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Grow the Core: How to Focus on your Core Business for Brand Success Hardcover – 18 Jan. 2013
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From the Inside Flap
Grow the Core shows you how to grow by selling more of the stuff that made you famous and profitable, rather than relying only on stretching your brand into new markets. It provides powerful tools, techniques and tips on how to apply them to your business today.
The comprehensive programme covers four crucial key aspects of growing the core:
- Why Grow the Core?: clearly defining the core of your brand, and making the case inside the business to focus talent and money on core growth, not just stretching into new markets
- Grow the Core principles: being distinctive through “fresh consistency”, driving distribution and premiumising your brand
- Grow the Core workouts: six practical workouts covering product, design, communication, distribution, packaging and core range extension
- A workplan to Grow the Core: getting started on implementing the principles and workouts in your own business
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Brillant stuff David with lots of practical advice in a really easy to follow format
This book is an excellent follow-on from other books by David Taylor, and comes hard on the heels of his book `Brand Stretch'. In that book, he highlighted the temptations and pitfalls of over-reliance on stretching the brand into new market areas while losing focus on growing the core business - what made you successful in the first place. In his earlier book he explained what he calls `Brand Ego Tripping' - going off on risky frolics to stretch the brand into other areas, with the result that fewer than 50% of brand extensions survive for more than three years - the rest destined for a resting place in the over-crowded brand stretch graveyard. Not only are such risky ventures greedy for time and resources, worse still, they also risk the `double whammy' of damaging the core business.
He takes a brief look at what can go wrong with brand stretching, reviewing successes such as Apple, and how even companies famed for stretching their brand can come unstuck - perhaps the best example being some of Virgin's failed ventures.
The book takes us through eight practical `workouts' starting with `How to bake the brand into your product' and concludes with how to conduct a `Grow the Core' project, outlining the strategy used by The Brandgym consultancy, taking us through the four key stages - `Insight, Ideas, Exploration, and Action'.
As with his earlier books, David Taylor has managed to write a highly readable no-nonsense book, which will be of interest and use at every level from front-line practitioners to the board room, and from students to academics. All in all, an enjoyable read, destined to become a well thumbed reference for anyone involved in the dark arts of branding!
It is easy to become distracted--when researching competition--and tempting to amalgamate the best ideas to become a jack-of-all-trades business. Don't do it! ... This book helped me to see why this was a bad idea: how finding a quality core product to sell and focus on is the best (and only) way to long term growth and success. It gives lots of real world examples of successful businesses that have developed through having a core (anchor) product linked to their identity. Think of Coca Cola (purely as it is an simple example to give in a review). By marketing the core "classic cola" drink strongly, throughout their history, all their satellite products (Cherry and Diet etc.) are strengthened by their association to the original core product.
This (understanding the theory behind growing your core) is simply the beginning. The book presents a thorough guide to forming your business and brand around a core product or service and building from there. It leads you step-by-step through the process of finding, building and finally growing your core idea.
I'd recommend this to anyone either thinking of or already running their own business. As I say it is a very motivational guide and is certain to get you thinking clearly about your business structure, with a solid foundation it can grow from. Well worth the price and time.
Top international reviews
For example: What would changing any of that do to your sales? Certain aspects of a logo are what people have long associated with your product and they are comfortable with it. It's part of their daily routine. Part of their family so to speak. Changing disrupts their buying habits.
Perhaps you've been focused on the wrong market for your products. You may need to start attracting a different demographic to your products or services.
There is a lot of food for thought within the pages of this book. Whether you are part of a huge corporation or self-employed, you need to keep yourself focused on the core of your business. What was it that got your name out there and had people clamoring about you to in the first place?
You'll find a lot of little "aha's" that could very well bring you the big "AHA!" that will get your business on the fast tract, put it back, or keep it there.
The first part, "Why Grow the Core?" felt repetitive and full of vagueries, like many business books tend to. But in the second part, the author breaks down the possibilities and presents case study after case study. He also opines on methodologies he takes a dim view on (sitting a focus group down and making them think about how packaging makes them feel for 15 minutes? really? how does that reflect real-life decision making?) and reminds readers that creating memories that stick can take years... which is why we still recall some of the most iconic (and long-running) commercials from our youth, yet can't remember last year's campaign.
In the final section of the book, he goes over what creating a plan to grow your own business's core might look like -- the stakeholders' whose input you want, the data to use, questions to ask, etc. In all, this could certainly be a useful and thought provoking book for the right person.
The author is British and uses a lot of British examples (as well as a lot of American ones). If you are unfamiliar with the British market and need examples that resonate, this may not be the right book for you. He also focuses heavily on merchandise (with a bit of telecom and the obligatory Virgin group thrown in) -- if you are in wholesale, services, or B-to-B, you might have to get a bit creative about how the suggestions in the book apply to you. Also, without exception, the examples in this book revolve around big players in the market. If you are a small business owner with one location, questions about marketing, focus groups, distribution, and other issues might leave you cold when all you wanted to know was what next product or service to logically extend to.
Despite those caveats, this is an informative book, one that I can see readers referring back to when it's time to gather data or make decisions.
Also, the author's experience is in the U.K., and that is where his examples are drawn from. The principles are still valid, but as an American reader, many of the company examples did not come with the intuitive understanding that more familiar companies would have.
There was information of value to be gleaned from this book, but its more narrow in breadth of focus than the title implies. Good to Great was a book of much more value with a small (10-employee) business retailing others' products while selling our own services.
The author gives lots of case histories and advise. This is a wonderful and inspiring book to get back on track and should be taken to heart as a guide or road-map more than anything.
It doesn't matter if you are a business, non-profit, church or a club, who seems to have taken on more than you originally started out to be and lost focus. It happens and this book will help gain a refocus of your structure and purpose.
A highly recommended read for anyone, organization and/or leadership role.
In addition to this book, you should also check out:
The Clarity Principle
The Heart of Change
David Taylor has created a guide to encourage business leaders to focus growth strategy on core extensions rather than just totally new businesses. Through the use of "workouts", the book advises practical exercises for a brand manager to figure out their core and properly promote and extend it. The book was really fun to read and made me think about my own products in a new light, and is a recommended business read.
Notice that each chapter includes "key takeouts" and working "checklists" for the chapter. Need to review? Want to skim through? Check your progress? Funtional. Practical advice, practically organized.
I also appreciate that the index is functionally appropriate, and there is even a web heavy list of references for your further reading.
I'm a visual learner, so I also appreciate that this is a visual book: photos, flow charts, graphs, etc illustrate and illuminate the text.
Well-done and well-recommended.
Very good for all business owners looking to rejigger things as well as up and coming businesses.
Well written and entertaining, this book provides insights and examples. Although geared for larger and already successful enterprises, the principles can be utilized by start-ups and smaller concerns as well. This is a cogent marketing manual. It is easy to read and has real world utility. Recommended.