Defensive Strategy

Losing a Brand Builder

6 Oct 2011  

Yesterday we lost one of the great brand builders of our time. Steve Jobs was a master in terms of design and technology. He was also an exceptionally gifted brand manager. Jobs did four things incredibly well in terms of branding. Perhaps most importantly, he believed that branding and marketing mattered. Under his leadership Apple consistently invested in […]

Defensive Strategy

Did Amazon Get the Price Right?

3 Oct 2011  

Last week Amazon announced the launch of the Kindle Fire, a tablet device targeting Apple’s very successful iPad. One of the most debatable parts of the launch is the price: Amazon set the price at $199, significantly below Apple’s cheapest iPad, which sells for $499. Many people have attacked Amazon for the pricing move, declaring […]

Defensive Strategy

State Farm’s 9/11 Tribute

12 Sep 2011  

Yesterday was a difficult day for marketing executives: what is the appropriate way to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks? Most advertisers wisely decided to ignore the event. State Farm, however, invested heavily in a 9/11 spot and stood out as perhaps the most prominent advertiser of the day. State Farm certainly invested. […]

Defensive Strategy

HP’s Valuable Lesson

1 Sep 2011  

When it comes to marketing strategy, there are three critical steps. The first step is developing a powerful strategy. The third step is executing well. The second step, however, is sometimes overlooked: selling the plan. HP CEO Leo Apotheker recently demonstrated why selling the plan is so important. On August 18, HP announced that it […]

Defensive Strategy

Time to Sell Apple

25 Aug 2011  

Yesterday Steve Jobs announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Apple. The news is unfortunate but not entirely a surprise given his ongoing health issues. The stock is holding up pretty well today, just down a tad. And if I had any stock in Apple, I would sell it. First, let me note that […]

Defensive Strategy

Wal-Mart’s Positioning Problem

16 Aug 2011  

Wal-Mart is an incredibly strong brand. It has very high awareness and an exceptionally clear positioning: Wal-Mart stands for low prices. The company is relentlessly focused on reducing costs and giving consumers the lowest prices. But Wal-Mart has a very big problem; many people no longer think Wal-Mart has the lowest prices. The Wall Street Journal is reporting today […]

Defensive Strategy

Kraft’s Big Split

4 Aug 2011  

Kraft Foods today announced plans to split the company, spinning off the North American grocery businesses. The company has about $48 billion in revenue today. After the transaction there will be two companies, a global snacks business with about $32 billion in revenue and a grocery business with $16 billion in revenue. The move makes enormous […]

Defensive Strategy

A Pricing Snafu at Netflix

14 Jul 2011  

Netflix’s new pricing plan is not going over particularly well with customers. Yesterday the company announced that it was separating its DVD and streaming services and increasing the cost of the combined offering from about $10 per month to about $16 per month. While Netflix pointed out that the price of a DVD-only plan is actually […]

Defensive Strategy

Learning from the Pepsi Refresh Project

30 Jun 2011  

Last year executives at PepsiCo made a rather bold move: they would spend less money promoting the Pepsi brand through advertising and invest instead in helping communities. To bring the idea to life, they created the Pepsi Refresh Project, inviting consumers to submit applications and vote for the most promising ideas. Pepsi then funded the […]

Defensive Strategy

Update: Improving the Chicago Tribune

22 Jun 2011  

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about the Chicago Tribune’s new strategy. At the time, it appeared that the newspaper would be introducing a new premium edition of its daily paper. I thought this seemed like a rather complex strategy and one not likely to succeed. It turns out that the Chicago Tribune is […]

Defensive Strategy

Yoplait’s Smart Decision

16 Jun 2011  

Today executives at General Mills announced they were pulling its latest ad for Yoplait.  The ad features a slim woman debating eating a piece of cheesecake. She tries to rationalize the decision, eventually going for a yogurt after another woman makes that choice. You can see the ad here: A number of consumers complained […]

Defensive Strategy

Oprah’s Branding Challenge

25 May 2011  

Oprah Winfrey is one of the world’s most gifted brand builders; over the years she has demonstrated her ability to create and build a truly remarkable brand. But she now faces a rather big challenge: evolving her brand. Today Oprah signed off, ending her run as a daytime talk show host. In branding terms, she just […]