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The Masters golf tournament began about 84 years ago. Before Tiger. Before titanium drivers. Before World War II. It has become the most famous golf tournament extant. The brand management of The Masters has been impeccable, with the exception of the diversity issues surrounding membership in the Augusta National Golf Club.  I’m told candy bars have to be packaged in green wrapper in case one accidently blows into the view of TV cameras. All wires are buried underground. Jim Nance. As much as the technology changes, as much as people change, The Masters remains the same: a venerable sports institution.

Consumer products Pilsner Urguell, Coca-Cola, and Tide Detergent have stood the test of time as brands – all through great brand management. It is yet to be seen, however, if tech companies will learn how to last. Bell Labs, perhaps the first (American) tech company, is still around but seems, to me at least, on its last legs. Bell Labs began as AT&T, then went to Lucent, which was bought by Alcatel and is now owned by Nokia. Not great brand management.

If Facebook wants to me more than Netscape and MySpace, it needs to put in play a long-term brand strategy.  People can’t live without Facebook. Now.  Brand strategy is important for service companies and tech companies. Facebook needs to step up.







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There are a couple of places great brand ideas come from according to Robin Hafitz, CEO of Open Mind Strategies. The product or service is an obvious one. Predominant features or functions. Differences. Form factor, taste, speed, etc.  Brand ideas may also reside in consumer need. The using consumer or influencing consumer. S/he wants to be liked, pretty, rich, fit, loved. And lastly, brand ideas may emanate from the category…and by category, for non-marketers, that means the business class of product or service, e.g. healthcare, soda, hospitality. An understanding of consumer’s expectations of a category (all competing products) sometimes can create the context for a good brand idea or position. For instance, banks only care about lending.

But a brand idea is best when it is singular. (“Tastes great, less filling” being an exception in the new lite beer category back in the ‘80s.)  And when the idea is singular it should come from one of the three places mentioned above. That said, I dig hard to make sure the idea comes out of the product. Coke’s idea of refreshment is an interesting example. It is product based but also user experienced. Bonus. Coke’s current brand idea “happiness” is only the latter. And for me, one of the reasons Coke consumption has lessened. Though the advertising is often wonderful (Wieden and Kennedy.)

The word commodity is the enemy of good product and branding. So dig hard. Dig deep. And find an important difference. It will be worth it. Peace.


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