Tag Archives: brand

Golden Rules of Brand Value– Get Relevant, Get Focus, Get Edgy… or, Get Lost in Competitive Noise…

Brand value; everybody wants it; many struggle to achieve it… Few brands truly attain it… According to Seth Godin; brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much customers will pay extra, or how often they choose– the expectations, memories, stories, relationships of one brand over alternatives… And opposite of value is when an item or service has little or no perceived value… which means customers are not seeking it out and when they do, it’s merely one of the many choices… so, very likely, the cheapest offering will get the sale…  

An organization’s ‘brand value’ is promise of reputation, experience, quality… It encompasses everything about an organization, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad… and it all depends on the consumer’s perception. Brand value is progressive– it  gets multiplied every time a consumer chooses a specific brand over other brands… Hence, a clearly defined brand value gives consumers something to connect to, something to stay loyal to, something to stand-up for…

In the article Core Brand Values  by Julia Melymbrose writes: Value stand at the very core of a brand. Value is the center from which everything radiates, including; brand’s look (design), message (voice), relationships (customer service)… A brand is much more than a simple logo; a brand consists of two main ‘external’ aspects– Visual Identity, i.e., logo, colors, typography… Voice Identity, i.e., tagline, tone, styles…  Plus, a very important third ‘internal’ aspect: Brand Value... Brand value captures the three Ps of brand: Purpose, Proposition, Personality… 

For example; When you say brand value, you usually think about a monetary sum, e.g.; no-name pair of jeans could be worth $19, while Levi’s branded pair of jeans could be worth $119… Clearly there’s a difference in value based on the brand. A brand’s value is not simply how much people pay extra, e.g.; $100 more for pair of Levi’s over a unbranded pair, but also how often they choose the brand and the reason(s) they choose it… remember repeat business is tightly tied to value…

In the article How Much Are Brands Worth? by Paul Hague writes: A brand clearly has value to an organizations, because the value of the brand leverages the organization’s position in the market… Also the monetary value of a brand (worth in dollars) has become part of an intangible ‘asset’ known as ‘goodwill’, which is the extra worth of an organization over and above the value of physical assets… This means that many major brands are capitalized with monetary (dollar) value, and included as an ‘asset’ on the balance sheet of the organization…

According to ‘BrandZ Global Top 100 Most Valuable Brands 2016′ Report; the brand value is defined as the dollar amount that a brand contributes to the overall value of an organization… In 2016, the value of the world’s 100 biggest brands saw a high growth of 133%, totaling $3.4 trillion... According to the Report; these organizations tend to leverage ‘innovation’ as their key differentiator for brand success… and that meant improved consumer experiences, greater revenue.

In the article How to Calculate Brand Value by Laura Lake writes:  What is a brand really worth? There are various ways to approach the valuation of a brand but since the concept of value means something different for different people, it’s difficult to get a consensus on one  methodology. However, it’s probably fair to say that brand valuation is more of an art than a science… But it’s important for organizations to identify, develop value for their brand, as well as, a value proposition for the brand. There are various methods for valuing brands and here are a few:

  • Cost-Based Brand Valuation: This method of valuation uses the accumulation of costs that were incurred to build a brand since its inception, and it includes items such as; historical advertising expenses, promotion expenditures, cost of campaign creation, licensing, registration… While costs can be collected and used, the total dollar amount does not necessarily represent the current value of a brand… The brand value using this method may be equal to historical or replacement costs for a brand, but not necessarily its market value…
  • Market-Based Brand Valuation: This method of valuation uses a comparison of an organization’s brand to other similar brands that were valued… It uses comparable market transactions like a specific sale of a brand, comparable company transactions, and/or stock market quotations… It’s the market-based value that a brand can be sold for on the open market… The brand value is equal to market transaction price, bid, or offer for identical or reasonably similar brands, but not necessarily its replacement value…
  • Income-Based Brand Valuation: This method of valuation is often referred to as the ‘in-use’ approach. It considers the valuation of future net earnings that directly attribute to the brand to determine the value of the brand in its current use… The brand value is equal to present value of income, cash flows, or cost savings actually or hypothetically due to the asset…

Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise of value… Brand value conveys– quality, credibility, experience… Many companies assigns a monetary value to the brand as an asset on the balance sheet, and it becomes part of the overall value (net worth) of the company… Branding is fundamental, it’s basic, it’s essential… and without a brand with value, it’s probably a good indication that the organization is valueless… According to Scott Goodson; brand value inspires millions of people to join communities… brand value activates passions that can change the fortunes of organizations…

The greatest brand value is built on a strong idea… an idea that an organization can hold on to, can commit to, and can deliver upon. But brand value needs to permeate the entire organization. When the entire organization is clear on the value of a brand and delivers on the promise of a brand– it fuels increased customer awareness, loyalty… and greater revenue growth.

Shaping Advertising for a Different World– Burst Bubbles, Push Edges: Step Outside of Old Frame of References, See Things Different…

It’s a different world and advertising is no longer about shouting at consumers with bold text and direct copy, but about seamlessly engaging, entertaining, informing… Twenty years ago, the first banner ad went live on ‘hotwired.com’ and for over four months 44% of those who saw it clicked on it. Today, research shows that banner ads are clicked by less than 0.1% of viewers, while video ads are 8-25 times more likely to generate a response…

In the 1990s the banner ad worked for the following reasons: 1) it drove curiosity online… 2) very act of a ‘click-through’ was a new experience… 3) it was well-intentioned as a consumer experience… According to Róisín Kirby; today the novelty has worn off– you are either annoyed by a banner ad that takes-up your screen, or you totally disregard the ads that sit on the page– you are ‘banner blind’… According to Google’s DoubleClick research; click-through rates on banner ads are at less than 0.1%…

ads thSB6T3XLS

Research group GoldSpot Media; found up to 40% of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental! According to Robert Lyle; changing technologies and consumer behavior are reshaping the world of advertising… It’s the digital age of constantly changing media contact ‘touch-points’. Some call it media fragmentation but others just see it as extended ‘choice’… These contact touch-points are available and expanding, include; outdoor advertising in all its standard formats, TV now joined by smart TV, newspapers, magazines, radio and podcasts, cinema, direct mail, online, social media, apps, banners, search, gaming, branded content, mobile, sponsorship, experiential, events… and the list goes on, it’s exhausting…

Technological change in media is accelerating rapidly and especially– mobile: Mobile broadband is growing very fast with smart phone ownership, and it brings with it the possibility of engaging consumers– at anyplace, at anytime… but also it brings with it a paradox; it has allowed consumers to become increasingly spontaneous– they can make plans, or change them with the press of a button… You should remember that consumers engage with ideas, not media… and not only is it important for placements in the right place, at the right time… but it’s important to fill the placements with persuasive content.

Advertising must continue to change in its delivery both by media, and through the ‘creatives’ it employs. It must adapt to technology change and consumer behavior change. Great advertising must be able to demonstrate both economic and social value in real tangible monetary terms…

In the article Changing Face of Advertising by Mohammad Al Farei writes: Traditional forms of advertising and marketing have transitioned from a top-down messaging model, whereby messages move in a largely one-way direction, to a networked world where everyday people take on an active role in brand discussions and are becoming increasingly involved in the formulation of new products, services… and who have a larger voice in the future direction and strategy of an organization… In this connected reality of– tablets, smartphones, and immersive media… consumers are bombarded with brand messages at an unprecedented rate…

‘Brands’ in an ever-changing world are seen differently, with the meaning of ‘brand’ moving far beyond the mere functionality and perceived value of a product, service… Brands have become friends or sometimes enemies, they are trusted companions, or a badge of honor, or sometimes even a source of inspiration… People identify more personally with brands than ever before and require from them a social commitment that goes beyond the point of sale. Social media has accelerated this trend as it pervades many aspects of everyday life and creates a new bond between brands and people.

In this environment, brands are under intense scrutiny and are required to demonstrate ethical behavior and ideals like– honesty, integrity, social responsibility… ideals which are very important to the future success of any organization… Companies now face a clear choice; either, isolate yourself or reveal your human side, and welcome transparency and forge new relationships with customers…. Four important shifts in this different social engagement model are: From ‘trying to sell’ to ‘making meaningful connections’: From ‘large campaigns’ to ‘small acts’: From ‘hard to reach’, to ‘available everywhere’: From ‘image controlling’, to ‘being honest’…

ads Nielsen-Most-Influential-Forms-of-Advertising-Sept2013

In the article Future of Advertising is Polite Interruptions by Marc Guldimann writes: ‘Interruptive’ advertising has been the foundation of the media business since it’s inception. Historically; TV, print, radio… have all been monetized by ‘interruptive’ ads and today using, e.g.; in-feed, in-read and other in-line formats are capturing the lion’s share of new ad dollars… The trick with digital advertising is to drive an interruptive experience in a way that respects the reader, hence this is called– ‘polite’ interruptive advertising… Politely interruptive ads have three characteristics: they are interruptive, persist for an amount of time controlled by the reader, using behavioral native engagement…

Most ‘politely’ interruptive ads are behavioral ‘native’; this means that the ad is shown using the same behavior as content consumption, e.g.; you page through magazine articles and ads, you tap and hold to watch a snapchat message and a snapchat ad… Think of media as a conversation between publisher and audience: If the advertiser is going to capture attention, even with the blessing of the publisher, it’s important that they do so in a ‘polite’ way. The ideal scenario is probably something like walking up to someone as the publisher steps aside, apologizing for the interruption, offering them your message and moving away, if they would rather not hear more about it. This is a ‘polite’ interruption and is what advertising should strive for…

Every medium has its version of ‘native’ advertising– from the advertorial in Reader’s Digest, to the soap opera, to the infomercial on TV… The idea with ‘native’ advertising is that an audience will start consuming an ad because they cannot discern it from regular content, and the hope is that they won’t feel offended or tricked… In the long run it becomes harder to fool people who when combined with the publisher’s brand equity being lost, is why ‘native’ advertising tapers in every medium… The best opportunity to capture attention in an authentic and positive fashion is to create great content… but it’s very difficult to plan and produce at scale and replicate, whereas; adjacent advertising, such as, 300x250s or billboards have massive reach and scale, but not very efficient at capturing attention…

More important, for the most part, adjacent ads are not very ‘polite’. They rely on distracting readers from content or surroundings to capture attention. It’s been shown that more obnoxious adjacent advertising causes people to spend less time with content… Hence interruptions involves placing an advertiser message in the stream of content that an audience is consuming, such as; social feed ads, 30 second spots on TV, full-page print advertising… in most cases these interruptive ads are ineffective and counter-productive… Although interruption is the best way to capture attention at scale, but it must be adapted for the digital era and it must be ‘polite’ interruption…

In the article Future of Advertising: What 2025 Will Look Like? by Amy Kean writes: The consumer is hard to impress and advertising in this different world must rely completely on customers buying into the largely tech-driven, utopian vision of making every single advertising message relevant to them… Without doubt, you are going to witness a shift from obsessing over what advertising looks like, to what advertising feels like. And in 2025 we’re going to have the technology to make people genuinely happy…. Customer service operatives will be; a) holograms and b) created based on what each individual finds attractive… Content and advertising will become so interlinked you won’t know which is which. People will step into brand experiences and ads, and advertisers will know how much you like their ads because ‘pulses’ via your smart-watch will tell them…

And because of this close relationship with brands, every ad you see will be based on who you are… Screens and posters will display different images based on the information on your mobile, e.g.; your purchase history, brands you like, who your friends are, as well as; your gender, age… Already 75% of consumers expect and want retail experiences to be personalized, and over the next 10 years most marketing will become more like the ‘Amazon Recommends’ feature on steroids… Expect the unexpected; and the key for advertisers is to– thoroughly know and understand the consumer, e.g.; who they are, where they live, how they buy, what they buy, when they buy… their likes and dislikes…

ads thGZDHG5UP

Advertisers need to understand the nuances of different cultural… But also they need to recognize that there is a fusion between the predominate or mainstream lifestyle/culture in a society, and a particular target audience’s group culture within that society… it’s a strategy of looking for similarities rather than differences between a target audience and the mainstream culture within a society– it’s about finding common ground but also a personalized, relevant, engaging message…

The advertising industry is entering a new era: Never before have brands, advertisers and marketers had the opportunity to both reach-out and better understand their target consumers– through data based-services, location, mobile advertising… brands must find ways to personalize messaging to individual customers, offering them access to– real-time offers, local services, personal recommendations…

Advances in technology allow for more innovative approaches to out-of-home advertising, with location technology used to offer more– immersive, interactive experiences for consumers… Sometimes consumers don’t want what’s right– they want what feels right, and sometimes advertisers must be brave enough to burst consumers’ bubbles… sometimes the best routes to success is not just about the shiniest… sometimes you must step outside your own frame of reference and see things from the perspective of others…

McKinsey summed it up well when they said; at the end of the day, customers no longer separate advertising from the product, service… it is the product, service… They don’t separate advertising from the in-store or online experience… it is the experience… In era of ‘engagement’, advertising is the company…

New Rules of Branding in Business– Golden Rules: Get Edgy, Get Relevant… or, Get Lost in the Competitive Noise…

Branding is a promise of quality, reputation, value– It encompasses everything about a company– sometimes good, sometimes bad, depending on public’s perception… branding is what you do– not what you say… it’s a promise to deliver on– what’s wanted, desired, expected… branding is the sum-total of all customers ‘experiences’… branding is about shaping perceptions…

Branding is the idea that anytime, anyone hears the name of the business, product… they will know exactly what it stands for… branding, simply put, is a ‘promise’, which is derived from– who you are, who you want to be, who people perceive you to be…

According to Frank Strong; branding isn’t a company name… it’s not a tag line… it’s not a logo… it’s an expectation of an experience… The company tag line, logo, colors… only exist to call that experience to mind… The essence of a brand lies within its meaning– words have meaning but ‘actions’ create the brand… According to Beau Phillips; brand is the identity– it’s what people say about you… the value of the brand changes daily– nurture the brand, care for it… Live up to the brand promise every day…

According to Steven Donaldson and Michael Zinke; if you do anything, realize that the company (brand) has to stand out against the vast expanse of competitive– brands, options… Know and understand your competition, but don’t do what they are doing– be different, be relevant! You’ll get noticed… This is the mantra of the ultimate marketing guru, Seth Godin, who says– be a Purple Cow… The more truly unique (but still real) the brand is, the more interesting it will be…

brand Presentation2

According to Jonathan Salem Baskin; Steve Jobs was a magician capable of casting a ‘reality distortion field’ on anyone in his presence… he ruined branding as we knew it… Jobs blew up the rules of branding simply because he didn’t recognize them… he didn’t follow the approved checklist… he knew that someone else’s success wouldn’t be his own, not because of his ego, but because it’s a fact that imitating others has never resulted in great successes…

Jobs’ insight was that you can never connect emotionally, meaningfully with customers by conceiving great marketing… no segmenting, strategy, technology, psychological… insight delivers a great brand… But, in fact, you must deliver a ‘great business’. The brand will be the words, emotions people use to narrate it… Jobs focused on the ‘cart’, yet even today, most marketers confuse it for the ‘horse’…

According to Drypen; branding takes place in minds of customers not in the real world. And whatever the mind perceives to be true is true. You may object but that’s the way it is: Perception is reality… No body likes Schizophrenic brands. That’s why the brand must be absolutely consistent in how it behaves, delivers… If it’s erratic, customers will be confused and will move to opposite camps… To build strong brands, businesses must provide a reason for its existence, and justify why it deserves to live…

brand corporate-branding

In the article Rules for Branding in New World by john k. grace writes: There is a basic shift in culture… a ‘new world’ is emerging in brand strategy for building relationships– with customers, employees, media, financial community, and other important audiences… Corporations have become places where employees are uncertain about messages from leadership– knowing that there is different agenda than their words often indicate…

In traditional times, two things can occur: First, brands tended to amplify and exaggerate the ‘brand promise’– in order to have their voices heard above the crowd. This amplification of claims are often filled with over-promise, which can become unbelievable to customer audiences… Second, brand marketers become insecure about their strategy and begin making random promises wishing that some will resonate with someone, somewhere…

These sit of the pants actions creates an atmosphere of uncertainty, wariness… For success in the ‘new world’, the rules for branding must be shaped in new ways: These new rules are ‘filters’ used to create, evaluate… brand communications, behaviors…  Here are a few rules for consideration:

  • Rule 1: Value must be communicated… Today, customers have much larger magnifying glass to evaluate price/value comparisons and they will find it hard to justify purchase without a very strong reason– why. So value becomes a very important filter…
  • Rule 2: Functional performance is more important than ‘benefits’... Each are looking for more communication about the functional value that brands bring to them…
  • Rule 3: Transparency, honesty are mandatory. There are two aspects to transparency – being transparent, communicating transparency… Questions; a) is the company/brand being transparent? b) how is the transparency communicated? This is a new filter for many companies…
  • Rule 4: Messaging must be simple, clear… brands must shed multiple claims, over-promises, implied benefits… and bring a new simplicity and clarity to messaging. It means creating new filters to evaluate messaging, and developing communications strategies to isolate what is important and what can be shed…
  • Rule 5: Express confidence, optimism through identity. An identity is visual expression of a brand, it should reflect a company’s core beliefs and strengths, and also signal an optimistic and positive attitude…
  • Rule 6: Communities are critical to brand acceptance. The evolving shift from top-down to bottoms-up brand influence is being further accelerated. ‘Communities’ have become the place where we can find– information, validation, security, new types of partnerships… social networks are part of larger concept of the integration for specific audiences to– bond, evaluate, determine, share…
  • Rule 7: Customer service can be a brand-defining attribute. Successful brands embrace the importance of this interaction… think about building world-class customer service rather than adequate, competitive levels of service…

brand images0BGSKW6E

In the article Building Brands from Inside by Michael Dunn and Scott Davis write: There’s a trend in the making: Companies across the board are beginning to take a broader view of ‘branding’ as it shifts from its traditional role, as part of the marketing function, to play an integral part in the overall business strategy. To fully integrate brand strategy throughout the organization, companies must take a hard look at what the brand stands for and put internal structures in place to deliver on ‘brand promise’…

Essentially, this means moving the brand’s role, influence… well beyond the marketing department so it becomes an integral part of  company’s way of doing business… Total alignment between business and brand strategy is a crucial starting point… Think about it: Strategies about customers, distribution, pricing, communications… are crucial links between business and brand strategy. Business strategy cannot be developed in a vacuum; neither can brand strategy. The connection between them must be aligned, strengthened…

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, businesses need to find a way to stand-out from the rest of the pack… One sure way is to take a hard look at the brand, what it stands for, and then make sure that the structure is in place to deliver-on that ‘promise’– across entire organization… This realignment pays-off, big time, by creating a stronger brand but, more important, a stronger business…

In the article New Rules for Branding by kordell writes: The biggest enemy of business these days is being ‘average’… With mass customization, free information, and a tight economy, you must drive the branding image to be ‘exceptional’… Here are a few new rules for exceptional branding are:

  • It must have a plot or a storyline: Think Disney… Chipotle has it’s brown bags with stories on them… Harley is about terrorizing small towns…
  • It must be unique to stand out: Unless you have a BHAC (Big Hairy Audacious Concept) you have– beige, average, pedestrian…
  • It must fill a need or create a new mind-set for the customer:  Columbus fought the flat world with a round world idea… Dyson killed the vacuum bag…
  • Rabid fans must be able to ‘join’: Think Blue Man Group…  These fans will experience the brand again, again… and ‘tell others about it’…
  • Repeatable: There are Harley fans who motorcycle between locations just to get a ‘local’ Harley shirt… Another way to see this consumable– or– such a great experience that you just-want-to-do-it-again!
  • Once it’s in place it’s either re-created, destroyed, rebuilt (isn’t that the same thing?):  Just when the McMuffin is copied by everyone else, you have to recreate it in a new format/recipe…

In the article New Rules of Branding by Simon Williams writes: A few simple rules for the new age branding; Brands that influence ‘culture’ sell more; culture is the new catalyst for growth… A brand with no point of view has no point; full-flavor branding is in… vanilla is out… Today’s consumer is leading from the front; it’s a smart generation… Customize wherever, whenever you can; customization is tomorrow’s killer whale. Forget transaction, just give me an experience; the mandate is simple: Wow the customer every day, every way...

Deliver clarity at point of purchase; be obsessive about value… You are only as good as the weakest link; know where you’re vulnerable… Social responsibility is no longer an option; know the cause, prepare your contribution… Pulse, pace, passion… really make a difference… Innovation is the new boardroom favorite…

brand imagesEMF45B83

Branding is the core of any business… According to Ananth; Be very clear on what you tend to achieve from your ‘branding’ campaign… Clearly define ‘goals’: What must the  ‘brand’ achieve, across which audience… Websites don’t define a branding strategy… Success of a branding campaign depends on the sincerity with which your content reaches across a larger audience, regularly, with clear intention to add real-value to the end users.

Branding is not one time process, its a constant effort to make a positive difference… It’s solution to problems– do it with a ‘face’– ‘humanize’ the brand… According to Kevin Lane Keller; a strong brand is a promise to customers and a means to set expectations and reduce risk… the power of a brand resides in the minds of its customers and it could go away very quickly…

A strong brand is also more than consumer-facing… it gives direction and purpose to its employees– strong brand is one of a firm’s most valuable intangible assets… According to Ashley I; churn out boring, repetitive stuff… and the brand will suffer… Modern brands must allow for– leeway, fun, surprise, playful… even flirtation… A contemporary brand must take leaps of faith, abandon self-obsessions, be flexible, embrace risk … Without such grounding, a brand loses what it’s supposed to be in the first place; a shape-shifter…

According to Jakk; perfecting a branding strategy is more than just having– a logo, attractive slogans… Today, enthusiasts play by a fresh set of guidelines…The fresh rules for business branding are now focused on engagement, interaction, less on presentation… Defining the brand is more like a journey of business discovery… in today’s highly competitive marketplace, a strong brand is really all about relationships, trust, value…

 

 

Color of Money– Branding a Country: Currency Symbolizes the Fabric of a Country’s Identity, People, Tradition, Culture…

Color of money: Money is a commodity accepted by general consent as a medium of economic exchange. It’s the medium in which prices and values are expressed and, as currency, it circulates anonymously from person to person and country to country– it facilitates trade… and, it’s the principal measure of wealth.

currency imagesCA5MZ26U

Color of money: The subject of money has fascinated people from the time of Aristotle to the present day. According to A.H.M; the piece of paper that is labeled– one dollar, 10 euros, 100 yuan or 1,000 yen is a little different, as paper, from a piece of the same size torn from a newspaper or magazine; and yet, it will enable its bearer to command some measure of– food, drink, clothing, and the remaining goods of life– while, the other is fit for just common ordinary daily usage… Whence the difference? The easy answer, and the right one, is that modern money is a social contrivance.

Money is a social convention; a convention of uncommon strength, such that people will abide by it even under extreme provocation. The strength of the convention is, of course, what enables governments to profit by manipulating the currency. But it’s not indestructible: When the quantity of these pieces of paper is greatly increased– as they have– they may be seen to be, after all, no more than pieces of paper…

Although, money (currency) can and do say much about a country’s culture: Choices are made about the type of images that are illustrated– the people, events, landmarks… that are shown– do speak to national values the country represents.

According to Richard Zeid; currency is an important part of the fabric of country’s identity. The motifs are as varied and create a rich visual document. But when all is said and done, and the right images are chosen, what does the picture say about the country from which it comes? Does it give someone– not from the country– an accurate prospective about the country? 

Among the 180 countries and jurisdictions that issue paper money, only U.S. prints bills that are the same size and color in all denominations. Most countries– color-code different denominations or simply have money that features multiple colors on individual bills.

According to Emil Agarunov; just about everyone carries around small pieces of art– paper money– in their wallet and most people don’t realize it. Almost every nation has currency that reflects their nation’s heritage, culture… This is depicted in several ways, for example; some show images of– founders, heroes… others use a national symbol or landmark. Either way, national currencies, throughout the world, are as diverse as the people who live on the planet…

In the article Changes to Currency May Help the Blind by Jay MacDonald writes: U.S. is one of the few nations that prints all bills the same size and color… Before reading any further, close your eyes, reach into your purse or wallet and fish out $12 in cash. Can’t do it? You now know what currency discrimination feels like. Currently, 3.3 million blind and visually impaired Americans depend on someone else– a family member, friend, cashier, or bank teller– to identify the denomination of each bill for them before they can organize and spend their money.

Some depend on talking electronic bill identifiers that aren’t always accurate and fail to work on every bill. Once the bills are identified, most blind people use a personal folding system to tell their bills apart… Now, thanks to a recent court ruling, truly accessible currency may finally be in sight for all Americans. In a recent lawsuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Treasury Department must make U.S. currency accessible to blind and visually impaired… When it happens, U.S. greenbacks will look and feel significantly different. So different, in fact, that a blind person will be able to tell them apart… Here’s how other countries have addressed this issue:

  • Size: Nearly every country prints different denominations in different sizes. In Australia, where bills vary by length and color, they even sell a notched plastic device to help blind foreigners get a grip on their money. Aussie bills also are made of a plastic polymer that lasts four times longer than fibrous currency.
  • Color: The color of money may not help the blind, but it does help the visually and cognitively impaired. Only the U.S. and Switzerland do not designate denominations by color.
  • Embossing: To the sighted, it would seem intuitive to use embossed Braille to identify bills, but not all blind and visually impaired people read Braille. In Canada, the upper right corner of the bills’ face side is embossed. However, the downside is that embossing tends to flatten with use.
  • Engraving: Sixteen countries engrave their bills with printed patterns. These, too, tend to flatten with age.
  • Watermarks: Similar to engraving, watermarks provide a  raised surface to help the blind identify notes. The Japanese yen incorporates watermarks in the corners of bills.
  • Notches, cut corners and holes: Corner clipping and other low-cost solutions are generally ineffective. The same holds true with notches, while holes would weaken the bill, shortening its lifespan.

In the article The Color of Money Around the World by brian writes: A country’s money can tell stories of its leaders, culture, identity, traditions… and, how people inside and outside of its borders perceive it. It can be as interesting as a region’s art, movies, music… Here are a few samples of money from around the world. What does this money say to you?

money1

Egyptian Pound: You can’t think about Egypt without the Great Pyramids of Giza: It’s a national icon and world treasure, and it would be a surprise if it wasn’t on the money… The pyramids are so awe-inspiring and magnificent…

money2

South African Rand: The image on this bill is that of the buffalo; one of the ‘big five of Africa’ which include; lion, leopard, elephant and rhino…

money3

Canadian Dollar: Hockey is Canada’s national sport, and their identity is closely tied to hockey… it’s a national symbol…

money4

U.S. Dollar: The first U.S. president was George Washington and his image is shown on this bill… other U.S. presidents are shown on most U.S. bills… Some countries like Cambodia will accept U.S. dollars as legal tender like they accept their own money. With the world financial turmoil, U.S. currency is still the gold standard. But now people are talking about the Euro or even the Chinese yuan taking over…

money5

Ghana Cedi: This bill shows a depiction of the ‘big six’, who helped launch the British colony known as the Gold Coast toward its independence in 1957… we now know it as Ghana. This money is colorful and is a great history lesson…

Take note: The next time you look at money, look at it beyond the good or service it can buy. What does it tell you about a country and a people? Probably a lot– Just look-dig a little deeper…

Reviving Brand in Decline, Fading, Failing, Dying, or Dead: Reinvention to Rescue…

Businesses are reviving dormant brands to minimize risk and exploit consumers’ love of nostalgia… a growing trend. ~ Patrick McDermott

Frequently the statement; the ‘brand’ is a company’s most valuable asset is a marketing executive’s justification for the investment of additional resources to grow and support the ‘brand’. According to Jonathan Knowles the phrase is insightful when ‘brand’ is used to mean ‘perceived uniqueness in the minds of customers’ and not simply about reputation.

This was the meaning that John Stuart, chairman of Quaker, had in mind when he made his famous remark that; ‘if this company was split-up, I would give you the land and bricks and mortar, and I would take the brands and trade marks, and I would fare better than you.’

The industries in which ‘perceived uniqueness in the minds of customers’ is truly the most important asset of the business are ‘consumer’ industries (e.g., alcohol, cars, electronics, entertainment, fashion, retail…) in which brands are a form of self-expression for consumers; or ‘distress purchase’ industries (e.g., insurance, financial services, medical products, certain technology products…) in which consumer preference is driven by loss-aversion.

If your company deliver the right brand experience consistently, and customers and prospects find that appealing, then the brand will grow and prosper… However, if the brand has no heart, no soul and no personality, then that attitude will position the brand as; bland, feeble, and more vulnerable to pricing pressure, customer churn, and declining margins. The brand is what the company is; nothing more, nothing less. Brands aren’t built with tools, techniques, slogans, sayings, light-up buttons…

Brands are built through the development of value propositions that are exchanged between buyers and sellers, between people and organizations, and if people who deliver the brand experience aren’t sold on the brand and don’t live the brand, then they should not expect it from the customer.  According to Jonathan Knowles; the key ingredients in branding are:

  • Brand must be based on solid business model and sound business proposition.
  • Brand must differentiate itself from competition with a meaningful value proposition. Slogans and jingles are fine, but, they generally won’t pay the rent.
  • Brand must deliver what is truly important to customers and doesn’t run counter to common sense.

In the article Revitalizing, Rejuvenating and Reformulating a Struggling Brand” by Ted Mininni writes: When should companies allow declining brands to quietly finish life cycles, and conversely, when should they opt to revitalize them? Many experienced marketing executives and brand managers feel that brands follow irrevocable life stages, e.g., they are born, mature, plateau and eventually begin to decline and die.

Companies with brands that are in the declining phase, generally, employ the strategy of best business practice, i.e., cutting advertising and marketing investment on these brands and reallocate the dollars to other growth brands. Some companies choose to sell-off weak brands or price discount them to wring-out whatever value is left. While other companies are interested in revitalizing their diminishing brands, which is currently a growing trend.

However, the important question remains; how can companies determine whether to invest in the revitalization of brands or not? Sometimes revitalization requires the re-branding of a company from top-down and that can include; a refurbishment of the logo, trademark and trade-dress to revamp entire corporate brand image. Sometimes it’s an updating of the brand’s products and specific product attributes with better and demanded features. Also, revitalization can require a repackaging for a fresher, more contemporary brand-look for appeal to new generations of consumers.

Bottom line: Revitalizing a corporate brand, when consumer research signals the time is right or sales have either come to a plateau or begun to slump is essential component of ongoing brand management. Revitalizing a brand contemporizes and gives it new life to what could have been perceived as a tired, aging product line…

In the article “How to Revive a Shaken Brand” by Karen Post’s article writes: How will you pick up the pieces once your brand’s foundation has been shaken by a brand crisis? For example, a legal issue, natural disaster, sudden market shift or troubled product– these types of issues can test any brand’s stamina.

But with careful navigation and rethinking, you can bounce back. When a brand faces a big blunder, their world starts crumbling and it seems like there is no way out. Moving forward after a crisis is no easy task, but with the right plan and timely actions, you can regain your brand power even through the toughest situations. There are ‘game changers’– key concepts that transform a brand from bad to back-on-top.

One of these ‘game changers’ is to keep improving; and that takes a commitment to change and the ability to rethink current ways. That requires meaningful rethinking, recycling, focus on scalable improvements, and the willingness to kill traditions. With the right level of adjustment and innovation, you’ll have your brand back on track, quickly…

In the article “Dead Brands Come Back to Life” by Richard Bergovoy writes:  Once popular but abandoned brands are being rescued from obsolescence and used as branding for other products; at no charge (free) and it’s perfectly legal. For example; Wal-Mart sells ‘White Cloud’ toilet paper, CVS sells ‘Nuprin’ analgesics… and, due to residual goodwill of these abandoned brands, both companies sell these rebranded products at a higher price point than generic options.

Yet, neither pay a license fee to the original brand owners. How is that possible? Normally, a company would be sued for trademark infringement, if it used a branding without the owner’s permission. But a trademark is a use-it-or-lose-it legal right. The federal ‘Lanham Act’ says, ‘that if a trademark is not used in commerce to identify goods or services for three years, it is presumed abandoned’. Then it becomes available to anyone; first come, first served. 

However, the three-year period is just a presumption; if the original owner can show that it had no intent to abandon the mark then it retains ownership. For example, the brand owner might be doing behind-scene product development, so a would-be trademark recycler must proceed with caution.

How can one find abandoned brands to recycle? First, a little old-fashioned research: Check promising candidates against the online federal trademark register, and also there are brand licensing agencies that specialize in securing and licensing abandoned brands…

In the article “Can a Dead Brand Live Again?” by Rob Walker  writes: Marketers like to talk about something called ‘brand equity’, a combination of familiarity and positive associations, which clearly has some value, even if it’s impossible to measure it in a convincing empirical way. Exploiting the equity of dead or dying brands– sometimes called ‘ghost brands’, ‘orphan brands’ or ‘zombie brands’–  is a topic many consumer-products firms, large and small, have wrestled with for years.  

Whether these brand-reanimation efforts pan-out as a successful business strategy is problematic; however, they do offer an unusual perspective on the relationship between brands and brain. By and large, examinations of successful brands tend to focus on names like; Harley-Davidson, Apple, Converse… which have developed ‘cult’ followings, however, such cases are misleading, because they are not typical of most of what we buy.

A great deal of what happens in the consumer marketplace does not involve brands with zealous loyalists. What determines whether a brand lives or dies (or, can even come back to life) is usually a quieter process that has more to do with mental shortcuts, assumptions, and memories– and all the imperfections that come along with each of those things.  It’s often hard to pin-down the exact moment a brand disappears, because a product can linger on shelves for quite a while before its sold-down or otherwise liquidated.

According to John F. Sherry Jr.; ‘there’s no real reason that a brand needs to die, unless it is attached to a product that functionally doesn’t work; that is, as long as a product can change to meet contemporary performance standards, your success is really dependent on how skillful you are in managing the brand’s story so that it resonates with meaning that consumers like.’

Brands fail, lose favor, fade from memory, and suffer a decline in effectiveness and value, and this happens for a number of reasons. For example: The brand may no longer represent product qualities or corporate values that are important to customers; poor management may have damaged the performance of the company or products;  stronger competitors many have overtaken the brand in terms of its consumer recognition or market share…

Strategies to revive a brand take a number of forms, such as; redesign the visual elements of the brand, increase brand communication, restructure the company to improve performance.

In the article ‘Brand is Forever! Framework for Revitalizing Declining & Dead Brands’ by Sunil Thomas & Chiranjeev Kohli write: Over years, brands have met untimely deaths, such as; Oldsmobile, Pan Am, Woolworth… Many more have steadily declined into oblivion, while others have been revived. When a brand dies, significant investments that were made to build the brand are lost. Unfortunately, even the strongest brands with high net-worth are not immune from brand decline and subsequent death. In today’s market, where new product introductions are expensive and risky, it may be worthwhile to evaluate brands that are declining and invest in revitalizing them.

An article ‘How to Reinvigorate Old Brands’ in ‘Forbes Magazine’ says: Reinvigorating a brand may require a few simple adjustment, or much more drastic changes, for example; redesign the logo and other visual elements that are outdated; development program that better aligns the brand with market requirements; communication plan to increase exposure of the brand; fundamental organization change that impacts the brand…

‘Intangible Business’ writes; ‘the main reason businesses, behind successful legacy brands, die is due to management & operational incompetence’.  Example: Gibson  Guitars, where a change of management saw a dramatic revival in brand strength following a period of neglect by previous owners. Another, Apple Computer was practically dead, back in 1997: ‘Wired Magazine’ ran a cover story about Apple with the caption ‘pray’.

In a world that Apple had helped to create, it was becoming irrelevant. But then strange things happened a wildly popular creative maverick was brought back– Steve Jobs. He had offended as many as he inspired but his presence ensured that nobody remained indifferent, let alone bored. He turned the fortunes of the company round, big time. Lesson to be learned: Reviving a brand can work…

The strength of a dormant brand is you can remake it, however you want; and the challenge is you can remake it, however you want. ~Paul Earle

 

Power of Symbols, Symbolisms, and Brand in Developing Global Markets: Anthropology of Business, Marketing, Leadership…

Symbols transform abstract concepts, ideas and beliefs into tangible things that we can touch, see, hear, taste, smell and understand. Symbolisms bring power to the abstract concept, and also to the object that symbolizes it.

Symbols are objects, characters, or other representations of ideas, concepts, or abstractions; they are the universal language in a culture. Symbols have been used for thousands of years, they help people communicate and interact with one another. Thus, as a representation, their meaning is neither instinctive nor automatic.

The culture’s members must interpret, and over time reinterpret, the symbol… Symbols convey meaning and occur in different forms, such as: verbal or nonverbal, written or unwritten, words on the page, drawings, pictures, gestures…

They are things which act as triggers to remind people, in the culture, of its rules, beliefs… Symbols can also be used to indicate status within a culture. Every society has evolved a system of symbols that reflects a specific cultural logic; and every symbolism functions to communicate information between members in much the same way as, but more subtly than, conventional language.

Without knowing and understanding each culture’s individual symbols and symbolisms; there is little likelihood that a business engagement with the culture would be successful.

In the articleSymbols in Organizational Culture by Anat Rafaeli and Monica Worline write: Symbols take on important meanings in organizations; meanings that are defined by cultural and social conventions and interactions. In our definition, symbols are things that can be experienced with the senses and used by organization members to ‘make meaning’.

Symbols are noticed through sight, sound, touch, and smell, and their impact has significant organizational consequences. Our broad message is that an important part of understanding organizational culture is the careful reading and analysis of organizational symbols. Our analysis suggests that symbols serve four functions in organizations:

They reflect underlying aspects of culture, generating emotional responses from organization members and representing organization values and assumptions. They elicit internalized norms of behavior, linking members’ emotional responses, interpretations to organization action. They frame experience, allowing organization members to communicate about vague, controversial, uncomfortable organization issues. And, they integrate the entire organization in one system of signification.

Organizational symbols have the power to facilitate or hinder smooth organizational functioning, and their neglect may lead to a lack of shared interpretative codes among organizational members. This is perhaps easiest to see when a product does not match the quality symbolized by its brand, and therefore loses out in the market. Organizational symbols relate to the physical environment and the conversations, thoughts, emotions, and actions of organization members, and the symbols can provide a deep, rich, and worthwhile understanding of organizational culture.

In the article “Cultural Symbolism” by Cynthia Chan writes: When developing message that target ethnic groups, “there are symbols and design that you want to hone in on as far as culture is concerned.” For example, within the Japanese culture, placing a check in a box indicates that this is an item that is being declined, rather than selected. Another example is phone numbers, which should be chosen with care when targeting Chinese prospects.

While using lucky numbers will help prospects remember your contact info, bad luck numbers, such as ‘4’, would turn them off. Make sure to thoroughly research and test within your target market to ensure that your carefully crafted message is not thrown off track by culturally misleading symbols…

In the book Symbolism of Popular Culture by John Fraim writes:  Symbolism is one of the most powerful yet least understood concepts. The challenge is to provide a modern understanding of it, without trivializing its ancient heritage. Reverence is close to a lost concept today, but if anything deserves reverence; it’s the concept of symbolism.

While symbolism may, in fact, be the key behind the greatest products of popular culture, symbolism itself should never be viewed as a product. In 1957, Vance Packard wrote a ground breaking book called ‘The Hidden Persuaders’. It was one of the first books to discuss symbolism in advertising and products. Back in those years, symbolism was called ‘subliminal persuasion’ probably with a tip of the hat to the dominating Freudian psychology of the times.

Today, Packard observes the incredible evolution of product symbolism noting that ads for; ‘watches’ have nothing to do with watches; for ‘shoes’ that scarcely mention shoes. It used to be the brand identified the product. In today’s advertising the ‘brand is the product’. Modern advertising has an almost total obsession with images and feelings and an almost total lack of any concrete claims about the product and why anyone should buy it.”  

I’m puzzled, he continues; “Commercials seem totally unrelated to selling any product at all.” Seeing symbols within culture may help revitalize an ancient science and place it into a modern perspective. It could help make the study of symbolism a ‘science of the day’ rather than a ‘metaphysics of the night.’ Modern symbols might then be seen in such products of popular culture, such as; films, television programs, music, celebrities, toys, books…

The elusive ‘zeitgeist’ or ‘spirit of the times’ might have a direct relationship to dominant media forms and technologies. Emerging technologies such as the Internet might provide a modern symbol for the ‘zeitgeist’ of the collective unconscious…

In the article “The Power of a Symbol” by Kevin Eikenberry writes: We all have symbols in our lives and these symbols remind us of our beliefs, loyalties, accomplishments… Whether physical like a flag, symbolic like a story, or memory-anchored like a picture these can serve us in powerful ways. Although this may not seem particular important, on the contrary, these symbols can be used to our advantage as individuals and leaders.

For example: The Rock. The ‘Rainmakers’ organization in Indianapolis began a tradition, at their events, where the leader brings a ‘rock’ and writes on it “Be More, Serve More” (a part of their mission and purpose). During their meeting, all participants sign the rock then, at some point in the meeting, that rock is presented to someone in the group who has made a difference; lived the Rainmaker’s ideals or is in some other way deserving of the recognition.

Started as a way to reward and recognize without breaking their budget, it now is a powerful part of the organization’s culture. It also is a highly valued award, meaningful in many ways to each recipient.

We can draw much from this, and many other examples: First, notice how symbols can serve as; recognition, reminder, or both. The symbol need not be elaborate or fancy, as long as the meaning and message attached to it is valuable.  The same is true in organizations, the ‘physical representation’ doesn’t have to be glossy, shiny or valuable; i.e., a ‘rock’…

The power comes from the meaning and message.  Symbols are powerful, and can aid us personally and organizationally as we attempt to improve or move toward valuable goals: Understand them and use them wisely and sincerely, and this underutilized tool could become instrumental in your future success.

In the article What Do You Mean? The Power of Symbols by Miss Mellie writes: Symbols enrich our lives by standing as reminders of philosophies, dreams and achievements we hold dear. They are mini-billboards of our thoughts, feelings, emotions and values. They serve a shorthand method of communicating at a glance something which could take several sentences, pages or books to explain in words.

The old adage ‘A picture’s worth a thousand words’ has long-held fast in our lexicon due to its multi-generational truth. Symbols can be powerful… but, they can also be confusing. The confusion can set-in when two or more people interpret the symbol differently, and the meaning can change over time; either intentionally or unintentionally.

Consider how powerful at one time the Enron logo was: Their symbol once indicated a large, strong, powerful company at the peak of corporate health. Nowadays, even a fleeting impression of that very same symbol indicates scandal, theft, shame and a whole host of other negative feelings. Symbols are nice, as long as their representations are accurate and truthful… they can indeed boost self-esteem, rekindle warm feelings and bring joy to our souls. But symbols are just that: symbols…

They themselves are not the substance of what’s being represented. Plenty of folks wear wedding rings, wave their country’s flag and publicly attend church while living their lives as turncoats against that to which they claim devotion. If the devotion is there, no symbol is needed; if the devotion is not there, no symbol will engender it.

In a world where people and companies are more readily recognized for what they represent, then for who they are; symbols, symbolisms, and brand are ‘essential assets’. According to Sebastian Guerrini; Symbols can be used to exploit the most unconscious-level of human desire, thus when incorporated into a brand, symbols gracefully create associations between a company and that which the company would like to represent.

From a psychoanalytical perspective, brand is a representation of symbols and symbolisms, and creating brand (branding) is linked to understanding how humans communicate and express their feelings. It’s a matter of understanding very basics of human communication and how our minds work to create, within us, a sense of satisfaction. Successful business relationships are developed by understanding and respecting the symbols, symbolisms, and brands of cultures...

The best leaders… almost without exception and at every level are master users of stories and symbols. ~Tom Peters.  We are symbols, and inhabit symbols. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson