Category Archives: Branding

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 NJ.com).


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

This Law Firm is a Marketing Powerhouse

It’s no longer a surprise to see a law firm or medical practice marketing itself.

What stands out now is when one embraces marketing to grow its business — in this case a law firm advertising on sports radio station ESPN New York 98.7 FM.

That’s worth a deeper look.

Cordell & Cordell is a nationwide law firm that “levels the playing field for men in family law cases.”  They operate in 29 states, with more than 100 offices and a team of 170+ attorneys.

Credit: Cordell & Cordell.

Credit: Cordell & Cordell.

I like the fundamentals that underpin the Cordell & Cordell go-to-market and growth strategies.

1.  Sharp Business Focus.   There’s no room for misunderstanding.  Cordell & Cordell is “the law firm for men going through divorce and/or related issues such as child custody.”

2.  Clear Positioning and Defined Target.  Cordell & Cordell are “advisors and advocates for men before, during, and after divorce.”  Take a look at this TV commercial:

3.  Easy-to-Understand Services and Benefits.  Spend less than 30 seconds on their website and you know exactly what the law firm does and whether it matches what you’re looking for. Continue reading

“Magic Hour” is Real Deal Marketing for European Outdoor Clothing Brand

European outdoor clothing brand Peak Performance is running some outstanding marketing right now.

The brand, founded in Sweden in 1986, is owned by the Danish IC Group.  They sell clothing that caters to five broad target sectors: ski, outdoor, running, mountaineering, golf and bike.

I was not familiar with Peak Performance until I saw this advertisement (thanks Creativity):

It’s rare to see such marketing harmony between advertising, positioning, branding and promotion.  That’s why the Magic Hour marketing concept is terrific.

Specifically, the marketing/advertising idea captures the pure brand essence.  It delivers the brand idea in a stimulating way that makes core consumers, and maybe even potential consumers, want to get outside, be active and enjoy life.

What is the brand?

Peak Performance is a lifestyle brand with a real story and long history. The Peak Performance consumer is not divided into age groups or by gender.  We simply call our core consumers “Social Adventurers.” Continue reading

Florida Beach Targets Freezing Millennials with Eye-Catching Street Marketing

You might not think a well-known Florida beach would need to do much marketing, especially during this cold winter of 2015.

But the professional tourism generators in St. Petersburg/Clearwater think otherwise.

For 2015, the team at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC, part of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitor Bureau) has injected a healthy dose of creative street marketing.

They’ve launched a guerrilla marketing campaign to target young travelers in New York and Chicago.

Credit: Visit St. Pete/Clearwater via Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater 2015 marketing. Credit: Visit St. Pete/Clearwater via Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Beginning in late January and continuing into February, hired crews built real snowmen around landmark New York City locales.  The snowmen were outfitted with signs touting messages such as “Even I’ve had enough,” and “Get me outta here.”

 

Continue reading

5 Branding Pointers Every Marketer Should Embrace

 “Power branding is not an intention, nor is it merely an action. It’s a commitment.”

There’s a guy in New Mexico who really understands brand marketing.

Steve McKee is founder and president of McKee Wallwork + Company.  He’s also the author of When Growth Stalls and Power Branding.

Credit: McKee Wallwork + Company.

Credit: McKee Wallwork + Company.

In Power Branding (2014), McKee provides concise, 2-3 page chapters that each deliver a key thought with examples.  It’s an easy read that will challenge your thinking and/or reinforce any brand marketing discipline that may have gotten a bit out-of-shape.

Here are 5 Power Branding Pointers to whet your appetite:

1. Branding is everything a company does, from the logo on its letterhead, to the way it handles customer complaints, to whether its uniformed personnel keep their shirts tucked in.

2. Branding is like baseball: You may throw a bad pitch, but it’s a long season.  If you execute steadily and consistently, the statistics will work in your favor. Continue reading

Creative Branding Hooks $1M Investment from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban

Founders Brad Schultz, Amy Steadman and Justin Fenchel (left to right) make the Shark Tank pitch for BeatBox Beverages – October 24, 2014. Credit: BeatBox Beverages.

Last Friday night on Shark Tank, Mark Cuban invested $1 million in a boxed, wine-based cocktail business. Why?

Excellent marketing and branding.

The founders of BeatBox Beverages, launched in 2013, have done a terrific job with creative branding, customer target definition, and positioning.  Cuban was sold on the growth opportunity for this fun, lifestyle, experiential brand. Continue reading

Verizon Seeks Big Gas Results from Half-Fast Advertising

First Kmart. Now Verizon.

These companies think a play on funny word expressions not normally allowed in commercials will drive sales.  So I ask, and wonder:  What’s the big attraction with double entendre advertising?

The answer is eyeballs and attention.

In the case of Kmart, I get it.  The brand has long since lost relevance and is suffering financially.  The marketing team needed to break the brand out of its 1970s/1980s cement.  So, last year they came up with a free shipping offer that integrated in-store shopping with their e-commerce website, and created “Ship My Pants.”

The ad won’t go into any time capsules celebrating the best of American culture, but it did go viral and generate tons of attention.  Ship My Pants has reached 22.7 million views – and that’s just on the Kmart YouTube channel.

Seeking to leverage the popularity and build on the momentum, Kmart quickly rolled out a companion ad called “Big Gas Savings.”  Ouch.

 

However, for all the notoriety, the marketing probably didn’t make a business difference (not clear what could have).  Kmart, part of Sears Holding Corporation, continued to lose money. Looking at the rough time frame for the two ads, Adjusted EBITDA for the 13 weeks ending November 2, 2013 was -$139 million.  That was a bit better than the -$169 million loss for the 39 weeks ending November 2, 2013.


That brings us to the Verizon FiOS ad I saw over the weekend.

 

My first reaction was disappointment.  I guess I expected more from Verizon.

Continue reading