This won’t be nice, or gentle. It’s not meant to be. This is a brand spanking, and it is much overdue and greatly deserved. Pants down. Right now. In public.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
In its August issue, Vanity Fair charges Microsoft with losing its mojo, pinning much of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer. While the article makes some useful and valid observations, it never completes the circle, relating them back fully to the larger, underlying issue that ails brand Microsoft: the company has strayed far from the management and proper deployment of its founding vision.
Marissa Mayer's move to Yahoo as CEO made me reexamine the question of personal brands. I maintain my position: they don't exist in any meaningful way. They are just (not terribly) fancy jargon for bloggers. What Mayer brings to Yahoo is not her personal brand, but the brand capital of Google.
On rare occasions, a name comes along that captures the essence of the target audience's primary characteristic. In the machismo world of South America, such a name exists in Horniman's Tea.
The term "Guggenheim Effect" used to denote the positive role the brand played in Bilbao's resurgence as a destination site. It became well accepted vernacular, not only in the museum community, but among the wider community of brand and marketing experts. In recent weeks, however, the term has been re-appropriated by European media and citizens to express a much more negative and even sarcastic view of the cultural institution.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2010 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
Last weekend, I took my two preschoolers to Six Flags. We walked through Bugs Bunny National Park, past Tweety's Twee House and Yosemite Sam's Tugboat Tailspin, my five-year-old nervously eyeing the 6-foot tall anthropomorphized rooster waving menacingly at her. "Mommy, what is that?" "Oh, that's Foghorn Leghorn," I explained. Then her wee brow furrowed. "Who?" The child had no clue. Neither did the heat-stroked fourteen-year-old inside, I bet. It was then I realized Six Flags has become less theme park than museum, teeming with cartoon icons put to pasture when cross-dressing, gun-toting, homicidal role models fell out of favor. Bugs, Elmer and Wile E. have joined Minnie, Donald and Pluto at the edge of obsolescence. Can WB bring them back from the brink?
I’m 25-years-old, California-bred, a sports fanatic and a Nike brand advocate. Oh, and as an average American I have not played (or remotely cared about) soccer since I was 8. Nike has decided it is time to play. And it turns out the American company is really, really good at it. Last week the Wieden + Kennedy campaign Write The Future was released racking up 7.8 million first week views, breaking its own viral record.
I’m 28-years-old, born and raised just outside Amsterdam, a loyal Nike customer and very passionate about soccer. Some of my greatest memories in life revolve around a season, game or goal, so when I first saw this new Nike ad for the World Cup Soccer 2010 - described by the brand itself as one of their best ads ever - I got excited. This was about a global sporting event that makes my blood run faster.
In 2007, I lauded BP's rebranding for its aesthetics and the company's willingness to position itself at the forefront of social and cultural debate. But I questioned its ability and willingness to "walk the walk" of its "beyond petroleum" talk. Sadly, the Gulf of Mexico spill will prove an excellent case study on the perils of disingenuous branding.
Tough times for automakers have turned the industry upside down. Household names like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer have gone the way of the dodo. Saab narrowly avoided a similar fate with a last-minute purchase by Dutch super car manufacturer Spyker, a niche player that has intriguing plans for the quirky Swedish brand. Fiat and Chrysler became strange bedfellows. And Toyota is struggling through an historic, crippling recall. But one of the more interesting outcomes of the recent upheaval within the auto industry is Ford Motor Company's sale of Volvo to China's Geely.
In December, Davis Brand Capital announced the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking. Toyota ranked #8 overall and was the top-ranking automaker. Since the release, Toyota has issued a series of historic recalls, and the brand has suffered a precipitous fall from grace. So far, the recalls affect more than eight million vehicles worldwide, with Toyota considering still more for its best-selling Corolla. And recall-related malfunctions have caused an estimated 34 deaths since 2000 in the U.S. alone, according to government data released this week. Beyond the direct financial, legal and ethical implications of the recalls themselves, Toyota faces a crisis of consumer confidence comparable to the Tylenol cyanide murders or the Ford Explorer/Firestone fiasco. Rebuilding consumer trust will require much more than a public relations war room and marketing blitz. Toyota faces a fundamental brand challenge that extends deep into its culture, its operations and its core meaning. As the story unfolds and an embattled Toyota hunkers down for the onslaught, important lessons from the crisis are already coming to light.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as an amalgam of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
The motoring and mainstream media alike have scrutinized Detroit's Biggish Two-and-a-Half ad nauseum. Both experts and the car-buying public are questioning Detroit's ability to innovate in the post-SUV cash cow, post-bailout world. And rightfully so. Admittedly, there are a few bright spots on the horizon. But the real innovation story likely won't be the much-hyped Chevy Volt or even Ford's Fit-beating Fiesta. And it certainly won't be the ridiculous idea that positioning Chrysler to compete with Cadillac will somehow save the beleaguered brand (have you seen Cadillac's sales figures, Mr. Fong?). I'm betting Detroit's next disruptive innovation will be the rebirth of Saturn.
Pepsi is exhibiting some fresh bruises after recent media coverage of the company’s brain drain under Massimo d'Amore. When one considers Arnell’s leaked logo study and the lashing from the trades (and 20% freefall) over Tropicana’s repackaging, it’s hard to argue freshening up its brands netted PepsiCo any positives. Yet despite a flood of negative attention (much of it deserved), the most interesting aspects of the work have received the least attention. I may take my own lumps for this one, but I think the Pepsi brand has made some smart choices in its updated approach to communicating “refreshing.”
CNN and sister network HLN face a difficult brand challenge. As Teri Schindler noted in her recent post on the branding of broadcast networks, CNN is caught between a rock and a hard place with MSNBC’s liberal bent and Fox News’ right-wing “reality."
Music has played an integral role in branding since commercial radio welcomed product advertisements in the early 1920s. During the past two decades, popular music has evoked consumer emotions around brands and, more recently, has been used to reach specific market segments. When executed smartly, music can truly change the way consumers view brands and products. However, when used willy-nilly, music can expose a brand’s confused and clumsy search for self.
I have been following a brand for a while, on Twitter and in general. In 2004 I was walking down the fresh drinks aisle in my local supermarket in Amsterdam when it caught my attention. It was appealing, kind, real, and it stood out. It was innocent.
A Brand on Any Other Platform Can Still Smell as Sweet There was a lot of talk at DLD about Millennials – 3 billion under age 25 in the world, but fewer of them in the audience. They’re probably at home on Facebook, listening to their ipods, surfing YouTube or canvassing door to door for Obama.
The operational benefits of business intelligence gathered through digital (and social) are often overlooked by organizations. Company silos are one of the main reasons for the disconnect. A connected experience from the web to the store through mobile is another aspect that takes second seat to the more visible presence in social for promotions and awareness.
Millennials want innovation, community and values. The brands that get all those things right will have customers for life. Let’s start with innovation. There is an expectation that the next cool thing is right around the bend. Millennials want to discover it, explore it and share it. They especially love things that make their lives easier and more convenient.
Perhaps at no time more than today—the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination—will those words take on a darker dualism. This is especially so for the city’s business community, which must wrestle with a highly unusual mix of emotions: optimism over the thousands of tourists due to come to town, and dread over the reason why they’re coming. While Dallas’ residents come to terms with emotions ranging from guilt to anger, the proper stance for Dallas—the brand—to take is harder to determine.
Thought leadership, branded content, content marketing, and native advertising are all stops along the continuum of how ideas are expressed, and products are marketed, over the Internet. But it is getting awfully hard for the public — and even some marketers — to tell the difference.
To many skeptical consumers in developed markets, Brand China still means lower quality. As has been the case elsewhere in Asia, companies in China traditionally focused on asset-intensive industries and low-cost manufacturing and paid little attention to intangibles such as brands and human capital. To become major branded players away from home, Chinese companies must address their challenges in three strategic ways.
We all know employees can be both brand ambassadors and brand detractors. But what we haven’t wrapped our heads around is that they are also our most important co-branding opportunity.
Word-of-mouth marketing may be the hot new trend, but when it comes to getting people to recommend a brand, nothing gets people talking up a brand like live experiences do, a new study shows.
It's not about selling, it's about giving control to the people.
How do you create a logo for a company that doesn’t do one thing, but lots of different things? How do you visualize the abstract notion of innovation?
Good PR is all about storytelling, and every country has a unique story to tell. That is the central premise of nation branding, and it is also the reason why PR can extensively impact how nations are perceived. Countries are now majorly involved in brand development, and with the right mix of tools, PR can help them tell their stories, one campaign at a time.
The lines are being drawn, emotions are taking over, and both sides appear to be entrenched for what appears to be a big battle. Redskins ownership is faced with the ultimate brand challenge.
Shops Can Provide a Critical Objectivity That Marketers Are Incapable Of
Music Choice Isn't Just a Matter of the Heart
Levi's, Nike Among Marketers Pushing Sustainability Responding to a consumer behavior shift.
Good news for Instagram's plans to introduce advertising: Branded videos are proving to be quite popular on the social network.
Content marketing, alleged industry savior for publishers, advertisers and marketers alike, is going through a bit of a crisis of conscience
The study, called "Perceptions of Restaurant Advertising: Consumer Assessments of the Leading Chain Brands," measures chains on three attributes for advertising: "has memorable advertising," "has advertising I can relate to" and has "advertising that makes me hungry."
Yahoo, Google, Sony rate high, guess who's No. 1.
Woodshop's Sam Swisher and Trevor Shepard outline eight elements that help brands forge that all-important emotional connection.
Converse, Amex, Red Bull, Philips and Others Collaborate With Artists in Innovative Ways.
Consumers trust their friends, family and advocates far more than they trust banner and TV ads, and they’re more likely to make a purchase because of a recommendation than a billboard.
Know what your brand promise is – what’s real and compelling about you – and never violate it.
Giving is rewarding. It’s contagious. It’s good for your brand too.
It’s a constant struggle for brands to make themselves be seen and heard above all the noise that’s out there, especially when their “prime” consumers have minimal attention spans and are far less forgiving of faulty, uninspired experiences with brands.
What's in a name? Plenty when the future of a beleaguered college sports conference depends on creating a new brand and logo from scratch, said Mike Aresco, commissioner of the new American Athletic Conference.
So whether it’s adventure or astrology, it’s important for marketers to expand the brand experience. The only way to do this is to develop a real understanding of the target audience.
A consumer advocate can be your brand's best friend.
For Kraft Foods Group, J-E-L-L-O has spelled disappointment of late. The brand -- once known for fun advertising starring the likes of Jack Benny and Bill Cosby -- has struggled to find its identity in recent years, while marketing reductions have been met with sales declines.
Crushes don't last forever. You need to keep adding magic and generosity.
From organic ingredients to guerrilla marketing, Honest Tea is the poster child for doing business differently.
While there are many ways to think about transforming your brand, image, benefit and target are three great ways to start!
Coupons. Gift cards. Loyalty points. These tried-and-true tools of the retail trade might not be as sexy as other forms of marketing. But together they account for more than $165 billion in purchasing power.
To grow your brand, know what people find meaningful, connect with them thoughtfully, create joy they can’t live without, and believe in your employees.
As industries shift away from print advertising toward the changing digital frontier, brands need to know which audiences will be most receptive to certain methods.
We talk about "reinventing your brand" when in reality the goal is to reinvent what you work on. We talk about the "brand called you" when we talk about being able to do more of the work you love to do do.
Brands now are recognizing that actual physical and emotional experiences, versus just brand swag, help link the offline and online world and build loyalty and trust in consumers--something that really didn’t happen before the influx of digital.
Maps on the Web has posted an infographic tiled “The Corporate States of America” that shows the most famous brands produced in each state in America.
But could the brand have done more with it? Could it have been given that kinetic potential?
The success of Toms Shoes and Warby Parker eyewear, which give their products to the needy whenever they make a sale to consumers, has inspired other businesses to become more social enterprises too.
The comeback is bolstered by new interlinks that make it increasingly easy for websites to suck in and selectively repurpose some of the very social content that diminished the open web in the first place.
Managing intellectual property and other intangibles may seem like pure finance. Beware that dangerous trap. Intangibles can cut deep into operating issues, especially customer perception and customer service.
While private labels have existed for some time, the recession proved to be the inflection point for them to become a true force in the marketplace.
A brand is more than a logo. But a company’s mark is its calling card, a shorthand for all that other stuff--the quality of the product, the level of service, the history of the company--for its composite brand.
Coke is the Cannes Advertiser of the Year
Before you create a blog, draft content for your brand-spanking-new website or start tweeting, first define your “brand voice.”
The law doesn't allow for the trademarking of a great view, but there’s nothing wrong with branding it.
Still in its test phase, Google Glass may be dorked to death before it gets the opportunity to take off.
The power of a CEO to make – or break – a brand can never be overestimated – even in an interview that took place 7 years ago.
Sometimes we resist looking inward for big, comprehensive solutions.
This means that brands are suddenly jumping into intense conversations with a real point of view, on issues that could be seen as quite controversial. All this for what feels like the first time ever!
“If you don’t have a handle on the emotional side of the engagement with your brand, you might as well spend your marketing budget on coupons.”
Customers are in the midst of a total mind shift. As a result of their perpetual mobile connections, their expectations have changed.
Walmart is revving up its "content engine," and it wants brand marketers to supply the fuel, though it can also come from consumers or even the Defense Department.
Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader.
Anchorman's Brian Fantana may have been off the mark with his Sex Panther cologne, but his head was in the right place. Every brand could use a simple lesson in setting itself apart. (Just not with panthers.)
Do you think Apple, famously protective over its brand and image, should have a quiet word with Carlsberg, or is it a storm in a pint jug?
Marketing strategy is particularly difficult because the rules have changed. A generation ago, brands mostly strove to create buzz and “drive awareness,” now they need to build compelling experiences that keep consumers engaged.
What do a publishing giant, a women's lingerie retailer, a kid-centric commerce subscription service and a nonprofit organization for the 50+ set have in common? They are all social businesses.
Customer experience has become the new differentiator. Short product development cycles now mean that many companies release new products that offer little differences in actual product features. To stand out, organizations now need to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Businesses often engage in an analytical and creative process to develop or review their brand positioning. Without a strong strategic foundation, however, the outcome may not be as effective.
The long delayed release is critical to BlackBerry’s attempt to re-enter the marketplace. Once the darling of company-issued smartphones, owning nearly a quarter of the marketplace in the U.S., they currently have about a 4% share.
How often do you come face-to-face with a hotel employee, fast food entrée, or piece of technology and say, “this is not quite living up to the dream?” Most of the time, we sigh and accept the perceptual gap between the brand promise and our experience.
Millions of otherwise tech-illiterate consumers came to know Intel through its "Intel Inside" campaign, which at the time was an incredibly novel marketing approach. Here's what you can learn from their innovative strategy.
When organizations give people a sense of meaning in their work, it's not only good for employees, but it's critical to building a healthy organization — one that is well-functioning and competitive.
Most companies are the centers of their own universes. It's a natural enough impression; after all, the products and services they offer are on their minds 24/7. The trap is in those companies deluding themselves into thinking that they are as important to their customers as they are to themselves. This is almost never the case. This delusion interferes with understanding customers and their needs, and frequently leads companies to talk to customers in ways that seem foreign or confusing.
To a certain extent—in this age of marketing ourselves, finding our niches and explaining how our distinctive personal backstories make for unique selling propositions—all our names are brand names. But some have gone above and way beyond.
Some Brand Positioning, Huh? HSBC spent years positioning itself as the “worldwide local bank.” They did it via a campaign that featured series of similar visuals and single-word observations, which were designed to indicate that HSBC understood the subtleties of cultural differences and were fully invested in understanding multiple perspectives.
By putting its talks online in 2006, what was previously a members-only affair—an annual Davos-like conclave of wealthy Silicon Valley and Hollywood types—suddenly became an enormous and almost democratic cultural force, reaching millions of viewers around the world.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of baby gear and preschool toys, Fisher-Price believes that traditional branding processes no longer guarantee success. To differentiate its brands in a highly competitive industry, the company maintains a laser-like focus on creativity and innovation -- and its sphere of influence is large.
A thoughtful identity gives a multinational disease research network a new way to communicate.
The power of the network effect is fading, at least in its current incarnation. Traditionally defined as a system where each new user on the network increases the value of the service for all others, a network effect often creates a winner-takes-all dynamic, ordaining one dominant company above the rest. Moreover, these companies often wield monopoly-like powers over their industries.
Companies are engaging customers every day, and pitching their wares to new prospects just as often. Why, then, is it so hard to come up with a compelling and agreed-upon “Why Us” story?
Starting in March, Wendy’s will introduce its first logo makeover since 1983. The redesign, only the fifth since Wendy’s was launched in 1969, features an updated, more prominent cameo graphic of the iconic pigtailed Wendy’s character and a sleeker, more contemporary script font.
Why is it that some brands launch like meteors, captivating our imaginations and our wallets, only to fall spectacularly into marketing oblivion? And perhaps more importantly for marketers today: How can this fate be avoided? The answer lies in the difference between what is required to generate initial trial of a new product, versus building a relevant equity that stimulates ongoing interest and repeat business.
Clearly Defining What a Brand Stands for Provides a Competitive Edge and Leads to Increased Productivity. The heads of marketing for three of the country's best-known brands eagerly picked one another's brains about the strategies that are working and the campaigns that are resonating.
Analysis found that marketers are still posting too little on weekends and at night and when they do post, they’re way too verbose. Weekends, when brands post too little, the audience appears primed for interaction.
Last week’s sweeping victory for the [Apple] in a bitter patent dispute with Samsung came exactly a year after its reins were passed from Jobs to Tim Cook – who duly used the legal victory to rally Apple’s employees and restate values such as “originality and innovation” that Jobs had epitomised. In doing so, Mr Cook illustrated how brands can try to cope with being orphaned by a founding figurehead.
More than 750 garage parties for women were hosted by Harley-Davidson dealers last year. These show-and- tell outreach events have also been combined with female-friendly training and a marketing drive heavily focused on women’s empowerment.
While the tangible benefits of conducting business digitally are manyfold, companies that are moving their employees online have largely ignored one of the most important factors of success: corporate culture.
Because these outfits cater to a certain niche, they don’t have to appeal to everyone, which in turn, liberates them to take the risks that yield creative rewards.
Being relevant-at-scale helps marketers to truly benefit from a competitive advantage in the market. At the heart of being relevant-at-scale is an ongoing commitment to harnessing data and analytics. How can you be relevant to your consumers if you don’t know where to reach them and if you don’t know anything about them when you interact?
Who’s controlling your brand message? Recent high-profile Twitter blunders from Progressive Insurance and online store CelebBoutique underscore the challenges of outsourcing your voice as a brand.
Culture, and, by association, brand, is so important and prevalent, you could almost test it like Rorschach — Hold up a name of a company to a user and they’ll immediately know what it stands for. This association thing happens on the less positive side of the spectrum as well.
Marketers' Obsession With Audience Data Could Teach Media a Thing or Two. Brand marketers research their audiences exhaustively until they understand them instinctively. So it's strange to remember how magazines I've known kept their editorial and advertising sides operating not just separately, as they should, but entirely divorced from each other, with each side in near-denial of the other's existence.
Lots of sporting events are used to promote brands. The Olympics, perhaps, more than most. So it's no surprise that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is hard at work to ensure that brands that are not “official sponsors” of the games do not gain financially
In business, a dull existence means a weak brand. If you want some people to love you, you’ve got to accept that others may hate you. With your company clamoring for new customers and more business, it takes a certain amount of nerve to deliberately ignore people that many within your organization might consider prospects.
With such high stakes, brands should assess their fit with the Olympic Games before jumping into the arena. Not all players are a perfect match. Brands that are compatible with the Games, in both product offering and Ideal, can expect greater impact on their equity.
The use of apps as a way to gain an advantage over others is clearest in categories where there is already significant competition for consumer attention, including quick-service restaurants, banking, hospitality, fashion and beauty.
Any group that manages a celebrity brand must focus on the authenticity and aspirational aspects that connect with their audience. Violate that, and the brand and the brand’s value can be significantly devalued.
Getting older can also mean getting better if you keep a fresh outlook and stay young at heart. The wisdom that comes with age is priceless but don’t get too stuck in your ways. Look at Madonna who rose to fame in the 80s topping the charts in the 90s and can still fill large arenas and entertain Super Bowl crowds in the 2000s! How does she do it and what can we in business learn from her success?
With ever-increasing YouTube lunch breaks and Vimeo dinner dates, online video is becoming a constant companion--one that every brand is rushing to take advantage of. Follow these five tips so you don't turn off would-be viewers.
The domestic diva, Martha Stewart, is watching her media conglomerate do not so good things. It just reported plunging sales and a second quarter operating loss of $2.9 million. Publishing and broadcast units reported losses, down 16%. Ad pages are evaporating for most titles. Wherever did all those loyal fans go?
A 2012 Road King Classic in all its spaghetti-piped splendor lists for $19,599—and that becomes a hard sell when the economy goes soft. But a bigger challenge lay not with the bike or its price, but the ever-changing image of the rider. As the ads here show, the ability to shift gears quickly can apply to the marketing just as much as the motorcycle.
Most national brands are strategically positioned at the national Web level with strong awareness and branding, but these companies often lack insight into how their brands are represented at this level. Their local presence becomes clear when you conduct local searches on national brands using the “Local Web Test.”
Last year, new advertising for Harley-Davidson was greeted with skepticism. The company had eschewed working with traditional ad agencies on the campaign, and instead became one of the very first marketers to pursue consumer-created work through crowd sourcing. Now Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer is having the last laugh: Harley expects to repeat last year’s sales uptick of 6%, and its market share has been up 12 points in the last 4 years despite the Great Recession.
When it comes to learning about food, nearly half of consumers use social networking sites, and 40% use Web sites, apps or blogs, according to a new study from The Hartman Group and Publicis Consultants USA. Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/177904/leveraging-social-media-in-food-marketing.html#ixzz1zE5w9Vb4
It was Giorgio Armani's obsession with health that led to his brush with death. For 10 days in May 2009, Armani, one of the most influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs of our time, lay in a hospital bed with what he describes as "a very serious" case of hepatitis. The cause of his illness wasn't the stress that comes from juggling a global empire of clothes, accessories, furniture, cosmetics and real estate. It was the supplements. Even though Giorgio Armani single-handedly built a billion-dollar brand his own way, where does his empire go from here?
In one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise. Think of some top brands and you immediately know what they promise: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Ford, Apple, MetLife. It takes a lot of time, money and very hard work to build and maintain great brands like that, brands that can speak volumes in just a few syllables.
We sat down with Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Officer, Fitness, Sporting Goods & Toys at Sears Holdings and Gilad de Vries from best of breed content discovery platform, Outbrain.
For some companies, one Page might not be enough. For example, if a restaurant chain prides itself on local ingredients or a business seeks to cultivate a strong community around each brick-and-mortar outlet, it might make sense to have a Brand Page for each location. But then again, does a brand really want to divvy up its audience and dilute it among several similar pages?
The strategy address recently delivered by the corporation's new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, earned press coverage that verged on mocking, with The Wall Street Journal noting that the brand's "once-sterling cachet has deteriorated," and The New York Times going further, placing Sony in "a fight for its life," and accusing it of "an astonishing lack of ideas." Both observations are correct, but they only hint at the underlying question: why is the strategy that once served Sony so well now failing so badly?
According to Pied Piper's yearly Prospect Satisfaction Index for the U.S. motorcycle business, Harley-Davidson is number one at retail. In the study, conducted between July 2011 and April 2012 using 1,653 hired “mystery shoppers,” BMW and Ducati finished in a tie for second, followed by Triumph and the Victory and Indian brands from Polaris Industries, in a three-way tie for fourth.
Dolby Laboratories, Inc and CIM announced a 20-year agreement to name the Dolby Theatre™ — the iconic theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center® and home of the Academy Awards since 2002– a showcase of technology innovation.
Amidst falling sales, a revolving door of chief executives, countless attempts to be cool with “The King,” and even a fresh rift with pop diva, Mary J. Blige, we’re told in the latest Burger King ad campaign that “Exciting things are happening at Burger King.” Oh really?
Recently, PSFK launched our inaugural print magazine: the first offline publication that we hope to release every quarter. Some reasoning why a new media entity like PSFK.com decided to trial the analog.
Two-thirds of advertising spending is brand advertising, but online only one quarter is. In fact, if brand advertising dollars moved online in the same proportion that sales advertising has, it would almost exactly close the famous gap between time spent online and ad dollars spent online.
Bringing Ms. Minaj on board to pinch-hit for Pepsi is clearly a strategic move, and a reaction to the drop that Pepsi took this year in the marketplace. The results of 2012’s Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index reveal that both Pepsi and Diet Pepsi fell flat this year, trailing Coke and Diet Coke for the first time in years. Loyalty is, alas, not a forever thing if you don’t know how best to engage your audience.
It’s a new era where consumers will punish a company for taking a wrong stand, but also for taking no stands at all. In these volatile times, brands actually should become more willing to take a stand.
Sony, which once defined Japan’s technological prowess, wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV and shocked Hollywood with bold acquisitions like Columbia Pictures, is now in the fight of its life.
Susan Fournier looks back on the rocky journey behind her seminal study, and discusses how far the literature on consumer behavior has come and why she despises society's eagerness to equate materialism with consumerism.
A Rose-Gold Alloy Mostly Made of Copper Wouldn't Smell As Sweet Coming From Anywhere But Tiffany's. Press releases trumpeting Tiffany’s posh “new jeweler’s metal,” coined and trademarked Rubedo (Latin for “red”), continues unabated. But many specialists have taken umbrage with both the “new” and the “metal” portions of Tiffany’s claim.
In an era when entire companies and long-time brands are disappearing, why do Americans trust certain brands and not others? What is trust?
There are legitimate reasons why naming companies is a bit more challenging than it used to be. Marketers must contend with instant backlash from critics on social media and the global reality that one phrase in English might take on a completely different meaning overseas (see Kraft). And they must ensure the moniker is not already trademarked.
Coca-Cola is looking at restructuring and expanding its in-house content creation team as it experiments with longform branded content. The soft drink giant’s VP of global advertising strategy and creative excellence Jonathan Mildenhall told C21 recent campaigns around the Olympics and Coke Zero, which both included longform video, had prompted him to look at how it manages this type of content from its Atlanta headquarters.
Emirates is launching a campaign aimed at evolving the airline from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand. With the tagline “Hello Tomorrow,” the creative seeks to paint the Dubai-based airline as an “enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences,” according to the company.
There are a couple of things that make a brand great: engendering good feelings to consumers and using those feelings to inspire them to make a purchase.
Brand mascots are rebounding as marketers redeploy old characters in new ways, create fresh ones from scratch and use digital media to spin out rich storylines not possible in the past, when critters and cartoon characters were pretty much confined to TV. While it might be too early to declare a full-fledged mascot revival, brand characters are undoubtedly regaining attention.
Brand architecture often comes down to an evaluation of tradeoffs. In my experience, there’s rarely a cost-free benefit or a no-foul cost. That’s why I have found the concept of brand value so helpful. It focuses on the net effect of an initiative -- are the benefits worth more than the costs of getting those benefits or are cost-saving initiatives doing more harm than good?
With its 2011 corporate revenue estimated at $54 billion and brands in practically every aisle of the grocery store, Kraft is the largest producer of branded, packaged food and beverages in America. So it’s hard to believe that before MiO, the last new category Kraft created was DiGiorno frozen pizza in 1995 and its last new beverage brand was Crystal Light, launched in 1988.
Yesterday, it was official: Wendy's has usurped Burger King as America's second largest burger chain. It finished 2011 with more U.S. revenue, despite operating 1,300 fewer stores. The news, though largely expected -- The Wall Street Journal anticipated the "palace coup" back in December -- is a milestone in the history of fast food.
It’s hard to ignore Pinterest‘s explosive growth over the past year. In a very short period of time, the social network has gone from relative obscurity to a top 100 site, with 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors. But how many referrals does Pinterest generate?
The most recent commercial for the BMW i3 and i8 concept cars is a great example of something enlightened marketers have known for years: emotion is the key driver behind purchasing decisions. Yet, today, most businesspeople still follow the old adage, “Emotions and business don’t mix,” relying on rational data to drive decisions instead.
Today at SXSW, Marvel announced a partnership with Autonomy’s Aurasma platform to lets users watch video trailers of books they see in stores, as well as 3D animation, recaps, and other augmented reality extras by holding their phones up to comics.
In what may be the most overdue brand extension in history, Kraft is using the 100-year-old Planters name to speed growth of its mature grocery business.
Brands have historically paid for media to deliver their messages. But now, those brands are becoming the media, attracting their own audiences. And not just within social networks, but through their own online publications. This new strategy is known as content marketing, and it has been embraced by leading brands like American Express, IBM, and General Mills, with more joining the ranks every day.
Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s a (relatively) new social site where users share — or “pin” – visual content. Brands such as GE, HGTV and Martha Stewart Living have made deft use of Pinterest already. As a marketer, you should be too.
Best Practices: From First To Worst - Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Custom
Despite the numerous attempts by CEO Jeff Smisek to gloss over the issue with increasingly slicked up, feel good, on board welcome ads, Continental’s customer satisfaction numbers have reached the abyss of United’s. While United Holdings may tout their most admired status in the airline industry by Fortune, the award is measured by corporate executives, airline executives, boards of directors and industry analysts
I have been exploring the importance of brand meaning. My basic premise is that the brands which people find to be different in a good way are the ones they will be willing to pay a price premium for. But as I have explored this topic, I have come to realize that there are some very distinct layers of meaning (how a brand is perceived) and brand marketers need to work differently to motivate people within each level.
"Experience" is the marketing buzzword of our time. It seems like every week someone is extolling the vast untapped potential of experience to move your customers: Starcom recently created a Chief Experience Officer position; SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond has called experience the "future of advertising," and Starbucks is revitalizating through a focus on moments of "human connection."
If you pay attention to advertising, you may have seen some charming, pencil-figured ads entitled “Good to Know” about managing your privacy options. After midnight, Google will start linking your data across all of Google’s products.
When you get into work on Monday you’ll find that the Continental Airlines brand has vanished for good. That’s when the airline and United, the 4th and 3rd largest carriers respectively, will adopt a single passenger reservation system.
FastCompany recently released its list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Many of the names on the list come as no surprise, especially the top three (Apple, Facebook, and Google). But what caught my attention was the diversity of companies and industries represented.
"People are 'Fancy-ing' what they like, forming communities around these products or experiences, and now we allow merchants and brands to come in and fill that interest and demand in real-time, which no one is doing," says founder Joseph Einhorn.
What do superheroes ride? Unless they're from a Japanese Manga comic, it would probably be an American motorcycle brand. Harley-Davidson, to be specific. The Milwaukee-based, all-American bike maker has signed a pact with the iconic American comic book and production company Marvel
Network effects are an economic principle that suggests certain goods and services experience increasing returns to scale. That means the more users a particular product or service has, the more valuable the product becomes and the more rapidly its overall value increases.
A strong culture is important, and for all the reasons Parr mentions: employee engagement, alignment, motivation, focus, and brand burnishing. But is it the most important element of company success, as the more ferocious of the culture warriors assert?
Tucked in an area north of Cincinnati is an office-warehouse building that looks like a movie set. It contains fully functional mockups of two homes (one upper-middle class, one lower-income) complete with kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It has two mock grocery stores and a virtual-reality lab where you can fly over store shelves. This is the Beckett Ridge Innovation Center, or BRIC, in P&G parlance. And P&G, whose innovation record has come under growing scrutiny, hopes it can deliver.
While some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy.
Jeremy Levine, who led Bessemer's investment, tells us about all the ways Pinterest can make money, why it's not thinking about that right now, and why the company is more like Google than you might imagine.
The future of shopping means every garment--and shopping experience--can be customized to fit both your body and your thirst for discovery.
What do you get when you cross Walmart with Mother Teresa? Who would be the Square Deal candidate in 2012? And how in the world do you compare--and rank--such dynamic, eclectic businesses as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google?
Love just isn't enough anymore. In brand relationships, good customer service, high customer satisfaction and even professed brand loyalty won't keep consumers from ditching a product for the competition. In fact, more than half of U.S. consumers did so last year. A global study by Accenture found that even though consumers are more satisfied with customer service than ever before, they are switching brands at a high rate.
Every company wants customers talking about their products. But before they can sing your praises on social media or evangelize to their friends, they need to remember your product’s name. It seems obvious, but many companies – especially in the technology sector – overlook this easy way to connect with their audience.
Even if you haven’t ever visited popular visual bookmarking site Pinterest, you might recognize its design elements — which have been popping up everywhere since the startup burst onto the mainstream scene in 2011. The site doesn’t use traditional web building blocks.
The burrito chain is revolutionizing food: Why doesn’t it get more respect? Hunting for business success stories in a recession is a difficult (and sometimes depressing) task. Most of the feel-good stories seem to come from the high-tech world and the burgeoning app economy. One important exception is Chipotle Mexican Grill, a company that shows there’s clearly room for growth and innovation in even the most basic sectors of the economy.
Apple, Inc. is on fire. The Cupertino-based company's stock soared past $490 per share on Thursday and is now hovering around $495. Shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, the company's market cap was valued at $461 billion, according to Google Finance. This makes Apple slightly bigger than both Microsoft and Google combined. Currently, Microsoft's market cap sits close to $258 billion, and Google's is $199 billion.
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use Pinterest to communicate through vibrant images and share their personal interests.
Darling social media site Pinterest is taking heat after being revealed to have made a practice of embedding tracking code into links users post on their “boards” to generate revenue.
Bitly shortens URLs on web services like Twitter where space is at a premium. But nowadays, it’s also offering software for big businesses: Bitly Enterprise. With the help of the Kalman Filter, this software identifies which of your shortened URLs are generating the most interest amidst the sea of noise that is the internet. It’s not unlike locking onto a Soviet helicopter simply by turning your head.
We spoke with Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA, about what’s keeping the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign successful. Delivering consumer craving content and utilizing Facebook as both a research tool and a marketing channel is making Dos Equis a category leader.
As part of its promise last year to improve the nutritional quality of the food it sells, Walmart said on Tuesday that it had devised standards to determine what is healthy and would label the foods that meet those standards. A new label with the words Great for You will appear on Walmart's Great Value and Marketside food items this spring.
More than ever, the core drivers of brand loyalty are emotional rather than rational. That’s the takeaway from the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), which marks the survey’s 16th year. While emotional engagement factors have become more critical each year, the influence of two core, overarching components rose markedly in 2012: the brand’s “values” and the consumer’s brand “experience.”
Super Bowl ad prices have risen faster than inflation or viewership. Can they really be worth it? The most-expensive 30-second slot during this weekend’s Super Bowl cost a shocking $4 million. That’s a hundred-fold increase in the inflation-adjusted average price of a spot since Super Bowl I in 1967. Even at the recent 2010 low point, ads sold for $2.65 million, up more than 20 percent from where they stood in 2000. What drives increases of this scale, and how can it possibly make sense for companies to pay such sky-high prices?
Discount voucher sites are all the rage. Groupon, Living Social and a host of other players are entering the mushrooming markdown market. This begs the question if discount sites are good news for brand value? In summary we don’t think so. It may be good for short term revenue spikes and potentially contribution margin boosts but not long term brand value. This is based on our experience with hotels, spas and restaurants to name a few. Let us share how we arrived at this position.
Most every company says it values its customers, and hates to 'walk away' from them. Leaders are called on to make tough decisions they believe are in the best interests of their companies. And sometimes, these decisions advantage some customers at the expense of others. That doesn't make them bad decisions, just risky ones. But leaders of some of our greatest brands act like they have forgotten (or never knew) what every junior brand manager surely knows --- to test potentially risky messages and find ways to mitigate their negative impact. Instead, senior leaders are acting like bulls in a china shop, awkwardly and prematurely broadcasting their strategic decisions in ways that destroy their company's (and their own) reputation and value.
Good design is like pornography: You know it when you see it. Incredibly subtle Supreme Court justice jokes aside, design really can make or break a company--especially for an “early adopter” technology that hasn’t quite caught on yet. Convincing people to do anything that’s out of their comfort zone (in our case, getting them to pay with their phones using LevelUp) is tough. But one of the benefits of being somewhat early to a market is getting to define what an entirely new experience means for a person. In this instance, design, function, and brand can become one
Puma can’t yet legally discuss its Olympics marketing strategy, according to Remi Carlioz, the company’s head of digital marketing. But to get an idea of how Puma will promote its star athlete and three-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt, one need only turn to the Middle East. In mid-January, Puma sent 10 bloggers to Abu Dhabi to cover the company’s sponsored boat, Mar Mostro, as it competed in the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Puma has recruited bloggers to talk about the brand before, but this event marked the first time it tested Tumblr. (The bloggers were also encouraged to post to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #marmostro.)
There are many people who have gifts for selecting the best items, and helping you buy wisely. This has always been a hot trend. Reviews have an impact on buying behaviors. Aside from trying to game or buy reviews, which I don't recommend, how can you find what really affects behavior? Social influences is part of that. Which is why tools that allow people to display what they read, listen to, and buy are making such strong inroads. For example, my boards on Pinterest are a mix of things I have done, and things I might like to do.
Trying to figure out what’s on sale when and then waiting for the next sale to buy particular items can be frustrating to consumers so J.C. Penney Co. — in its first major overhaul of its retail arm since former Apple exec Ron Johnson took over as CEO in November — is attempting to make things much easier. The company this week announced that its stores are doing away with having seven kazillion different items on different sales simultaneously and just “marking down all of its merchandise by at least 40% so shoppers will no longer have to wait for a sale to get the lowest prices in its stores.” The move comes as jcpenney, as the chain rebranded itself at the 2011 Oscars, is re-rebranding with a new logo — following the previous year's rebrand at the 2010 Oscars (check out the logo progression below). What was that about trying to avoid consumer confusion?
Establishing consumer relationships through mobile marketing, as with any successful, productive relationship, inherently requires a mutual exchange of value. Whether consumers are opting-in for brand communications via SMS or engaging with the brand in a single instance through scanning a QR code, the onus is on the brand to deliver value in return for customers’ valuable time and information. Without the perception that value has been exchanged for value, the relationship becomes essentially one-sided and unrequited attempts at interaction on the part of the consumer will spell the end of the relationship – perhaps permanently.
Usually the question comes right after I tell an audience that I put former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley on my "Innovation Mount Rushmore" as a reminder of the importance of investing time and energy to understand the target market.
Some years ago, I hosted a blind tasting beer party where everyone voted for their favorite and least favorite beers from a collection of microbrews and mainstream brands. Although there was no clear winner, there was definitely an outright loser. I was thinking about that party when I read about Coke’s decision to kill its White Coke can before the scheduled end of its holiday season run. This was primarily a story about customer confusion -- there was not enough difference between the White Coke can and the Diet Coke can and people were getting confused and buying the wrong one. But there was a side-story that some people thought that the Coke from the white can did not taste the same/as good as the Coke from the red can. Ridiculous, you might say. Not that surprising, I thought, based on my own experience from that beer-tasting party.
In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so. When Palmisano retired this month, the media chronicled his success by focusing on IBM's 21% annual growth in earnings per share and its increase in market capitalization to $218 billion. But IBM hasn't flourished because it kowtows to Wall Street. In fact, five years after Palmisano took over, IBM stock was stuck where it had been when his tenure began.
Customers, employees, shareholders and taxpayers hate large corporations for many reasons. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a lengthy list of corporations for which there is substantial research data to choose the 10 most hated in America.
Everyone wants their own mobile application. In the last year, I have heard this consistently. In fact, mobile analytics firm Distimo claims 91 of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app (up from 51 just 18 months ago). On the surface this sounds great, right? I can use my big brand name to get people to install my application, and then I can market to them via the palm of their hand whenever I want. If you're a big brand, I have no doubt you will get a ton of downloads. But downloads are a vanity metric; they don't measure success.
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.
Your brand is your favorite. After all, it's yours. You understand it, you helped build it, you're obsessed with the nuance behind it. Your organization's actions make sense to you, you sat in the room as they were being argued about... you might even have helped make some of the decisions.
In the same way China approached its preparations for the Beijing Olympics, businesses have fully detailed each sensory impression a product will have on consumers. One company's ultimate objective: Become a global leader in car manufacturing. Look out, Detroit.
These days, an agency is both blessed and cursed by what feels like an endless array of communications channels into which it can insert its brand. There's all that older stuff, plus corporate websites, blogs and, sexiest of all these days, social-media channels like Twitter and Facebook. The practice of telling an agency's story has become an always-on, 24-7 process that stacks up next to all those other always-on, 24-7 processes that are also pretty important -- like servicing clients
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh plans to peddle more– much more–than shoes, electronics and cookware. Hsieh says the name Zappos, which delivers customer service as it sells other company’s offerings, could someday be as well-known as Richard Branson’s customer-centric Virgin empire. “That’s probably the brand that’s most analogous to what we're trying to do,” Hsieh says, adding that he can envision the Zappos name on an airline someday.
I'll make it really simple for you to see the difference. Fundamentally, this is a conversation about putting the human being first or putting the brand/idea first.
A new study out of the very well-branded Duke University and Tel Aviv University asks if brands are the new religion. The study, which can be downloaded at Marketing Science, goes by the not-at-all sensational title "Brands: The Opiate of Non-Religious Masses?" The researchers posit that "brands and religiosity may serve as substitutes for one another because both allow individuals to express their feelings of self-worth." It's a theory that will cause a reaction within the professional branding community, and that reaction will be "Duh."
Eliminating co-pilots; offering standing-only cabins; asking customers to work the baggage conveyor belt – these are the things Michael O’Leary dreams of. As CEO of Ryanair, O’Leary loves to propose provocative potential developments for his airline. Does he do it because he’s a rabble-rousing PR machine or because he’s a shrewd businessman – or both? I don’t know. But I do know that I both hate his brand and love it at the same time.
About an hour south of Seoul, bulldozers are demolishing the last vacant factories at Samsung Electronics Co.’s Suwon campus, erasing signs that South Korea’s most valuable public company once made its headquarters in a smoke-fuming industrial complex. In their place are ice cream and pizza parlors, research labs and open space that’s been groomed as parks. Engineers in T-shirts play basketball on this sunny June morning before heading to their choice of nine cafeterias for a free lunch featuring Korean, Indian and Western dishes prepared to please employees from 50 countries. Women, who until recently were forced to wear conservative business suits and were absent from top jobs, stroll through gardens in slacks and formerly banned open-toed shoes, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue. The 28,000 engineers, designers and marketers who arrive by bicycle or one of 556 company-funded buses at this bustling center could be in Silicon Valley or a technology park in India except for a sign at the eight-lane entrance: Samsung Digital City. The campus, along with required English lessons for managers and research into everything from solar cells to humanoid robots, are part of Samsung Electronics’ mission to vault itself into the ranks of the world’s great innovators and become one of the top five brands.
In a post earlier this week, I started to address why some companies don’t operationalize their brands. I suggested that there are 3 kinds of business leaders who fail to leverage the full potential of their brands. The first are Naives: “Naives simply do not understand the full potential of their brand. That the brand is the core of the company is a foreign concept to these business leaders. They don’t know what they don’t know.” Then there are Aspirers: “These people are knowledgeable about brands and definitely interested in leveraging them more broadly and substantially, but they don’t know how or they’ve run into roadblocks in their efforts to do so.” Today we come to Emperors.
Product cycles aren’t getting shorter. They’re disappearing. Retailers are concentrating on their store brands and giving shorter shrift to national brands and manufacturer partnerships. They’re culling nationally branded products that fall short of sales and turn expectations from shelves. Sometimes, these metrics aren’t even used as justification!
The big news for sports fans this week is the redesign of the Pacific 10 Conference (Pac-10) logo, which I must say looks pretty good. The logo was launched with appropriate fanfare in New York City on Tuesday by being projected on a raining wall of mist in the Whiskey Blue, a popular midtown Manhattan bar in the W Hotel.
For years, Seventh Generation Inc. co-founder Jeffrey Hollender liked to say "hell would freeze over" before his company's environmentally friendly household products would be sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. He feels differently now. Starting next month, Seventh Generation staples, including laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose sprays and disinfectant wipes, will be sold in about 1,500 Wal-Mart stores. By September, other cleaners, diapers and baby wipes will be available on Walmart.com.
ESPN is launching today a new branding ad campaign intended "to demonstrate our love of sports," according to one of its execs quoted in The New York Times. I'm just not so sure that love of sports is a Big Idea worthy of an ad campaign. First, isn't it like McDonald’s declaring "we love hamburgers," or Geiko saying the same about insurance? ESPN had better love sports, and I can't imagine the connection is a secret.
The Burgerville QSR chain is using a branded YouTube channel, Burgerville TV, to combine its fresh, local, sustainable food brand message with the support of grassroots community efforts that contribute to the accessibility of sustainable food. The new branded channel is hosted by president/CEO Jeff Harvey, who introduces the brand-posted videos offered.
While the Rolling Stone article "The Runaway General" created enough of a flap to lead to U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal's public downfall, it also represented the culmination of the very heady rebirth of a counterculture brand.
Popchips Inc. is creating a new social-media campaign, but Madison Avenue won't be devising it. Instead, the three-year-old snack-food maker has turned to actor and producer Ashton Kutcher. The company's deal with Mr. Kutcher shows the novel ways marketers are teaming up with Hollywood to use star power to promote their brands.
Consensus Advisors just released their 2009-2010 Retailer Health Ratings (RHRs) report. The RHRs measure and compare retailers over a five-year period on: healthy growth, asset utilization, pricing power and balance sheet strength.
Infiniti from the very beginning has had a difficult time establishing a brand identity and finding a way to execute it in communications. Introduced in 1989, Infiniti was Nissan's response to the introductions of the other Japanese luxury marques; Acura and Lexus. The original Q45 was a sporty performance alternative to the Lexus. Unfortunately, the brand got off to a rough start when it introduced the car and brand with the infamous "rocks and trees" campaign created by its agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.
Last week we looked a ranking of the top ten brands on Facebook globally, based on the number of people who ‘like’ them. There were no real surprises – Starbucks came top and the rest of the top ten was filled with well-known consumer and fashion brands. The same dataset, from Famecount, can be used to look at brands on Twitter and, unlike with Facebook, it throws up some unexpected findings. For example the most followed brand in the UK isn’t a consumer or fashion brand, an airline or a bank. It’s a museum: @Tate.
As Nike's top marketer, Trevor Edwards, VP-global brand and category management, has helped the world's leading footwear and apparel company grow its market-share lead by becoming possibly the world's most accomplished digital marketer.
Apple has elevated the iPhone brand again and forestalled rivals’ ability to claim parity. Leading up to the launch of the iPhone 4, run by the iOS since it powers the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, there were whispers everywhere about the Android’s turbo-charged innovation cycle, the end of iPhone envy and how other smartphones from the likes of HTC were closing the gap. Now it wasn’t like the iPhone was becoming a commodity device, but you could see some parity on the horizon. Even Sam Diaz got over his iPhone envy. Enter Apple CEO Steve Jobs who was having none of that talk. Jobs talked about the mix between technology and liberal arts. The emphasis is on technology as an art form.
Even before you have your social media monitoring in place, any brand can benefit from working out a plan for what you will do with all this information you are going to gather. Dashboards and reports can be useful, but the ability to take actions or make decisions using this information is much more useful for any brand. What you do with your social media monitoring is as important, if not more important, than getting the monitoring in place in the first place.
The strongest brands in America, according to a new study, are not American. They are German and Japanese luxury car brands: BMW; Mercedes; and Lexus. But the U.S. brand with the greatest "social currency" is one that has existed a mere ten years (and it's not even an Internet or tech company): JetBlue.
Everyone is talking about the new Nike World Cup spot, and with good reason: It's a beautifully told story that transcends media formats to deliver a truly emotional and inspirational experience. In 30 seconds, it appears that Nike finally cracked the code by combining compelling narrative with the power of digital distribution. And, Wieden & Kennedy showed us what it means for a brand to truly participate in culture. Or, did it? Is this really still a way to build a strong digital brand?
Over the last couple of years I've posted on several small but beautifully formed brands. They are premium priced brands that target a specific occasion or consumer segment, and aim to lead in this part of the market. Examples have included innocent (not so small now), Gu and Fresh Italy. Well. Time to add a new find to the list: Charlie Bigham's.
Investor C. Dean Metropoulos made a fortune building well-known consumer brands including Bumble Bee Tuna and Vlasic Pickles. Now, he is looking to wash them down with a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Mr. Metropoulos, a 64-year-old executive known for invigorating brands, has reached an agreement to buy Pabst Brewing Co. from the charitable foundation that owns the company for about $250 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Although little known outside of food circles, he earned a fortune managing brands such as Chef Boyardee, Duncan Hines and Ghirardelli Chocolates. With Pabst, Mr. Metropoulos is showing his deal-making skills.
Finding the right mix of keywords is as much science as it is good common sense. When it comes to your brand, there are typo and URL derivation techniques that you should consider as part of your overall brand bidding strategy, even when the science (search volumes) appear too low to matter.
What's a brand? You realize that no two people, let alone two marketers, agree on the answer. It's a word, a metaphor, an analogy, a concept or some sort of thing with an existence and personality dependent on whomever is doing the defining, where they're doing it, and what they hope to accomplish.
I have already posted my thoughts on Starbucks' move to revamp and repurpose the Seattle's Best brand name. Their new initiative, however, has me scratching my head. They are offering us flavored coffee in the supermarkets via their "Natural Fusions" line, and, amazingly, the Starbucks brand name will be front and center.
What’s a college to do? Building a brand isn’t the only solution, but it certainly must be a key part of any strategy based on attracting students in an increasingly competitive arena. A school that is known for something, whether that something special is academic, geographic, or even extra-curricular, will fare better than schools who have failed to establish their brand.
Fifteen years ago, an overnight business trip usually meant a lonely night in the room of a national hotel chain. Such a stay may have entailed a few tidy comforts—stacks of folded white towels, a neatly made bed, and a well-stocked minibar—but a Marriott never really feels like a home away from home. There’s a reason, after all, why filmmakers gravitate toward the cold regularity of the hotel as a backdrop for murderous rampages and sordid trysts. But that all changed in 1998, when the mega hospitality corporation Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide began building a brand of hotels to capture what was then becoming known as the “boutique” market. The new enterprise was trademarked W, and it would revolutionize the hospitality industry.
Chiquita, Victoria's Secret, The GOP, Amnesty International. They all use marketing and invite trust in a distinct belief system. They're all, to one degree or another, brands. For a brand, nirvana is when your good name is so widely endorsed that it enters the language. "Pass the Kleenex." "Google it." But that's the top of a long and slippery slope--look at Toyota and Tiger Woods. A healthy brand drives up your stock, and vice versa. These are the things we thought we knew. It's 2010--are they still true?
Originally established by the Texas Legislature as the Texas State Cancer Hospital and the Division of Cancer Research in 1941, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center — named after Houston cotton merchant Monroe D. Anderson whose philanthropic foundation made great contributions to the center early on — is today one of the leading cancer research and treatment facilities in the world. Up to 2009, it has been as ranked No. 1 in cancer care in the “America’s Best Hospitals” survey published by U.S. News & World Report in six of the past eight years. Employing more than 17,000 people, MD Anderson treated over 96,000 patients in 2009. A new identity, introduced yesterday, aims to visualize the center’s mission, “to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation and the world.”
Earlier this week I had the chance to present at one of the largest annual meetings of customer care professionals in the world, the SOCAP International Symposium. SOCAP stands for the Society of Customer Care Professionals, and among other things, its members include the folks in charge of running call centers, managing customer response teams and sometimes branching into running loyalty programs as well. If marketing is all about the outward appearance of a brand and perception, then customer care (more than any other group) is focused on the reality of what your brand actually is.
Australia Removes Naming And Branding From Cigarette Packs, World Health Organization (WHO) Urges Re
In Australia, starting July 1, 2012, cigarette companies will be forced to use "plain, logo-free packaging on their cigarettes in a bid to make them less attractive to smokers." Instead of logos and alluring typography, there will be dire health warnings for smokers, and the brand name itself will be in a tiny, generic font at the bottom of the pack.
While Twitter’s growth is apparently stalling, Facebook goes from strength to strength and is now, arguably, the world’s largest digital media ‘owner’ other than Google. Its audience is now a very international one, with 70% of users being outside of the US, and its largest audiences are in countries as varied as the UK, Indonesia and Turkey. With this massive growth has come massive opportunities; not just for Facebook but for brands too. But it has also brought challenges, including one that is cropping up more and more frequently – how should multinational companies manage their Facebook profiles? Globally? Locally? Or, dare I say it, somewhere in between: glocally? For brands with a presence in multiple markets, understanding how best to manage their resources to best provide users with relevant content and ensure the highest possible chance of success in the social marketing efforts, this is a challenge that deserves attention.
UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. have resumed discussions of a potential merger that would create a global behemoth, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday. The talks are the latest in a decade long dance between the two big airlines and have recently heated up after months of off-and-on conversation, these people said. The talks aren't that far along and could falter again, these people said.
Hilton Hotels and Southwest Airlines rank highest in brand equity in their categories, according to market research firm Harris Interactive's 2010 EquiTrend study. The annual brand equity study measures over 1,000 brands across 42 categories, five of which focus on travel and tourism.
Here's a $20 bottle of soap. Functionally identical to a $3 bottle, so what's the $17 for? Let's assume the people buying it aren't stupid. What are they paying $17 for? A story. A feeling. A souvenir of a shopping expedition or perhaps just a little bit of joy in the shower every morning. Let's dissect.
There's a reason Polaroid figures nearly as prominently as Lady Gaga does in the pop singer's latest music video "Telephone": it's in her financial interest to make sure the once iconic brand gets as much camera time as she does. While Gaga and Polaroid each got a lot of ink in January when she struck an unconventional partnership with the company that made her the brand's "creative director and inventor of specialty products," a source close to the situation told The Post that the 23-year-old pop star has a financial stake in Polaroid that allows her to participate "in the future of the company in a meaningful way."
On a brisk Saturday morning this month, a dedicated crew of about 90 women, most in their 30s or thereabouts, arrived at a waterfront hotel here, prepared for a daylong conference that offered to school them in the latest must-have skill set for the minivan crowd. Teaching your baby to read? Please. How to hide vegetables in your children’s food? Oh, that’s so 2008. The topics on that day’s agenda included search-engine optimization, building a “comment tribe” and how to create an effective media kit. There would be much talk of defining your “brand” and driving up page views. You know. For your blog.
For years marketing professionals have been telling Wall Street that brand value confers a genuine competitive advantage. For years Wall Street has smiled politely, pulled down its green eyeshades and told us to stick to our knitting. So you can imagine my surprise when a senior manager from Credit Suisse reported recently that, after undertaking an in-depth, facts-and-figures research study on the topic, the company had determined that brand value gives companies a genuine competitive advantage.
Allergan and Medicis Pharmaceutical are the Coke and Pepsi of vanity medicine. Allergan makes Botox Cosmetic, the well-known injectable anti-wrinkle treatment. Medicis markets Dysport, a competing anti-wrinkle shot, in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration has approved both drugs to smooth skin furrows between the eyebrows. And now Medicis has introduced a new marketing campaign that pits Dysport directly against Botox, essentially issuing a Pepsi challenge for the wrinkle wars. The campaign is even called the Dysport challenge.
Chevrolet, which has signed as exclusive automotive sponsor of SXSW music, film and interactive festival for the next three years, will use its freshman presence there this week to tout such vehicles as the Camaro, Volt and Cruze, and to get ideas on best practices and emerging technologies in social media from the intelligentsia who attend. Chevrolet is also using the Austin, Tex. show to test three social-media applications. One is a mobile location app from Austin-based Gowalla that tells a cell phone user's contacts where he or she is. When Gowalla users check in at various locations in Austin, they will get text messages with offers from Chevrolet and SXSW, such as a free ride in a new Equinox for those who use Gowalla when they get to the airport.
Kara Goldin was pregnant when she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2004. The first thing she cut out of her diet was sugary drinks. Her blood sugar problems improved, but Goldin still craved flavored beverages. She tried to find an all-natural, sugar-free drink that tasted good, but she struck out. Her solution? Goldin, a former vice president at AOL, created a beverage that became Hint, the brand and the company.
Ever wonder what is really behind this thing we call "identity? " It's one of those words that attracts a variety of meanings, ranging from a company's name and logo, to its business definition (Fuji: We're a digital imaging company), to its image in the marketplace, to its values.
Madecasse has a lot going for it. It's delicious chocolate. It's made in Africa (the only imported chocolate made on the continent with local beans). The guys who make it are doing good work and are nice as well. The question I asked them is, "does your packaging do its job?" I don't think the job of packaging is to please your boss. I think you must please the retailer, but most of all, attract and delight and sell to the browsing, uncommitted new customer.
This is something we keep hearing about, how people and companies need to add value. Adding value is fast becoming the new bubble. A few years ago, Marshall Goldsmith, the world's top executive coach, questioned the cost of adding value in his debut post at Fast Company. In the opening, Goldsmith outlines a very powerful piece of advice: In my experience, one of the most common challenges that successful people face is a constant need to win. When the issue is important, they want to win. When the issue is trivial, they want to win. Even when the issue isn't worth the effort or is clearly to their disadvantage, they still want to win.
Holiday Inn hotels have been tasked by the brand's parent corporation to contemporize or get out of the business. These upgrades include "minimum quality specifications" such as better exterior lighting, redecorated lobbies, new bedding, and new signs with the updated Holiday Inn logo. However, three Holiday Inns are going beyond any minimum whatsoever with a new service to deliver warm bodies directly to customers' beds. No, the three locations are not in Amsterdam.
Having a great product is no longer a guarantee of success. A Bain & Co. survey notes that 80 percent of CEOs believe that their product is differentiated, but only 8 percent of consumers agree. To truly stand out in the market, a product must embody the characteristics of its brand. But, with all the hoopla around branding, it’s no wonder that companies are continually lured into believing that their brand is their product and their product is their brand.
An easy way to get started on the topic of Brand Licensing is to break the subject into its two component parts – brand and licensing. Let's start with the latter part first. What is licensing? Licensing means nothing more than the renting or leasing of an intangible asset. An example of intangible assets includes a song (Somewhere Over The Rainbow), a character (Donald Duck), a name (Michael Jordan) or a brand (The Ritz-Carlton). An arrangement to license a brand requires a licensing agreement. A licensing agreement authorizes a company which markets a product or service (a licensee) to lease or rent a brand from a brand owner who operates a licensing program (a licensor). Before we move any further, let's discuss what we mean when we use the term brand.
Creating a definition of the word brand seems to be both the easiest and perhaps the hardest thing to do. The challenge is not that the existing definitions aren’t correct (or more accurately weren’t correct). The challenge is that the environment in which brands live is inherently Darwinian. As the environment changes brands must adapt. Once brands have adapted enough then what you get are effectively new species - entities unlike what have gone before and that must now be defined in completely new ways. This has been a constant process over time, but I think we could now define ourselves as being in the third age of brand.
In the midst of every marketing meeting, there comes that point where the entire room leans forward in their seats. The tension heightens. There's an almost palpable sense of voyeurism; everyone strains toward the reveal of that titillating morsel that represents insider access. And the question is asked: "So, what's the consumer insight?" The strategist slowly rises and says, "We always knew that the consumers say this, but did you know that they really do this?" Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's shock and awe time. As a planner at heart, that's my bread and butter. What this very authentic example of consumer-insight fetishism raises is the question of what to do when your brand represents one thing but consumers are searching for another. Said differently, what can be done when your brand marketing becomes more about reflecting the reality of your consumers and less about your brand's aspirational identity? To keep your unique brand-driven narrative alive and prevent it from turning into a slow-moving episode of "60 Minutes," there are a few things that I believe every marketer should strive to do.
Looks like Yahoo is the latest marketer to jump on the resurging "Random acts of kindness" bandwagon, announcing a year-end giving campaign called "You in?" This month, both Clinique and Macy's asked people to commit these random acts on behalf of their brands. And in recent months, Cosmopolitan partnered with Estee Lauder for its Cosmo Karma project, and Servus Credit Union, a Canadian bank, handed out $200,000 in $10 increments to finance small good deeds. Experts expect to see more marketers work the "Random Acts" thinking, a phrase that last soared in popularity in the mid-'90s, into their cause-related efforts.
Another of General Motors Co.'s brands appears all but headed for the junkyard after the collapse of the company's plan to sell Saab to a Swedish maker of exotic cars. Koenigsegg Group AB said Tuesday it was backing out of the deal, citing a series of costly delays in closing its planned purchase of Saab. The agreement with Koenigsegg was based on financial backing from the Swedish government, but in the end, taking on Saab proved to be too costly for a boutique car maker with no high-volume manufacturing experience
Drum roll, please. Search engine Google topped Forrester Research's survey of consumers' favorite online brands, though respondents ranked the company low on qualities like "trustworthy," "relevant" and "fun." Forty-four percent of consumers rate Google as their favorite online brand in 2009, compared with 36% in 2007. The search engine dominates in wealthy homes. Fifty-five percent of those bringing home more than $100,000 annually rank Google No. 1. It appears relevance is still a weakness for search engines. None ranked above 35% in this category. In fact, only 25% of Google fans rate the engine as relevant. That's a category where Yahoo and Microsoft inch ahead at 33% and 30%, respectively. Meanwhile, only 35% of Google fans view the brand as trustworthy and reliable, while only 6% of YouTube fans say that company had the same attribute.
You had two options if you wanted to hang out with Digg founder Kevin Rose at the Web 2.0 Expo conference this week: head over to the lobby bar of the trendy Standard Hotel on Monday night, where Digg was picking up the tab for several dozen of the city's blogger elite; or pack into Manhattan Center Studios on Tuesday night along with about a thousand other young, predominantly male New Yorkers for a live taping of Rose and co-host Alex Albrecht's "Diggnation" video show. Those are, after all, the two Diggs. There's Digg the company, the name that first put "social news" into the mouths of New York media both old and new, the BusinessWeek cover story that established the shaggy-haired Rose as digital media's poster boy, the start-up that was once talked about as a huge acquisition target for the likes of Current Media, News Corp., and even Google amid CEO Jay Adelson's coy insistence that it wasn't for sale. But then there's Digg the brand: haven for the wackiest of the Web, with a front page dominated by anything Apple, oddball science, insidery tech and politics news, and the latest YouTube sensations. It's a dual identity that seems to be tough for the industry, or the five-year-old company itself, to reconcile.
The Allstate Foundation is teaming up with Scientific Social Solutions to launch "Crash! The Science of Collisions" program in New York State. The educational program teaches driver safety to high-school students using physics, physical science, biology, and math to reconstruct actual motor vehicle accidents.
Bucking the rewards-cutting trend at some organizations, PepsiCo has announced the expansion of its global recognition program. The beverage and snack giant announced, last week, that it has created the “Chairman’s Circle of Champions” to reward the company’s top operations associates around the world. The new award program focuses on backend employees for their strong performance in areas such as safety, job performance, service and even people skills. Recipients will be recognized for their accomplishments at a three- to four-day event in New York where they can also receive training to enhance their work performance upon their return. Top leaders from the company will give presentations and breakout sessions will be held. Winners will also go on tours of the city and the trip will culminate with an awards ceremony.
Turns out Seth MacFarlane isn't PC enough to be a PC. Microsoft was set to sponsor a prime time special by the "Family Guy" creator as part of its Windows 7 media blitz, but was somehow surprised when the typically MacFarlane-esque fare didn't exactly "fit with the Windows brand." Variety reports that three days after crowing about its new Seth MacFarlane deal to the world, it pulled the plug after getting a look at the content, which included "riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest," the company pulled out of the project.
A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend prior to an evening speech. After some small talk about life, the universe and everything, our conversation naturally turned to the abysmal U.S. economy. “Things are really tough right now,” she explained. “I’ve tried to get everyone to understand the importance of branding in this very difficult environment, but I don’t think they get it. In fact,” she added. “Our customers hate that word.” “What word?” I asked. “Brand?” “Yea. The non-profits we work with have a real aversion to the whole notion of branding. I guess they don’t really understand the concept and how it applies to them.” They’re not the only ones.
Nearly every brand exercise doubling as content has come across as just that: overproduced shtick that has no compelling reason to exist independent of the beflogged marketer. You can stick however many aching-for-work actors you want in an IKEA or in front of a Dell computer, but unless you give them something interesting to do, viewers will check out the first few minutes of the first episode before dismissing it and moving on to a content-first play -- say, Marvel's dark, extravagant Motion Comics.
A four-door Porsche? Really? A sports car with room for four? Really? A luxury car with a name that sounds like a mash-up of Pan American, Panera and “Panamania,” a song once sung by Dorothy Lamour? Really? Porsche Cars North America and its agency, Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago, acknowledge the daunting challenges they confront. To be sure, the recession has decimated demand for cars, particularly higher-price models, and shoppers are loath to spend for anything other than groceries and gasoline.
The basic elements of a brand's visual language--type, color, photographic/illustration style and layout also establish a filter for making decisions on how to best "speak" from the heart. If all the basics are in sync, it will make choices like story, set design, talent, wardrobe, physical space, dialog and tone of voice easy to make.
To help address all that before the 2010 Olympics, the committee has been sponsoring a global campaign carrying the theme “The Best of Us.” The campaign, by Cole & Weber United in Seattle, part of the United unit of WPP, enters a second phase on Wednesday with the introduction of what the committee is calling The Best of Us Challenge. Young people ages 12 to 19 will be invited to create video clips in an effort known as consumer-generated or user-generated content. The clips are to show them responding to challenges from athletes like the beach volleyball player Natalie Cook, the pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, the snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, the gymnast Shawn Johnson, the tennis player Rafael Nadal, the swimmer Michael Phelps and the skier Lindsey Vonn.
NBC Universal is to undergo a complete rebranding of its international television business as the US company admits that it will not meet its target for overseas expansion. Jeff Zucker, NBCU chief executive, outlined in April 2007 an ambition of doubling revenues in international business from $2.5bn to $5bn within three years. Roma Khanna, the president of NBCU Networks and Digital Initiatives, said last week that, by that -target date, sales would be about $4.5bn and that the $5bn figure would be reached in 2011. She set out a new strategy in an interview with the Financial Times, saying the company would streamline its portfolio of nine different channels to five, all under the Universal Networks International name.
While the concept of personal branding has taken off corporate branding seems to go in and out of favor. Economic cycles may have a lot to do with that. With the growth of the Internet and social technology tools, personal branding activity and opportunities have exploded. On the other hand, in some ways, the arc of Web 1.0 to 2.0+ (not to mention this current economy) has seduced many marketers into being focused on tactics at the expense of strategy including branding. Hot media tactics often substitute for the "strategy." If you are skeptical that brands still matter in the age of 1-1, millennials and social media, or if you are trying to run a business and make numbers and don't have the patience for brand consultant-speak or theories, here is a quick, simple refresher on good old fashioned branding that works today, that can help you frame your marketing and other operational tactics...to drive business results.
Every so often the vocabulary of business adopts new words that filter into the mainstream business psyche. For example, the language of brands and branding is now commonly used and understood across a range of sectors— from universities to social enterprises to small businesses. Over the past year or two, the new vocabulary has brought in “sustainability,” whether it is to talk about the environment or general business operations, about communities or the future. Google the term and you’ll see that “sustainability” has 28 million definitions—only a few million short of the 34 million entries for “branding." Words that become common business parlance can shift in meaning and, in doing so, become open to a multitude of interpretations.
It can cost a fortune for a company to pioneer a new category of product or service. Digital cameras, for example. Or satellite radio. Or Internet grocery service. Webvan, for example, lost $830 million on its two-year venture into the grocery-delivery business. Since its so costly to establish a new category, why would any company deliberately want to kill an emerging new category? Actually there are good reasons for putting the kibosh on a new category. In the marketing jungle, there are two kinds of companies: category builders and category killers. A category builder is often a start-up company or a small company that hopes to compete with a bigger one by introducing a new brand that defines an emerging new category.
The Branding Strategy Insider has me thinking about the relationship between brand naming and category domination. They think that dominating a category is more important than extending your brand - no matter how well regarded your brand name is, it simply cannot grow if the category is dying or overly crowded. Kodak is the prime example here: we all know the brand name, but few of us use film anymore and their crossover into digital photography has been rocky. The advice here is to start a new brand in a new category, aka Starbucks, Red Bull and BlackBerry. The idea is to have a narrow focus, get in first and grab deep recognition and reach. Clorox = bleach. Tabasco = hot sauce. That's nice work, if you can get it.
The folks at Blackcoffee have been inviting folks to complete the thought, “A Brand Is…”. I was so fascinated to read the range of responses that I decided to take a closer look. I wanted to see what common themes emerged among people’s definitions of “Brand” and what we could learn from them.
Southwest Airlines has just announced that it will charge $10 for passengers who want to board its planes early, which means after the more expensive Business Select and mileage award ticket holders have already grabbed their seats. This is first class seating, in everything but name. I wonder what it does to the Southwest brand?
A brand is the tip of an iceberg. How big and how deep the iceberg is will determine how powerful the brand is. The iceberg is the category. If it melts, the brand will melt too. Take Kodak, for example. Just eight years ago, Interbrand ranked Kodak as the 16th most valuable brand in the world, worth $14.8 billion. Every year since, the Kodak brand has fallen in both rank and value. In 2008 it fell off Interbrand's Top 100 list worth less than $3.3 billion. What’s a Kodak? It’s the world’s best film-photography brand. Unfortunately for Kodak, the film-photography iceberg is melting as the world turns digital.
A brand’s position is the set of perceptions, impressions, ideas and feelings that consumers have for the product compared with competing products. Marketers plan positions that give their products the greatest advantage in selected target markets, and they design marketing mixes to create these planned positions. In planning their positioning, marketers often prepare perceptual maps that show consumer perceptions of their brand versus competing brands on attributes that are important to the consumer, whether functional or symbolic.
As I have often contended, people can be viewed and managed as brands, especially people who have very high public profiles. In October of last year, just before the November elections, we polled Branding Strategy Insider readers on the John McCain and (now) President Barack Obama brands. Just recently, more than 200 days into President Obama’s presidency, we repeated the survey to determine in what ways perceptions of him might have changed in such a short period of time.
If you haven't heard, the Crocs brand is in deep trouble. This is a brand that seemed headed for extinction, but like their namesake, have proven that with the help of a little strategic naming they are a brand that can endure the toughest of times. Recent "business improvements" have given Crocs a chance to actually pull itself into the black by 2010.
Street fashion designer Rick Klotz has announced that he's going to forsake any brand logos or names on his Freshjive products next year. Is it an anti-branding move, or something more? I say something more.
InterContinental Hotels Group earlier this summer announced the opening of its 1,000th relaunched Holiday Inn hotel: the Holiday Inn Express New York Times Square. The opening was part of an overall $1 billion relaunch of more than 3,200 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide, as well as the opening of another 1,050 hotels featuring the new branding over the next few years, with the completion of the global relaunch set for 2010.
Summer may be winding down but the Good Humor truck is here to stay. The popular ice cream maker you might remember from such frozen hits as Strawberry Shortcake, Toasted Almond and Chocolate Eclair launched a rebrand earlier this year. It will adorn snack cart umbrellas, swimming pool menus and packages in the freezer aisle. But where’s the heart?
After nearly 20 years with California Pizza Kitchen, CMO Sarah Grover knows exactly what the company's co-CEOs are looking for. Lawyers Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax established California Pizza Kitchen in Beverly Hills in 1985, eyeing celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's phenomenal success as he codified California cuisine. The pair developed a casual-dining version of Spago, creating gourmet pizzas with then-surprising toppings such as barbecue chicken. CPK has built a cult following through the years with powerful word-of-mouth marketing.
In a February 2009 ranking of Swiss brands by Interbrand, the top five brands were, in order of brand value, Nescafé, UBS, Nestlé, Credit Suisse and Zurich. Other globally recognized brands in the top 20 included Rolex, Omega, Lindt, Swatch and Longines. How did a tiny country largely known for keeping to itself become such a branding powerhouse? It starts with Switzerland’s view of its own brand.
Beleaguered insurer AIG is renaming its property-casualty and general insurance business "Chartis," which it derived from the Greek word for map. It is giving Chartis a compass logo, which AIG, which began the rebranding effort last month, hopes will represent the franchise's approach to "navigating changing marketplaces and complex risks worldwide."
With market uncertainty, rampant budget cutting and corporate retrenching, it's safe to say most businesses are content to lay low, stick with the status quo, and go with what they know works. Bold initiatives? Let's save 'em for when the going's really good. Once things turn around, we'll turn our brains back on. Till then, automatic pilot is just fine, thank you very much. Once our balance sheets return to black, that's when we'll once again let our freak flag fly. In other words, most companies are going to be content to focus on tactics aimed at defending market share. Nonsense. Now is the THE perfect time for big ideas.
Giving your brand a social life on the web takes more than a username and an avatar. It takes a lot of time, and a surprising amount of planning and attention. Here are 5 key steps and 3 key continuous activities that brands need to go through in order to successfully participate in online conversations and forge meaningful connections with people who care about their product.
Last week Google informally gave a heads-up that we should all be expecting a change in its main Web search results, based on a new update to search technology that mostly affects its indexing process. Dubbed Google Caffeine, it is a "secret project" considered to be next-generation architecture for Google Web search. And in addition to shaking up the results a bit, it may also pave new roads toward the goal of real-time search results.
Nokia already owns the global cell-phone market. Now Tero Ojanperä is launching the world's biggest delivery system for services, apps, and entertainment.
“If I am I because you are you. And you are you because I am I. Then I am not I and you are not you.” ⎯ Unknown Rabbi. It may sound like double-talk, but the wise Rabbi’s message is a profoundly important one for those trying to navigate today’s complex and rapidly evolving marketplace. And it’s this: We are not separate. We define each other. We are fronts and backs of each other⎯producer/consumers; government/citizens; manufacturer/suppliers; consultant/clients; management/talent; and, especially, brand/customers. In fact, a brand only knows what it is in terms of its customers. Unfortunately, we tell ourselves a very different story.
Spreading a branded video message on the internet isn't alchemy; it's common sense. Trust me, I've seen hundreds -- both good and bad. Here are five things that we're seeing work today to "hit to spread."
Community marketing strategies are now common. Years of research have demonstrated that transforming customers into community members yields higher repeat purchase, greater loyalty and stronger brand advocacy. This, in turn, creates a virtuous cycle of greater brand authenticity, increased marketing efficiency and the ability to reinvest marketing dollars in building the community.
A local dairy farmer walks up and down the line, offering cups of fresh Snowville Creamery milk (“only a day old”) to moviegoers waiting to enter the sold-out screening of Food, Inc., the latest anti-big-food documentary that takes aim at the industrialized food system, especially giant food processing brands like Tyson and Perdue.
Consumers are cutting back on just about everything right now, but some items—paper towels and diapers, for instance—will always be musts. That said, recession-conscious shoppers won’t part with their money unless there’s a promise of value. It’s a dynamic that David Miller Gomez-Giron, Procter & Gamble’s associate marketing director, sees in action every day. Gomez-Giron—who oversees multicultural marketing for Bounty, Charmin and Pampers—has his sights trained on the Hispanic shopper. And for good reason. Not only is the demo huge (46.9 million), but it also responds especially well to quality/value messages.
I've spent a few columns this week looking at innovative usages of social media by big brands. Along the way, I've noticed many companies fail to fully capitalize on these efforts--they are not promoting their Facebook, Twitter, iPhone apps and other alternative platforms to their loyal customers as much as they could.
General Motors Co. doesn't appear to be learning from its mistakes: The trimmed-down, "new" GM still looks a lot like the old one, with too many vehicle brands and too many overlapping U.S. models.
It can invigorate a company's image or squander its brand equity. To see which gambles paid off, Fortune turned to a few experts to judge some of the most dramatic transformations.
We’ve compiled a list of the 25 worst acronyms, and yesterday we showed you that tag lines need to help people. We’ve also covered more municipal tag lines and other local examples. But now, here’s a list of 25 useless tag lines from brands that should know better.
Only two companies, Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser, have figured out how to communicate the importance of brand to the bottom line in their annual reports, according to a survey of these documents from major marketers. The lesson: If marketers want to win the battle for company resources, they must work harder to promote their contribution to the bottom line in annual reports, according to a new global survey by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in the U.K.
Can Chinese companies capitalize on the global recession to better establish and develop their brands overseas? Many Chinese companies will likely invest in American companies (or brands) given the massive decline in asset values in the United States and Europe. But what do we mean when we say "better establish and develop" brands? We are asking whether Chinese corporations have intentions to promote their own brands in foreign markets. And whether any are in a position to compete at a price premium directly against established brands in Europe, America and Japan.
Media companies know that they’re not the only voices in the auditorium –the audience now talks back. They create media, content, and share it directly with each other on social sites —now brands, like Warner seek to embrace them closer. Rather than allow this inevitable social interaction on social networks like MySpace, they want to take it back by launching their own social features.
From the early strains of "Revolution" by Nike, marketing has increasingly co-opted the soundtracks of popular culture to create emotional resonance. And, boy, has the dance between marketers and music changed. No longer are brands and agencies willing to "crutch-up" their advertising with simply a popular song. In fact, the practice of slapping a song in at the last minute is moving into the Ice Age. What continues to thaw and thrive is the shared-values model, that fertile area where what the brands want us to experience and what the bands want us to experience is the same place.
The British say “Mind the gap,” but in this country it has been a while since shoppers minded what Gap was selling. The Gap division of Gap Inc. was struggling even before the recession, which has persuaded consumers to cut back significantly on clothing purchases.
Starbucks has been racking up accolades in the digital and social media space. As of July 23, the coffee chain surpassed Coca-Cola as the most popular brand on Facebook, with more than 3.6 million fans, per InsideFacebook.com, an independent blog that tracks the social networking site’s developments. It was also named the No. 1 “most engaged brand” in a report published by Altimeter Group last month. These recent feats are the result of Starbucks’ aggressive digital and social media strategy, said Starbucks digital strategy director Alexandra Wheeler in an interview with Brandweek. That's because Starbucks has moved from “experimenting” to actively incorporating and utilizing social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, in its brand marketing plans.
The folks at condom marketer Durex had an identity problem. Brand leader Trojan was known as the brand men grew up with, the "boy scout" of condoms, if you will, for its preparedness in the wallet. No. 3 LifeStyles brand is associated with the partying lounge lizard. So what's the niche for the No. 2 seller, Durex? Somewhere in between.
As U.S. auto manufacturers whither, Hyundai--which once struggled to overcome a reputation for cheesy, entry-level cars--is on a roll. The Korean automaker spent the last decade preaching a necessary, if not boring, message of quality. Today it's taking bold moves with its marketing. Hyundai's U.S. arm, representing nearly one-fifth of total sales, is trying to convince shoppers that, recession be damned, they shouldn't be afraid to buy a Hyundai.
To marketers in despair, a rebrand may be like a knight in shining armor. How better to re-awaken the passion for a brand than to create a new name and image?! Despite the promise of a fairy tale ending, more rebrands fail than succeed. Executing a rebrand is fraught with challenges and requires some rather subjective decision-making. The stories of two high profile rebranding efforts currently underway – the Sci-Fi Channel and Starbucks — prove this point.
One of the best parts of vacationing in a small town is visiting the local video store, where the proprietor--a scruffy guy who loves everything related to movies--will recommend films that he thinks you'll love. There's no scientific algorithm to his suggestions, no data analysis or statistical assessment. The owner makes his recommendations based on bits and pieces of casual conversation with customers. I was thinking about that video store as I read about the contest hosted by Netflix, which offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could significantly improve its recommendation system and ended in July. While digital technology has made our lives more convenient in many ways, especially in the way it helps people make buying decisions, smart companies realize that there are some things even the most sophisticated digital applications can't do. Above all, they can't replace the personal touch that often helps consumers distinguish one brand from another.
Fritz Henderson, CEO of General Motors Co., admitted this morning in a live webcast that the automaker was indeed behind the mysterious, unbranded website whatis230.com, as first reported here last week. The number's significance, Mr. Henderson said, is that the Chevrolet Volt plug-in car due later this year is expected to get city fuel economy of at least 230 miles per gallon, or 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles.
We've finally moved beyond the eco____, green____, nature's ____, and over a decade later, we've finally stopped giggling like third graders every time we say "Prius" (which is a Latin word meaning "to precede" but sounds like, um, well, never mind). But with the coming of the Nissan Leaf, announced last week, we were befuddled. Really? Leaves are supposed to be what your sleek new fuel-efficient vehicle kicks up as you zip more responsibly through the streets. Right?
It all started with Pedro the Dog. Early in 2008, Pepsi marketers were still figuring out their new top executive, Massimo d'Amore, recently named head of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. But they quickly got a taste of what was to come as Mr. d'Amore did an end run around the brand's marketing team and then-Gatorade agency Element 79 by working with Peter Arnell to create a Super Bowl ad. The spot, which consisted of little more than a big, black dog lapping Gatorade from a bowl, was widely criticized. Since then, an exodus of key marketing and brand executives has plagued a company once known for incubating top talent.
Logos can bring a business glory (Nike) or shame (Tropicana). That's why, before attempting to design a logo for your company or product, you need a clear understanding of exactly what the logo should convey. What is your story? Your selling point, brand attitude, competitive edge, and place in your industry? Do you want to fit in with the market, or do you want to set yourself apart?
I've been meaning to post a long-ish rant on the importance of celebrities taking control of their own platforms, but never gotten to it, in part because I'm not that enamored with the incessant selling of celebrity that occurs in our culture. Yeah, I sound like a grumpy old man, but I can't help myself. It bums me out - not because I don't like celebrities, but because the current approach strikes me as driven by short term thinking.
Gatorade maintains that "What is G?" is right on track, despite plummeting sales, consumer confusion and reports that creative is back on the drawing board. PepsiCo restaged its iconic Gatorade brand earlier this year. According to Beverage Digest, Gatorade's volume plummeted 18% in the first half of 2009, when the effort, from TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, asked and then answered "What is G?"
Starbucks' iconoclastic founder has gone through a reeducation in the rigors of running a more typical company. That doesn't mean he has to like it.
A key reason sports brands are so successful is the relationship they have with each of their consumers, or fans. Being a sports fan—and loving a team brand—transcends a person’s job, family or social status. “Fans experience pleasure and satisfaction with successful teams,” writes Baylor University marketing professor Kirk L. Wakefield in his book, Team Sports Marketing, “but, they also experience feelings of delight or excitement that deeply resonates within the identity of the individual fan, such that the effects are likely to be long-term. … Sports teams develop a faithful fanatical following primarily due to high levels of identification…”
In order for an idea to spread, someone has to do the spreading. In the dark ages (ten years ago), the only way to spread your idea on a large scale was to do it yourself. Lots and lots of ads. Today, marketers get all sweaty thinking about how this happens magically, virally, for free. If it were only that easy.
Are you building a business? Or are you building a brand? Silly questions, you might be thinking. Naturally, you are trying to do both. But that might be a mistake. What's good for the business is not necessarily good for the brand. And vice versa.
Take a deep breath, and repeat after me: "My [business model, product, business unit, brand, offering] has a finite life. I'm going to make that life as happy and productive as possible, but I also have to think about what's next."
Conventional wisdom would have us believe that in a world where Wikipedia is the first port of call for millions of people, an encyclopaedia, such as Britannica, should no longer exist: There is nothing "Blue Ocean" about leather bound books. As far as its competitive position is concerned, it could not be worse: why pay for information when the same information is available for free?
To survive during multiple economic downturns, America's most resilient brands have diverse portfolios, lean organizational structures and inexpensive products.
How big is the obese fashion consumer marketplace? Huge. Greater than 86% of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2030, according to the journal Obesity. That makes skinny fashion the new niche, and plus-size apparel mainstream. Yet Lane Bryant, the biggest name in large-sized women's clothing retailing, has set up "Inside Curve," a social networking community "just" for the plus-sized gal. In an attempt to freshen up the brand image, the company is promising an interactive experience on the site for its members, with greater engagement based on fashion appeal versus its long-standing position: large sizes.
Southern Comfort just moved its entire $8m media budget online. Whole Foods was the first brand with 1m followers on Twitter. Coca-Cola pioneered brand generosity on Facebook. Underlying all of this is the fact that social media is the great equalizer. Not just between brands and the consumers of these brands, but between dominant brands and their challengers.
I’m guessing that most of you have already seen this deck that made its way around the Interwebs yesterday but if not, it’s definitely worth a read. It’s another example of why Netflix is so successful – because they haven’t left culture to chance. Additionally it’s also a great example of a favourite theme of mine – operations as marketing. This presentation is catnip for investors because it points to an extremely well run company and a management team who are focused on the right things.
The explosion in new media channels, and the increasing ease with which consumers can react to, create content about, and generally discuss brands is challenging even the best marketers. How do you manage your brand in such a chaotic consumer empowered world and ensure that consumers understand your brand equity?
Procter & Gamble Co., under assault by penny-pinching consumers, has quietly rolled out a version of Tide detergent that the company freely admits isn't "new and improved." The product, Tide Basic, is currently for sale in about 100 stores throughout the South. It lacks some of the cleaning capabilities of the iconic brand -- and costs about 20% less. Its very existence is one of the most telling signs to date of how the sour U.S. economy is forcing mass marketers to shift course.
In the last couple of weeks, a JPG has been making the internet rounds and, in the process, has gathered more than 6,500 Diggs (not that that is any measure of successful success, but still…) and has been mentioned in dozens of design and culture blogs, including many which I frequent and respect. The problem is that the JPG is wrong and disingenuous. It comparatively illustrates the evolution of the Pepsi and Coca-Cola logos from their beginnings in the late nineteenth century to their current state at the end of the 2000s. The comparison chart mocks the ever-changing personality of the Pepsi logo in contrast to Coca-Cola’s stoic script logo, unaffected by the effects of time.
Things can't get much worse for many of the world's top luxury brands. This week Coach, the high-end handbag seller, announced that profits slumped 32% for the quarter. Same-store sales at Saks were down 23.2% in the first five months of this fiscal year. BMW's U.S. sales are off 28.9%. Bain & Company, the consulting firm, is forecasting a record 10% drop in the overall U.S. luxury market this year. According to Bain, luxury won't fully recover until 2012. What can these brands do to battle this malaise? Maybe BMW should try selling ketchup or mayonnaise.
Yes, RadioShack has seen the criticism of its new branding. No, it's not worried. Earlier this week, RadioShack unveiled its new branding, which includes the nickname "The Shack." Immediately Twitter users and a host of bloggers were sharing their thoughts -- many of them unflattering. Tech blogs zeroed in on the fact that the company appears to be embarking on a pricey (and misguided) marketing effort rather than addressing any number of core issues.
Star Wars, an idea that is now thirty years old, gives brands much to learn in how they consider their future in a digital, conversation driven world. Star Wars is a platform. A story told over 25 years, six movies, a cartoon series, innumerable video games, plastic toys, and a sea of licensed novels.
The National Football League has an official drink and an official wireless headset. Now, in a sign of how far sports leagues will go to find revenue in the recession, it has official toiletries. The NFL, the biggest U.S. sports league by revenue, on Wednesday will announce a sponsorship deal with Procter & Gamble Co., maker of everyday household items such as soaps and shampoos. The multi-year pact, which P&G says is the costliest in its history, lets it slap a newly designed "Official Locker Room Product of the NFL" label on products including Old Spice deodorant and Head & Shoulders dandruff shampoo.
Eastman Kodak is being restructured for the second time since 2003. It just posted its fourth consecutive quarterly sales decline, down 29% to $1.77 billion in the second quarter, and a net loss of $189 million. Even so, its CMO is becoming something of a celebrity through his tweets about behind the scenes tours of Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show and his prime-time TV appearances of NBC's The Apprentice. What is he doing for Kodak's brand, and how can social media help the company?
The dollar just isn't what it used to be. But that doesn't mean you can let your competitors and online "entrepreneurs" debase the value of your company's most priceless assets. When the chips are down, brand owners must shore up the foundation of what connects them most with consumers -- the brand -- and not let it crash and crumble in hopes of future -- and costly -- repair.
We live in a conversation driven world. Even if your brand is not an active user of social media, your customers and potential customers are. This is revolutionizing the way brands have to think about themselves and how they choose to compete. In a conversation driven world, the real threat is not conversation itself, but commoditization. Unless customers have reason to talk, they won't. And a brand that generates little or no conversation will be killed by one that does.
Starbucks Corp. built its business as the anti-fast-food joint. Now, the recession and growing competition are forcing the coffeehouse giant to see the virtues of behaving more like its streamlined competitors. Under a new initiative being put into practice at its more than 11,000 U.S. stores, there will be no more bending over to scoop coffee from below the counter, no more idle moments waiting for expired coffee to drain and no more dillydallying at the pastry case.
Procter & Gamble’s Dawn brand is cozying up to social media to drive awareness of wildlife conservation and cultivate an online community of followers. The dish care brand has been linked to wildlife rescue and animal rehabilitation care throughout its 36-year history, but, in a first for the brand, Dawn is actually running limited edition store packaging that asks consumers to help by purchasing a bottle of Dawn.
Consider for a moment that the humble Amazon product review can nullify millions of dollars of ad spend, that a search for "best razor" on Google can route around all of Gillette's best efforts to communicate the "best a man can get," and that a "hate Comcast" group on Facebook has the power to drive a consumer straight into the arms of DirectTV.
Forget about ‘positioning’, luxury is not comparative. In consumer marketing, at the heart of every brand strategy you will find the concept of positioning, of the ‘unique selling proposition’ (USP), and ‘unique and convincing competitive advantage’ (UCCA). Every classic brand has to specify its positioning, and then convey it through its products, its services, its price, its distribution and its communication. Positioning is the difference that creates the preference for a given brand over the one that it has decided to target as a source of new business and whose clients it is going to try to win over.
Quick-serves fight in a hypercompetitive environment. Brands duke it out with surprising new products which seem like punches coming out of nowhere and low blows of heavy discounts or free giveaways—not to mention the pot shots lobbed between dueling sassy advertising campaigns.
Remember how crazy, desperate United and Delta got when JetBlue started making cheap flights cool? With those nutty flight attendants' ad libs, TV in the seats and interesting snacks? They thought they couldn't compete with that tonality, so they created two new sub-brands; Song even got Kate Spade to design the uniforms. Starbuck's 15th Avenue may be the Starbucks' version of TED and Song.
Twitter may be free of advertising, but that hasn't stopped brands from trying to get in front of users glued to the fast-growing service. They've made their presence felt in subtler ways, such as holding quizzes and donating to charities in the hopes visitors will tweet about a brand. One of the more recent efforts involves brands looking for a persistent presence in the Twitter stream through users' profile pictures.
Marketing researchers of note, Forrester Research and McKinsey & Company, recently conducted studies on the nature of consumerism today. Their results are important because they point to a shift away from the classic “consumer purchasing funnel.”
When it comes building a strong brand that matters to consumers, differentiation is a key in separating your offerings from competitors. But what if you don’t have any competitors? Does brand differentiation matter then?
After months in development, the new product is ready for worldwide launch. The product manager tells the creative team to use a picture of a globe. "But our brand is about what we do for people. Our brand guidelines specify images of humanity," the designer pleads. "I don't care. Use the globe," the product manager demands. Unfortunately, there's always the need to balance business objectives with branding goals. Says the VP of Global Branding for a major commercial information data base company, "It's not that product managers ignore branding. They don't understand how to leverage it."
Passersby along New York’s Fifth Avenue will soon see a change at Saks Fifth Avenue: Rather than a designer collection, a corner window will announce the department store’s own new line of menswear. While the store doesn’t go so far as using the term “house brand,” which sounds too lowbrow, it is emphasizing value with its new venture.
The global recession has turned cash-hungry Western companies into takeover targets for Chinese marketers, and foreign countries into tempting new markets for Chinese brands and retail stores. Chinese companies haven't been hit to the same extent by the economic crisis as those in the U.S. and other major countries.
Your customers are talking about you — and the whole world is listening. Local review sites are reshaping the world of small business by becoming the new Yellow Pages, one-stop platforms where customers can find a business — and also see independent critiques of its performance. How do you manage your reputation when everybody is a critic?
A popular blogger can create as much impact as a 30-second spot. Should personal influence be the next CPM? Marketers seem to have realized only recently that people can be brands. Madonna constantly reinvents herself. Martha Stewart is now a redeemed domestic diva. But personal branding has been around for as long as mass media. In the heyday of the silver screen, studios managed their stars like brands in a portfolio. They carefully positioned, packaged and presented each one. Stars could launch a look or a way of walking and could influence millions of consumers.
My ex-partner Al Ries and I rarely disagree, but we do part company on his column titled "GM's Lutz Appointment Shows No Respect for Marketing." In my estimation this move supports what Dave Packard of Hewlett-Packard once said: "Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing people."
On Monday, Roger Dooley posted a short piece on his Neuromarketing blog titled, "Emotional Ads Work Best." Citing an analysis of data regarding successful ad campaigns referenced in the book Brand Immortality by Pringle and Field, Dooley states the following: "Campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better (31% vs 26%) those that mixed emotional and rational content."
One of the great things about social media is that a conversation can be extended quickly between sites and even continents. Such was my experience with my College Branding post. The first extension of the conversation was by Lou Caravella of Vital Communications, who wrote a blog post citing mine as inspiration but identifying a fascinating resource I hadn’t seen before and providing his own take.
Twitter now has a brand spankin’ new homepage. Of course, if you’re a regular Twitter user, you’re rarely going to see it because you’re already logged in. But for the 5 billion+ people Twitter has yet to convert, it provides the company’s big chance to get them to sign up and stay on their website.
Late last week, Starbucks opened a new coffeehouse. Considering they have around 15,000 outlets, this might not seem like news. But there's a wrinkle: the new coffeehouse is called 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea, and is an attempt by SBUX to create a distinct, bespoke, of-the-neighborhood coffeehouse.
Spend and you will get buzz. That seems to be one takeaway from YouGov's BrandIndex, which compiled daily feedback from thousands of consumers for the first half of the year in order to find out which brands consumers are buzzing about and which brands they're not.
Kim Bremer, Earth’s Best’s Director of Infant Feeding, says parents and families should recognize the influence of characters like Elmo and the affect of Sesame Street’s brand on youngsters. “Kids know Elmo because they watch Sesame Street from the time they are one, and brand recognition is something they see, watch and recognize,” says Bremer. “We take the toddler audience very seriously.”
The slogan for Trident in the 1970s — “four out of five dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gums for their patients who chew gum” — typified how sugarless gum was marketed for decades after Trident, now a division of Cadbury North America, first introduced a saccharine-sweetened gum in 1964. Those much-cited dentists were saying not that sugar-free was good, of course, as much as preferable to regular gum. Today, however, sugarless brands claim not that they do less harm but untold good.
Amazon this week acquired Zappos for $847 million in cash and stock. Since Zappos founder Tony Hsieh asked and answered some of his own questions about the deal in a letter to employees, I thought it'd be useful to engage in a Q&A with myself about the deal.
Private equity players and corporate buyers are betting they can breathe new life into old brands. In recent months dealmakers have been scooping up once-mighty companies and business units. On July 16 private equity firm Golden Gate Capital Partners paid $286 million for defunct retailer Eddie Bauer.
Teens create their identities by defining and redefining who they are -- a constant creative and collaborative process by seeking friends' input and, ultimately, their endorsements. Fashion is one of the key outlets teens have for self expression as well as assimilation. How teens dress signifies many things, from what peer group they associate with to how they want the world to perceive them.
Two of my favorite brands recently introduced innovations that brought me such delight, I was prompted to think about what was so remarkable about them. What was it about them that not only delivered a great experience, but also grew my esteem of their respective brands??
“Our goal is not to build the most computers. It’s to build the best.” That was Apple COO Tim Cook two days ago during Apple’s quarterly earnings call. Sure, it may sound like spin from an executive who doesn’t have a better answer as to why Apple isn’t competing in the low-end of the market, and thus, gaining market share. But it’s not.
Is customer service a media channel? It's a great time to ask that question, as it comes right smack in the wake of Amazon purchasing Zappos for nearly a billion dollars. That's a big number for an online shoe company.
Recent efforts to put a brand on Nigeria to attract tourists remind me of how easy it is slap a label on something and hope that its uglier characteristics will go away. Long before the phrase "lipstick on a pig" became an election issue, I had warned of the dangers of putting "lipstick on a bulldog" - that is, making superficial cosmetic change in organizations rather than looking at the real underlying problems. The problem with putting lipstick on a bulldog is that it is hard to wrestle the bulldog to the ground long enough to do it and then doesn't change the nature of the beast.
I have been watching the recent power struggle between Porsche and VW with great interest, because if this possible merger takes place, it has extremely interesting ramifications for both brand names.
The newly reformulated Powerade contains "ION4," and the branding emphasizes the secret code for this new concoction at the expense of the name of the product. I'm not sure that’s such a smart thing to do.
A friend in the restaurant business confided over a bottle of wine that he could always tell when a restaurant was in trouble. Deftly peeling back the linen of the breadbasket, he pointed out that the rustic bread had gone missing, replaced by a de rigueur white rolls. Such little things lead like breadcrumbs to the same old story: a retailer fighting for its life not by dialing up a customer's pleasure, but by diminishing it, ingredient by ingredient, value by value, service by service.
Brands have a unique opportunity to understand how they can matter more to consumers by delivering beyond the product and value proposition and contributing to an individual's experience. Too often, sponsorships and promotions are viewed as secondary efforts to a brand's above-the-line efforts. In flush times, they are nice to have. In bad times, they are easy cuts. And, with the digital channel serving as a direct conduit to a brand's consumers, it is even easier to dismiss live efforts as expensive and hard to measure.
As everyone knows, reassessed advertising, media, and promotion budgets have become the norm in today's economic climate. Still, smart marketers remain under tremendous pressure to continue to grow market share while improving bottom-line results and quantitative building of their brands.
Wheaties, invented accidentally when a health clinician in Minneapolis who was simmering bran gruel for intestinally distressed patients spilled it onto a hot stove and it dried into flakes, was introduced by the Washburn Crosby Company (now General Mills) in 1924. The brand adopted the “Breakfast of Champions” slogan in 1933, and in 1934 the Wheaties box featured its first athlete, Lou Gehrig. It is a formula — slogan, athletes (from Bruce Jenner to Mary Lou Retton to Tiger Woods), block letters on orange box — that has kept Wheaties in the game for more than eight decades. But that formula does not seem to be winning new fans.
How's this for bad timing? Staples (SPLS) just introduced 25 co-branded office products from OXO Good Grips that cost up to five times more than Staples' own brand. The retailer's customers are in no mood to spend, however. Staples' same-store sales dropped 8% in North America in its most recent quarter. As Ronald L. Sargent, its chairman and chief executive officer noted recently, the chain is "in a very tough sales environment." But the Staples-OXO partnership is something more: It shows how companies can collaborate for mutual benefit and how to do that cheaply and quickly. As the recession forces businesses to reevaluate their priorities and spending, the development of the office products line could become a model for others.
Brand managers are facing a huge shift in power from brands to retailers. So it makes sense that they are pondering the questions: What is the difference between consumer and shopper marketing? When should we use one or the other? Are separate agencies even necessary?
Conde Nast will shut down one of its web-only brands, Men.Style.com, when it gives two of its titles, GQ and Details, their own websites in October. The move marks a partial dismantling of Conde Nast's strategy of creating web-only brands to house magazine content, such as Style.com, Epicurious.com and Concierge.com, and the realization that in many cases the best brand for the web is the one that's been successful in print.
Some small companies win instant fans, often because their products or services strike a nerve or generate buzz. But turning those followers into loyal customers can be a challenge.
Motel 6 hardly has a reputation for good design. At its best, the 47 year-old chain has been heralded for simple, no-frills efficiency. At its worst, it has been the punch line of jokes about dangerous roadside love-ins.
Balancing the need to please brand loyalists with enticing new customers, brands often update flavors, colors, logos and packaging. Unsuccessful attempts can be jarring (consider Coca-Cola's New Coke and Tropicana's packaging flop this year), while successful efforts are lucrative.
A wise Rabbi once said, "If I am I because you are you. And you are you because I am I. Then I am not I and you are not you." We are not separate. We define each other. We are fronts and backs of each other." In order to describe a particular brand -- what it is -- you must describe its behavior -- what it does. And to describe what it does, you must describe it in relationship to its audience and its audience's behavior (customers, fans, members, et al). Which means that a brand is one, interdependent system of behavior, and not a separate thing.
Mainstream brands such as Godrej, Shoppers Stop, India Post and CEAT Tyres have undertaken rebranding initiatives to shed their old corporate images and position themselves in a new, more modern light. Some have simply upgraded their logos, while others dug much deeper. Which leads branding enthusiasts to wonder, just what is the difference between an identity refresher and a true rebranding—and when is one, and not the other, needed?
What big brands do the best job with social media? A new study by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint ranks the top 100 brands by social media engagement.
It was pure serendipity that I read Brand Immortality by Pringle and Field on my way to a conference where I was to speak about branding to a group of enrollment executives from colleges and universities. It wasn’t a giant “Aha!” moment, but I realized that institutions of higher education represent the longest-lasting brands in our relatively young country.
Zappos let 22 marketing agencies aggregate in Las Vegas last week to vie for the honor of spending $7 million of its money on "evolving our brand" next year. It should reimburse them for their expenses, and forget the entire shebang. Zappos was the poster child darling for a brand that's based on customer service, quality, and all the other attributes we normally ascribe to reality. It put all its cash into customer service, and thereby turned every purchase (or service issue) into an opportunity to satisfy and delight customers (and attract others). Now, it's trying to dilute that approach, at best, and perhaps blow it up entirely.
Perhaps nothing better illustrates how far behind Microsoft is in the search engine wars than a recent comment by the company’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, about why he liked the name Bing for Microsoft’s new competitor to Google.
There are elegant, streamlined clothes that began life on the sketchpad of designer Michael Kors. Then there are short, gymslip-style black jersey dresses by Gwen Stefani, the frontwoman of the punk-ska band No Doubt and creator of the clothing line L.A.M.B. So far, so fashion. But neither Kors’ nor Stefani’s designs are on the catwalk or in a shoot; rather, they are uniforms for staff of the trendy W Hotels chain. This summer, what you see while lounging around a resort could be as chic as anything you see in a store.
It can enhance both partners—or put a dent in one. Make sure you pick a partner that's a good fit with your company's products, values, and image.
When is a Starbucks not a Starbucks? When it's a 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. The ubiquitous coffee-shop giant is dropping the household name from its 15th Avenue East store on Capitol Hill, a shop that was slated to close at one point last year but is being remodeled in Starbucks' new rustic, eco-friendly style.
Paula Courtney found "wow" when she took her daughter to the employee washroom at her local grocery store. A sign by the door instructed workers to remain physically by the side of any customer experiencing a problem until that problem was resolved. Later, when Courtney was in the checkout line, the cashier noticed Courtney's blueberries were squishy. The cashier insisted on walking back to the produce section to find a fresh box. For Courtney, chief executive of The Verde Group, a Toronto retail research and consulting firm, that was a "wow" shopping experience.
There is no centralized location in the digital world. Increasingly, digital content spans platforms and devices seamlessly, connecting users with information and with each other. In doing so, it democratizes and levels the traditional playing field for the persistently connected audience, becoming a global platform capable of providing ubiquitous access to content and experiences. For brands, it represents a new priority, influencing the digital tribe.
Gene Munster, the analyst with Piper Jaffray, put a report out Thursday looking at the finances of YouTube, and he makes a suggestion that I haven’t seen before: Google should charge a “nominal fee” to people to upload videos to YouTube if the video isn’t appropriate for advertising.
Budgets continue to be slashed. Brands are disappearing. Media is getting more fragmented. The only thing getting bigger is our federal deficit. So as a marketer, how do you capitalize on a world that is getting smaller in so many respects?
"He lives vicariously through himself." "The police often question him just because they find him interesting." And he can drive an expensive imported beer brand to double-digit sales gains during a recession that's forced many of its competitors into steep declines.
When speaking Spanish, especially with an Argentine accent, people tend to say "Pecsi" instead of Pepsi. They have said it like this for years, and Pepsi has responded by launching a campaign changing the second P to a C, believed to be the first such change for the venerable brand.
The question is not whether a name or logo is important. The important question to ask -- about any and all aspects of your brand -- is: is it appropriate for the feelings that I want people to conjure up and the subsequent decisions which they'll ultimately make?
In these difficult economic times, chief marketing officers seeking to help their companies grow revenue and remain viable in an unstable market need to pull out all the stops. One often overlooked and underused yet highly effective tool is brand licensing. Brand licensing can help provide some real financial relief during tough times and help marketers replenish and energize their brands, positioning them for even greater success when the economic engine starts whirring again and we start using the word "upturn" instead of "downturn."
Things are changing at a pill-popping rate in today's marketplace. Marketing messages are mushrooming (try saying that three times fast) and people's preferences are changing rapidly, which turns today's peacock into tomorrow's feather duster. And that's really why branding is today's most powerful business concept.
In an economy as whacked out as this one is globally, the tired "customer is king" adage is actually a wicked understatement. Consumers have seemingly infinite choices from good brands--many of them desperate to move the merchandise to generate cash and survive. In an unforgiving marketplace like the one we are enduring, brands better build products and services around real, differentiated and defensible insights. "Here's what I hope you want to buy" is a merchandising strategy for failure.
General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says one of the first things he plans to do as the new head of marketing is make "drastic" changes in the "tone and content" of all of GM's advertising, according to Automotive News.
Online lending pioneer LendingTree has weathered a tough couple of years in the mortgage and real-estate industry. But now the business, whose parent Tree.com spun off from IAC last year, is gearing up for a rebrand and a renewed marketing effort.
In late May, Microsoft unveiled Bing, its new Internet search engine, in front of an audience of skeptics: technology executives and other digerati who had gathered near San Diego for an industry conference. To that crowd, Microsoft’s efforts to take on Google and Yahoo in the search business had become something of a laughingstock, and for good reason.
There are two kinds of brand: national and niche. National brands are their own planets. They have the incumbent's advantage, channel control, big reputations, deep pockets, and, if they're lucky, consumer loyalty.
Loss of focus is really all about line extension. And no issue in marketing is so controversial. Companies look at the brands from an economic point of view. To gain cost efﬁciencies and trade acceptance, they are quite willing to turn a highly focused brand, and one that stands for a certain type of product or idea, into an unfocused brand that represents two or more types of products or ideas.
For many marketers, the Net Promoter Score has been an easy-to-understand, simple-to-measure metric of business health, used in everything from customer service to investor calls. Now, some wonder, can it be replicated in social media?
Your neighborhood video store. Your cell phone carrier. Your credit card company. The airline you flew last week. What do all these companies have in common? Two things, really. One is that these categories generally score quite low on customer satisfaction surveys. The other is that companies in these categories have become notorious for nickel-and-diming customers.
When you study the marketing wars, the well-differentiated specialist tends to be the winner. Here are some thoughts on why the specialist brand appears to make an impression on the mind. First, the specialist can focus on one product, one beneﬁt, and one message. This focus enables the marketer to put a sharp point on the message that quickly drives it into the mind.
Marketers focus on their brands and customers as the family jewels--and they are. But there is another kind of marketing asset that I call "runways" and if you don't have them, you will miss huge opportunities. In this ADD world of rapid-fire Twitter streams, long-tail options, and media multi-tasking, you must be in the right place at the right time or the moment is lost. Runways are relationships your company can create with trading partners and consumers that make your brands accessible, and give YOU access to markets and marketing options you otherwise would not have. Let me illustrate.
Is Google undercutting the value of its own brand by giving away everything free? That’s an interesting implication raised by the statement that the Yankee Group just sent out about the announcement of a Google operating system for PCs.
J. C. Penney, a retailer with middle-American roots, intends to make a grand entrance with its first store in Manhattan, a place at the heart of retailing.
I was recently turned on to the legendary designer Dieter Rams, whose comments above were made three decades ago during a speech to the supervisory board of Braun. It occurred to me that if you replace the word “designers” with “leaders,” Rams’ wisdom would ring especially true in today's chaotic marketplace. So I've decided to appropriate Dieter’s ethos and apply it to designing a “good” brand; one that creates growth in profitability, as well as happy and healthy, holistic relationships. I’ve specifically referenced his “Ten Principles for Good Design” from his book “Weniger, aber besser” (“Less, but better”). I hope I’ve done justice to the spirit of his timeless words.
One topic that I have written about extensively in this blog is consumer relationships with brands and, in special cases, Brands Worthy of a Weekend (BWOW). When I started writing about BWOW, it was still a relatively lofty bar - a brand for which you care so deeply that you would spend a weekend away from your family to connect with other people who feel the same way about this brand, learn more about the “inside” of the business, meet the people who make the magic happen, etc. With the seismic shift in the blogosphere, however, brand “weekends” have become more and more common, but with a major difference - they are largely designed for influential voices versus passionate fans.
An iconic brand is a powerful asset. These brands become part of our lives and stand the test of time. Think what our culture would be like without brands such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and Target. The Nike "swoosh" remains a powerful symbol today, more than 37 years after its creation.
When Rory Finlay took over as senior VP-chief marketing officer of Beam Global Spirits & Wine in early 2007, he faced a daunting challenge. Beam, the world's No. 4 spirits player, boasted iconic brands such as Jim Beam, Sauza, Maker's Mark and Canadian Club, but it lacked the budget to go ad-for-ad with its much larger competitors Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi.
Word has it that Yahoo is going to debut new branding in the fall, courtesy of a newly-hired CMO who has a newly hired coterie of her favorite branding gurus. There's nothing surprising about this news: one of the first things new top marketers usually do is hire new vendors to reinvigorate or change the brand. It's what they do.
Creating an enduring brand is a huge challenge in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace. It’s similar to raising a child: it requires focused attention, intuition, and a lot of patience. It also requires a desire to change and adapt. Our natural instinct, however, is to shelter our brands, like our children, from the knocks and bumps that come in life. We want to keep our arms around them, keep them safe and under our control.
Generation Y. Generation O (for Obama). Millennials. Echo boomers. Call them what you will, the tens of millions of Americans in their teens and 20s compose a market as hard for advertisers to figure out as it is alluring and lucrative.
Brands do not die natural deaths. However, brands can be murdered through mismanagement. Some brands are beyond hope -- but others can be revitalized.
In no place has the seismic illumination of communication as an innovation been more punctuated than the Obama administration. Yes, while smart and astute policy adjustments and groundbreaking new lawmaking have been vital to our nation's healing, so, too, has been the manner in which these transformative changes have been communicated.
While many marketers are starting to understand that their employees can be their greatest asset, one small barbecue chain has taken it to an entirely new level. Smokey Bones, a 68-unit franchise concentrated in Florida and on the Eastern seaboard, has given some of its employees second jobs -- as its social marketers.
Why are so many of our major industries in trouble, beyond the current economic meltdown? Al Ries and I recently wondered why marketing wasn't being blamed for its share of the problem.
A March 2009 survey conducted by Interbrand found that “trust and confidence” was second only to “convenience and location” in consumers’ selection of a bank. In the same survey, one-third of the respondents were considering changing banks because of a loss of confidence.
Gen Y has higher expectations of the products that it uses and consumes, demanding that brands not only perform to perfection but help make the world a better place at the same time. The rising popularity of cause-based marketing reflects a fundamental shift in the way that Gen Y is changing consumerism.
For years, supermarkets, drugstores and discount retailers packed their shelves with an ever-expanding array of products in different brands, sizes, colors, flavors, fragrances and prices.
While Professor Joe Plummer and I may not see eye to eye on everything (see my post on the definition of engagement), there is one thing we definitely agree on: an enterprise can achieve optimal results only when its business and its brand are aligned to work in synergy. When business and brand are out of synch (as happens all too often), the return to the company and shareholders is compromised.
National food and beverage brands face critical challenges ahead as a result of major strategic shifts within the food retail industry. These include the growing importance of private-label, narrowing opportunities for premium products within dominant retailers, and accelerated weeding out of products that are not delivering substantial and unique incremental value.
Google Apps partnered with Virgin America to launch a unique campaign where they invited people taking Virgin America flights all day, as well as those sitting on computers at home or work to participate in an online scavenger hunt for clues to answer questions they would pose at you on a website called "Day In The Clouds." The scavenger hunt offered questions requiring you to use many different Google apps and online tools to find the answers, and integrated with Virgin America both for some questions as well as by offering free WiFi to any passenger on one of their flights today.
To say that teens are leading the green movement is not only untrue but unrealistic as well. Even though they and their Millennial siblings are known to be the most environmentally educated generation, they're not assertively taking action on their knowledge. When it comes to brand involvement in green issues, however, they have a nuanced view.
Another surprising victim of the recession: delivery pizza. Improved frozen fare, more grocery-made pies and a profusion of high-quality mom-and-pop shops have led the billion-dollar pizza chains to expand their menus to include wings, pasta and sandwiches. But the larger selection seems to have created a bit of an identity crisis for industry leader Pizza Hut, which will begin calling itself "The Hut" in some of its marketing efforts.
Customers will talk about your company, its products and services, whether you want them to or not. And online there are a multitude of places to do so. The question is, do you as a brand facilitate or participate? I will argue that you should do both, and tell you why.
What can consumer companies do to make sure that their brands aren’t among the losers? Our research revealed that the most successful brands today — including Adidas and iPhone and Pixar and Wikipedia — resonate with consumers in a special way: They communicate excitement, dynamism, and creativity in ways that the vast majority of brands do not. We call this quality “energized differentiation,” and we have identified, out of dozens of brand attributes in our consumer-research database, the metrics that capture this quality. By focusing on these attributes, marketers can keep their brands constantly moving and gaining value. In a world of excess capacity and diminishing trust, creating these kinds of energy-infused brands can help companies reinvigorate their brand management practices.
For one of the Web’s biggest sites, there’s a lot that needs fixing over at MySpace. Buyers and analysts have varying ideas on just what News Corp. should do with its ailing social net, ranging from the philosophical (decide who you are) to the logistical (cut down the clutter). But no one doubts that change is needed, and is coming soon.
The old branding model is past its "sell by" date. It is a product-centered model that comes from packaged goods in the '70s and '80s; offer differentiated benefits that a particular consumer segment is thought to care about. "My peas are picked at the peak of sweetness"...that kind of thing. This model is breaking down as people try store brands and find they are "fit for purpose" at a better price. Now what?
Commoditization may be the biggest threat facing agencies and media companies today -- yet we hear precious little about it, and few can articulate a strategy to combat it.
Clay taught me a good lesson about making things happen with your brand. Envision the events that might happen to a brand (shelf space at Walmart, an appearance on Oprah, a bestseller, worldwide recognition, a new edition, worldwide rights, chosen by the Queen, whatever) as a series of dominoes.
Marketers can take full advantage of Gen Y's unique situation in the workforce. Members of this demographic can add value to their companies by being corporate citizens and brand ambassadors. They are marketing tools that can be leveraged by their own marketing organizations to reach customers, prospects, the press and various other stakeholders. As long as they maintain a positive reputation, their companies will benefit, and they will have better careers as a result.
Car companies like Hyundai and Ford have been showing solidarity with consumers recently, running ads promising that the companies will help them should they lose their jobs. Mercedes-Benz USA is trying a different way to get customers to buy cars as it introduces its updated E-Class Series.
Since Facebook started giving out customized Web addresses like facebook.com/yourname last Friday, some 9.5 million people have rushed to grab their top choice. On Twitter, public fights have broken out over so-called impostor accounts, like those that should probably be in the hands of Kanye West or Bank of America.
What are the "moments of truth" for your brand? For consumer goods, it might be the purchase decision at the grocery store, or how laundry looks when it comes out of the dryer. For service companies, it might occur when the customer connects to an agent. But for many brands there's another moment of truth, which occurs when the consumer sits down at the PC and begins typing.
The Obama administration's wildly successful Internet fund-raising campaign leveraged the power of the Web to its greatest potential. As easily as a brand can be elevated through the multiple nodes of viral marketing available via the Internet, images can just as quickly be destroyed, as recent examples such as Apple's unfortunate $4B email rumor and Domino's YouTube nightmare show.
During periods of relative economic stability, innovation and branding work well together. Powerful brands help companies bring innovation to the market by providing a low-risk "guarantee" for brand loyalists to adopt the new thing. Innovation returns the favor by enhancing brand appeal. In normal times, this equation works well, with incremental innovation inside a brand's well-defined identity creating steady and profitable growth. But the partnership can be an uneasy one, and it is especially uneasy during periods of market transformation, when investing in new brands or sub-brands can be perceived as too risky. The difficult choices imposed by hard times force managers to confront the challenge of "brand stretch" more acutely.
General Motors Corp. is looking to sell three brands and kill off one, Pontiac. And which brand was overwhelmingly named by consumers in a recent survey as the one they'd like to live on? Pontiac.
I miss the good ol' days of global brand strategy. It used to be so simple: Develop a single, absolute definition of your brand, then produce content -- mostly TV spots and print -- that was generic enough for local voice-over talent to translate, perhaps augmented with an image or two for local color. What was important was that those absolutes of brand were constant; the delivery component was tactical. "Think global, act local" was the mantra we stole from the world's do-gooders in the 1970s, and it was supposed to save money on production costs while ensuring consistent delivery of our messaging.
Faced with consumers cutting back on purchases and stiff competition from McDonald’s McCafe, Starbucks today (Wednesday) launched an ad campaign touting its newly earned accolade in Zagat’s 2009 Fast Food survey: “No. 1 Best Coffee.”
Nascar might just have an answer to the soft economy that's hurting TV ratings, live attendance, and sponsor recruitment: Danica Patrick.
If you haven't been living under a rock lately, you've probably heard a lot about Twitter, the free micro-blogging utility that allows members to share short messages, or tweets. Twitter has suddenly become the digital arena for people to observe and engage in pop culture. Demi Moore saves lives on her Twitter page, and Lindsay Lohan publicly breaks up with significant others on hers. It's also a place where brands can interact with consumers directly, to either reinforce strong relationships with their loyal bases or attract new followings.
Despite all the bling that has been spent on Bing, few people are giving Microsoft's new search engine much chance of stealing away even a fraction of Google's dominant market share. That makes sense when you consider the strength of Google's brand - the term 'Google' has become the verb for undertaking an online search. The brand, we are reliably told, is now the world's most valuable, with an equity of more than $100bn.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been talking a lot over the past two weeks about Yahoo and how it competes against Google and Microsoft. Each time she does, I feel like she’s digging the hole even deeper for Yahoo’s prospects in search. Rather than communicate a clear search strategy — which you’d better have if you’re in a war against Google and Microsoft — she resonates mixed messages that Yahoo can ill afford to send.
The word bailout has gone from descriptive to derogatory. In a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign introduced Tuesday, FedEx objected to legislation that would make it easier to unionize the company by accusing its rival, United Parcel Service, of taking a government bailout.
Restaurant chains are reaching out to consumers in an unexpected place: supermarket aisles. As the economy has soured, many consumers have ditched going out to eat for a trip to the grocery store, and restaurant chains are following.
For the past two decades Harley-Davidson has been seen as a free-spirited, rebellious brand. Drawing on images from classic movies like “Easy Rider” and “Wild One” the company struck a chord with well-to-do baby boomers, who needed to feel like they are breaking the rules and every once and a while. For Harley owners, riding is a way to escape everyday life and feel like an outlaw without actually breaking any laws (except maybe changing lanes without proper signal).
There is Ally Bank: “A better kind of bank.” And A.I.U.: “A unique franchise.” And — really — Redneck Bank: “Where bankin’s funner!” All are new names and new slogans for old companies with big worries and, in some cases, even bigger image problems.
How many "reward cards" do you have, or loyalty programs do you participate in? When I think of a typical day, I can't think of a commercial transaction that doesn't come with a clerk or cashier who asks, "are you a member in our blah blah blah program?" Books. Office supplies. Gas. Pizza. Grocery.
You've probably seen TV commercials for magicJack, which promises free phone calls via a gizzinta for your computer’s USB port. It's a VOIP deal, much like the telephony that your local cable offers you in one or more of its bundles, only magicJack’s novel approach 1) lets you use your regular phone, 2) embeds its software in the USB gizzinta (hence the "jack" of its magic), and 3) never gets into any explanation of Internet packet transmission, etc.
Some time ago, I was flicking through a copy of ‘People’ magazine, when I beheld something on its pages that caused me to just about fall off my chair. An ad promoting a TV series about Elvis, which was to run on CBS, was the source of my surprise. “The King is Hear…”, proclaimed, typographically, what turned out to be the first part of this innovative notice. On turning to the next page of the magazine, sure enough, I did hear the King. Elvis was singing from the pages and a voiceover was promoting the series. If you managed to see this copy of the magazine, I’m quite sure you’d have found the advertisement as unforgettable as I did.
A former New York Times editor recently wrote a full-page article for Forbes magazine advocating "variable pricing" for art museums.
That's THE question to ask: Will our advertising effect consumer actions, and not simply awareness, perceptions and attitudes? But, there's a follow on question to ask: Once advertising has moved someone to experience our brand, will said experience cause them to change their habits? To become a "customer?"
Today I’m launching a short series on brand value creation. My intent is to outline the ways brands create value, organizing the points by the four quadrants of The Balanced Scorecard.
ConAgra Foods has unveiled a new logo, following in the footsteps of food giant Kraft, which also underwent a logo change earlier this year. ConAgra, however, faces a different challenge.
In all my years in the brand business I have yet to run into a company that doesn't have a set of brand guidelines. You know, the carefully crafted criteria for tone and manner, the graphic standards--colors, logo typeface, and the like. Some even include terminology, the voice and verbiage required for use in ad copy, speeches and collateral material. While this is all well and good, it's not nearly good enough at a time when "who" is increasingly trumping "what" as a crucial factor in brand success.
When I want to solve a problem or come up with a creative idea, I usually sit down and think about it. This could be the wrong strategy, according to University of British Columbia psychology professor Kalina Christoff. The UBC prof is an expert in the unlikely subject of daydreaming, and has released findings that our brains are MORE activated than normal when we let them wander.
GM's financial quagmire and bizarre labor and bureaucratic practices notwithstanding, branding (or lack thereof) was a big part of their problem.
As Simon Clift of Unilever made clear at the Ad Age Digital Conference recently, brands no longer have total control of the communications surrounding their products or even the positioning of them. That power is now in the hands of the digital consumer. Ford agrees. It's just asked 100 bloggers to launch the Fiesta in the U.S.
As YouTube has grown into the preeminent video sharing service online, marketers have tried, with limited success, to broadcast themselves and to reach audiences with their messaging. And while individuals have used YouTube as a platform to step into the spotlight, most brands have been left behind in the shadows. Save for the occasional media-supported viral video blitz, or user generated contest, commercial success on YouTube has been elusive to the many brands that have tried to reach for that brass ring.
While worshipping the 'now’ may seem the new religion, there are equally strong currents favoring the 'forever’. Dubbed FOREVERISM, prepare for a fluid 'trend', guaranteed to spawn new ideas. We promise.
Despite the best efforts of the design community to the contrary, design is still struggling to influence companies in meaningful ways. The fault lies mostly within the design profession itself, which is unable to supply leadership equal to the current demand.
As the influx of big brands into the social media space continues, we’re starting to see more and more marketing managers and executives become less, not more, comfortable with social media. The main reason is they expect instant returns and needle-moving. But most of social media is about building relationships, which takes time.
Facing budget cuts and smaller endowments, many colleges and universities are realizing that they can't rest on their laurels if they expect to attract the best and brightest. From the University of California at Los Angeles to the University of Maryland to Cornell, they are finding new ways to market to prospective students and raise their profiles for potential philanthropy and research funding.
I recently received this email from Brandy Amidon, the Princess of Particulars and CPA at Brains on Fire, yesterday.
There was a time when having a dotcom was absolutely key to your brand, and once you had one, it was the URL you pointed everyone to in all of your marketing. But with the emergence of the social web, and opportunities to engage with fans elsewhere, is that really the right strategy – or even a requirement at all?
With more than 200 million active users and counting, Facebook has proven to be a powerful and convenient way to reach consumers where they already are. “Many consumers are already sharing information regularly on Facebook—this is just one more way to quickly share information in a place where they are already spending time,” says Michael Donnelly, director, worldwide interactive marketing at The Coca-Cola Company.
Back in February we touched on Michael Phelps and celebrity endorsements. The topic brought to light varying opinions on people as brands. Are they? I asked a few colleagues.
Would you say that a value brand is one that offers the most benefit for the cost? That sounds reasonable, right? Until you realize that it depends on a particular customer's changing perception of the benefit as compared to his or her changing perception of its cost. This is not mumbo jumbo. It's a critical distinction.
Finally: a bank just for the Jeff Foxworthy set. Redneck Bank claims that "bankin's funner" when consumers open a "flat out free checkin.'" That Southern-fried marketing schtick has garnered the online arm of Bank of the Wichitas quite a bit of attention. It's also tweaking the long-held belief that bank marketing is serious business deserving of serious messaging.
Luxury goods are needlessly expensive. By needlessly, I mean that the price is not related to performance. The price is related to scarcity, brand and storytelling. Luxury goods are organized waste. They say, "I can afford to spend money without regard for intrinsic value."
No project, no brand, no company exists in a vacuum. You make bets about external forces when you build something.
Don't look now, but the Walkman's back. Actually, the device that virtually created the portable-music market never left; it's been around as a player for cassettes, CDs and digital music in one form or another since 1979. According to Sony, the company produced 150 million Walkman units during its heyday in 1995. But in recent years, the device has all but fallen off the map thanks to missteps by Sony and huge advances by Apple's iPod, which has a stranglehold on the digital-music market. Still, Sony will seek to leverage its brand legacy once again with the launch of the Walkman X, a product that comes closer to the iPod line than ever before.
A guy walks into a search pitch meeting and says, "Thank you for inviting me here today. But I'm not in -- and you don't want someone in -- the search marketing space to be your search vendor." Now the punchline to that could have been the guy ends up on a barstool in about 15 minutes because he was thrown out on his ear. But it wasn't. In fact, the reality was a two-hour discussion about the change that is taking place which has its roots in search, but transcends our business entirely.
If you ever think about how your job stinks, remember the researchers at P&G Beauty. In a building overlooking the leafy, pastoral campus of the Sharon Woods Innovation Center in suburban Cincinnati, they are intently focused on what can only be called armpit science.
For the first time in its history, Microsoft saw a year-over-year quarterly revenue drop -- and it predicts a "long and gradual" recovery. Quarterly revenue fell 6% in its fiscal third quarter to $13.65 billion from the year-earlier quarter. Profit also took a hit, down 32% to $2.98 billion and 33 cents per share.
I was 10 on April 2, 1993, the day that the brand died. On that day, Phillip Morris dealt a 20 percent slash to the price of its cigarettes in an effort to take on bargain brands, which were seriously pawning Marlboro’s market share. The slash had serious repercussions. If Marlboro’s carefully groomed brand wasn’t enough to take on the generic brands, then there no longer was truth to the brand equity mania that had rocked the eighties.
A group of Saturn dealers said they could save about 10,000 jobs at 440 Saturn dealerships in the United States and Canada -- along with the costs of closing those stores -- if General Motors Corp. sells the brand to them.
Every day consumers log onto the Internet from their computer to search out the best prices on the products and services they want. Ask anyone selling software, TVs, even cars and they’ll tell you a story about a consumer coming in holding the printout from a website. The Internet has created a price transparency dynamic that has fundamentally altered price driven industries like computers, hotels and airlines. And it’s going to get worse.
As data miners drill deeper into the social media terrain for meaningful insight, we are starting to see how online conversations are a kind of behavior. The places, ways and times that people interact with one another online are themselves choices that reveal something about their place in a community and perhaps their likely value to marketers. An interesting project from social media platform provider Ripple6 illustrates the ways in which behaviors within social media can both identify key brand advocates and activate them on behalf of a brand.
Barring some unexpected intervention, Saab seems poised to recede into history, sucked down by the larger recession and the brand's unfortunate association with General Motors, one of America's biggest losers.
Spuck Bennett's dealership just outside Ocean City, Md., is cluttered with 65 shiny Harley-Davidson motorcycles, including the chrome Sportster and the sleek V-Rod. Last year, Mr. Bennett, 79, sold 200 bikes, down from 280 the year before. This year, sales have slowed to a crawl.
The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization... the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it. So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.
The cowboy brand hopes a folksy pitch and ''Made of America'' positioning will help it stage a comeback.
With Chief Executive Steve Jobs out on medical leave, Apple Inc. hasn't announced a major new product this year. That has freed the rumor mill to churn about what new gadgets the company may be preparing to launch. In the past few days, speculation has swirled that the Cupertino, Calif., company is developing a device with a touch screen that could be as big as 10 inches, for release in the second half of the year.
Following my previous post on Hilton's secret new lifestyle brand name, I can now report that it's official. The new name is "Denizen," which Hilton says means "citizen of the world." Well, sort of.
Suddenly, the wind is at Ford's back. Maybe it's the rising quality of its cars. Maybe it's the halo surrounding Ford for passing up federal funds being devoured by its Detroit rivals. Or it could simply be Ford's focus on building image in its marketing while others flog incentives. But for whatever reason, America seems to have decided that Ford is a better idea after all.
The KitKat team have been brave enough to "kill the dwarves" in their range, those little line extensions that eat up money and time, and bring little in the way of sales. The resources freed up have been re-focused on core growth, and on one big, bold and successful extension: KitKat Senses.They are now reaping the business benefits of this strategy, with sales up 30% in 2008, the fastest-growing confectionery brand in the UK, according to a report in Marketing.
Barbie turns 50 this month, and to shake off a midlife crisis she's getting tattooed and opening the doors to her first megastore in China.
I went to Magazines 24/7 "Navigating the new reality" with the intention of just covering the MPA's 3rd Annual Digital Awards but I found myself at the session "Print vs Web: The Editorial Challenge" writing feverishly and grunting in motivated agreement. It's a close-to-the-heart topic, it's no secret that I work for a publisher and we have two print mags (industry specific and quite awesome), so it also shouldn't be a secret that with new delivery channels come new challenges, arguments, and arm flailing.
Hip-hop's decade of bling is popping, and it looks more like the housing bubble than a champagne cork. So why, at this point, would anyone take financial cues from a culture marked by conspicuous consumption? Honda Motor Co. thinks it has an answer.
Max Kalehoff, vice president of marketing at online ad firm Clickable, speaking at the Brite conference on digital media at Columbia University this week, says the trend in online marketing is away from what might be called brand enhancement.
I wrote an entire chapter in my book, Branding Only Works on Cattle, about how the ubiquity of information available to consumers via Internet search (access, richness, and authenticity) search, would destroy the fundamental, command-and-control presumptions of branding. Thanks to a tip from a fellow dim bulber, today, now I'm thinking that maybe I got it backwards?
Sabra, a hummus brand partially owned by Frito-Lay, is launching its first national ad campaign this month, an effort that beckons consumers to enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean without leaving home.
If you want to broaden the appeal of your product, the first thing you should do is figure out if it's a boy or a girl.
How should companies be telling their stories differently today?
You've got a highly visible Web 2.0 persona. You're tapped to run social media for a brand. How much of your personal social-media equity do you lend the brand -- and how much does it lend to you?
In tough times, discretionary items like yogurt are often the first to go. Group Danone has certainly noticed this trend. It witnessed, what it has called, a “marked slowdown” in its fourth quarter fresh dairy sales. Still, Marc Jove, its new svp of marketing for Dannon (as the company is known here), sees growth potential in an emerging market such as the U.S.
Barbie has held a lot of jobs in her 50 years: a stewardess, a vet, an astronaut, a McDonald’s cashier, a rocker. But a self-taught soapmaker who started a Fight Club-type business sans the fighting? That doll has yet to be molded, but we know the perfect model.
Recently I checked into The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. Knowing the brand your expectations are by default tuned to the highest level – still I’ve time after time managed to be surprised. When I wished to access music in my room, I was told that the CD library didn’t exist in this particular hotel. The apologetic concierge however asked me out of curiosity which CD’s I was looking for. Listing all my favourite artists I hang up wondering the reason for this curiosity. 20 minutes later the bell rang on my door. The same person as I’ve been speaking with over the phone handed over a bag with three CD’s purchased by the hotel, all the favourites I mentioned – and given as a gift to me.
For the past decade or so, Eddie Bauer has been a retail chain emphasizing women's casual apparel, usually in malls. But in a gamble that the market for outdoor wear is healthier than women's fashion, the brand is making a major foray back to its roots.
Facebook launched Facebook Ads in November 2007 to give brands and businesses a way to create a presence on Facebook and interact with users. Starting next week, says a source with knowledge of the new product, those pages will be substantially redesigned.
A couple days ago, I was in a Scandinavian airplane on my way to Los Angeles. Ignoring the airline food, I noticed a cute little branding experiment on the tray. A small notice was printed on an item. It declared, "Pepper has been called the gift of the East." (I overlooked the fact "gift" means poison in my native Danish.) The statement aptly communicates the airline's Scandinavian values: among them the Northern European delight in thoughtful detail, appropriate explanation, and historical attribution.
It's been an interesting month in our nation's capitol, and the Obama administration is hard at work addressing the country's problems. As with every first-term administration, its primary challenges are to engage lawmakers on Capitol Hill with its new policy agenda and assemble a team that will instill confidence in the American people. If they succeed, in four years they will be rehired. In essence, this process is the political equivalent of establishing the brand.
If you ever needed proof that the context of would-be purchasers' lives is a far more important quality than any attribute of brand that you might promote, just look at the emerging utility "paycheck cycle" for packaged goods marketers.
Consumers can get feedback to any brand in real time—networks amplify what they have to say and sentiment spreads at light speed. Companies need now to listen, learn, and adapt at all phases of an initiative.
Saturn joins the ranks of formerly esteemed brands like Vonage and Dairy Queen in this series on brands that have failed to live up to their potential. While practically every domestic automotive brand seems to have fallen short of consumer and/or investor expectations lately, I picked Saturn because the brand clearly had (has?) so much potential and so the stakes seem higher.
The brand that was once hailed as an important part of the future of General Motors now will be part of its past. G.M. said Tuesday that it would phase out its Saturn brand by 2012. It does not plan to develop any more new vehicles for Saturn, which began 19 years ago as an effort to attract owners of small Japanese cars.
I'm a satisfied cable television customer. My TV signal generally works, I have it bundled with my home internet access and in four years of service I've only had one issue, and it was fixed relatively quickly. The price I pay is average, and though I'm not getting a great deal, I'm also not getting overcharged. When I call my cable provider for any reason, I can usually get through and have my questions answered. By every metric you could choose to assign to my experience, I'm a satisfied customer. Now let me tell you something that should scare you, no matter what business you're in. If something even slightly better came along as another option for me, I would switch without hesitation.
A sea change is coming to the $5 billion direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical-advertising category in the wake of the Food and Drug Administration's decision to force Bayer to run corrective advertising for one of its brands.
There is a moment before the moment when you get “Amped up” to race a car, get your first tattoo or take the stage. Amp Energy is trying to own that moment, that nervous energy, in its new ad campaign which broke during the Daytona 500.
It's Presidents' Day here in the United States (Washington's Birthday is the actual federal holiday), so I decided to weave our new President into a short article on brands.
Mass marketers have generally taken a wary stance toward blogs, but Frito-Lay isn't just embracing bloggers, it's letting them define their brand.
Reggae singer Bob Marley's name and likeness have been slapped on unauthorized merchandise since his death in 1981. Now, the Marley family and a private equity firm that invests in retail brands are preparing a major push to license Mr. Marley's likeness, trademarks and themes to apparel, food and even video games.
Newsweek is planning a redesign and some shifts in content to fashion an opinionated take on events, aimed at a much smaller, and wealthier, readership.
In the last half-century, several shoe brands have become revered icons. From celebrated designer brands to powerhouse brands such as Adidas and Nike, shoe brands the world over are as prolific and notable as the shoe styles that appear each year. While some shoe brands are fleeting, the Hush Puppies brand hit the ground running in 1958, and it is still around fifty years later. It has the distinction of being the world’s first casual shoe.
TWENTY-THREE years after it started selling cars in the United States, and in the midst of an industrywide slump that has pushed some competitors to the brink of bankruptcy, the Korean automaker Hyundai spent $3 million to tell Americans watching the Super Bowl how to say its name correctly.
Within days of Barack Obama’s historic presidential victory, an ad called “Now what?” hit the airwaves, accompanied by an email sent to more than one million people. Both urged the American people and the new president to “Repower America.” Ironically, the man behind the promotion was Al Gore.
Diet Coke has dusted off its old favorite tagline "Just for the taste of it." The slogan, which debuted with the brand's launch in 1982, has made its initial return as part of the diet cola's partnership with the Heart Truth.
This March, Barbie Millicent Roberts will turn 50. We know her as the age-immune creature Barbie, 11 1/2 inches of plastic delivered by Mattel onto our cultural landscape in a zebra-striped bathing suit. She has been painted by Warhol, scrutinized by intellectuals, sabotaged by pranksters, pilloried by cultural critics and purchased more than a billion times.
CareerBuilder.com will break a 60-second spot during the third quarter of the Super Bowl. Titled "Tips," the ad humorously presents reasons why it might be time to get a new job.
PepsiCo is among the first that will provide consumers with an absolute number for a product’s carbon footprint, which many expect to be a trend. The information will be posted on Tropicana’s Web site. The company has not yet decided if it will eventually put it on the package.
According to Audi's CMO, the company is communicating the "inherent spirit of progress and innovation that is the core of our corporate DNA" by sponsoring this historic day's news.
Harley-Davidson's stock price is little more than a third of what it was a year ago, representing a steep decline in the intangible value of its brand. With motorcycle demand down 30% in the U.S., and a near-total evaporation of the hog-makers ability to write loans for would-be buyers, is the company just another victim of tough times...or is there something flawed in the way the experts routinely celebrated the relevance and utility of its brand?
Target, for the first time in the company’s history introduced TV ads featuring price point messaging. The spots, which debuted during the Golden Globes on Sunday, were the second iteration of its “A new day” brand message.
The Bank of America Corporation will call its securities brokerage business Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and continue to use the bull logo, the bank said in a memo to employees Tuesday.
In this first installment of Dumenco's Media People -- a new interview series with media grandees conducted by our media columnist Simon Dumenco -- Macworld VP-Editorial Director Jason Snell talks about Apple's challenges in the wake of news reports about Apple CEO Steve Jobs' mysterious health problems.
Getting through the Christmas online marketing rush is tougher than getting to a cash register today. And getting the attention of somewhat jaded, media-savvy young digital denizens is tougher yet. Palm, Inc. seems to have pulled off this trick - and in a short timeframe - with a Facebook campaign for its Centro smartphone that combines on-page applications and user applications that are producing some pretty impressive viral results.
Coca-Cola has announced Sprite Green will debut this month in New York and Chicago. This lemon-lime flavored, low-calorie beverage will be the first major brand to hit the market made from rebaudioside A. Derived from the South American stevia plant, Reb-A is the key ingredient behind Coke's Truvia sweetener which will also be used in some of its Odwalla ultrapremium juices.
Consumer electronics company Polaroid Corp said on Thursday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to facilitate its restructuring. The maker of iconic instamatic cameras said its bankruptcy was due to events at Petters Group Worldwide, which has owned the company since 2005.
Poor customer service and fast-changing technology are still problems. Can the delivery giant redeem its troubled copy-chain unit by rebranding?
There's a brand that is raising the price of its newest redesigned vehicle by nearly 10 percent, adding dealerships and boosting unit sales by more than 30 percent year-to-date. No, it's not fiction or the daydreams of a stress-crazed car executive. Mini--the brand BMW AG management almost didn't bring to the United States--is defying the economic turmoil and the odds.
For those seeking brand religion, an unlikely shrine has emerged in the desert the past few years. It sits near the Las Vegas airport: the headquarters of online retailer Zappos.
Curious about PepsiCo's first big campaign post-BBDO? Well, here's a clue: Generation Optimistic. Influencing the final campaign, which involves a brand overhaul including repackaging with smiley-face-type logos, is a survey of consumers commissioned by Pepsi and conducted by StrategyOne last month.
Saturn was born in hope and hype nearly 25 years ago, but it presents General Motors Corp. with tough choices today as the automaker must scale back its money-losing operations and focus on other brands. GM's statement that it will "explore alternatives for the brand," leaves Saturn's 211 dealers -- who operate 425 sales outlets --facing an uncertain future. Most observers expect GM to either close or sell Saturn, but even those options present challenges.
General Motors has promised Congress that it can recreate itself as a different kind of car company — smaller, with a more cooperative relationship with its union, and a lineup of fuel-efficient cars to compete with the best of the foreign brands. At least G.M. knows how difficult the challenge will be. A quarter-century ago, G.M. started Project Saturn with the same goals.