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Before you apply any omnichannel strategies, understand your business, existing channels and how your customer shops, or wants to shop. For best success, understand the discipline of brand management — and how to apply that expertise in today’s omni-touchpoint world.
BeatBox Beverages earned a $1M Shark Tank investment from Mark Cuban because the founders created a differentiated concept with clever branding, defined targeting and clear positioning. It’s well-executed marketing discipline in action.
Verizon FiOS has a new double entendre ad that takes a page from Kmart’s 2013 playbook. Time will tell if Half-Fast marketing leads to Big Gas results.
At Dante’s View in Death Valley National Park, it’s possible to see both the highest and lowest points in the United States. A Rosh Hashanah sermon that encouraged a “Look Up” personal mindset also offers a powerful tonic for business success.
How you act on business social media sites such as LinkedIn reflects your personal brand. When you ask a stranger to connect with no stated reason, you get an “F” in personal marketing.
Book Review. If you want to get smart and understand how to implement it to grow your business, read Epic Content Marketing. Recognized as a content marketing evangelist, Joe Pulizzi is the author of three books and the founder of the Content Marketing Institute.
Ashley Furniture HomeStore in College Station, TX powered a sports marketing triple play when its free furniture offer activated following Texas A&M’s season-opening football victory. Plus, four keys to your sponsorship success.
Look for packaging opportunities to deliver consumer benefits and revitalize brand concepts. A good example is the new easy-open, easy pour screw cap on Hain Celestial’s Dream brand non-dairy products.
Changing behavior is perhaps the hardest marketing challenge. The Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) is running a humorous Twitter-character-based outdoor advertising and social media marketing campaign to get Californians to conserve water.
You may know him as a PBS television character, but Harry Selfridge was an innovative, retail marketing pioneer. More than 100 years after opening his iconic London store Selfridges, his ideas remain spot-on and valuable to today’s marketing and business practitioners.
Pro sports teams are increasingly deploying head coaches and owners to directly communicate with fans and build/maintain engagement. This direct-to-sportsfan marketing strategy (D2SF) offers a unique brand management tool to score points off the field.
Mission statements don’t have to be so complicated. Take a lesson from The Lazy Lobster restaurant in Longboat Key, Florida.
Coca-Cola has launched a brilliant marketing and sustainability program in Vietnam that transforms used soda bottles into useful and fun tools. It’s an example of the smart brand management required to effectively market global brands in local geographies.
If you upgrade, they will come. AMC Theatres is making customer experience the keystone of its go-to-market strategy. The entertainment company is investing $825 million, including power recliner seating, to dramatically enhance customer comfort and the total movie-going experience.
A New Zealand company has demonstrated that innovation is possible even for a product that’s thousands of years old. Golf ball sized Rockit™ apples, packed in hand-held, clear tubes, provide a convenient solution for healthy, on-the-go snacking.
Don’t engage your customers this way! The New York Mets demonstrated poor fan understanding with a misguided letter to fans that can only be described as bad marketing across the board.
Here comes Google Air Force. The purchase of Titan Aerospace and its jet drone technology is the latest execution of Google’s go-to-market strategy that has technology as a key enabler. That strategy also includes channel expansion and maximizing user experience.
Score one for the underdog marketer. Beverage brand Zevia is now The Zero Calorie Soda of the Oakland Athletics, snaring the kind of sponsorship rights that typically go to icons such as Coke, Pepsi and Gatorade.
A Colorado school district is using creative marketing to address the tough problem of getting students to eat healthier lunches: provide their own food truck packed with desired choices in a healthy format.
Swedish manufacturer Forbo Flooring Systems created a break-through sampling program using flip-flops to reach architectural customers. Good luck finding the product on their website, though.
Former nuclear submarine commander David Marquet has written a must-read book about how to achieve great performance at every level of your organization. Turn The Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders is terrific for all team players and especially powerful for those entrusted with leading direct reports.
800Razors.com is trying to beat Dollar Shave Club and both are trying to beat Gillette with a low-price, online sales model. What does it mean and what are the go-to-market differences?
When health insurance provider Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey learned that customers faced a potential loss of sensitive information, they didn’t just say sorry – they did something about it. Horizon gave all its members a free year’s subscription to an identity theft identification and resolution tool.
Dodge Durango has partnered with Will Ferrell and the Anchorman movie sequel to create dozens of Ron Burgundy endorsement ads for the car. On the surface sales analysis indicated a marketing home run. But it’s too early to know for sure.
3G Capital takes a rigorous (some would say ruthless) approach to newly acquired companies and their management teams. Just ask the folks at Burger King and Heinz. However, there are important takeaways to increase the odds of successfully navigating your own career well-being.
T-Mobile USA launched a smart, attention-getting marketing campaign to highlight its cost saving international data usage plan. Can the actual customer experience live up to the hype?
The next time you’re blocked on marketing or business-building ideas, think about the hamburger. This ubiquitous product defies its commodity status with a relentless stream of brand concept, product development and overall food establishment new business activity across the country.
A powerful way to innovate and deliver customer value is to provide packaging-based benefits. KFC has just launched the KFC Go Cup, a hand-held serving of chicken and potato wedges in a cup that fits most automobile cup holders.
Texas Roadhouse’s CEO gets his marketplace learning firsthand by disguising his identity and hitting the road. While donning a costume may be tempting, there are less dramatic methods to implement an ongoing, effective system for marketplace engagement and learning. Do what works for you.
Native Americans, and many other Americans, consider the NFL’s Washington Redskins team name offensive. A clever, new marketing campaign once again puts the spotlight on this contentious issue. It’s time for the team to change and move forward.
Don’t let a lack of communication create a lousy experience for your customers. Planet Fitness kept its gym members in the dark about a major payment system change. The result is a reduced balance in the brand’s customer satisfaction and positive engagement account.
Duke University tells an easy-to-relate-to story to help raise funds for its libraries. The capability to develop an engaging story that can achieve communication and branding objectives should be in your marketing toolbox.
Has Nissan adopted a bizarre, new sales technique or is it just the shtick of a local salesman? What does it mean to say “I want you to leave here happy” even though the customer just told you he’s not buying a car today?
Even industrial marketers can utilize consumer marketing tactics to get their message out. Norfolk Southern taps the consumer marketing playbook to achieve its business marketing objectives with fun, catchy television advertising.
Duracell wants to pump up the battery market with the launch of Quantum, its self-proclaimed longest lasting battery. Is there a meaningful difference versus its flagship CopperTop? Are there enough benefits for consumers to pay more?
ESPN’s The ESPY awards are an excellent example of creating relevant content that both engages fans and reinforces the ESPN brand promise with them.
Central Illinois electronics retailer Sundown One demonstrates how to succeed versus the big national chains
There is no substitute for fact-based customer understanding. So, ask your customer. In this example, supermarket retailer ShopRite utilizes a simple method to obtain consumer learning.
The New England Patriots football team fired a top player arrested for murder, and offered fans a free exchange of his jersey. It’s an important reminder that brand managers have to say no sometimes.
Contrary to news reports the past few years, food and beverage package redesign isn’t always a fiasco. Arrowhead Mills shows us how to do it right with a makeover of its healthy cereal product range.
Coca-Cola’s return to Myanmar after a 60-year hiatus offers three refreshing marketing lessons: Don’t Dismiss Back to the Future; K.I.S.S. Works in Marketing, Too; and Learning Never Stops. Thanks to marketing leader Shakir Moin for the inspiration.
High-end skincare products seller Kiehl’s wanted to spike its men’s marketing with a custom Marvel comic book distributed inside Wall Street Journal newspapers in select markets. It was an interesting content marketing effort. However, what’s the connection between Captain America and current and/or potential users?
Leaders must step up to the role of strategist, per HBS professor and author Cynthia Montgomery. And strategy should be embraced ”as something open, not something closed. It is a system that evolves, moves, and changes.”
Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress is launching a collection of high-end hosiery for men called The Plaxico Burress Collection. Do we need funky colored socks that cost $24 to $39?
Starwood Hotels reminds us: if you’re not engaging off-site with everyone and everything that makes your company tick, that’s a problem – and lost opportunity.
Dean Kamen was stymied to distribute an easy water purification device in Africa and Latin America. Then he realized “there’s only one organization that can get a product to any village in the world: Coca-Cola.”
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is a master team culture builder. What you can learn from his “we have enough to win” leadership philosophy.
There’s more to value than just low price. Canadian sports retailer Sport Chek believes that. It’s going high-tech to create what it hopes will be a unique customer buying experience.
You don’t have to join the Marine Corps to get their best teaching on leadership and decision-making for the business crucible. Just read David H. Freedman’s Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines. The push-ups are optional!
Just because you can tell a story doesn’t mean you should. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital mostly demonstrates how to do case study marketing well, but a new TV commercial goes too far.
Arrow Electronics has invested in a major corporate branding campaign with an attention-getting idea called The Innovator’s Club. A full understanding and appreciation of the company’s message probably requires a bit of effort from customers.
Companies struggle and even become disillusioned with innovation because of the wrong expectations. How Elkay and Louisville Slugger moved the needle with non-transformational innovation.
A new marketing campaign from Ace Hardware builds from a simple positioning – “Getting help at Ace is like going to your neighbor” – and is effectively communicated in new TV commercials.
What is it about endorsements that make them such a tempting magical elixir for marketers and agencies? Read a mini case study of 3M brand endorsements with HGTV contractor Mike Holmes, and get five key pointers for your marketing endorsement decision-making process.
Content marketing should be part of your marketing mix and deserves to be treated strategically because it can be a real difference-maker. Learn about Serena Software’s five-part video episode series called “Doug Serena, CIO.”
These can be business differentiators. Spread this way of thinking across your company and make it a valuable addition to your organization’s go-to-market toolbox.
Here are a few thought-provoking ideas from my recent reading, including from Jeff Bezos and Clayton Christensen, that resonated with me and could prove valuable to you. While they’re mostly for your professional consideration, you may also find some personal overlap. They’re organized into nine categories for easy processing.
Super-clear positioning and content marketing drive Duluth Trading Company. Marketing basics do work. If you can get your positioning and personality easily defined, you’ve got a solid platform to reach customers, especially when your product line backs it up. Then, become a great story-teller.
Sorry, Megan Fox talking to dolphins is not a reason to buy an Acer computer. Maybe I’m missing the boat, but there should be more than that to an Acer brand-building campaign, especially when reallocating and investing limited company financial resources.
Packaging can be a powerful component of the marketing and branding mix – when used skillfully. Mini case study of Calilfornia winery Truett-Hurst’s launch of Evocative Wrapped Bottles occasion-based wines.
The latest Axe brand communication is Showerpooling, a social media-driven marketing campaign that integrates the Axe brand essence with a tongue-in-cheek nod to environmentalism
Save the CEO and C-Suite leaders for the most important customer communications. When he or she takes a large newspaper ad and gives out a personal email address, it should be vitally important and especially urgent.
On-demand car service company Uber provides a strong example of how a business can use the net to engage with its customer base and drive change. They just told their customers what was happening and gave them the tools to take their own action. This is the power of the Internet today.
Walmart’s steak marketing is a good example of a strategy I refer to as “making news.” This means finding and/or creating relevant message point news about your brand or product. It’s especially applicable for mature products that don’t easily lend themselves to product improvement or innovations – steak, for example.
Need to overcome big hurdles? Take a page from Coca-Cola’s Muhtar Kent and Google’s Sebastian Thrun. Be constructively discontent and get rid of the baggage!
The next time someone asks you to define branding, tell the story about how Azerbaijan selected the iconic London taxi for its fleet modernization. That’s all you really need to know.
Let’s give Jim Bush (EVP World Service) a “marketer of the day” award for his mindset on how to leverage the service function to impact the bottom line – via customer engagement and not simple transaction management.
Global retailer IKEA has just announced that it’s entering (or perhaps creating?) a new category of integrated electronics and furniture. The new HD entertainment furniture system is easy to understand from a corporate strategy and mission standpoint. It even seems to address a consumer opportunity area. Give them high marks for thinking different and being willing to innovate. That doesn’t guarantee success, though.
New ideas, clever approaches and important reminders always jump off the page during my business reading, especially those that might apply to challenges I’m facing or will likely face again. Here are six management and marketing ideas that stood out to me recently, along with an “action step thought starter” for each one.
Beyond getting the strategy and platform right, powerful sponsorship is all about activation and user engagement. To Coca-Cola Portugal, I simply say, Goaaaaaallllll!
ZMOT – Winning the Zero Moment of Truth is an easy reading, 73-page e-book that every marketer, seller, businessperson and customer touchpoint team member should read. It’s a simple, yet powerful reminder of something fundamentally important and critical in today’s business world: “Can they even find your product?”
Apple has such a wonderful reputation and so much cool marketing that I was shocked to read details about its secretive corporate culture. It flies in the face about everything I’ve been taught, believe and have seen work during my business career.
J.C. Penney’s new CEO, former Apple executive Ron Johnson, boldly proclaimed the retailer’s plan to become “America’s favorite store.”
What Rudyard Kipling’s “If” poem teaches us about life and business.
Ideas power marketing. Today’s example: check out this terrific marketing idea for Brazil’s Olla Condoms.
A British health organization has taken a super-sexy approach to help solve the deadly serious issue of testicular cancer. Let’s explore why this is such a great marketing lesson and reminder for all of us.
Here are three ideas that can help overcome the “we’ve always done it this way” syndrome, and better yet, foster a forward-looking, innovative culture and mindset.
Hey marketers, if you can’t or don’t want to take the time on the front-end to map out just what it is you want to achieve and why, then don’t expect to have any success. Sure, you might get lucky, but over time, the odds are greatly against you. You need to write a marketing brief.
You’re in a conference room being pitched ideas for the marketing rollout of your new product and the recommendation is to use iconic marijuana-smoking characters from a 1970s movie. What do you do?
Craftsman tools are now for sale at Costco. Sears’ dilemma may just be that what’s good for the brands is not good for the stores. Channel expansion for Sears’ big, power brands may be the right brand management choice, but how can that be the right retail growth management choice?
Make Strategic Changes From Position of Strength, Not Weakness. Why do leaders and companies seemingly wait until crisis time before making the tough go-to-market and organizational structure decisions needed to ensure healthy sales and profit generation? The best time to do this is when the company is doing well and can process the change rationale and ramifications from a position of strength.
Mobile marketing is hot, particularly smartphones. It’s no surprise that marketers are in overdrive figuring out how to optimize engagement and maximize experience for mobile consumers and customers.
Budget Rent a Car of Atlanta has partnered with Wrap Media Group to wrap rental vehicles with the Sheets™ Brand Energy Strips logo. Significant discounts are touted for those bold enough to be indirect brand ambassadors.
Technology should be on your radar screen in the context of difference-making, whether in terms of direct customer experience or in-house productivity.
Yes, congratulate the women’s World Cup soccer team. Beyond the great play, what really stood out to me was the teamwork, mindset and leadership. Great players have success but the best teams become champions.
There’s a certain wow factor about United CEO Jeff Smisek’s leadership and management philosophy because he comes across so straightforward and genuine, without the jargon and BS. Smisek is a refreshing difference, which is why he stands out.
You can build meaningful brand/product/service differentiation, image and equity with the right positioning foundation and marketing communications ideas that bring it to life. Corona Extra’s “Find Your Beach” tv campaign is a poster example.
Why does some advertising easily fit and resonate for the brand while so much does not? One answer is that the advertising is consistent with the positioning, and helps dimensionalize it and bring it to life for customers.
Why do leaders and companies seemingly wait until crisis time before making the tough go-to-market and organizational structure decisions needed to ensure healthy sales and profit generation? The best time to do this is when the company is doing well and can process the change rationale and ramifications from a position of strength.
Positioning only to the customer is not enough. There’s an important corollary, which is positioning to internal, cross-functional teams so that they are prepared to successfully interact with customers. Today’s CMO should create, engage and activate a powerful extended marketing team, that together with superb positioning, can produce a compelling, differentiating customer experience.
Cisco (shutting the Flip recorder business) and Best Buy (reducing big box square footage and adding mobile stores) made important strategic announcements last week. Each decision provides a good opportunity for a mini-case study discussion. After you read my take, post a comment and tell me what you think.
The new bus ad for Midwest DNA & Drug Testing, Inc. is brilliant. It plays off a popular expression, which cuts right to the core service and benefit. Simple, effective and powerful. Plus, avoid these six pitfalls in your advertising development and creative evaluation process.
Gillette, a Procter & Gamble brand, has an impressive marketing innovation track record with razors. Gillette, and now P&G, has not been afraid to compete against itself and to cannibalize, if necessary, existing products for higher priced/higher margin sales.
Powerful, effective ideas don’t have to be based on fancy jargon or complex theories. The basics often work quite well. That’s the major takeaway from the short book: Plugged: Dig out & get the right things done.
Customer understanding and market research should be key components of your strategic marketing planning. This is often a significant expenditure, but you don’t always have to invest big bucks to understand your customer. When possible, take advantage of low-cost, easy-to-implement options such as the following example from Amazon.
Everyone is talking about China. But what do we really know? Here’s an exclusive interview with ex-pat business executive Greg Morency, just back from living and working in Shanghai. It’s an inside look at lessons learned from doing business in China.
You play Brand Manager. Check out the Starbucks logo evolution and then tell us what you think.
Put the Marketing in Your Trade Shows. 12 organization and action points to help maximize your trade show marketing.
Don’t let mature brands and commodity products stop you from producing terrific marketing. As UK first aid charity organization St John Ambulance vividly demonstrates, you can break through.
Frito Lay Canada engages consumers with a clever social media campaign to market its new compostable SunChips packaging.
Former NFL star and Super Bowl winner Brad Benson leverages current events, politics and celebrity actions to create memorable, attention-getting radio ads for the largest car dealership in New Jersey. His unique communications platform drives traffic, and enhances brand identity and market awareness.
Ponder the meaning and implications of CEO marketing leadership examples from 3M, Wal-Mart and United Continental for your team and company.
Everyone wants to be a brand manager, but figuring out how to use brands is hard. Discussion examples from Hyundai, Continental-United, Starbucks and Donald Trump.
Here are four key themes to embrace for successful marketing-sales interaction and communication, which will also help you build a great working relationship.
Here’s a short story about Olive Garden and wine. It’s a good reminder that marketers need to make their products and services approachable, easy-to-understand, and sometimes even fun.
You may be surprised to learn how OfficeMax has creatively modified its go-to-market strategy. Office Max unlocked growth potential because it avoided defining itself as purely an office supply store retailer.
When you’ve got meaningful differentiation, market the heck out of it. When you don’t have it, gear your innovation efforts to get it. If it’s just not possible, out-execute your competitors.
Don’t be the emperor with no clothes. When it comes to operating your business and maximizing performance, relying on limited, assumption-based rather than fact-based knowledge has the potential to lead the organization astray.
InterContinental Hotels Group has a new Priority Club rewards program. I don’t know if it’s crazy, brilliant marketing or much ado about nothing. However, to break from the pack, a certain dose of bold and different is often required.
Innovation can take many forms within the go-to-market strategy, and is not restricted to just new products. Make sure your company invests in some “imagineering” resources to protect existing businesses and/or to grow new ones. Here’s a look at the new Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain dispenser, and why Coke hopes it’s the next real thing.
A study of New York Jets football coach Rex Ryan reveals important leadership, communication and motivational insights for business and marketing leaders. “You’re going to stay the same, get better or get worse. We’re getting better.”
What’s the marketing connection between Netherlands lingerie, Brazilian hamburgers and US chicken? Cast your idea net far and wide for inspiration that can help drive your business.
Everyone wants it, scores have written about it, many aspire to provide it, but few can actually produce it: great leadership. The leadership philosophy of Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski extends from the court to the marketplace.
March 2010 featured four intriguing events pertaining to the great food nutrition debate. There are implications to be gleaned from food retailers Hy-Vee and Basha’s Supermarkets; Michelle Obama’s address to the GMA; and the new reality television show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
Marketers need to be savvy operators who understand that marketing’s role is to help generate profitable sales. Former Denny’s CMO Mark Chmiel opines on the topic.
Undercover Boss provides tv entertainment that will stimulate important reflection about your job and company.
New ideas don’t always have to be new. The Food Network’s Unwrapped show featured a coin-operated eating blast from the past with BAMN! Automat.
Why would the number one US pizza delivery company highlight that consumers think its product tastes like “cardboard?” Explore the incredible new marketing campaign for reformulated Domino’s Pizza.
A case study about the pitfalls of underestimating the competition. Lessons from the the use of Predator drone aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Coinstar Inc. and its Redbox DVD rental kiosk are battling NCR, with licensed brand Blockbluster Express, and its own DVD kiosk. Gain important marketing insights from this content delivery battle.
Advertising Age magazine named BoltBus one of “America’s Hottest Brands.” Read why.
Duracell, part of Procter & Gamble, unveiled a new strategy to position itself beyond just batteries. The company organized a suite of existing and new products under the Duracell Smart Power platform.
Burger King, seeking to leverage its brand and generate new revenue streams, utilized licensing to bring BK branded french fries and apples to the at-home market.
Kraft Foods Australia invites consumers to name its new Vegemite product and takes a wild marketing ride.
Armour-Eckrich challenges Kraft Lunchables with test market launch of Active Packs.
Create a price benefit that can help build your business longer-term instead of just getting a one-time sales spike. Learn from British Airways.
Technology can play a role in bringing your marketing strategy to life. Examples from Live Sports Radio, print ads with embedded video, Avatar and Coldwell Banker.
Take calculated risks in your promotion strategy to achieve differentiation. Learn from the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and Jet Blue Airways.
Direct comparison/attack advertising examples from the Ball Park/Oscar Mayer hot dog war; Powerade vs. Gatorade; and Campbell Soup against Progresso.
Experiment and test new ways to impact and persuade your customers. Intriguing examples from the LPGA, Alexander’s Steakhouse, Metropolitan Police Department and Miller Lite.
Great teams require excellent leadership and coaching. Examples from Google, Costco and Colin Powell.
Did channel expansion lead to the downfall of Mattress pioneer 1800mattress.com?
Connecticut casinos Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods join forces in an unexpected destination marketing campaign.
Creative marketing campaign from Air New Zealand.