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).
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.
Okay, here’s the deal. I’ve just returned from a music store today, where I had an experience that I can only describe as unreal. I saw a brand commit suicide, right before my very eyes. Allow me to explain.
In addition to being a marketing guy, I’m also a professional musician. One of the instruments I play is the acoustic guitar. My brand of choice is C.F. Martin. Now, understand, I grew up in the music business. I took up guitar in my early 20s – well after I turned pro, as a drummer. I quickly grew to love the guitar, and went from a pretty nice “starter” instrument (a Yairi) to a Guild (which turned out to be a complete piece of crap) to what became my “ultimate” guitar – a C.F. Martin. I’ve owned several Martins, in the time I’ve been playing. My current instrument is a beautiful HD-35, with herringbone trim, and a three-piece, bookmatched rosewood back. It is a truly wonderful instrument. In those days, Martin made guitars so well, that they used a fixed truss rod in the neck. It couldn’t be adjusted, because you never needed to adjust it. It just worked. Years later, Martin bowed to pressure from those that valued user control over craftsmanship, and began selling instruments with adjustable truss rods. I was sad to hear it, because it took away the edge that made Martin a brand apart. Continue reading Un-branding.