Learn from the Best: Lunch with Martha Stewart

I’m at a conference and today’s lunchtime speaker was branding maven Martha Stewart. In my view, she is a charter member of the brand positioning hall of fame. Her focus and passion around home and entertainment have yielded an iconic brand carefully crafted by Martha Stewart, the person.

So what did Martha have to say?

  1. Brand positioning: “We believe every home is a canvas.” This simple statement implies adventure and possibility, and also suggests that with Martha as your art teacher, your creation will be tasteful and stylish.
  2. Brand values: this ambitious list features the company’s efforts to be “inspiring, informative, innovative, distinctive, timeless, educational, surprising, celebratory and beautiful.” They aim to deliver on these promises through artful content, primarily beautiful photography, as found in Martha Stewart “Living” magazine, her blog and other content marketing tools.
  3. Martha Stewart recognizes they have strong competition (think Bon Appetit magazine and other lifestyle publications) and that the internet has reinvented consumer expectations.
  4. Effective management is a major challenge. Given her many ideas and opportunities, having the leadership bandwidth to nurture the longstanding core business while developing aspirations is important to succeeding.

No startling revelations; simply an inside look at a well-defined brand strategy. I’m not sure I’d thought of my home as a canvas, but it’s an uplifting term – and maybe means some redecorating is in order!

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