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As a person in the brand building business, outsourcing has never been a favorite business practice. Companies that have a powerful brand strategy can only make it more so by letting that strategy infuse throughout every department, touching every function. That said, I do see how agile companies, especially startups and fast growers, can benefit by keeping their eyes on the prize
It is for this reason that I have been a fan of TriNet, a proud and accomplished provider of administrative and HR function as an outsourced offering. These guys do chicken right.
Except for advertising.
This weekend they broke a big ad in The New York Times. “Incredible starts here” is the new company tagline. The headline spans 2-pages in the form of a neon sign spelling the word “incredible.” The copy offers time tested generic claims such as “tailor the right solution that fits your industry needs” and lots of other junior copywriter text.
This is an example of a smart company making ads sans brand strategy. Ads without brand strategy are dangerous. Incredible this effort isn’t.
Quick, close your eyes and think of incredible companies. Who comes to mind? Apple? Google? Claim and proof build brands. Where’s the proof?
Tags: apple, Brand Strategy, claim and proof, google, the new york times, trinet, trinet advertising, whats the idea, whatstheidea
YouTube Music relaunches tomorrow with one of the worst brand extension names ever. YouTube was born as a video channel — a pretty amazing brand in and of itself. Over the years it has developed into a powerhouse in the mobile music and streaming realm, yet along with YouTube Red and Google Play Music has conflated a bunch of names into a “fruit cocktail effect” of product(s).
YouTube and Google should have launched a totally new brand this week — eaten some of their children and come out of the gate with a brilliant new music product (service.) I don’t see Steve Jobs skeeving up his brandscape like this? (Well maybe a little.)
First, the brand should have jettisoned the YouTube name. Spotify and Pandora are already established and have powerful brand names. Abigail Posner, Head of Creative Strategy & Head of Creative Effectiveness, at Google knows this. In my opinion, she needs to head to San Bruno today and get the YouTube people on board. It is a brilliant opportunity. A brilliant brand possibility.
Build the biggest music brand extant!
Tags: Abigail posner, brandscape, Fruit cocktail effect, google, google play music, Pandora, spotify, steve jobs, whats the idea, whatstheidea, Youtube music, youtube red
I’ve never used the word inchoate in a blog post before. Its definition is hard to remember, as is its pronunciation. I means “not fully formed” or “partially in existence.” Okay, okay you know where this is going. Am I that transparent?
Most brands use inchoate brand strategy. Everyone says that have a brand strategy. Everyone believes in their logical minds, they have a thing called a brand — comprising a name, logo, and a Ramblin Jack Elliot value proposition. But were you to ask for an articulation of that strategy, in words, on a piece of paper, they’ll want to change the subject. Ask marketing directors at service companies and B2B companies and it gets worse. You are likely to get push back about brands being for packaged goods. So “nope.”
With the disintermediation of sales and marketing, due in part to Google and the web, brands left unmanaged are brands without endurance.
Brand strategy sets direction for product, experience and messaging. It provides guardrails. Consumers understand brand strategy. They can articulate it, just like they can articulate words from an ad campaign. “We are farmers…” But only when clear. When managed.
Inchoate brand strategy is the enemy. Fix it.
Tags: and organizing principle for product experience and messaging, disintermediation of marketing, google, Inchoate brand strategy, inchoate definition, product experience and messaging, rambling jack Elliot, whats the idea
While Mark Zuckerberg slept in his Harvard bed dreaming about the future of Facebook, do you think he ever wondered if it might be big enough to impact a national presidential election? I’m guessing not. But he may have.
I was at a start-up called Zuide.com when Zuck had 18M users. Both web apps allowed users to build their own website, but with Zude you used objects. Facebook was database driven. In my dreams, it was understood that social networks could be used for good and evil.
Social network can and will be abused. Even journalistic instruments are abused. When “the people” are in charge of content you have to know fake and manipulative information will happen. So when Twitter, Google and Facebook went to capital hill yesterday, no one should be been surprised spankings would be meted out. Not yesterday, not 10 years ago.
Mr. Zuckerberg should have known it would happen. Perhaps not to the extent it did. Not to the point where the world’s leading democracy would be soiled…but he knew. And now we all must fix it. People must be responsible too. Just as we now can detect phishing schemes in our email, we must learn to root out false information.
Shouldn’t have taken so long. Shame on Silicon Valley.
Tags: facebook, google, harvard, mark zuckerberg, Russian influence on presidential election, silicon valley, twitter, whats the idea, whatstheidea
I’m a big fan of tech pundit Robert Scoble. (Wish he would start blogging again in earnest.) Robert has been head down lately on Artificial Intelligence. Part of his reduced visibility is because he’s trying to live a life but it’s also because AI isn’t fully baked.
That said, the oven is coming to temperature on AI. Google unceremoniously announced a brand strategy shift yesterday. Sundar Pichai, CEO, referred to Google as an “A.I. first” company. This, at the launch of new Pixel smartphones, Google Home devices and VR and wireless headsets. The NYT used this event to question Google’s hardware chops, and they’re partly right; but they are also missing the point. AI is the haps. The incipient haps. And Google with its flattening-the-planet search business , Android OS and new data collection devices will feed that trough like no one else.
Big Data ain’t shit without reason. And reason is the reason Google and Alphabet and Amazon, don’t forget Amazon, are in business today. Might as well add IBM to the mix. Amazon isn’t overt about its plans, but rest assured they are in the AI biz.
I like to say it’s going to be a fun ride. It is. Google is going full-on in AI. The apps to come will be ridiculous (millennial definition). And Mr. Scoble is going to be quite busy.
PS. Oh, and Google Reason will be a brand.
Tags: amazon, amazon and ai, google, google ai, google strategy shift, ibm, ibm and ai, robert scoble, sundar pichai, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Yesterday I wrote about using memes to drive website traffic and brand interest. Today I’ll build on that with a little search tip.
When I first started What’s The Idea? and blogging about branding, I realized it would be smart to tag my blogs with key content points but also with “Whats the idea” and “whatstheidea,” the actual URL In a meeting with Faris Yakob, a marketing pal, I mentioned my approach, explaining this activity allowed me to tell people to Google “whatstheidea+ a brand or marketing topic” and it will likely lead them right to my website. Faris said I was “indexing” content to my website using Google’s search engine. Leave it to Faris to find the right words. Love Faris.
By always posting with my brand name — it helps that I have over 2.100 blog posts — it has created breadcrumbs to my site all across the web…wherever Google goes.
Every brand must use this slippery slope to their site. And every brand must post.
Tags: Brand Strategy, Faris Yakob, google, how to improive search results for free, Index web content, Slippery slope to a website, whats the idea, whatstheidea
I am a big fan of content creation, the new marketing meme sweeping the nation. Content creation has been around as long as the written word. As a tool to promote and sell it has been around since Bass Ale invented its mark and the Sears Catalog was the Amazon of its day. But the words “content creation” in this age of Google and iPhone movies has taken on, at least for me, a strong commodity meaning. A creative-by-the-pound activity measured in attention then, maybe, sales.
I am a brand planner who measures success not by hits or vague engagement activities but by sales. And future sales. Sure I’ll write a speech on “web accessibility” for an agency trying to score points at a client’s annual marketing meeting, but I don’t want giggles, attaboys and future invitations, I want new customer contracts. Content isn’t oration, it’s selling.
So the brand planner in me thinks that content creation or content marketing ungoverned by a brand strategy (one claim, three proof planks) is wasted effort. Every act or action that marketing achieves needs to motivate a sale in one way or the other. If you are doing content creation and it doesn’t move a customer closer to a sale, you likely don’t have an articulate brand strategy.
Tags: amazon, articulate brand strategy, bass ale, content creation, content marketing, google, iphone, one claim three proof planks, sears catalog, whats the idea, whatstheidea