Why should anyone care about brands in times like these? Because it's during these times of transition, internally or through market shifts, that businesses simultaneously have the highest level of vulnerability and opportunity. Those responsible for shaping and maintaining a brand have much more influence over whether the current news climate weakens or strengthens their brand than they may realize.
The Trailblazing Firm Is Knee Deep In A Massive, All-Hands Project To Rebrand Itself--And It’s Doing It In Public.
A thoughtful identity gives a multinational disease research network a new way to communicate.
Looking to tap into Web surfers' privacy concerns, new companies are popping up to help people browse the Internet and send messages anonymously. But these companies face a major challenge: getting people to pay for Web-privacy software. The majority of Internet users remain unaware of how visible their Web behavior can be to marketers, identity thieves and others, say executives at Web-privacy companies. And those who are concerned about privacy are often reluctant to trust an unfamiliar company with their information, they say.
K-Mart and Marc Jacobs have something in common: low- and high-end fashion products tend to have less conspicuous brand markers than midprice goods, according to a paper soon to be published in The Journal of Consumer Research. Rather than rely on obvious logos, expensive products use more discreet markers, such as distinctive design or detailing. High-end consumers prefer markers of status that are not decipherable by the mainstream. These signal group identity only to others with the connoisseurship to recognize their insider standing.
If Facebook were smart and open and meant what it said about the benefits of publicness and transparency that it now expects of the rest of us, then:
Facebook has the chance to turn a problem — negative publicity about its latest privacy shifts and confusion about how to control them — into a business opportunity: It could become the protector of your identity instead of a threat to it. That’s a service we need.
With nearly 9,000 stores worldwide, more than 6,000 of them in the United States alone, serving 2.5 million donuts and 2 million cups of coffee to more than 3 million customers per day, Dunkin’ Donuts is undeniably one of the most prominent guilty pleasures in the world. I favor Starbucks coffee and de-favor eating donuts altogether (despite their awesome deliciousness) so I’m in a minority that doesn’t frequent Dunkin’ Donuts — a minority that has become even smaller since 2002, when a steaming cup of coffee was added to the Dunkin’ Donuts logo to muscle back into consumers’ consciousness that coffee wasn’t just available from Starbucks or McDonald’s. And, apparently, that change paid off as Dunkin’ Donuts is celebrating its 60th anniversary (it was founded in 1950) with a new identity that not only removes the coffee cup but also reaches back to its vintage roots for inspiration.
If there is anyone that learned the branding lesson imparted by the Obama ’08 Campaign, it was John McCain. During the Presidential race there was simply nothing the McCain identity could do to help his chances, especially not Optima, not even at its boldest. Not long after the loss, McCain announced in November of 2008 that he would be running for re-election to his Senate seat in 2010 for the state of Arizona. Earlier this year, McCain presented a new identity for this particular campaign, created by Phoenix-based OVO. What a difference one lost Presidential race makes.
Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.
Despite lip-service to two-way communication, branding has often been a one-way effort: we decided what we wanted people to think about our companies and designed marketing and communications that made that happen. Or so we hoped. But a brand is the collective impression people gain not only from you and your marketing efforts, but from all of their interactions with you—and the interactions others have as well (newly amplified through social media). That means we need to look at the process of branding in different way: through a social lens.
Isn’t all design a service to someone? Perhaps that can be debated. But currently the service design genre is receiving considerable attention and achieving currency. When Phi-Hong D. Ha, an interaction design and strategy consultant, was asked what is meant by “service” in today’s design world, she responded, “Service design is a collaborative process of researching, planning and realizing the experiences that happen over time and over multiple touch points with a customer’s experience.” And according to Liz Danzico, chair of the School of Visual Arts’ new MFA Interaction Design program, “Service design looks at customer needs and experiences in a holistic way.” Yet many service designers in the United States do not call themselves Service Designers. Much of the work done in this area is still referred to as “customer experience” or “user experience.” This is where Ha enters the arena.
Have you ever returned home from the grocery store to find that you mistakenly purchased the wrong product because it looked similar to the one you actually wanted or needed? Do certain grocery categories tend to confuse or mislead you? These are some of the questions that inspired a research study by The Brand Union examining the cost of confusion in the grocery aisle. If you've mistakenly purchased a product, you're not alone. And, if you're a CMO, it is likely that your customers, or former customers, have purchased a competitor's product by accident. In fact, about 70% of Americans have accidentally purchased a product in the last year, and many have made a mistaken purchase more than once. So, if most people have purchased a grocery product by mistake, which brands are suffering and which are benefiting? And, how much money is being lost or gained as a result of confusing, lackluster package design?
How much do you trust your digital life? Has the fear of identity theft or bank card fraud dampened your trust in digital services? You're not alone. As the digital world permeates more and more aspects of our lifestyle, protecting our digital lives is more important than ever. Researchers at Microsoft, Nokia, Philips and digital security company Gemalto recently announced the launch of a new initiative that aims to set out how consumers and businesses can do just that. Called Trust in Digital Life Partnership, their vision is to address “the fundamental societal issue of trust in new and emerging digital services.”
As we transition into social business structures, individual identity will emerge as a business asset. Valuation of these assets will depend on both internal and external measures. Why? Because identity functions as a primary key to organizing the data affiliated with individuals and organizations expanding their thinking into broader ecosystems must recalibrate how employee worth is calculated. I'm not a fan of the term "personal branding" because to me the phrase implies intent to craft an image that one might want, not necessarily what one may be. As we emerge from the early phase hype cycle in social media and its "rockstars," "gurus," and "experts," I'm hopeful that we are in the last days of sanctioned personal narcissism posing in the guise of building corporate brands.
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?
l find many things remarkable about psychiatrist George Vaillant's longitudinal studies of 268 Harvard men, not least of which is their time span -- 72 years! To see someone transformed from a teenager to an old man is usually the stuff of fiction, not academic research. It turns out though that real lives are not that different from fiction, what with so many unpredictable twists and turns. What struck me most was the depth of personal transformations many of Vaillant's subjects' lives take.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last week a friend of mine invited me for a libation at a recently opened restaurant bar. "Where is it, exactly?" I asked. "It's right behind 'X' (a restaurant with a bar), he replied. "You know, across from 'Y' (another restaurant with a bar). If you walk out the back door of 'Z' (another restaurant with a bar) you'll be facing it." I found it.
Murdoch and his team can keep news organizations afloat. They can move the needle of a media company—they’ve proven that over the decades. But though Murdoch went to considerable lengths to acquire the Journal, he and his top lieutenants have displayed barely disguised contempt for its core strengths. They have moved the paper decisively toward a more terse, scoop-oriented form of journalism that they believe is more in keeping with the information age. The question, then, is whether this strategy will work at the Journal, and if so, at what cost? Murdoch’s managers, as one reporter put it, “don’t fully appreciate what they have.”
Marketers today understand that consumers think, feel and react differently than June Cleaver did 50 years ago. We use descriptors like fickle, indecisive and disloyal to describe the modern consumer because consumers have too many choices -- multiple brands, brand extensions and sub-brands -- and too much stimulation, especially online, making it nearly impossible to predict their next move.
Technology will shift the power from brands to people as they are able to control their own identity. As a result, the Social Contract between people and brands will evolve.
Facebook, by its very nature, is mostly about our past, sometimes about our present, but very rarely about our future. Being symmetric, it’s important that we have some sort of a prior relationship with a person in order to friend them on Facebook. Your classmates, neighbors and the folks you met at a party — these are all relationships from your past. Facebook doesn’t really allow you to discover new people — and that has been the part of its charm (and utility).
There’s a lot of attention surrounding company cultures these days and how important it is in creating a thriving, successful business. You can see it in the Zappos and Patagoinas of the world. It’s those tight-knit communities that are almost cult-like. It’s also one the keys to creating a sustainable word of mouth movement. Some companies are considering creating a position to be in “charge” of the company culture. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.