Archives For brand power

brand power

14/08/2017

3f54e250199c9008c0efee934ba28f92The turn of the screw

There was an industrialist whose production line inexplicably broke down, costing him millions of dollars a day.

He finally tracked down an engineering expert who took out a screwdriver, turned one screw, and then – as the factory cranked back to life – presented a bill for $100,000.

Affronted, the factory owner demands an itemised version. The engineer was happy to oblige:

“For turning a screw: $1. For knowing which screw to turn: $99,999.”

And branding is just like that. Everyone is a “brand expert”. After all, how hard can it be, really, to turn a couple of Vision and Values screws.

Except when there are so many inputs and moving parts, the skill is knowing what screws to turn — and what screws to leave in the toolbox.

Or as I sometimes tell my clients, “My job is to show you where the heck Wally is.”

wally

brand power

19/07/2017

The world’s most expensive perfume

There are fragrances, there are luxury fragrances, and then there’s Clive Christian.

Originally established as The Crown Perfumery during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1872, the fragrance house had fallen upon hard times, with declining profits and a fall in the quality of its products. Perfumer Clive Christian purchased The Crown Perfumery in 1999, intent on restoring the brand back to its former glory.

The first release by the newly purchased company was the Original Collection, which featured the fragrances ‘1872’, ‘X’, and ‘No.1′. Today Clive Christian fragrances are widely known as the most expensive perfumes in the world, with prices that reach upwards of $800, and they’re happy to tell you that—you’ll find “The World’s Most Expensive Perfume” inscribed on the label of ‘No.1’ (US $2,150 an ounce to be exact). Mission accomplished: another great British brand revived and restored to its former glory (ala Burberry).

But what goes into such a lofty price tag? Well, there are the ingredients they use. The scent has top notes of bergamot, lime, Sicilian mandarin nutmeg, cardamom and thyme. The heart notes are more of heliotrope, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, and lily of the valley while the base notes smell of sandalwood, cedar wood, amber wood, vanilla, and vetiver. And all of the Clive Christian perfumes contain between 20 and 25% perfume, making them linger on the skin longer.

And then there is the packaging. The bottles are a work of art in and of themselves. Each bottle is handmade from lead crystal, while the neck is 24-karat gold-plated sterling silver, set with a solitaire. Not to mention that they have Queen Victoria’s stamp of approval – an enduring symbol of quality and British excellence.

Okay, let’s just get a reality check on all of this. Imagine you’re just starting your day. After a leisurely bath it’s time to choose which fragrance will best fit your mood. Instinctively, you reach for a bottle with a label proclaiming it is “The World’s Most Expensive Perfume.” A smug, satisfied smile reveals itself as you think, “I’ve made it, I’m wearing the world’s most expensive fragrance” –at US $750.00 for 50ml of liquid (two and a half table spoons), which works out to circa 70 cents a drop or US $30.00 per light spray.

But hey, if that’s the price for confidence in a bottle, maybe it’s not such a bad deal after all.

brand as story

14/06/2017

Shuffling the NO SUGAR cards at Coca-Cola

So Coca-Cola is set to remove Coke Zero from Australian shops with the launch of Coca-Cola No Sugar. This is the third sugar-free product the brand has launched, with Diet Coke launching in 1983 and then Coke Zero in 2006.

I helped Coca-Cola reposition Coke Zero shortly after it launched. When Coca-Cola launched Coke Zero they targeted young guys, assuming that girls looking for a no sugar option would choose Diet Coke. This isn’t in fact what happened. 25+ female drinkers stuck to Diet Coke since it was a taste they had acquired and now preferred. Young female drinkers chose Coke Zero because it tasted most like Coca-Cola, the taste they were used to and the taste they preferred.

So we went for a more gender neutral positioning: “Real (Coca-Cola) Taste. Zero Sugar.” This was the promise – you get the great taste of Coca-Cola, just without the sugar. But it seems Coca-Cola have now come up with something even better, declaring that Coca-Cola No Sugar is “the best-tasting no sugar cola yet”.

Oh, and here I am thinking that, that was Coke Zero. “Coca-Cola Zero is already a great tasting drink, but we think with this new recipe,” the press release says, “we’ve been able to get even closer to the taste of Coca-Cola Classic/Original Taste.”

OK, well lets have a look at the recipes of Coke Zero and Coca-Cola No Sugar (the list of ingredients anyway). Both contain caffeine, phenylalanine, and the exact same sweeteners (950 and 951). In fact both contain exactly the same ingredients except that Coke Zero has 28mg Sodium, whereas Coca-Cola No Sugar only has 10.5mg Sodium. I find this curious, since Coca-Cola (the original taste) has 25mg Sodium, more in line with Coke Zero. But then Coca-Cola No Sugar also has a thing called “Flavour”, which Coke Zero doesn’t have. This must be the “magic” ingredient that makes Coca-Cola No Sugar taste more like Coca-Cola that Coke Zero does.

Or is it all just brand and marketing hype? Same stuff with pretty much the same ingredients, just a different spin and use of the words NO SUGAR in a world that is turning away from sugar. Because just saying Coke Zero apparently isn’t enough, since too many drinkers didn’t know (apparently) that Coke Zero has NO SUGAR in it. So Coca-Cola needed to really spell it out for a world that has the attention span of a gnat.

On top of this Coca-Cola have changed their global tagline from “Open happiness” to “Taste the feeling”, with a very Instagram-looking type of photographic style and art direction. Personally I way prefer “Open happiness” – or “Happiness in a bottle” as an overall brand positioning and promise. “You can’t beat the feeling” was their global tagline in the 80s/90s, and so their new tagline takes me back to a time when Coca-Cola pretty much lost its way as a brand.

As for the people who now prefer the taste of Coke Zero … tough shit. This is business after all, and if there’s one thing Coca-Cola know how do really well it’s keeping and growing their “share of mouth”.

brand as culture

16/05/2017

Employees work at Digital Risk LLC headquarters in Maitland last spring (April 2011). Digital Risk is a fast-growing player in the mortgage risk technology industry, Thursday, April 21, 2011. Sales have jumped more than tenfold in recent years and the company has hired hundreds locally and opened offices in New York, Dallas, Denver and Jacksonville. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel) Newsgate ID: B581217060Z.1 to go with richard burnett CFB story

The things that money can’t buy

You can buy a person’s time.

You can buy a person’s physical presence at a given place.

You can even buy a measured number of skilled muscular motions per hour per day.

But you cannot buy enthusiasm.

You can’t buy initiative.

You cannot buy loyalty.

You cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds and souls.

You have to earn these things. And that’s just what great branding does.