Defense

Reality Comes to U.S. Colleges

22 Nov , 2013  

One of the reasons I find it challenging to teach marketing strategy is that the theories don’t always seem to work in real life. I teach that companies need to build profits, for example, but Amazon contradicts the point. Snapchat doesn’t even have revenue to speak of and is apparently worth billions. I tell students that […]

Brands in the News,Defense

A Bad Day for the Boy Scouts

21 Oct , 2013  

The rise of digital media is only making it harder to build a great brand. The problem is that a single person can do something inappropriate that damages an enormous brand. This has always been an issue, of course, but digital technology has increased the risk because information can now travel faster and farther than ever before. This week […]

Defense

The Sochi Games: A Branding Disaster for the IOC

20 Sep , 2013  

As I wrote several weeks back, the Winter Olympic Games is a branding problem for Russia. Now it is also becoming a branding problem for the International Olympic Committee. Russia, host of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, earlier this year passed legislation banning discussion of gay rights. People found guilty of spreading “propaganda of non-traditional […]

Defense

Yoplait and the Hidden World of Defensive Strategy

11 Sep , 2013  

Defending Yoplait is a top priority at General Mills but you wouldn’t know it if you look at the company’s annual report. Yogurt is an important business at General Mills. The category is growing quickly, which is fairly unusual in the world of food. General Mills recently acquired global rights to Yoplait, one of the […]

Defense

Nokia’s Branding Lesson

5 Sep , 2013  

This week Nokia collapsed into the arms of Microsoft, selling its critical handset division to the software giant. Nokia’s decline was stunning. The stock traded at over $40 per share in 2007. It now trades at about $5. It once had a market share of over 30%. It now has less than 4%. This is […]

Defense

Russia’s Olympic Branding Problem

13 Aug , 2013  

Russian officials are creating an Olympics branding disaster. With the Sochi Winter Olympics just months away, Russia is taking a very public stand against gay rights. The country recently passed legislation banning talk of gay rights and public demonstrations such as parades and gatherings. Today there are reports a senior Russian sports official is associating […]

Defense

The Advertising Challenge

20 Mar , 2013  

On Monday I flew back to the U.S. from Germany. On the Lufthansa flight I watched a short video called “World’s Best Commercials, 2012.” It featured winners of the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards. Apparently 430 senior advertising executives cast 430,000 votes and selected the finest advertising spots in the world. My observation: heaven […]

Defense

Uber, New Product Strategy and the Critical Moment

11 Mar , 2013  

Launching a new product isn’t easy. You have to come up with an idea, validate the concept, assemble a business model, develop a supply chain, create or break into a channel of distribution, begin production and get customers to notice you. The most important thing, however, is creating a positive trial experience. Trial is the […]

Defense

Four Remarkable Quotes

25 Feb , 2013  

There is a terrific article in The Wall Street Journal today about J.C. Penney. It is worth reading. Here are four noteworthy quotes from the story.   “We didn’t test at Apple.” Apparently this was CEO Ron Johnson’s response when asked if he would consider testing a radical pricing change at J.C. Penney before rolling […]

Defense

Solving the OfficeMax / Office Depot Branding Problem

18 Feb , 2013  

News outlets are reporting today that OfficeMax and Office Depot are apparently considering a merger. The move makes sense for many reasons. The combination will result in significant cost reductions. The new entity will have a stronger negotiating position with suppliers. And competition in the brutal office-products industry will decrease at least a bit. The […]