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Original articles from Kaitlin T. Gallucci.
 
Pokémon GO & Its Impact on Non-Profit Branding
A brief synopsis: the new and tremendously popular mobile game Pokémon GO, in which players catch Pokémon in the “real world” via augmented reality, generally identifies local historical markers and points of interest as PokeStops (locations to collect items) and PokeGyms (locations to battle Pokémon). As a result, museums and historic sites have noticed increased local traffic...

Shoppers May Start Sharing
Data is a hot topic. Digital information is now doubling every two years, but consumers often express privacy concerns. According to a recent Forrester Customer Intelligence report, many consumers don't even want you to know their names. However, the results of a new IBM study suggest that consumers may be more inclined to share when the result is more relevant communication.

Step By Step
"Essence" is defined as "the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing." Every brand has an essence. Derrick Daye of Branding Strategy Insider explains that we can discover the essence of a brand by examining abstract implications of a brand's features.

A Question of Proper Hygiene
Accepted list hygiene practices have us removing records who have been inactive for a year or more. Those darn inactives are a threat to our deliverability! However, CEO of Alchemy Worx Dela Quist explains, "inactivity is normal activity."

A Marketer Shalt
Marketing expert Jack Trout has shared his "10 Commandments" of marketing. How many are you familiar with? What marketing practices would you consider worthy of carving in stone?

Under Pressure
The recession certainly put a new emphasis on the importance of budget management. Perhaps also as a result of the common belief that "marketers are always asking for more money" but neglecting to consider ROI in budgeting, client-side marketers are increasingly under pressure to cut costs.

What Women Want
We know men and women have different consumer habits. What percentage of your consumers are women? According to She-conomy, women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, spending about $5 trillion annually. However, 91% of women believe that marketers don't "understand" them. Who does?

What's Influencing Your Consumers?
Purchasing decisions are often emotionally influenced. Many factors contribute to a consumer's decision-making process. Do you know the primary factor behind 20–50% of all purchasing decisions?

Are You Really 'Digitally Active?'
As we saw yesterday, digital marketing is often perceived as the new "post-traditional" form of marketing (whether that's true is debatable, but the belief is pervasive). So, one would assume that for all the "traditional is dead" arguments, marketers must be making major strides on the digital side... right?

Don't Throw Out the Baby With the Bathwater
Many "modern" marketers seem comfortable throwing traditional marketing concepts out the window. But just because the landscape has evolved — and continues to — that doesn't render traditional concepts irrelevant. As Margie Clayman argues, there are certainly tried-and-true elemental marketing concepts we can still rely on.

A Tangible, Transferable Brand
Designer Gadi Amit has proposed a new test for brand value: the "Tangible Brand" test. As Amit writes, "For branding to succeed... the brand must become tangible... brands work because they package emotions and attachments into an experience that actually lives in the world." Do you think this is an accurate test of brand value?

Great Expectations
According to research, replacing a dissatisfied customer costs six to seven times as much as retaining a satisfied one. Considering that price tag, why aren't brands working harder to keep their customers happy?

Is Authenticity Inauthentic?
We've seen numerous times that consumers respond to authenticity; today's consumers "are more adept at spotting fake hype." They may be able to spot it, but as Michael Raisanen describes, they may not mind... as long as you're faking authenticity.

Teamwork: Culture and Strategy
As Shawn Parr of Bulldog Drummond writes, "strategy drives focus and direction while culture is the emotional, organic habitat in which a company's strategy lives or dies." However, Parr has also written that "culture eats strategy for lunch." Place your bets.

For Better or Worse?
In its description of the 2012 Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brand Walmart, Interbrand cited "philanthropic and sustainability initiatives, [demonstrations of] the company’s tireless dedication to betterment."

What Metrics Are You Using?
Perhaps the belief that "the days of strategic consistency are over; it’s all about inspiration and engagement" is part of why marketers are resorting to gut instinct to make decisions. What metrics are you using?

Are You Satisfied With ROI?
We've seen that many marketers are struggling with proving ROI. But why? According to Don Sexton, a marketing professor at Columbia Business School, "A lot of people... don't have any clear idea of what marketing ROI is." Do you agree?

Marketers Make Methodology Mistakes
Seventy-two percent of CEOs feel that marketers are "always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this will generate.” And as it turns out, 57% of CMOs don't establish their budgets based on ROI. Why?

The ROI of 'Gut Instinct'
Months ago, we saw a Fournaise Marketing Group study that revealed that a majority of CEOs think "marketers lack business credibility;" one of the biggest takeaways was that we seem to be struggling to prove ROI. A new study may reveal that those CEOs were right.

Big Plans for Twitter Brands
As brands scramble to keep up with Facebook's changes to brand pages, Twitter has announced its own changes as well. Currently, brand pages are still very similar to user pages.

Back in 'Time'
As consumers more frequently reach for competitors, leaving Miller Lite in a slump, the brand is going back in time to a tagline originally introduced in 1971 — "Miller Time." While the older "Miller Time" line has never entirely disappeared, it will officially replace the "Man Up" campaign that's been in play since 2010.

How Influential Are the 'Influencers?'
Perhaps not as influential as you previously thought. While their networks may be large, recent results show that you may be better off engaging with those who have smaller circles. Are you "chasing mythical influentials?"

Harley Fans Live the Brand... Even on Twitter
We recently saw Harley-Davidson as an example of a brand with "brand-building DNA" — a brand that develops an emotional connection and relationship with its customers. Harley's latest brand-building effort is its social "E Pluribus Unum" campaign. As AdWeek explains, "Harley's effort is distinct..."

Scent Marketing: The Nose Knows
Scent is now "a part of doing business," explains ScentAir CEO Andrew Kindfuller. He's not alone — like colors and sounds, scent can impact consumers' shopping. As Ward Simmons of Hugo Boss describes, "It's like a 'hello.'"

JC Penney: Diverse or Conflicted?
JC Penney's goal is to become "a store for all Americans—rich and poor, young and old, rural and suburban." But as Alexander Chernev asks: can it? Chernev writes that the retailer's ambition "goes against the conventional wisdom that it is difficult to succeed by trying to be everything to everybody." Like we recently saw, JC Penney's reinvented pricing strategy certainly appeals to some.

Brands Get an Emotional Response
As John Crowther of Creston Unlimited explains, "People no longer consume brands; they edit them... To make it through the editorial cut, brands need to reward consumers in a way that enriches their lives."

Doing Things Differently
We've been hearing a lot about brands on the edge — Sears, Kodak, etc. But it's not over yet. And while, according to PULL Brand Innovation, "the temptation is always to do more of what got you there," brand reinvention requires doing things differently. As PULL explains, "Reinvention means creating new value."

Brand Value Around the World
Throughout the world, consumers value different brands for different reasons. As we already learned, Walmart ranked first in the U.S. in Interbrand's report of the Most Valuable Retail Brands. Why?

The Value Beyond the Transaction
Brand recognition is important, but it isn't everything. Describing Gap, Interbrand wrote that the retailer "enjoys extremely high brand recognition, but has been adrift for some time." Recognition alone doesn't resonate. Storytelling does. According to Interbrand's report, Gap's brand value has increased since last year, due mostly in part to an authentic storytelling campaign.

The MVPs of Retail
Taking into consideration financial performance, the role of the brand, and brand strength to calculate Brand Value, Interbrand recently released its annual global report of the Most Valuable Retail Brands.

Under Armour's Social Application
Following the success of last year's "Ultimate Intern Team" search, Under Armour is expanding the program for 2012. With an emphasis on digital engagement, the application process is unique.

The Biology of Marketing
We know that our human DNA defines our personal characteristics... what about a brand's DNA (figuratively, of course)? Simon McLain and Jonathan Copulsky of the Deloitte Review have identified five marketing archetypes.

What's the Meaning of Your Brand?
What defines the "meaning" of a brand? As Nigel Hollis explains, brand meaning comes in layers (about three, to be more specific). The outer "layer" applies to its context within popular culture.

Cole Haan: Sole Searching
Ivan Wicksteed recently became the Chief Marketing Officer for Cole Haan, addressing the 84-year-old brand's "identity crisis." Beyond product development or even marketing, Cole Haan is struggling with its brand. Wicksteed explains, "[Cole Haan] needs a pretty fundamental, deep dive into who it is..."

Cool, But Not Cool Enough
"It's been an amazing winter, with virtually no snow." Yes, we seem to have been "lucky." But as Paul Walsh, VP of Weather Analytics for The Weather Channel, explains, "When it comes to weather and driving demand, timing is everything... By the time you get to Presidents' Day, it's all about spring."

Marketing to Habits
We all have habits; we even consume certain products based on habit. How does your brand fit into your consumers' habits?

A Brand to Be Desired
Buyology Inc. has just released its second annual report of the Most Desired Brands in the U.S. Testing took place just a week ago, February 6–10, measuring the Neurotypes of over 220 brands among a sample of 4,000 U.S. consumers.

Scandal As Positioning?
Some brands aren't built on just how great they are, but also how bad they can be. For some, scandal is a branding nightmare; for others, it reiterates core positioning. In the case of Susan G. Komen, scandal is bad.

Nike Follows Its Core Consumer
In what Fortune calls " the biggest change... since the creation of 'Just Do It,' or even since a graphic design student at Portland State University put pen to paper and created the Swoosh," Nike's Digital Sport division is shifting the brand's marketing efforts.

Branding Baby Blue
The Blue Ivy "brand" is safe in the hands of the Carters. According to the Washington Post, parents are legally authorized to trademark the names of their minor children, protecting them from commercial misuse. At least two trademark applications were submitted within weeks of the infant's birth.

Giants of the Brand Bowl
Once again, PepsiCo's Doritos aired the most talked-about Super Bowl commercials, earning it the top spot in the 2012 Brand Bowl. The brand's ads — featuring a baby in a slingshot and a "lost" cat — received over 48,000 Twitter mentions and a 29% positive sentiment rating (better than last year's 6%).

Anheuser-Busch: 'No More Morons'
Typical mass-market beer branding brings to mind visions of the Average Joe, the blue-collar worker, the college dude. Anheuser-Busch InBev's new CMO Paul Chibe calls it the "dumbing down" of the category — and the brand did not play dumb with its newest campaigns.

No Ordinary Super Bowl Spot
The 2011 Marketer of the Year has started off the new year with a bang. Coca-Cola flexed its engagement muscles in with its live-streaming Polar Bowl campaign, coinciding with this past weekend's Super Bowl.

Fair and Square: 'Easy' or 'Ridiculous?'
One week after the launch of its new pricing and promotional strategy, consumers are responding to the innovative "reinvention" of J.C. Penney. Understandably, for such a massive overhaul, feelings are mixed.

A Focus on Beautyrest
Bedding giant Simmons is undergoing a "complete brand transformation," the focus of which will be on its flagship Beautyrest brand. Driven by a "consumer-centric" approach, Simmons is introducing a new logo, tagline, and advertising campaign.

The 'Work Phone' Meets the 'Bold Team'
RIM's "bold" Twitter campaign — asking followers how they would be "bold" in 2012 — was fairly brand appropriate for a producer of the quintessential (though fading) "work phone." "Bold" seems like the type of word that Blackberry-using professionals would like to use to describe themselves. However, the campaign's resulting "Bold Team" was highly questionable (and criticized).

Are You Your Logo?
How well does your logo represent your brand? Could strangers to your brand know what you do, simply by viewing your logo? As designer Adam Ladd's five-year-old daughter proves, some are iconic, others are interchangeable, and some are almost baffling. If you haven't seen this video, Ladd recorded his young daughter's reaction to a diverse series of 29 established brand logos.

Brown is the New Green
In recent years, many brands have "gone green" to improve their environmental impact. Organic, recyclable, locally-sourced — "green" takes many forms. Lately, green is turning brown. The prevalence of the green movement has resulted in a variety of "certified" green labels popping up.

Baby's Big Brand
On January 7, Jay-Z and Beyonce gave birth to their first daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. On January 11, a trademark application was filed for "Blue Ivy Carter NYC." However, the application was filed by a fashion designer unrelated to the Carter family. Who deserves the rights to a baby's name? We've read about personal brands being "hijacked" after death, but at birth?

Creating Luxury Content
We recently saw how luxury marketers are succeeding — and struggling — in digital, and some of the keys to maintaining a prestigious brand image. One of the tactics is, understandably, content marketing. Now, Jason Brick of the Content Strategist has some suggestions for enhancing and leveraging an effective luxury content marketing strategy.

Big Concerns About Big Data
According to recent reports, consumer/user data is doubling every two years, and marketers are getting smarter about leveraging this information — the wise use of data is expected to flourish in 2012. But consumers are getting smarter as well, and it seems they aren't as big of fans of big data.

The Reinvention of J.C. Penney
Age ain't nothing but a number - J.C. Penney may be nearly 110 years old, but the retailer is embarking on one of the most drastic and innovative rebranding strategies, led by its new CEO Ron Johnson (of Apple fame). The brand is rolling out a new "fair and square" pricing and promotional strategy.

Maintaining a Luxury Brand Image
Luxury consumers are online, and luxury brands are certainly on their way. Still, there are numerous challenges facing the luxury marketer online — how can you maintain the mystique and prestige of a brand’s image in a channel that is essentially a free-for-all? The eTail Blog recently shared some of the most important elements.

'Challenged' or Not, Hermès is Engaged
We recently saw Hermès receive a rating of “challenged” in L2’s “Digital IQ” report. Well, perhaps that will change in 2012. FMM just named Hermès' Paris Mon Ami one of the best luxury fashion brand blogs of 2011. The blog just launched in August of 2011 and introduced its latest campaign, “My Horse & I,” just days before the new year.

A Brand By Any Other Name
As we saw, Prophet released the results of a survey in which 5,000 U.S. consumers chose the brands they expect will no longer exist by the year 2015 — Eastman Kodak topped the list, with 27% of those surveyed believing the brand will disappear in the next three years, citing “bad product development, not forward-looking, and not adapting to change” as a few of the reasons.

Rebranding: Patience is a Virtue
Rebranding is a delicate process, especially for a brand like Weight Watchers whose product is, in essence, a way of life — consumers have been living by the brand’s iconic POINTS program since 1997. Due to modern advancements in nutritional science, the POINTS program needed to evolve.

Confused By Content Trends
Coca-Cola’s not the only marketer shifting its focus to content marketing. Research shows that marketers are planning to invest more into content, and according to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, approximately 90% of B2B marketers utilized content for marketing purposes in 2011. These marketers spend over a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing.

Consumer Stories Bring Authenticity to Brands
Last year, Honda proved that it “loves you back” with a series of personalized stunts aimed at reciprocating consumers’ appreciation for the brand. Lawns were mowed, heads were shaved, toenails were painted, and temporary tattoos were airbrushed. Luckily, Honda’s devotion did not end with the campaign.

Coca-Cola: 'Fat & Fertile' for 2020
We’ve seen Coca-Cola’s plan for spearheading business success, a “roadmap for winning together” called its 2020 Vision. Its goals include doubling system revenue, doubling daily servings, leading the industry in sustainability efforts, and enhancing productivity. The 2011 Marketer of the Year also has a marketing vision for 2020.

Beneath the Royal Brand
While the Royal Wedding fever cooled down post-wedding, the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are still a major royal “brand.” Last year, strategists debated whether the Royal Wedding could hurt the Royal family image, but today the married couple is being hailed as one of AdAge’s “Hottest Global Brands,” credited with reinventing and modernizing the perception of the British monarchy.

The Agile Marketer
Agility is more than being alert, flexible, and responsive — it’s the ability to be alert, flexible, and responsive quickly. For brands, complacency can be a veritable death sentence; today’s marketing landscape calls for marketers to be as agile as ever. As Mike Doyle asks, “what does it take these days for a brand to have longevity?”

‘Hey, Where’s the Cream Filling?’
When 5,000 U.S. consumers weighed in on the brands they expect to disappear by 2015, I doubt they were thinking of Twinkies. Yet Hostess has just declared bankruptcy for the second time in the past eight years. The iconic baker cited the poor economy and the cost of benefits as the causes for its filing. However, with over 80 years of history, Hostess remains optimistic.

Bloomingdale's Withstands the Test of Time
Some department stores are suffering, but others have embraced the opportunities of the new retail marketing landscape. Though comparable in age (both were founded in the late 19th century), Sears has failed to adapt while Bloomingdale’s has proceeded to reinvent itself. As Senior Vice President of Marketing Frank Berman explains, “You have to constantly innovate… everything runs its course over time.”

What Happened to Sears Holdings?
The future looks bleak for Sear Holdings. One hundred and twenty Sears and Kmart stores are planned to close as a result of poor sales, and consumers voted the company one of the most likely to completely disappear by 2015. As one analyst stated, “There is no reason for anyone to go to a Sears store.” What happened to the once-great retailer?

Who Has the Highest Digital IQ?
Burberry was recently named Luxury Marketer of the Year by Luxury Daily, and Hermès was named one of the best global brands of 2011 by Interbrand. In both cases, the brands’ sophisticated digital strategies were cited for contributing to their respective successes. However, L2’s third annual “Digital IQ” report provides some new insight.

Luxury Marketing is a 'Treat'
As we’ve seen recently, luxury marketing can be a struggle in the age of new media, and as we saw yesterday in the results of AdAge’s Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey, luxury shopping is evolving. Luxury consumers still exist, though “the desire for luxury experiences has not disappeared but has been redefined...”

The Affluent Market: Even Shoppers Are Strategizing
It may be wise to go over your new year’s marketing strategy once more, because according to a study by AdAge, even shoppers are strategizing. The annual Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey is a nationally representative behavioral study of more than 14,000 adults with at least $100,000 in annual household income.

2012: Mobile Is Taking Over
Marketers have been buzzing about mobile for years, and they are predicting that 2012 will be the year in which mobile truly takes off. Not that it hasn’t already started to take off — mobile usage continued to grow in 2011, with a record number of 1.2 billion apps being downloaded the week of Christmas.

The Modern Marketing M's
Another year, another marketing mix. This time, Fast Company’s Lisa Nirell wondered, “if marketing were so simple [to be defined by the Four P’s], then why do so many marketing and sales initiatives fail?” She suggests the following Four M’s.

Developing Competent Content Marketing
As we saw last week, 78% of U.S. marketers are shifting marketing dollars from traditional media to branded content, and content marketing is continuing to grow. This week, Industry Leaders Magazine is sharing three tips for content marketing.

Burberry Makes Luxury Marketing Work
Burberry’s innovative and effective use of cross-channel media has helped the retailer surpass both Ralph Lauren and BMW to be named the luxury marketer of the year by Luxury Daily (Ralph Lauren received the honor last year). Like many luxury retailers this year, Burberry streamed live broadcasts of its runway shows.

Macy's Mobile Marketing Magic
Coca-Cola may be the marketer of the year, but who is making moves in mobile? According to Mobile Marketer, Macy’s is the mobile marketer of the year. Team Obama won the honor in 2008, Polo Ralph Lauren in 2009, and Starbucks in 2010.

Sharing Happiness: Coca-Cola is the Marketer of the Year
As AdAge reports, “Coca-Cola is it again.” The brand has just been named the marketer of the year, having established a number of innovative and successful campaigns with top agencies such as Wieden & Kennedy, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, and Ogilvy & Mather. From Coke to Diet Coke, Smartwater to Minute Maid, Fanta to Fuze, 2011 was Coca-Cola’s year.

Content Marketing Gaining Speed
According to a recent study by the Custom Content Council and ContentWise, 78% of US marketers plan to shift investments from traditional marketing to branded content marketing. More specifically, 62% are “moderately” making the shift, while 16% are pursuing it “aggressively.”

Final Destination: Holiday Edition
With the holiday season peaking, we can already see the post-holiday light at the end of the tunnel (if you consider it a “light”). Both Hanukkah and Christmas will be ending in days, and the window for shipping online purchases in time for these holidays is closed for the most part; but nearly 35% of online consumers are expected to make their final purchases between December 22 and 24.

Where Are Your Consumers Shopping?
We already know that marketing channels are not all created equal; they all have their individual strengths and weaknesses. Different channels suit different messages. The Internet is a complex platform with a multitude of available touch points, and consumers seem to gravitate towards particular channels.

Holiday Marketing 'Right On Time'
The holidays are awfully noisy. Consumers are looking for value and, in turn, discounts are abundant. As tensions rise, how can a brand stand out? Forbes recently asked a few top retailers for some thoughts. Of course consumers want discounts, but they don’t want to be bombarded.

Old Habits Die Hard
Can traditional media survive by consumer habit? Earlier this year, the New York Times announced that it would go out of print “sometime in the future,” and while a Harris Poll revealed that many feel “the day of the printed newspaper is gone,” 81% responded that “there will always be a need for newspapers in print.”

Cross-Channel Consumers
Recently, Econsultancy released the results of a survey which revealed that 48% of US and UK consumers consider the opportunity to shop across channels is “useful.” Now, a new study by Oracle has even more insight on consumers’ views on cross-channel commerce.

Holiday Discounts Have Increased 30%
We expected holiday marketing promotions to be big this year, but so far, they’ve been even bigger than big. The typical holiday shopper is looking for value and, in turn, promotional offers have increased dramatically. But what happens when the holiday season is over?

Big Data is Big
It may not be as sexy as social media or mobile marketing, but "data" may be the key word for 2012. As Whitney Keyes of the Seattle P-I explains, “Big Data really is customer interaction history. Every minute you are not using Big Data means a lost buying opportunity… when you transform Big Data into customer intelligence...become enormous.”

'Small is the New Big' and Other Marketing Predictions
"Brands will continue to forge new ground in 2012. It's a thrilling time to be involved in our industry; there is unprecedented opportunity to connect directly with consumers across the globe," described Sandra Fathi, President and founder of Affect. Affect has released a list of predicted industry trends for 2012.

Where Will Your Brand Be in 2015?
Ask a consumer. We saw in Havas Media’s Meaningful Brands analysis that consumers “would not care" if 70% of existing brands disappeared. Now: the results of a survey in which 5,000 U.S. consumers chose the brands they expect will not exist by 2015.

Marketers Making Resolutions for 2012
We’re already just a few short weeks away from the new year. While things certainly don’t change overnight, marketers are making plans for 2012. StrongMail recently shared the results of its survey on marketing trends, and there’s good news.

Making a Deal: Consumers vs. Businesses
Despite the issues in the deal model, consumers love them… it’s the businesses that don’t. According to an infographic from BuySellAds, 44% of consumers use daily deal sites like Groupon, and 60% are subscribed to two or more sites.

You Can Deck the Halls, But Be Relevant
Consumers everywhere are thinking and talking about the holidays, so naturally, brands can get involved in the conversation. Before you turn your website red and green, consider that there may be some better ways to get on the holiday train.

Groupon Misbehaving: Is This the End?
And just like that, the deal model appears to be continuing on a downward spiral... The daily deal “emperor” Groupon is now under investigation by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading after the Advertising Standards Agency cited 11 formal (and an additional 37 informal) regulation breaches in the past 12 months.

Digital Luxury Ain't Easy
We know luxury brands are struggling to maintain their exclusive brand image in an increasingly digitally driven marketing landscape. As MDG Advertising explains, “the allure of luxury brands is that they’re ultra-exclusive, while the appeal of digital marketing is that it’s all-inclusive.”

Why Coca-Cola in a White Can 'Tastes Different'
One month ago, Coca-Cola began its Holiday “Arctic Home” campaign, partnering with the World Wildlife Fund and turning those iconic red cans white “in celebration of the polar bear.” The white cans were planned to remain on shelves through February, but are being replaced immediately with a red version due to emergency circumstances – customers were confusing the white “regular” cans with Diet Coke cans.

Branding Fact or Fiction?
As business consultant Steve Tobak writes, “if you ask 10 business people to define a brand, you'll get 10 different answers.” We know — branding is complex. But could some marketers really have it all wrong? Surely not completely wrong…but according to Tobak, there are some branding “myths” that marketers too readily accept. Branding is the sum of many parts; it requires balance.

A ‘No’ for O.co
The right domain name is as essential as the right brand name. With the variety of Top Level Domains in use, a domain is as customizable as ever. Companies like bit.ly show you don’t even need the traditional “.com” domain to be found. Of course, every brand is a different case.

The Purpose of Consistency
It’s been reported that it takes five to nine impressions for a consumer to internalize a marketing message, and 17 impressions before they make a purchase. If branding is inconsistent (or incoherent, depending on your preference), it will take even longer. Why? Maintaining consistency will enable a brand message to resonate with consumers – they can’t get to know you if you present yourself differently every time they see you.

The Downside of Deals
Businesses offer limited-time discounts on sites like Groupon to generate sales and attract prospects. A small London-area bakery, Need a Cake, recently offered a Groupon discount on its custom cupcakes, and sales went through the roof! Sounds great, right? Proprietor Rachel Brown said it was “without doubt, the worst ever business decision I have made.” What went wrong?

Coherence Over Consistency
Five years ago, marketing consultant John Grant wrote, “the way to manage brands is coherence, not consistency.” Recently, 73% of marketers agreed that “the days of strategic consistency are over; it’s all about inspiration and engagement.” Perhaps we’re on to something.

A Ban on Brand
Imagine your brand and all others in your market are forced to remove all branding and trademarks from your packaging. Your product and those of your competitors are packaged identically – and the packaging features a substantial message in direct opposition to your positioning. What would happen? We may know for sure soon enough. Australia is now the first country in the world to ban branding from cigarette packages.

Who Is Your Holiday Shopper?
Most of what we’ve seen has shown that consumers are seriously interested in getting the most value for their dollar this holiday season. However, that’s not the whole picture. According to a recent study by Meebo, shoppers’ behaviors may vary depending on the time of season.

What Makes a Brand Consistent?
Some believe brand consistency is “over;” others believe it is the key to success. We’ve heard both sides of the argument. The one thing all sides can agree on is that the landscape is changing and, whether you like it or not, maintaining consistency is difficult.

Marketing Trends Don’t Impact Me
According to the Branding Forward study by Mechanica and Fast Company, it appears that while marketers recognize industry trends as impactful, many don’t believe that the trends impact their own organizations.

A Cross-Channel Holiday
There’s already a great deal of research and discussion regarding this holiday shopping season, which is now getting into full swing. Consumers will be researching, comparing, and making purchases across channels. What’s particularly interesting to note is what types of purchases are likely to be made in a particular channel.

On Strategic Consistency in Luxury Marketing
Luxury retailer Hermès was recently named one of the best global brands of 2011 by Interbrand. After having read that that luxury brands are struggling to integrate online tactics while maintaining a sense of exclusivity in the modern marketing landscape, it’s apparent that some are certainly navigating the territory successfully.

The Marketing Mix Goes Viral
We’ve already seen a variety of modern takes on the traditional marketing mix. Understandably, the original “mix” may not be so applicable to some modern marketing techniques that weren’t employed in the 1960s, when the standard “mix” concept was first developed. Now, John Luginbill of Social Media Today has shared the three C’s of viral marketing: content, community, and catch. As media has evolved, so have marketing opportunities.

Consistency is Still Important
As the recent Branding Forward survey revealed, 73% of marketers believe that “the days of strategic consistency are over,” which struck me as odd. However, perhaps this popular stance developed as maintaining strategic consistency has become more challenging. As Lucy Hunt describes, maintaining consistent branding has become difficult in the digital age.

Who is the Most Meaningful Global Brand?
As we read yesterday, 85% of consumers expect brands to be actively working to improve society and the environment, but only 28% believe that they actually are. Still, some brands have been able to become “meaningful” to consumers.

Is Your Brand Meaningful?
Is your brand “meaningful?” Havas Media defines a meaningful brand as one that improves our personal and collective well-being; they contribute to the improvement of our lives and our world in a relevant and sustainable way.

Marketing: The Next Generation
Following up on yesterday’s post – which looked at marketers’ opinions on the projected evolution of branding – here is a look at the expected “requirements” for “the next generation of marketers,” as explained by the recruiters and educators grooming them. Not surprisingly, an understanding of integrated marketing across digital and traditional media is becoming essential.

Inspiration vs. Consistency in Branding
Consumers evolve, so brands evolve, and – in turn – contemporary marketing and branding concepts must evolve as well. A recent survey by Branding Forward and Fast Company reveals how marketers today perceive the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Targeting is 'Hot'
The 2011 edition of the National Retail Federation’s STORES Hot 100 Retailers includes a variety of brands from a variety of markets that have grown in the past year – no small feat considering the challenges facing retailers in the current economy.

'The Customer Needs Our Help'
As research shows so far, consumers will be “meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar” this holiday season. In turn, retailers are planning to offer promotions and services focused on providing better values. The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, has begun its holiday marketing by bringing back a service from its past, one it hasn’t offered in five years.

The eHolidays Are Coming
The consumers have spoken, again — this time to Shop.org in its annual eHoliday Study, and retailers are chiming in as well. The survey was conducted by BIGresearch from late September through early October, polling 1,685 consumers and 51 online retailers. Have you begun holiday marketing yet? What are retailers preparing this year?

Can Luxury Survive Online?
Traditionally, luxury brands have been somewhat slower than others to adopt an online strategy. It’s not for a lack of ability, but “for fear of compromising a prestigious brand image.” With the evolution of cross-channel marketing and retail, consumers expect a brand to be available both on and offline. So, though slowly, the luxury retailers are coming online.

An Offline Online Pop-Up Storefront
Online marketplace eBay has just launched a storefront in Manhattan. Not a complete foray into the world of brick-and-mortar retail, purchases can only be made electronically, via a mobile app and QR code. Called the eBay Inspiration Shop, this virtually-shoppable storefront features a selection of items curated by "top trendsetters."

Allowing a Brand to 'Live'
Yesterday we wondered: how do you build a brand when the user controls the channel? Krispy Kreme is letting go of control. The iconic donut brand is embracing a hands-off approach, allowing consumers more control of the brand through social media and word-of-mouth marketing. It sounds risky.

What's Wrong With Online Branding?
Digital marketing may be booming, but building your brand online is easier said than done. It’s certainly easier to target and reach your audience online, but users’ attention is fleeting, and the user is fully in control. While digital marketing has its perks, it’s not necessarily the best avenue for branding initiatives.

'I Don't Know. I Was Just Shopping.'
Brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce have been thriving side by side for years. Now, they are coming together more than ever. In a multi-channel world, consumers are shopping now both online and offline, sometimes simultaneously. The President and CEO of eBay says, “The wall between retail and e-tail is crumbling fast.”

C is For: the Demand Generation Pipeline
We’ve talked about the four P’s, and another four P’s, and the four E’s, and yet another four P’s… now, the six C’s. This isn’t another take on the traditional Marketing Mix, though; it’s a modernized, consumer-centric redefinition of the traditional demand generation pipeline.

'Tis the Season
The consumers have spoken. Just as marketers and retailers have been (both eagerly and anxiously) planning for the holiday season, consumers have been planning out their holiday shopping as well. Do your strategic plans match up with the consumer insights in the Holiday Consumer Intentions and Action survey?

Fans VS. Engagement
Quality is what counts, as stated in a recent MediaPost article by Tanya Irwin regarding a Covario study of “the Facebook health of 100 leading advertisers.” The study ranked the top-spending Facebook advertisers by both reach and engagement, and Coca-Cola came out on top as the top brand globally.

The Occupation Brand
The marketing community is weighing in on the Occupy Wall Street movement, but particularly from a case study point of view rather than a political one. And why not? After all, it has all the makings of a modern marketing campaign.

Beneath the Ivory Brand
Proctor & Gamble’s Ivory is one of the most respected and enduring brands across industries; an American icon, it’s a gleaming example of good branding. Both the product and its brand positioning are simple and uncomplicated (and, perhaps most notably, honest). Now, Ivory is updating its look.

Consumers Find Cross-Channel 'Useful' and 'Very Important'
In both the U.S. and the UK, consumers are in agreement; 48% of consumers surveyed by Econsultancy agree that it would be “useful” to be able to purchase from a retailer via different channels. Another 33.5% even consider it “very important" even if they don’t agree on all things cross-channel.

TV Drives Online Search
There continues to be more evidence in favor of cross-channel marketing strategy (and delivering a consistent experience across channels). The CMM study we discussed previously found that social media conversations drive considerable in-store traffic. Now, a recent study by Efficient Frontier has found that TV ads can drive an 80% rise in brand-specific online search. With modern technology, consumers are almost constantly connected.

Are You Prepared?
The IBM Institute for Business Values recently conducted its first survey of CMOs, holding personal interviews with more than 1,700 global CMOs, including 48 from top brands. The topic is the ever-changing marketing media landscape, now and over the next 5 years. While 78% of CMOs agreed that marketing channels will become more complex over the years, only 48% feel they are “prepared.” Here, CMOs seem to be in agreement, and responses are consistent.

What Are We Measuring?
Marketers are continuing to immerse themselves in new media opportunities, from social media and search engine marketing to display ads and mobile marketing. But ask them why, and they’re still not so sure. A recent poll from the Association of National Advertisers revealed that, while usage of online marketing tactics has increased since 2009, marketers are not convinced.

From Reviews to Revenue
Once again, consumer-generated digital content is driving offline consumption. Say you’re looking for a restaurant. You check Yelp. You avoid the restaurants with the bad reviews and consider – or go to – the ones with good reviews.

Finding the ROI of WOM
For nearly half a century, we’ve been aware of the power of word-of-mouth in marketing. Luckily, with the advent of social media, some “word-of-mouth” communication has become measurable. A recent study has found that word-of-mouth communication via social media drives more retail store traffic than traditional marketing media.

How User-Friendly Are You?
According to Forrester Research, 50% of all consumer purchases will be either transacted online or digitally driven in some way by 2012. Fifty percent. As Aaron Shapiro explains, this is likely due in part to the new Millennial consumer; “digital is their first stop for everything.”

Consumers Define Your Cross-Channel Strategy
While the cross-channel approach is proven to be quite successful, it comes with its difficulties as well. It requires a more complex understanding of users’ unique needs across channels, and consistency between all. As Kevin Gibbons of Econsultancy explains, “consumers have far higher expectations…If you aren’t catering to their platform of choice, you risk frustrating them..."

Remember Me?
Yesterday’s post explained that marketers are now more than ever choosing to measure success by brand-centric metrics like “brand recall.” However, they expressed dissatisfaction with the branding capabilities of current online marketing formats. Now, a new study by Google and Nielsen found that marketing across multiple channels significantly increases brand retention.

Brand-Centric, But Dissatisfied
In 2010, 64% of agencies considered “click-through rate” to be their primary metric for determining online marketing campaign success. In 2011, that statistic dropped to 20%. Now, 56% of agencies consider metrics like “brand recall” and “intent to purchase” their key measures.

ROI or Bust
Following up on yesterday’s post, apparently there is a “breed” of “credible” marketers: ROI marketers. The Fournaise Marketing Group conducted another study that found that these marketers are providing the type of business results that CEOs expect.

Did You Know: You 'Lack Business Credibility'
According to a study by The Fournaise Marketing Group, a majority of CEOs think marketers lack business credibility. At the same time, a majority of marketers responded that they feel their strategies and campaigns do make an impact on their company’s business. The study, in which more than 600 corporate CEOs and decision-makers in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia were interviewed, discovered an evident disconnect between marketers and CEOs.

More Four P's?
While the original Marketing Mix will forever serve a purpose, the concepts are expanding as new opportunities emerge. Duct Tape Marketing redefines the Four P’s as passion, purpose, positioning, and personality. Ogilvy & Mather changes the original P’s to E’s; experience, everyplace, exchange, and evangelism. Now, Eloqua has just revealed its own modern redefinition of the Marketing Mix. According to Eloqua, the new Four P’s of marketing are personality, publishing, packaging, and physics (yes, physics).

Modern Marketing, From P to E
Yesterday we looked at John Jantsch’s ‘new’ Four P’s of marketing. Now, we’ll revisit the Four P’s, this time through the eyes of Ogilvy & Mather’s Brian Fetherstonhaugh. According to Fetherstonhaugh, “The [original] Four P’s thrived in a different world… If there has ever been a time for change in marketing, this is it.” His redefinition of the Marketing Mix eliminates the P’s all together, opting instead for the “Four E’s.” Fetherstonhaugh replaces Product with Experience, Place with Everyplace, Price with Exchange, and Promotion with Evangelism. Focusing marketing efforts around specific product features provides a very limited scope; rather, strategy development should consider the whole consumer experience, from pre-purchase to post-purchase.

The ‘New’ Marketing Mix
Marketing has traditionally been defined by the Marketing Mix, or the Four P's. Since the 1960s, the Four P's have served as the quintessential four pillars of marketing strategy. Of course, the Marketing Mix as we know it is now about 50 years old. As the industry has evolved over the past half-century, so have our strategic concepts. What to do? John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing has suggested a redefinition of the Four P's. As you know, the Four P's are product, price, place, and promotion.

Meet the Millennials
Marketers Ken Markman and Scott Shaw recently wrote about the Millennial consumer: “They’re your future…They are the prize. They are who you must embrace…They are the owners of your brand.” Generation Y may not be the target market for every brand, but they are a massive and powerful audience, currently about 80 million strong. You ought to get to know them. Really get to know them.

@Qwikster Is a Lesson in Personal Branding
Netflix’s recent announcement that it would be splitting its DVD-by-mail and video streaming services has evolved into a bit of a branding soap opera, with a number of interesting characters. The Netflix business evolution is controversial in the first place, now requiring users to maintain two separate subscriptions for services that were originally integrated and managed by one.

Retail: Online vs. Offline
According to recent marketing and consumer trends, we are in the midst of a “retail renaissance.” Despite the significance and influence of digital marketing and e-commerce, traditional brick-and-mortar retail is blossoming for a number of reasons.

Reward Loyalty: No Junk, Please
Brands’ marketing efforts are often concentrated around attracting new customers and/or retaining current customers. Typically, sales-oriented messages can effectively increase sales, but not necessarily loyalty; to develop loyalty, it takes more than selling. A recent infographic from Get Satisfaction and Column Five reviews some trends in consumer loyalty programs.

Why Consumers Don't 'Like' You
We now have some recent research to support yesterday’s post, "How to Destroy Engagement (or ‘What Not to Do’)." DDB Paris and OpinionWay have just released a study revealing consumers’ reasons for engaging with brands…or not. So what makes fans “unlike” or "unfollow" brands? A massive 49% said that “the brand was no longer of interest to me.”

How to Destroy Engagement (Or ‘What Not to Do’)
Consumer engagement is such a valuable component for brand strategies, but many brands are still missing the mark. Others go beyond simply "missing the mark" by virtually shooting themselves in the foot.

What's the Deal?
There has been a lot of talk surrounding the “deal” industry lately. What started out as a niche with a couple of recognizable players – namely Groupon and LivingSocial – has exploded into a highly competitive market that now includes names like Google, Gilt, and Amazon.

Is It Missoni, or Is It Target?
As retail sales continue to disappoint, consumers went wild this week for Missoni for Target. Camping out for hours, clearing shelves in minutes, crashing the Target website… everyone was having a Missoni moment. But if the state of retail is so poor, what makes a collaboration like this such a success?

Cut the Fat
Snackable. Bite-sized. Simple. Small portions. Nuggets. Easy to make. Easy to digest. Satisfying. Variety. Moderation. Less is more. It’s not a diet, it’s a marketing strategy. With modern communication technology, consumers expect consumption to be easy and painless, from engagement to service to transaction. Consider your consumers’ diets, and give them something good to snack on.

Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em? The QR Code Craze
In the midst of the smartphone revolution, it seems logical that the QR code would be the next big thing in marketing. From luxury fashion brands to dog walking services to the U.S. Postal Service, we’re packing our bags and climbing aboard the QR code bandwagon. It’s innovative, revolutionary, and big in Japan — full of potential and destined for greatness.

Bad News Isn’t Always Bad for Brands
As we’ve talked about before, consumers prefer to engage with human-like brands – that is, brands that communicate with their consumers in a personal way. A brand’s ability to engage on a human level could make the difference between disaster and opportunity when difficult situations arise.

How 9/11 Changed Us (for the Better)
The events of September 11, 2001 had a profound effect on our nation and our world. Mindsets shifted, priorities changed, and our worldviews were permanently altered. Affecting us personally, emotionally, professionally, and as a nation, business could never be the same. Looking back on the past ten years, both our nation and our industry have made great strides to rebuild.

Get Real
Consumers’ expectations for brand communication have risen to a new high. Subsequently, brands are continuing to improve their communication skills. How exactly can businesses successfully converse with consumers? By behaving like people. We are compelled to respond to human traits…How personable is your brand?

Brands Bring Back the Good Ol’ Days
What is it about the “good old days” that attracts consumers, almost without fail? Why does retro and nostalgic messaging trigger such a positive response? Even if the period being remembered pre-dates consumers’ own lifetimes, they continue to be drawn in. About 20% of last year’s product launches utilized some level of nostalgic branding...but why?

Fashion’s Night Out Goes Cross-Channel
For the past two years, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week has kicked off with the celebration of Fashion’s Night Out, a shopping event conceptualized in 2009 to help the ailing economy and restore consumer confidence. Traditionally Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) has consisted only of in-store events, but this year it's introducing online participation.

The Empire Experience: Compliments of Nucky
Last week we explored the popularity of digital content marketing. Content marketing doesn't only live online, though — branded content "experiences" in the real world can be just as engaging and share-worthy. This Labor Day weekend, HBO introduced its "Compliments of Nucky" campaign promoting the upcoming season premier of Boardwalk Empire.

Brands Get Creepy
Mascots, traditionally used as the face and personality of the brands that employ them, come in many shapes and forms. From relevant to inexplicable to what Time considers just downright creepy. Time has recently released its list of the Top 10 Creepiest Product Mascots to “celebrate the retirement” of what it considers one of the creepiest of all. Let’s take a look.

Personal Brands Persist, Posthumously
When a celebrity passes away, his or her personal brand certainly doesn’t die with them. The recent passing of talented/troubled singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse is stirring up chaos for the management of Winehouse’s remaining brand. The Winehouse family is now being forced to contend for control of their daughter’s image rights. How should a posthumous personal brand be maintained?

Brands Fear .xxxploitation
You would think that the formal introduction of .xxx domains for the adult industry would simplify things, but it actually brings along a slew of branding issues. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has officially approved of the new top-level domain, and GoDaddy has just announced pricing.

Content: Bigger Than the Brand
For almost a century, since Proctor & Gamble began sponsoring “soap opera” broadcasts in the early twentieth century, brands have been curating branded content to engage with their audiences. Creating branded experiences for consumers’ interaction has exploded as of late; it seems almost anything is possible — and brand-able. The results are typically enormously positive.

Join the Crowd
It’s high school all over again — everyone wants to be part of “the crowd.” Whether you’re leading or joining, just be there and be involved. How can a non-human entity like a brand be “in” the crowd? With the variety of potential customer touchpoints available today, it’s not so hard (and furthermore, it’s expected).

Opportunity Knocks, Naturally
Natural disasters are nothing to take lightly, but for a moment, consider the effect these kinds of events can have on branding and commerce. Consumers make purchases based on emotions, and Mother Nature can certainly rouse a lot of emotion. This weekend’s impending Hurricane Irene is predicted to cause up to $20 billion in overall economic losses.

Branding in Motion
Visual branding with a logo that has virtually innumerable (animated and static) variations…confusing or engaging? Inconsistent or revolutionary? According to some, it is “the future of logo design.”

Borders Denies Dignity
As we all know, Borders is going out of business. Prices are being slashed as the company attempts to sell the rest of its inventory before shutting its doors for good. As expected, Borders is advertising and promoting these price reductions. Subsequently, in the blink of an eye, Borders' marketing messaging has gone downhill.

The 'Right' to Rebrand
Rebranding is a tricky thing. On the one hand, a re-brand may increase your prospective audience. On the other, it may ostracize current consumers. It may debut as welcome change, enjoying support, acceptance, and even celebration. Conversely, it may incite a Gap-inspired hatefest. When is a rebrand "right?"

Brands Go Bespoke
Bespoke products — completely customized, made-to-order — are, as Adweek describes, “enjoying a rather unusual renaissance.” For centuries, "bespoke" is a term that has been known to refer almost exclusively to custom-tailored suits, but lately the word has been used to describe a number or products in a variety of unrelated categories.

Date Your Consumer
Conversation and engagement are key to content marketing and branding, but what do you talk about? Beginning a content marketing strategy can feel like a first date; what’s the right thing to say? You need to know your audience…and yourself. What do you have in common with your consumer?

Innovation: It's All in the Details
The Smithsonian Institution is “the world’s largest museum and research complex,” administered and funded by the U.S. government. It recently launched a blog called the "Department of Innovation" with a logo that was flawed.

How to Sell Jeans with Tacos
Looking to engage your audience? Perhaps the way to your consumers’ hearts is through their stomachs. The food truck has become a bit of a viral phenomena, most recently employed by Nike and Gap. So, what’s apparel marketing’s sudden obsession with food trucks?

Get Customer-Obsessed
For about a century we’ve been told (whether you agree or disagree) that “the customer is always right.” According to recent market trends, it seems that the customer is right now more than ever, or at least leveraging that power more than ever. Forrester recently referred to this as “the age of the customer.”

The Pull of Personalization
Customization, personalization…these types of features are attractive to consumers. After all, individuality is meaningful. From a consumer’s perspective, it takes your product and makes it my product. Customization is possible across many categories; is there any market that can’t — or shouldn’t — take advantage of this opportunity? One of the more recent attempts to engage with consumers through personalization came from a brand in a product category “that’s traditionally been institutional and clinical-looking."

Leveraging Legacy: Tell a Story
Nowadays, brands are not simply creators of their respective products and services; they are creators of content. A great way to engage with consumers is through storytelling, but it’s all about sharing the right stories. While stories don’t necessarily drive sales, content marketing is extremely valuable for brand-building, which can ultimately increase customer acquisition, retention, loyalty, and long-term value. But first, as Aurélie Pichard explained on Luxury Society, a brand needs to identify which stories are truly shareable and relevant: “brands are reservoirs of content and knowledge, but they cannot randomly choose anything from these reservoirs."

Brand Addicted Agency: An Homage to Branding
Design and advertising agency W&Cie recently opened a new office in Paris; its new visual identity and office design earned the agency a Silver Design Lion at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Powerful, ambitious, and wholly relevant, W&Cie’s new identity is a tribute to branding.

Channels Are Not All Created Equal
With the growing multitude of digital touch points across the Web — Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. — it can become overwhelming to regularly monitor and update all of them consistently. So, why not download an application or extension that allows updates to disseminate across all touch points with one click?

A New Brand of Synagogue
Described by The New York Times as “a hipster synagogue,” Rabbi Dovi Sheiner and wife Esty Sheiner established a new synagogue in downtown Manhattan, clearly designed with its community in mind. It hosts cocktail parties, yoga classes, Fashion Week galas, and visits to the Hamptons.

Cross-Channel and Channel 'Fatigue'
A recent cartoon by Tom Fishburne shows a woman receiving a “ping” from a brand on her mobile phone. The update reads, “We just Tweeted that we Facebooked that we GooglePlussed that we blogged that we’ve sent you an email newsletter with an update.” The consumer’s response? “Good for you.” This is one of the current problems in the move toward cross-channel marketing.

The Complexity of Cross-Channel Marketing
Digital marketing brought about the alleged death of print and traditional media. Now, talks about the next wave of marketing innovation are speculating the death of digital…that is, the death of “digital” as a separate marketing area, or silo. Lines between channels are blurring as we prepare for the new school of marketing with cross-channel integration. How is “digital” marketing defined? It’s a complex area. Social media and mobile media are digital by nature, but are often referred to as separate channels.

Is Google+ a Rebrand?
By now, we are all aware of the “test” launch of Google+. It’s Google’s latest attempt at expanding into the social media landscape, and is speculated to be a major Facebook competitor. But what does this mean for Google, the brand?

Label Persuasion
A couple of weeks ago, we argued that a brand is more than its logo. However, a recent article from The Economist explains that in certain cases, a logo can in fact define a brand — namely, in the fashion industry. According to the results of a study, “it is not the design itself that counts, but the label.” Conducted by Rob Nelissen and Marijn Meijers of Tilburg University, the study consisted of a series of tests that measured people’s reactions to test subjects wearing logo-emblazoned versus non-logo clothing.

Holy, Holy, Holy: Rebranding the Bible
The German Bible Society has released a new translation of the Bible’s New Testament, specifically to appeal to a younger crowd. The modern translation, coupled with the creative design of Hamburg’s gobasil, resulted in the BasisBibel winning a Gold Design Lion at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. But how do you “brand” the Bible?

'Brand' is Everything and Everywhere
As Dan Pallotta wrote in his recent post for the Harvard Business Review, “Brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand.” A great logo alone won’t make a brand great. Even a great product alone can’t make a brand great. Making a profit doesn’t even mean that a brand is great. Like Aristotle wrote, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”

Verizon's 'Susie' is Growing Up
McCann Erickson's recent Verizon Wireless campaign, “Lemonade,” is expanding...Described by Adweek as “exceptional,” the commercial featured a little girl running her own lemonade stand. Now, she's auctioning the first bottle of Susie’s Lemonade, with proceeds going toward Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a charity that supports finding a cure for childhood cancers.

Wow: Rebranding Moscow
The city of Moscow is undergoing a pseudo-rebranding – “to make Moscow one of the most attractive cities in the world for business or [living]… [to attract] the most talented people… [and] to change the perception of compatriots and foreigners” – with a large-scale project called “Moscow – for you!” The concept attempts to modernize the historic capitol.

'Upscale' Meets 'Everyday' in Redhook
As a bit of a continuation of last week’s post, Glass Half Full: 29-year-old Seattle-based craft beer company Redhook is rebranding in an effort to reach an untapped and virtually unacknowledged “new” market. Between the highbrow craft beer drinkers and the standard mass-market beer drinkers exists a potential gray area.

Glass Half Full: The Beer Industry's New Golden Age
America’s beer business is booming, according to William Bostwick, co-author of Beer Craft. The first “Golden Age” of American beer occurred in 1873, with over 4,000 American breweries in operation. That number steadily dropped until the Prohibition Era halted all legal production. Post-Prohibition, the industry has slowly but surely been making a comeback.

When Brands Become Fans
Wouldn’t it be nice if brands could honor their customers the way their customers honor them? You give a brand your money, recommend it to your friends, have its name on your Facebook profile…but when was the last time a brand did something really nice for you, personally? Like tattoo your face on its Marketing VP’s arm, or mow your name into the grass in front of its headquarters? Ask a Honda fan.

Be Brave, Embrace Risk
As stated by John O’Toole back in 1985, “Great advertising is risky advertising.” Some of the best, most effective, and most memorable marketing campaigns are the ones that take risks. There are plenty of ready-made, established, “safe” concepts to choose from, but truly creative and innovative concepts only pop up once in a while. Why? Innovation is change – and change is scary.

Electing to Establish a Personal Brand
A friend of mine recently ran for office in a local election, which interestingly enough got me thinking a lot about branding, particularly personal branding. Literally everyone has a personal brand, whether it's intentional or unintentional, or a little of both. The story you tell, the way you tell it, the way you present yourself, and the way others perceive you all make up your personal brand.

Why Will People Care About This?
When I saw a blog post claiming to reveal “the most important marketing question in the world,” I expected to disagree easily – there are too many important questions to ask and answer, and no way one question could cover them all. However, The Story of Telling provided a very thoughtful and reasonable suggestion: “Why will people care about this?” So utterly simple, yet utterly compelling, that question should prompt a response revealing your purpose, your mission, and your brand as a whole.

The Royal Wedding Fever Pitch
With just about a week until the royal wedding, the globe is abuzz with royal wedding fever. But it’s not just a wedding anymore; it has become a brand opportunity. Not only can the wedding affect the “branding” of the entire royal family and England itself, but it provides a lucrative opportunity for any brand that can develop some sort of affiliation to the nuptials.

Local Branding is Not for Everyone
Chrysler is “Imported From Detroit” – of course, the Motor City! Seattle’s Best Coffee – ah, Seattle would have the best coffee! Camel cigarettes of Williamsburg, Brooklyn? Not so much. Associating a brand with a relevant location can create a great brand story and appeal to locals, but that wasn’t the case for Camel’s recent foray into local branding.

'Bright Ideas' Are Now Cliché
To somewhat continue the theme of last week’s post on “lazy” marketing, a recent Econsultancy post examined the use of branding clichés. When brand messages can apply to almost any brand in a given industry, rather than focusing on individual differentiators or unique selling propositions, the messages become unclear, unremarkable, and unconvincing. Where’s the strategy? Surely rehashing the generic industry lingo cannot be the goal.

Boring Branding & Meaningless Messaging
No, a person can’t be brilliant all of the time. And no, not every idea can be a home run. But does that mean that we should settle for being garden variety? Again, no. Ideas may be a dime a dozen, but with effort they can become exceptional. With the right resources, ideas can evolve from regular to remarkable, from uninspired to unprecedented.

How Brands #HelpJapan
In wake of the recent disaster in Japan, many notable brands are mobilizing to show their support and provide assistance to a nation in need. Unfortunately, brand messages can sometimes come across in bad taste during such sensitive times, and proclamations of support are sometimes perceived as self-promotional. Others, of course, come across as gracefully genuine – and are. One particular case that was heavily criticized online involved Microsoft’s Bing.

From E-Commerce to F-Commerce
One of the most interesting up-and-coming digital marketing trends is the incorporation of e-commerce capabilities on Facebook pages – often referred to as F-commerce. Facebook has become an extremely popular and mainstream tool for marketers, but the potential of F-commerce is currently being debated, most likely because it is still fairly new territory. A Shoppercentric study found that only 6% of respondents make purchases through social media channels such as Facebook.

Brands Get Sensitive
In honor of International Women’s Day earlier this week, let’s talk about women. More specifically, let’s talk about the female consumer. According to Women at NBCU’s Brand Power Index, women are embracing brands with marketing campaigns that portray men as sensitive and emotional.

To Market or Not to Market?
According to a recent blog post by successful NYC venture capitalist Fred Wilson, marketing "is what you do when your product or service sucks." Well, either that or "when you make so much profit on every marginal customer that it would be crazy to not spend a bit of that profit acquiring more of them." It's Wilson's opinion that start-ups shouldn't spend any money on marketing. Rather, the product should sell itself.

The Rebranding of a Nation: From Egypt with Love
Egypt’s recent revolution was aided and accelerated by the use of social media, and it appears that the nation is continuing to embrace social media now as a tool for redeveloping and rebranding after the chaos. In January and February of 2011, Egypt was a nation in transition, mired in protest and even violence.

When Innovation Breeds Buzz
It’s not easy to create buzz, and it’s not always easy to be innovative either. Most innovative ideas are at first seen as controversial and risky, brushed off as “too crazy” to work, and never to see the light of day. But, in the right place and the right time, with the right fan base in the right industry, it’s innovation that breeds the word-of-mouth buzz that marketers so often strive for. The technology industry, for example, is one in which innovation is often praised, but what about other consumer products?

Foursquare, Fashion, and Frappuccinos
New York Fashion Week, officially known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, took off yesterday at Lincoln Center...and online. We’ve been able to watch Fashion Week, and the fashion world in general, evolve with the digital age and develop a more online, inclusive, interactive presence over the past few years, and this year’s showing is no exception. Videos, images, and reviews spread across the web as soon as a show finishes, and sometimes even before that.

Super Bowl Buzz Building
The day after the Super Bowl, probably the most discussed topic other than the outcome of the actual game is the commercials. In this digital era, commercials aren't just commercials—they're interactive buzz-building tools, vital for awareness and branding. A quick Google or Twitter search will show you the best, the worst, and the most talked about. But what about before the game?

'Only You': Using Facebook for Branding
As Swedish advertising agencies Grey Stockholm and Ogilvy Stockholm announced a merge, they developed a social-driven strategy for introducing their new agency to the world. A microsite with the tagline "Only you can show us our new name," encouraged Facebook users to "like" the agency on Facebook. Each user's photo was added to a collage that revealed the new agency's name

QR Codes: The Next Frontier
You need a smartphone to read it, so it’s a mobile thing, right? Absolutely. And it’s a hyperlink that brings you to the Internet, so it’s got to be a digital strategy? Sure. But it’s included in print advertising, in magazines, and on billboards, so it’s traditional? Certainly. So what exactly would you consider it? It’s all of the above, and that’s what makes the potential uses for QR codes in marketing so interesting.

Taking a Risk on a Logo
Sometimes a logo redesign goes virtually unnoticed, but not usually in the case of a major brand. These brands’ logos are iconic, instantly recognizable, and synonymous with the brand they represent. Sometimes a logo redesign incites criticism and outcry from consumers, or possibly compliments and praise. What makes or breaks a logo redesign?

Never Say Die: Traditional & Digital Media
There's no doubt that the Internet has revolutionized marketing, branding, and business in general. But at what expense? Is there a give-and-take—for one new type of media, do we lose another? Some say "Yes! Print is dead! Traditional is dead!" But is it really? Will it ever be?

Who is the Marketer of the Decade?
Looking back on the last decade, what—and who—defined our industry? This is the first time AdAge has presented its Marketer of the Decade accolade, and the recipient is...Apple, of course (with credit also due to Apple's longtime advertising agency, TBWA). Whether or not you're an Apple loyalist, you're probably not surprised to hear this.

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