Branding Insights

Brand of the Month: Cracker Barrel

19 Sep , 2017  

This is a new addition to my blog. Every month I will highlight one notable brand, an example of branding best practices. Expect to see a wide range of brands over the coming year. If you have a nomination, send me an email at t-calkins@northwestern.edu   Perhaps the most important marketing lesson is this: you can’t […]

Branding Insights

The High Cost of Poor Service

23 Aug , 2017  

Strong businesses are built on great customer service. When people are happy, they come back and provide endorsements. They may even be willing to pay more when they can anticipate superior treatment. Poor customer service, on the other hand, does enormous damage; it can destroy a business. Customers don’t return, forcing a company to constantly attract new customers, an expensive and […]

Branding Insights

Beer and the Power of Branding

8 May , 2017  

One of the benefits of being a professor at Kellogg is that you get to participate in  student events. Recently the Brew n Q club invited me to join them for a beer tasting. I shared some thoughts on branding in the beer industry to kick things off, then we sampled the beer. The event […]

Branding Insights

The Power of Comparisons

10 Oct , 2016  

Last month, a new study came out that evaluated the impact of activity trackers such as Fitbit and Jawbone on weight loss. The conclusion was quite clear: the devices did not have a positive impact. If anything, they actually made things worse. According to the study, people lost more weight without them. You can read […]

Branding Insights

The Great Brand Portfolio Debate: Unilever vs. P&G

28 Sep , 2016  

It is always interesting when two firms in the same industry embrace completely different strategies. Both companies are presumably led by smart and savvy business leaders, both have the same overall goals of increasing profit, driving growth and building firm value, and yet they come to very different conclusions and take divergent strategic paths. A […]

Branding Insights

Marketing and the $7,000 Pig

4 Aug , 2016  

Last weekend my son Charlie and I spent a day in Wisconsin at the Racine County Fair. One of the highlights was watching the market pig auction. Every summer dozens of young people raise pigs for the auction. They buy piglets in the spring and then spend months feeding and caring for the animals. At […]

Branding Insights

Rebranding a School

26 Jul , 2016  

Government leaders in Chicago are considering rebranding some public schools to increase their appeal. The idea is interesting, but it isn’t likely to work on its own. Rebranding is more difficult than it seems. Some public schools in Chicago have very negative perceptions. People associate them with poor teaching and disappointing academic achievement. There is a […]

Branding Insights

Marketing Lessons from Macau

7 Jul , 2016  

Last week I was in Hong Kong teaching a branding and marketing strategy program for global executives. It was a treat to be back in such a vibrant and colorful international city. On an open day, I headed over to Macau, just an hour away by high-speed ferry. I was astonished by my visit. Macau is […]

Branding Insights

Emirates and the Power of Great Marketing

9 Oct , 2015  

Every once in a while a marketing team creates a piece of advertising that really stands out. They get it right. There is a benefit, the branding is strong and the piece breaks through the clutter. This week Emirates released a new spot that delivers. Take a look: What works here? In my view, pretty […]

Branding Insights

UBS, Customer Insight and Being a Good Father

11 Sep , 2015  

Yesterday while reading the Wall Street Journal online, I was asked a rather significant question: Am I a good father? That got me thinking. I aspire to be a good father to my three children. I try to be a good example. I help with homework, praise and encourage each kid, and help put food […]