What Branding and PR Professionals Can Teach One Another

“Long-term brand equity and growth depends on our ability to successfully integrate and implement all elements of a comprehensive marketing program.” – Timm F Crull, Chairman & CEO of Nestle

Branding and public relations (PR) professionals have a great deal in common. Branding professionals develop and communicate a promise. PR professionals bring that promise to life through stories, case studies, videos, events and points-of-view. Despite the common ground, branding and PR professionals don’t always collaborate. In some cases, this is because accountabilities reside in different departments. In other cases, it’s because each discipline has its own way of doing things.

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May 1, 2012   Comments Off on What Branding and PR Professionals Can Teach One Another

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.

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

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

Reinvigorating the Hypermarket… Carrefour has Recognized the Importance of the Shopping Experience.

Carrefour, the French company that is the largest hypermarket chain in the world, has seen the light. Recently they announced a new hypermarket concept that has investors excited. They are revamping stores, to be called Carrefour Planet, to make the shopping experience more user-friendly. They call it recreating “the destination store.” This is good news.

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October 6, 2010   5 Comments

Will the Apple Brand Take a Hit for it's Poorly Performing iPhone 4? Not in the Long Term.

Steve Jobs has shown how a true leader can step up to an issue and use the dialogue to keep his brand strong. While a difficult situation, Jobs showed the world that Apple values its brand in the long term, and will do what it takes to maintain the loyalty of its franchise. As CNET reported, “…Jobs grits teeth, solves the iPhone 4 ‘crisis’.”

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July 19, 2010   5 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

Tropicana’s Transparency Works

I love it when a brand says it like it is. Today, Tropicana announced that they would reduce the container size of orange juice to hold the cost. They also announced a price increase of the gallon-sized containers. These changes will happen two months from now. And I am not an upset consumer. Here’s why… [Read more →]

March 15, 2010   16 Comments

Toyota… Another Nail in the Brand Coffin

We already live in a world where we are skeptical of corporate messaging and product advertising. What we didn’t need is the relentless press coverage about Toyota ignoring safety issues. This has simply put another nail in the coffin, making it that much harder for marketers to build credibility in their brands. [Read more →]

March 15, 2010   19 Comments