Another meaningful brand going the wrong way.

Crying over another brand being dilutedThere was a news release on the B2B News Alert this morning that just had me shaking my head.

What has Rupert Murdoch rendered upon the Wall Street Journal?

Here’s the story:

“Wall Street Journal’ glossy magazine renamed ‘WSJ.’

“New York—The name of The Wall Street Journal’s glossy magazine, slated to debut Sept. 6, has been changed from Pursuits to WSJ. WSJ., which will

focus on luxury markets, will be delivered to 800,000 subscribers of the Journal as an insert in the newspaper’s “Weekend Edition.” A spokesman for Dow

Jones & Co., which publishes the Journal, said the name WSJ. resonated with both readers and advertisers.” Continue reading Another meaningful brand going the wrong way.

The troubled Sears brand:

another voice heard from.

Well, I’m not the only one to have expressed an opinion about Sears and their brands. (You can read that blog by clicking Salvaging Sears.)

Jack Trout, long-time advisor, speaker and co-author of a dozen branding books (including the pioneering classic, Positioning: the Battlefield for your Mind with Al Ries) , blogged at Brand Strategy Insider about Sear’s seeming abandonment of its sub-brands.

His take is that those sub-brands are the only way Sears differentiates itself from J.C.Penneys, Target, Kohls and other general merchandise chains. He be-moans Sears seeming lack of aggression in promoting and backing these child-brands..

My take was to spin those sub-brands into separate specialty chains. If Batteries Plus can succeed, then certainly Die-Hard could.

Anyway, we both see that the Sears brand is in deep trouble. We both have doubts if they’ll survive taking the course they’re now on.

Martin Jelsema

Competitive assessments lead to strong positioning strategies.

More about the brand platform

How to perform competitive profiles for your brand platformI promised to speak to competitive information relevant to establishing a brand platform. So here goes.

Actually, I’ll devote three blogs to this subject because the type and source of information will be different depending upon what you’re branding.

This post concerns branding a locally-owned retail company.

So first, why assess retail competitors in the first place?

You’re attempting to find a “position” in your prospects’ minds you can call your own – a positive, relevant position people will warm to. If a competitor already owns a particular position, you cannot own it, too. You must find another way to position and differentiate your business. It’s important. Continue reading Competitive assessments lead to strong positioning strategies.

Analyzing the names of INC 500 companies:

One-word vs two-word vs three-plus-word names.

Analyzing the names of INC 500 companies for ten yearsI’m fascinated by brand names, whether they be product names, service names, corporate names, names of events or names of product features.

So I took on a project lately that I find engrossing if not significant.

You know that INC Magazine publishes an annual fall issue of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the U.S.

Well, I reasoned that these savvy companies might know something about naming companies since they seem to be doing lots of other things right if they’re among the top 500. Continue reading Analyzing the names of INC 500 companies:

Criteria for logo development and evaluation

Logo design goes way backCertainly there’s quite a bit of subjective opinion being expressed when it comes to selecting a logo for your brand. Branding is more than designing a logo, but the logo is an important branding element, so it should be evaluated with the same thoroughness as the brand name itself.

Don’t just rely on opinions: Someone doesn’t like a certain color, another thinks the type isn’t distinctive enough, and you think the proportion is all wrong. Well, everyone has a right to their opinion, but for brand elements, professional criteria should reign.

A better way to evaluate and select a logo: Continue reading Criteria for logo development and evaluation

Branding or lead generation? Why not both?

Lead generation and branding can go togetherThere’s a headline in the latest issue of B2B, the ink-on-paper magazine devoted to business-to-business marketing, that caught my eye and brought me back to an old argument.

The headline: “When the going gets rough, branding or lead generation?”

For full attribution, the article is by Matthew Schwartz in the February 11 issue, and he makes a lot of sense to me. Now I’ve done a lot of lead generation programs, especially during the 1960’s and 70’s, and now I’m an evangelist for branding.

And from my point of view, lead generation can be a form of branding, and branding can be a great foundation for lead generation.

I’ve always believed you can perform both if you’re messaging is relevant to your prospects and customers. The article didn’t really vindicate this position. It’s tone was summed up in the final quote by Hayes Roth, CMO of Landor Associates, a major branding consultancy. He said, “You abandon the brand, you abandon your future.”

When I had my ad agency, I almost always advised my clients, B2B clients, to opt for benefit-oriented, prospect-pointed ads that asked for action. They were no-nonsense, product featured with a strong benefit headline, informative copy and a prominent logo and tagline. Then, either a coupon or a request to use the reader service for more information.

The ads were almost always a campaign with a similar look and tone. Their look in themselves built trust and recognition of the clients and their products. Even the direct mail campaigns we launched were brand-building as well as lead generating.

Neither function was diluted because of the dual role of the ads. We build for the future as well as for this quarter’s sales.

It can really be said, there’s no need to chose. Do both.

Martin Jelsema