Results of a Different Kind
August 1, 2008

If you've been thinking about your company's carbon footprint, you're just a step away from a bigger idea that's taking shape in business culture today. It's called ethical marketing, and it was the focus of a keynote speech by David Sable, vice chairman and COO of Wunderman, at the DM Days New York Conference & Expo two months ago. His presentation was titled, "Fashion Statement or Fad du Jour: The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Ethical Marketing," but believe me, Sable was quite clear on the fact that companies must be more honorable in the way they interact with customers and conduct business if they want to remain relevant.

How's Your Brand's Margin?
August 1, 2008

When was the last time you took your brand on a holiday? A real, live "getaway from it all" pause for refreshment and renewal? I don't mean the annual rah-rah sales meeting or the obligatory management off-site. I mean a true time-out.

4 Ways to Nurture Your Brand
July 30, 2008

At last month’s DM Days New York Conference & Expo, Patrick Strother, CEO and chief creative officer at Strother Communications Group in Minneapolis, spoke on the topic of direct marketing’s effect on brand. In his presentation, he explained that branding is about building relationships and that you’re not managing your brand if you’re not nurturing it. Here are four ways to do just that.

Direct Selling: Information Plus Emotion
July 1, 2008

Answer this question: Why do people buy from you? Seems like a simple question, but it can be difficult to answer for many companies. The fact is, people buy for various reasons, but ultimately, most people make their buying decisions based on emotions—how they “feel” about a product or the emotional connection to the brand. As we know, brands are based on relationships. Relationships between companies and their customers. And relationships—good ones anyway—are based on emotion, shared values and things you have in common. So how can your brand make an emotional connection with your customers? You need to identify a “higher-order benefit”

Creative Makeovers
May 1, 2008

It seems that every three to four years, a flurry of activity occurs within a marketing department, and you hear the battle cry for a creative makeover. Dutifully, creative directors present the battle plan based on what someone from the executive team has deemed wrong with the existing presentation. Often, they will point to another brand and say, “Why can’t we look more like them?” This is not a healthy start.

Tried & Tested
May 1, 2008

Establishing a brand image that is fluid, one that can flex to move with the marketplace and "that consumers can adapt to their own individuality," according to fashion icon Ralph Lauren, is a worthy goal for any marketer.

3 Ways to Protect Your ‘Greening’ Brand
April 23, 2008

Oops. The effort to green your company—both internally and for the whole world (well, prospective world that is) to see—was going so well. Then a blogger caught you in a little lie that he was only too happy to broadcast to that same world as “greenwashing.” Potential crisis is around the corner. What to do? “In the Internet world, it’s almost impossible to keep things under wraps,” says Perry Goldschein, the managing director of SRB Marketing in Denville, N.J., and author of “Conscious Clicks™: A Guide to eMarketing for People, Planet & Profit.” He continues, “Either you’re going to roll with it, or fight

Brand Matters: Are You the Real Deal?
April 1, 2008

I have always been a cheerleader for the underdogs. They just plain try harder. This is why I favor companies like Caribou Coffee over Starbucks, Frontier Airlines over United Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s over Breyers and Chipotle over McDonald’s. Not only do these “underdogs” try harder, but they also seem more comfortable in their own brand skins. They are original. They are daring. They are independent thinkers. They are the real deal. Is your brand the real deal? I bet your customers know the answer. Stand Out from the Crowd As you look at the vast choices of products and services customers have today,

Editor’s notes: Sitting Chickens
April 1, 2008

Chief marketing officers are supposed to be concerned with finding and serving their companies’ target audiences. But with Spencer Stuart putting the average tenure of a CMO at just a little more than two years—compared to nearly four years for CEOs—many have got to be sweating about the imaginary bull’s-eyes on their backsides. A recent article in Investor’s Business Daily noted these stats and ventured a couple of theories as to why CMOs end up on the chopping block so quickly, including a poorly defined role, ignorance of new media and outdated skill sets in today’s digital world. Meanwhile, their employers want to see

Editor’s Notes: Booper Soul
March 1, 2008

First off, I’ve got to give a shout-out to blog poster Vasco DaGameboy for my headline this month. His (or her?) use of this term to refer to the Super Bowl in a Feb. 2, 2006, posting to Techdirt struck me as a super representation of what has become a downright ludicrous trademark battle. Well, it’s not actually a battle because the National Football League, which owns the trademark, has been super effective in scaring off all uses of the event’s name in any context outside of sponsors’ communications. What started my research into this super silly scuffle was a mailing from the telco/cable/Internet company