MasterCard Re-branding

Following the earlier this year Visa re-branding, Mastercard unveiled yesterday new corporate name and brand identity.

Formerly known Mastercard International has a new corporate name, MasterCard Worldwide. The company is also unveiling a new corporate signature and adopting a new corporate tagline, The Heart of Commerce, to reflect the company’s globally integrated structure and its strategic vision of advancing commerce worldwide.However, the familiar consumer brands such as MasterCard credit and debit cards and the advertising slogan “Priceless” would stay in place.

The new corporate positioning will serve as a unifying business-to-business platform, and lead to global efficiencies in the way MasterCard Worldwide connects with customers, merchants and shareholders through all communications channels.

The three circles of the new corporate logo build on the familiar interlocking red and yellow circles of the MasterCard consumer brand, and reflect the company’s unique, three-tiered business model as a franchisor, processor and advisor.

More here.

UPDATE: More about MasterCard brand history.

Brand Names Turned to Common Nouns

Whether we’re talking about Sony’s Walkman or a 3M’s Post-it Note, there are some of the landmark brand names that made it so far that their trademarks turn into common nouns. And this should be the good part of branding: a brand name on everybody’s lips.

Meanwhile there are cases that we use such a noun without even thinking that the word itself used to be a registred brand name, say escalator for example. This is the downside in terms of branding.

Well, these words are called eponyms.

An eponym is a general term used to describe from what or whom something derived its name. Therefore, a proprietary eponym could be considered a brand name (product or service mark) which has fallen into general use.

So, what leads a brand name to become eponym? Well, for one thing, other brands of similar nature must exist; but even more importantly, the original product, even if discontinued, must still function pronominally. In other words, a specific can be used to designate a class of generics with no loss in meaning. A usual result: lower case transcription of the brand name.

In this matter there is the American Proprietary Eponyms website, which have some of the most common eponyms in english language.

2 Deadly Sins and 2 Golden Rules in Branding is publishing an interesting interview with best-selling marketing author and brand strategist Al Ries, co-author of “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” and “The Origin of Brands : Discover the Natural Laws of Product Innovation and Business Survival” on the common mistakes in branding and marketing products.

According to Ries there are the two deadly sins most commonly made by companies in the branding and marketing of their products:

1. Line extension — putting the company name on every product. You can’t stand for something if you put your name on everything.
2. Lack of focus — trying to sell too many products to too many different markets.

Accordingly, there are also two golden rules:

1. Be first in a new category
2. Keep your company focused.

These are simple, conceptual ideas, of course, but not easy to execute. Many people think marketing is nothing but common sense, but it’s not. Marketing is a highly complex discipline that takes decades to learn.

(Another) Top 10 – Strongest Brands in America

Harris Interactive released the 2006 results from the EquiTrend Brand Study. Despite all expectations, I would say, the strongest brand in America came to be Reynolds Wrap who scored highest among more than 1,000 brands whithin 39 categories in a survey of 25,666 consumers

EquiTrend has been designed to be a concise and efficient way of obtaining quality, well-rounded information about the critical elements of a brand’s health. Its seven key measures help determine a brand’s stance amongst competitors, within other categories, and in comparison to world-class brands. The study measures brand health using the following seven key measures:

1. Equity
2. Familiarity
3. Quality
4. Purchase Consideration
5. Overall Relevance
6. Brand Expectations
7. Distinctiveness

The final top 10 looks a little odd for me as none of the brand-icons made it in the first ten, actually I would rather name it Top 10 Grocery/Convenience Store Brands. Or as AdAge put it:

Reynolds also topped such icons as Coke, Pepsi and McDonald’s. It blew away the ubiquitous Nike. It outclassed Mercedes and Lexus. It left the hip iPod in the dust.

But well here is their top 10:

  1. Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil
  2. Ziploc Food Bags
  3. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bars
  4. Kleenex Facial Tissues
  5. Clorox Bleach
  6. WD-40 Spray Lubricant
  7. Heinz Ketchup
  8. Ziploc Containers
  9. Windex Glass Cleaner
  10. Campbell’s Soups

The official Harris Interactive announcement here.

Top 20 Rebranding Mistakes

Every brand needs refreshing to stay relevant as markets evolve. Smaller companies and non-profits are not immune. Like larger brands, they too have brand positions that need to be enhanced. Define your brand or be defined.

Smart marketers evolve their brands over time to keep them relevant. Some do it well, while others become the target of cynical bloggers. To gear your next rebrand for success, sidestep these all-too-common mistakes:

1. Clinging to history.
2. Thinking the brand is the logo, stationery or corporate colors.
3. Navigating without a plan.
4. Refusing to hire a branding consultant without industry experience.
5. Not leveraging existing brand equity and goodwill.
6. Not trying on your customer’s shoes.
7. The rebrand lacks credibility or is a superficial facelift.
8. Limiting the influence of branding partners.
9. Believing rebranding costs too much.
10. Not planning ahead for adaptation.
11. Bypassing the basics.
12. Not calling the call center.
13. Forgetting that people don’t do what they say. (They do what they do.)
14. Getting strong-armed or intimidated by consultants.
15. Putting the wrong person in charge.
16. Strategy by committee.
17. Rebranding without research.
18. Basing a rebrand on advertising.
19. Tunnel focus.
20. Believing you’re too small to rebrand.

Ingredients and Qualities of Good Brand Naming

Naming is an important part of branding a product or a business. More than that, an important first step when naming a business, product or service is to figure out just what it is that your new name should be doing for you. The most common decision is that a name should explain to the world what business you are in or what your product does.

On a very fundamental level, there are two basic ingredients of the best evocative names:


A competitive analysis is an essential first step. How are your competitors positioning themselves? What types of names are common among them? Are they all projecting a similar attitude? Do their similarities offer you a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd?
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The Origins of a Historical Brand Image

Part of the 100 most famous and influencing pictures in history, the Marlboro man image has an interesting story:

This is C.H. Long, a 39-year-old foreman at the JA ranch in the Texas panhandle, a place described as “320,000 acres of nothing much.” Once a week, Long would ride into town for a store-bought shave and a milk shake. Maybe he’d take in a movie if a western was playing. He said things like, “If it weren’t for a good horse, a woman would be the sweetest thing in the world.” He rolled his own smokes. When the cowboy’s face and story appeared in LIFE in 1949, advertising exec Leo Burnett had an inspiration. The company Philip Morris, which had introduced Marlboro as a woman’s cigarette in 1924, was seeking a new image for the brand, and the Marlboro Man based on Long boosted Marlboro to the top of the worldwide cigarette market.

Via the excellent Coolz0r – Marketing Thoughts

Defining Branding

While discussing earlier about the concept of branding and how to define it I just found a very nice blog post on the matter which I’ll quote here:

When you have a great (or bad) experience with a restaurant/ airline/ hospital/ website, what do you tell your friends about? Do you echo the messaging from their advertising? Do you say, “Hey, try them, because they had the coolest logo”?

The brand is the customer experience.

And that’s all it is. It’s not primarily a story, or a logo, or a style, or even a value proposition. Primarily the brand is just what customers tell each other about: their experience.

So if you want to create a good brand, the best – perhaps the only – investment to make is in the customer experience. This means learning from customers through direct observation, and crafting a strategy built from that customer input

Once the customer experience is set, the other elements – aesthetic style, consistent messaging, value proposition, iPod-ness, Coke-ality, all of those wonderful ideas will take care of themselves.


Key Elements of Small Business Branding

Jay Lipe is CEO of and the author of The Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses : Tips, Techniques and Tools to Improve your Marketing is identifying the Keys to Branding Your Small Business.

Name: the First Step

How different would you be if your name were Clem or Matilda? Your company name sets a tone for your brand, right from the start. Names can be generated from invented words (Xerox), initials (IBM) and founder’s names (Johnson & Johnson). Some of the best names, though, communicate a benefit (U-Haul or Budget Car Rental).
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Five Steps for Branding a Professional Services Firm

The Denver Business Journal is running an interesting article presenting five essential steps to take for branding a professional services firm.

The key point of the article is however expressed in the beginning:

To most of us, the term “brand” conjures up an identifying symbol, a catchy phrase, or a trademark that a company uses to identify and advertise its product. However, the true purpose of a brand goes well beyond sending a series of impressions into a target market to create a response. A brand makes a promise; it pledges quality to the user. Brand success is critical in the professional services firm where the people are the product and the brand must be lived to ensure that the promise is fulfilled.

Than, the five proposed steps, are no less interesting:
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