Category Archives for "Branding"

3 One tough mother, two marketing objectives.

It’s an old debate… can brand advertising actually move the needle on bottom-line business objectives? Ad agency execs say yes, but direct response guys don’t concur. Marketing Directors and C-level execs are often skeptical.

My humble opinion… absolutely. When it’s done well, an “image” ad campaign certainly can move product, and I have a case study that proves it.

Meet Gert Boyle, the iconic matriarch of Columbia Sportswear, and a face only a mother could love.

28_200705251701111Gert’s story is an inspiration and a testament to the power of well-executed advertising. The campaign by Borders, Perrin & Norrander bridged the great divide between image advertising and product-oriented response ads and helped the company become the number one outdoor apparel company in the country. No doubt about it.

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3 Brands that are built to last.

Built To Last, by Jim Collins, is commonly known as one of the most influential business books ever written. It’s on every consultant’s bookshelf and should be required reading for any executive, business owner or budding entrepreneur.

It’s also one of the best branding books you’ll ever read.

built_to_lastYou have to read between the lines though, because Collins never used the words “brand” or “branding.” Back in 1994 it just wasn’t on his radar. Collins and his co-author Jerry Porras focused instead on “visionary” companies and compared them, head-to-head, with not-so-visionary competitors.

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6 From Cola Wars to Computer Wars – Microsoft misses again.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s the most talked-about battle of the brands was between Coke & Pepsi. The Cola war was a popular topic of college marketing classes, sit coms and even Saturday Night Live.

“No Coke. Pepsi!” John Belushi once said.

Today the battlefield has shifted from soft drinks to software. From free-spirited young people who’d “like to teach the world to sing” to nerds all over the world claiming “I’m a PC.”

It’s the war between Microsoft and Apple. A war that should never have been fought.

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2 Learning from Mad Men: Old-school advice on choosing the right message for your ads.

Life in an advertising agency makes for great TV drama. And sometimes the powerful men of those fictitious agencies can even teach us a thing or two.

Donald Draper in Mad Men

Donald Draper in Mad Men

Take Donald Draper of Mad Men. That character is based on a real-life ad man of the 50’s — Rosser Reeves. As chairman of the Ted Bates Agency, Reeves produced some of the most memorable slogans of all time, like “M&M’s… Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.”

Creatively, Reeves’ TV ads were formulaic and boring. He had a blatant contempt for public intelligence and many of his spots were banal and insulting by today’s standards. But by God, they worked.

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5 How to differentiate your small business.

There are more than 20 million businesses registered in America, but only 17,000 are what the Department of Labor calls “large” businesses. So forget about the giant brands like Microsoft, GM and Nike. Let’s look at how you can differentiate yourself from the millions of small businesses that don’t succeed.

the E Myth on the Brand Insight Blog top 100 branding blogThis is about small business branding. The single biggest challenge is that most businesses are started by technicians. They’re not branding experts, marketing gurus or even professional managers. They’re skilled specialists. (Think about all the painters, lawyers, programmers and copywriters who hang up a shingle.)

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8 Living The Brand, Scott Bedbury Style.

I met Scott Bedbury the other day. In branding circles, he’s kind of famous… Worked at Nike during the “Just Do It” years. Helped Howard Shultz build the Starbucks brand. And now he consults with a few lucky businesses and does speaking engagements all over the world. Even Kazakstan. Nice!

Bedbury’s a very genuine guy. I’m glad, because that’s part of his branding mantra; the importance of being genuine.

These days, companies can’t get away with being disingenuous. Some blogger, somewhere, will call you on it faster than you can say, “Where the hell’s our PR firm?” As Bedbury said, “the days of the corporate comb-over are gone.”

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Bare breasts mean business at Starbucks.

Notice anything different at your local Starbucks lately? I sure have. The familiar green and white logo on the cups is missing. It’s a travesty to brand-conscious graphic designers everywhere.

At first glance I thought maybe it was just a corporate cost-cutting measure — the result of tremendous Wall Street pressure to improve performance. But once I looked a little closer, I noticed something even more revealing:

Starbuck has bared her breasts! The mermaid that’s been the Starbucks icon from day one, has gone back to her topless, hippy roots.

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