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The day in the life of a branding consultant – 25. January 2018

At the beginning of 2018, ICN was visited by brand expert and consultant, Dr. Judith Meyer from BrandTrust. With their headquarters in Nuremberg, and one of our very own (Madeleine Brey) starting there as an intern in the spring, BrandTrust was at the top of our company “wish-list!”

With offices across four locations in Europe, BrandTrust has emerged as one of the top management consultancies specializing in increasing brand attractiveness. And aside from what conventional wisdom might tell us, they don’t do this by advertising. Instead, the consultants at BrandTrust focus their efforts on creating connections: joining brands together with customers to create brand communities.

With that in mind, Dr. Meyer focused her presentation on three key learnings that she applies to her work on a daily basis:

  • First, a brand community requires a branding strategy. A classical marketing strategy just won’t cut it when you’re in the business of creating connections. Successful brands work from the inside-out, looking and listening first and foremost to their fans.
  • Second, communities must be managed. That means, even after the communities are established, all parties – the fans, customers, employees, C-levels, you name it – must be actively and intimately engaged.
  • And lastly, smart companies don’t run from conflicts. They learn to embrace them, which ultimately allows their communities to thrive.

Utilizing the workforce at hand, Dr. Meyer then put the students to the test. Using a brand matrix, students were asked to map a brand and its relevant competitors on the basis of attractiveness and awareness (this wasn’t as easy as it looks)!

As it turns out, awareness is simply not enough to ensure the success of a brand and attraction (desire) is equally, if not more important. Afterwards, the students engaged in a lively discussion about whether brands with established brand communities are more successful than their competitors. The answer, of course, was a resounding “yes.” But communities don’t simply happen – and that’s where Dr. Meyer and BrandTrust come in. 

The brand management students at ICN were all – to put it in one word –  infatuated with the work that BrandTrust is doing. To see theory being put into practice was a unique experience for the students, and indeed, this would not have been possible without Dr. Meyer, who’s passion for brands is infectious! We would like to thank her for taking the time out of her busy schedule (the life of a consultant is not an idle one) to spend the morning with us and for bringing the abstract to life.