Published on June 30, 2007
The Zag of According to: Marty Neumeier Jesse Starmer COM 459
Who are you? Write your brand’s future obituary. Where does your passion lie? What would you like to be remembered for in the future? Where do you have the most credibility? Where do you have the most experience? Obituary One of the world’s most recognizable retailers of books, music, and movies has shut down today. Borders has been in operation since 1971, and pleased millions across the globe with their dazzling selection of entertainment options for all ages. From pop-up books, to r&b cd’s, to the latest action blockbuster movie, customers could find whatever author or artists their hearts desired all under one roof. The company’s closing signals the end of an era for many patrons accustomed to the one-stop shopping Borders offered. The thirty-six year old bookstore started in Ann Arbor, Michigan by Tom and Louis Borders. The first Borders only sold books and catered to local interests alongside other mainstream offerings. Borders expanded throughout the US mostly through the 90’s. In 1997, the first international store was opened in Singapore which began a series of other overseas openings. The goal of being a “headquarters for knowledge and entertainment” was realized in every store within the Borders chain. Customers were able to speak to management as to what the wanted in the store, creating a unique and customized Borders experience in each store. As the Information Age gained momentum though, the Borders Group feels that people no longer need a “headquarters” to achieve their intellectual and entertainment pursuits. The Internet has provided individuals with a new outlet of unlimited potential for human learning. The restrictions of a central, physical base for acquiring knowledge no longer apply. Sadly, Borders accepts it’s fate and has finally closed their doors across the world. Borders will be truly missed.
What do you do? Write down what your purpose is, beyond selling a product or service. State your purpose is 12 words or less. To create richer, more satisfying lives through knowledge and entertainment. Purpose
What’s your vision? Paint a vivid picture of your future. Test it on a real piece of communication. Go back and refine it further. Use it repeatedly to illustrate the direction of your business. Vision To be a headquarters of knowledge and entertainment within every community a Borders store is in.
What wave are you riding? Make a list of the trends that will power your success. Trends Authenticity Mental Fitness Nostalgia Online Shopping Self- service
Who shares the brandscape? Find out how your brand ranks with customers Design a strategy to become one or two Or, become the first mover in a new category. Rankings Barnes & Noble Borders Amazon
Barnes & Noble
What makes you the “only”? Complete this sentence: Our brand is the ONLY ____________ that _________________________. Make sure to answer the questions of what, how, who, where, why, and when in your answer. in an era of increased diversity. When Who want a bookstore that meets their needs and diverse interests Why In mostly the United States Where For people of the community Who That customizes itself for the local community How The ONLY bookstore What Statement of “Onlyness” For Borders
What should you add or subtract? Make a list of all current and planned offerings and brand elements. Decide which offerings to keep, sacrifice, or add. Offerings Books Music Movies Stationary Café Online book sales Used book sales Reading areas Local Interest section Community events Add: Subtract: - Stationery - Borders brand café items + Larger local interest section + Store performances + New release promotional events + More community sponsorships and activities
Four Actions Framework Local books Local music Local movies In-store events (eg. book signings, contests, book release parties, etc.) Out-of-store events (eg. event sponsorships, literacy campaigns, etc.) Community service events Raise Which factors should be raised well above the industry’s standard? Customized store experience according to community Policy of listening and changing inventory per customer request Employee training to act as liaisons between management and customers to customize inventory and store Create Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered? Stationery Borders brand café items Eliminate Which factors the industry takes for granted should be eliminated? National books National music National movies Reduce Which factors should be reduced well below industry’s standard?
In-store events (eg. book signings, contests, book release parties, etc.)
Out-of-store events (eg. event sponsorships, literacy campaigns, etc.)
Community service events
Customized store experience according to community
Policy of listening and changing inventory per customer request
Employee training to act as liaisons between management and customers to customize inventory and store
Borders brand café items
Who loves you? Diagram your brand’s ecosystem. Decide on how each participant will both contribute and benefit. Customers love us because we offer them a chance to customize their local Borders store into one that carries the books, music, and movies they want. We help them feel like they are in a familiar place and a store where they can find exactly what they want to read, listen, or watch. They love us because we are a part of their community. In return, we get their loyalty and a chance to gain a prominent role not just within the community, but in their hearts as well.
Who’s the enemy? Tell your customers what you are not in no uncertain terms. Barnes & Noble is our biggest competition. Borders is not just another large, corporate bookstore chain, but a bookstore that looks to the community for input on selection and tries to be apart of local activities. Online book sales are a complement to the atmosphere provided by Borders stores. We want you to experience being in a Borders store as much as we want to help you find your selection online.
What do they call you? Choose a name that’s different, brief, and appropriate. Make sure it’s easy to spell and pronounce. Find out if the name can be used as a URL. Determine how difficult or easy it will be to legally defend. The brand name for the company is Borders. While it is easy to pronounce, spell, brief, and meets much of the other criteria offered by Neumeier, it does not allow for much brandplay and is not very different. Borders sounds like there are restrictions or “borders” limiting a customer of what they want to do.
How do you explain yourself? Craft a trueline that tells why your brand is compelling. Avoid and commas or “ands”. Turn your trueline into a tagline to use with customers. Trueline Borders connects with the local community to build a better community experience that will enrich their lives. Tagline We are all Borders.
How do you spread the word? How can you align all your communications with your zag? Make sure your messaging is as different as your brand. Only compete at the touchpoints you can win. The Borders name and logo should be emblazoned on all customer touchpoints, like: retail bags, signs in the store, on all computer screens within store, signs outside store, and on newsletters, emails, and communications to customers. Partner with musicians, authors, and filmmakers to be spokespeople for their works and availability at Borders store. Sponsor community events, community service events, and contests outside and inside the store.
How do people engage with you? Map your value proposition against those of your competitors. See which competitive areas you can avoid entirely. Discover customer touchpoints where you’ll be unopposed. Borders can offer more selection based on local preferences rather than national standards. Employees and store managers need to listen to what people want out of Borders and satisfy their needs. Borders should also continue to support activities and performances within their communities. Stores can create a more intimate atmosphere with their customers.
Strategy Canvas High Low Price Customer Service Book Selection Music Movies Cafe Local Interest In-store Activities Out-of-store (community) Activities Local Business Support Online Presence Barnes & Noble Borders
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