13 Resolutions for Brand Leaders in 2022

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As per tradition, here’s my ever-evolving list of annual resolutions for principled, ambitious brand leaders.

My hope is that it will help guide your success in 2022 and beyond.


I will keep two things front and center: The people we exist to serve, and the change we will create for them.


I will be a generous marketer.  Yes, at some point we must ask for the order.  But we have to earn that right.  If in doubt, I will do more giving and less asking.


I will craft a brand positioning statement that clearly defines our Who (the people we serve), our How (our meaningful difference) and our Why (the benefit we create).


I will approach strategy as an integrated set of choices for winning.  I will diagnose where we are, define where we want to be, and make clear, credible choices to bridge the gap.


I will clearly define all other elements of brand guidance, including mission, values, personality, voice, messaging and visual identity.  Great brands are consistent, and consistency starts with a strong core.


I will remember that what we do matters far more than what we say.  If we do something meaningful, we’ll have a story worth telling.


I will be focused, disciplined and creative.  I will do a few things very well instead of many things at parity.  I will stay the course.  I will do what my competitors can’t or won’t do.


I won’t waste one minute trying to please everyone, because what we do isn’t for “everyone.”


I will recognize that internal victories precede external ones.  The unified intent of our team is one of my most important concerns.


I will remember that culture beats strategy – but it’s not an either/or.


I will treat my consumers with the respect they deserve.  I will extend this same respect to my co-workers and partners.


I will ask more questions, listen more, read more and learn more.


I will use my brand as a force for good – to make the world a better place in some way.

What would you add to this list?

Here’s to creating more meaning, value and joy in 2022!

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About Matthew Fenton: Matthew is a former CMO who helps brands to focus, stand out and grow.  Since founding his consultancy, Three Deuce Branding, in 1997, he’s helped hundreds of brands to achieve “brand clarity.”  His consulting services and speaking engagements help brands to focus on what matters through positioning, strategy and ideation.  Contact Matthew here.  He’s based near Portland, in Oregon wine country.

Copyright 2022 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the About Matthew Fenton section.

How Peloton Changed Me From Evangelist to Disgruntled: Brief Lessons in Bad Decision-Making

Peloton scenic rides
(Reading Time: 5 minutes)

“If the big boys are doing it, it must be working.”

~ a former boss, who could not have been more wrong on this point

It hasn’t been the best few weeks for Peloton.

There was the treadmill recall in the first week of May.  That’s been covered elsewhere, but suffice to say Peloton’s response was not what it should have been.

I’m not here to dogpile on that, though incidents like this do make one question one’s loyalty.

Meanwhile, Peloton has also made some inexplicable changes to its user experience – and, in particular, the Peloton scenic rides that were the favorites of many members, myself included.

Continue reading “How Peloton Changed Me From Evangelist to Disgruntled: Brief Lessons in Bad Decision-Making”

What “The Biggest Bluff” Can Teach You About Strategy

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“The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win” will be on my list of the best books I read in 2020.  It’s a layered story, compelling and well-told.

Written by Maria Konnikova, a Ph. D. in psychology and a contributing writer to the New Yorker, “The Biggest Bluff” details the year she spent learning to play poker, starting as a complete novice.  I won’t spoil the ending, but it goes pretty well for her.

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Three Levels of Brand Values

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I submit to you that there are three levels of brand values.

Level 1 – “No Values”

Here, you’re saying, “Values are irrelevant – profit is what we’re here for.”  You don’t think about your Why; you’re focused on your What and your How. 

It’s unimaginative, but at least it’s honest.  If you’re up-front about your desire to relieve me of some of the money in my wallet, I can work with you on those terms.

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Marketing in the Time of Coronavirus

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Last week, I joined a client for a virtual brainstorm.  The focus: Our marketing next steps in these trying times.

We established a rule up-front: For an idea to move forward, it has to serve our customers.  In other words, if it benefits only us, it does not advance.  It goes to either the “rework” or “trash” pile.

This is a good rule for new ideas in general.  Two decades ago, Doug Hall and his team at Eureka! Ranch found that new-product concepts with a high level of “overt benefit” outperformed concepts with a low level by 3:1.

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