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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Re-naming, a fable

Posted on Oct 16, 2012

Once upon a time, 3 portfolio managers split off from Megabroker, Fenner and Bean*, to form a new company. They didn’t budget any money for branding or naming, so they wound up with CLM ASSOCIATES, using their first initials. (Curly’s idea, but Larry and Moe agreed.) Everybody has a tagline, right? So they conceived Strategic […]

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Selection Set: get in it, and win it

Posted on Jul 9, 2012

What’s the first duty of a brand? You could make a good argument for a clear vision. Or internal sign-on. Visibility. Differentiation. Customer insight. All of those would be reasonable choices, because they’re all fundamental, and must be present to have any hope of success. So … let’s go into Double Jeopardy where the scores […]

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Startup Success Step #4

Posted on Apr 14, 2012

How much capital do you need for your startup? Tough question, with as many answers as there are startups. Don’t accept the formula that you must have a 12-month supply of money to operate the business – why prevent yourself from creating your venture just because your funds are limited? Yes, the undercapitalized startup is […]

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Startup Success Step #14

Posted on Apr 14, 2012

Grab that category. We often talk about owning a category, a very desirable if ambitious goal for a startup, particularly if you can create a Blue Ocean category where you are the only participant. More often, your startup will resemble other alternatives in an existing category. So the relevant question becomes, if you can’t own […]

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How many competitors do you have, really?

Posted on Nov 17, 2011

If you answered, “too many” or “way too many” or “crikey, too bloody many,” you are normal, worriedly normal, or weirdly influenced by Danger Mouse but normal. Most companies (and cpg brands, job applicants, charities, tv shows, candidates, etc., etc.) feel they have plenty of competition. They’re correct. One traditional (and often correct) strategy is […]

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Keep your “drill down” down

Posted on Jun 21, 2011

Writing for and designing websites means serving three audiences, all of them important: people who want to hear your brand story (Quals), people who also want to know your proofs and processes (Quants), and search engine robots (Bots). Most websites fail this test. The biggest failure is not realizing that 86% of visitors, the Quals, […]

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How Customer-Centered hurts your brand

Posted on May 14, 2011

You’re proud of your customer service. What could be wrong with that? Several things. For one, if you are truly “centered on your customers,” offer “great customer service,” or try to stay “close to the customer,” (to quote three clichés), you will miss great growth opportunities, and probably adopt a less-than-powerful brand strategy. To readers […]

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USP? R.I.P.

Posted on Apr 22, 2011

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) concept is pleasingly simple to grasp. It’s a lot like horoscope reading, as it seems to offer semi-magical power to make friends and influence customers. Too bad it’s an illusion.

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