Archives For Branding

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But the cover of the book is what makes –

  • the reader pick your book from the book rack.
  • the recruiter choose your resume to read from the pile.
  • a girl look at you in a crowded club.
  • the impression you make when you walk into a room of strangers.

When you think design, do not limit it to the usage of colors and images or to what is printed on paper or on a website. Design encompasses the layout within a retail shop, the font style, size and structure on a research report or even the clothes you wear everyday.

If you notice all successful businesses, books, artists, people – they all have good design. I have yet to find something great but with poor, crappy design.

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Much has been said about the new Old Spice “the man your man should smell like” commercials and Isaiah Mustafa, the ridiculously handsome guy whose random rambles got viral on the Internet. The result: you see an old brand reinvent itself and put themselves in people’s thoughts.

The commercials were originally launched in the US around the Super Bowl last February. But the best part of this campaign is that they did not stop with the commercials. Some weeks ago, Old Spice responded to “the Internet” – questions or comments people left on any social media – YouTube, Twitter, blogs. They were the common everyday people and the commercially successful or maybe we should call them “socially popular” people/brands like Starbucks, Kevin Rose, Alyssa Milano. He even responded to his own daughter on one of his videos.

I didn’t hear anybody in India refer to the commercial much. In fact, most of time I mentioned the commercials to my friends and family, they were like “really?, what’s that all about? Old Spice?!” But since this was done on the Internet, it became close to a worldwide phenomenon. It generated a lot of activity online with networks and blogs covering them. Bloggers and marketers were all ga-ga about how Old Spice reinvented themselves.

The first question I had in my mind was, “What are these guys up to?” I mean, this is Old Spice we are talking about. The last time I used an Old Spice product was over 15 years. But here they are – new, refreshing and funny too.

Mashable brought out some stats:

  • Number of videos made: 180+
  • Number of video views: 5.9 million
  • Number of comments: 22,500

(, July 15, 2010)

If you think about it, Old Spice just made some advertisements. But the real difference they made were the personal video responses. Social media is all about making conversation and they did exactly that.

Here are some good reads on the topic:
How the Old Spice videos were made
Lessons for small businesses from Old Spice

I am not going to talk about what marketing lessons we can learn from this campaign or how the right mix of creativity, humor and timing can help in your social media strategy. I just wanted to share this with you, in case you are one of the remaining 6+ billion people in this world who haven’t seen this yet.

Did this interest you? What did you think of the campaign?

value-coffee-cupsCreating value is a difficult thing. If you market products or services, you need to provide value in terms of quality, functionality and pricing. If you are marketing yourself, you create value by doing things differently and making it work by doing it differently.

But what do you do when you have competition? Creating value is easy when you are the single player. But when there is someone else offering something similar, what kind of value would you create? A better one. And value is always created for the customer.

If you and your competition have the same product or offer the same services, the difference you offer is consistency. Consistency, really is a rarity in today’s world. Offering the same high value over and over again drills down one concept in your customer’s mind – trust. If your customer can trust you, it does not matter who your competition is – they will keep coming back to you.

Creating consistent value can be tough. But if you keep at it, they will notice you and stick with you.

Image courtesy: singing


hyundai-assurance-adNow that’s one brand I would never expect to win something like that. I have seen Hyundai ever since I was in school and it has always been a Korean car company. And we were told that “Korean car companies do not make good cars”.

But lot has changed over the years. They made better cars. They made better noise. From the Indian perspective, they entered the Indian market and are doing quite well. September 2009 saw record sales for Hyundai with a 25% YOY growth. And now they seem to be doing well in other markets, especially the US market which has been dominated by Japanese brands. You can read more about it here.

Here are the Hyundai Assurance ads that made them quite popular during the economic recession. You can hear the voice-over say, “Now finance or lease any new Hyundai, and if you lose your income in the next year, you can return it. That’s the Hyundai Assurance. An automaker that’s got your back. Now isn’t that a nice change?”

Very few brands actually looked recession in the face and made something of it. Congrats Hyundai!

Skulls-Execution-Lucid-ConfusionsI wanted to kiss Seth’s bald head for writing this. He lists the “hierarchy of success”.

Attitude | Approach | Goals | Strategy | Tactics | Execution

    You have heard it said, “It’s all about execution!” But what is the point in trying to execute something you have no clue about?! Execution is the last step.

    I love the way Seth puts it – “Tactics tell you what to execute. They’re important, but dwarfed by strategy. Strategy determines which tactics might work. But what’s the point of a strategy if your goals aren’t clear, or contradict? Which leads the first two, the two we almost never hear about. Approach determines how you look at the project (or your career)….As far as I’m concerned, the most important of all, the top of the hierarchy is attitude. Why are you doing this at all? What’s your bias in dealing with people and problems?..”

    Attitude and approach remain the key steps first. There is no point trying to do something if you don’t have the right attitude or approach. Your strategy, tactics, execution – all can fall apart if you don’t have the right attitude for taking it through.

    Your attitude and approach really determines your success.

    Execution ain’t everything, my friend!

    Image Courtesy: d-riginal from This is the image I got when I searched for “execution”. I thought it was apt!

    If it is personal. Official. Website. Dressing. Resume. Party. Office. Food.

    How you package it makes a lot of difference.

    Dove’s new series of campaigns – this time, a direct attack on the beauty industry itself. Quite a bold stand! has three campaigns –

    Onslaught says – “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does”
    Dove Onslaught Campaign

    Evolution – the real beauty workshop, that shows people getting made for ads and magazine covers.
    Dove Evolution Campaign

    Pro age – “too old to be in an anti-aging ad”
    Dove Pro Age Campaign

    These are powerful and authentic stories. Stories you want to believe is true. Stories you know, could be true. Authentic stories reach out to people. It is no wonder that Dove, a UniLever brand, is one of the best-selling world over.

    Just read The Best and Worst Logo Remakes of the Century and UnderConsideration’s Brand New blog. They give a comparison-commentary about the changes that have taken place in some of the most well known brands around the globe.

    Reminds me of what my Brand Management professor said a couple of years back – “It is not the consumers who get tired of the brand image or marketing message but the marketers.” Marketers spend so much time with their brand – they think even their audience is getting tired of it. They could not be more wrong!

    As a marketer, I admit, one should be aware of the signs when the branding goes bad or needs a little shine. But change, for the sake of change, may not be the best decision for a brand. After all, it disrupts the very essence that branding is supposed to establish – trust. When a consumer sees a brand he trusts, he is comfortable. Don’t take that away from him!