Defensive Strategy

Apple’s Incredible Results

28 Jul 2010  

Yesterday while preparing for a class I read through Apple’s third quarter 2010 results.  I was simply astonished.  Three points of note: 1. The overall financial results are impressive indeed. Apple’s revenues were a record $15.7 billion in the latest quarter, up +61.4% versus year ago.  Profits were $3.25 billion, up +77.6% versus year ago.  […]

Defensive Strategy

Something Different from Apple

20 Jul 2010  

The press conference on Friday was an all too familiar scene: a somewhat grumpy CEO making a reluctant apology, noting that the press has blown things way out of proportion and complaining that the company isn’t being treated fairly, since everyone in the industry has similar problems. The company was:  BP?  Goldman Sachs?  Toyota?  Nope. […]

Defensive Strategy

Learning from Playboy

12 Jul 2010  

Playboy is in the news today, but not because this month’s edition includes a particularly risqué photo spread.  The news today: Hugh Hefner has offered to buy the company’s outstanding shares and take it private. The surprising thing in the deal is the price.  Hefner’s bid values Playboy at just $185 million.  This is not […]

Defensive Strategy

Saving Lincoln

28 Jun 2010  

The Wall Street Journal today has an interesting article on Ford’s efforts to revive the fading Lincoln brand. Turning around Lincoln is not a hopeless task but it is certainly a challenge. The good news is that Lincoln is a rather well-defined brand; it stands for something distinct and unique.  Lincoln’s are stable, solid and […]

Defensive Strategy

Motorola’s Branding Dilemma

24 Jun 2010  

Motorola is apparently going ahead with plans to split up the company. This move will raise a large and rather difficult branding question. The proposed split with separate the handheld division from the rest of the company. The handheld division produces cell phones and smart phones such as the Droid.  The rest of the company […]

Defensive Strategy

Motivation, President Obama and BP

18 Jun 2010  

People aren’t motivated by insults. Criticizing someone feels good, but it isn’t likely to result in a behavior change. This is why companies selling weight loss products don’t go around pointing fingers, “Hey, you there. You really do look fat. Put the donut down now.” It is also why people in the fashion industry focus […]

Defensive Strategy

Prediction: The BP Brand Won’t Survive

9 Jun 2010  

There are huge unresolved questions around the uncapped well in the Gulf of Mexico. When will it stop? How long will it take to repair the environmental damage? What will the total cost be to BP? Will the BP brand survive? For anyone interested in brands this last question is a particularly interesting one to […]

Defensive Strategy

The Starbucks-Seattle’s Best Brand Portfolio

4 Jun 2010  

Starbucks is making some big moves with its brand portfolio, dramatically elevating the role of Seattle’s Best Coffee. Executives at Starbucks first announced plans to dramatically expand Seattle’s Best and then rolled out a rebranding effort. The expansion for Seattle’s Best is dramatic; executives are planning to reach 30,000 locations within a year, up from […]

Defensive Strategy

The End of Mercury

28 May 2010  

Ford is killing off the Mercury brand. This news is getting a lot of attention today, with a big article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, but it shouldn’t be a surprise.  Mercury has been fading for years. Indeed, the only notable thing here is just how long it took Ford to […]

Defensive Strategy

Sizing up the Pampers Crisis

13 May 2010  

Just how big is the Pampers crisis? P&G recently introduced Pampers Dry Max, replacing Pampers Cruisers and Swaddlers. The Dry Max product features an extra absorbent liner which makes the diapers thinner and improves overall performance. The Dry Max product is also cheaper to manufacturer than the old product, so P&G builds profits without taking […]

Defensive Strategy

GM’s Marketing Struggles

7 May 2010  

General Motors continues to flail in the marketing area. This week brought two rather disconcerting announcements. First, GM announced that (surprise!) it was appointing a new head of U.S. marketing. This is apparently the fourth person to hold the post in the past 12 months, which means GM is going through marketing leaders about every […]

Defensive Strategy

Verizon’s Incredible Map

29 Apr 2010  

Finding points of difference is a huge challenge. One of the core marketing theories is that brands need to be different. If you are in a competitive market, there are really only two ways to complete: be cheap or be different. Being cheap is certainly an option, but it is a very tough road. For […]