Grow the Core - How to focus on your Core Business for Brand Success
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More About This Title Grow the Core - How to focus on your Core Business for Brand Success


Grow the Core stands conventional wisdom about business growth on its head and provides a proven formula for growing your business in recessionary times.

These days, it′s a common belief among business leaders across industry sectors that the best way to grow their businesses is to expand into new markets. In reality, virtually all  top–performing companies achieve superior results through a leading position in their core business. Unfortunately, there′s very little in the way of practical advice on how to do this. Grow the Core shows you how tofocus on your core business for brand success, with a program of eight workouts road-tested by the author's consultancy, the brandgym.

The book provides inspiration, practical advice and proven tools for building and strengthening your core business. It is packed with case studies from brandgym clients, including Mars, Friesland Campina, SAB Miller and Danone. The book features exclusive brandgym research, in addition to front–line experience on over one hundred brand coaching projects.


David Taylor is founder and Managing Partner of the brandgym, a network of senior brand coaches that help teams create a clear brand vision and the action plans to turn this into growth. Clients include Sainsbury’s, LVMH, Unilever, T-Mobile and SAB Miller.

David as been named one of the world’s 50 leading marketing thinkers by the CIM. He is the author of four successful books on branding published by John Wiley: The brandgym, Brand Vision, Brand Stretch and Where’s the Sausage were all number 1 on Amazon’s branding books ranking.  He also writes, one of world’s top 60 marketing blogs.

David started his career in brand management with P&G before doing an MBA at INSEAD. He then started the Paris office of Added Value in 1993 and grew it to 50 people, leaving to create the brandgym in 2001, to spend more time on brand strategy, and less time bored in board meetings.

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Thanks xi

Introduction xiii


1. Defining the core 3

What is the core? 3

Anchoring the core 7

Key takeouts 9

Checklist 9

2. Stretching the brand, forgetting the core 11

Getting it right…brand stretch can work – Apple 11

Getting it wrong …brand ego tripping – Virgin 13

Snow White and the 17 dwarves 20

Neglecting the core – Bausch & Lomb 24

Key takeouts 25

Checklist 26

3. The case for the core 27

Two ways to make a million – Heinz soup 27

The case for the core 30

A new marketing mind-set – Scooty 30

The challenges of growing the core 32

Key takeouts 36

Checklist 36


4. The core growth drivers 39

Core growth driver 1: Penetration 39

Driving penetration with distinctiveness 44

Fresh consistency – James Bond 48

Driving penetration with distribution 57

Core growth driver 2: Premiumisation 58

The Grow the Core workouts 59

The best brand in the world – Nespresso? 61

Key takeouts 65

Checklist 66

5. Renovation or re-invention? 67

Renovate the core – Walkers 69

Re-position the core – Lucozade 72

Re-define the core – Bertolli 76

Re-invent the core – Kodak and TomTom 77

Key takeouts 82

Checklist 83


6. Workout 1: Bake the brand into your product 87

Bake in your brand – The Geek Squad 89

Using product to grow your core 1: Amplify a

product truth – Morrisons and Castle Lite 92

Using product to grow your core 2: More of what you want – McDonald’s 97

Using product to grow your core 3: Less of what you don’t want – Walkers 99

Key takeouts 100

Checklist 100

7. Workout 2: Create a distinctive identity 103

Identity crisis 105

Being the 1 in 1000 106

Balancing freshness and consistency – Tropicana 108

Updating your identity – Nivea 110

Creating your identity – Charlie Bigham’s 111

Suggesting a benefit – Waitrose Essentials 113

Re-positioning – Green & Black’s 115

Adding value – Molton Brown 115

Packvertising – innocent 116

Family ties – Nescaf´e and Red Bull 118

Amplifying brand properties – Felix 121

Five-minute focus groups 122

Key takeouts 124

Checklist 124

8. Workout 3: Communicate with cut-through 127

Communication breakdown 129

Fresh consistency 132

Think like a TV producer 137

Creating a campaign – Sainsbury’s 138

Refreshing what made you famous – Hovis 140

What about social media? 144

Key takeouts 161

Checklist 162

9. Workout 4: Go beyond promotion to activation 163

Grab and go – innocent’s Big Knit 166

Creating an activation property – Carling ‘Be the Coach’ 168

Amplifying the property – Nike 172

Key takeouts 175

Checklist 176

10. Workouts 5 and 6: Drive your distribution 177

Workout 5: Existing channels 180

Workout 6: New channels 182

Key takeouts 188

Checklist 189

11. Workouts 7 and 8: Extend the core 191

Delivering a double whammy 193

Workout 7: Pack extension – WD-40 196

Workout 8: Product extension – Ryvita 199

Key takeouts 202

Checklist 202


12. Grow the core – getting started 205

Stage 1: Insight 207

Stage 2: Ideas 214

Stage 3: Exploration 214

Stage 4: Action 215

Key takeouts 220

Checklist 221

References 223

Also by 227

Index 229