Caution: What will happen to my Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskeys?

The acquisition of Beam Inc. by Suntory Holdings of Japan, has created a storm of concern about whether the heartland American brands, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark will change. With enormous heritage, both brands have very loyal franchises and passionate consumers.

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And despite the fact that they have been around for a long time – Jim Beam was founded in 1795 and Maker’s Mark in 1958 – these brands continue to enjoy organic growth, and are benefitting, possibly even contributing to, a resurgence in the popularity of bourbons and whiskeys globally. [Read more →]

January 17, 2014   1 Comment

“Cheesepocalypse” and the Importance of the Velveeta Brand

Ad Age reported that Velveeta inventory is running low, just as Superbowl parties are only a few weeks away. This has created yet another media feeding frenzy. The Chicago Tribune calls it “Cheesepocalypse”. But the underlying reason is quite deep. Velveeta has earned our trust as a brand that hasn’t changed, and in the confusing world we live in, anchor brands are very important. Moreover, anchor brands like Velveeta often become part of a national tradition, a cultural touchstone that has meaning and value beyond the functionality of the product.
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Velveeta was invented in Monroe, NY in 1908 at the Monroe Cheese Company. By 1923, it was spun off into the Velveeta Cheese Company and subsequently sold to Kraft Foods. In the early 1950’s, the product was reformulated into a cheese spread, and has not wavered since. Used as a base for dips, and in sandwiches and macaroni and cheese, it has been a staple in homes in North America and Canada. It is also an ingredient in dips at Superbowl parties everywhere. [Read more →]

January 10, 2014   No Comments

“Less is More” is the New Paradigm in Building Brands

Who would have predicted that in the year 2012, a silent movie would win the Oscar for Best Picture? The fact that “The Artist” defied the odds is a manifestation of consumers’ demand for “less is more”. Consumers are rejecting the “bigger is better” culture that dominated the late nineties and 2000’s and came crashing down with the global economic crisis. Add to that the daily barrage of information, advertising, news, social media and politics and you have a consumer audience begging for simplicity, less clutter, honesty and integrity.

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February 28, 2012   No Comments

Can Old Stodgy Brands with Negative Perceptions really Reinvent Themselves?

There is only one way for a brand plagued with a negative brand perception to survive – tackle it head on. Acknowledge shortcomings, address the issues externally and internally and take significant actions to fix things. There are many brands that should take this advice to heart. One example is the United States Postal Service.

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August 17, 2011   2 Comments

How will Tesla Position its Luxury all-Electric Car?

Tesla Motors is scheduling an IPO to raise more capital and complete development of an all-electric car that will eventually sell for $50,000. One issue they need to contemplate is how to position the new car in the marketplace that already has a plethora of environmentally friendly hybrid offerings.

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June 28, 2010   13 Comments

When Brands Lose Meaning… Ford to Send Mercury to the Graveyard

The telling sign of yet another automotive brand signals the importance of having a differentiated and relevant position in the marketplace. The economic times we live in have forced Ford to terminate the Mercury brand.  But if you think about it, the Mercury brand didn’t really have a clear meaning and wasn’t differentiated from competition. Keith Naughton of Bloomberg writes about the end of the Mercury brand after seven decades.

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June 1, 2010   19 Comments

For BP, Being "Beyond Petroleum" Depends on How They Act

By now, there has been a lot reported and written about BP. The branding debate has been about whether their “Beyond Petroleum” proposition can be sustained. The answer lies in how they choose to act.

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May 21, 2010   2 Comments

When Separating Brands Really Works

Back in the late 1980’s, Toyota made a bold business decision to separate its luxury products into a new company to compete directly against Mercedes and BMW. The creation of the Lexus brand quickly was followed by Nissan (formerly Datsun) renaming its luxury business Infiniti. This was brand separation with many questions. How much brand equity should be shared with the parent? Does Toyota quality or engineering bring anything to the party for Lexus? Can Toyota be believable as the manufacturer of a luxury product? Should a Lexus dealer be situated in or near a Toyota dealer? Should they look the same? Should they act the same? [Read more →]

March 15, 2010   36 Comments