With the passing of my ex-partner and good friend Jack Trout, I feel compelled to write a few words about...
Author archive for: Laura
What can a red nose do? It can build a brand. A red nose is the visual hammer for Red Nose Day, a campaign started in the U.K. and has now moved into America. The Red Nose Day fund is a program of Comic Relief, a non-profit that raises money for children living in poverty. Hundreds of charities do similar work, but most don’t become as well-known or raise as much money. The difference? A visual hammer that drives the brand into the mind. It might be a simple or silly thing like a pink ribbon, a yellow bracelet or a red nose. Three visuals that have built powerful, relatively-new non-profit giants.
Hewlett-Packard is trying to become more focused by dividing itself in half. But dividing isn’t so easy. It is messy legally, corporately and mentally. The lawyers can separate the assets, but how to you separate the companies in the mind? One way is with the name, another way is with a visual. But the new logo for Hewlett Packard Enterprise is empty and boring. Is the rectangular shape supposed to be a server? If so, it would seems to position them as just another boring computer consulting company.
Running for President of the United States means building a brand that at least 51% of the country is willing to buy on Election Day. Not an easy task in a country as large and diverse as America. Too narrow a focus and you won’t get a majority vote. The key to winning an election is to find a key issue narrow enough to stand for something but broad enough to be appeal to several constituencies.
Starbucks, like most companies these days, is obsessed with buzz. Not the kind you get from a double-espresso but the kind you find online with tweets, hashtags and likes. It used to be that the major media outlets controlled the conversation. Today, consumers via social media have the power to start, join or change the conversation. The media covers the buzz instead of creating it. As a result, companies are trying harder than ever to encourage consumers to start conversations online with hashtag campaigns.
We saw fewer special effects, sexy girls and kicks to the crotch this year. And the few that took that route fell flat. What did score big is what always scores big. Ads from brands that own strong positions in the mind, that dominate categories and that hammer us with a familiar theme and visual in a new and entertaining way. Budweiser, Snickers, Doritos and Always scored big.
The Weed Wars are coming. As the legalization of marijuana continues to move forward, we will see hundreds of homegrown brands turn into a handful of big brands and eventually a couple of dominant brands. It happened with cars; it happened with beer; it happened with computers; it happened with energy drinks. It will happen with marijuana.