Famous Last Words: Ruminations on Branding
August 1, 2007

I was heartsick to hear American Heritage magazine is folding. I remember when it was founded back in 1954, the brainchild of three TIME alumni: James Parton, Oliver Jensen and Joseph Thorndyke. It broke all the rules. It accepted no advertising, was printed on heavy, glossy paper and had a hard cover with a full-color painting printed on it. It was not just a magazine; subscribers kept every issue and displayed their collections on bookshelves, along with Time-Life books, Harvard Classics and other great continuity series of the time. American Heritage circulation promotions were created by the legendary Frank Johnson, after whom the Johnson box

Wanna Make a Profit? Pay Attention to the Nonprofits
June 12, 2007

What can marketing executives at for-profit companies learn from major nonprofits? Although companies might believe corporations, because they have more staff and resources, have more access to current best practices, it’s often the nonprofits that shine, according to Roger Sametz, president of communications consulting firm Sametz Blackstone Associates. Here, he offers some tips for-profit companies can learn from the nonprofit sector: Connect place to purpose. With a distinct mission at their core, nonprofits often are better able to emphasize that mission (by walking the talk) for a competitive advantage. Group products/services into higher-level areas of focus. Nonprofits group the problems they solve, so that they

Famous Last Words: Spin-marketing
June 1, 2007

A world-class Belgian restaurant, ZoT, opened 11⁄2 blocks from my 1817 Philadelphia row house. The Bombay Sapphire martinis (shaken not stirred), endive salad, frites and 29 recipes for steamed mussels are to die for. At ZoT, my wife, Peggy, and I ordered sparkling water, and out came the damnedest designer bottle I have ever seen containing VOSS Artesian Water from Norway. Sometimes I grab a bottle of water in the airport or train station and when I go to twist the cap off, I notice the stuff comes from Fiji. Why am I buying water from a source 12,000 miles away? Or from Evian, which is

Great Brands Never Rest
May 1, 2007

Have you gotten caught up in “The Secret”? The buzz has been spectacular. More than 3.7 million books have been printed and more than 1.5 million DVDs have been sold. “The Secret,” as explained by Rhonda Byrne, its author and producer, is all about the law of attraction: Like attracts like. No doubt a savvy marketer and a very rich woman, Byrne makes it seem so simple. Ask, believe, receive and … voila! Everything is wonderful. There is little mention of discipline and action. I don’t buy it. Sorry Rhonda. There are many detractors, and even books that were rushed to market to expose

The Road Less Traveled
April 1, 2007

Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has taken the road less traveled before. It all started when the founders of this independent biopharmaceutical company left Roche to pursue therapeutic applications for several molecules they had discovered. Pharmaceutical giant Roche had opted not to continue the research because of limited market demand. A decade later, Actelion has built a thriving, multinational organization on discovering, developing and marketing drugs for unmet medical needs. Case in point: The company’s flagship drug, Tracleer, treats pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a complex disease historically overlooked by pharmaceutical firms and physicians alike. PAH has been under diagnosed due to a lack of awareness, explains Martin

Direct Selling: Picture Perfect
January 1, 2007

Close your eyes and think of a Pottery Barn catalog. Or Lands’ End. Or J. Jill. Can you picture them? Chances are, you have a clear and distinct image in mind. You know what the photography looks like because all of these brands have established a certain style and “look” that is unique to them. They’ve achieved this over time through consistent execution of their defined styles. Pottery Barn, for instance, always shows a warm and inviting room consisting of the various pieces of furniture and accessories sold in the photo spread. It allows you to picture yourself in that perfect environment. Lands’ End, on

Battle of the Banks
January 1, 2007

In the past year, Bank of America has secured more than a few No. 1 positions. First, in early 2006 it purchased MBNA, making it the largest issuer of credit cards. Next, it acquired U.S. Trust from Schwab, garnering the title of largest private bank in the United States. And then, just a month ago, it scored a victory that CEO Kenneth Lewis has been aiming for since taking the company’s reins in 2001: Bank of America passed rival Citigroup to become the largest U.S. bank based on market value. These developments have prompted financial expert Michael Sivy to predict that the Charlotte, N.C.-based

Orkin’s Rob Crigler on Branding Challenges in SEM
December 20, 2006

According to various Internet analytics firms, Google pulls in anywhere from 40 percent to about 80 percent of Web searches, giving it the muscle to do as it pleases online. Part of that rule-setting process includes allowing any marketer to bid on any search term, regardless of whether the word is a competitor’s company or product name. It’s no wonder then that big brand marketers are concerned about online cannibalization of their trademarks. Robert Crigler, director of interactive marketing at Orkin, the pest control company, discussed the ramifications of this SEM challenge and suggested a couple lines of attack for brand marketers interested in fighting

Three Ways to Consider Color in Your Marketing Campaign
December 13, 2006

Could the way to your prospects’ wallets be through their stomachs? Well, perhaps not literally, but when it comes to deciding which color combinations will resonate with an audience, John H. Bredenfoerder—president-elect of Color Marketing Group (CMG), a nonprofit organization for design professionals, and design director for Cincinnati-based brand consultancy Landor Associates—likens the process to the delicate balance of seasonings a chef uses to create a palate-pleasing dish. “I like to refer to color as the ‘Spice of Design.’ It lets us customize our designs to our target’s specific wants and needs,” he says. Here, Bredenfoerder offers three ways to think of color as

Six Vanity Phone Number Do’s
December 5, 2006

Vanity phone numbers, such as 1-800-FLOWERS, can pull more responses and generate more leads when consistently used across channels. Laura Noonan, vice president of marketing and corporate communications with 800response, a provider of vanity numbers and related services, offers six tips to ensure you’re using your vanity 800-number as effectively as possible. 1. Lather, rinse n’ repeat. We all read the back of shampoo bottles and laugh at the obvious instructions to “lather, rinse and repeat.” But, this is great advice when you think of it in other contexts—ones that may not be so obvious. For example, make sure you feature a vanity phone