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11/18/10

Enablers and Differentiators: Where do You Spend Your Time and Money?

I am in London this week, after almost 8 months. It is one of my favorite places to visit in the world. This morning, I took the Picadilly Line to the Jubilee Line, and then walked along the Thames River towards London Bridge to attend Forrester’s EMEA Sourcing and Vendor Management Forum. Suffice it to say, there are worse ways to start one’s day.

During this commute, I read an article in the Metro newspaper about the most influential British brands. The list was compiled by TLG which produces their ranking annually. Technology giants APPLE, Google top the list, with retailer John Lewis in third place. Rounding out the top five are Amazon and Facebook. Interestingly, the Top 5 ranking is the same in the U.S.; except in third place, discount airliner Southwest Airlines replaces John Lewis. (a side note: I am old enough to remember that top brand listings were dominated by companies such as AT&T, General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Sears to name a few.)

This had me thinking about what makes a brand influential. According to TLG Founder Malcolm Gooderham, brand influence goes beyond the products or services that these companies provide. Equally important, it also has to do with how these companies do business. These companies apparently have done something that Mitchell Habib, COO of The Nielsen Company, spoke about during his keynote address at the aforementioned Forrester EMEA Sourcing and Vendor Management Forum. That is, these companies have all successfully outsourced all the parts of the operations that enable them to be successful. The top brands focus their attention on what their clients truly value and are willing to pay a premium for-their differentiators. These differentiators are what make the brand experience memorable and influential for all top brands.

Does your company focus on its enablers or its differentiators? How much of your time and marketing spend is allocated toward the same?

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