2007 – Interesting Year Start in Brands and Branding

2007 definitely started with a lot of agitation in some of the big brands courtyard.

I’d start with the Apple Computers who dropped computer from its name. The move is rather normal considering that iPod or iTunes are two of the main products of Apple Inc. and was announced in the same time with the buzzy launching of iPhone. Now, getting to this, cannot help myself not to admire the Apple capacity to create a buzz in the media, no matter that we’re talking about the internet of the classic mass media. The phone they launched is, I admit, a work of art and has a lot of great features but I wouldn’t hurry to name it neither a Blackberry killer, a computer or a smart phone. It’s more like a beautifully designed, big brand sustained swiss knife of mobiles.

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In Case You Missed It – Branding News Roundup

Since I had a quite long break from brand-blogging I thought I should point out some of the posts I found interesting in the branding blogosphere, just in case you missed them:

Marketing a Strong Nonprofit Brand

Laura Ries has run a list of 7 important things to consider when building a brand for the non-profit organizations:

1. The name
2. The spokesperson
3. The position
4. The enemy
5. PR, PR, PR
6. A signature event
7. Color and logo

What is your (personal) brand worth?

David Sandusky has an interesting list of questions people should ask themselves when they’re evaluating their own personal brands. What about you? What is your personal brand worth? How do people feel when dealing with you? Do they think of you when looking for an expert in your space? Do people hear from you only when you need something like a job; or are you making networking deposits regularly.

More, he has a 4 steps strategy to define and maintain a personal brand:

1. Define yourself
2. Understand your environment
3. Formulate a career and brand strategy
4. Execution

Branding to further boost economy

China plans to further boost its world economic status through branding.

“Branding is a decisive factor in the world’s economic development, and in some cases, an established world brand’s overall value is even bigger than that of a middle-sized country,” said Sun Bo, director of the quality management department of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, yesterday.

China now has seven products with six brands that are famous worldwide – Haier refrigerators and washing machines, Huawei programmed control switchboards, Zhongxing programmed control switchboards, Zhenhua container cranes, Gree air-conditioners and Sunshine worsted woollens.

The sales volume of the products ranks among the top five in their world markets.

“We will still have to make them even more recognized worldwide,” Sun said. He said the bureau would help enterprises upgrade quality insurance, measuring and testing systems, and encourage them to apply international rules and standards.

More here.

Seven Steps to Building a Strong Brand

1. Develop your benchmark.
2. Compare your organization to the various competitive choices available to your target market.
3. Analyze your SWOT.
4. Focus on the Opportunities.
5. Identify your message.
6. Time & Money. Layout the timetable. Identify your budget components.
7. Implement the branding tactics.


How to Write a Marketing Plan

Most businesspeople agree that good planning is essential for success. Even so, it’s surprising how many companies don’t create a thorough plan to generate and manage their customers.

1. Start with your annual goals
2. Highlight your competitive position, value proposition and brand strategy
3. Outline any plans for your products & services
4. Outline your major marketing campaigns
5. Develop your tactical sales plan
6. Develop a budget
7. Revisit your plan regularly

Branding News Roundup – 07/07/2006

Death of Mass Marketing

Marketers typically employ online ad targeting — especially through behavioral, contextual, geographic and search methods — for direct response goals more so than for branding ones.

The focus is shifting, however, according to Advertising.com’s ongoing survey of U.S. web publishers. While only 19.2 percent of respondents cited branding as the main objective of online advertisers in 2005, that figure more than doubled to 41.5 percent this year.

Assessing the financial value of brands

Assessing the size or success of something as slippery as a brand involves a great deal of subjectivity. That is compounded by the fact that two competing factions are promoting two very different approaches to measuring a brand’s effectiveness.
On one side are accountants, armed with the financial wizardry of the capital markets. On the other are workers from the creative industries, the people who create and maintain brands and need to judge their own success.

Mark Ritson on branding: GM is risking death by brand overload

GM is economising on front-of-house systems, with many dealerships now merged into cost-efficient, but brand-killing, shared retail points. Target segmentation and brand differentiation are being replaced by cannibalisation and commodification as GM gradually destroys itself.

Branding News Roundup – 02/13/06

Maslow and Branding: Esteem

So yes, this really is all about ego. We don’t like to admit that we need our ego stroked, that we want to be recognized and feel important. But hey, it’s a fact AND it’s a huge motivator for purchase (like L’Oreal’s tag line: “It’s more expensive, but I’m worth it.”) Obviously all fashion, cosmetics, car companies, etc. are playing on Esteem, but as you can see from the above examples, any company can meet this need.


When re-branding ourselves – our organizations – we are making a declaration to be free of attachment to the comfort of the known. Free of the comfort of the predictable. We as organisms – be we individuals or organizations – seek stasis; predictability; comfort. The great trap of the human condition is a striving for comfort. As managers we organize work processes to gain as much predictability as possible. We become slaves to our forecasts and plans.

Coloring Your Brand Perception

Brands are defined by the perceptions and experiences that someone has with a company product or service, what it looks like, what it sounds like and how it acts. One element in shaping an image is the use of color. Although color alone does not establish your brand it is one element that effects consumers emotions, behaviors and perceptions in relation to your company, product or service. In designing it is important to pick the right colors for the right effect to help reinforce the brand. A good place to start is to recognize the product or service being advertised, the target market, and the desired reaction and response of the consumer.

Olympic strategy key to branding gold

How companies try to get the most from the Games is a sport all in itself. While some companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars for rights to the rings, marketers say there’s more than one way to play the sponsorship game around the Olympics.

Branding News Roundup – 02/04/06

Branding Lessons From GM: What Not To Do
The bottom line is that in the branding business, less is more.

A successful brand has to stand for something. And the more variations to attach to it, the more you risk standing for nothing. This is especially true when what you add actually clashes with your perception. […]Until companies come to grips with the simple fact that they don’t really have an inordinate need to grow, but an inordinate desire to grow (because of Wall Street), bad things will continue to happen. Slowly but surely, brands will lose their meaning as they try to become more.

George W. Bush, Branding Guru?
What lessons can be drawn from Bush as brand guru?

  • Visuals are more important than text
  • PR is the most pow
  • Naming is important
  • Brand to your base
  • Enlist brand allies

Internal Marketing vs. Internal Branding
Where Internal Marketing & Internal Branding Overlap

  • Both approaches recognize employees ARE the brand. As a result, both are focused on engaging employees.
  • Both are part of organizational and marketing strategy to strengthen competitive advantage.
  • Both involve leadership – i.e., neither can be effective without management commitment.

How do we brand ourselves?
Like any branding exercise, the key to personal branding is having a good product, one which you understand and pitch to the right market. The first step in personal branding is knowing who you are, find out what strengths your brand possesses and how these strengths can help you. Personal branding is not about presenting a façade to the public; a poor product will not stand up to market scrutiny. This is also a choice of brand elements, people you deal with, the look that you have, and how you conduct yourself.

Branding News Roundup – 01/27/06

Dell – The Accidental Brand
The corporate name was Dell, but the original trade name was PCs Limited. But the company ran into a problem when it began selling in the United Kingdom. It couldn’t call itself PCs Limited Ltd, or, as Michael Dell put it, “really limited Pcs.” The folks in Britain asked headquarters what they should call their operation, but got no reply, so they just decided to use the Dell name. And eventually, that became the trade name for Dell worldwide. Michael Dell’s verdict: “It worked out OK.”

The problem with (famous) brands
These days so-called ‘famous brands’ need to take dramatic measures just to secure their share of the market, never mind grow it. They risk being stuck in the middle of the market with private label products snapping at their heels and the premiumisation trend making them look dowdy.

Viral Marketing Gaining in Popularity
A study out this week by interactive marketing agency Sharpe Partners shows that a strong 89% of adult Internet users in the U.S. share content with others via e-mail. And while jokes and cartoons make up 88% of the forwarded material, a full 24% of business and personal finance information is also shared.

Branding with a Song
We must concede the celebrity endorsements increases brand awareness and ultimately sales. Of course, not all celebrity endorsements are overt advertising. In fact, if you are lucky, a celebrity songster will mention your brand name in the lyrics to a chart topper. Check a Top 10 most mentioned brands in the Billboard Top 20 tunes for 2005.

Branding News Roundup – 12/08/05

Coca-Cola previews global advertising campaign – AdAge (free reg. required) is featuring the full story on the sneak peak Coca-Cola offered at its new global advertising campaign for its flagship brand, campaign that carries the theme Welcome to the Coke side of life

Brand Gamble: Mergers and Aquisitions — the article published on brandchannel by Alycia de Mesa is addresses the problems that appear when two brands join in the holy M&A, and they sometimes overlook their first love: the customer. Hard to belive but it happens all the time. The resulting company may be stronger and bigger but it doesn’t really matter if the customer’s great expectations are not met.

It’s the Purpose Brand, Stupid — Wall Street Journal article on the best brands that are created around a purpose, entirely published on Brand On Blog

All Branding is Divided into Three Parts — interesting classification of the brands made by Warren who considers three branding approaches: independent branding, endorsed branding and monolithic branding.

Employerbrand.com – if you are into the employer branding concept, here is a site for you with insights on the matter and some interesting case studies on Microsoft, Reuters, Unilever and Tesco

Branding News Roundup – 11/29/05

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising opens in Notting Hill on Thursday and will take in 200 years of consumer history with displays of thousands of brands and products. The museum would develop into an archive and resource for marketing professionals wanting to understand how today’s companies sold themselves in the past.

The top ten rebranding nightmares – One of the best ways for a company to secure negative press coverage is to pay a pretentious branding consultancy millions of pounds to come up with a confusing and ridiculous new name. It seems that some people never learn, which is good for journalists, but a bit of a shame for investors. This Times article looks at ten of the most amusing names to have emerged in recent years.

The Top 50 U.S. City Slogans
– Since we discussed here before about destination branding here is a list of the top 50 US City Slogan from the Vegas’s famous What Happens Here, Stays Here to less known Newark, on a Roll. As a bonus, there is also a list of Top 50 U.S. City Nicknames.

Stinky Branding – As part of a new craze for smelly-branding, hip brand managers are desperately trying to project a sensory message with an exclusive aroma. Checkbooks are being scented, clothes are pre-perfumed, and cars are wildly sprayed. Now you know why massage oils are scented, and how aromatherapy became so popular.

Chinese Brands Going Global

While many companies outside of China contemplate the riches to be made, they must be aware of the increasing competition originating from that country into global markets.

This is the caption phrase of a recently released Interbrand white paper on The Strategy for Chinese Brands.

This paper, the first in a series of two, examines this “Chinese Brand Strategy,” current perception issues, lessons from the best global brands, and the impact of leading Chinese brands. A second paper will examine Chinese what brands must do to be globally successful and how entrenched players must respond to the increasing competition.

Many Chinese brands, says the study, are quickly embracing practices common for the best global brands:


Well-performing brands enjoy strong awareness among consumers and opinion leaders. These brands lead their industry or industries. This type of recognition represents the nexus of perception and reality, enabling brands to rapidly establish credibility in new markets.


These brands achieve a high degree of consistency in visual, verbal, sonic and tactile identity across geographies. They deliver a consistent customer experience worldwide, often supported by an integrated global marketing effort.


A brand is not a brand unless it competes along emotional dimensions. It must symbolize a promis that people believe can be delivered and one they desire to be part of. Through emotion, brands can achieve the loyalty of consumers by tapping into human values and aspirations that cut across cultural differences.


Great brands represent great ideas. These brands express a unique position to all internal and external audiences. They effectively use all elements in the communications mix to position within and across international markets.


Global brands must respect local needs, wants and tastes. These brands adapt to the local marketplace while fulfilling a global mission.


The organization’s senior leadership must champion the brand, ideally with the CEO leading the initiative. A leader’s continual articulation of the brand philosophy and the brand’s view of the world is meant to give the business strategy a recognizable face. The commitment is crucial, allowing for a unique positioning that transcends local idiosyncrasies and appeals to a universal aspect of human nature and experience.

Get the full report from Bnet

Branding News Roundup – 10/05/05

KGB: The Brand You Can Trust
Who knew secret police were so attached to branding principles? Next thing you know, the Belarussians will sue Green Bay Packer DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila for unauthorized use of their initials as a nickname.

Sneak Preview: Ogilvy PR BlogFeeds
The Ogilvy PR BlogFeeds which we are distributing and publicizing at the conference tomorrow are an attempt for us to share a list of blogs that we consider influential …

The Yin and Yang of Car Naming and Car Sales
I am sure you are all aware of the sharp fall off of SUV sales and the corresponding rise in subcompact sales due to rising gas prices…

Marketing lessons learned at Starbucks
Developing a loyal customer base at Starbucks is not overly complicated. As Howard Schultz says, it’s nothing more than greeting customers in a friendly manner and making a drink exactly to their desires…

The ABC of Great Brands
Great brands encompass three characteristics that possess a winning combination when executed correctly. The road to branding success requires a unique discernment of the value proposition being offered followed by vision, patience, and perseverance.