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Branding Excellence

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  • Tony Marino
    Happy New Year All! Here is an magazine article that I prepared and my company distributed in May (this year) on the subject of Branding . Branding Excellence
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 28, 2005
      Happy New Year All!

      Here is an magazine article that I prepared and my company
      distributed in May (this year) on the subject of "Branding".


      Branding Excellence
      Tony Marino, Ph.D.

      Greetings!

      Everytime you send out an email message, you are "BRANDING"!
      Whenever you talk with others about your e-business, you are
      "BRANDING"! People will remember certain things they see
      and hear about you and your eBusiness endeavors. Keep that
      top of mind whenever you take your eBusiness out into the
      world.

      We've often said that brand marketing and popular culture
      have a lot in common. Both have -- or should have -- their
      roots in, and be designed to connect with, people's lives
      and people's values. Maybe that's why, recently reviewing
      the results of the Brand Keys 2001 Customer Loyalty Leaders
      Index, a portion of Ira Gershwin's great lyrics -- somewhat
      altered -- sprang to mind:

      Oh my dear,
      My brand is here to stay.
      I need not fear value will go away.

      In time the Market may crumble,
      The Dow Jones may tumble,
      That was so "yesterday;" but
      My brand is here to stay.

      OK, OK, so it doesn't flow like Ira's version. But it still
      underscores the fact that -- despite recent Wall Street
      spasms -- 11 of the "Top 25 brands with the most loyal
      customers" (based on assessments by 16,000 adult brand
      customers) are Internet or telecommunications brands.

      We sing the praise of those loyalty leaders that are doing
      something right. And that right thing is simple, once you
      understand what it is -- measuring the direction and
      velocity of customer values; capturing the values of which
      customers have the highest expectations; and then leveraging
      the hell out of those values.


      Branding Medium Analysis

      Advertising, promotions, direct response, point of purchase,
      and process re-engineering are all elements designed to
      stimulate customer loyalty. But they're all procedures, not
      ideas. And whatever combination of procedures you rely upon,
      you'd better be sure that they're based on values that
      relate to customer values for the category. And, you'd
      better be sure that your target audiences are willing to
      believe that your brand embodies those values.

      The following category leaders all feature ideas, as well as
      procedures and distribution systems, that really resonate
      with the customer values of their categories. And most --
      the new categories and brands that we add annually
      notwithstanding -- have moved significantly up the loyalty
      list. These are clearly companies who recognized the
      differences between the 20th century values of 1999 and the
      values and expectations of 2001.

      For example:

      AVIS was ranked #12 in 1999 and is now ranked first. It is
      likely that such levels of customer loyalty were arrived at
      by recognizing -- and delivering -- customer service that
      still "tries harder."

      Sprint was ranked #91 in 1999 and has risen to number four.
      The company has managed this by leveraging the expectations
      customer have for high technology, and doing so without the
      appearance of chintzy bargain-basement carping on low,
      lower, lowest cents-per-minute.

      Mobil gasoline, always ranked well, was #17 in 1999 and has
      now moved up to the #12 spot. The company did it by
      capitalizing upon customer expectations regarding speed.
      They exceed customer expectations in getting you in and out
      quickly, and their Speed Pass is an added value to offset
      increased prices. (And anyway, customers tend to perceive
      all gas as just gas.)

      Discover card did it by meeting the expectations regarding
      added value (beyond air mile continuity programs) with cash
      back for cash spent. And New Balance does it by meeting the
      expectations of style and comfort ("Well made in the US of
      A!")

      The biggest brand slippage is in utilities. Clearly they're
      not concentrating on loyalty drivers. They're fast becoming
      the telecoms of the 21st Century, relying mainly on "cost
      savings" to get new customers and keep old ones. Apparently
      the signs over their doors, huge so even dairy animals can
      read them, spell out what all customers really think of
      utilities: "C-O-M-M-O-D-I-T-Y."

      Interestingly, when the "Hotel" category was added to the
      Loyalty List, three immediately rose to the Top 25. When
      "Retail Stores" came along, Sears and Wal-Mart showed up as
      well. These and other customer loyalty leaders understand
      the immutable economic axioms of developing and maintaining
      a loyal customer base:

      It costs 7 to 10 times as much to get a new customer as keep
      an old one. A loyalty increase of 5 percent can result in a
      profit increase of 95 percent. A 2 percent loyalty increase
      can translate into a 10 percent across-the-board cost
      saving. Once, delighting the customer was enough to
      differentiate the brand and increase chances of keeping that
      customer loyal. But that worked only until "delight" became
      "expectation." Unless you can always meet or exceed
      expectations, you won't keep your customers loyal.

      That means it's essential to be able to measure the
      direction and velocity of customer expectations. But most
      companies don't, won't, or can't do that. And most of them
      learn of that failing only after the brand itself has
      failed. Want to know which brands fall into that category?
      Just take a look at some of the companies on the bottom of
      our Customer Loyalty Leaders list.


      Performance & Profitability

      For a company to plan for performance -- and attendant
      profitability -- it must be able to create marketing plans,
      communication programs, products, and services that
      consistently exceed customer expectations. Doing that makes
      customers loyal -- and keeps them loyal.

      And you want your brand to keep doing that for as long as
      possible. As it were, "forever and a day." It took roughly
      100 years to establish the basic rules of branding; it took
      the Internet less than a decade to rewrite those rules.

      At the most basic level, the Internet has changed how we
      brand. Conventional wisdom said you built your brand by
      spending millions of dollars in advertising to help
      establish an emotional bond with consumers. But some of the
      strongest Internet brands were built using little or no
      advertising. Take Napster. By January 2000, it had amassed
      20 million users without ever spending an ad dollar.
      Instead, the company tapped into a viral community of music
      fans and gained a huge advantage.

      Today, the smartest marketers in the Internet world use
      their brands as offensive weapons.


      Internet Branding

      The Internet also has changed the way we use brands.
      Previously, a brand was a defensive tool. That is, a brand
      on a cow didn't change the price you'd get for the cow or
      how many you'd sell, but it did prevent someone from
      stealing the brand. Today, the smartest marketers in the
      Internet world use their brands as offensive weapons,
      bartering them for access to customer bases, technology and
      content.

      For example, the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer
      (IE) was in part a result of co-branding. In 1996, Microsoft
      aggressively created distribution agreements for IE with
      Internet service providers, retailers and computer
      manufacturers. Through exclusive licensing partnerships and
      co-branding relationships, Microsoft brands became integral
      assets across a broad set of hardware and software products,
      and made it increasingly difficult for competitors to play
      in this market.

      The combining of brands is changing the ways brands are
      managed. Brand managers must now manage their business's
      brands along with their partners' brands. One example:
      "WorldNet from AT&T powered by Lycos." Managing this
      combination is very different from just managing the
      WorldNet brand. For example, if AT&T had a serious service
      outage that tarnished its brand, the WorldNet brand would
      have the same image issues. Conversely, when Lycos went
      public and was the darling of Wall Street, the WorldNet
      brand likely benefited.

      The result is that brand management is being replaced by
      brand portfolio management -- that is, managing a
      combination of brands. It uses a new toolkit, requires
      different metrics and works to a different set of strategic
      objectives. In particular, brand portfolio managers must
      have a vision for the value the brand aims to create, a
      clear set of performance objectives, and a set of strategic
      guidelines for the overall portfolio. They must also have a
      set of specific tactical approaches to improve performance
      of the portfolio.


      Brand Value

      Finally, the Internet has changed the way we value brands.
      One measure of brand value is financial; that is, the
      discounted stream of cash flows of the price premiums and
      share created by the brand vs. an unbranded substitute.

      Brands are the only type of competitive advantage whose
      value increases as competition increases.

      But an equally important, but admittedly harder to track,
      measure is the value of a brand as a source of competitive
      advantage. Brands are the only type of competitive advantage
      whose value increases as competition increases. For example,
      if you own a state-of-the-art, fully scaled factory, and a
      competitor builds an identical one next door, your advantage
      is lost. But with brands, the greater the clutter, the
      greater the value of brands. The more bookstores on the
      Internet, the more valuable the Amazon.com brand name.

      By creating essentially limitless competition, the Internet
      has provided a brutal and quick test of the strength and
      sustainability of sources of competitive advantage. And
      brands are winning.

      Happy Marketing!

      Happy New Year!

      Tony

      CEO, Founder
      America Web Works, LLC.
      http://www.AmericaWebWorks.com

      Host, PodCast Radio Show
      http://radio.weblogs.com/0144135/
    • Stephen Eley
      ... The following is the shortest work of fiction I ve ever seen in a published book. It s by Lord Dunsany, from _Fifty-One Tales,_ circa 1915, and it is in
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 28, 2005
        On 12/28/05, Tony Marino <marinofactor@...> wrote:
        > Maybe that's why, recently reviewing
        > the results of the Brand Keys 2001 Customer Loyalty Leaders
        > Index, a portion of Ira Gershwin's great lyrics -- somewhat
        > altered -- sprang to mind:
        >
        > Oh my dear,
        > My brand is here to stay.
        > I need not fear value will go away.
        >
        > In time the Market may crumble,
        > The Dow Jones may tumble,
        > That was so "yesterday;" but
        > My brand is here to stay.

        The following is the shortest work of fiction I've ever seen in a
        published book. It's by Lord Dunsany, from _Fifty-One Tales,_ circa
        1915, and it is in the public domain. I present it here, unaltered,
        in its entirety.


        * * * * * * * * * *

        WHAT WE HAVE COME TO


        When the advertiser saw the cathedral spires over the downs in the
        distance, he looked at them and wept.

        "If only," he said, "this were an advertisement of Beefo, so nice, so
        nutritious, try it in your soup, ladies like it."

        * * * * * * * * * *



        --
        Have Fun,
        Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
        ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
        http://www.escapepod.info
      • Bobbo
        ... Steve- you re the guy to ask about this. I heard (not read) a shorter one that was attributed to Fredric Brown. Brown was a master of the short-short
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 28, 2005
          >
          >
          >The following is the shortest work of fiction I've ever seen in a
          >published book. It's by Lord Dunsany, from _Fifty-One Tales,_ circa
          >1915, and it is in the public domain. I present it here, unaltered,
          >in its entirety.
          >
          >
          >* * * * * * * * * *
          >
          >WHAT WE HAVE COME TO
          >
          >
          >When the advertiser saw the cathedral spires over the downs in the
          >distance, he looked at them and wept.
          >
          >"If only," he said, "this were an advertisement of Beefo, so nice, so
          >nutritious, try it in your soup, ladies like it."
          >
          >* * * * * * * * * *

          Steve- you're the guy to ask about this. I heard
          (not read) a shorter one that was attributed to
          Fredric Brown. Brown was a master of the
          short-short story, as exemplified in the
          collection NIGHTMARES AND GEEZENSTACKS. Perhaps
          you know, as a SF maven, if it was indeed his.

          "The last man on Earth sat in a locked room.
          There came a knocking at the door."

          Bobbo
          --
          The need for relief in Pakistan is beyond
          description. Tents are needed for shelter, with
          Winter coming on. Temperatures at night are
          already at 20ºF. To donate:
          http://www.mercycorps.org
          ---------------------------
          Art, pet and human portraits:
          http://www.bobbogoldberg.com Voice Over website:
          http://www.bob-vo.com And don't forget: do good
          works for free at http://www.thehungersite.com
        • Stephen Eley
          ... Ah yes. I d actually forgotten about that one, although since I never saw it in a book I think my earlier statement is still true. 8- That story is
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 28, 2005
            On 12/28/05, Bobbo <bobbo924@...> wrote:
            >
            > Steve- you're the guy to ask about this. I heard
            > (not read) a shorter one that was attributed to
            > Fredric Brown.

            Ah yes. I'd actually forgotten about that one, although since I never
            saw it in a book I think my earlier statement is still true. >8->
            That story is called "Knock," dated 1948, and it is indeed by Fredric
            Brown. It's pretty famous as an anecdote. In its entirety the story
            is supposed to run:

            "The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door."

            It's not actually the shortest story, however. My understanding is
            that that's "The Shortest SF Story Ever Told," by Forrest J. Ackerman
            in 1973, and I'm told that depending on how you read it it consists of
            a single letter. It runs something like:

            "COSMIC REPORT CARD -- EARTH -- F."

            There have been other gag stories published that were entirely blank,
            usually with titles like "After the Bomb" or somesuch, but I think
            it's stretching reason to count them.

            For that matter, I *almost* submitted a one-word story to the
            anthology _Twenty Epics_, due out from Wheatland Press this spring,
            just so I could brag about being paid a hundred dollars a word. >8->
            But good sense overtook me and I submitted a real story to the
            anthology instead, and sold it. (But I'm not going to divulge the
            title of the one-word story, nor the word, in case an opportunity to
            use it comes up later. We've got to protect our intellectual
            property, right?)


            --
            Have Fun,
            Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
            ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
            http://www.escapepod.org
          • Dennis De Jarnette
            Back when there were records I saw one advertised. The Best of Marcel Marceau (He was the most famous mime) The record was 40 minutes of silence followed by
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 30, 2005
              Back when there were records I saw one advertised.

              The Best of Marcel Marceau (He was the most famous mime)

              The record was 40 minutes of silence followed by applause.

              Positive Dennis


              Stephen Eley wrote:

              > On 12/28/05, Bobbo <bobbo924@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > Steve- you're the guy to ask about this. I heard
              > > (not read) a shorter one that was attributed to
              > > Fredric Brown.
              >
              > Ah yes. I'd actually forgotten about that one, although since I never
              > saw it in a book I think my earlier statement is still true. >8->
              > That story is called "Knock," dated 1948, and it is indeed by Fredric
              > Brown. It's pretty famous as an anecdote. In its entirety the story
              > is supposed to run:
              >
              > "The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the
              > door."
              >
              > It's not actually the shortest story, however. My understanding is
              > that that's "The Shortest SF Story Ever Told," by Forrest J. Ackerman
              > in 1973, and I'm told that depending on how you read it it consists of
              > a single letter. It runs something like:
              >
              > "COSMIC REPORT CARD -- EARTH -- F."
              >
              > There have been other gag stories published that were entirely blank,
              > usually with titles like "After the Bomb" or somesuch, but I think
              > it's stretching reason to count them.
              >
              > For that matter, I *almost* submitted a one-word story to the
              > anthology _Twenty Epics_, due out from Wheatland Press this spring,
              > just so I could brag about being paid a hundred dollars a word. >8->
              > But good sense overtook me and I submitted a real story to the
              > anthology instead, and sold it. (But I'm not going to divulge the
              > title of the one-word story, nor the word, in case an opportunity to
              > use it comes up later. We've got to protect our intellectual
              > property, right?)
              >
              >
              > --
              > Have Fun,
              > Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
              > ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
              > http://www.escapepod.org
              >
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