Brand Management

Blackstone Management delivers integrated, upstream marketing solutions

Blackstone leverages insight, identity and innovation best practices and capabilities in delivering the following consulting services:

  • Marketing Strategy and plan development - from segmentation to customer acquisition and retention
  • Brand Strategy across positioning, architecture, equity extension and brand identity
  • Innovation including establishing strategic direction, creating new product and service opportunities and process development
  • Market research encompassing a spectrum of qualitative and quantitative analytical tools

Blackstone Management effectively blends three core skill sets on every consulting assignment, as demonstrated here:

 
  1. Fact-based, analytical power typical of traditional management consulting firms
  2. Customer insights and creativity, consistent with agency skill sets.
  3. Operational and P&L orientation, common in top-tier brand management companies

This ensures fully integrated, actionable solutions emerge. So, marketing research reports find their way into creative plans (vs. ending up on an office shelf). Brand strategies are linked with business operations. Functional objectives and strategies are aligned.

An important point: when considering a management consulting firm, be sure to review the bios of key consulting team members.  If the consultants’ education and experience favors art direction or copywriting, there is a good chance the marketing “solution” will involve a new logo, an ad, or other similar output.


Marketing Strategy

Identifying and filling customer needs is key to marketing success

The most effective marketers use deep customer insight to drive segmentation, targeting, positioning and offering development. Blackstone’s consulting marketing services include market assessment, “STP” framework development (i.e., Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning) and marketing plan development:

  • Market Assessment emphasizes Three C’s analysis (i.e., Customer, Competitor and Company) to uncover opportunities.
  • Segmentation involves developing a proprietary customer framework, then mapping market segments and potential opportunities.
  • Targeting defines the most attractive segments, based on size, growth, benefit orientation and internal fit.
  • Strategic Positioning results in the most relevant, differentiated and credible expression of the core offering
  • Marketing Plan Development includes marketing mix  (i.e., the 4 – 5P’s) definition, including customer acquisition and retention details.

We employ a disciplined consulting approach and a broad spectrum of analytical tools in mapping customer needs to marketing requirements, and then aligning the offering with target customer requirements. The end result is improved performance, as demonstrated through our clients’ increased sales, effectiveness and revenue.


Brand Strategy

Blackstone Management strengthens brands through positioning, architecture and identity development.

A brand is one of the few things a company can own forever. Without patents, technological insulation, or barriers to entry, a company’s brand – the relationship it has with its customers – is one of the few things a company can rely on to extract value over time. The strongest, most enduring brands result from the disciplined alignment of brand strategies and plans with customer requirements.

Blackstone offers brand strategy consulting services across the following:...

  • Brand Positioning defines the conceptual space the brand should play, relative to competitors, and is fundamental to marketing, communication and messaging development.
  • Brand Architecture is the logical, strategic and relational structure of all brands in the portfolio.
  • Equity Extension involves stretching the brand into attractive categories, as a means of driving business growth.
  • Brand Naming is key for companies, products and brands to standout in today’s cluttered media environment.
  • Brand Action Plan Development involves bringing the brand to life and establishing the implementation plan to deliver the strategy

Blackstone works with companies from strategy through fully integrated action plans to develop, manage and grow strong brands. Our brand consulting services combine strategic thinking, analytical rigor and creativity in establishing powerful brands.

To initiate a call or meeting to discuss your brand positioning consultant needs, please contact- Forrest Baggarly at info@blackstoneam.com


Innovation

Blackstone Management helps develop innovative products and services to drive growth.

Innovation is the hallmark of great businesses. As a leading innovation consulting firm, our work with best practice innovators has helped identify a discrete set of highly effective principles and processes that can dramatically improve the chances of new business success.

Innovation consulting projects encompass strategic direction setting through process development:

  • Strategic Direction Setting involves clarifying overall business goals, defining the financial growth gap and identifying potential growth levels.
  • Strategic Growth Opportunity Areas provide additional focus and direction by pinpointing specific growth areas.
  • New Products and Services result in fully optimized new product concepts as an input into commercialization and launch planning.
  • Value Proposition planning articulates the key benefits to be delivered by the company or product, often extending beyond the core product or service.
  • Innovation Process Development encompasses developing a sustainable innovation process, including process design, roles, responsibilities.

Innovation projects begin with a strategic audit to identify customer needs, opportunities, and brand leverage points. Adjacent growth opportunities are then identified and prioritized using strategic, financial and operational screens. New concepts are then developed and optimized with customer groups, followed by implementation planning.  Throughout the process, customer input is balanced with management judgment to ensure that distinctive, feasible solutions emerge.


Market research

Deep customer understanding is the cornerstone of Blackstone’s work.

The majority of Blackstone Management’s marketing, branding and innovation consulting projects involve some form of market research as the basis for gaining deep customer insight.  This ensures that client recommendations and plans are fact-based, grounded in the customers’ unique needs and in the realities of the business.

We answer the key question,  “What do you know about your important customers that your competitors don’t know?”

A broad spectrum of analytical tools – primary and secondary research, quantitative segmentation methods, and our own proprietary frameworks – are used to uncover deep customer insight.  Here are some common methods:

  • Exploratory research, including focus groups, one-on-one interviews, observational and ethnographic research
  • Concept optimization research, which is instrumental in developing value proposition and positioning alternatives
  • Segmentation research, including customer framework development based on statistical analyses
  • Brand tracking studies, including brand awareness and brand equity research

As each clients issue is unique, the type and role of research will vary.

Blackstone’s consultants are well equipped with the analytical discipline, managerial skills and creativity to deliver fully integrated market-based solutions.

We recognize that clients don’t hire consulting firms; they hire the people who comprise the firm.
That’s why we ensure that our teams are staffed with people you’ll find a pleasure to work with; people who have experience both as consultants and industry practitioners.

Our clients tell us the following sets us apart vs. other management consultants

Blackstone . . .

  • . . . employs a market-driven approach, to ensure decision-making is based on marketplace perspectives
  • … is completely objective in tactical recommendations, as the firm holds no vested interest in downstream implementation services such as creative design or agency services
  • … team members bring a broad and diverse set of skills to the table, including classic agency/marketing, strategic consulting and executive management skills
  • … is uniquely experienced. The firm’s professionals have successfully launched, positioned and repositioned dozens of brands, across consumer products, healthcare, financial services, technology and other categories
  • … uses a collaborative approach that streamlines project timelines, facilitates internal buy-in and results in skills transference
  • … operates more efficiently, resulting in one of the strongest value propositions in the industry

Check out Our Team profiles to see the backgrounds of some of our top level management. Note the blending of business consultants, agency, and brand management backgrounds. These skill sets are fully leveraged across Blackstone’s consulting services.


Contact Us

 

Maryland: + 1 (240) 349-2117 
 Virginia: + 1 (703) 828-4504
 California: +1 (310) 492-3120 
 Toll Free: + 1 (866) 500-8585
 Email: info@blackstoneam.com

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