iPhone was first, but so was Motorola.

Motorola invented the category of cellphones. Nokia brought cellphones to the masses. BlackBerry invented the keyboard phone for email. Samsung brought better designs. iPhone invented the touchscreen internet device. What is really striking about iPhone compared to other cellphone brands is the consistency in their design and simplicity of the naming. Each phone has the same look and each new model focused on one or two major improvements sure to generate lots of buzz.

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.

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.

Coupons, Groupon and Cocaine

These days marketers are going in exactly the wrong direction. The recession has caused a lots of companies to panic. And when companies panic, they print coupons and throw up sale signs. Look in your mailbox, your email inbox or your newspaper and you will see what I mean. Everybody is having a sale.But does this coupon-sale-discount strategy work? Coupons and discounts do one thing every well. They teach consumers that your regular prices are too high. A lesson consumers learn very quickly. Once they think your regular prices are too high, they won’t buy from you until given a discount. And desperate companies are too quick to oblige.

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.

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