Defense

Timing is Everything

14 Dec , 2009  

I spent the last week in Turkey teaching a course on branding.  While I was there a major snowstorm descended on Chicago. So I followed the storm, from a distance, by frequently checking the Chicago Tribune web site.  And as the snow flew, who bought all the advertising space on the Chicago Tribune home page?  It […]

Defense

Tiger Sponsors Laying Low

9 Dec , 2009  

It is always delightful when theory and reality align.  I spend a lot of time in my courses at Kellogg discussing marketing theories.  I also spend time explaining why the theories don’t always work.  Every situation is unique, and sometimes companies violate basic marketing rules and succeed nonetheless. In the Tiger Woods case, the theory […]

Defense

GM: CEO Churn and Branding Problems

2 Dec , 2009  

Yesterday General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson stepped down.  Apparently the GM board, concerned that things were not changing quickly enough under his leadership, asked him to step aside.  Fritz was CEO for less than a year. Churning through CEOs is not the way to fix GM. General Motors has many, many problems.  But perhaps the toughest […]

Defense

The Tiger Brand in Trouble

30 Nov , 2009  

It is hard to imagine a stronger brand in sports than Tiger Woods.  He is the perfect athlete: incredibly gifted, focused, disciplined, well spoken and of high moral fiber.  The Tiger brand includes achievement, humility and a dedication to family.  All of which makes the unfolding drama around Tiger’s car crash Friday morning very puzzling.  What […]

Defense

Does the Black Friday madness make sense?

24 Nov , 2009  

We are just days away from the biggest retailing day of the year in the United States: the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. It is a huge retail day for many reasons: people have the day off, Christmas is just a few weeks away and everyone is feeling content and happy after spending a day […]

Brands in the News

The Lufthansa Mystery

15 Nov , 2009  

This weekend I flew from London to Frankfurt on Lufthansa, and I am now very puzzled. The flight was terrific.  It left on time, the plane was clean and shiny, there were free newspapers at the gate, the flight attendants were friendly and helpful and the in-flight service was excellent.  Despite the fact that it […]

Defense

Maclaren’s Challenge

12 Nov , 2009  

Things are not looking great for Maclaren.  The British stroller company announced this week that it was recalling more than a million strollers that it had sold over the last 10 years because there are 12 reports of finger amputation due to the strollers. The recall news has spread quickly all around the globe; it was […]

Brands in the News

Starbucks: Segmentation and Profits

7 Nov , 2009  

This week Starbucks reported some very strong financial results. Overall operating income for the third quarter improved from $14 million in 2008 to $199 million in 2009. In the U.S, profits more than doubled. This is very impressive because revenues in the U.S. were down during the same period by -4%. Operating margin in the […]

Defense

The Fading Brett Favre Brand

3 Nov , 2009  

There was a remarkable scene in the NFL yesterday: Brett Favre was repeatedly booed at Lambeau Field. It was notable scene because for many years Brett Favre was a much-loved character in Wisconsin.  He played for the Green Bay Packers for 16 seasons and went to two Super Bowls with the team. Favre’s awkward departure from the […]

Defense

Learning from Nina Yoder

30 Oct , 2009  

You can learn something very important by doing a Google search on Nina Yoder. I did the search this evening and got 1,090,000 hits.  Ms. Yoder has certainly made quite a splash in the internet world. The problem, of course, is that almost all of this publicity is negative.  Ms. Yoder is a nursing student at the […]

Defense

Attack of the Droid

26 Oct , 2009  

There are some brands that seem untouchable.  They are so revered it is difficult to say a bad thing about them.  This list includes Virgin, Nike, Barack Obama, Bono and, perhaps most of all, Apple. How can you say something bad about Apple?  This is the company that brought us the iPod and the iPhone […]

Defense

GM: Still Struggling with Marketing

23 Oct , 2009  

If there is one company in the world that needs some compelling marketing it is General Motors. GM emerged from bankruptcy on July 10 and is now largely owned by its unions and the U.S. federal government.  The company was able to cut costs through the bankruptcy process, but ultimately it will need to hold and […]