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. Continue reading 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. Continue reading 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. Continue reading 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. Continue reading 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.
Continue reading 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 Continue reading 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… Continue reading 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… Continue reading 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. Continue reading Banking on Intelligence.