Branding

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Branding in the ‘Sindustry’

For traditional, comfort-based brands, the potential to build long-term competitive differentiation is great. But can the same be said of brands in the categories perceived as more taboo? Can you build brands where either public perception or regulations limit your ability to message directly to the customer?
For ‘sindustry’ brands, such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling and sex, the answer is yes – providing their brand-building initiatives are holistic in nature.

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Brand a signal of value

Within a day of the appearance of my last column in this magazine, I received an e-mail from a reader who was troubled by its lack of a conclusion. It seems that, in the course of critiquing the linguistic mire which envelops the practice of branding these days, I failed to answer the fundamental question, what is a brand?

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Airlines can’t seem to get brand advertising off the ground

It’s funny how whole segments of the economy suddenly seem to jump on the advertising bandwagon, and just as quickly jump off again.
There’ll be a flurry of oil company campaigns, and then a year later, silence.

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Guenette: how Flavour stole back a piece of the branding pie

One Canadian agency that is doing a lot of branding work is Flavour (formerly Wolf Group Advertising) under Rob Guenette, CEO of the Toronto agency since moving from Molson Canada earlier this year.
Guenette says the biggest case study for the agency so far has been its own rebranding.

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Rebranding ‘branding’: will overuse create a backlash?

This past year in Strategy, the word ‘branding’ turned up 287 times. It is the industry equivalent to fashion’s current peasant blouse craze. Experts say that the uptick in brandishing the term has emerged in reaction to the marketplace becoming increasingly commoditized, and that it reflects marketers’ obsession with differentiation. Once confined to the packaged goods category, branding has infiltrated other fields. You can brand a baseball team – or a nation for that matter. (Canada could use a sound branding strategy.) But will the overuse, and often incorrect usage of the term, and the fact that the diverse players who profess to do it all have different theories and processes, create a ‘branding’ backlash?
Strategy caught up with agencies and clients alike to gauge their feelings about the term of the moment, and garner insight on how the emphasis on branding has impacted the client-agency relationship.

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Branding: Making sense of the philosophical confusion

One of the privileges of the pen is that he who wields it can indulge in all kinds of literary conceits to address even the most prosaic of subjects. Thus, in addressing the subject of ‘rebranding branding,’ I will open this brief commentary with a quote from the most notorious philosopher of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein: ‘There are no philosophical problems. There are only linguistic puzzles.’

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Accountants 1, Marketers 0

Here’s a sobering thought. The accounting profession probably understands more about branding than most marketers – at least as far as a brand’s actual value is concerned.

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How do you market electricity in a newly deregulated energy economy?

Ontario opened its electricity market to competition on May 1 and while government brochures don’t say consumers will save money, the fact that they can choose their electricity provider, as they can natural gas or telephone services, is positioned as being a good thing. But consumers aren’t really convinced of that yet.
Overall there has been little education. There is a lot of confusion as well as reluctance to sign on with retailers after the aggressive marketing tactics taken by some agent/brokers in the deregulated natural gas market.

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Marketing messages gearing internally

Health, by its definition, is the state of being well in body or mind. Total health, then, would require the aligned vitality of both. The same could be said for a brand, and some corporations have come to realize that it isn’t just the external façade – their relationship with consumers – that needs nurture. In the last few years many have reflected on what’s going on inside their walls and are investing in employee branding practices as a result.
A recent survey of 150 major organizations, conducted by Carlson Marketing Group in Minneapolis, found that two-thirds were involved in employee branding and most of them saw an increase in budget for such programs on the horizon, indicating a ‘recognition of how important it is,’ says Steve Fraser, VP relationship marketing, at Carlson’s Toronto office.

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Brandmaker Express is onto something

‘I have been over into the future, and it works.’ – Lincoln Steffens
As for me, I found the future on the Internet the other day. A colleague suggested I log onto www.brandmakerexpress.com, so I did.
The future is owned by four people in an office on West 30th Street, Big Apple, USA, which if I remember the neighborhood correctly, probably once housed somebody who knocked off designer dresses. Their Web site is very professional, very lively, and starts off like this:
’1 – Problem: The project goes on and on. Answer: Brandmaker Express takes only 10 days.

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The TV medium gets the message

You’re nothing without personality, and these days every product from toilet paper to text-messaging has to have it.
TV channels, perhaps more used to being the vehicle for other people’s messages, have known this for years. But movement on the branding front indicates that on-air branding has recently been upgraded from ‘desirable’ to ‘necessary.’

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Who’s got personality? (and who doesn’t)

In a zillion-channel universe, having a distinct brand is a must, whether you’re a specialty, regional or broadcaster. Strategy asked four TV experts to flick on the tube and rate how well Canada’s channels are building their personas through on-air branding…

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It’s not glamorous. And it works

They say that creative is a young man’s game, but while twentysomethings hopped up on double espressos can keep those wacky ideas coming, many don’t have a clue when it comes to long-term strategic brand building. It takes time to produce a multi-year campaign that achieves recognition levels of 95% (such as Monsieur B. in Quebec). It takes discipline. It takes experience. Not many Canadian CDs can do it. Here’s a chance to meet four who can.

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Narrow the focus, own the word

If you’re responsible for the care and feeding of a brand, some of the insights gleaned at Strategy’s recent conference on branding, Building Customers for Life, may be fodder for revisionist thought.

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Keeping it simple: Why narrowing your focus makes your brand stronger

Zellers could go the way of Kmart, Roots will conquer the States, and Canada’s beer companies couldn’t have done a worse job down south.
So says Al Ries, marketing consultant and co-author of Positioning, one of the best-selling advertising books of all time.