All posts by Martin Jelsema

About Martin Jelsema

Coming up on 50-years doing advertising, branding, market research and new product marketing.

Down-to-Earth Commentary about Branding from the Ivory Tower

Academic commenting on real branding issuesI’ve just discovered a new web site with some fine insights into the current branding and marketing approaches of the big companies.

I reached it through bNet, an authority site for business issues and trends.

Specifically, their framed site, The View from Harvard Business. There I picked a category, Marketing, and found a treasure trove of blog postings by Sean Silverthorne, editor of HBS Working Knowledge. His blogs address current branding issues and implications of technology on branding and marketing. Good stuff. And not just for academics and big-business gurus, either. Continue reading Down-to-Earth Commentary about Branding from the Ivory Tower

An effective brand produces tension and buzz

Tension makes for strong brandsIt’s frustrating when clients opt for the familiar rather than the unique.

They may resort to an informal “market research” poll to determine if a unique brand concept is “meaningful”. The results are obvious: friends and associates go with the familiar rather than the unique. They do this because they don’t want to encourage the entrepreneur to take a bigger chance than he or she already has.

The research is usually instigated because many entrepreneurs are not comfortable with a fresh branding concept in the first place. They, too are seeking comfort just as intensely as they are novelty. And though they wish their brand to stand out, they don’t want to offend anyone. So comfort often wins out at the expense of a differentiated brand, and the brand never raises above the static. Continue reading An effective brand produces tension and buzz

One-word slogans may have run their courses.

The most compelling one-word sloganAt least I haven’t experienced one for several months.

I can’t remember too many of them – perhaps that is the short-coming of the one-word tagline. There is no context, no empathy.

I do remember Hewlett-Packard using “Invent” for a while. And Nisson had made commercials for a couple of years in which the one-word slogan was prominent. However, they used more than one I believe so none of them registered with me. Continue reading One-word slogans may have run their courses.

Brand differentiation: quality

Quality control personifiedJack Trout and Steve Rivkin in Differentiate or Die declare that quality is not a strong brand differentiator.

Why? Because others can achieve the level of quality enjoyed by the current quality leader given time and resources. Also, quality has become such an important factor for any product in any product category that quality has become a “given”. That doesn’t mean there are no poor quality offerings. It just means that customers buying reputable brands expect them to possess quality. Continue reading Brand differentiation: quality

Just what purpose does a tagline perform for a brand?

Slogans are good for you!James Chartrand, writing at CopyBlogger, authored a post called “How to Create a Rock-Solid Tagline That Truly Works”.

James defines a tagline, aka slogan or strapline, as ”…the key phrase that identifies your business by capturing the essence of three elements:

Your mission
Your promise
Your brand”

He then goes on to suggest how you develop that rock-solid tagline.

I’d just like to add a few thoughts. Continue reading Just what purpose does a tagline perform for a brand?

Most effective types of brand names identified

Ranking of eight name typesA while ago I downloaded a presentation by aXle Branding. I just revisited their site and could not find it, but here’s the url anyway: http://axlebranding.com/

One page displayed the aXle analysis of names strengths, weakest to strongest by name type. Their example was drawn from the communications industry.

I happen to agree with this assessment by and large. I’m not sure I could have made the distinction between “completely descriptive” and “ semi-descriptive”, but otherwise I embrace their approach. We are dealing with generalities here, so there are certainly some invented names that aren’t strong. And there are probably some family name types that are strong, either through use or additional associations (Edison, perhaps?). Continue reading Most effective types of brand names identified