Branding. It’s the single most important thing about marketing. A brand communicates how a company wants to be perceived – or how it wants you to think about its products. Branding is a combination of one part image, one part slogan, and 98 parts repitition. Great brands are not created overnight. They are built slowly, one message at a time, until the brand becomes etched in your conciousness. Brands are expensive to build. But their worth their weight in gold. Which makes it all the more interesting – and madning – when I see a company kill a brand that resonates with the public. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at three brands that have been killed-off by their corporate masters, and examine the who, what, and why they died (and perhaps why killing them was a dumb idea).
I’ve been in the business of using computers, in one way or another, since 1982. I wrote my first college paper on an Apple III. I owned one of the original IBM PCs (Hercules Graphics Card! 512K RAM! Two full-height 5 1/4″ Floppy Drives! Dot Matrix Printer! DOS 2.0! Ashton-Tate Framework! All for the low, low price of $4,000!!!). I’ve worked as a software engineer, product manager, project manager, marketing manager, and user interface evangelist for software publishing companies. I was around for the birth of Windows 1.0, the life and death of COMDEX, the rise of the common user interface, the Year of the LAN, and a slew of other things, long consigned to the dust bin of computer history. I’ve been a user, author, coder, beta-tester, evangelist, designer, and planner. In short, I’ve held just about every job you can hold in the software industry.
Now I’m writing reviews. [Read more…] about My two cents.
Know what a “Tween” is? Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which might not be such a bad idea, actually), you know a tween is the trendy label for those ages 9 to 12 – not quite a child anymore, but not quite a teenager. A “tweenager,” if you will. I’m the proud father of a tween. She’s obsessed with all the typical things that girls her age are – fashion, Miley Cyrus, High School Musical, Jonas Brothers, and fashion. The problem is, I’m not sold on the idea that all those obsessions are the right ones.
Here’s the deal. I had a great childhood. Idyllic, really. I want the same for my daughter. But we live in a radically different world today, and I’m afraid she’s being exposed to a lot of things that are stealing her childhood right out from under our noses. [Read more…] about The Problem with Miley.
I’m a conservative. (Note I didn’t say “I’m a Republican.” In today’s world of RINOs – Republicans In Name Only – running the show, I can’t claim kinship…the word “Republican” has no real meaning any more.)
As a conservative, I’m against practically everything Obama stands for. You know – socialism, higher taxes, less national defense, more appeasement – that sort of thing. Frankly, Obama scared me silly from the begining, as I see him as the perfect candidate for this age of political parties held hostage by radical fringe groups and a mainstream media who has abandoned their traditional job as neutral observers and become a bunch of cheerleaders for a single candidate (Obama, if you’ve not been paying attentition to the blatant media bias). But last night, as I watched The Annointed One address a political rally in Germany (?!), I realized what REALLY scares me about this guy. [Read more…] about Zig Obama.
I love photography. I have since I was a kid. Back then, the big barrier to entry was the hassle and price of developing film and getting prints. This struck me this morning, because I was asked by my daughter to take pictures of her for a school project. She protested a couple of shots, feeling as if she wasn’t ready for the shutter to snap. I explained to her, that it didn’t matter – I could take as many pictures as we needed to get the right shot – the bad pics would simply be deleted. [Read more…] about Goin’ Digital.
I love advertising. There. I said it. I’d rather watch a great ad than just about anything. A 30-second national ad has roughly the same budget, acting quality, directing quality, and production quality of a 30-minute sitcom. A well-crafted 30-second spot tells a short story, with a plot, characters, story arc, and everything else you expect in good communication. Oh, and it sells something. Usually. (Some advertisers forget to sell a product, and some forget to tell a compelling story, but I’m speaking here of GOOD commercials.
[Read more…] about The Language of Advertising.
Robert Scoble, God bless him, is willing to tell the truth about Microsoft and Branding. Let’s compare and contrast Microsoft’s and Apple’s branding:
Microsoft: Windows XP Home Edition SP2
Microsoft: Wireless Optical Desktop Pro (keyboard + mouse)
Apple: Apple Keyboard/Apple Mighty Mouse [Read more…] about Tone-deaf Branding.
Marketing – or more specifically, the “advertising” part of marketing – is a lot like hunting. In this case, you’re hunting prospects, and not rabbits, but the principles are the same. Hunters have, basically, two types of firearms from which to choose – shotguns and rifles. In marketing, most customers prefer the shotgun approach. Savvy marketers prefer rifles. Here’s why… [Read more…] about Hunting Pwospects!
Let me start by saying that I’m not your typical “car guy.” I didn’t grow up with my hood under an engine, and I’m not an expert in all things automotive. I did spend a couple of years working in automobile advertising, and I’ve owned twelve vehicles over my adult life, three of which have been Jeep products. I drive – a lot – and I know what I like. Those are my qualifications. Don’t look to me to talk about gear ratios, drag coefficients, and other arcane topics. I just wanna know if the vehicle drives well, handles well, is well-made, and will suit my purpose. That having been said… [Read more…] about 2007 Jeep Wrangler: First Impressions
My wife is a brilliant woman. One day I was casting about for a creative idea to use as the nucleus of a website demo, and I asked her for some ideas. (I was stumped.) Out of the blue, she said, “why don’t you create a bank for intelligence?”
In a flash, the whole thing hit me. It was a “V-8 moment” if ever I had one. [side note: A friend once started to tell me about a sketch he’d seen the night before, watching “In Living Color” with two guys in a phone booth, as the “Homeboy Shopping Network.” He didn’t have to say anything else – I could see/hear the entire routine in my mind’s eye. This was the same kind of experience. [Read more…] about Banking on Intelligence.