Category Archives: Branding

Turn Customer Listening into Learning and Go-To-Market Action

Good things can happen when you listen to customers.

Consider Hostess Brands,  which “has nurtured retail sales of its products nearly back to their pre-liquidation level of more than $1.3 billion in 2012” as reported by Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal.

Credit: Captain Cupcake1 Flickr

Credit: Captain Cupcake1 Flickr

This summer, the company expanded the Hostess brand product range with white and wheat bread along with hamburger and hot dog buns.

Why is Hostess getting into bread?  They listened carefully to customers and realized there was a business opportunity. Continue reading

Personal Branding Helps NFL Player Move Forward

You’ve heard the saying: When one door closes, another one opens.

There’s more to it, of course.  For instance, if you blew-up the door on the way out, your task will be much harder.

When it comes to life- and career-management, there’s really only one thing we can control — and that’s our own actions.  Who knows what curve-ball is coming next, but how we respond is on us.  What we do in those times of challenge reflects how we’re perceived, helps define who we are, and impacts our future prospects.

Steve Weatherford New York Giants Farewell. Credit: screen-grab from YouTube video.

Steve Weatherford New York Giants Farewell. Credit: screen-grab from YouTube video.

Take the case of NFL punter Steve Weatherford, formerly of the New York Giants.

Continue reading

19th Hole Marketing: Positioning Requires a Decision

I just couldn’t get 100% comfortable with the gunshot-type-sound every time my partner hit the ball during a round of golf this summer.

If you’ve played golf or listened closely on TV, you understand the thwack of the driver or the whoosh of a good iron hit.  And, if you’ve been to a gun range, you know the sound of a firearm.  But you wouldn’t expect a gun sound on a golf course.

That’s what you get with the EZeeGolf Power Driver, which automatically drives a ball down the fairway.

There’s also a worthy strategic marketing discussion to be had.

Continue reading

Marketing Blasphemy: Don’t Use Your Logo?

Google famously broke the rules about brand logo use.

Logo Branding MarketingWhile their maverick approach has paid off, general best practice guidelines are still relevant.  Consistent logo use across marketing communications is one.

Another best practice is making sure you have contextual appreciation and a corresponding usage plan.  Unfortunately, when that fails, the outcome is lousy communication.

For example, take the billboard that’s impossible to absorb at 65 miles per hour. The creative probably looked great on the computer, where the approver had time to take it all in at close range.  But not on the interstate highway.

Another example is retail signage.  Whether designed to be read from a fast-moving vehicle or just at a distance in the parking lot, the same principle applies: the communication must register quickly.

Of course, maybe the logo itself needs some design improvements.

Graphic credit: Olive Tree Marketplace website.

Graphic credit: Olive Tree Marketplace website.

Which leads me to the Olive Tree Marketplace, soon to open its second store in Denville, NJ.

The self-described “perfect hybrid of gourmet meets grocer” seems to offer an exciting food shopper experience:

“Our name was derived from all the healthy and natural ingredients we sell in our market and the inspired gourmet food we prepare with Italian, French, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean influences.  Our complete line of natural, organic and gluten-free products along with our extensive deli, baked goods, gourmet prepared food, fresh seafood departments and chef-made gourmet catering is combined with everything you’d find in your conventional market.”

Great.  I know what to expect and will visit.  But what about the thousands of cars passing by on the 50 mph state highway every day?  Will they be able to take note of the name and follow-up like me?

Not likely.  Here’s the temporary sign on the main shopping center stanchion. You can’t read the logo driving by — nor via full-zoom on my smartphone camera.

Denville Commons shopping center - Denville, NJ. August 10, 2015. Credit: Harvey Chimoff.

Denville Commons shopping center – Denville, NJ. August 10, 2015. Credit: Harvey Chimoff.

Continue reading

Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. Part 2.

This is part two of a three-part series on marketing differentiation.

Part 1 highlighted New York City wine retailer Taste Wine Company (User Experience Innovation Creates New Kind of Wine Store).  The innovative idea propelling this new venture:  shoppers can taste every bottle before buying!

Today, in Part 2, we take a look at global hotel brand Mama Shelter, and how its founders are putting a different spin on the US boutique hotel business.

Credit: Mama Shelter.

Credit: Mama Shelter.



Redefining Boutique Hotel Experience for an American Audience

The Mama Shelter hotel brand is an example of both marketing differentiation and a global-brand applied geographically. Continue reading

Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. A 3-Part Series.

Marketing is fun – and hard work.

It’s the latter part that’s not always so obvious.

I remember a former colleague who sought a cross-functional transfer from technical product management into global marketing.  I asked why.  Her response:  marketing is more fun.

Yes, marketing can be fun, but like the rest of business, it’s also a serious challenge.  Non-marketing observers may not realize all the hard work and preparation required to achieve success.

Which leads to the focus of this post – marketing differentiation.  It’s hard to do.

To stimulate your thinking, I have three new examples to share.  Note how the idea of “customer experience” is central to each marketing story.

And, I’m experimenting with something different myself to provide a better reader experience:  short, one-example posts on three consecutive days.

Part 1:

User Experience Innovation Creates New Kind of Wine Store Continue reading

US Senator Politicizes National Guard-NFL Team Sports Marketing

Controversy has arisen about marketing sponsorship programs between NFL teams and the National Guard/Department of Defense.

US Senator Jeff Flake (R – Arizona) singled out the New York Jets in an April 30th press release, declaring  an “egregious and unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars by the New Jersey Army National Guard (NJARNG).”

It’s part of his #PorkChops series highlighting what he perceives to be government waste.  The story was reported locally in New Jersey on May 8th (Christopher Baxter and Jonathan D. Salant of NJ Advance Media for

Let’s explain what happened and then assess.

Credit:  NJ National Guard.

Credit: NJ National Guard.

The New Jersey National Guard (NJARNG) paid for a marketing sponsorship with the New York Jets the past four seasons (2011 to 2014).  The components were relatively standard fare for sports sponsorships.

Key features included:

  • Allow 10 NJARNG Soldiers to attend the Jets’ Annual Kickoff Lunch in New York City.  At the luncheon, the Soldiers will have the opportunity to meet and take pictures with various members of the Jets organization for promotional use for recruiting and retention purposes for the NJ Army National Guard.
  • In-stadium branding on monitors; Facebook social media promotion.
  • Allow NJARNG to participate in the Jets Hometown Huddle charity event in which Jets players and coaches will work side by side with the Soldiers to build or refurbish a community asset. i.e., build a new playground, rehab an existing park, etc. for promotional use for recruiting and retention purposes for the NJ Army National Guard.
  • 24 Game Access Passes.
  • Use of Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for up to 100 attendees to conduct formal meeting or event.
  • A videoboard feature – Hometown Hero.  For each of their 8 home game, the Jets will recognize 1-2 NJARNG Soldiers as Home Town Heroes.  Their picture will be displayed on the videoboard, their name will be announced over the loud-speaker, and they will be allowed to watch the game, along with 3 friends or family members, from the Coaches Club.

Total payments from the Department of Defense and the New Jersey National Guard to the Jets over four years were $377,000.

What’s so controversial, you may be wondering?

After all, we’re used to seeing a variety of marketing communications geared to promote recruitment for the various branches of the armed forces and to keep brand awareness strong (no complaints for The Few, The Proud, The Marines, I don’t think).

When we cut to the chase – shock and awe – politics are driving this controversy!

Let’s sort it out.

To begin, Flake’s press release is sensationalized, incomplete and out of context. Continue reading