Since I began this blog, about 10% of my posts have highlighted a brand whose branding and marketing programs have been, in my eyes, impressive. These dozen or so cases, most of which have demonstrable business success as well, all have something in common. They all have a higher purpose. Some have several. They offer a basis for a customer relationship that goes beyond functional benefits to generate self-expressive, emotional or social benefits. They all rise above the “my-brand-is-better-than-your-brand” competition and the noise that goes with it.
Consider the higher purpose that the following brands that were all the subject of a blog post: …Continue reading
What are the most impressive brand building efforts in last 15 years? In constructing such a list, it would be hard to leave out Dove. A $200 million soap brand in the early 1990s has grown into a brand that has been estimated to be worth nearly $4 billion dollars today. They play in an intensively competitive arena with large, smart and established competitors. And in my view, the Dove brand building effort played a big role in their success story.
Have you seen the latest from the Dove ongoing “Campaign for Real Beauty” that originated in Brazil and was done by Ogilvy & Mather in 2004? A forensic sketch artist draws several women, first based only on their descriptions of themselves (he does not actually see them) and then based on the descriptions of a stranger who has observed the women. The subject, seeing the resulting sketches side-by-side, realizes that the sketches inspired by strangers are much more flattering than the versions from their own self-descriptions. The tagline? “You are more beautiful than you think.” The first two versions of these videos each got over 35 million views within two weeks of being posted to YouTube. Thirty-five million!! …Continue reading
It’s not uncommon for social media to be praised as the ultimate key to unlocking meaningful customer relationships – and it’s certainly no secret that over the past few years, brands have rushed to “join the conversations” on Facebook and Twitter or risk being labeled as old-fashioned and out of touch.
While “likes” and “followers” are an indication of interest and loyalty, and sentiment analysis can help brands predict and act on customer trends, they are not a key reason behind brand and business failure. Factors integral to success are often more closely tied to strong management, sufficient capital and a focused emphasis on product quality and customer needs rather than the presence of a branded page. …Continue reading
Oreo’s move wasn’t just mentioned because the Mondelez International VP of Customer Engagement, Bonin Bough was speaking at the event. Oreo’s Super Bowl moment was a hot topic because they epitomized something that great brands are doing these days, something that will be defining what makes your brand stand out in a crowded market: real time engagement. …Continue reading
Over the last two days, innovation came to life at Fast Company’s annual New York Innovation Uncensored. Held in a dark, chilly music venue called Terminal 5, the substance of the event was in stark contrast to the vibe of the venue. With a mix of humor, emotion and great storytelling the event was full of thoughtful material sure to be the stuff that shapes the businesses of the future. Through this series of articles we will dive into all the major takeaways and shine a spotlight on some of the things we thought really missed the mark.
While reflecting on the conference on the plane home (from yep, you guessed it – 40,000 ft), it became clear that all in all, Fast Company put on a great show. Innovative business leaders from around the world spoke passionately about the processes of making impact through bringing new ideas into the world, and Fast Company kept it interesting with inventive presentation formats, making the event feel well paced and full of variety. Hosted by the hilarious Baratunde Thurston – author of the satirical book How to be Black – this year’s Innovation Uncensored was a perfect intersection of creative inspiration and powerful new thinking in the world of business. …Continue reading
There has been a significant amount of buzz recently about Ron Johnson, former CEO of JC Penney, and his failed attempts to turn around the struggling middle-market retailer. In a recent post, James Walker outlined how an unsuccessful SKU assortment and poor pricing and promotion decisions—not their new strategy of “everyday low pricing”—accounted for the company’s biggest losses. While this is certainly true, I believe it’s also worth evaluating the implications of these recent pricing moves and strategic decisions from an overall brand strategy perspective.
Ron Johnson and JC Penney: A History
In January of 2012, Johnson stepped in to reinvent the JC Penney brand. Drawing on his past experiences at Target and Apple, Johnson announced that Penney would do away with coupons and discounts in favor of “fair and square pricing,” while the store layouts would be overhauled to a format of curated mini-shops. A year ago, the stock price jumped at the Apple store pioneer’s bold vision, but today, Penney revenues have fallen by 25%, the stock price has fallen almost 60%, and the company has lost nearly a billion dollars.
So what happened? Within this failure story are two important lessons in brand strategy: …Continue reading
My newest book, Three Threats to Brand Relevance is out this week in e-book form. It’s a shorter form book, and can be viewed as a supplement to my book released last year, Brand Relevance.
Brand Relevance explains that the only way to grow is to develop “must haves” through big innovation that will render competitors irrelevant. It is the path to winning. This new book shows the path to avoid losing. As markets become dynamic, there is a real risk that your brand will become irrelevant. The book explains the three threats to look out for and how to avoid them or deal with them. …Continue reading
This morning as I was getting ready for work, I encountered a problem that many women face during their morning routine. After applying a little makeup, pinning up my hair, and filling up my coffee mug, I remembered the jewelry that I wanted to throw on before rushing out the door. I put in a pair of earrings, but when I found the one necklace I wanted to wear, I realized it got tangled with two other necklaces after traveling with them in a bag. “Shoot,” I thought, but I began to quickly detangle it from the nest of a mess. …Continue reading
When we’re seeking inspiration there’s no place too far, nor climate too cold to deter our discovery. In this episode we take you to Alaska and discover some compelling insights from one of the world’s oldest businesses: the fishing trade.
Barak Wright is a master story teller and accomplished audio producer. In the summer of 2012 he traveled to southern Alaska to work on a salmon fishing boat for a several weeks. Through a series of interviews with the seasoned pioneers of Alaskan fishing we learn that to truly innovate in business we must cultivate an agile, creative mind; something hard to come by on the waters of Neet’s Bay.
Special thanks to Christof Meyer – Innovation Director in the Richmond office – who introduced us to Barak Wright and made this episode possible.
From Prophet’s curator and provocateur team, Interested and Interesting is a monthly exploration of the business of brand, marketing, innovation, digital, design, and analytics. Hosts Geof and Josh introduce listeners to inspiring stories that engage and illustrate business principles in an abstract, provocative way. Our goal – to inspire listeners and liberate ideas to help drive business growth.
My last blog post, “Three Models of How a Brand Personality Impacts,” discussed three ways in which a brand personality can impact customers and the marketplace. And its reception, measured by views and comments, indicated that brand personality is a highly sought after and intriguing concept. Many recognized brand personality as a key brand vision lever for brands that are facing dynamic markets and a fragmented media presence. A brand personality can be a crucially important driver of self-expressive benefits, brand-customer relationships and the communication of functional benefits.
If a brand strategist wants to explore the potential of creating or enhancing a brand personality, then they have to address one basic question. What should my brand personality be? …Continue reading