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 […]

Continue reading »

The $100,000 impulse purchase

Posted on Jan 13, 2016

All buying decisions are emotional. . “Even the ones made by meeeeeeeeeee?” “Yep.” All of them? The assertion deeply offends people, especially B2B marketers who believe in their own rational choices. They will concede that while they (artists, voters, teenagers, televangelists) are driven by emotions, we right-thinking folk (you, me, actuaries, rocket surgeons) are certainly […]

Continue reading »

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 […]

Continue reading »

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 […]

Continue reading »

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 […]

Continue reading »

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 […]

Continue reading »

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. […]

Continue reading »

Global naming, and the “no va” myth.

Posted on Aug 5, 2012

Naming for multinational markets demands you learn what the name suggests in multiple languages and cultures.  You don’t want to discover too late that your brand means “poop” in Punjabi, or “fraud” in Farsi. But which and how many languages? The easy answer is, as many languages as are spoken where you market, now or […]

Continue reading »

Startup Success Step #3

Posted on Apr 14, 2012

Every business plan is fiction. The very idea of a Year 5 Sales Volume Projection for a company that hasn’t opened its doors yet is clearly an amusing fantasy, but there it sits (lies?) in that time-honored novella, the business plan. If it’s a fantasy, is it still worth doing? Of course. The exercise of […]

Continue reading »

Startup Success Step #10

Posted on Apr 14, 2012

Company naming is a major neglected area of startup investment. Many entrepreneurs believe they either lack the capital to get professional help in naming, or believe it’s a do-it-yourself area where they can save a few bucks for the dozens of other startup expenses tugging at their wallet. They named their children after all, and […]

Continue reading »