Brands in the News

BMW Embraces its German Roots

13 Dec , 2017  

BMW is one of the world’s top German brands. For many years, however, the company has intentionally downplayed its German roots, striving to be both German and local.  It was only somewhat German. This strategy was perfectly brought to life in BMW’s 2014 Super Bowl ad, called “Built in America.” The spot featured an earnest […]

Branding Insights

Brand of the Month: Geico

16 Nov , 2017  

Building a great brand today requires a delicate balance: You have to be consistent while also constantly being new and different. Consistency and Change Consistency is the foundation of branding. A strong brand should stand for something and repeatedly reinforce that message. Apple, BMW, Rolex, Emirates and Wal-Mart all have very distinct associations. BMW is […]

Branding Insights

Buying a New Car and the Power of Brands

23 Oct , 2017  

People love to question the power of brands. “With Amazon dominating the world, brands are done for,” some proclaim. “In a digital world, you don’t need brands,” others note. Another group insists, “Social media trumps everything! A referral from a friend is far more important than a brand.” These are all interesting thoughts, and not without […]

Brands in the News

Trouble at Coca-Cola

3 Oct , 2017  

The Coca-Cola Company has come out with a new advertising campaign. You can watch the ad here and read more about it here. My overall assessment? Things aren’t going well at Coke. The new campaign is clearly designed to improve perceptions of Coke. The ad features two employees, Jon and Willie. Jon is a hydrologist, and […]

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 […]

Career Advice

Back to School: Advice for Students

6 Sep , 2017  

It is back to school time! All around the world, students are organizing school supplies, looking forward to seeing old friends and becoming sleepless with the excitement of a new academic year. It is a universal experience shared by pupils of all ages. My daughter Anna started school yesterday, and my MBA students at Northwestern […]

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 […]

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 […]