New Brand Leadership: A book review by Bob Morris

New Brand LeadershipNew Brand Leadership: Managing at the Intersection of Globalization, Localization and Personalization
Larry Light and Joan Kiddon
Pearson FT Press (2015)

If someone asks you if your brand’s significance is global, local, or personal and your answer is “yes,” this is a must read.

I agree with Larry Light and Joan Kiddon: “Many of the important factors that are changing our world are also affecting the way we build and manage brands. First, three forces — globalization, localization, and personalization — are increasing simultaneously…Second, there is a demographic challenger of our world becoming older and younger at the same time…Third, people have conflicting desires for individuality and inclusivity…Fourth, technology has an increased effect on customer behavior and the power of the mobile mind-set…Fifth, trust in institutions continues to decline…All of these factors are increasing at different speeds but at the same time.”

There are days when I am reminded of a passage in William Butler Yeats’s classic poem, The Second Coming:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

In New Brand Leadership, Light and Kiddon introduce what they identify as “The Collaborative Three-Box Model,” an exciting development during the evolution of global brand marketing. (Brand managers who ignore this development have probably never heard of, much less read, the Yeats poem. I commend it to their attention.) Here’s the sequence: Create the brand vision in Box #1, define the global brand plan to win in Box #2, and then in Box #3, bring the brand to life. Light and Kiddon quote one of my intellectual heroes, Charles Handy: “Federalism responds to all these pressures, balancing power among the center of the organization, those in the center of the expertise, and those in the center of the action, the operating businesses.”

Long ago, Handy recognized that need for an organization to be both big and small, autonomous and interdependent, steadfast and flexible. Of course, Sun Tzu discusses all this (and much more) in the “Estimates” chapter in Art of War. The Collaborative Three-Box Model adapts some of Handy’s approach “but adds the discipline and process for day-to-day operation as well as being a model of mastering the matrix for building powerful global brands.”

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Light and Kiddon’s coverage in the first seven of 13 chapters:

o Game Changers (Pages 10-13)
o The Collaborative Three-Box Model (14-16)
o The Collision of Three Forces (22-25)
o Global, Local, and Personal Implications for Brand Management (29-31)
o Game Changing Trends as Problems (36-50)
o Potential Marketing Opportunities (51-55)
o What Is Value? (59-61)
Note: Warren Buffett once observed, “Price is what you charge and value is what others think it’s worth.” (64-66)
o Trust in a World of Distrust and Mistrust (73-75)
o Two Kinds of Trust (76-80)
o The One-Box Model: Global Standardization (90-92)
o The Two-Box Model: “Think Globally, Act Locally” (92-94)
o The Collaborative Three-Box Model (100-102)
o The Four Steps of Box 1 (107-116)
o Making Box 1 Work (116-121)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the value of the information, insights, and counsel that Larry Light and Joan Kiddon provide in abundance. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of their book. For those now struggling to manage effectively at the intersection of globalization, localization, and personalization,” one that bears resemblance to a combat zone, I highly recommend New Brand Leadership. If additional assistance is needed, I strongly recommend two other sources: Voltaire’s Candide and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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