The Brand Farm

Dedicated to the care & feeding of growing brands.

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Blog Posts

Deconstructing Brand Strategy

Building a strong brand is one of the most difficult tasks in business.  There are so many ‘moving parts’ that marketers must get right - from the strategy to the tactics and the creative.  The good news, though, is that despite the myriad of details, there is critical guidance that can meaningfully direct all branding.  In fact,  the brand model featured in my new book "Bridging The Gaps: The Love of Marketing" suggests that all consumer touch points should support just one broader consumer objective.  

o that end, there are two things that first must be uncovered:


Know your consumers' current identity.


This is a foundation of consumer marketing.  Beyond the demographics, really get in your consumers’ heads.  Understand what they think and what their values are.  What drives them physically and emotionally?  What keeps them up nights?  What gives them joy?  

Moreover, understand what role your brand plays in their lives. It’s easy to know the physical interaction.  Dig deeper to really understand the emotional relationship that they have with your brand and your category.  


Know your consumers' aspirational identity.


To connect most deeply with consumers, you've got to also understand the aspect of their identity that's focused on their hopes and dreams.   …


Posted by Michael B. Moore on July 12, 2014 at 11:30am

The "Truth" About Beats By Dre

Remember on American Idol when Simon Cowell used to chide singers for being “self indulgent”?  I think he meant that they were more focused on hearing themselves sing than in performing for the audience.  Beats By Dre, the hot headphone company, might be suffering from a similar egotistical malady.


To be fair, BBD has every reason to be on high.  They were just bought by Apple and have one of the hottest brands around.  But, sometimes, a sort of “irrational exuberance” can be the first sign of a brand’s downfall and Apple/BBD brass should be mindful of this.


As someone who’s been around the brand block a few times my antenna is fairly attuned to the saccharine infused puffery that many marketers and creatives use.  I found recent comments from Beats By Dre EVP Marketing, Omar Johnson, to be of the particularly high octane variety.  The article talks about “fearlessness” being one of the core pillars of the brand and quotes him saying,


“Truth is the foundation of our brand – from all we do across sports, headphones and music – it is all based on truth. The difference between us and other brands is we have a relentless passion to tell truth…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on June 23, 2014 at 8:30am

Bridging The Gaps, The Love of Marketing - Presentation Deck

Over the past four days I have posted chapter summaries of my just finished book, 'Bridging The Gaps, The Love of Marketing'.  It offers a hypothesis about how and why consumers create emotional attachments to the various brands in their lives.  It sheds light on the 'physiology' of branding, offering keen insight into how to more effectively and efficiently construct marketing efforts to create stronger, more emotionally resonant, and financially rewarding brands.

I invite you to start at the beginning and work your way through the posts.  You can start at the Introduction and Chapters 1 - 3 summaries.  Some of you will prefer to skip the longer form blog posts and explore the hypothesis in much shorter fashion in a presentation deck.  This will also be useful for people who have read the summaries - as this will help to pull it all together.

The deck is the bare bones, stripped down version; no images and not much explanation - just the most salient points.  The deck also has the benefit of presenting the 'Bridging The Gaps' hypothesis in a few graphs.  Some may find this particularly helpful.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with comments and questions.  Feel free to email if you have more personal inquiries: michael{at}  There's obviously lots that I didn't include here about how this hypothesis can help you grow your consumer business.  I'd love to help you!  

Thanks for taking a look!  Please click the link below for a PDF of the presentation.…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on April 3, 2014 at 10:30pm

The AMA Gets "Brand" Wrong

“Brand is a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

American Marketing Association

I just read a blog that included the above definition from the American Marketing Association.  (Although I couldn't find the quote on their website, it is widely attributed to them.)  Honestly, I was quite surprised by their ‘take’ on the word.   Respectfully, it seems remarkably out of touch with current thinking.  Not that there isn't a wide variety of perspective on just about everything in our industry, it's just that one would think that the American Marketing Association would offer a more contemporary view.  This feels like its out of the 1950's, before marketers understood the power and role that emotion plays in crafting the brand experience.

For context, in describing themselves, the AMA says:

“As the leading organization for marketers, AMA is the trusted go-to resource for marketers and academics. We are counted on as the most credible marketing resource where our members can stay relevant with knowledge, training and tools to enhance lifelong learning and obtain valuable information and connections.”

If the definition is their's and in the appropriate context, then this makes their description of perhaps the most fundamental concept of marketing…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 20, 2014 at 12:30pm

On Coca-Cola's Future: 5 Steps to 21st Century Growth

The Coca-Cola company seems to be at an existential crossroads.  As with a number of iconic 19th century companies, its legacy business model is in growing conflict with contemporary consumer realities.  Like Kodak, that was forced to close its consumer photography business because it couldn’t muster the strategic and organizational wherewithal to pivot toward digital photography, there are a couple of profound consumer ‘sea changes’ occurring that challenge Coke’s traditional carbonated soft drink business, its brand, and potentially the company itself.  A New York Times article from February 28, 2014 questions the company’s continued relevance and starts with the question, “Can this brand be saved?”

While the Coca-Cola brand has always positioned itself as a vehicle of happiness, much of the public conversation about it now is diametrically opposed to that.  The current consensus is that its just not good for you and contributes to a variety of health problems.  Child obesity is a growing concern in the United States, with the First Lady making it a signature issue.  The former mayor of NYC tried to ban large cup fountain soft drink sales for health reasons.  High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), a key ingredient in many soft drinks, is seen as a huge part of the problem and has largely taken on a demonizing presence.  

While health concerns mount, an equally damaging and seemingly unrelated consumer shift is also occurring.  Young people - who are the key consumer…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on March 5, 2014 at 10:30am

A Brand IS What We Say It Is (Unless We Screw It Up)

Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit, famously said,

“a brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is”.  

That statement, I think, accurately captures the spirit of the connected world we live in these days.  It seems a prudent admonition to marketers to be mindful of the immense power of word-of-mouth marketing and social media.  I’m just not sure it tells the whole story or is entirely accurate.  

Even in a world increasingly dominated by social media, marketers strategically construct brands to maximize opportunity at the nexus of internal core competencies and external consumer needs.  Well run brands not only deliver on their core promises, but in the best of cases, they actually even over deliver! When you hear about consumers camped out overnight to buy the latest iPhone, or willingly paying hundreds of dollars over retail price for the latest Air Jordan's, then you know those brands are executing brilliantly.  In those instances, consumers are gladly "buying" (both literally and figuratively) everything that is being sold them in the way of products, marketing messages, lifestyle cues etc.

Looking at this even deeper, many consumers actually integrate aspects of brands they love into their very identities.  Think about the sub-cultures developed around brands like Harley Davidson, Apple, Nike, Patagonia, etc. where consumers believe so deeply in their brands that they actually weave them into their daily lives.  They not only "buy" everything the brands sell them,…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on February 23, 2014 at 11:30am


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