Branding

Brands, politics and painful presidential elections

election-gif

Guys, the end is near.

No, not the apocalypse (though it feels like it at times). The 2016 Presidential Election is next week, offering us sweet, sweet relief from the chaos of these campaigns. We as consumers have been feeling the effects of this tumultuous election cycle for what seems like forever.

Alongside us, brands have been feeling those effects as well. Here’s a few ways how:

1) They spend a ton.

Given the exponential increase in political advertisements over the past decade, commercial advertising was bound to be impacted. One way is “political crowd-out” – competition for airtime is fierce, causing brands to purchase spots months earlier than usual. Brands that were looking to run advertisements during the Olympics or promote summer-themed products (such as sunscreen) likely went through a different ad purchasing process than in most years.

Additionally, brands fear a “spillover” effect – a negative political advertisement’s tone can be pervasive and a significant percentage of consumers are likely to change the channel, meaning they fail to absorb the message of the brand’s advertisement that immediately follows. And, if they do keep the channel on, a recent study from JWT showed that brand advertising that airs right

Branding

What’s in a Name? Everything.

Want to know the top-secret recipe to create a name for a new brand? Great. Here it is: Grab a few creative folks, lock them in a quiet room and toss in a case of beer before you lock the door. Give them a couple hours. Presto, new name!

Easy. That is, if you only want a name. If you want a GREAT name—one that is memorable, meaningful and steeped in your business; one that can spark and sustain an emotional bond with your target audience—well, then there’s a little more to it.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-06-27-pm

Great names don’t inspire standing ovations, but sneakily take up residence in our brains, influencing how we think, speak and behave. It’s hard to imagine a time when people used cotton swabs, adhesive strips and facial tissues instead of Q-Tips, Band-Aids and Kleenex; a time before anyone Googled, Swiffered, FedExed or Venmoed.

The hidden power of a good name helped transform these brands from a product to a staple in our lives; filling everyday activities like cleaning our ears or looking up directions with a little extra magic and meaning. But creating a name with that kind of power

Branding

Little Brown Lies: Craft Whiskey’s Dirty Little Secret

Distiller Dave Cuttino leaned back in his stool and pushed a short pour of bourbon in my direction. Yet, the way his words punctured my perception of reality, he could have been Morpheus, extending a handful of red pills.

img_3202

Dave Cuttino of Reservoir. Basking in artisanal opulence.

Cuttino and his partner Jay Carpenter are the owners, distillers, managers, and pretty much the everything else-ers behind Reservoir distillery in Richmond, Virginia. A tiny operation that has found big success by defying a dirty little secret at work throughout much of the whiskey world.

The craft whiskey renaissance that we appear to be living through, is in many ways one big hand-crafted lie. Or at least, an act of artful artisanal misdirection.

Most of the whiskey brands on the market today don’t actually distill their own stuff. Odds are your favorite “small batch” whiskey actually originates from a company like MPG in Indiana, where oceans of bourbon, rye, vodka and gin, are distilled for dozens, if not hundreds of brands. If that doesn’t take the wind out of your flannel, know that, at the same location, they’re producing “food grade industrial…

Branding

Brand Takes a Stand: Ben & Jerry’s on Black Lives Matter

While most companies aim to remain apolitical, Ben & Jerry’s throws neutrality to the wind, brazenly using their brand platform as a soapbox for social and environmental justice for more than 20 years. Last Thursday, Ben & Jerry’s released a statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, garnering widespread traditional and social media attention.

Is taking a political stance such as this befitting of the Ben & Jerry’s brand? Absolutely.

bj-black-lives-matter

The brand mission scoop
Back in April, I had the pleasure of hearing Ben & Jerry’s Grand Poobah of PR (yep, his actual title) Sean Greenwood speak about mission and social entrepreneurship. Greenwood explained that the company had an established mission from the get-go. The first 10 years of business focused on the product, but these days, the folks at B&J consider themselves a social justice company that happens to sell ice cream. “We ruffle feathers,” said Greenwood. “We support same sex marriage, climate change, democracy. We’re going to lose some and we’re OK with that.”

Ben & Jerry’s three-part mission

  • Product mission: to make fantastic ice cream – for its own sake.
  • Economic mission: to manage our company for
  • Branding

    Defenders of the healthcare brand

    heart-care-1040227_960_720

    How healthcare communication professionals can drive the top line while protecting the bottom line.

    For healthcare PR and marketing professionals, intentional communications has never been more important to the brand. Unprecedented consolidation in the industry continues as providers shift their business models from being rooted in volume to driving value. What’s more, technology has changed the way consumers, patients and even employees communicate, seek information and define “the news.”

    For healthcare communicators, these changes will fundamentally impact the way people perceive and experience your brand. Not to mention creating new risks to manage. The way you communicate can make or break your brand. In fact, according to a report published by Harvard Business Review, based on a global survey of nearly 600 executives across health and other industries, effective communications was identified as one of the top three factors most likely to bring success. And it’s worth noting that it ranked second only to delivering a high level of customer service.

    The good news is that most healthcare providers already are focusing on delivering a higher level of service, primarily through patient experience initiatives. The bad news is that most are not investing in enhancing communications. So while healthcare communicators have traditionally been thought of as promoters of the top line, today’s healthcare market requires them to be equally adept at protecting the bottom line.

    Building reputation through change
    If there’s

    Branding

    People are the New Media

    capture

    Afdhel Aziz, Director of Absolut Labs, said, “Any marketer who wants to succeed in the future needs to think in these terms: people are the new media.”

    Gone are the days when big brands could develop a catchy jingle and it’d echo in consumers’ minds on repeat. Today, consumers are inundated with sales pitches and marketing ploys alike. They’ve developed a heightened awareness, borderline paranoia, of what is genuine vs. what is paid for. With geo-targeting tracking not only your purchases but every move your mouse makes online, consumers are demanding transparency and authenticity from brands.

    One way brands are building trust and staying relevant is by working with influencers. From cooking to fitness, dads to moms, health to technology, there is an influencer out there who has a network of trusted peers looking to them for advice, inspiration and/or guidance. To peers, they are not seen as spokespeople of a brand, but rather real, authentic people who believe in a brand.

    CEO of Intuit, Scott Cook, said it best, A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is–it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

    Here are…

    Branding

    Colleges Missing an Opportunity on Twitter?

    graduate-tweeterMost colleges use Twitter as an image-polishing tool, and that’s not fully capitalizing on the platform’s value, say researchers who analyzed the Twitter accounts of more than 2,400 U.S. higher education institutions.

    Their examination of 5.7 million tweets reveals that the whopping majority (nearly 80 percent) broadcast information about campus events and meetings, with few asking readers to take action or engaging directly with other users. Further review of a subset of tweets with images shows colleges routinely depicting positive student experiences, attractive campus scenes and student successes.

    Duh. Of course colleges are putting their best foot forward online.

    The researchers don’t disagree with the approach. It’s what they don’t see on Twitter that presents an opportunity.

    George Veletsianos, Canada research chair in innovative learning and technology at Royal Roads University and a co-author on the Twitter study, tells Times Higher Education “more effective use of social media might involve using hashtags to connect alumni and students, sharing practical knowledge with communities that might benefit from the research conducted at the university, and providing educational opportunities to the thousands of followers that subscribe to institutional Twitter feeds.”

    Makes sense to me. Institutional Twitter…

    Branding

    How to Succeed in the (Competitive) Business of Smiling

    They’re like the great “Oz” of the dental industry: the tireless dental laboratory, working behind the curtain, crafting the beautiful smiles of everyone from celebrities and pro athletes to (relatively) average Joes like you and me.  A good smile conveys good health, confidence, competence, and attractiveness. Who doesn’t want that? So you’d think there’d be more than enough work to keep dental labs in business. But check any issue of Dental Economics (a good read, by the way) it’s a very competitive and complex industry. Quality is what can set you apart, but quantity is what makes you money. Hand crafting each tooth is a differentiator, but you also need the latest technology for things like case planning, diagnostics, and milling. Dentists can be very loyal when they find a great lab, but then they won’t refer you because they don’t want their competitors in on their secret. Add this to a more discerning and cost-conscious customers (dentists and their patients) and the “business of smiling” is a “grit-your-teeth” kind of industry. That’s why Valley Dental Arts (VDA), one of the premier cosmetic and restorative dental laboratories in the country, decided it needed an agency partner to help identify and grow its competitive edge. In 2014, they selected PadillaCRT to help map their path

    Branding

    A look back: brands and their misbehaving spokespeople

    The chaos surrounding the Rio Olympics subsided for a time as countries around the world celebrated the incredible feats of their athletes. Records were broken, medals were won, and all was well and good.

    And then, Ryan Lochte.

    via GIPHY

    You’ve probably heard the tale of one Olympic swimmer misrepresenting his actions, and their repercussions, at a gas station in Rio. Lochte issued an apology for his behavior, but that didn’t stem the tide of growing negative perception surrounding the event. Nor did it stop companies for which he was a spokesperson from severing their ties with the controversy-embroiled swimmer.

    Four major sponsors ended their relationship with Lochte earlier this week, including Speedo: “While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” Speedo said in its statement. “We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.”

    With today’s information age, it’s clear that companies are quicker to cut ties with spokespeople for misbehavior – Lochte’s sponsors took around a millisecond

    Branding

    Gen Z: Five Key Insights for Healthcare Brands

    Source: Phenomena

    Raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing about the Millennials.

    Employers have been trying to figure out how to deal with Millennials since they entered the work force about 15 years ago and healthcare has been bracing for the changes that they might bring as consumers.  Now, it’s time to start preparing for the next generation, who will comprise 40% of all consumers by 2020: Generation Z.

    Members of Gen Z were born between 1995 and 2015 and have been parented by Gen X’ers and the older Millennials. They are digital natives, born after the internet was popularized and raised on smart phones.  With the youngest members of Gen Z celebrating their first birthday this year, it will be quite some time until we feel the full impact of this generation.  However, extensive research has already been done to reveal the attitudes and behaviors of the older half of Gen Z (who go up to 21 years old), many of whom are in or approaching college or about to enter the workforce.

    While Gen Z won’t dominate healthcare use in the near future, smart brands are taking notice and thinking about engagement strategies now, especially as