Defensive Strategy

Savvy Pricing at Starbucks

23 Sep , 2010  

Yesterday Starbucks announced that it was increasing prices.  You can read an article about it here: The announcement isn’t a surprise.  The price of green Arabica coffee has risen dramatically this year; it is now close to a 13 year peak.  With that sort of increase in cost, Starbucks had to do something to maintain profits. […]

Brands in the News

Nokia’s Branding Problem

14 Sep , 2010  

Nokia continues to clean house. On Monday Nokia announced that the head of its smartphone division was leaving. This follows a change in CEOs. Rumors are that Nokia’s chairman, Jorma Ollila, will leave later this year. These moves seem very appropriate given Nokia’s stunning collapse. Several years ago, Nokia was one of the dominant global […]

Defensive Strategy

Chicago Loses its Brand Champion

8 Sep , 2010  

Yesterday Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that he would not seek reelection in 2011.  This was surprising news; Daley has been mayor since 1989 and would easily have won reelection to another term. Daley’s decision is a big loss for Chicago’s brand. Mayor Daley is a brand builder; he understands the power of branding and has worked […]

Defensive Strategy

The Cash for Clunkers Hangover

2 Sep , 2010  

This week automakers released sales numbers for August.  The results were dismal.  According to The Wall Street Journal, sales in the U.S. fell 21% versus 2009.  Sales at Nissan, GM, Toyota and Honda all fell more than 25%. These results aren’t a surprise, since U.S. government’s Cash for Clunkers program boosted sales last year.  The Cash […]

Defensive Strategy

Gap’s Odd Groupon Offer

24 Aug , 2010  

The big marketing story last week was that the Gap offered a hot deal on Groupon and a remarkable 441,000 people took it.  At one point Groupon was apparently selling more than 500 of the deals per minute. Groupon is an on-line promotion site.  It is free to sign up and everyday Groupon sends out […]

Career Advice

Learning from a 4-H Market Pig Auction

17 Aug , 2010  

You can learn a lot about marketing at a 4-H market pig auction. Last week I went to the Northwest Michigan Fair, a charming, old-time county fair, complete with the corn dogs, snow cones and “The World’s Biggest Alligator.”  My kids and I had a grand time inspecting farm animals and studying the newest Massey […]

Defensive Strategy

The Uneven Recovery and P&G’s Branding Challenge

5 Aug , 2010  

Procter & Gamble announced somewhat disappointing earning this week.  While fourth quarter revenue grew by +4.7% to $18.9 billion, profit fell from $2.5 billion to $2.2 billion, a decline of -11.3%.  The company’s stock fell by over $2 per share due to the news. P&G executives explained that the weak results were due to an […]

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 […]