Big brand love: Marketers share their faves

Since brands increasingly live in a 'ME'diaverse, with less mass and more narrowly etched niche consumer groups, strategy decided to get the WOM perspective on Brand of the Year. And who better to wax deeply about a brand than the folks who build them? Herewith a male and a female marketer, one from Vancouver and the other from outside Toronto share their 'Brands of the Year' - ones they not only admire professionally, but, it seems, that they simply can't live without.

Since brands increasingly live in a ‘ME’diaverse, with less mass and more narrowly etched niche consumer groups, strategy decided to get the WOM perspective on Brand of the Year. And who better to wax deeply about a brand than the folks who build them? Herewith a male and a female marketer, one from Vancouver and the other from outside Toronto share their ‘Brands of the Year’ – ones they not only admire professionally, but, it seems, that they simply can’t live without.

Why Google is like Kleenex

Marc Belcourt

Brand Communications Manager, BMW Canada

Whitby, Ont.

When you first discovered it:

I first discovered Google in the late ’90s. I heard of it through friends. It delivered the results my friends said it would. It [then] became my starting point for any search.

From a marketing perspective, why its branding works:

Quite simply, everyone understands what Google is. The fascinating aspect for me is that I can’t recall a single television ad, print ad or any other form of advertising enticing me to use Google. It has been able to survive on word of mouth. It meets, if not exceeds, the expectations of its users and ultimately, delivers on its promise.

It has an unusual name which can been adopted and recognized by people from any culture. Those who use it, benefit from it. This generates return visits. Return visits create loyalty. Loyalty creates positive word of mouth. Positive word of mouth creates mass promotion. Intense promotion creates a billion dollar business. This produces a brand with the ability to transcend any demographic in any country around the world. Add it all up and you have a brand as strong as or stronger than the oldest of blue chip companies.

And amazingly, Google officially launched in 1998.

Parting thoughts:

Google is a part of our life. It has become what Kleenex is to paper tissues in a fraction of the time. I am a loyal user and I have welcomed the Google brand into my personal and professional life. Don’t we all dream of having a brand like Google to own, work with or represent?

A Starbucks addict comes clean

Jennifer Shah,

Marketing Manager, Dish, Playboy Jeans

Vancouver

What it means to you:

Starbucks is a great success story of how to make an international chain feel just like a local coffee shop. My local Starbucks is the first place that I’ve ever really been a regular. The staff there know me, they know my husband, they know our dog. They write messages on my cup in the morning and give me presents on my birthday.

A strong supporter of helping out the little guy, I’m usually the last person to pick a chain over an independent, but the atmosphere and excellent customer relations (and of course great coffee) provide the intimacy that is so often absent from a large organization. My Starbucks even has a bulletin board to post [notices of] local garage sales, concerts, plays and lost and found – all this is in downtown Vancouver!

When you first discovered it:

I had my first latte when I was in university. I was just beginning my coffee addiction and this became a wonderful afternoon treat and great break from studying.

After graduating, I moved to the U.K. and Starbucks was my source for great coffee in the land of tea drinkers – my colleagues often commented on my ‘vat’ of coffee (a ‘venti’ to Starbucks aficionados).

How it impacts your daily existence:

Well, I’m a unique combination of coffee addict and coffee snob, so Starbucks to me is a necessary first step to getting my work day started off on the right foot. I refuse to drink horrid office coffee, so if I don’t visit Starbucks I go without coffee – and let’s just say that I never go without coffee.

From a marketing perspective, why its branding works:

Starbucks currently is one of the largest retailers of classical music in the world. Its HEAR Music series is an amazing way to sample different varieties of music and is a wonderful reprieve from the same six songs that seem to inhabit every radio station these days.

Starbucks also branched out into additional entertainment content with its involvement in the movie Akeelah and the Bee, as well as being a regular sponsor of local jazz and film festivals.

The branding and marketing encompass a higher class lifestyle that embodies a better you, a more celebrated you, a more cultured you; and all you have to do to join the club is buy a cup of coffee (although a slightly higher priced one).