Blog Posts

Reebok: "Be More Human"? No, Be More Strategic.

Here's the new positioning and advertising from Reebok with the tagline - "Be More Human".

Reebok is attempting to rise from the ashes; to rebuild themselves in the sports footwear/apparel marketplace. This new campaign and positioning is an ambitious stab at contemporary relevance.  

It doesn't work.

The positioning and creative are far too much of a thematic/identity stretch from where they've been. This renders the advertising not credible. One can argue whether this is a strategic place for them to want to take the Reebok brand, but today, it's just too far of a leap. It's quite unbelievable to be from them.

Brand positioning is about owning emotional real estate in consumers' minds. It empowers a strategic message, look & feel that, when combined with product interaction, communicates the overall identity of a brand. 

Choosing one's target consumers is a business decision. (You fish where the fish are.) But what you communicate to them is 100% consumer-insight driven brand strategy. Messaging must uniquely address their relevant needs, solving a meaningful problem for them in a way that stimulates consumption. In the end, if done well, the brand experience offers a way for consumers to actually become who they aspire to be - which gets them coming back for more and more!

But, once your positioning is established - it's pretty much set in stone. Once consumers have a clear sense of who you are, it can be extremely difficult to change that. Dramatically evolving a positioning means getting consumers to…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on January 28, 2015 at 10:00pm

Will You Take The Blue or Red Pill of Brand Strategy?

If you’ve spent any time on this blog you know that my “thing” is helping companies leverage the rich power of human emotions to build stronger, more profitable brands. Doing so can create legions of emotionally connected consumers who buy more, more often, and tell their friends! And isn’t that the point?


I’ve recently written about Samsung Mobile and how they are dramatically underperforming their potential by simply marketing features and benefits; by ignoring important tenets of brand strategy and consumer behavior that can inject enormous power into their marketing.


To review, here’s the “math”:


  • Every interaction with a product creates an experience.


  • Every experience creates feelings.


  • Feelings & emotions are the “stuff” of memories; they are what stick with us and inform our preferences and behaviors.

It’s not what something does. It’s how it impacts your life. It’s the emotions that it generates. (Tweet this!)

So many companies get caught up focusing their advertising around what they do and not how what they do makes people feel. I get it. Companies are proud about what they do well. But to be most successful - like the biggest and most profitable global brands -…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on January 14, 2015 at 8:00am

Innovation in the Cola Wars

The carbonated soft drink (CSD) business is reeling. Volume at both Coke and Pepsi has dropped for years and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Most point to two causal factors. One, “sodas” have become a prime PR target of the health movement against high calorie, unhealthy food and drinks. Second, soft drinks have lost significant business over the years to waters, teas, and energy drinks. Consumers have many more options and freely avail themselves of them.


While there’s no question that these are key factors, both are actually derivative of a more fundamental brand strategy issue. CSD’s have (somewhat passively) allowed themselves to be repositioned in negative ways by competitive interests. It’s largely marketing - or the lack thereof - that has hurt the soft drink business. Despite the billions spent marketing to them in this category, young people now just don’t think that colas are cool. Where Coke and Pepsi have been staples of the American diet for generations, millennials today favor more contemporary products that they see as more for them.


While, of course, there are health related realities about the category, health has never been a determining factor of the success of a product. We consume all manner of things that we know aren’t good for us; some that we know will even kill us. Yet we buy nevertheless.


Consider guns. Even amidst the horrific mass shootings and the tsunami of negative publicity from gun deaths that logically should have deeply hurt gun sales, over the last 20 years that business has grown dramatically. The industry doesn’t track total gun sales, but insiders suggest a close proxy…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on January 6, 2015 at 3:30pm

Culture Eats WHAT For Breakfast?

The phrase ”culture eats strategy for breakfast” is one of those popular social media memes that, while sophisticated sounding, is actually - for the most part - wrong! It accurately acknowledges the enormous power of corporate culture in driving company performance, but it infers that culture is somehow disconnected from - or more important than - strategy. It implies that culture evolves somewhat randomly or organically. This is just nonsensical and at conflict with practical reality. Consider the following:


  • If you’re an entrepreneur and believe that the physical and emotional environment that your employees work in has an impact - to whatever degree - on your company's success, then are you really going to leave it up to chance?

  • If, as a result, you do things to positively invest in your environment because you think it will help your team perform better - then isn’t culture really a function of strategy?

  • In these instances, can’t we then fairly easily understand that culture serves strategy? Culture is created to execute critical aspects of strategy.


Do you think culture was a random thing at Zappos? What about Apple? How about Ritz Carlton? What about Red Bull? Nike? Patagonia? Do you really think that those strong and strategic cultures just rose up randomly from nothing with no leadership from above? Absolutely not. Culture was created and nurtured to deliver a certain kind of consumer experience designed to maximize financial performance. The cultures flowed from strategy.



Posted by Michael B. Moore on December 27, 2014 at 11:00am

To Get People To Buy More, Make Them FEEL More!

People interact with all kinds of brands that do all sorts of things. The strongest brands - the ones we feel most connected and loyal to, and the ones we spend the most money on - are not necessarily the ones that do the most for us. They are the ones that make us feel the best.


The decision ‘to buy’ or ‘not to buy’ is a complex calculus, much of which happens subconsciously. In general, we buy things based upon what gives us the biggest bang for our buck. That “bang” is a meld of both physical, product interaction, and emotional benefit. We buy iPhones, for example, for both what they do, but also because of what the Apple and iPhone brands confer on us in the way of good feelings.


As I’ve written about previously, other phones actually do more than iPhones, but no other phone experience delivers a greater combination of physical and emotional benefits.


Here’s how I see it:


  • All our interactions in the world - with products, services, people, etc. - form experiences.


  • Our experiences generate emotions (how we feel about our experiences; how they impact us).


  • So, ultimately, everything we do, and all of our experiences, end up being infused (and stored) with the emotions that those experiences generate.


  • Therefore, in the end, something’s lasting impact is not so much what it does physically as much as its how it makes us feel (e.g.…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on December 16, 2014 at 5:30pm

Your Consumer Target: What You Need To Know

One of the most powerful laws of marketing is also one of the most counterintuitive. As such, many companies just get it plain wrong - with their brand and sales suffering as a result. Now, you don’t have to:


To maximize sales you’ve got to minimize the number of consumers you target.


Yes, you read it right. To many, this makes no sense, but in reality it forms the basis of effective brand strategy. Let me explain.


One of the biggest mistakes in business is the impulse to broaden the focus of one’s product appeal and marketing messages so as to cater to the most people. The idea is to cast a wide net with which to attract the most consumers. While this might seem logical, it is a common and often fatal marketing mistake.


To create the strongest brand that drives the greatest financial results, a company must identify a core consumer target around which to focus both their product and marketing resources. This doesn’t mean that you don’t want to sell to anyone beyond that target. In fact, in some categories, most of your sales will not come from your consumer target. The decision flows from an analysis of where a company thinks it can gain the greatest traction in the marketplace.


Take Nike, for example. They create performance shoes and target the best athletes…


Posted by Michael B. Moore on December 8, 2014 at 10:30am


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