Defensive Strategy

Olympics Advertising: Gold for Omega

8 Aug 2012  

If you’ve been watching the Olympics you’ve seen a lot of swimming and gymnastics. You’ve also seen a lot of Omega. The Olympic Games is a core part of Omega’s global marketing effort. This year Omega invested a small fortune creating a rather striking spot featuring the Rolling Stones song, “Start Me Up.” Licensing for the song alone […]

Defensive Strategy

Chick-fil-A’s Branding Fiasco

27 Jul 2012  

Chick-fil-A has a significant and growing branding problem. The company has long been grounded in religious beliefs. It is owned by a Baptist family and embraces traditional ideals. The company donates to conservative causes. The restaurants are closed on Sunday. Recently, however, Dan Cathy, the company’s president, gave a series of interviews where he strongly […]

Defensive Strategy

A Tough Branding Question for McDonald’s

24 Jul 2012  

I suspect executives at McDonald’s are wrestling with a key branding question facing the company: should McDonald’s Corporation continue to focus all its efforts on the McDonald’s brand or is it time to broaden the brand portfolio and invest in a second brand? This isn’t an easy question. McDonald’s has been one of the great business success […]

Defensive Strategy

The Bing Puzzle

3 Jul 2012  

Microsoft is in the news this week with more bad news about its online division and its struggling search engine, Bing. Recent results have been just terrible; in the 9 months ending March 31 the division lost $1.45 billion on revenue of $2.1 billion. Microsoft this week announced a $6.2 billion write-off related to the […]

Defensive Strategy

Thrilled to Make $11 an Hour at Apple

26 Jun 2012  

The New York Times ran a fascinating article on Sunday about Apple’s store employees. I pasted the link below. The article focused on a rather interesting situation: Apple manages to hire highly skilled and motivated people despite paying them about $11 per hour and providing no real career path. These people could likely make far […]

Defensive Strategy

Learning from Michael Francis

20 Jun 2012  

You can learn a couple important things from J.C. Penney’s Michael Francis. Francis, of course, was President of J.C. Penney until he abruptly departed earlier this week. He was at the company for about eight months.   Learning number 1:  It is all about the results. J.C. Penney is in the middle of a major […]

Defensive Strategy

J.C. Penney Retreats

8 Jun 2012  

J.C. Penney is in the midst of a major transformation. As I noted a couple weeks back, the company is moving away from its reliance on discounts; J.C. Penney has lowered everyday retail prices and is doing less price cutting. This year the company stopped using the word sale entirely, instead focusing on what it called “month-long […]

Defensive Strategy

Good News for the Coffee Industry

18 May 2012  

We got a lot of rather tough news this week, from more financial issues in Europe to slumping sales at J.C. Penney. But it was a good week for the coffee industry: the New England Journal of Medicine published a study showing that coffee consumption had a positive impact on mortality.  And the more you coffee […]

Defensive Strategy

J.C. Penney’s Predictable Stumble

15 May 2012  

Retail giant J.C. Penney reported some fairly grim results today. Fiscal first-quarter sales fell a remarkable 20%, the company lost $163 million and it suspended its dividend. The news apparently caught many investors by surprise; the stock dropped more than 10%. But if you’ve been following J.C. Penney the results are quite predictable. There is nothing […]

Defensive Strategy

Marketing Strategy Review: Nespresso

4 May 2012  

Earlier this week Nespresso announced that it was investing in its first national television campaign in the United States. This is big news. Nespresso, of course, is Nestle’s remarkable growth engine, a highly profitable business with 2011 sales of over $3 billion, growing about 20 percent per year. The national television advertising is a big […]

Defensive Strategy

The Amazing Lululemon

27 Apr 2012  

Every once in a while a remarkable brand appears on the scene, one that stands out in the cluttered world we live in. Lululemon is one of those brands. Chip Wilson founded Lululemon in Vancouver, Canada in 1998. Apparently Chip tried yoga and loved the experience but he couldn’t find good yoga apparel. So he […]

Defensive Strategy

Sony’s Branding Problem

15 Apr 2012  

Today’s New York Times has a fascinating article about the decline of Sony. It really is shocking how far the company has fallen. Sony hasn’t made a profit since 2008. According to the article, the company is now worth one ninth of Samsung and one thirtieth of Apple. You can read the article here: […]