Why “Watering Down” a Brand is a Fundamental No-No.

The postulate that “watering down” a brand has long-term affects is generally well understood by smart marketers everywhere. But recently, two brands have been caught up in literally and figuratively watering down their products and consequently, their brands. We’d suggest that the act of watering down a product, or even the suspicion of it, will have very serious and long-term impacts on the business.

MakersMark

The two brands are Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon Whisky and Budweiser. Maker’s Mark announced that they were lowering the alcohol content of their premiere product from 94 proof to 86 proof because demand is exceeding capacity, and consumer testing had indicated that the difference was undetectable. While possibly statistically true, the idea that slowly diluting a product so that the perceived change in the taste profile is negligible could end up taking the teeth out of a product and without ever understanding why. This incremental product thinking almost always gets manufacturers in trouble. [Read more →]

March 1, 2013   No Comments

Sound Can Be a Powerful Brand Cue… Think “Snap, Crackle, and Pop”

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies famous “Snap, Crackle, Pop” was introduced in 1933. According to a radio ad of the time, “Listen to the fairy song of health, the merry chorus sung by Kellogg’s Rice Krispies as they merrily snap, crackle and pop in a bowl of milk. If you’ve never heard food talking, now is your chance”. It’s arguably the most famous of all brand sounds but there are other great examples of brands that have used sound as a differentiating brand communicator. The well-researched thud of BMW’s door closing is a deliberate effort to communicate quality and a premium positioning. Smart marketers are looking at all aspects of a brand to create a memorable brand experience.

 

Since the 1970’s, most markets are flooded with essentially parity products. The result is a quest for marketers to find ways to drive home differentiation and make their brand more memorable and unique. This is a mandatory in today’s competitive marketplaces. Sound is one key aspect of some brands that can make a significant difference, and it is often over-looked.

[Read more →]

October 25, 2012   No Comments

Why Buy the Expensive Tylenol Brand any more? Where Trust intersects with Value.

A feature in the Sunday New York Times about Johnson & Johnson struggling with many of it’s consumer brands raises a much bigger issue… when you lose trust in a brand name. The specific manufacturing problems and recalls for J&J open up consideration of less marketed store brands. In that moment where value intersects with (brand) price, it will be interesting to see how consumers shift shopping behaviors over the near to longer term.

[Read more →]

January 17, 2011   1 Comment

Starbucks of the Future… an Idea that Feels Just Right for the Brand

Starbucks is introducing a new concept idea this week. It will serve regional wine, beer, cheese, soup and other small dishes. While designated by location (e,g, “Olive Way store”), it will indicate it is “by Starbucks”. The interior will be more like a cafe that has been in the neighborhood for years, but extremely eco-friendly. This evolution into an after work, evening business just feels right for the times.

[Read more →]

October 22, 2010   25 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.

[Read more →]

June 1, 2010   19 Comments

Why I’m Giving You Something from Tiffany This Year

It looks like upscale shoppers may lead us out of the recession. Tiffany’s sales are up globally. So are sales at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. High-end shoppers are leading the way.

But what is interesting to me is the attraction to these strong brands as the vehicle for higher end spenders. Under the assumption that the wealthy have a great deal of liquidity as they have been hording their cash and not investing in the market, they are apparently spending their money on brands they can trust. [Read more →]

March 23, 2010   36 Comments

Why Can’t Everyone be like Ford?

From a marketer’s standpoint, the resurgence of the Ford brand is a monumental success. It wasn’t but a few decades ago when Ford was viewed just like the other big three auto manufacturers. [Read more →]

March 12, 2010   2 Comments