The Customer Service Delusion

Posted on Sep 21, 2017

Every purchase decision involves emotion. We buy from people we like, we buy from brands we like. Unless you’re selling commodities to robots, reason takes a back seat to feelings. Spock fails at branding. Every time.

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Spock Fails at Branding

Posted on Sep 15, 2017

Every purchase decision involves emotion. We buy from people we like, we buy from brands we like. Unless you’re selling commodities to robots, reason takes a back seat to feelings. Spock fails at branding. Every time.

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Is Your Differentiator Ownable? Really?

Posted on Sep 13, 2017

Claiming great customer service as your key differentiator doesn’t work. People demand perfect customer service, every time from every business. Besides that, Those Other Guys make the same lame claim. Time to re-think.

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Will death finally catch up with this branding mistake?

Posted on Mar 1, 2016

Bonefish Grill announced they’re closing 14 of their restaurants, sparing some of us the recurring jolt of seeing their unpleasant name and logo as we speed past. Someone, somewhere decided this was a brand identity that would succeed. It would be disruptive. It would stick with you (kind of like a bone stuck in your […]

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Can a $200,000 college choice be an impulse purchase?

Posted on Jan 13, 2016

Yes, buying decisions are to some degree emotional. All of them. This assertion deeply offends marketers who trust rationality. But the evidence is stacked the other way. Customers buy from people they like, and by extension, from brands they like. Consider that college choice, by reputation a considered purchase given the 6-figure price tag. No […]

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Is your marketing ROI in decline?

Posted on Aug 25, 2013

Do your ads, intended to sizzle, fizzle? Does it cost more, year against year, to get through to your market? When we pose this question to CEOs and CMOs, the answer is a uniform and melancholy Yes. Marketing ROI is declining for companies who are not evolving fast enough. Outbound marketing is less cost-effective this […]

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The branding lesson of “Manatee gray.” Target’s blunder, or triumph?

Posted on Apr 21, 2013

Recently, WGN radio asked us to discuss branding issues, starting with a Target stores’ mini-scandal. Imagine a plus-size dress labeled as “Manatee gray.” It’s worth a listen. Our takeaway was not about Target’s unfortunate error, but their brilliant response. The interview also veered into other areas, including Acura’s inept model-naming, the Wii, and “the quicker picker-upper.” Correcting […]

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Good to the last drop

Posted on Jan 25, 2013

“Good to the last drop” was first used in 1907. Maxwell House coffee made it “Good to the last drop®” in 1926 when they finally protected the trademark. So, for everyone who questions the cost of good branding/marketing/advertising – often the investment in intellectual property returns value for years, decades, or even centuries. Want more […]

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Must you compete on price?

Posted on Jan 2, 2013

Competing on price is evidence of branding failure. The strongest brands don’t have to compete on price. Consumers happily pay 40% more for Morton Salt over store-brand sodium chloride. They’ll pay an equivalent premium for a famous deodorant over a chemically-identical price brand. Is it just awareness? No. Some brands have high visibility, but that’s […]

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How do you answer “We already tried that”?

Posted on Nov 19, 2012

How do you solve the recurring difficulty of brand stakeholders stuck behind the that-doesn’t-work-for-us barrier? Sure, sometimes it’s legitimate. There are always strategies, tactics, media and processes impractical for a given brand. (Don’t advertise tampons during hockey broadcasts, or reverse mortgages on the Disney Channel.) There are even whole market segments that should be avoided. […]

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