at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

The End of Green?

In Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, culture, marketing, strategy on March 3, 2008 at 9:53 am

Originally uploaded by onikasi

The green trend and the recession trend seem to be on a collision course and something is going to have to give. It’s no secret that brands have been pushing green as a way to appease customers as well as clean up their corporate image, but what will happen in a down market?

All the research that I’ve seen says the predictable. Customers want to buy green products and they want corporations to be green as long as they don’t have to pay more for the product itself. We’ve been calling this “values added” marketing but it could just as well be called “holy shit.” Now you have corporations who are pushing green, most without maintaining a price point, and you have customers who are becoming increasingly mindful of their pocketbooks.

My prediction is that green will continue to move in upscale categories and categories like automotive where there is a bottom line benefit for customers. In the mid and lower markets it will move back to corporate image and away from products since customers don’t typically cough up the money right away to help a corporate image. Longer term the future of the trend is anyone’s guess. Make yours in the comment section below.

Some Days I Want To Be A Client

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2008 at 11:36 am


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

As a strategist, when you work on a project, you take it in your arms and really try to care for it like the conscientious brand steward you are. You do the customer research, you look at the market and the trends. You create the positioning, the message. You work with product designers to provide guidance and then, finally, you get to a point where you set the boat out to sail into the great, wide ocean. Then one day you find an advertisement for the product and brand that you helped shape and you wonder where it went wrong. My only solace is that this is an ad in Singapore.

Hat tip to Copyranter for finding the ad and making me a very sad strategist.

Obama Understands Marketing

In advertising, Branding, Brands, communications, marketing, Political Strategy, Politics, strategy, youtube on February 3, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Obama has thus far out positioned the competition in the Democratic and Republican primary season. He stands for change. While change is perhaps not the clearest positioning when you dig into it, on the surface it resonates. It depositions Hillary, his key rival, as a Washington incumbent. All that’s missing now is “we need a change from the Bush-Clinton-Bush way of doing politics,” which would resonate with both Democrats and Republicans. And this Super Bowl spot is one of the best political ads that I have seen, not that there was much competition.

The End of a Fadmaker

In Brands, Consumers, innovation on January 20, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Wet Hula Hoop
Originally uploaded by DewCon

Early in my career, I remember seeing a posting on Craigslist for a marketing position at Wham-O. After I changed my pants, I applied and they had the good sense not to hire me.

Wham-O is a cultural brand with an amazing track record of creating fads that impact the social landscape. Last week it lost its founder Richard Knerr at age 82. That makes me sad.

From The NYT: Richard Knerr died last week at the age of 82. He co-founded Wham-O, the corporation that brought us the Hula Hoop, the Frisbee and the SuperBall.

Mr. Knerr and his partner, Arthur Melin, who died in 2002, were able to pull off one of the most difficult tricks in marketing: starting a fad. Repeatedly. Like quantum mechanics and comedy, not everybody can do it.

The Politics of Change

In Branding, communications, marketing, Political Strategy, strategy on January 20, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Found this video this morning courtesy of MSNBC. It raised for me an interesting strategic question: what happens to Obama’s message when everyone jumps on “change” as a political theme? Can Obama still own Change like Tide owns Clean, or does it become table stakes for political discourse?

MLB Gives New Meaning to the Idea of Die Hard Fan

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2008 at 9:50 am


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

I’m not even sure what to say about this. Is it an impressive (and
creative) brand extension by MLB or is it disgusting? I can imagine the
eulogies now…

The Psychology of Price

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm

The Price is Right
Originally uploaded by rich66

A new report out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business reports a direct correlation between price and pleasure. I would link this back to an earlier post I wrote about Magical Value in showing not only the correlation between price, but between a users satisfaction and what they believe the marketplace value is. If they believe that the product that they are purchasing and consuming is of greater of higher value and greater quality, consumers want to believe that they are evolved enough to appreciate that additional quality.

They did their study based on wine.  In telling people that the bottle was more expensive, users reported experiencing additional pleasure. Now, overall that makes a lot of sense, but I think that the only criticism that I might have of their study is that it seems like they only measured the first bottle of wine. Because frankly, after a couple bottles, two-buck-chuck tastes pretty darn good.

full article here.

Brand Extension: SPAM

In Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, innovation, market research, marketing, research, trends on January 9, 2008 at 11:47 am

Isn’t It Ironic?

Originally uploaded by Aiko Heiwa

Specifically designed to hit the market segment of people who love the great taste of SPAM but care about their health. I bet the five people who fit that description will flock to this “crazy tasty” treat.

On a slightly more serious note, Hormel what are you thinking? The SPAM brand is not a bastion of health benefits and my guess is that SPAM Lite still isn’t very good for you. Instead of going along with the trend take a note from Hungry Man and forget about the health claims and embrace the essence of your brand. There must be some brand extensions that make more sense there like pre-packaged dinners?

Brand Strategy: Mirror Brands vs. Beacon Brands

In advertising, Brands, communications, Consumers, market research, marketing, research, strategy, trends on January 7, 2008 at 10:51 am

one tree

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Sometimes marketers get confused about what their brand is vs. what their audience would like it to be. While the latter philosophy is logical to the point of wanting to please customers, it can be problematic since customers rarely give two bits about the state of your marketshare, your margins, what your brand is capable of, or the general health of your business.

Thinking that brands should mirror the lives or desires of their audience, marketers often enlist the use of focus groups, IDIs, ideations, expert panels, surveys and the like to try to figure out what the market wants. The basic problem with this is that customers inevitably want brands to be “faster, stronger, more reliable, cheaper, easier to use” etc., and they’re often short-sighted on how they want your brand to serve them. And why shouldn’t they be? Do they want your brand to enter into a new category? Maybe, but not if they have a brand there that they already trust. Do they want your brand to retool? Maybe, but not if they already like it. If used as input and inspiration, this type of research can be invaluable in opening up lines of thought and creating possibilities. But if used to find actual answers, you’ll likely end up with a very bland brand with all of the edges buffed off since the majority of the audience will find this acceptable. It’s the law of averages.

The real question should be: how can you use the market and insights to achieve your business and brand objectives? How can you create a Beacon brand that represents your audience’s unspoken aspirations and drives them to you? How can you use your competitive advantage to create a marketplace advantage?

The advantage of Beacon brands is that they take a stand. They connect deeply to your audience in a way that is differentiating and unique. By comparison, as the name implies, Mirror brands simply look to mirror the audience. They can succeed, but the task is much more difficult since Mirror brands only reflect what is on the surface and not the deeper, underlying values of an audience. They can also be more easily replicated by everyone else in the market.