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.

Gap’s Fall into the Mushy Middle

They used to sing “Fall into the Gap.” And consumers did. Since the Woodstock era, the Gap has outfitted millions of consumers with its lines of basic clothing. But over the past few years, it is the Gap brand that is doing the “falling.”

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.

Why Google should get out of China

Sometimes the most illogical business decision is the right decision for the brand. This is certainly the case for Google. Google is pulling its company out of China, the biggest internet market in the world. Sounds illogical and crazy to me and most leaders. But it is the right call for several reasons.

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