Showing posts from March, 2010

Recipe for A Successful Brand

Ingredients: * Genuine personality or emotion (take from target audience) * Target audience (to appreciate and purchase brand) * "Magic brand mixing machine": writer, designer, strategist * Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. (social media) * Mass media advertisements * A PR specialist with contacts * Product, service, organization or individual to be branded Instructions: * Chop personality into parts, but not too fine * Retain the most desired personality attribute or emotion; discard the rest * Rent or buy a "magic brand mixing machine" * Switch machine to the "on" position (start paying) * Apply output of machine to product, service, organization or individual * Communicate resulting brand image to target audience through unpaid and paid media * Unleash PR specialist * Launch * Pray (optional) Recommended - for best long-term success: * Donate portion of profits to a cause relevant to the brand * Make transparent the brand creation process * Even better: invite and respond…

Women Demand the Images That Consume Them

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report:At least 12.3 million people are human slaves at any given time.Of these, 1.39 million have been sold into sexual servitude.56 percent of all human slaves (“forced labor victims”) are women and girls. The enslavement of women is nothing new: Throughout history, women have been the victims of every kind of oppression, and the horrors continue even today.Yet what makes the current situation of women unique is that the victims themselves are perpetuating their own oppression. No other exploited group willingly buys into the symbols used to oppress them – no slaves ever thought that iron chains around their wrists looked cool.Nevertheless, women today actively consume the commercialized images of women that are sold on Madison Avenue. More than that, we demand them. Often these images are literally pieces of the female body: faces, hair, legs, teeth, and so on. The popularization of branding is what imbues the bro…

Branding, Human Trafficking, and the Millionaire Matchmaker

(Yes, you’re going to have to suffer through my early Ph.D. years to get through this blog—stand warned.)It was the early 1990s when I first began to study the work of the German sociological theorist Georg Simmel. At the time I was struck by the power of his work, by his incredible ability to articulate the subtle complexities of society – modern society in particular - and to put those complexities together in a somewhat scientific way that also rang as true and not forced. Simmel lived and wrote at the turn of the 20th century, and much of his writing is relevant to society as it makes the transition from rural, interpersonal forms of culture to urban, impersonal ones. The key thing to know about Simmel is that he explains the money economy extraordinarily well – particularly in that in a money economy, people are bound together by rational financial ties rather than by difficult-to-quantify human relationships. The core of Simmel’s work is his analysis of the consequences of that …

See comment from BAV & my response - on my "functional brand equity" post

Unbelievable, great example of transparency in action - another reason to watch

Nobody is going to tell me that the last part of the show was staged. What is it in the British culture that leads them to be so savvy about branding, social media, and social and environmental responsibility? Here's the link again: Posted via email from Think Brand First

BMW commercial - brilliant line - the essence of branding--

"What you make people feel is just as important as what you make." This is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant-- "We are a car company. But we dont just make cars.We make time machines, build Snowplows, and create works of art.We inspire fans, and fan clubs.We are efficient and dynamic.
We even shape the future.We realized a long time ago that what you make people feel is just as important ... as what you make.And at BMW we make Joy." Posted via email from Think Brand First

How To Make Functional Brand Equity Ethical

Download now or preview on posterous EthicsofFunctionalBrandBenefit-DannielleBlumenthal.doc(37 KB)
How To Make Functional Brand Equity Ethical1. Real vs. Perceived Functional BenefitIn a recent presentation before the Federal Communicators Network, Carin Van Vuuren, executive director in the New York office of the brand consultancy Landor talked about the importance for brands of delivering an emotional benefit to the customer. Curiously to me, she did not talk about the functional benefit. I found this odd because other formulations appear to include a functional aspect:The WPP Group’s “BrandZ” method begins with the proposition that customers have both a rational and an emotional attachment to the brand and that the value of the brand derives from both of those factors. Young & Rubicam’s Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), talks about brands deriving equity from four sources. (Forgive me, but I am going to use an acronym here that means something nasty in Yiddish.) The attributes are “DRE…

Googled the name of my new blog (ThinkBrandFirst) and found that Al Ries once used it in an article. That's cool!

Brand Authenticity vs. Customer Satisfaction

Download now or preview on posterous BrandAuthenticityvsCustomerSatisfaction-DannielleBlumenthal.doc(34 KB) reports this morning on a study by National Journal Group (owned by the same parent company as showing that while social media tools are gaining acceptance by federal government agencies, government employees themselves don’t get what all the fuss is about. To them (us? since I’m one of them), social media is blather, noise, babble—a distraction. Quote:“The study, which looked at Washington insiders' media consumption habits, found that more than half of Capitol Hill staffers, federal executives and employees of corporations, lobbying firms, nonprofits and other private sector organizations view Twitter as "pointless babble." Nearly a third called the service a ‘passing fad.’’This raises a few interesting questions. Which is the authentic government brand? Is it the view of the employees, or the official view of the agencies? Or is it perhaps…

The world's #1 brand...even half-empty, sitting next to a dingy chain-link fence, is beautiful


Brand Fanatics & the Symbolic Meaning of Brands Today

Download now or preview on posterous BrandFanaticsandSymbolicMeaningBrands-DannielleBlumenthal.doc(33 KB)
I remember the first time I became conscious of brands. It was summertime and I was a kid, maybe 13 years old. I was attending an expensive sleep-away camp, but was the camp nurse’s kid and had been granted a space for free. At the time, I wasn’t aware of class distinctions. All I knew was that I wanted to be independent but that for some reason my mom had decided to come along. I vaguely resented her being there even as I was grateful for the privilege that having her there provided – like a cold can of soda from the infirmary fridge every now and then, or hanging around with her in the mornings while the other kids had to follow whatever drill they were supposed to be doing at the moment.Anyway, like I said, until that day I didn’t know middle class from upper class. I had a house, I had food, and I had clothing. But the day I learned about brands was the day I became aware of the…

5 Great Examples of Branding Today

Download now or preview on posterous 5GreatExamplesofBrandingToday-DannielleBlumenthal.doc(30 KB)
BMW’s new ad campaign, themed “joy,” shows incredible insight into the nature of branding. The true brilliance of a great brand is to create a compelling, credible, unique concept that people commit to emotionally before, during, and after the point of purchase. This is what creates long-term value that can later be leveraged in specific marketing campaigns focused on functional benefits.Several recent marketing articles talk about the new campaign, which steps away from the company’s previous emphasis on “performance.” of these articles raises the issue of whether the new campaign dilutes the traditional BMW brand image (briefl…

“Toyota Comes Out Swinging”

Download now or preview on posterous Toyota-Part2-WhenPRDestroysBrand-DannielleBlumenthal.doc(27 KB)
I heard it on CNN this week and can’t get the phrase out of my head: “Toyota Comes Out Swinging,” they repeated, over and over again, echoing the carmaker’s claim that the so-called “runaway car problem” is not really a problem.To repeat something I said in my first blog about the Toyota crisis: I have absolutely no idea how a brand so huge, so profitable, and so able to hire quality PR and brand talent can be conducting itself so cluelessly from a communications perspective.Previously I speculated that the root of the problem lies within the corporate culture – based on a Wall Street Journal article that reported on employees’ dissatisfaction with the transparency of the company’s leadership.Now I am thinking that there may also actually be a crisis management strategy at work here (no doubt one that Toyota leadership is comfortable with) that dictates a very aggressive “hit them back h…

Go With The Flow - Of The Social Media River

"People are messy, brands are clean.” Somewhere in the back of the traditional brand managers’ mind this phrase always lurks. They see their job as one of control, policing, enforcement: The brand should always appear the same, nobody should co-opt it, and “infringement” on the brand has to be “punished” in some way.Traditional brand managers have a suspicious attitude toward people, and the damage they can do to the brand. Aside from the obvious problem of counterfeiters, insiders, associates, or interested outsiders can do all sorts of “damage” with their right to free speech. After all, look at the laundry list of “problems” they have to contend with:Trusted employees who write tell-all books (so frequent one need not provide an example)
Employees who prefer the competitors’ product (e.g., Microsofties using the Apple iPhone
Interested parties who launch popular unofficial websites with the brand name in them, create videos about the brand, etc. (, peo…