“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

The Apple Brand Hits another “Tipping Point”

The Wall Street Journal feature about the Mac landing on more corporate desks is more than just an opportunity… it is a tectonic shift that will open up the business market for Apple in amazing new ways. It is truly a tipping point of amazing proportions.

If I were you, I’d buy Apple stock today… believe it or not, it’s just a leap to another plateau.

The Tipping Point, best known from Malcom Gladwell’s 2000 book of that name, is defined as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” The very public acknowledgement by GE that it is making Apple products available to GE employees is, in our opinion, a “tipping point”. [Read more →]

January 19, 2012   Comments Off on The Apple Brand Hits another “Tipping Point”

Can Old Stodgy Brands with Negative Perceptions really Reinvent Themselves?

There is only one way for a brand plagued with a negative brand perception to survive – tackle it head on. Acknowledge shortcomings, address the issues externally and internally and take significant actions to fix things. There are many brands that should take this advice to heart. One example is the United States Postal Service.

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August 17, 2011   2 Comments

Brand Transparency Taken to the Limit

Brand marketers are in the throes of deciding how transparent their brand must be. This is a significant issue in many boardrooms around the globe. A close friend was in Turkey last week, and sent me the photo below of the Oscar Watch store in Istanbul… they actually sell “Genuine Fakes”. Talk about transparency… they are making money on telling the truth.

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June 15, 2011   Comments Off on Brand Transparency Taken to the Limit

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

Treat Me Like you Care about Me, and I'll Donate more Money.

When a charity or relief agency asks for money and doesn’t give anything back, it really frustrates me. A year or so I gave a nice donation to AmeriCares, a disaster relief agency that responds to emergency medical and humanitarian needs all around the world. About 3 months later I received a standard “thank you” letter, with another donation envelope tucked inside. That really got me steamed… they want something from me but haven’t given me anything in return. At that time, I wrote the CEO and indicated that the constant appeal was very cheeky… and they had now lost me as a contributor.

Contrast that to a small charity in my local community that focuses on developmentally disabled adult children. It’s called “The Cottage”. I have given them money too, and they just sent me a Happy Valentine’s Day card with pictures of the children they help. No, they didn’t ask for anything. The mere act of the card touched me deeply, and made me feel very good about our “relationship” and I will continue to contribute.

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February 14, 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

Santa Claus not in Jeopardy after Centuries of Careful Brand Management

One of the world’s oldest brands is still soaring. Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Chriskindl, or Père Noël is geared up to bring gifts to the homes of good children everywhere. So many have asked what are the secrets to sustaining a strong brand over the centuries. This post will attempt to shed light on this superior feat of brand management.

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December 15, 2010   3 Comments

While Automated, Electronic Customer Service 'Voices' are Getting Better, some Brands are Missing a Bigger Opportunity.

Companies around the world continue moving customer service to automated systems to cut costs. But in doing so, they may be damaging their brands instead of helping them. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the recent moves to shift these automated voices from “cold to homey”.

In some business categories, customer service is the critical touch point where the brand is actualized. While marketers have been focused on advertising and other traditional marketing tools to define brands, it may well be that customer service is the one place where a company has control of shaping the brand in a tangible and powerful way. The service interaction is an enormous opportunity to build the customer relationship with the brand and engender deeper loyalty and advocacy.

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November 4, 2010   6 Comments

Starbucks of the Future… an Idea that Feels Just Right for the Brand

Starbucks is introducing a new concept idea this week. It will serve regional wine, beer, cheese, soup and other small dishes. While designated by location (e,g, “Olive Way store”), it will indicate it is “by Starbucks”. The interior will be more like a cafe that has been in the neighborhood for years, but extremely eco-friendly. This evolution into an after work, evening business just feels right for the times.

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October 22, 2010   25 Comments