Category Archives: Branding

Tag. You’re it.

Okay, kids, lets talk about hardening of the institutional arteries for a moment, shall we? In business, it seems much of what any industry does is due to inertia – or in plain English “because that’s the way it’s always been done.” Let us turn our attention to the lowly clothing tag, for an example of inertia in action.
<p>Garment tags are generally made of nylon. Why? They weren’t ALWAYS made that way, because clothing tags date back to well before the invention of nylon. Prior to that, I suppose tags were made of silk, and nylon is a much cheaper substitute. From about the 1940s on, however, nylon garment tags have been the standard. </p> Continue reading Tag. You’re it.

Bank on it.

Banks are out of control. I thought my cell phone company was bad with hidden charges in every nook and cranny, but my bank has them beat. My (current, soon to be former) bank has instituted a charge for using an ATM, should you try and get more money out than you have in your account. Let’s consider the logic behind this one. Say, it’s the end of the month, and your spousal unit paid the bills, leaving less in the account than you expected. You are a little short of cash and stop by your friendly neighborhood ATM to get some walking around money, for those little luxuries like gasoline and food. You pop in your card and are instructed that by pressing “YES” you are giving the owner of the ATM permission to ding your account for a couple of bucks for the priviledge of using their machine. Not fun, but you’re used to it. You then click on “withdrawl” and choose $100. Not so fast, bucko. Your significant other left just $95 in the account. Payday is in two days. Now what do you think happens? In a fair and equitable world, you’d see the screen tell you, “whoops…you’ve asked for more than you’ve got…would you like to get a ballance so you can take what you need without getting an overdraft?” But no. With B of A, what you get is a SERVICE CHARGE FOR ATTEMPTING TO TAKE OUT MORE THAN YOU HAVE ON HAND.

Pause with me for a nanosecond.

Continue reading Bank on it.

What’s in a Name?

IBM. GM. AT&T. GE. Sound familiar? They are. These are all companies that qualify as “Captains of Industry.” And with good reason. They’re huge, they’re successful, and they have vast amounts of “mindshare.” But when you are naming your company – or your product – do you want to try acronyms or meaningless bunches of letters?

Here’s the deal. All the companies listed above were once companies known by real names. International Business Machines. General Motors. American Telephone & Telegraph. General Electric. They were able to move to letter designations because the public began referring to these companies with that form of shorthand, and it stuck. (FedEx was “Federal Express” long before it was “FedEx”.) If you expect to get the same milage out of two or three letters, you’d best build up some brand equity and mindshare with a name that means something, before you attempt to get a few letters to be instantly and irrevocably associated with your name.

While we’re on the subject, I can let you in on a little secret I know…the secret to coming up with a great name. Continue reading What’s in a Name?

Who is Captain Digital?

What is this all about? Simple. I’m a marketing guy/graphic designer/copywriter/animator/whatever. As you might expect with all those “/” in my vocations, I have a lot of opinions on a lot of things. Mostly marketing and advertising, but we may wander ocasionally. Check back here for random thoughts on the state of marketing, advertising, politics, pop culture, and (un)common sense.