Defensive Strategy

Brands to Watch in 2013

1 Jan 2013  

The New Year brings significant challenges for many brands. Here are several brands that are worth keeping an eye on as 2013 unfolds. J.C. Penney is implementing a major turn-around plan under the leadership of CEO Ron Johnson. Results to date have been fairly grim; sales and profits have slumped and the stock with it. […]

Defensive Strategy

Chobani Expands

18 Dec 2012  

This week Chobani opened one of the largest yogurt factories in the world. Agro Farma, Chobani’s parent company, celebrated the event with a marching band, Olympic athletes and Idaho’s political leaders. You can read more about it here: The Chobani story remains one of the more remarkable tales in business today. Back in 2005, […]

Defensive Strategy

Rebuilding the Lincoln brand

4 Dec 2012  

Ford is in the news today for its efforts to reposition and rebuild its Lincoln Brand. One thing is clear: the company knows how to get attention. The story is everywhere. Ford staged a big media event at Lincoln Center in New York yesterday and CEO Alan Mulally is giving interviews to the big media […]

Defensive Strategy

The Value of the Twinkie Brand

19 Nov 2012  

Frank Hurt, head of the second largest union at Hostess Brands, seems to have made a classic branding mistake, confusing brand awareness and brand value. Mr. Hurt’s union, as you know, recently went on strike and continued even when company management said that doing so would force it to liquidate the company. On Friday, company […]

Defensive Strategy

The Incredible 007 Brand

12 Nov 2012  

The new James Bond film “Skyfall” brought in a remarkable $87.8 million in North America this weekend, an exceptionally strong start for the production. The strong results are largely due to two things: a good film and a terrific brand.   You can learn three important things about branding from James Bond. First, a strong […]

Defensive Strategy

Strange News from Apple

31 Oct 2012  

This week Apple, one of the world’s strongest brands, announced some major staffing moves. Several key executives are leaving the company including the head of the mobile software, Scott Forstall. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and other publications, one of the reasons that Forstall is leaving is that he would not […]

Defensive Strategy

Defending with Patents

8 Oct 2012  

Today’s New York Times has a wonderful article about the patent wars currently raging in the technology industry. You can read the article here: Securing and enforcing patents is a classic defensive strategy; I spend a fair bit of time on it in my new book, Defending Your Brand. In theory it is all […]

Defensive Strategy

Kraft’s Uncertain Future

3 Oct 2012  

This week I’m busy teaching in the Kellogg on Branding executive education program. Earlier today one of the participants asked me for my thoughts on the new Kraft Foods. This was a timely question; Kraft is in the news because the company just completed its split. The fast growing snacks business is now a distinct company […]

Defensive Strategy

Blackberry’s Astonishing Fall

27 Sep 2012  

Classes started this week at Kellogg; Northwestern is on the quarter system so things get going rather slowly in the fall. I began my two marketing strategy classes with a round of introductions: I had each student go through their background and then mention one of their favorite brands. This is always an interesting exercise; […]

Defensive Strategy

Spirit Attacks United

30 Aug 2012  

Spirit Airlines this week announced plans to attack United on one of its core routes: Chicago O’Hare to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental. Spirit will begin service on October 4. On the surface this seems like a very bad idea. Directly attacking a strong established player is likely to spark a rather powerful defensive effort. The […]

Defensive Strategy

Can Anything Save Best Buy?

22 Aug 2012  

This week brought more bad news from Best Buy. Profits fell 91% in the latest quarter, same store sales dropped and the company’s stock continued to decline. It now trades at about $17 per share, down from almost $45 in 2010. Best Buy’s slide raises interesting business questions: can anything stop the fall? Is Best […]

Defensive Strategy

Something Different from Apple

17 Aug 2012  

Apple is a remarkable business success story; through creativity, strategic thinking and almost flawless execution it has become the dominant technology firm in the world and made many people wealthy in the process. The key question now: can Apple keep it up? It is certainly possible; Apple has motivated and talented employees, wonderful products, a […]