Tag Archives: Branding

Obama on Track to Rebrand America

Barack Obama Time Magazine Cover

US President Elect Obama on the Cover of Time Magazine.

As written by Kristi Keck of CNN, US President Elect Barack Obama has the ability to rebrand America internationally, and restore its image as one of hope and prosperity for everyone:

President-elect Barack Obama is poised to restore the United States’ image in the international community, but experts say the president-elect must show the world that his actions will live up to his rhetoric.

Receiving a warm welcome is not the same as maintaining one, and Obama has a lot of work to do to improve the U.S. brand.

America’s image has declined in nearly every region of the world in recent years, but Obama’s victory “enables the United States to start again with a clean slate,” according to John Quelch, the senior associate dean at Harvard Business School.

“Americans can actually go to dinner parties and cocktail receptions around the world today and not have to apologize for the United States the way they have had to do the last several years,” he said. “The election has made life a little bit easier for Americans living and traveling abroad to hold their head up high again.”

The United States’ tarnished reputation has been fueled by a combination of factors, including opposition to U.S. policies like the war Iraq and alleged torture and abuse of prisoners, the perception of hypocrisy, unilateralism, and the perceived war on Islam, according to a congressional report released in June.

Obama represents a “clean break” from the past, and his election is the first big step toward change, said Dick Martin, author of “Rebuilding Brand America.”

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Filed under Barack Obama, Branding, Communications, marketing

Has Starbucks Lost its Cool?

Starbucks discontinued breakfast sandwich.

Starbucks discontinued breakfast sandwich.

I went in today and noticed Starbucks has introduced new breakfast items like hot oatmeal and whole wheat buns. A few days ago, I was at another Starbucks that was still serving those breakfast sandwiches that make the store smell like a cheap diner rather than a joint for premium coffee. Something isn’t quite right at the house of mermaid. Too much expansion. Venturing away from their core product. Every place looking way too much like the other, which normally shouldn’t be a bad thing when trying to maintain brand consistency. Whatever it is, what used to work for me no longer does.

Maybe it’s because in Vancouver, we have an abundant choice of excellent coffee shops with loads of individuality and charm… something that appears to be missing at Starbucks. The once symbol for cool coffee and a great place to meet, is beginning to feel like a bad corporate hangover with a self-indulgent CEO at the helm who has lost his grip on the experience and setting. Or it may just be me. But, I find myself increasingly drawn to every coffee shop OTHER than Starbucks to grab a cup of joe or meet for business or catch up with a friend. Sure, when I’m travelling, I tend to look for a Starbucks because I know what to expect because I don’t know the local coffee scene and don’t have time to explore. And I’m fully aware that delivering that consistent product and experience is key to that statement, and what we all like to preach about when running a successful business. But, there is a fine line between consistency and cookie-cutter. I think the mermaid may have crossed over.

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Filed under Branding, Business, Coffee, marketing, Small Business Marketing, Starbucks

Internet Marketing Key to Obama Win

Barack Obama wins Democratic nominationParticularly interesting post on the Wired blog that illustrates how Barack Obama’s branding and marketing campaign usage of the Internet played a key role in propelling him victory of the Democrat nomination. Below is an excerpt with a link to the original post:

“It’s impossible to imagine Barack Obama’s rise without the modern methods that his campaign used to organize itself, particularly around the internet,” says Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the nonprofit think tank the New Democratic Network. “This really was the most successful campaign of the 21st century.”

“This is what happens when you have a charismatic candidate, and you organize on a scale not seen before,” he adds. “Literally, the size and scale of this is unprecedented in American political history, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the money, and passion, and support of millions of American people.”

The campaign came up with a number of innovations on the internet. It used wikis — online collaborative software — to coordinate and churn out precinct captains in both California and Texas. And it created a counter-viral e-mail campaign to combat the anonymous e-mail smears that question his religious faith and patriotism. It set up policy pages that solicited ideas from supporters, and at one point, the campaign solicited letters from supporters over the internet to lobby the undecided superdelegates.

And Obama’s campaign constantly updated its YouTube channel to keep its supporters around the country up to speed on his latest speeches.

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Filed under advertising, Barack Obama, Blogging, Branding, Communications, Internet, marketing, Online marketing tactics, Public Relations, Search Engine Marketing, SEO, Social Media, social network, Technology, Viral, Web 2.0, Web Sites, Word-of-Mouth, youtube

Green Branding Works for Printer Cartridge Company

My friend Dave McConachie runs a small business called Digitech. They specialize in Renewable Printer Cartridges. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to develop Dave’s branding strategy for Digitech when he took it over the company a couple of years back. Dave was already passionate about the environment and as I learned more about his business over several coffee and lunch meetings on Commercial Drive, together we decided that Digitech would differentiate itself from the competition by taking a very strong, environmentally-responsible stance in the products it produced and in the way they produced them, going as far as delivering the printer cartridges in hybrid vehicles! By running his business this way, he was helping his customers be environmentally responsible by just using Digitech’s products and services. His message is catching on; his company was recently featured on Get Connected which you can watch here.

I love what Dave has done with his company, and the success he is having in standing out from the rest in his industry. What makes this work is the branding strategy is authentic because it aligns with Dave’s passion and beliefs and customers see that at every point of contact. Great work Dave!

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Filed under advertising, Branding, Business, Environmental, marketing, Small Business Marketing, Vancouver, video

Indian Tata to Acquire Jaguar and Landrover Brands

Jaguar S-TypeA lot of public skepticism and resistance has plagued the potential acquisition of luxury brands Jaguar and Landrover by India-based mega brand Tata. Looks like the deal is no longer a potential but a certain. According to MarketWatch, Ford will announce the sale of both brands to Tata on Wednesday. It will be very interesting to see how the deal is embraced by employees and more importantly, car enthusiasts. The big question being, will the public accept an India-based company as the people behind these once iconic gems of British royalty, and feel the same intrinsic prestige and confidence in quality associated with them. My personal opinion is that it can’t be any worse than the way both brands have lagged under Ford ownership. Tata is a huge brand in India with lots of money behind it and an ownership with kahunas, who would like nothing better to do than to prove the naysayers wrong. I think North America will be its most difficult market. Building the brands back up in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia likely makes more sense, than build some momentum and credibility to re-establish the brands in the US and Canada. India in general is making a bigger play on the global market, and nothing changes perception faster than success.

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Filed under Branding, Business, marketing, Retail, Selling

BK Takes Whopper off the Menu, Customers Irate

Want to find out how passionate your customers are about your most popular product? Take it off the menu. Welcome to the Burger King ‘Whopper Freakout’. Thanks Lance for sharing this. Another brilliant example of a video gone viral.

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Filed under Branding, Business, Comedy, Humor, Internet, Social Media, video, Viral, Word-of-Mouth