Brands in the News

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 […]

Brands in the News

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 […]

Brands in the News

Branding Observations from a Trip to Europe

2 Aug , 2017  

A few thoughts while flying back from a quick trip across the pond. I spent a few days with my family in three wonderful and historic cities: Prague, Paris and Florence. Macron and the Power of Hope Things feel upbeat in Paris. We had dinner with several different French families, and all expressed excitement and […]

Brands in the News

Learning from Kermit’s Downfall

24 Jul , 2017  

Last week Disney fired the voice of Kermit the Frog. Steve Whitmire had played the famous green frog for the past 27 years. As he said in an interview, “Playing Kermit is my life.” While details are a bit sketchy, it appears that Whitmire was a difficult employee. He refused to perform at certain events and […]

Brands in the News

The Value of a Polished Annual Report

6 Jul , 2017  

We are near the end of annual report season. If you own many individual stocks, by now you have received a flood of reports and proxy statements. Some people get excited about spring because of baseball and flowers; I look forward to reading about different companies. It is interesting to see how firms approach this annual […]

Brands in the News

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 […]

Brands in the News

A Branding Disaster at United

10 Apr , 2017  

Yesterday United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger from an overbooked flight and other passengers captured the incident on video. You can watch it here. A Huge Problem It is hard to overstate how bad this is for United. Let’s review what happened: – The airline boards too many people and won’t offer enough money to entice […]

Brands in the News

Celebrating Kellogg’s New Global Hub

29 Mar , 2017  

This week the Kellogg School of Management officially opened the doors of its new global hub. The building is spectacular, with stunning views of Lake Michigan, a soaring atrium and state of the art rooms. I held my first classes in the facility on Monday morning. You can read more about it here. I was […]

Brands in the News

Milka and Oreo: A Debatable Combination

21 Mar , 2017  

Some brand combinations make a lot of sense. The Intel brand has long been a good fit with Dell; Cruise giant Carnival is a reasonable partner with the Houston Texans; Lufthansa works with German luxury luggage brand Rimowa. When I managed Bulls-Eye BBQ Sauce, we partnered with Burger King on a BBQ Burger. All of these pairings […]

Brands in the News

Revising Obamacare: Fixing the Wrong Problem

9 Mar , 2017  

This week politicians and lobbyists are debating the future of Obamacare. Republican lawmakers have proposed a revision that makes few people happy; Democrats are unanimously against it. Many Republicans don’t like it either. You can read more about it here. A few days ago I had the opportunity to talk with Professor Craig Garthwaite, my […]

Brands in the News

The New York Times Finally Invests

28 Feb , 2017  

Last week The New York Times launched a bold new marketing campaign featuring print ads, outdoor ads and television spots, including an ad that ran on the Oscar’s on Sunday. You can read more about it here. I have three thoughts about the new effort. It is about time. The Times last ran television ads […]

Brands in the News

2017’s Brand to Watch: Donald Trump

12 Jan , 2017  

Recently I posted my list of brands to watch in 2017. The list included Emirates, Tesla, GoPro, Wells Fargo, Amazon and P&G. I noted, however, that the most interesting and important brand to watch was clear: Donald Trump. Defining the Trump Brand I think everyone is confused about the Trump brand. What does it stand […]