If you own a car, there are countless ways you can find yourself at a body shop: you back into a fire hydrant, you develop a strange attraction to shopping carts, someone keys your door. You get the idea. Most cars have also become quite good at letting us know when someone needs to look under the hood – idiot lights on the dash, funny sounds, a new smoking habit, or one day it just decides to not move.

Why is it then, that we fail to act when we think—sometimes even know— that our brand is in disrepair? Well, whether it’s an abandoned Buick on the side of the road, or a brand new Prius with a sticky accelerator, there are identifiable indicators that it’s time to make a visit to “the brand shop”. The following are a few things that may light up your brand’s dashboard:

1.  Your market environment has changed. Your customers’ expectations of how a brand in your space looks, means, and behaves has altered. Are you keeping up with it? What your brand offers is still relevant to your customers, but how they think of you (and talk about you) needs to change to allow you to be more competitive.

2.  Your organization is transforming. You may have identified a new line of business, or adopted a new model, new markets may have emerged—your brand has to evolve with these changes, right down to its fundamentals. While you are not remotely a start-up, in many respects you need to act like one. You must carefully identify the perfect positioning, employ the right strategies and develop new messages and digital properties that are in sync with your transformation.

3.  Your competition is more aggressively managing its brand to better connect with your customers and prospects. If someone in your category is creating a lot of buzz, inspiring messaging and visual expression. You need to react before it’s too late. They say in the next five years there will be more change than there were in the last fifty. If your brand foundation and products are sound, you should be able to adapt and manage any change.

4.  Your communications—print, video and digital—just don’t reflect your brand position. If you’re on top of your offerings and operations, but find yourself apologizing for every brochure and URL you hand out, then it’s time to take a new look at how you express yourself visually. There have never been more tools available to you to refresh your brand.

5.  You took a wrong direction. A lot of things can lead us down the wrong path: Misinterpreted research, aggressive purchasing, even a shift in the market. Or maybe you just took a gamble.  At any rate, your brand is currently out of sync with the direction your industry is taking—or more importantly what your customers are wanting. A brand course correction is needed.

6.  Your brand has changed, but the perception hasn’t. Your products/services are in the forefront – you offer great innovations, higher quality and greater value to your customers. But they’re just not getting it. You need to eliminate this lag and allow your company to move forward. The good news is that you have the vision, model and value to fuel new messages, a new visual expression and a brand that will advance your evolved organization.

Once you have identified your ‘flashing sign’, understanding what course you need to take to transform your brand will go a long way towards ensuring the work you undertake will be necessary and effective.  A good full service ‘brand shop’ should help you better understand what’s wrong (diagnostic), what it will take to get you from here to there (planning), which experience will take you to your destination (creative), and how to continuously stay on the right track (stewardship/optimization).

Advertisements
In it’s rich tradition of April Fools jokes, Google changed their “Google” logo to “Topeka” today. Why? Awhile back, the mayor of Topeka declared to change their name to Google if they were chosen to be the first city to get their Google internet service.  A bold move by Topeka rewarded them with a one-of-kind free branding/marketing on the first day of April.

Google? Topeka?, originally uploaded by Stubbornella (aka Nicole).

Are You Going Stale?

February 10, 2010

What scares you?  What keeps you up at night, and nags at the back of your consciousness?  There are few things that frighten me, one of them being that I have stopped learning and, like old bread, have gotten stale.

Can you imagine waking up one day to discover that your capacity to take in new knowledge has ended?  That everything you are going to learn has already happened and that your brain, now filled to capacity, was blinking “hard drive full”?  It can happen.  I have experienced it.

One thing that occurs when you are the custodian of a marketing budget is that everyone wants to meet with you.  If you allowed every new vendor to come in for a pitch, you could literally spend every day watching Power Point slides.  To better manage your time you set up protocols and processes–your staff and agencies screen new opportunities and vendors and only highlight those that they feel are right and likely to interest you.  This frees you up to focus on running your marketing programs, driving your business, and managing your time.

But all those protocols and layers are traps.  They isolate you from the marketplace and insulate you from innovation.  Your ability to compare and make decisions on new opportunities based on your firsthand knowledge/exposure diminishes… you are going stale.  So what can you do to stay current and in-touch with new options and changing landscapes without being capsized by solicitation?  Here are some fuel for thought suggestions:

  • Conference: Attend at least one conference a year that focuses on new marketing practices.  It is a great way to explore emerging trends and opportunities as well as network, share, talk and collaborate with peers and experts.  One conference series I highly recommend marketers to consider attending is the iMedia Summit — an excellent 3-day conference where they bring seasoned practitioners, marketers and vendors together.  Sigma’s annual Fuel For Thought conference is also packed with great content and attended by senior-level marketing executives from a variety of sectors/categories.  This year’s conference is planned to take place in October.
  • Follow & Document: Get into the habit of following trends and documenting what it will mean for your business in the near future. A well organized consolidation of trends can shape and provide clarity for new directions and opportunities. With the vastness of marketing related news sites, blogs, feeds, forums, groups, conversations on social networks, etc., there are numerous ways for you to create your own resource pool. I personally find Twitter to be extremely useful with their list building and aggregation. Here are a few Twitter lists I routinely scan throughout the day:
  • New Opportunity Day: Conduct a New Opportunity Day where you and your team meet only with companies you haven’t done business with–those that have been on your radar but you have pushed off due to lack of time, priority and/or perhaps even too many protocols.  To make this truly productive, make one of your marketing goals where success will be achieved through expanding into new approaches, channels and tools (e.g., social media, mobile, augmented reality, etc.).  Coordinate with your team and/or agency to issue an invitation to vendors/potential partners that clearly outlines your goal(s), timing and budget specifically tied to this initiative.  State clearly that this is not a general sales meeting, but rather you are inviting them to share suggestions that will help you further innovate your marketing by leveraging on their expertise and solutions.
  • Miracle Whip Strikes Back!

    November 13, 2009

    Last month, Stephen Colbert mercilessly mocked Miracle Whip‘s new TV commercial on his Comedy Central show.

    Picture 31

    Yesterday, Miracle Whip struck back with an open letter to Stephen Colbert in newspapers yesterday threatening to “dominate the airspace” on his show to expose his viewers to “hardcore Miracle Whip attitude and revelry.”

    An open letter to Stephen Colbert from Miracle Whip, as seen in this morning’s amNewYork:   Dear Mr. Colbert, Recently on your show, you tapped into a sore spot in our nation’s psyche: the eternal struggle between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. And surprisingly, for a man of your impeccable intellect, you’ve chosen the wrong side. A side doomed to a painful, drawn-out, utter and complete defeat. Like the Plantagenets in the Hundred Years’ War. Or whichever on was the cat in “Tom and Jerry.” Mr. Colbert, we found your attacks a little harsh, occasionally funny, and at times, wholly inaccurate (for the record, our target is 18-35, not 34). But unlike most advertisers who are so mayo, who would back down at the slightest whiff of controversy, and pull their advertising from not just your show but from your entire network and all its sister entities – we intend to do the opposite. On Thursday, November 12, we will dominate the airspace on your show. With every commercial break, your viewers will be exposed to hardcore Miracle Whip attitude and revelry. You will see our legion of (as you call them) “mayonay-sayers” snarfing sandwiches topped with our one-of-a-kind flavor in a very cool and totally hip way. They will be in your face and massively dope. It goes without saying, they WILL NOT TONE IT DOWN. And you will begin to see the soft, bland white walls of the mayo empire begin to collapse under the weight of its own whipped-egg pretentiousness. Think about it, Mr. Colbert. In a sense, we will own you. We’re on a mission. We’re taking no prisoners. We’re raising Hell, man. THE BOLD MARKETING TEAM AT MIRACLE WHIP  I don’t like mayonnaise or miracle whip, but this is amazing.Dear Mr. Colbert,

    Recently on your show, you tapped into a sore spot in our nation’s psyche: the eternal struggle between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip.  And surprisingly, for a man of your impeccable intellect, you’ve chosen the wrong side. A side doomed to a painful, drawn-out, utter and complete defeat. Like the Plantagenets in the Hundred Years’ War. Or whichever on was the cat in “Tom and Jerry.”

    Mr. Colbert, we found your attacks a little harsh, occasionally funny, and at times, wholly inaccurate (for the record, our target is 18-35, not 34). But unlike most advertisers who are so mayo, who would back down at the slightest whiff of controversy, and pull their advertising from not just your show but from your entire network and all its sister entities – we intend to do the opposite.

    On Thursday, November 12, we will dominate the airspace on your show. With every commercial break, your viewers will be exposed to hardcore Miracle Whip attitude and revelry. You will see our legion of (as you call them) “mayonay-sayers” snarfing sandwiches topped with our one-of-a-kind flavor in a very cool and totally hip way. They will be in your face and massively dope. It goes without saying, they WILL NOT TONE IT DOWN. And you will begin to see the soft, bland white walls of the mayo empire begin to collapse under the weight of its own whipped-egg pretentiousness.

    Think about it, Mr. Colbert. In a sense, we will own you.

    We’re on a mission. We’re taking no prisoners.

    We’re raising Hell, man.

    THE BOLD MARKETING TEAM AT MIRACLE WHIP

    Comedy Central’s responded right away in the afternoon to MW’s letter with the following statement on their blog:

    Well, now MW has responded with the big guns. That’s right, they’re buying up a bunch of ad space on tonight’s Colbert Report. Aw snap! It’s like they say, you mess with the bull, you get the giant horns made of ad revenue.

    Living up to their open letter, MW dominated The Colbert Report last night by airing three new commercials.

    I honestly don’t know if this is a parody or not — a big part of me hopes that it’s authentic…  But regardless, what a smart and creative way of expanding out MW’s campaign in traditional media that spot-on supports their new strategic positioning and message – “We’re Miracle Whip and Will Not Tone It Down”.  Great job Bold Marketing Team At Miracle Whip!

    Recipe To Get Noticed?

    November 2, 2009

    Add 1 oz Creativity, 1 oz Tool, 1/2 oz Fun, 1/2 oz Unexpectedness. Shake everything and let it “Fly”

     

     

    Snacking by JennKim

    Next time, I’ll think twice before throwing away those useless, inglorious toilet paper rolls.

    Posted via web from Snacking

     

    Posted via web from Snacking