Category Archives: Brand Managment

Branding with wit for B-to-B marketers

Branding with wit for B-to-B marketers

Martin Lindstrom, a branding consultant and writer, is contributing short videos under the Ad Age banner. The feature is called BrandFlash.

Lindstrom advocates wit as a way to differentiate in B-to-B marketsHe did a feature recently concerning the blandness of B-to-B branding, and suggested three ideas that can help get businesses above the static with their business markets.

His main points: Continue reading Branding with wit for B-to-B marketers

Compromising the brand – two examples

Recently I’ve observed a couple of companies who should be more careful in maintaining their brand and the attributes that differentiate them from competition. One, Kia, is now marketing a “premium” automobile. The other, Whole Foods, wants to dispel their high-price image.

Aspiring up or down can be difficultBoth will experience big problems in their respective efforts.

It’s so hard to change a brand perception, even with large budgets and aggressive activity. One of the great benefits of a strong brand is that it’s difficult to dislodge it from the minds of people exposed to its communications and promotions.

So Kia has been the low-priced darling of many a satisfied customer. The brand wedged into the market as economy transportation and will remain in that position in the minds of affluent car buyers who have multiple choices, most which have built solid premium reputations over time. And several – Toyota, Nisson and Honda – created new brands to encroach upon the German-led luxury monopoly. So will Kia penetrate the high-end market on the basis of a quality product and a little lower price? I think not. I think the mind set of those able to afford expensive cars will stick with the models offering traditional prestige. Sorry, Kia.

As for Whole Foods, their reputation for quality, natural and exotic foods overrides any other image in the minds of customers and prospects. And those differentiators equate to higher prices. What’s more, there’s a hard core band of customers who are more than willing to pay higher prices – and brag about it.  If Whole Foods strays away from its base it’s likely to alienate a percentage of their customer base. Even though Whole Foods claims they will not sacrifice their approach to merchandise, an emphasis on competing with the corner super market will take some of the mystique from shopping at Whole Foods.

So you have two companies, one aspiring to a more affluent market, the other to a more mass market. Both are motivated by pressures to grow and believing that the way to do so is to tap markets at one or the other end of their existing customer base.

Both are heading into that abyss typified by the Chevrolet in attempting to be everything for everybody and ending up being an undifferentiated, so-so transportation commodity. Tom Peters said it best: “nobody aspires to a Chevrolet”.

Martin Jelsema

Is advertising dead? Not the good stuff.

This headline caught my attention the other day: Advertising Is Dead, Long Live Packaging. It was an article from Brandchannel by Ted Mininni.

Advertising dead as a Do Do?But the reason for this blog is to give a different slant on the idea that [tag-tec]advertising[/tag-tec] is dead.

Certainly Ted’s not alone in voicing this trend. Al and Laura Ries wrote a book named The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR in 2002. The great interest in “experiential marketing” has gained attention and greater slices of the marketing budget for many companies. And, of course there’s the Internet and the second generation of web marketing, i.e., Social Marketing 2.

Yes, there are nay-sayers galore, and I must admit to being one of them. I deplore advertising for creativity’s sake. I’d say fully a third of the commercials on TV are irrelevant and often incoherent.

The commercials I admire consistently, as a class, are [tag-tec]info-commercials[/tag-tec]. Continue reading Is advertising dead? Not the good stuff.

Can advertising be treated as an asset under brand development?

This question was posed on the LinkedIn “Answers” section this morning.

The question: “Are there cases or examples of newspaper advertising being part of the brand development, therefore can be treated as an asset rather than an expense”? Continue reading Can advertising be treated as an asset under brand development?

Two great sources concerning brand managment

Here are two blogs I recommend highly for meaty content on branding. Whether you’re a pro or tyro, you’ll find good info at Branding Strategy Insider and at HBS Working Knowledge

Here are a couple of examples of their articles on brand management:

Brand Management: The Hilfiger Lessons

But then came the new century, and Hilfiger struggled to maintain the momentum. Tommy would learn some of the key lessons of brand management the hard way. First, growth and success are the two biggest enemies of all strong brands. …

Sharpening Your Skills: Brand Management

Questions to be Answered. Does branding work for business-to-business marketing? Can individuals create their own brand? Should I trust my brand to a sports personality? How should I think about brand dilution? …

I’m sure you’ll find yourself returning to both these sites if you’re really serious about branding issues.

Martin Jelsema

Use the abstraction ladder to test your brand

When I first heard the term “abstraction ladder”, was in a communications seminar sponsored by the IBM Education Center. I believe a concept was originated by S.I.Hayakawa.

the abstraction ladderThe idea behind the abstraction ladder is that the more abstract the word or phrase used to describe an object, concept or situation, the less precise the description is. The more abstract, the more chance for confusion and miscommunication.

Here was the example – I remember it even though it’s been forty years since that seminar.

At the very top of the ladder sits the most abstract term. In this case, “capital assets”.

Continue reading Use the abstraction ladder to test your brand