The Google Brand was Not Really Damaged by the Termination of the Nexus One Smart Phone. Why?

Google has been able to cancel shipments of its new Andriod phone, the Nexus One, and they managed the termination in such a way that the Google brand did not get significantly damaged. This is pretty amazing given the stature of Google and the significant energy they put into launching the Nexus One in January 2010… only 200 days ago. It was to be the “smartphone that might save the world.”

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July 22, 2010   10 Comments

Hero Apricot Preserves Have Lost Me as a Loyalist

What turns me off is when a manufacturer tries to pull the wool over my eyes.

One of my little sins has been buying Hero preserves from Switzerland. I first discovered the brand in France years ago. It is an upscale line of jams and preserves that has amazing quality and consistency. That ended this week. They just totally changed the product to become a “fruit spread” instead of a “preserve” and tried to make their package for the lower quality product look as identical as possible to the original. I can guess at why they did this, but the reason isn’t important. By trying to fool me into sticking with them (like I wouldn’t notice) they jeopardized our “relationship.” It’s not the product that I am mad at. It’s the Hero brand. They tried to pull the wool over my eyes.

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May 16, 2010   19 Comments

Tylenol Redux… Will McNeil handle the FDA's Report?

The FDA recently released a report chastising a McNeil Consumer Healthcare factory for poor conditions where Children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and other products are produced. This will be another test to see how McNeil will behave, and whether they will act as responsibly as when Tylenol was pulled off the market decades ago.

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May 11, 2010   24 Comments

The New United Airlines… a Merger to Survive

United Airlines and Continental are merging, and that signal alone indicates how difficult business has become. It is too bad the merged company can’t signal a new kind of airline, but that isn’t in the cards in this economy.

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May 3, 2010   10 Comments

Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty in the same Bed. How Many Brands can Hertz Support?

It looks like Hertz will be buying Dollar Thrifty. This presents a number of challenges related to which brands they keep, and whether the jettison any. The market leader Hertz in now in 146 countries with 8,200 locations, and this is what is attractive to Dollar Thrifty. Access to better systems and more locations. So from an operational standpoint, there are valuable synergies.

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April 27, 2010   18 Comments

Weathering the Storm. Goldman Sachs and Toyota.

There are many brands we love to hate. Today’s bad-boy brands de rigueur are Goldman Sachs and Toyota. Sure, we constantly complain about some of the mega-brands like Microsoft, Simon Cowell, ExxonMobil, and the New York Yankees, etc. But that reaction is a combination of jealousy of their sheer market power and resentment that we can’t live without them.

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April 21, 2010   38 Comments

Changing a Name Changes Everything

I have loved Japanese edamame for some time. Today I found out they were soy beans. Ouch! Names can really reframe perceptions and gain new levels of acceptance. Before I continue let me lace up my “running shoes.” I don’t wear “sneakers” any more.

Here is what set me thinking about name evolution. In the New York  Times, Nicholas Kristof writes about one of the world’s leading  specialists studying wild dogs in Africa. In his drive to change the negative stereotype of the words “wild dogs”, he has rebranded them “painted dogs.” What he has been able to do is transform the perception of a reviled varmint into an exotic animal that should be preserved. Very clever. [Read more →]

April 19, 2010   39 Comments

Help me save California Pizza Kitchen (CPK)

One of my favorite “casual dining” restaurants announced today that they were looking at strategic alternatives for the company. They need an infusion of capital, but more importantly, they need a better handle on what their brand stands for. [Read more →]

April 12, 2010   9 Comments

Driven a Geely Lately? Will China’s Image Impact Quality Perceptions of Volvo?

China’s Geely purchased Volvo from Ford which raises a significant perception issue. Can China manufacture a product for the West that equals or exceeds what consumers expect from Volvo today? Will “China” carry any negative perceptions that will limit potential?

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March 30, 2010   20 Comments

Why I’m Giving You Something from Tiffany This Year

It looks like upscale shoppers may lead us out of the recession. Tiffany’s sales are up globally. So are sales at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. High-end shoppers are leading the way.

But what is interesting to me is the attraction to these strong brands as the vehicle for higher end spenders. Under the assumption that the wealthy have a great deal of liquidity as they have been hording their cash and not investing in the market, they are apparently spending their money on brands they can trust. [Read more →]

March 23, 2010   36 Comments