Takeover Strategy

Lessons Learned: Significant Brand Discoveries That Shaped Work Tech is a four-part blog series by Bret Starr highlighting unique strategies and best practices learned by The Starr Conspiracy since 2006. 

Lesson No. 3: The Takeover

The Takeover Strategy Model we created was based on our brand recognition research and the insights we formulated.

In practice, it’s actually pretty straightforward.

  • Premise No. 1: Lead generation performs suboptimally in media fields where the company has low brand recognition.
  • Conclusion: Increase brand recognition in the media field before investing heavily in demand generation.
  • Motto: “No one consumes thought leadership from brands they’ve never heard of.”

  • Premise No. 2: Brand recognition is predictive of market share.
  • Conclusion: To increase market share over competitors, achieve higher brand recognition in the media field.
  • Motto: “Buyers start their purchase evaluations with the most recognized brand.”

Drawing from these logical arguments, we created the Takeover Strategy.

Using the Takeover Strategy, we advocated for starting each new client engagement by identifying the media field and conducting brand recognition studies in the actual media field (as opposed to the open market — though we did some of that too). That gave us a baseline of current brand recognition performance relative to competitors and set the numbers we needed to hit to drive optimal demand generation results and position our clients to move into the leadership position (or their chosen position) in their solution category.

We then created arresting brand awareness campaigns to elevate brand recognition in the media field. Through periodic brand performance measurement, we collected insights to inform shifts in campaign strategy. As we got closer to our target brand recognition numbers, we initiated a staged process of shifting the campaign mix from brand awareness to demand generation.

Keep in mind that we created this model at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis. As I’m sure you can imagine, it was difficult to talk Work Tech companies into investing heavily in brand marketing during what appeared to be a catastrophic economic meltdown. But two companies that immediately come to mind with leaders who were bold enough to invest in the strategy were Virgin Pulse and Achievers (two companies we also helped to rename and rebrand, from Virgin HealthMiles and I Love Rewards, respectively).

Using the Takeover Strategy, both of these companies rapidly achieved dominant brand recognition during the GFC and became true market leaders shortly thereafter.


Browse additional entries in the Lessons Learned series: