Archive for 'brand'

66 Ways to Build Links in 2007

I came across this while doing some research for a book I’m writing for a SEO class I am to teach next week and the week after. It’s excellent!

66 Ways to Build Links

Branding Trivia

By Derrick Daye on Sam Gale

We don’t have extra time, but we’ll always make some for branding trivia…

•Coca-Cola was originally green.
•Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation.
•A can of Diet Coke will float in water while a can of regular Coke sinks.
•7% of Americans eat McDonalds each day.
•Colgate faced a significant obstacle marketing toothpaste in Spanish speaking countries. Colgate translates into the command “go hang yourself.”
•All hospitals in Singapore use Pampers diapers.
•Levi Strauss first intended to sell his denim material to the miners who were searching for gold in 1850, in order to make tents and covers for their wagons.
•The wristwatch was invented in 1904 by Louis Cartier
•Ben and Jerry’s send the waste from making ice cream to local pig farmers to use as feed. Pigs love the stuff, except for one flavor: Mint Oreo.
•The Ramses brand condom is named after the great pharaoh Ramses II who fathered over 160 children.
•American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each
salad served in first-class.
•When KFC first translated its advertising slogan “finger lickin’ good” into Chinese, it came out as “eat your fingers off.”
•In 1921 advertising manager Sam Gale of General Mills created fictional spokeswoman Betty Crocker so that correspondence to housewives could be sent with her signature.
•Pepsi spent a lot of money on an advertising campaign in China with the slogan “Pepsi gives you life” – unfortunately, it was translated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.”
•Over 275 different PEZ heads have been designed, with some 48 models on the market at any one time. The most popular dispensers of all-time are the Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus models.
•Inventor Joshua L. Cowen, created the first battery, which spawned American Eveready. He also created Lionel trains.

Branding: Differentiate or Die

By Derrick Daye on Sprint

What has changed in business over recent decades is the amazing proliferation of product choices in just about every category.

It’s been estimated that there are 1,000,000 SKU’s (Standard Stocking Units) out there in America. An average supermarket has 40,000 SKU’s. Now for the stunner: An average family gets 80% to 85% of their needs from 150 SKU’s. That means there’s a good chance they’ll ignore 39,850 items in that store.

The dictionary defines “tyranny” as absolute power that often is harsh or cruel. So it is with choice. With the enormous competition, markets today are driven by choice. The customer has so many good alternatives that you pay dearly for your mistakes. Your competitors get your business, and you don’t get it back very easily. Companies that don’t understand this will not survive. (Now that’s cruel.)

Just look at some of the names on the headstones in the brand graveyard: American Motors, Burger Chef, Carte Blanc, Eastern Airlines, Gainesburgers, Gimbels, Hathaway Shirts, Horn & Hardart, Mr. Salty Pretzels, Philco, Trump Shuttle, VisiCalc, Woolworth’s.

And this is only a short list of names that are no longer with us.

In this global killer economy you have to find a way to differentiate yourself–or have very low prices. To do this, here are the steps you must follow:

Step One: The Context

Arguments are never made in a vacuum. There are always surrounding competitors trying to make arguments of their own. Your message has to make sense in the context of the category. It has to start with what the marketplace has heard and registered from your competition.

The context also includes what’s happening in the market. Is the timing for your idea right?

Nordstrom’s differentiating idea of “better service” played perfectly into the context of a department store world that was reducing its people and service as a way to cut costs.

Lotus launched the first successful network on “groupware software” called Notes just as corporate America was networking its PC’s. IBM ended up buying Lotus and Notes for $3.5 billion.

It’s like riding a wave. If you’re too early or late, you’ll go nowhere. Catch it just right and you’ll get a long and profitable ride for your difference.

Step Two: The Differentiating Idea

To be different is to be not the same. To be unique is to be one of a kind.

So you’re looking for something that separates you from your competitors. The secret is understanding that your different-ness does not have to be product related.

Consider a horse. Yes, horses are quickly differentiated by their type. There are race horses, jumpers, ranch horses, wild horses and on and on. But in racehorses, you can differentiate them by breeding, by performance, by stable, by trainer and on and on.

A product or service can be differentiated by feature, leadership, preference, heritage, specialty, how it’s made and on and on. (I wrote a book on this subject if you want more ways to differentiate your brand.)

Step Three: The Credentials

To build a logical argument for your difference, you must have the credentials to support your differentiating idea. This will make it real and believable.

If you have a product difference, then you should be able to demonstrate that difference. The demonstration, in turn, becomes your credentials. If you have a leak-proof valve, then you should be able to have a direct comparison with valves that can leak.

Claims of difference without proof are really just claims. For example, a “wide-track” General Motors’ Pontiac must be wider than other cars. British Air as the “world’s favorite airline” should fly more people than any other airline. Coca-Cola as the “real thing” has to have invented colas. When it’s “Hertz and not exactly,” there should be some unique services that the others don’t offer.

You can’t differentiate with smoke and mirrors. Consumers are skeptical. They’re thinking, “Oh yeah, Mr. Advertiser? Prove it!” You must be able to support your argument.

Step Four: Communicate Your Difference

Just as you can’t keep your light under a basket, you can’t keep your difference under wraps.

If you build a differentiated product, the world will not automatically beat a path to your door. Better products don’t win. Better perceptions tend to be the winners. Truth will not win out unless it has some help along the way.

Every aspect of your communications should reflect your difference. Your advertising. Your brochures. Your Web site. Your sales presentations.

In marketing, the rich often get richer because they have the resources to drive their ideas into the mind. Their problem is separating the good ideas from the bad ones, and avoiding spending money on too many products and too many programs.

Unfortunately, without the proper resources, even the best differentiating idea won’t get off the ground. Look what happened to AT&T in recent years. They failed to differentiate themselves from Sprint Nextel and MCI. The result: A price war that ended in the ignomy of being bought by a Baby Bell.

As I said, differentiate or die.

Internal Brand Building: Living the Brand

By Derrick Daye on The Conference Board

Increasingly, organizations are finding it critical to gain their employee’s understanding and enthusiastic support of their brand’s essence, promise and personality. They know that they must achieve integrity between what the brand says about itself and how it actually behaves. The bottom line: they understand that consistently delivering the brand promise at each and every point of customer contact is critical to their success.

Organizational Support Critical to Brand Strategy Success
In 1998, The Conference Board conducted a study on “Managing the Corporate Brand.” In that study, they discovered four organizational support factors were critical to brand strategy success.

They are:

•CEO leadership and support
•A distinctive corporate culture that serves as a platform for the brand promise
•The ability to obtain support from a broad spectrum of employees
•The alignment of brand messages across functions

These factors are clearly more dependent upon the human resource function than the marketing function.

The Importance of Front Line Employees
At the Institute for International Research’s December 1999 Brand Masters Conference in Palm Beach, Florida, Sixtus Oechsle, Manager, Corporate Communications & Advertising, Shell Oil Company, indicated that in a study of sources of brand favorability, Shell Oil found that interaction with company employees had the greatest impact (much greater than brand ads or news) on brand favorability. Indeed, most organizations have discovered that the ‘moment of truth’ in the delivery of the brand promise almost always occurs in customers’ interactions with front-line employees.

At the Institute for International Research’s The Branding Trilogy conference in Santa Barbara, California, Kristine Shattuck, Los Angeles Area Marketing Manager, Southwest Airlines put it well when she said, “Enthusiastic employees spread enthusiasm to customers. Market to your employees as much as your customers. If your employees don’t ‘get it,’ neither will your customers.” This can only happen if top management aligns all of its organization’s processes and systems in support of its brand’s promise.

How to Beat Google (Part 1)

by Rich Skrenta

Our entire industry is scared witless by Google’s dominance in search and advertising. Microsoft and Yahoo have been unsuccessful at staunching the bleeding of their search market share. VCs parrot the Google PR FUD machine that you need giant datacenters next to hydroelectric dams to compete. They spout nonsense about how startups should just use Alexa’s crawl and put some ajax on top of it. Ye gods.

Grow a spine people! You have a giant growing market with just one dominant competitor, not even any real #2. You’re going to do clean-tech energy saving software to shut off lightbulbs in high-rises instead? Pfft. Get a stick and try to knock G’s crown off.

So here are my tips to get started. These are all about competing with Google’s search engine. Of course G is big business now and does a lot of different things. Their advertising business is particularly strong, and exhibits some eBay-like network effects that substantially enhance its defensibility. Still, even if you’re going to take that on too, you have to start with a strong base of search driven traffic.

  1. A conventional attack against Google’s search product will fail. They are unassailable in their core domain. If you merely duplicate Google’s search engine, you will have nothing. A copy of their product with your brand has no pull against the original product with their brand.

  2. Duplicating Google’s engine is uninteresting anyway. The design and approach were begun a decade ago. You can do better now.

  3. You need both a great product and a strong new brand. Both are hard problems. The lack of either dooms the effort. “Strong new brand” specifically excludes “search.you.com”. The branding and positioning are half the battle.

  4. You need to position your product to sub-segment the market and carve out a new niche. Or better, define an entirely new category. See Ries on how to launch a new brand into a market owned by a competitor. If it can be done in Ketchup or Shampoo, it can be done in search.

  5. Forget interface innovation. The editorial value of search is in the index, not the interface. That’s why google’s minimalist interface is so appealing. Interface features only get in the way.

  6. Forget about asking users to do anything besides typing two words into a box.

  7. Users do not click on clusters, or tags, or categories, or directory tabs, or pulldowns. Ever. Extra work from users is going the wrong way. You want to figure out how the user can do even less work.

  8. Your results need to be in a single column. UI successes like Google and blogging have shown that we don’t want multiple columns. Distractions from the middle with junk on the sides corrupt your thinking and drive users away.

  9. Your product must look different than Google in some way that is deliberately incompatible with their UI, for two reasons. One, if you look the same as them, consumers can’t tell how you’re different, and then you won’t pull any users over. Two, if your results are shown in the same form as Google’s, they will simply copy whatever innovations you introduce. You need to do something they can’t copy, not because they’re not technically capable of doing so, but because of the constraints of their legacy interface on Google.com.

  10. Your core team will be 2-3 people, not 20. You cannot build something new and different with a big team. Big teams are only capable of duplicating existing technology. The sum of 20 sets of vision is mud.

  11. Search is more about systems software than algorithms or relevance tricks. That’s why Google has all those OS programmers. You need a strong platform to win, you can’t just cobble it together as you go like other big web apps.

  12. Do not fear Google’s vast CapEx. You should wish maintenance of that monster on your worst enemies. Resource constraints are healthy for innovation. You’re building something new and different anyway.
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