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Showing posts from September, 2007

A slippery slope

So many companies have learned the hard way that once you start down the slippery slope of price cuts it is very hard to wean consumers off the drug. The auto manufacturers know this all too well. We all know that if we wait just a bit longer the car we want will come handsomely equipped with a $3,000 cash back or 0% APR. This week Macy's admitted its attempt to wean customers off the drug had backfired. The New York Times reported that Macy's tried to pull back on coupons and discounts after the company consolidated over 11 department store chains around the country under the Macy's brand. Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren admitted that abruptly curtailing discounts like coupons was Macy's biggest misstep, contributing to four consecutive months of falling store sales this spring. Macy's now pledges to offer plenty of coupons in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Which brings me to Apple. For years Apple was a master of competing on price without ove

The consumer is not a moron!

David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, the agency where I started my career, was fond of exhorting his agency to respect the intelligence of the people to whom we were advertising our clients' brands. "The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife!" Nowadays David would probably replace "wife" with husband, partner, significant other, son or daughter. But his point was clear: never assume Madison Avenue has a monopoly on intelligence. (Far from it!) I'm reminded of this same point today within our political climate. Too many politicians and policy makers and their advisors treat the voting public as idiots that can fooled by a photo-op. Mark Penn, pollster and zeitgeist guru to President Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates, Tony Blair, among others, makes this point loud and clear in his new book, Microtrends . He uses survey data to show that the average working American is actually more in touch with important issues that matter than more

WikiBranding in action

A great example of wikibranding in action. Rats in a fast food joint is nothing new. Rats in a fast food joint on the evening news is nothing new. Consumers taking this story and making their own content on YouTube to spread the word about rats roaming freely in a Taco Bell/KFC is wikibranding in action...much to the brand's detriment.


I've long been fascinated by the power of brand alignment. I'm not talking about consistency across media or sales channels, but alignment with the company's fundamental value proposition, alignment with its business model, alignment with how the company invests and makes its money. That kind of brand alignment. Target is a great example of alignment. Years ago, when squeezed between Wal-Mart (low price) and Macy's (variety and selection), Target decided to differentiate and win on the strategy of offering affordable design. We all love the advertising, but that's not the real story. Target aligned its business strategy, product selection, pricing, store design, and, yes, advertising around the idea of affordable design. " Tarzhay " leaped from being a discounter to a pop-culture icon. (What other store makes it into lyrics in a YouTube music video? Kohls? Not so much.) Enterprise Rent-a-Car is another successful example of brand alignment. Its

Welcome to WikiBranding.

First off, a quick word about the title of this blog -- WikiBranding. It comes from a term I think I coined at a recent Ad:Tech panel discussion to describe the current state of play. While everyone is talking about how consumer now exercise full control over their media choices, what most marketers are missing is the fact that more and more consumers are exercising control over how brands are positioned and communicated. We're no stranger to the power of word of mouth marketing. But now consumers have access to mass media with which to spread their opinions of a brand's true meaning and worth. This blog aims to be a brainblender for insights, ideas and observations from the world of marketing and branding. It will likely veer off into the realm of pop culture, design, communications and media and all things in between. Why? Because the best brand ideas find their inspiration from these worlds. The best marketing innovations come from the collision of diverse perspectives