Monthly Archives: February 2010

Kenmore Rebranding – Risky Business

Betsy Owens, Kenmore vp and general manager, is saying all the right things. Reading this article in which Elaine Wong from Brandweek interviews Ms. Owens about Sears’ decision to rebrand Kenmore appliances, you can check them off as they are mentioned. She seems to recognize Kenmore’s iconic history as a great American brand – check. She understands the generational disconnect conundrum in which great brands from one generation can struggle to translate to younger buyers – check. And she acknowledges that this economy provides a tricky launch pad for a rebranding effort – check. However, the most salient question for me is, “How do you not wreck the brand you have now?”

Let’s face it. Rebranding is based on a grass-is-greener mentality. It goes something like this: our brand currently captures a market share equal to X. We feel that the difference between X and 100 percent market share is not addressed by our current brand identity. So, we feel it is worthwhile to change our brand identity in the hopes of capturing as much of that difference as possible. Continue reading

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Filed under Branding, Kenmore, Population Trends, Sears

Toyota: Finally An American Auto Company

Not a ToyotaA visit from company President Akio Toyoda notwithstanding, Toyota has gone out of its way to assimilate into the American automobile culture. First, they gave us the (seemingly) ever-present “Toyota-thon.” A flashy, sparkly and very American-styled sale. For years prior to that, the Japanese car companies chuffed at the very notion of a sale. But Toyota saw an opportunity to take over the lucrative American market. That meant that they would sacrifice a little Japanese brand equity for more sales. They, quite literally, “sold out.”

Next came trucks. And not the little 4-cylinder jobs. The big guns! Half-ton and larger. Here they saw an opportunity to circumvent the Ford versus Chevy conversation by building their own big truck. They started slowly, but eventually sales would overtake Chrysler and threaten Ford. Continue reading

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Filed under Advertising & Marketing, Automotive, Branding

My Top 5 Marketing Myths

Every so-called marketing expert has their list of myths about marketing. I’ve seen a bunch of them. And most of them are eerily familiar. But here’s a few that I don’t see mentioned very often. They are simple, preventable, and all too prevalent. For me, these are the ones that, when I hear them from a client, I know I have some educating to do. Mythbusting, if you will.

5.  We have to be in (insert client’s favorite media here).

Not necessarily. Especially with the emergence of social media, the changes in how television and radio are delivered, the decline of print media readership…I could go on and on. The landscape just isn’t the same now as it was even a few years ago. And any good media planner will tell you, even a good medium can price itself into undesirability. For example, do you have to be in the weekend edition of the local newspaper if you’re in real estate? Not if you can reach your audience more efficiently in other ways. The only exception I can think of off-hand is a directional billboard for a brick-and-mortar retail establishment that counts on warm-bodied traffic. But even that is changing with the advent of GPS-enabled phones as well as Foursquare, Gowalla and other location-based apps. Bottom line: there is a smart way and a foolish way to spend any amount of money – especially marketing funds. And it’s not always best spent in the clients personal favorite form of media. Continue reading

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Filed under Advertising & Marketing, Branding, Marketing myths