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Showing posts from September, 2011

What makes a premium brand premium?

I was thinking the other day about the DNA of premium brands . One thing is certain -- it's a relative idea. For example, Hyatt is not a premium brand if you're used to staying at a W or a Ritz Carlton. But if your vacations to date have been holed up in a Holiday Inn, then by all means a stay in a Hyatt is a premium experience. Another thing is certain -- a brand is considered premium only when we believe it is worth the price. And that's where we can dig deeper. Why are we willing to pay more for a product when there are others that provide the same service or function at a lesser price? I have spent a good part of my marketing career developing strategies and ideas for a wide range of  premium brands, including American Express, Sony, Callaway Golf, Hilton, Jaguar, Land Rover – even the Toyota Prius.  Through these experiences I have come to believe that a premium brand is built upon specific tangible and intangible attributes that give it a sense wort

Is digital killing luxury brands?

Oddly enough, this is not a question that's keeping me awake – it's one recently posed by Adweek .  I'm writing this because I disagree with the article's central premise:   the web's democratizing power might weaken a luxury brand's cachet . The article suggests that most luxury brands were slow to embrace "new media" because the web makes brands too accessible.  (By the way, if you want to make a 30 year old laugh, refer to the web as "new media.") To address Adweek's question we need to tighten the vocabulary.  I don't believe cachet comes from offering a luxury, it is about being premium .  A brand is considered premium when we believe it is worth a higher price.  That's how you measure cachet.   Certain brands compel us to pay more even when there are others that provide the same service or function at a lesser price.   Previous wikiposts have explored this point.   Having worked with brands such as Sony, American Expre

Marketing's new normal.

There seems to be a steady stream of books offering breathless predictions about the death of advertising and, by extension, agencies. I’ve recently come to believe that the Chicken Littles who squawk loudest about the perils of not embracing the new normal in marketing are secretly rooted in the past. Good marketing professionals – marketers and agencies alike – realized this several years ago, adapted and got on with things. Successful companies tend to do this. Others don’t. They go out of business. Just as Mr. Darwin predicted.   Moreover, the next generation of talent streaming into the marketing field are probably clueless as to what these authors are debating. If you want to make a 25-year-old ROTFL (whether they be a brand manager or a copywriter), refer to the web as “new media.” Those who still go on about the how the business is changing do so because deep down they still use the wonder years of network television and national magazines as the yardstick by