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4 Brand Twitter Fails and 4 Ways to Prevent Them

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Capitalizing on trending topics can give businesses the reach that they need on Twitter — if used correctly. Sometimes the tweets do not work and just come back to haunt the business. This is particularly true when it relates to political and social events. While tweeting about a trending topic can be a great way to advertise your company, it can also have harmful effects. Hashtags can be friend and foe to large corporations. Here are four examples of Twitter fails in relation to political events:

  1. #DreamDay: The Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most revered speeches in history. It holds the actual dreams of an entire generation of people who went through unnecessary evils. The Golf Channel decided to capitalize on the 50th anniversary of the speech with this tweet:@GolfChannel Tweet your ‘golf’ dream on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech using: #DreamDay: I have a dream that ___________. 

golfchannel-tweet-fail

  1. #frankenstorm: Hurricane Sandy was a national disaster for all those on the East coast of the United States. Lives were taken, worlds crushed and changed forever. Urban Outfitters decided to make light of the situation tweeting this #fail…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=18109

We’ve Always Done It That Way

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change-aheadThe famous term that all innovators either love or hate to hear depending on their outlook is “We’ve always done it that way.” This is used to explain everything from where a brand advertises, to promotions that are run, internal company processes, and just about anything else you can think of.

At one time in America, more respect was given to authority. The idea of questioning an authoritative figure was simply out of the question. You followed orders. In today’s day and age there is still a level of respect but this answer is no longer an acceptable response. In many instances you will find that this process was in place for so long that nobody can quite explain it to you.

So, as soon as you hear the words “We’ve always done it that way,” it is your time to shine. You as the innovator, the brand ambassador, the pillar of change, needs to stand up and make change in this part of the business. How do I do that, you ask? Here is how:

  1. Brainstorm ideas for change: Jumping to a snap judgment and saying it is a flat-out horrible way to do things from the start will put a wall between you and decision makers. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to start on a side project and bring it to your boss. They want to see that entrepreneurial spirit shine through. As soon as you hear that dreadful response, you need to…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17976

Personal Brand Leadership at Any Level

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who_says_elephants_cant_dance_gerstnerThe term “personal branding” has been around for a few years now. However, many individuals still have a difficult time grasping what that exactly means. When focusing on your personal brand the goal is to elevate, while staying true to, yourself at work and at home.

In the effort of elevating yourself to the greatest possible potential is another key term – personal leadership. In the book by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance” the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IBM touched on this topic heavily. Gerstner spoke largely of his days at IBM and its turnaround, but he also spoke to ideals in personal leadership. Three portions to take away from this book for anyone looking to elevate their personal brand are as follows:

  1. “Passion. As a student going through Harvard Business School, I would never have guessed that passion would be the single most important element of personal leadership.” You must be passionate about your work. If you are not passionate you will be passed up like a bum in a subway station. Your work will go unnoticed. Passion shows that you care about your work, the good of the company, and the health of your family. A man by the name of Louis Chevrolet has a passion for driving. A women by the name of Emily Dickinson had a passion for writing. A man named Steve Jobs had a passion for computers. Maybe you’ve heard of them? While not all passions will get you to the top of your field, they will show your drive and propel your forward.
  2. “The common thread among them [great CEOs] is that they…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo Blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17709

Dr. Ahuvia and the Brand Love Phenomenon

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aaronahuviaWhat brands or products do you absolutely love that you cannot live without? Most of the time consumers flock towards things like smartphones, iPods, and the like. Last week the American Marketing Association, Detroit chapter, put on an event entitled ‘Brand Love’ with Aaron Ahuvia, Ph.D. at Schoolcraft College. Dr. Ahuvia is the foremost authority on this topic as he was the first researcher published in this area over twenty years ago.

Ahuvia’s explanation of brand love starts with human evolution. “Humans adapt old capacities to new situations,” Ahuvia said. He went on to say, “Love is powerful.” A perfect way of exhibiting this is through anthropomorphism; this is when people take something that is not human and give it human qualities. An example of this is shown in a video of an iCat robot named Daisy. Studies showed that humans had a very difficult time shutting down the robot. Those studied began to develop an affinity for the robot, and when asked to shut it down, Daisy began asking the person not to. See the video here.

Another way this is exhibited is through the saying we heard so many times in our school days: “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” One woman, Erika La Tour Eiffel, did just that. She married the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Ahuvia found that most people actually do love things other than people. The most common things were nature and engaging activities, but closely behind were products and brands. Take a look at Brand Love Central to see the model he developed from this and other studies. Further research by Ahuvia showed that Brand Love helps create sustainable growth and stability in the marketplace.

Is there a formula for success, a love potion of sorts, for brands? Why yes, there is. In fact, there are four key characteristics of brand love, as follows:

  1. Quality and Trust: A brand must start by making sure its products or services maintain quality. Once quality is achieved, trust will need to be maintained. High standards for quality and trust must be present to foster brand love.
  2. Intrinsic Rewards: “Do you love the product or are you just using it?” asks Ahuvia. There is a difference. Certain products people love, while other times people just love the outcome. Ahuvia explained this to the group through tools. Some people use tools because they love fixing motorcycles, for example, while others find love in not only the fixing of the motorcycles but also in the way the tool works, is designed, and functions.
  3. Part of Myself: In this characteristic, Ahuvia explains a term he developed called ‘Looking Glass Love.’ This is a love where we see our own reflection in things that we love other than people. Apple exploited this type of love perfectly in their Mac v. PC television advertisements. The target market was that of a younger generation of people who saw themselves as the Justin Long type compared to the stodgy PC type. This section of brand love brings the deeper connections of love forward.
  4. Part of My Life: “Absence makes the heart grow indifferent,” says Ahuvia. The longer a consumer does not use a product or service, the easier it is to go on without it. To continue to nurture the love, the brand must be a part of the person’s life.

Brand love speaks more for products than it does services. It is most relevant for categories that provide many benefits, have a pleasure aspect, and relate to identity. How will you foster brand love in your business?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=17185

Brain Science in Brand Building

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“60 Seconds: How to tell your company’s story & the brain science that makes it stick” is a little book with a big message. Seriously, the book is shorter than Miley Cyrus’ new haircut. However, it tells you exactly what you need to do to build your company’s brand through the consumers eye via video. A video can engage the audience and leave them with a lasting impression if done right. Author Andrew Angus, Founder and CEO of Switch Video, lays out the process and a look into his proven strategy. Here are a four key points that everyone should take away from this book:

  1. Keep the story simple: Simple storytelling is best. The slogan of Angus’ company is “Explain what you do.” It may sound too simple, and you may say ‘we already do that.’ Truthfully, very few companies get this right. Let your point come across as cleanly as possible. Save the details for later. Most of all, just keep it simple.
  2. Create new old memories: Do this by connecting the past with the present. You can create these new old memories by bringing up an experience, a mindset, or an issue that has been occurring or has occurred for some time. This allows a potential client to connect you with a thought that is deeply rooted in their mind. They will right away store your brand values with these thoughts. Similar to the simplicity factor, do not overload potential clients with too much data or detail. If there are too many new ideas to connect, they will never remember them.
  3. Metaphors expand understanding: You are in the business to solve a problem. No matter what project or service it is, it solves a problem or fulfills a need. Break the story down so it is easy to remember your value-add by using metaphors to your advantage. In the book, Angus describes a brand building video for dog owners seeking playmates for their pups as “eHarmony for dogs.” Without explaining any more of it you understand the concept right away. Metaphors expand the reach of your product or service.
  4. Stimulate both auditory and visual senses: “I know that feeling.” Getting potential customers to say this is one of the biggest keys. Make them realize you care about their issues and understand them. Once you make it there, it is cake.

These four key points work for more than just brand-building videos. It is also easy to put them into your new client pitch. One astounding example Angus describes is focused on Collingwood General & Marine Hospital in Canada. Apparently 70% of the equipment used in hospitals in Canada comes from private funding and is not provided as part of national healthcare. Private donations make up that 70% while the remaining 30% is covered by Canada itself. The video Angus and his team created for the hospital depicted what it would be like in an emergency room if only 30% of the equipment was available to its customers (patients). Imagine that scene. This video changed the way potential donors saw the situation that they have been trying to explain for decades. Brain science works. It just takes a little knowledge and a little handbook.

How would a little brain science help your brand?

Read the original article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16998

Brand Extensions Gone Wrong

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zippo-fragrance-adBrand extensions can make sense. In many cases, brands emerge stronger because of it. When Tide laundry detergent developed the Tide To Go instant stain remover pen, it was a great move. According to Nielsen, brand extensions are five times more successful than new launches in some countries. This is true with one caveat — when done right.

“Done right” sounds like an easy statement but it is far from the truth. Some brands fail miserably when it comes to extensions because the extension simply does not make sense. It leaves consumers asking “Why?” Here are two examples describing poor brand extensions that left consumers confused:

Failure Numero Uno: Bic Underwear
Bic is known for its disposable pens, its disposable razors, and its disposable cigarette lighters. The Bic brand thought they were large enough to go into other categories as well, so why not Bic underwear? That’s right. They created a line of women’s disposable pantyhose. They did not even want to change the brand name. Consumers did not understand, production and entrance to market costs were high, and in the end it flopped. Other than disposability there was no link between the products. Brand extensions should make sense and be a logical step from the flagship product. This made absolutely no sense, leaving consumers asking, “What were they thinking?”

Failure Numero Dos: Zippo’s Women’s Perfume
The scent is called fruity, but it sprays directly out of a bottle with a flip top that very closely resembles a Zippo lighter. In the market it brings up thoughts of smelling like a smoker or lighter fluid. It could be a decent-smelling perfume, but perception is everything. The key here again is that it is not a logical extension, bringing us to our favorite question — what were they thinking?

So now you may want to know what makes a great brand extension. Here are a few simple key things to keep in mind:

  1. Know your market. It sounds simple but it is not. No company can be all things to all people. Look at what markets you are currently reaching and what their buying habits are. Once you review this it will help steer you in the right direction for a brand extension.
  2. Make it logical. Just because something sounds like a foolproof plan does not mean it fits your brand. Knowing your market will allow you to see which directions are logical for your brand and which are not. It may be determined that there are a number of areas for growth. So how do you determine which area to tackle first? This brings us to part three.
  3. Do your homework. Extending your brand into other categories requires research to do it right. It may seem logical to you from the start, but it pays to make sure your customers think so. Focus groups and the like can be used at this stage. Spending a little extra on research and time at the beginning can save your brand a lot of headaches in the future. You also want to make sure the brand is not simply going into the market because the new director wanted to put his or her own mark on the industry. The data returned at this stage will not lie.

Brand extensions must be planned carefully with proper knowledge of the market and research behind it. Focusing on an extension or change to a popular brand can, at times, bring on devastation and leave consumers disillusioned. After all, you wouldn’t want to pull a New Coke, would you?

Article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16856

Berline Says “Brand Yourself”

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pencilFifteen minutes into a talk to advertising greenhorns Jim Berline, of the Berline Advertising Agency in Detroit, said “Brand yourself, it’s all about perception.” While the students in Adcraft’s ADvance class may have not known what to think, he went on to say “Perception is more important than reality.” What is your brand? How is it perceived? Did you know there was such a thing?

Berline specified four characteristics needed to thrive at his agency, and any agency for that matter, that are part of personal branding.

  1. Be competitive. Love the thrill of the fight. Self-confidence is key here. You need to have relentless motivation and drive. Always strive to make yourself better and learn from any mistakes.
  2. Be bright.  Know how to multi-task, well. In fact, in today’s day and age multi-tasking should be …

Read my entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16699

5 Tricks for Effective Conference Calls

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conference-callA conference call is scheduled to discuss your brand or business. The times comes, you take a seat, dial the number, and stare while speaking at the phone. This is the course of most conference calls, but it does not have to be.

In today’s day and age, sitting down and having a discussion in person is not always an option. With teleconferencing services, WebEx, Skype, and a multitude of other choices, it is far less a priority to have an in-person meeting. Some calls may be more informal than others, but each call should be treated with the same level of detail. Here are five tricks that come from past experiences with a little help from Peter Coughter’s The Art of the Pitch.

  1. You do not have to sit down. It is okay to stand and move around. If this is a new business presentation you should still do the same things as you would do if they were sitting in front of you. However, by moving around it does not mean getting distracted by doing something else.
  2. Have at least one other colleague in the room. When someone else is there, you can look at them and focus this call as if you are having a discussion. This will not only help make the call more comfortable, but it will make it more personal. When you are looking at the phone it is hard to gauge the reactions of the other side unless they specifically say how they are feeling. This other colleague should be able to help provide you with that feedback instantaneously.
  3. Do not mute the phone to talk to others in the room. There is one exception. Only when you truly must discuss something very quickly before mentioning it to a client can you do this. Otherwise, refrain. In my experience the mute button is used by others to question the client or make unnecessary remarks. When you mute the phone in these cases, you miss things. Stay attentive throughout the entire call. Then, have a discussion afterwards to go over next steps.
  4. Dress to impress. For the phone, seriously? Yes. It is important because when you look good and smell good, you feel good. When you feel good, you present even better. When you present better, you win. While your jeans from college might be the most comfy pants in the world, they are not meant for these situations. “Work clothes” do not have to be boring or uncomfortable. Find what works best for you, find a good tailor, and find your way towards that corner office.
  5. Smile. It can be heard in your voice. Next time there is a conference call, record it. Listen back to it for presentation value. How do you and your colleagues sound? You may be surprised by what you hear. Think about where you can inject your smile. When you are presenting over the phone, the pitch and tone of your voice matter more than anything.

Each trick is less of a trick and more of challenge. It is a challenge to rethink the way we as professionals make a conference call. If you have not noticed, the challenges bring along one underlying goal: Treat it like you were there in person. If you would not do it with your client in the room, you should not do it while on the phone with them. What is your biggest hurdle with conference calls?

Article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16555

The Importance of Typography to Logo and Brand

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chevrolet“A logo is not a brand unless it’s on a cow,” says AdamsMorioka in the Logo Design Workbook. The way consumers view a company builds the brands perception. This starts with the logo but travels far beyond. A logo, a good logo, starts with a study of what the company is and what it is trying to achieve.  What does the font in your logo and marketing materials convey?

Disclaimer: If you think ‘Comic Sans’ is a viable font choice stop reading now.

In the Logo Design Workbook, typography is described as “pictures of words.” Each typeface can bring out a different meaning. Have you ever tried typing the same word 20 times all with different typefaces? Do it now. I will be here.

Now look at what you see. It is the same word 20 times but with 20 different meanings, some slightly and some drastically different. Performing a study of diverse typefaces can be very important, and in high-profile cases may be necessary, to discover options for the brand.

In some instances it may be necessary to create a new typeface altogether. In a meeting of the Detroit InDesign User Group at Schoolcraft College on November 15, 2012, Eric Weir and Martin Smith fromGoodby, Silverstein and Partners Detroit stepped in to discuss their techniques and thought processes behind the 2013 Chevrolet catalogs. Among other design elements, Eric and “Marty” went into detail about the importance of font choice. In the case of the Chevy catalogs they actually commissioned two completely new fonts to be created. One unidentified attendee in the question and answers session said, “You don’t want your plumbing company to look like a Mexican restaurant!” While a plumbing company looking like a Mexican restaurant may sound like a stretch, it is not to some uneducated in the importance of font choice.

For a plumbing company it may be easier to find a font that would work well compared to the largest automaker in the world, but in both cases it is important. The logo should be built with the font choice in mind if at all possible. Since William Durant and Louis Chevrolet probably did not consider this in the early 1900s, we can give them a break. However, the Chevy logo is a great example of how a brand can go through a number of modifications and still stay true to its brand identity.

The logo, the typeface within it, and the corporate identity all go hand in hand. If this seems like an introduction to type it was not meant to be. It is just simply a reminder that something as simple as a typeface can change everything your company, or your client’s company, stands for. What does your company’s font choice evoke?

Article originally published on Talent Zoo for Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=16411

Dear Santa, Traditional Branding Works

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santaChange or die. You hear it often. Change is something people have come to expect in most aspects of their life. Brands are constantly changing and for a number of them they should be. There are a few things that never change, such as the taste of Coke (although they tried), the feel of cotton, and Santa.

Why don’t they change? Why hasn’t Santa been updated to a soy milk drinking vegan under 200 lbs and stripped of the red suit? There are many reasons. The Santa we know today can be mainly attributed to illustrator Thomas Nast. He first illustrated Santa Claus in Harper’s Weekly in 1862 during the Civil War. In total, Nast created 76 published engravings of our beloved Santa. Now you may or may not know, but Santa’s first appearance in advertising was not the popular Coca-Cola campaign that started in the 1930s.

Santa’s first appearance in advertising came by way of the White Rock Beverages in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1915. Haddon Sundblom continued on the same jolly old Santa trend with his Coca-Cola advertisements from the 1930s through the 1950s. Today, Santa is portrayed exactly the same as he was 150 years ago and is used to sell everything from electronics to cars.

Notice the photo of Santa in that first group of advertisements from White Rock. He really has not changed. And who can explain the phenomenon of someone who normally listens to the likes of Lady Gaga wanting to hear Bing Crosby at Christmastime? There only one explanation: tradition.

Tradition brings consumers back to their childhood. It reminds them of the simpler things in life and brings them comfort. In a world where everybody is trying to find the next new extreme, it is possible to brand using traditional values and still move forward. Every great brand can bring forth a tradition in their own way.

Some brands need to change but some get it wrong. They stray from what made them great and lose. The key is to know your brand story and to build on it. We know Santa comes in on a sleigh, only eats milk and cookies, and lives at the North Pole. We don’t specify the cookies; there could be a thousand different types. This is where Santa can branch out. This is the least barrier to entry for changing something about Santa. Instead of trying to come up with the next new thing out of the blue, ask yourself this: “What are my cookies?”

Photo courtesy of www.whiterocking.com

Article originally published on Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/news/Dear-Santa,-Traditional-Branding-Works/16253.html