Of Sparkling Water and Hockey Pucks

(Reading Time: 2 minutes)

Sparkling water costs pennies per can to produce.

If you knew this fact only, and you were in the sparkling water business, you might reasonably conclude:

  • Others are going to want a piece of this profitable market.
  • Some of them have been canning fizzy water for decades, and they’re damn good at it.
  • Some of them have very deep pockets.
  • Some of them are going to innovate.

What happens?

Continue reading “Of Sparkling Water and Hockey Pucks”

If Nothing Else, Start With Respect

(Reading Time: 2 minutes)

“Manipulating the masses into buying stuff they don’t need!  That’s what I do!  That’s marketing!”

That’s an actual quote I once heard from a marketing director.  This was during an inventing session, the goal of which was to create new products that would make his customers (in other words, people) happier.

I’ve also been in a conference room when an executive flat-out called his customers (also people) “stupid.”

Continue reading “If Nothing Else, Start With Respect”

Let’s Cut the Millennial Crap

Millennials Technology


(Reading Time: 2 minutes)Well, it happened again.

Earlier this week, in a seemingly unrelated conversation, a stranger found a chance to take a swipe at Millennials, and went for it!  According to this person, Millennials not only “don’t take direction well,” they often “don’t even want to show up to work at all.”

Huh.  I’m a crusty old Gen-Xer myself.  But I’ve worked with, and even hired, a number of Millennials.  And I don’t have any proof that their work ethic or character is any worse than that of (say) my college graduating class. Continue reading “Let’s Cut the Millennial Crap”

Is Southwest Airlines Still a Great Brand?

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 Engine


(Reading Time: 5 minutes)The last few weeks have been bad for Southwest Airlines.

So bad, in fact, that it’s fair to ask: Is Southwest still a great brand?  Let’s discuss the cases for and against.

The Case For: Southwest IS a Great Brand

There was a time, not so long ago, when I would use Southwest in my keynotes and seminars as a clear example of a great brand.

I would start by asking the audience to join me as I painted a picture of Major Airline Advertising.  This was easy to do, since Major Airline Advertising is both familiar and largely interchangeable.  It might go something like this: Continue reading “Is Southwest Airlines Still a Great Brand?”

The Best Brands Use Feedback Loops Both Ways

Feedback Loops Matthew Fenton Chicago Brand Strategy


(Reading Time: 2 minutes)Regular readers of this blog know that I’m an advocate of feedback loops.

There are dozens of ways that you can (and should) use feedback loops to better understand your consumers.  These include advisory panels, ethnography, surveys and so on.

But too often, we brand leaders forget that we’re an active part of these feedback loops.  We need to send signals as well as receive them.  And we can build stronger bonds by signaling the right things to the people we serve. Continue reading “The Best Brands Use Feedback Loops Both Ways”