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 Styles die

If you’re part of a consumer facing organization, you’ve undoubtedly heard – ad nauseam – the “necessity” to engage Millennials. . But as is made clear through the recent struggles of retailers Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, effectively capturing the Millennial market is about more than emulating trends.

Click here to check out our latest blog post on conquering the modern Millennial in your world, written by Rob Gizzie, Consultant with LEVEL5.  

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Sales down? Market shrinking? Margins under pressure? These are symptoms, not the problem itself. To find opportunities in these issues, you have to do your analysis and ask the right questions.

As LEVEL5’s Founder and Managing Partner David Kincaid discusses in THE VALUE OF A PROMISE CONSISTENTLY KEPT, managed prop­erly, your brand is your organization’s most valuable asset. And the responsibility for managing the brand as an asset begins at the top, with you: the CEO, CFO, COO, and CMO— the C-suite. Even board members. As the leader of an organiza­tion, you are not just an ambassador for your brand — you are also its guardian.

It takes more discipline and requires asking the right — and often difficult — questions. To manage a brand, begin by asking the following fundamental questions:

How did your company perform? Continue the conversation by sharing with your colleagues or commenting on this post! Follow LEVEL5 Strategy Group on Twitter @Level5Strategy for more information on managing your brand.

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It is heartwarming to see the dozens of comments and congratulations from friends, colleagues and business associates on my new book. To you all, I say thank you for your support and well wishes. I most sincerely hope that this book will inspire you, and business leaders alike, to unlock the power of your organization’s most valuable asset: your brand.

35 years of witnessing the growing confusion between brand and marketing management has led me to the realization that a brand is the most misunderstood and under-leveraged asset on a company’s balance sheet. Too often, business people drastically limit their brand’s potential by focusing only on what the customer can see packaging, advertisements, promotions, price, product innovations… even the company’s name and logo. They overlook the hidden factors that shape the delivery and true value proposition of the brand. Consequently, they miss an enormous opportunity to align the entire company with the brand and experience its true power (think: revenue generation and profitable growth).

How did I come to form these perspectives? The hard way.

And that’s why I’ve written this book. I want to help business leaders re-establish their brands as assets. You may not agree with everything you read in this book. But I am not looking for you to agree with me. I’m simply trying to provide a perspective so that we can start the discussion and move towards building strong brands – in Canada and around the world.

I hope you enjoy reading THE VALUE OF A PROMISE CONSISTENTLY KEPT, and I look forward to continuing this conversation.

Purchase your copy today:

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Brands are the most misunderstood and underleveraged assets on most company’s balance sheets today. It was David’s 35 years of experience with some of Canada’s (and the world’s) leading brands that led him to form this perspective… and inspired him to write this book.

The Value of a Promise Consistently Kept is 170 pages of key insights and practical advice on managing your brand as an asset.

Get your copy today:


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If we asked you to list your company’s core values right now… could you? The mention of corporate values usually leads to deep yawns and glazed eyes. Here, we discuss why values are not just “nice-to-haves”.

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VW BrandMaps (002)

Between the endless negative media clamour, a tsunami of legal troubles, plummeting shareholder confidence and ensuing frustration with dealerships and consumers alike, there’s no denying that Volkswagen’s clean car image has been tainted by the emission scandal. Even with all the negative publicity, our latest BrandMap™ study (see screen shot above) reveals that Volkswagen’s brand is not showing signs of distress… at least not yet. 

History is littered with corporate crises. As we have found with other strong brands who were faced with crises of their own (think: Maple Leaf Foods’ listeria outbreak in 2008), the heart and mind of the consumer is less impacted by what caused the crises to occur. What matters to them is how the brand manages the crisis and offers a meaningful solution. In the face of a crisis, strong brand equity offers brands time – the time to manage the crisis and restore its promise to the market.

Also in Volkswagen’s favour is the auto industry’s longer than average (i.e. 5-7 years) purchase cycle. This gives Volkswagen some runway to deal with the crisis and recover deteriorating brand perceptions. When it comes to consumers, both existing Volkswagen drivers and prospective purchasers, it’s still too early to predict the long term impact on their hearts and minds. The ball is in Volkswagen’s court to clean up its act, pun intended.  

Read this web page to get a clearer picture on BrandMaps(TM).

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We Working Women

In Hua Yu’s very limited spare time outside of LEVEL5, she runs a Chinese language blog called #WeWorkingWomen, which promotes being a successful borderless professional women based on a 8Q Career Advancement Model. The blog was launched five months ago, and has already attracted more than 4,000 subscribers and continues to grow every day.

They held their very first offline, BMO sponsored event with readers who were invited to meet Vicki Saunders, the founder of SheEO and a successful woman entrepreneur in Canada.  

For more information on We Working Women, please visit their website:

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“It’s this recurring pattern,” Mr. Kincaid said. “The big guys get bigger by acquiring the small guys who were addressing an unmet need in the market. And after some period of acquisition, an unmet need for local, unique products, appears again. [Small breweries] crop up, they get to a certain size, and the big guys buy them again.” 

Susan Krashinsky reports here.

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“The goodwill of being a co-op is being diluted,” says David Kincaid, founder of branding consultancy LEVEL5 Strategy Group.

A membership is still $5 at Mountain Equipment Co-operative, but almost everything else is changing. The iconic retailer has evolved far beyond its roots as a pioneering supplier to back-country adventurers. But loyalists are fretting as the chain goes big business in an increasingly competitive industry. Has MEC outgrown the co-op?

Sean Silcoff and Marina Strauss report here.

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BComm., HBA, MBA, MSc., students and graduates with driven, curious, young business minds joined us on Thursday, August 20th for another successful L5 Open House to learn about the world of strategy consulting and Brands as Business Systems (TM).  Thanks to all who attended!