Category — Brand value

Tesla Drops “Motors.” What’s Next?

Tesla just announced that it is dropping “Motors” from its name to signal that it’s moving into  businesses other than cars. They will, at least in the foreseeable future, be an unparalleled sustainable energy company. However, at the pace they are moving, one can only imagine what businesses they might ultimately be in. Will that name hold?

Apple did this several years ago by changing its name from Apple Computer to Apple. Obviously, this was a smart move that helped them broaden their portfolio of products and services.

There are many reason why a company might move to change its name —an obvious one being a legal issue.  Beyond that, changes can be driven by consumer trends, broadening portfolios, over-coming negative perceptions, or just trying to stay relevant. For example, Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC to avoid healthy consumers thinking about fried food. Or Philip Morris created new name, Altria, to be known as more than just a cigarette manufacturer, but a portfolio of businesses.

 

 

 

So, for fun, below are a list of several companies that completely changed their names. Can you identify who they are today?

AuctionWeb

BackRub

Blue Ribbon Sports

Brad’s Drink

Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation

Confinity

Datsun

Firebird

Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web

Lucky and Goldstar Co.

Pete’s Super Submarines

Quantum Computer Services

Sound of Music

Stag Party

Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo

ValuJet

Wards Company

 

If you think about these things and are considering a business transformation, step back and look at your name.

There are interesting stories behind how these names became the ones we know today. How many did you know?

AuctionWeb, the first on-line marketplace, became eBay

BackRub was the original name for Google, based on the mathematical term “googol”,1 followed by 100 zeros

Blue Ribbon Sports was the business that became Nike

Brad’s Drink was the original name of a soft drink developed by a pharmacist that became Pepsi-Cola

Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation evolved into IBM, the name of its Canadian subsidiary

Confinity, started as a Palm Pilot payment company, renamed itself to become PayPal

Datsun today is Nissan based on the strategy to unify many products one-der one brand

Firebird is the original name for Firefox, changed for legal reasons

Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web became Yahoo, standing for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”

Lucky and Goldstar Co. is today LG Electronics

Pete’s Super Submarines is known today as Subway

Quantum Computer Services is today AOL, a shortening of America Online

Sound of Music became Best Buy, based on a successful fire sale after a tornado hit the company’s main store promising “best buys” on everything

Stag Party was the original name for Playboy after a law suit was threatened by Stag Magazine

Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was a radio repair shop that is known for making the first transistor radio, and today is known as SONY

ValuJet became AirTran after a well-publicized plane crash. Today it is part of Southwest.

Wards Company adopted the name of a retail format they owned to become Circuit City

February 6, 2017   No Comments

Disney World at $105 a day… How Brands Can Successfully Price Up

The recent announcement about Disney raising admission prices at theme parks to over $100 per day points to an important benefit of very strong brands… they can price higher and maintain upwards momentum.

Brands that provide extraordinary quality and a unique experience have enormous leverage to price higher. Said another way, it is possible to raise prices without much of a consumer push-back.

my-disney-experience

Here’s the rub. In almost every category, where products are essentially at parity, marketers struggle to hold prices, especially when there is a competitor who is willing to cut price to hold on to or grow a franchise. Thus, particularly in highly competitive categories, marketers become hostage to a pricing spiral, and reluctant to take risks or invest. As someone once said, it’s hard to look outside of the swamp when alligators are nipping at you toes. [Read more →]

March 3, 2015   No Comments

Brands Have Become a Critical Factor in Successfully Expanding into the U.S.

High growth globalizing companies often find it difficult and unprofitable to enter the U.S. and other developed markets. To achieve the turnover and ROI they seek, they are finding that it is the brand asset that differentiates an offering and drives higher margins and profitability. Particularly for companies in China, India, Brazil and other high growth countries, successfully expanding their global footprint is an enviable objective, but more difficult to achieve than ever. Many seek to minimize risk and expand with a price entry. However, unless corporations recognize and act upon the importance of building strong “brands”, they will most likely fail to achieve their U.S. objectives.

Mega-trend shift
The mega-trend shift towards high growth market-based companies who have been successful in their home countries trying to expand to the U.S. is based on sound logic:

  • Drive for greater revenues and profits
  • Appeal of the large middle class with strong per capita income
  • High number of diaspora living in the U.S. that often become the first wave of “acceptors”
  • Recognition that the U.S. ensures a stable government and significant economic incentives
  • Access to skilled labor forces, technology, and strong distribution channels.

[Read more →]

October 3, 2014   1 Comment

Using a Strong Shared Services Brand to Attract and Motivate the Best Talent

This blog was originally featured on the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network’s website on October 10th, 2013.

One of the great challenges of a shared services division is to attract the best talent and keep them motivated. This is understandable. Because the concept of “shared services” has built into it a negative stereotype from the start, creating and managing a strong internal “brand” can accomplish a number of important things:

  • It can signal the true value the shared services team provides and define value in a new way
  • It can be a beacon to attract the best talent
  • It can keep the team not only motivated, but also excited to continually elevate the value of what the team can deliver.

images-2 [Read more →]

October 29, 2013   No Comments

Sustainability and Authenticity Present Huge Opportunities for Brands

Riddle me this: how do you boost sales by almost one third while telling your customers to buy less from you?

Sustainability and authenticity are the twin brand values that can power this exemplary business growth, and Patagonia is the current exemplar.

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For some time now, Patagonia has been urging customers to repair and keep their $700 Patagonia parkas rather than buy new ones. The result? Sales increased almost one-third to $543 million last year, which included about nine months of the “Buy Less” marketing campaign.

[Read more →]

October 4, 2013   No Comments

Using the Shared Services Brand to Overcome Negative Perceptions

This blog was originally featured on the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network’s website on July 22nd, 2013.

Shared Services often miss the opportunity to communicate the value they provide, and consequently live under a pervasive and somewhat negative perception. This doesn’t have to be the case. Focusing on the Shared Services “brand” is one way to change these perceptions.

Because the origin of Shared Services is rooted in cost cutting, there is a naturally built-in   stereotype that what costs less must not be as good. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Strengthening the Shared Services brand, especially to internal audiences, is a very powerful way to communicate the positive value of a Shared Services model. Aside from the corporate arguments that Shared Services are really about reducing costs, you should be promoting the realization that there is an enormous amount of condensed wisdom in a Shared Services organization. It is, de facto, the central node of knowledge and insight. Imagine if internal customers understood this value and could tap into it. So use the brand to focus their attention.  [Read more →]

July 26, 2013   No Comments

Is Consumerism Sustainable: What Do Brands Have to Say?

What can the difference between a straight line and a circle teach us about building a sustainable economic system that fuels growth without destroying our planet? And what do brands have to do with it?

The answers are “lots” and “lots”, respectively.

This is the first in a series of posts in which we will explore the relationship between brands and sustainability. So we thought we should start by questioning whether consumerism itself is sustainable. Is it reaching the end of its useful life? And if it is, what can replace it as an engine for economic growth?

The law of unintended consequences has meant that the existing model of consumption makes many of us sick, unhappy, stressed, and time-starved; it fails to produce affordable food that sustains healthy life; it fails to offer work that gives us a healthy sense of meaning and purpose; it gradually renders the planet itself unviable; and it makes only 1% of us wealthier.

For most of us, this is not a good deal. For our children, it’s disastrous.

images

In his book ‘Cradle to Cradle’, William McDonough recognized that in nature’s cyclical design, resources are infinite.  Yet human industry is driven by a traditional linear economic model: Take (resources) – Make (stuff) – Dispose (dump when the new version comes out).

So which is the better (more sustainable) option? That’s where the circle comes in.

[Read more →]

July 15, 2013   No Comments

Doing the Right Thing is Good for Business

The past decade or more has seen a rise in environmental and social consciousness and with it, a desire by big business to ‘give back’.

Much of this is driven by necessity.  Motivated by a wider understanding of the human impact on the environment, there is growing expectation in the market for brands to make it easier for their customers to make better choices.  A market that has become increasingly brand literate and now, empowered by the open forums of social media, has a platform. Putting profit before people and the planet, is no longer good for business.

But it’s also driven by savvy marketing and good business sense.  A brand that finds a purpose beyond their product, inspires loyalty in their customers who feel proud of their association with the cause.  This connection with the brand goes beyond any need for the product and builds a far more sustainable relationship.

However, intention must be met with action.  If the brand wishes to be taken seriously, change cannot only be made on the outside – on billboards, or in PR releases – change must be seen to be happening on the inside too.

Kaizen1

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April 9, 2013   No Comments

Is Your Brand Ready for the “Inside Out” Movement?

Professional services brands may want to take inspiration from the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which the architecture community is touting as the next truly great building of this age. Why? Because big screens on the outside show who is practicing and performing on the inside. It shares itself with the world. It adapted technologically to our human desire to “be in the know” about everything all the time. Brands in the next generation will have to be the same way. They will be expected to show what’s on the inside (their values), not just talk about their services. Brands must reflect the DNA of the company within.

BarclaysCenter

[Read more →]

January 24, 2013   2 Comments

Twinkies is in the Emergency Room…will it live or die?

And if it does survive, will it ever be as strong as it was again? It’s difficult to know for sure but one thing is clear: the marketing leadership at Hostess Brands had failed to nurture a brand that is undeniably an American icon with a value far greater than it’s $68 million year-to-date revenue. After all, how many brands can invoke nostalgia like Twinkies has in recent days? How many brands have such an impact on society that they end up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or a feature on every major news program? Not many when you consider the thousands of brands out there, and yet, the marketing leadership at Hostess Brands has done little over the past few decades to understand, let alone capitalize on the equity.

Hostess Twinkies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twinkies was introduced in 1933 by The Continental Baking Company in Inianapolis to utilize the strawberry shortcake machines that stood idle when strawberries were not in season. They were originally filled with a banana flavored cream but switched to vanilla cream during WWII when bananas were rationed. It was so popular that they never switched back.

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November 20, 2012   No Comments