Archive for June 2011
Thinking back, I've always considered news as a dialogue rather than a monologue. I've preferred conversations to speeches. That said, I don't often hang out on street corners or in neighborhood bars partaking in random conversations about the weather or the Mets. I like my conversations curated.
In 2009, I purchased a Flip HD camcorder. Around the same time, Cisco purchased Flip, the company, for about $600 million. It was never clear precisely what Cisco was up to, but with YouTube being a big deal, some form of Internet connectivity seemed to top the list of the possible "synergies." It took Cisco just a year to change its mind, announcing in April of this year that it would shut Flip down.
It's one of the toughest challenges in retailing: appealing to new, often younger customers without alienating shoppers who have long been loyal fans. When the transition is handled badly, things can go south in a hurry. Ask Talbots, which tried to entice thirtysomethings with cocktail dresses and frilly tank tops and left the pearl-wearing career women who had shopped there for decades feeling jilted.
The other day, a legal firm asked whether strategic brand building could help grow market-share in today’s economy. I thought this was an interesting question. In our discussions, we talked about what branding could mean for legal firms. I have seen remarkable advertising from all sorts of professional services firms, but rarely if ever have I seen marketing from a leading law firm.
Cloud computing offers a value proposition based on convenient services that you pay for as you go. Customized solutions can be offered in a flexible and secure environment. Companies can offload their noncore technologies and focus on their core businesses, providing a better product for their customers. But cloud computing is based on the premise that users will always have access to the cloud service.
In recent years, one part of the food business has rivaled organics as the hot growth area: "local" food (defined vaguely as coming from the same state or from less than 100 miles away, for example). It's a market segment that has just about doubled in sales and number of outlets over the last decade. The world's biggest food buyer, Wal-Mart, jumped on the bandwagon last fall and announced that it would double the amount of local food it sells (to 9 percent of all its food sales). The idea of buying locally is not new, and farmers' markets have been big for years. It's become almost gospel that the food on our plates has traveled about 1500 miles to get to us. So it would seem logical that the best way to shrink your food-related carbon footprint associated would be to buy from near by. But it turns out that this assumption is wrong.
Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. into the world's most valuable technology company with high-tech products like the iPad and iPhone. But one anchor of Apple's success is surprisingly low tech: its chain of brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Lots of organizations come to our company, Advertising for Humanity, asking for "a new brand." They typically mean a new name, or icon, or a new look and feel for their existing name. Lots of people think that brand begins and ends there — that once we shine up the name they can stick it below their email signature, pop it on their website, and, voila, they have a new brand. Much of our work consists of disabusing people of this notion. Brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand.
Brand marketers have long been intrigued with the use of scent as a potential differentiating feature. Maybe it all started with Smell-O-Vision, an ill-fated technology that was used to pump different smells throughout movie theaters in 1960. Smell-O-Vision stunk — it died after just one movie. Nowadays, scent is a key part of any number of beauty and cosmetic products, typically targeting women. Increasingly, though, scent plays an important role in men's products, especially deodorants. And the latest innovation is a masculine knock-off of a concept that was first aimed at women in 2005 — the scented razor.
Italian jeweler Bulgari SpA and sports-car maker Maserati SpA have succeeded in China largely by portraying themselves as the ultimate male status symbols. But the two recently joined a growing number of luxury brands in China that have revamped their marketing tactics to also appeal to self-made female entrepreneurs, a rapidly emerging market segment that also wants high-end baubles and toys.