Archive for the ‘Brand’ Category

This post originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of Hardware + Building Supply Dealer.

tool-library-1As much as I hate shoveling snow, I can’t possibly justify spending upwards of $500 on a snow blower that I might use five days a year and would take up space in my garage for the remaining 360.

According to a recent PwC study, 43% of consumers agree that “owning feels like a burden.” When you consider the cost, maintenance and storage requirements, buying things is kind of a pain. It’s no wonder, then, that the “sharing economy” is estimated to be $110 billion (and growing fast), according to a November 2014 Leo Burnett study. Whether it’s Netflix, Spotify, Zipcar, TaskRabbit, Uber or Rent the Runway, there’s another, arguably better, alternative to ownership for virtually every aspect of our lives.

In a world where people don’t aspire to own their own homes or even openly despise the idea of owning a car, where does that leave the tool, yard care and appliance markets? (more…)

With fragmentation comes complexity. And with complexity comes an appreciable amount of misguided perspective, including sweeping statements about tactics and technologies that derail smart approaches in digital marketing.

The decision to use or not use responsive design is one of the more recent debates where the facts are getting swept under the rug. So we wanted to bring some clarity to how brands should approach this important choice.


Quick refresh:

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices (from smartphones to tablets to desktops). A site with RWD adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3.

Thanks Wikipedia! In short, your site’s design—and it’s content—responds to the user’s device.

SEO & Responsive Design: Perception

Here’s a sampling of what we’ve heard in clients’ hallways and some industry conferences:

  • “Google prioritizes sites that have responsive design.”
  • “Your site will not be found in Google unless it’s responsive.”

SEO & Responsive Design:  Reality

This is not true. (more…)


What do Chicken Little and Twitter have in common? They both have a knack for prematurely stating apocalyptic doom.

I say this with much love for Twitter, as I’m an avid user who devours the 140-character nuggets on my feed. And I’m still awed by the role Twitter played in the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

So I guess what I’m irked with is not Twitter the medium; but rather, the over-reaction to how much negative impact will befall someone whose misstep lights up Twitter. Ugh, hearing “the Twitterverse is gonna explode” is nails on a chalkboard to me.

I was reminded of this by Bob Costas’ comments this week, calling Olympic snowboarding events “jackass stuff.” Well, that didn’t sit well with the rad, winter-sports crowd. Naturally, within an hour of his declaration, Bob Costas was trending on Twitter. And not in a good way. Irate fans of snowboarding pelted him with icy disses. (more…)


A few months ago, Yahoo! announced the acquisition of the social media platform Tumblr. At the time, investors questioned the $1.1 billion purchase of what some saw as essentially a fanboy picture-sharing site with a trickling revenue stream.

But what struck me was the immediate response from the Tumblr user community. They erupted with a barrage of snark, mostly aimed at Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer in the form of sophomoric GIFs and LOL memes. But layered in the predictable outrage and threats of user boycotts was something else. These people were hurt. They were betrayed; jilted by a brand with whom they had a deep relationship that dates back to, oh, 2006 or so.

It was actually rather sweet. In a millennial hipster sort of way. And it made me feel nostalgic about brands that I used to love.

I was loyal. They reciprocated that loyalty. And each relationship was special, in its own way. Until that relationship ended.

We parted for various reasons. For a few (Doc Martens, Ben&Jerry’s), I can honestly say, “It wasn’t you … it was me.”  But most of the times the break-up was a result of betrayal. Budweiser, my hometown beer and one-time client, abandoned us for a new sugar daddy in Belgium. Levi’s made me feel cheap and used. Even my beloved Apple has strayed, falling into the “friends with benefits” category of relationships.

So the question is, are consumers capable of brand love anymore? (more…)

clint_hurdleClint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is also a great brand manager. You’ve probably heard about the daily inspirations he sends to his players to keep them energized and positive. http://espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9726637/pirates-manager-clint-hurdle-inspiring-others-daily

But I also admire him for his courage to stick to what is working.  In the “First Pitch” game day publication, Clint talks about the challenges of continuing to play the same type of game as they run out of games.  He says we need to remember that the game we played all season is what got us to the post-season for the first time in 20 years.  I see those same challenges in marketing strategy.  Far too often, marketers give into the pressures and sense of urgency by abandoning what got them to their position.  They change their strategy dramatically and end up trying to be something they aren’t to satisfy a time crunch.  Expiring patents, release of new models and competitive innovations are just a few of the reasons we use for abandoning what drove our success. (more…)