Navigating the Brand Jungle

Is branding getting harder? Every generation of marketers probably thinks it’s got the biggest challenges (just ask the perpetually scowling Don Draper of Mad Men fame).

But while I believe these are very exciting times for marketers, it does seem like we are in midst of some unique challenges that require not new thinking…but a more diligent adherence to the fundamentals that have always made brands strong.

I discussed this in more detail on a webinar in partnership with a Getty Images. This was an informative event with lots of insight from experts and contributions from webinar participants. I urge you to watch for further events like this to stay up to date on branding and marketing industry news.

You can catch the entire presentation HERE.

Below is a recap of what I see as the top challenges and some strategies to navigate through them (with or without the Don Draper martinis).

3 Top Branding Challenges 

#1 Cutting Through the Increasing Clutter
Advertising and messaging clutter is not a new issue, but it’s one that’s getting worse. Why is this? There has been a shift from mass media to a greater number of more targeted channels. However, since most consumers still view multiple channels, this means that they see more messages. The average HH has 300 channels vs. 61 in 2000. Also new technologies mean that consumers are exposed to messages on new devices- like smart phones and tablets. Lastly many retail stores,

Bathroom Branding

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Lately, I’ve been noticing some pretty creative use of a space that’s been traditionally taboo.

The potty, loo, john etc.

Yes, the Bathroom seems to have become the new frontier in brand messaging.

This is a picture of the Virgin Management HQ in London.

It’s a bit hard to read…but the sign over the toilet paper roll says “this is the only unauthorized Virgin rip-off, now go wash your hands”.

I think this is brilliant…

It uses a frequently visited space to reinforce Virgin’s commitment to being the consumer champion.

Recently I was in the NY offices of ?Whatif! the innovation company well-known for it’s incredibly strong company culture.

They are also using the bathrooms…to post “10 Interesting Facts” about new employees. And true to ?Whatif! fashion the fact sheets are cleverly written and insightful.

What’s most important is that they underline the company’s commitment to celebrating the strength and diversity of it’s people.

What I haven’t seen is any brands using Bathroom Branding as an touch point to external audiences.

It seems odd to me that brands like Ikea and Starbucks who are so good at using their physical environments to communicate their brand message are ignoring this touchpoint.

Maybe they can’t get over the taboo of the toilet…but I think they should try.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

Have you seen any interesting examples of Bathroom Branding? If you can, send us a picture.

Our online Brand School course will give you the tools you need to keep your brand creative and innovative. Receive more information about the next semester and free tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

I learned a lot from Brand School.  It inspired me to think outside the box. I have a much deeper understanding of how to effectively build a brand. – Mike S.

Little Touches of Brand

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This is the purple coffee pot in my new BrandTwist office.

A little bit of branding that helps me get in the BrandTwist mood while drinking my morning Joe.

Next to it are the salt and pepper shakers that I “borrowed” from Virgin Atlantic.

I know many of you have heard the story how Virgin brands these  shakers with “pinched from Virgin Atlantic” on the bottom. This way  people who feel compelled to take them home and show them off to their friends can also extend the brand’s reach through a very clever brand touch point.

Two simple objects (a coffee pot and shakers) but they help remind me of my mission and vision and what I love so much about Brand..

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

What touch points (big or small) do you use?

Our online Brand School course will give you the insight and tools you need to keep your brand creative and innovative and in-touch. Receive more information about the next semester and free tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

I learned a lot from Brand School.  It inspired me to think outside the box. I have a much deeper understanding of how to effectively build a brand. – Mike S.

Beware of Religious Fanatics and Clever Marketing

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This pamphlet gives further support to Marshall McLuhan‘s statement that “the medium is the message”.

While I in no way support the Jews for Jesus organization that publishes and circulates this pamphlet, I do have to (begrudgingly) tip my hat to their marketing prowess.

To get a pamphlet that reads “Beware of Religious Fanatics Handling Out Pamphlets” from a group that many consider fanatical and that is indeed handing out pamphlets…well pretty clever way to address the issue head on.

It certainly made me pick up and read the pamphlet.

While my views on their beliefs have not changed after reading the piece…I have to give credit where credit is due.

I would love to see more brands turn their perceived weakness into a point of engagement and to make more clever use of traditional mediums.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

How have you seen brands use the “medium as the message” in new and interesing ways?

Our online Brand School course will give you the insight and tools you need to keep your brand message and media creative and innovative. Receive more information about the next semester and free tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

Please also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more insight and discussion on branding.

Brand School had great examples of real companies. I was able to dig even deeper, think of things in a new way, and get new ideas for my brand.It was well worth the fee. – Brenda C.

Student Entrepreneurs Rock!

Great day yesterday at Columbia Business School talking innovation with the students in Professor Toubia’s marketing class.

Some interesting student generated ideas about new places the Virgin brand could go. Everywhere from condoms to senior living facilities for today’s hip, active Boomers. Definitely a lot to think about.

Pleased to see so many students taking control of their own futures and planning to start businesses of their own. The upside of this terrible economy..more entrepreneurs. My preview yesterday of the passion and intelligence of this group makes me confident they will succeed.

Lots of questions during and after the lectures on how to create a brand that’s as strong as your business idea. Exactly the content we will be covering in our  Brand in a Box: Branding for Entrepreneurs class on July 15th in NYC.

As promised, here’s the updated link to the event. http://brandingforentrepreneurs-eorg.eventbrite.com/

We’ve been able to reduce the price to $250 thanks to a corporate sponsor.

We’d love to have students join (men and women welcome) and have decided to give a special offer of two tickets for the price of one for students only. If you are a student, choose 2 tickets and enter the discount code student to access this offer.

That’s my POV what’s your twist?

Are you a student (or young) entrepreneur? What are the biggest challenges you are facing? We’d love to hear from you.