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 […]

Brands in the News

Michigan Sticks with a Winner

20 May 2010  

Things are tough in Michigan.  Tax revenues are slumping.  The U.S. auto industry continues to struggle.  And the big news in Detroit is that the city is getting ready to knock down thousands of buildings, which is always a sign of progress. Despite all this, Michigan is continuing to invest in its compelling tourism campaign, […]

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 […]

Defensive Strategy

Goldman’s Falling Brand

22 Apr 2010  

Goldman Sachs is an incredibly special brand. Goldman is a clear industry leader, with a respected, admired and feared brand. People from Goldman are smart, tough and refined. If someone from Goldman gives you a ring, well, you will probably take the call. But this is all changing. Goldman seems to be emerging as one of […]

Defensive Strategy

The Big iPad Question: What is it?

15 Apr 2010  

One of the core parts of any positioning is the frame of reference.  Before you can tell someone about the benefits of a particular product you first have to tell them what the product is.  This is a type of, well, what?  It is hard to discuss the unique benefits of chocolate ripple ice cream, […]

Brands in the News

Spirit’s Bold Move

9 Apr 2010  

Spirit Airlines generated quite a bit of commotion this week by announcing that it would soon start charging passengers for carry-on luggage. Every piece of carry-on luggage stored overhead will now cost $45 each way. The price drops to $30 if purchased in advance. This is a controversial move but a smart one. Spirit is cheap. […]

Brands in the News

Differentiating Vanilla

2 Apr 2010  

Selling mainstream spices and seasonings has to be an enormous challenge.  There are a number of strong brands in the market and there is always a risk that people will assume all the brands provide similar quality, and buy on price.  In a tough economy I suspect that many people are very willing to let price drive […]