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Once a month we’ll send you a digest of our new blog posts – and once in a while we’ll send you a surprise.

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Subscribe to our newsletter.

Once a month we’ll send you a digest of our new blog posts – and once in a while we’ll send you a surprise.

Brands Have Needs, Too

From the time we could speak complete sentences, we have said it many times. “I need that.” From the coolest new car to the latest version of iPhone, we’ve all turned toddler and proclaimed our most pressing “need.” If only we remembered the lesson our parents tried to instill – the difference between a “need” and a “want.” Because, as they said over and over as they pushed, pulled and prodded us down endless store aisles, we wanted a lot of things we didn’t really need.

Brands have wants. They want to be distinctive. They want to be remembered. They want to be respected and popular. To be any and especially to be all of those, brands need to work hard. They need to be supported. They need constant refinement and updating. They need attention.

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Topics: Our Thinking

Do You Get a ‘Brand Feeling’ About This?

You’ve seen it in movies. You’ve heard a friend say it. You’ve probably even said it yourself. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Usually, it’s a signal to turn around and go another direction. Make a different choice. Or, if it’s a horror movie, time to get the hell out of here. Before it’s too late.

Ever get that “bad feeling” during a healthcare experience? That is a horrific moment for any healthcare brand. Because people usually will share an experience like that with their friends. Sometimes, they’ll share it with anyone who will listen. For a brand – just about any brand – bad word of mouth can be more deadly than a maniac wielding a chain saw.

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Topics: Our Thinking

Now Available: Confusion in Aisle 9

People like brands that make them comfortable. That is why we shop at certain stores. We feel comfortable there. We know where to find things. Because these stores carry my favorite brands, they, too, have become my favorites.

But, some may not be my favorites for long.

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Topics: Our Thinking

Branding for All Seasons

People think – and speak – in terms of seasons as a measurement of time. Are you planning a vacation this summer? I hear we’re in for a rough winter. I hope we have an early spring. The fall colors have been especially vibrant. We wear winter white, save the pastels for spring and pull out the red in September. Every sport has a season, although some, like pro hockey and basketball, have really blurred the lines. Even our appetites have been divided into four parts. Thanks to the garden-to-table movement, our food has gone from very well-seasoned to well, very seasonal.

Brands can’t afford to be seasonal. Oh, sure, Chevy Truck Month may come in March, and April, and May for the dealers who keep extending it. But Chevy sells trucks all year. That’s why the company’s advertisements feature trucks performing in all kinds of weather, and conditions – and seasons.

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Topics: Our Thinking

Independent Brands Celebrate 365

Independence Day. The true designation of the July 4 holiday. Also, it’s the title of a truly entertaining sci-fi move starring, no, not Will Smith; some bad-ass aliens. Those flat-headed, big eyed unforgiving monsters were the real stars – because that’s precisely where they came from.

July 4 is meant to be a celebration of independence. Freedom. The Bill of Rights. Democracy. From the Greek, rule of the people. The common people. Rich and poor. Us. It is our freedom to celebrate. To go where we want. Vote how we want. To shop where we want. Buy what we want. Think what we want. And, in an increasingly anti-social social media, say what we want.

All based on “want.” Some brands play on that. They tell us what they think we want to hear. Then they sell us what they think we want to buy. They try to outsmart us. Plenty of times, they fail. As witnessed by Circuit City. The Sharper Image. LL Cool J for Sears. Google Glass.

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Topics: Our Thinking