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Showing posts from May, 2010

What is a brand?

A column on today discusses a widely known secret in our industry – we're in the brand-building business, yet no two professionals seem to share the same definition of a brand. Some define a brand as a promise.  Some define it as an idea.  While others define a brand as mash-up of rational and emotional benefits.  There's likely an element of truthiness to each definition. The article challenged me to set down in writing my beliefs about brands – a point-of-view formed over the years through different experiences and inputs.  So here goes... Brands are based on an  empathetic relationship with customers. When I grew up at Ogilvy, Charlotte Beers used to preach that brands are defined by relationships.  That got me thinking, and over the years I tightened that definition to focus on the power of empathy.  I believe people choose brands the same way they choose their friends. Walk into a crowded party where you don't know a soul and notice who you end up

Can Cadillac lead again?

A while back I was interviewed for a piece on how Cadillac can regain its cool factor .  The new spots from BBH are visually stunning and a step in the right direction.  But the line "The Mark of Leadership" leaves me wondering how Cadillac intends to lead.  Leadership in performance?  Leadership in design? Leadership in technology? If the answer is "yes" to all three, that is wishful thinking because it is not singleminded.  Cadillac's identity is so fuzzy that it requires nothing short of a laser-like focus on one theme.  In the piece I wrote I suggested technology, which by the way is a singleminded platform that can be used to support a range of messages, including safety, performance and even design.

Facebook or deodorant: What matters more?

I recently conducted a survey via social media to better understand our relationship with the personal technologies that increasingly define our daily lives.  After all, we’re glued to smart phones, addicted to Facebook, Twitter and texting, and seem to be caught in an endless hunt for wi-fi. The survey explored a range of questions, such as how we personify our relationship with technology, how our life might change if we had to live without our favorite gadget for a year, as well as what we’d be willing to sacrifice in order to keep our favorite tech (Sleep? Deodorant? Proper nutrition?). Boomers and Xers display the most angst over whether our addiction to technology is good or bad, in large part because we can recall a time when we weren’t tethered to work 24/7.  Among Gen Y respondents this issue is a nonstarter – like debating the merits of electricity. (Hasn’t the entire knowledge base of the human race always been two clicks away?) We have a love/hate relationship with