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

Ice Pack for That Black Eye?
February 1, 2008

For decades, direct marketing was a red-headed stepchild to Madison Avenue, which allowed practitioners to enjoy their success quietly. Now that general advertisers have come over to the measurable side, a much bigger spotlight has been trained on direct marketing. Ironically, the press coverage hasn’t grown that much more accurate or any friendlier. Direct marketers, it would seem, do not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Are You Listening?
February 1, 2008

What do Charles Schwab Corp., JC Penney, Netflix and The Vermont Country Store all have in common? Great branding conversations with their customers.

Strategy vs. Tactics
January 1, 2008

Branding commonly is considered a critical part of any successful business these days, yet many people still view it as merely a creative endeavor. It’s something people dressed in black and armed with logos, typefaces and fancy color palettes do behind closed doors. But the truth is, branding is just as much about strategy as it is about tactics. It’s thinking and execution. It’s left brain plus right brain. It’s logic plus magic. You need to approach it from both sides to get the full impact from your branding efforts.

Three Methods to Regain Control of Your Brand
December 12, 2007

General advertisers believe they are losing control of their brands. They’re wrong. They’ve never had control! Advertising is focused on changing the way people think, while direct marketing changes the way people act. Here are three ways to get your brand back: 1. Behavioral targeting is easy when your product/service is associated with a particular activity or pursuit. It can still be done, even with more general products and services—but it’s a bigger challenge. 2. If your marketing program is broken, you need to test everything. If your program is healthy, spend about 20 percent of your budget testing. If it’s somewhere in