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I’m not a big fan of changing the name of a brand or company. That said, there are certainly times when a name-change is in order. Shells Only is a local brand that has been around for a while. (A shell being the bones of a house — the two by for frame onto which and into which homes are constructed.) As you will see by the side panel of this truck, Shells Only now offers “complete home improvements.” It does dormers, bathrooms, kitchens, extensions, new home construction and “so much more.”
As memorable as the Shells Only name is, it doesn’t step up to the Is-Does test. The best names provides a clear picture of what the product or service Is and hopefully a view into what it Does. When you keep a legacy name around that only partly defines the business, especially if the name doesn’t account a large part of total revenue, it’s no longer a good name.
Name specificity is not an under-rated quality in consumer marketing.
Tags: construction company shells only, Is-Does, is-does test, naming, shells only, whats the idea, whatstheidea
I often wonder if the targets for my business truly understand what I do. Those targets, CMOs, directors of marketing and small and mid-size business owners, read “brand consultancy” and get the consultant part, but may not truly understand the depth of the word brand. Brand today is both a noun and a verb.
Many think brand is a mark or logo. Something that, through design, helps consumers with product identity. The whole branded cattle history thing. For people who view brands this way a brand consultancy is all logo, name, style guide and, perhaps, tagline. When AT&T spun off Lucent in the 90s, the whole process, exquisitely implemented by the way, cost millions. A year later, the company had a new name, logo, building signs, stock symbol and ad campaign. But not a brand strategy. (Peter Kim’s “$14B tech startup” aside.)
The reality is, especially in today service economy, a brand is a living breathing thing. My definition of brand strategy as “an organizing principle for Product, Experience and Messaging.” Most of my targets understand this definition better. In fact, they are more apt to acknowledge needing and organizing principle that they are a brand strategy.
So moving forward my mission it to educate my targets as to this new definition. It will be a long road but one I expect will redistribute marketing wealth in my direction. Onward.
Tags: at&t, AT&T spin off of lucent, definition of brand strategy, definition of branding, Is-Does, lucent, peter kim, redistributing marketing wealth, whats the idea, whatstheidea
UBER is doing a really neat promotion in NYC, tying in to the new Star Wars movie. It is making 8 Dodge Chargers, painted to look like Mattel Hot Wheels Star Wars Storm Trooper cars (white with distinctive black striping), available for free for the day, providing you use the appropriate promo code. It’s really cool for Dodge, whose cars become roving brand billboards, and it’s a nice way to get UBER some excellent pub.
The promo made me wonder though about UBER’s brand strategy. I’m not sure I know what it is at this point. And that’s often okay for a first-to-category company. Your Is-Does becomes the brand claim a la “Your Ride, On Demand.” But without a brand strategy (1 claim, 3 proof planks), it’s hard to decide if a promotion is making a deposit in the brand bank or a withdrawal. So this seems to me a promotion for promotion’s sake, not for strategy’s sake. Though I don’t know the Dodge Charger brand strategy, I’m feeling a proximity to it with this promotion. Storm troopers charge, no?
Start-ups and category pioneers need brand strategies. VCs should encourage this. It helps everyone make decisions about product, experience and messaging. UBER should have one.
Tags: 1 claim 3 proof planks, brand billboard, category pioneers, dodge brand strategy, dodge charger brand strategy, Is-Does, mattel hot wheels, one claim three proof planks, star wars promotions, uber, uber brand strategy, vcs and brand strategy, whats the idea, whatstheidea, your ride on demand
Good brand planners are collectors. They question, amass, sort, collect and divine. Great planners take all that and find the truffle. Like the truffle hunting pigs and dogs of Europe. I was recently on a call with some web app people, looking to fund the next big platform. I couldn’t quite tell what the platform was. Or wanted to be. Other than the next big web property. Money lined up, so they said, but the idea was hidden in 10 ideas. So what’s the Is-Does I wondered.
Well turns out the original idea was and is genius! Never done before. Done qith a capital D. In demand. In users’ hearts. And tied to one of the biggest investments a person is likely to make in a lifetime. Did I mention it hadn’t been done? The current construct, however, was nothing more than a Facebook Group.
This truffle hunter (me) listened and in minutes knew the problem.
What’s the Idea? Answer that, you of the web world, and you may proceed. Take it from someone who missed out on a brilliant web property (Google Zude+Scoble) because it was overbuilt. Suffered from feature creep. Didn’t follow the “idea.”
Tags: brand planner, great brand planners, Is-Does, scoble, Truffle hunting, web startup mistakes, whats the idea, whatstheidea, zude
The Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG) just announced a minority investment in Samba TV. Props to Michael Roth and Chad Stoller. This looks like money well invested.
I’m always looking for the Is-Does when it comes to brands and Samba TV seems to be an analytics company. One tapped into 10 million household TV cable boxes. The Does of the Is-Does may be best described by co-founder and CEO of Samba TV, Ashwin Navin: “We think that more data will allow brands to reach more people they care about and waste less of their media budgets.”
This bulls eyes the famous John Wannamaker quote “I know half my advertising is working, problem is I don’t know which half.” Samba TV may not corral the missing half, but it will start to get close.
Nice to see IPG getting back up on the horse again. It’s good for business. Peace!
Tags: Ashwin navin, chad stoller, ipg, Is-Does, john Wannamaker quote, Michael Roth, samba TV, the Interpublic Group of Companies, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Small businesses need to think small but they don’t. Retail businesses tend to focus more, though not all of them. (A friend started up a deli and hedged his bet by putting in pizza oven.) Business-to-business organizations are notorious for lacking focus. The easiest way to see this is to visit their websites. Sometimes you can read the home page and the About Section and still can’t tell what they do. What the hell does a “collaboration company” sell? How about a “communications company?” These descriptors suffer from broad taxonomy.
The opposite of the too-broad-to-be-meaningful approach is the “10 pound bag” approach. Rather than focus, these SMBs over-focus, over-explain. So a benefits company also becomes a financial services, wealth management, property and casualty coverage and retirement and executive plan company.
The anecdote to this is what I call the Is-Does. What a company Is and what it Does. One simple statement of product and benefit. If you can’t get your Is-Does right, you need to find someone who can. And don’t expect a web development company to do it. Or an SEO company. They get paid by the pixel. They make more money the less articulate you are.
Focus and articulation is a small or mid-size company’s best friend. Especially on the web. Insert your Yogi Berra quote hear. Get the Is-Does right and you have a great beginning.
Tags: biggest problem for small businesses, biggest problems for smbs, get the is-does right, Is-Does, small business tips on website building, smb tips, taxonomy in branding, what makes a good about section, whats the idea, whatstheidea, Yogi berra quote
One of the cool things about my work is the propensity for decision-makers to want to rebrand. Unlike with personal names (Cecil, Muriel or Wallace) which can’t be changed — company names are easily altered or sculpted. Someone is always trying to distance the company from something.
That observation aside, there is going to be an even greater demand for new company names. All those companies or brands with words “Net” or “Web” or “Digital” in them are wasting space. To that you may even add the word “Technologies.” These words were descriptive back in the day (10 years ago); today, not so much. Apple dropped the word “Computer” from its name in 2007. An elegant move, no?
I often talk about naming and the importance of a brand’s “Is-Does.” What a brand is and what a brand does. The inflection point we’re at today is such that names no longer need to convey the obvious. In this agile, competitive world, there is much more information and value to convey.
Let the renaming onslaught begin. Peace.
Tags: brand with web in the name, brands with net in the name, brans with digital in the name, changing brand names, companies with digital in the name, companies with Net in the name, companies with web in the name, Is-Does, naming, whats the idea, whatstheidea, when should I change brand name
Next week I am participating in a small business panel sponsored by Teachers Federal Credit Union entitled “30 Marketing Ideas in 6o Minutes.” Panelists are from a number of marketing disciplines, mine is branding. My first tip will be the “Is-Does.” What a company is and what a company does. To find a company Is-Does look at the About section of their website or boiler plate on press releases. One of the biggest obstacles to great branding is a poor or vacuous Is-Does.
Here’s an example from a company called Express Scripts:
Express Scripts, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading full-service pharmacy benefit management (“PBM”) companies. The Company coordinates the distribution of outpatient pharmaceuticals through a combination of benefit management services, including retail drug card programs, Home Delivery services, formulary management programs and other clinical management programs. We also distribute a full range of injectible biopharmaceutical products directly to patients or their physicians, and provide extensive cost-management and patient-care services. We provide these types of services for clients that include health maintenance organizations, health insurers, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, third-party administrators, workers’ compensation and governmental health programs.
Do you think anyone knows what a pharmacy benefits management company is? This “Is” is a show stopper. It’s hard to tell the target. Consumers? Businesses? Both? Good thing they are one of the nation’s leading companies.
You would think small companies wouldn’t have this problem. You would be wrong. Get the Is-Does right and you have a chance at getting the brand right. Peace.
Tags: 30 marketing ideas in 60 minutes, brand is-does, express scripts, Is-Does, Teachers federal credit union, tfcuniversity, whats the idea, whatstheidea