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Showing posts from September, 2008

Digitally-inspired brands

The IAB’s Mixx conference in New York was extremely well organized and featured a diverse roster of speakers, including Chrysler CMO Deborah Meyer, eBay CMO Michael Linton, CBS President Les Moonves, TV host Charlie Rose, BBDO chief Andrew Robertson, digital media author Clay Shirsky and Heroes executive producer and creator Tim Kring. Although the event didn't break new ground, it did illuminate several themes that brand marketing professionals would be wise to embrace. Here’s my take-away: Stop the debate over brand vs. interactive. Interactive marketing is, in fact, our most powerful brand building strategy. More and more marketers intuitively understand this. The question then is why we’re not yet using this medium to its full potential. One reason is that too many people in advertising define "brand" through the narrow lens of a product’s TV or print campaign. Consumers build brand impressions through a complex mix of first-hand experiences, peer opinions and

Flex your brand identity

More often than not brand identity is treated like some sacrosanct object, kept rigid and inflexible in the pursuit of brand equity and awareness. It's hard to argue against that goal, but there may be some counter-intuitive ways to reach the same goal. I'm beginning to see several leading marketers loosen the reins on their brand identity to allow their brands to seem more topical and relevant. My partner Bob Barrie turned me on to the latest example: Coke Zero in the UK is temporarily changing its name to Coke Zero Zero 7 to celebrates the brand's tie-in with the upcoming Bond Film, "Quantum Solace." I think Google may have set this trend in motion with its willingness to change its logo everyday to make the brand appear plugged into the zeitgeist of the moment. MasterCard flexes its logo at the end of each commercial to echo the idea of each spot, making the identity seem an intrinsic part of the spot and not just a closing punctuation mark. When I was

Microsoft's moist and chewy teaser campaign

Microsoft's new spot featuring Bill and Jerry is being universally skewered by the press and bloggers alike. Am I missing something? It's a teaser spot for goodness sake. Get off Microsoft's case. It's not supposed to communicate anything nourishing or lasting. It's the advertising equivalent of an energy drink -- a quick jolt to the system to get our attention. Mission accomplished. (My only quibble: forcing Bill and Jerry to introduce each other to the viewers. "Bill Gates!" "Jerry Seinfeld?!" I think their faces are fairly well known.) Having gotten that off my chest, the campaign that follows had better be amazing. I've read previously about one potential idea -- windows, not walls -- which could be the basis of a compelling brand narrative, something that's been lacking over the years. Windows is a shared language and platform for global collaboration. It helped create today's flat world. The brand needs to stand fo

What Google learned attending Comi-Con

There was a good bit of noise this week about the launch of Chrome, Google's answer to Explorer, Firefox, Safari, et al. Is it a better browser? Don't know. I'll download the beta and find out. (The new version of Firefox recently lured me away from Sarari. It's simply faster.) What I enjoyed most about Chrome's launch was the comic book they created to explain why it's a better browser. Very counter-intuitive. Take something dry and complex and make it fun and simple to understand. The folks publishing operating guides for digital cameras should take note. Hell, even the 50-page manual for my new digital watch would have been better as a comic book. I might even have gotten past page 17 -- setting the high tide graph -- with a few illustrations and humorous copy.

Serving the customer...what a concept!

Best Buy is winning with a simple idea: do what's best for the customer. (Best Buy is a client of BD'M .) It's amazing how such a simple idea can be so successful. Conversely, it's equally amazing how few companies show the ability to grasp this idea. Yesterday's article in the Wall Street Journal featured a side-by-side comparison of shopping for a TV at Sears, Circuit City and Best Buy. The article's concluding thought underscores the power of Best Buy's strategy: "We left Best Buy feeling confident we'd end up with the right television." Best Buy is not alone in viewing service as a competitive advantage . The folks at Starbucks, Enterprise, FedEx, WaMu , Southwest and Ace Hardware win using the same simple formula. Treat the customer well and they will come back. What a concept.

Why doesn't GE make electric cars?

Hybrid cars are going mainstream. My former client, Toyota, has sold over one million Prius . Nearly every automaker is planning to launch some kind of hybrid. GE should be in this market. (It’s name is General Electric, after all.) The company is a manufacturing giant (jet engines, locomotives). It is in the financing business (GE Credit.) Its growth strategy is linked to green-tech (eco-Imagination). And it is a household name with a reputation for dependability. Why not make an electric car? One reason may be that GE lacks a sales and service channel. The solution may be to use GM or Chrysler dealers. Both companies lag far behind in the development of hybrid vehicles. The GE name might create more buzz than if either GM or Chrysler launched its own hybrid car. And the dealer network would benefit from a new product that generates traffic into their stores. In today’s automotive industry it is increasingly fuzzy who makes what. While private label branding is common in