Brands in the News, Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

Coke’s Difficult Choice

31 Jan 2013  

Coca-Cola has a Super Bowl problem. The iconic brand’s Super Bowl campaign is coming under fire from people who claim it reflects negative stereotypes of Arabs. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, for example, is calling on Coke to change course. Coke has to be concerned; you never want your brand to be accused of discrimination. Back […]

Defensive Strategy

Two Brands Needing a Super Bowl Save

29 Jan 2013  

The Super Bowl is always important for marketers; people scrutinize every spot. If all goes well, senior executives will shower the brand manager with praise, hand out a big bonus and offer up a promotion. If things go poorly, however, he will be criticized and, in some cases, fired. For two brands this year, however, the Super Bowl […]

Defensive Strategy

Audi Engages

25 Jan 2013  

Super Bowl advertisers want to engage consumers; getting people to watch a sixty-second commercial during the Super Bowl is good, but getting them to visit a site and interact with a brand is better. The challenge is doing so in an effective manner. Turning over total creative control isn’t a good idea; this is why […]