Brand Benefits – Beyond the Functional

Three Kinds of Brand Benefits
(Reading Time: 4 minutes)

The scene would be surreal if it weren’t so familiar.

A man sits before a table. He is in the desert, though he is oblivious to this fact; he sits in air-conditioned comfort in a building designed to evoke the city of Venice, Italy. Above him is a chandelier the size of a compact car. A vodka tonic is in his left hand; it was given to him, free of charge, by a leggy blonde in a revealing outfit. Continue reading “Brand Benefits – Beyond the Functional”

Branding When Times Are Tough

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)

It’s not pretty out there.

Recent economic events do not paint a rosy picture for anyone trying to grow a business. Credit has tightened. Consumer confidence is down. Bad news has rippled through every segment of the economy, and what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Call me crazy, but I believe these down-cycles are actually net-positive. Why? Because they teach us to do more with less and to evaluate every dollar that we invest. These are lessons that will serve our brands for years to come. Continue reading “Branding When Times Are Tough”

How to Kill Your Brand – 40 Easy Ways!

(Reading Time: 5 minutes)

Pointless advertising. Unresponsive customer service departments. Convoluted buying processes. If I didn’t know better, I’d think some companies were actually trying to kill their brands.

Since so many companies seem determined to destroy their brands through boneheaded moves and bad decisions, I thought I’d lend them a hand.

If you’re serious about killing your brand, I’m pleased to offer 40 tips and tricks – guaranteed to set your brand on the path to miserable, abject failure! Continue reading “How to Kill Your Brand – 40 Easy Ways!”

“Brand Cincinnati – How Would You Define It?”

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)

Up for a challenge? Read on.

A few months ago, I was honored to have been asked to join the Livable Communities team of Agenda 360. Agenda 360, as you may know, is a rather bold initiative, with the mission of “transforming Cincinnati USA, by the year 2020, into a leading metropolitan region for talent, jobs and economic opportunity for all who call our region home.”

The work of Agenda 360 will be merged with initiatives already underway in Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana, in order to create a cohesive agenda and action plan for the entire Tri-State. (You can find out more at Continue reading ““Brand Cincinnati – How Would You Define It?””

300-page Branding Statements?! A Plea for Simplicity.

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)

A colleague relayed the following story about a conversation with the chief marketing officer of an international retail chain. This CMO was grousing about having paid a big-name agency $500,000 for a branding statement.

But it wasn’t the price that bothered him – it was the fact that the statement was 300 pages long (not a typo), and he doubted whether anyone, himself included, would read it. He went on to say that what he had read was far too open to interpretation to suit him. Continue reading “300-page Branding Statements?! A Plea for Simplicity.”

Dyson Gets It Right

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)

How might we use a vacuum cleaner to suck up a quick lesson about branding? Consider the case of the Dyson vacuum cleaner – and how it changed my life forever.

The basics of the Dyson story are these: An Englishman named James Dyson became so frustrated with the poor performance and lousy suction of his personal vacuum cleaner that he set out to design a better solution. That’s how great new products usually start out – with a target audience, occasion or problem. With Dyson, it was the problem. Continue reading “Dyson Gets It Right”

Get Irrational

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)

Visit Las Vegas, and you’ll find pirate ships, volcanoes, a miniature Eiffel Tower and a replica of the New York City skyline – right there in the middle of the desert. Plus, as long as you’re gambling, drinks are free.

Last year, more than 100,000 people visited Las Vegas on an average day. As you read this, players are winning thousands and thousands of dollars – and losing more than that. The percentages always favor the house. Even the most favorable game is simply the least unfavorable. Continue reading “Get Irrational”