Audi’s Visual Hammer. An opportunity missed.

In 1990, Audi hired my Dad to help them revive the brand in the U.S. after the 60 Minute segment that nearly destroyed the brand. I remember the case well and was curious about what his exact ideas for Audi were so I dug up a copy of his report. Al’s advice: "Don't try to fight a bad perception......

NEW BOOK: Visual Hammer

My father's theory on positioning was revolutionary, but it had a weakness. Invariably, positioning strategy was expressed verbally. You looked for a verbal hole in the mind and then you filled that hole with your brand name. The best way into the mind is not with words. It’s with visuals. They can play a more important role in marketing than words because visuals hold emotional power that words alone do not. Emotion is the glue that sticks memories and brands into the mind.

Super Bowl of Advertising – 2012

While the gridiron battle between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots was close, the advertising battle on the tube was not.
The Super Bowl battle for commercial success might better be described as a mixture of the old classics, the new stuff, the overly sexy and the over the top.

Tim Tebow, the brand

Tim Tebow is the hottest story in sports. While the Green Bay Packers are charging ahead with an undefeated record, everybody is talking about the Mile High Messiah and Tebowing. How did this happen? What can you learn from it?

Netflix Strategy is Right and Wrong

Netflix owns movies-by-mail. They might make a lot of money today, but are not the future. Netflix has wisely bet on streaming as its future. And they have wisely made an aggressive move to be first in the mind in order to dominate the new streaming-video industry. But Netflix made a critical error by using the same name on its new streaming business as it does on its existing mail business. It might be logical to take a trusted and loved brand name and extend it from one business to the next. But it doesn’t make marketing sense. As time goes, each business will compete and clash with each other. What Netflix needed was a new brand name for streaming not mail.

Google Today, Gone Tomorrow?

What’s a Google? It’s a search engine. Want to find something online, you Google it. After domination of a category like search, the question business leaders and investors always have is, What's next? What's next is usually taking the incredible success of the mother brand and extending it into new areas. As well as gobbling up lots of other companies and rebranding them with the same brand name. If you know me, you know what I’m going to say next. It is a mistake.

Social Media is a Tactic not a Strategy

It’s the headline of our times “Brand X Moves to Social Media.” It’s the hottest trend in marketing with executives from the corner offices at Coca-Cola to the front lines at the local barber shop talking up Twitter, Foursquare, Groupon and Facebook. Since the Great Recession hit, we have been forced to do more with less and what better way to accomplish this than with social media. Compared to traditional advertising, a social media campaign is cheap. But is it effective? It all depends.

Crazy for Consumers? RIM is insane.

What is RIM doing wrong? Why don’t people appreciate RIM’s BlackBerry brand, profits or growth? Because they are fighting the wrong battle. They are focused on the wrong target. BlackBerry has been chasing the consumer instead of chasing its less-sexy business customer. Why it is that companies that have great success and profits with business clients feel the need to ditch them for the fickle, finicky and thin-margined consumer?