

Forbes went with this idea when creating a list of “Brands to Watch in 2018” Rather than making a generic list, they decided to list companies, each of which were represented by each letter of the alphabet. If you would like to read about each of these companies, feel free to read the full article (link here) otherwise, we’re going to summarize some of the more popular “letters” for those of you who don’t care to read an entire alphabet’s worth of brands.

A → Before even reading this article, we wanted to predict for ourselves which companies would be represented for each letter; and A was one of the more difficult ones as it has so many contenders (like Apple, Airbnb, etc.). However, the top brand ended up being Amazon. This is largely due to the fact that the company is represented in numerous markets rather than just one. From groceries to cloud services to generic everyday products, Amazon had expanded its brand over the years and has the best potential to continue expanding in the following years.

B Blue Apron is one of the many meal kit and food delivery services that has popped up over the past year or so. As millennials get increasingly busy and awareness about health and wellness when it comes to fitness and what we’re putting in our bodies continues to increase, these quick, easy, and healthy alternatives to typical grocery shopping or eating out has become the ideal solution. We suspect the popularity of these types of services will continue to expand and grow throughout the next few years.

F → Here, Ford and FedEx are some companies that originally came to mind; but the main brand here was (no surprise) Facebook. The company has made a comeback over the last couple of years with additional features such as the “Watch video” options and continuous acquisitions; but don’t take our word for it. The article clearly lays out the facts that “nearly 200 million U.S, adult users spend an average of 41 minutes a day on Facebook.” This alone proves that the brand has truly gained recognition, and when you consider its growth, can only imagine what the brand will amount to in the upcoming years.

M → For M, Forbes cheated jsut a bit, rather than naming the brand itself they named Tesla’s Model 3. However, because Model 3 is undoubtedly Tesla’s most popular model, we decided to let it slide. The company currently has over 50,000 pre-orders and continues to add on average about 1,8000 people a day. Of course, becasue of these massive numbers there are some major concerns about whether or not Tesla will be able to keep up with the major demand for model 3s as they currently are only able to produce about 1,000 models per week. Overall, as Tesla gets closer and closer to a fully auto-piloted vehicle being legal, demand and brand awareness is expected to continue on the upward slope it is currently on.

P → With this letter, we think Patagonia or Procter & Gamble, but lo and behold, Peloton took the lead with this letter. With the health and fitness trend booming, what better way to enter the industry than introducing a product that can help you get healthy on your own time all in the comfort of your own home. However, this would not have been as successful as it has become within the last few months if it wasn’t for the backing of SoulCycle and Flywheel, both of which are strong names within the fitness and health industry. These, in combination with its advanced technology, are the sources behind why this brand has extreme potential to continue its growth and only strengthen its brand name. In other words, keep your eyes on this as the months go by because this company has not only created a product, but a community — which is one aspect to strongly consider when wanting to build up your brand.

U →  Because there aren’t too many companies out there starting with the letter U, it’s no surprise that Uber is the top contendor. Although they’ve recently struggled with some major company culture issues, they’ve recently hired a new CEO, Dara Khosrowshai, to address those issues. If Khosrowshai is able to get these issues under control it is likely they will coninue on the successful path they’ve paved the past few years.

So although we believe Casey Stengel has some very sound advice when it comes to making predictions, we believe it's still valuable to keep an eye on the top brands and ask yourself what is it that they're doing that separates them from their competition? Creating a strong and memorable brand comes down to creating value that no other competitor is able to offer your customer. It is evident that all 26 of these companies have managed to accomplish this in one form or another.


4 Components of Global Branding

When considering expanding internationally, questions often arise when it comes to logistics, costs, risks, infiltration and more. However, there’s a big issue that’s often overlooked when it comes to successfully taking your company international. That issue is successfully establishing a global brand. We personally feel that branding is one of the more important aspects of marketing that is often overlooked. Your brand is what tells your customers who you are and why they should care. For those of you that are unfamiliar and want to know a bit more about branding, we’ve attached a quick video that will give you a better understanding of what branding is so hopefully you get a bit more out of what we have to say later. 

We recently came across an article in the Harvard Business Review called “The Lure of Global Branding” (found here). In this article they conducted an interview of executives from 35 companies that have successfully created a Global Brand. From these interviews 4 components of becoming an effective brand leader came to light. Luckily for you, we’ve broken down these four components so that you better understand what it takes to establish yourself a global brand leader.Stimulate the sharing of insights and best practices.

1. Stimulate the sharing of insights and best practices

This involves having to research and learn from either a company’s own or another company’s past mistakes. This is especially important when considering entering a market in another country. Businesses must gain the knowledge about how to communicate to a target market from one country to the next. Although researching doesn’t sound like a difficult job, it is often challenging to find available information to gain the right amount of insight when planning a new project. However, having a healthy company culture in which employees are satisfied urges them to work more efficiently, gaining the information necessary to correctly implement projects. This all circles back to the company’s brand since employees are truly able to embrace the brand, thus able to understand the best tactics to communicate it to customers. Increasing employee satisfaction and understanding can be accomplished in multiple ways including formal organizational meetings, using intranets for immediate communication, conducting field visits, and fully sharing all company research along the way.  

2. Support a common global brand-planning process

A common mistake several larger companies make, is not having a cohesive brand planning process across all markets. This can lead to inferior marketing as well as a weakened brand. It is critical that the process includes an analysis of customers, competitors, and the brand. It is important that there is a mutual understanding of who they’re customer it is and which part of the brand the customer resonates with most. It’s also imperative that it’s well understood who your competitors are and how you differentiate yourself in comparison to the competition. Lastly, and personally we think most importantly, is having a strong understanding of the brand itself. This includes the company’s heritage, values, core competencies, strengths, weakness, and vision. In order to successfully compile a strong global branding planning process, it’s critical that a well-established and cohesive brand is understood across all markets. Often times, when it comes to marketing, you aren’t trying to sell your product, you’re trying to sell your brand.

3. Assign managerial responsibility for brands in order to create cross-country synergies and to fight local bias

When a company decides to expand its market, its internal teams become reluctant to accept other previously used strategies of similar markets. In other words, teams struggle to understand other cultures and company structures when expanding their brand and, therefore, impede any potential progress of creating a successful brand in a new market. This reluctance is the research that generated four possible configurations to take responsibility for a company’s global brand leadership: brand management team, brand champion, global brand manager, and global brand team. As long as these four groups accomplish their own tasks first and then coordinate with one another to come to one cohesive brand decision, the company will be able generate a more confident internal workforce. xecute brilliant brand-building strategies

4. Execute Brilliant Brand-Building Strategies

In order to successfully execute brilliant brand-building strategies it’s important to ensure you have a strong global brand leader. A global brand leader is faced with the tedious challenge of balancing global strengths while still recognizing local differences. In order to truly have brilliant brand building you have to go beyond just advertising. A strong brand-building path with also include local sponsorship, promotions, increased retail presence, and more in order to translate that global brand image to the local culture.

At the end of the day, it’s likely that there are several competitors offering similar, if not the exact same products. What differentiates you from the competition is the story behind your product. What makes you different? What do you believe in? What is your purpose? These are the questions that need to be answered and portrayed in a unified front across all markets. It is critical to start with a global brand image that is filtered down from a global image to specific countries. This allows a company to start with a strong core for their brand while still allowing for tweaks that better fit each individual country ultimately leading to the establishment of a strong global brand!