Branding Insights

Three Things We Can Learn from Ron Johnson

9 Apr , 2013  

Ron Johnson is out at JC Penney. His seventeen month stint at the retail giant will go down in history as one of the great leadership fiascos of the decade. We can learn a lot from Ron Johnson’s tenure at JC Penney. Here are three of the key lessons.   – It is easier to […]

Branding Insights

The Switzerland Puzzle

8 Apr , 2013  

In late March I spent several days over in Zurich leading a program for a global pharmaceutical company. I found Switzerland to be a surprising place. The first surprise was that the prices are remarkably high in Switzerland. I had perhaps the most expensive cup of coffee of my life at Starbucks across from the central train station in […]

Branding Insights

Learning from Tesco’s US Disaster

9 Dec , 2012  

Last week British grocery giant Tesco threw in the towel and announced that it would stop investing in its U.S. business. The company will either close or sell its nearly two hundred store “Fresh & Easy” chain. This isn’t surprising news; the U.S. business had apparently been struggling for years. Since its opening in 2007, Tesco has […]

Branding Insights

A Remarkable Political Ad

20 Sep , 2012  

The 2012 presidential campaign is in full swing as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama battle for voters. Unfortunately, I don’t get to see much of it since Obama will almost certainly win Illinois. Romney is fighting elsewhere. Political campaigns are marketing battles; the candidates are fighting for votes, not sales. The challenge is to win […]

Branding Insights

Calling Your Customer an Idiot

9 Sep , 2012  

Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, is in a bit of hot water. According to the Irish Independent, O’Leary recently called Ryanair passenger Suzy McLeod an “idiot” and “stupid.” When asked about this odd approach to customer service, O’Leary did not back down. He explained, “I had not been intemperate, I had not lost my temper […]

Branding Insights

Best Buy and the Great Amazon Tax Subsidy

8 May , 2012  

Best Buy is certainly struggling.  The company’s stock was above $50 per share back in 2007.  Today it is trading at about $20. The company is closing stores and analysts are skeptical about the future. The company has a number of issues to address but I suspect the most important issue is what I call the […]

Branding Insights,Brands in the News

Pepsi’s Upbeat Spin

6 Apr , 2012  

What do you say in your annual letter when you’re running a company that has delivered disappointing returns for investors and is getting clobbered by competitors? If you are Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, you talk about all the positives. According to her just published annual letter, things are going quite well at Pepsi. She […]

Branding Insights

Apple and the Power of Differentiation

28 Mar , 2012  

You can learn a lot about marketing strategy by studying Apple. Perhaps the most important point is this: be different. The folks at Apple clearly understand the power of differentiation. They are masters at both creating it and destroying it. Apple does a phenomenal job creating products and services that are unique and special. The […]

Branding Insights

Buying a New Car: Observations and Learnings

20 Feb , 2012  

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I bought a new car: a 2012 Honda CRV. The entire experience was remarkable, and it highlights the core marketing challenge we all face. Earlier this month we visited our local Honda dealer, Fletcher-Jones. We use Fletcher-Jones for service. We did a test drive on a new CRV and liked […]

Branding Insights

Hilton Recovers

12 Dec , 2011  

Last week I wrote a post about my stay at the Minneapolis Hilton and how the front desk team didn’t respond when I informed them that my visit was rather disappointing.  I used it as an example of a missed opportunity in service recovery. Several hours after I put up my post, however, I heard from […]