Congrats to Heineken for Updating its Bottle in the U.S.

Heineken is introducing a new, taller bottle in the U.S. in order to help it’s flagging sales. It is a smart move on many levels, and it will be successful.  But imagine the internal debate about change.

Heineken Lager Beer was established in 1873 in the Netherlands, and still uses the same recipe. It was the first beer imported into the U.S. after prohibition, in 1933, and has been a consistent bell weather brand. But while they once commanded a leading share of imports, Corona, craft beers, and even traditional competitors have introduced newer packaging and flavors, and Heineken has suffered. Today, Corona outsells Heineken almost 2 to 1. So it was out of necessity Heineken considered an alternative to the squat green bottle that has been their structural heritage. Funny how competition pushes a brand to better understand it’s equities.

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September 20, 2012   Comments Off on Congrats to Heineken for Updating its Bottle in the U.S.

Kraft’s Snack Division renamed Mondelez… a Brilliant Idea!

Kraft’s decision to name its soon-to-be-stand-alone snack division, “Mondelez” is a very smart move in more ways than one. “Monde” is derived from the Latin word for “world” and “delez” means “delicious”.  By separating the snack division from the North America focused grocery division and giving it a name that is clearly not America centric, Kraft is establishing a business that will have global appeal.

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March 26, 2012   1 Comment

“Less is More” is the New Paradigm in Building Brands

Who would have predicted that in the year 2012, a silent movie would win the Oscar for Best Picture? The fact that “The Artist” defied the odds is a manifestation of consumers’ demand for “less is more”. Consumers are rejecting the “bigger is better” culture that dominated the late nineties and 2000’s and came crashing down with the global economic crisis. Add to that the daily barrage of information, advertising, news, social media and politics and you have a consumer audience begging for simplicity, less clutter, honesty and integrity.

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February 28, 2012   Comments Off on “Less is More” is the New Paradigm in Building Brands

Why Crowds Now Build Brands

David Brooks insightful Op-Ed article about now living “in the middle of an amazing era of individualism” reveals many emerging truths. For branders, understanding that we live in an increasingly individualistic society puts the burden on brands to position themselves to fit onto someone’s life. Said another way, we can no longer rely to the same degree on the social structures of family, church, community, etc. to validate and help us form preference. Brands need to focus on this more on our own than ever before.

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February 22, 2012   1 Comment

You Earned My Loyalty. I’m Sticking with DYMO.

DYMO, one of the leaders in providing label printers, just treated me the right way, and retained my loyalty at a critical moment. I had recently upgraded to a new operating system for my Mac. As a result, my computer couldn’t communicate with my label printer. After trying several options, I finally called DYMO customer service, and they used that moment to secure my loyalty for a long time to come. When they realized that my label printer wasn’t compatible with my new OS, they generously said they would replace my printer with a new one… at no cost to me.

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February 10, 2012   Comments Off on You Earned My Loyalty. I’m Sticking with DYMO.

What Happens When We Don’t Trust a Brand Anymore? Ask Netflix.

Netflix stock has tumbled again to an 18-month low of $75 a share based on, among other things, trust. Think about it… the company’s value has erased about $12 billion in just 104 days. Yes the company has see-sawed on promises of splitting apart services, then relenting and bringing them back together… but what they have really undone is the consumer trust and loyalty they had worked so hard to achieve.

One of the fundamental values of a brand is to earn loyalty that results in the security of future earnings. In other words, consumers will come back time and time again to both purchase your products, and also allow them to expand their relationship with you. But the moment a company breaks that trust, it is very hard for consumers to stay on board. [Read more →]

October 25, 2011   Comments Off on What Happens When We Don’t Trust a Brand Anymore? Ask Netflix.

Building the Next Generation of Consumers thru the Brand Experience

My three boys have never enjoyed grocery shopping with me, and quite frankly, nor have I enjoyed taking them to the grocery store with me.  So imagine my surprise when, after a recent trip to the newly opened Whole Foods Market in our neighborhood, they commented on what a “cool store” it is.  I was even more surprised to hear them say, “can we come”, the next time I announced I was going to Whole Foods.

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July 7, 2011   Comments Off on Building the Next Generation of Consumers thru the Brand Experience

Zero Degress of Separation… Getting a New Dog Food Brand Directly to the Dog.

In Germany, a pet food is being launched by a company that needed an innovative way to launch a new product with a very small budget. They created a novel concept where a dog owner, standing in front of a billboard on the street, checks in by mobile device to Foursquare, and a dispenser instantly delivers the product, right there, at pet level. Dog eats, is happy, and becomes conditioned that this is a place worth visiting. What a brilliant idea to forgo the gatekeeper (pet owner) and get the product sample to the end user. The dog now “commands the owner.” Thanks to financial guru Peter Farnsworth alerted us to GranataPet.

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April 18, 2011   Comments Off on Zero Degress of Separation… Getting a New Dog Food Brand Directly to the Dog.

Expensive Wine for $5.83 a bottle? Price can Define the True Value of a Brand.

The Wall Street Journal ran an offer for a sampler of 12 wines for $69.99 with the accompanying copy… “Delivered with $120 savings and FREE gifts.” So they revealed that the cost per bottle is $5.83, which I immediately equated to value. No, I didn’t bite, so I don’t know the labels they would have sent. But think about the mixed message. If the wine was so terrific, how could it be so cheap? Or is the wine not really worth that much in the first place. Was the original price inflated? In other words, price is another way to communicate and support the true value of a brand. And lowering price sends a brand-damaging message.

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April 1, 2011   2 Comments

Why Buy the Expensive Tylenol Brand any more? Where Trust intersects with Value.

A feature in the Sunday New York Times about Johnson & Johnson struggling with many of it’s consumer brands raises a much bigger issue… when you lose trust in a brand name. The specific manufacturing problems and recalls for J&J open up consideration of less marketed store brands. In that moment where value intersects with (brand) price, it will be interesting to see how consumers shift shopping behaviors over the near to longer term.

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January 17, 2011   1 Comment