Sponsorship Should Not Be A Random Act

Somewhere inside the Istanbul headquarters of Turkish Airlines there must be a very large wall. And on that wall are plastered random images of people and organisations that all have two things in common. First, they have absolutely no association with Turkey or its national airline.

Second, they are extremely expensive. I have not seen the wall, but one would imagine an arbitrary assortment of movie stars, supermodels and famous sporting clubs. Written across the top of this wall a large banner probably reads “Turkish Airlines Potential Sponsorship Partners”.

Then, it seems, once a year Turkish Airlines embarks on “marketing planning” by inviting its chairman, Hamdi Topcu, to put on the ceremonial blindfold, stand 20 feet from the wall and throw the all-important Turkish Airlines “Dart of Truth”. The airlines marketing team then rush to the wall to discover who or what they will recruit for the coming year’s sponsorship strategy.


480_3521881726_81006444eb Somewhere inside the Istanbul headquarters of Turkish Airlines there must be a very large wall. And on that wall are plastered random images of people and organisations that all have two things in common. First, they have absolutely no association with Turkey or its national airline.

Second, they are extremely expensive. I have not seen the wall, but one would imagine an arbitrary assortment of movie stars, supermodels and famous sporting clubs. Written across the top of this wall a large banner probably reads “Turkish Airlines Potential Sponsorship Partners”.

Then, it seems, once a year Turkish Airlines embarks on “marketing planning” by inviting its chairman, Hamdi Topcu, to put on the ceremonial blindfold, stand 20 feet from the wall and throw the all-important Turkish Airlines “Dart of Truth”. The airlines marketing team then rush to the wall to discover who or what they will recruit for the coming year’s sponsorship strategy. Leer más “Sponsorship Should Not Be A Random Act”

Building Brands With The Senses

Most marketing plans appeal to only two senses: sight and hearing. Why so limited? How come almost all marketing and brand building concentrates on two senses when we know appealing to all five is likely to double brand awareness and strengthen the impression a brand leaves on its audience?

Several surveys document our olfactory sense as probably the most impressionable and responsive of the five senses. Smells invoke memories and appeal directly to feelings without first being filtered and analyzed by the brain, which is how the remaining four senses are processed. We all recognize and are emotionally stimulated by, say, the scent of freshly cut grass, brackish sea air, or the perfume of roses. I’m convinced any car lover drinks in the smell of a new car.


480_kelloggs-productsMost marketing plans appeal to only two senses: sight and hearing. Why so limited? How come almost all marketing and brand building concentrates on two senses when we know appealing to all five is likely to double brand awareness and strengthen the impression a brand leaves on its audience?

Several surveys document our olfactory sense as probably the most impressionable and responsive of the five senses. Smells invoke memories and appeal directly to feelings without first being filtered and analyzed by the brain, which is how the remaining four senses are processed. We all recognize and are emotionally stimulated by, say, the scent of freshly cut grass, brackish sea air, or the perfume of roses. I’m convinced any car lover drinks in the smell of a new car. Leer más “Building Brands With The Senses”

Don’t Blame Brand Licensing

Here on Branding Strategy Insider, Jack Trout makes a compelling argument for why not to consider licensing as a method of brand extension. Furthermore, he backs it up with multiple examples of established brands with flawed licensing programs that serve to prove his hypothesis. After reading about Pratt & Whitney and Pierre Cardin, what CEO in their right mind would choose to risk the company’s crown jewels to a group of third party manufacturers which don’t have a clue about how to build a brand, let alone manage one? With so much at stake, only those CEOs that are either reckless or desperate would consider licensing. Right?


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Here on Branding Strategy Insider, Jack Trout makes a compelling argument for why not to consider licensing as a method of brand extension. Furthermore, he backs it up with multiple examples of established brands with flawed licensing programs that serve to prove his hypothesis. After reading about Pratt & Whitney and Pierre Cardin, what CEO in their right mind would choose to risk the company’s crown jewels to a group of third party manufacturers which don’t have a clue about how to build a brand, let alone manage one?  With so much at stake, only those CEOs that are either reckless or desperate would consider licensing. Right? Leer más “Don’t Blame Brand Licensing”

Expanding the Licensing Value of Your Brand

To best help you understand how to expand the licensing value of your brand, let’s take a step back and reflect on why companies choose to brand their products in the first place.

Companies brand their products to differentiate them from their competitors’. For example, most consumers have no problem differentiating a Coke from a Pepsi. By giving their products a brand, companies can begin a dialogue with their consumers about their products’ attributes. Over time, a consumer learns she can rely on the brand to deliver a consistent and expected value. [Más…] One of the best examples of this is the Tiffany brand. Whether or not you have every bought from Tiffany, you know the brand is synonymous with the highest level of quality, service and reliability in jewelry. In fact, Tiffany has consistently delivered on this promise for almost two hundred years. For this reason, a Tiffany consumer will not buy from any other jeweler. Moreover, if ever asked where her jewelry was purchased, most women enthusiastically proclaim the Tiffany name.


To best help you understand how to expand the licensing value of your brand, let’s take a step back and reflect on why companies choose to brand their products in the first place.

Companies brand their products to differentiate them from their competitors’.  For example, most consumers have no problem differentiating a Coke from a Pepsi.  By giving their products a brand, companies can begin a dialogue with their consumers about their products’ attributes.  Over time, a consumer learns she can rely on the brand to deliver a consistent and expected valueLeer más “Expanding the Licensing Value of Your Brand”

Countries Are Not Brands

I can appreciate the attractions of country branding. Selling a brand strategy to a public servant in Finland or Ghana must be a lot easier than pitching to a trained marketer from the likes of Unilever or Ford. And I can also appreciate that even the gigantic budgets of P&G or HSBC are dwarfed by a nation’s coffers. I can imagine, too, that measuring the impact of a country branding strategy is far less taxing than the typical corporate branding work, where sales figures and brand equity scores always influence the assessment of impact. But the core problem endures: conceptualising a country as if it were a brand is stupid.


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The World Cup approaches and, once again, the English nation hopes against hope that it can win the tournament and finally end 44 years of hurt. Meanwhile, in South Africa the dreams are just as bold but aimed in a very different direction. FIFA’s World Cup presents its hosts with, what they believe to be, their biggest ever opportunity to build a stronger country brand.

Leer más “Countries Are Not Brands”

Exxon Vision Is Perilously Short-Term

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler outlined the crucial importance of an ‘effective emblem’, which he saw as ‘the first impetus for the interest in the movement’.

His adoption of the swastika was a vital ingredient in the rise of National Socialism in Germany and its eventual domination of much of Europe. It is impossible, therefore, not to include the swastika, along with the Coca-Cola swirl or the Ford oval, as one of the 20th century’s most iconic and important logos.

It is an uncomfortable inclusion. Any sane individual abhors everything the Nazis stood for, yet it is still possible to acknowledge the expert manner in which its brand identity was conceived without supporting the ends to which it was used. [Más…]

I have similar feelings about ExxonMobil. Over the past eight years, it has masterminded one of the most impressive global communications campaigns in the history of public relations. At the same time, however, the company’s success in obfuscating the issues in its response to global warming must surely rank as one of the most shameful exercises in corporate self-interest.

Despite mounting empirical evidence and the overwhelming weight of opinion from independent climate experts, ExxonMobil has managed to sow the seeds of doubt among consumers, the media and governments, thereby slowing any potential responses to global warming. It has achieved this through a combination of masterful PR, lobbying, strategic funding of NGOs and the leadership of its senior management.


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In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler outlined the crucial importance of an ‘effective emblem’, which he saw as ‘the first impetus for the interest in the movement’.

His adoption of the swastika was a vital ingredient in the rise of National Socialism in Germany and its eventual domination of much of Europe. It is impossible, therefore, not to include the swastika, along with the Coca-Cola swirl or the Ford oval, as one of the 20th century’s most iconic and important logos.

It is an uncomfortable inclusion. Any sane individual abhors everything the Nazis stood for, yet it is still possible to acknowledge the expert manner in which its brand identity was conceived without supporting the ends to which it was used. Leer más “Exxon Vision Is Perilously Short-Term”

Why Consumers Reject Your Advertising

What do consumers think about advertising? Is it broken? As I noted in a recent post, “The 5 Truths of TV Advertising Effectiveness,” single source and syndicated ad effectiveness studies generally line up on the side of advertising continuing to be effective. But, as they say in NASA speak: “Houston, we have a problem.” And the problem is that consumers are increasingly telling us they are fatigued by and distrustful of advertising. How should brands respond? [Más…]

Advertising Viewed Through Anthropology

The Associated Press and Context Based Research Group recently published an intriguing report: “A New Model for Communication: Studying the Deep Structure of Advertising and News Consumption.” The researchers used cultural anthropology methods to follow consumers from around the world throughout the day, observe their real world media behaviors, and question them about their attitudes toward news and advertising. This was an opportunity to go beyond hard numbers, to get insight into how consumers are thinking and feeling about advertising as a medium.


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What do consumers think about advertising? Is it broken? As I noted in a recent post, “The 5 Truths of TV Advertising Effectiveness,” single source and syndicated ad effectiveness studies generally line up on the side of advertising continuing to be effective. But, as they say in NASA speak: “Houston, we have a problem.” And the problem is that consumers are increasingly telling us they are fatigued by and distrustful of advertising. How should brands respond?  Leer más “Why Consumers Reject Your Advertising”