Redesigning a Brand

So you want to start a business? You’ve got an idea, you see an opportunity in marketplace and you plan to work hard in building your business, but where do you start? You start by building a brand. So how do you build a brand? You need to do three things: get focused, be first and become famous.

High Fructose Corn Syrup, not so sweet.

Would a sugar taste as sweet by another name? I say absolutely. Even sweeter. High fructose corn syrup has become public enemy number one in the fight against obesity. Having successfully attacked trans-fat the food police have turned to high fructose corn syrup with great vim and vigor. And great success. Sales of high fructose corn syrup are in rapid decline. But what is “real” and what is not? Hard to say. But when you give your product a name like “high fructose corn syrup,” it doesn’t sound very real at all. In fact, the name sounds dangerous.

Non-Profit Marketing: Lessons from Kate’s Club

Too many non-profit leaders think it is either shallow or useless to spend either time or money on branding. Nothing could be further from the truth. Branding is the key to success no matter if you are selling sneakers or helping the homeless. Read how Kate's Club has built it's powerful non-profit brand.

High Five to FiveFingers

If your brand doesn’t have a visual difference it is going to be very difficult to create excitement. Shock and surprise is what generates excitement. And excitement is what build's a brand. You need to stop consumers in their tracks to say “What is that?!” Sometimes a visual difference is a natural part of the product; at other times you need to exaggerate or create a difference. With Vibram FiveFingers, the difference is shocking and easy to see. It's the toes.

McDonald’s Goes Above & Beyond

McDonald’s moved at lightning speed and initiated a voluntary recall of its popular Shrek glasses that contained trace amounts of a toxic metal. While the spread of the tainted-glassware story certainly posed a problem for McDonald’s, the glassware itself wasn’t all that dangerous. Many companies would have used this evidence to counter-attack critics. Many companies would have also shifted the blame to a supplier. McDonald’s did neither. In its response, McDonald’s went above and beyond.

BP has a Brand Problem

BP talked the talk but never walked the walk. Like many companies in unpopular industries, BP launched a massive advertising campaign to put a little lipstick on the oil pig. Advertising is not very good at changing strongly-held perceptions, but in BP’s case it actually worked. However, the “holier than thou” tone of BP’s advertising placed the company on a perilously high green pedestal it was sure to fall from.

Experience the Focus Effect

What works in the beauty business? The same thing that works in all businesses. Own a word in the mind. Typically, a beauty brand will start out by owning a word and then get line-extended like crazy. Still the brand might remain powerful because consumers remember the past. It wasn’t the line-extensions that created a powerful brand like Dove, it was the original focus of the brand that did that job. Dove started out as “one-fourth moisturizing lotion” and is still the No.1 bar soap.

Verizon and its Atomic Bomb

In the current Cellphone War, Verizon has dropped the atomic bomb of marketing on rival AT&T. Marketing wars are fought with lots of words, but wars are won when you combine your words with a visual. Verizon has done just that.

Domino’s Should Apologize

Everybody knows the rule. When you do something wrong, you say you are sorry. As a society we love to scold but we also love to forgive. But how, when and why you say you are sorry also matters. Say it when you don’t have to and you create guilt where it may not have existed before. Domino’s goes out of its way to portray its guilt and lack of action for decades. And in the process mocks the stupidity of its customer base.

Under Armour: Too Big for its Shirt?

It's amazing how many of the world's most successful entrepreneurs quickly forget what made them famous. The latest example is Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour. What made Under Armour famous? It wasn't a Super Bowl ad. It wasn't a massive marketing campaign. It wasn't ego or hype. What made Under Armour famous was "performance apparel" a new category Kevin created and carefully nurtured.