Brandtalk banner 2018.05.jpg

Beware The Celebrity-Driven Brand

Remember this guy? Jared Fogle. He became a celebrity for losing more than 200 pounds by eating nothing but Subway sandwiches – for a year, I think. Subway made him a spokesperson for the brand and he appeared in ads that ran from 2000 to 2015. The ads were very successful and Subway only ended their association with Fogle when he was indicted for sexual offenses against minors. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to more than 15 years behind bars. I’m thinking of Jared Fogle today because of a conversation I recently had with an attorney who represents several cannabis businesses. Cannabis is a commodity, as you know. So all growers are looking for ways to differentiate their crops and tell a compelling story. They need to build brands. The idea is to amass markets, of course, but also to attract the fat-cat buyers – big tobacco and big liquor – who are eating up the sector. A stronger brand means a higher sell price. According to this attorney, every grower’s dream is to attract a celebrity spokesperson as a shortcut to brand stardom and a massive exit package. But they should tread very carefully when making such a move. In a flash, Subway’s association with Fogle turned from profitable to toxic. There is a right way and a wrong way to use celebrity endorsers.

Read More

Topics: Strategy

What Is A Brand Strategy – Really?

Every business has a brand whether it wants one or not. Every business has a relationship to its market and that relationship is its brand. It’s partly a recognition thing. What does the business look like? What does it sound like? It’s partly a reputation thing. What is it known for? What does it stand for? It’s even partly a legal thing. What trademarks or copyrights does it own? Today, we think of it as a total experience thing. How does the market experience this business? How do the two parties relate to one another? How do people feel about this business? Most small- and middle-market business owners put very little time into thinking about their brand. They commission a logo design, launch a website and leave it at that. They let their brand grow wild from there without ever considering what it might grow into. Shrewd business owners, however, create a strategies for their brands. They decide how they want people to experience their business and they take steps to ensure that they do. They shape their relationship with the market and guide their business to a positioning that affords competitive advantage. The market leaders in every category do this. In large part, that’s why they became market leaders.

Read More

Topics: Strategy

Your Brand Is Like A Marriage

As a very astute business consultant I know points out – every business has a brand. Every business is perceived by those who are in a relationship with it in some way – customers, suppliers, employees, etc. And people who perceive a business hold opinions about it even if those opinions are never articulated. Remember now: people act on their opinions. They will buy from Company A or from Company B based on how they feel about those two businesses. So when the leaders of businesses ignore or neglect their brands, they are really ignoring the relationship they share with their markets. Emphasis on the word “share”. They are taking their customers or clients for granted, or worse. What happens in other relationships, like marriages, where one party takes the other for granted? The relationship becomes sad and troubled or even dissolves.
Read More

Topics: Strategy

Why Is Your Brand Like an Elephant?

While at breakfast with some new friends this past week, I happened to once again relay the tale of the six blind men of Hindustan, a famous Indian folk tale. In it, six blind men use their sense of touch to “see” an elephant. I was using the story to illustrate how different people experience brands in different ways and how it’s important to craft brand strategies that will address all those points of view. One of the people at the table very kindly complimented me on the metaphor. And that inspired me to notice that it’s been two and half years since we discussed brand constituencies in this blog. Time to rectify that now. Our tale begins in ancient India …

Read More

Topics: Strategy

What Goal Have You Set For Your Brand?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about charting a course to brand performance. To completely torture that maritime metaphor, when your brand is performing well, it’s like having your boat perfectly outfitted and your course plotted. At this point, your brand should be working efficiently for you. But where are you going? Most owners and managers of small and middle-market buildings have no idea. They point their vessels, imprecisely, toward “success” or “increased sales”. But that’s just like steering toward the horizon. A business needs a more specific goal. And, luckily, one of the benefits of constructing a brand strategy is that the goal becomes immediately apparent. Once you have assessed your products and services, matched up to your market’s values, assessed your storytelling capabilities and surveyed your competition’s positioning, you’ll see a rich goal that is readily available to you. And you’ll have plotted a course to it, one that neatly sails past shallow water and treacherous rocks.

Read More

Topics: Strategy

Sign up – Brandtalk

Join Kevin Walker for a discussion on brand strategy for restaurants. At the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, Los Angeles Convention Center, August 27, 1:00 PM.

Best Branding Reads
Week of August 19, 2019

Does your brand measure up?
The inimitable Denise Lee Yohn speaks on the five dimensions of brand power. A very worthwhile 3-minute video.

How To Reinvent A Well-Known Brand
Successful CMO describes taking a well-known brand from good to great.

6 Ways Brands Can Respond In A Recession
This is important and worth sharing. Still, I worry that all this talk about a possible recession will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Read this one and then no more of this. OK?

Why Culture Doesn’t Eat Strategy for Breakfast
The two exist in a symbiotic relationship. Can’t have one without the other.

New Logo, Identity, and Livery for Canada Jetlines
Very professionally done. But another smiley face logo? Really? IHOP this trend ends soon.

Starbucks New Creative Expression
The public doesn’t often get to see examples of really first-rate style guides. Starbucks makes theirs available to all. Tasty.

The Benefits Of Optimizing Brand Architecture
Thanks, Derrick Daye, for providing much-needed clarity on a topic that is confusing to many.

Recent Posts