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Walmart recently announced a new CEO, Doug McMillon - a long time insider. Leadership changes are prime opportunities for corporate introspection and reassessment. Is the company heading toward its highest and best strategic aspiration? Is it on an optimal path to get there? Is the current direction consistent with the new leadership’s vision and capabilities. Etc.
The Walton family, via Walmart, has created historic wealth by becoming the beacon for low price retailing. This approach has been nothing less than spectacular. With a market capitalization of $240 billion, there are only five or six companies in the entire world worth more. That said, McMillon has the obligation to ensure that the company is on the right path and that he will appropriately build on the foundation of his predecessors.
As such, it is important to note that selling products via big box retail stores is, most likely, merely a strategy to maximize shareholder value. Offering consistently low prices is their primary tactic. Companies must never become overly or romantically attached to business models - strategies, tactics, products, marketing campaigns etc. They should be embraced only for so long as they serve the company.
Posted by Michael B. Moore on December 5, 2013 at 8:30am
I was in the Tampa airport this weekend and saw this billboard, which prompted a few (perhaps cynical?) thoughts. All of us have seen advertising that proclaims the brand name and then “Since 19XX” - whatever the year of their founding. Usually, we see this with brands that have been around “forever” and are staples with consumers. Either that, or it is the polar opposite situation; brands that we’ve never heard of before - perhaps entering a new market or re-engaging with consumers after a long hiatus.
Where this approach works brilliantly is with local establishments, products or services being marketed to tourists. If I'm new to town, I want to know that something has been around for awhile. I want to experience this local gem for myself! …Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on December 2, 2013 at 12:30pm
Positioning is the DNA of a brand. It defines its personality, look, feel, and message. Everything that touches consumers should flow from this strategic blueprint. Companies select which consumers to market to based upon business factors, and then the brand positioning is constructed to determine what to say and how to engage with them to maximize brand preference and purchase.
This is Branding 101. It is taught in every business school in the world, and is de rigeur at consumer packaged goods companies. That’s why I was profoundly confused at the positioning paradox I found on my first brand, in 1992, when I went to work at one of the largest and best marketing companies.
Mello Yello is a tiny, tactical citrus soft drink brand at the Coca-Cola Company. It was created in 1979 so Coke bottlers could compete with Mountain Dew. Traditionally sold in the U.S. southeast, it is a high caffeine, high sugar, but low carbonation drink. It’s primary claim to fame is that Tom Cruise drove a Mello Yello car in the movie “Days of Thunder”. More credibly, Kyle Petty drove a real Mello Yello car to some success in NASCAR back in the 90’s.
Posted by Michael B. Moore on November 22, 2013 at 9:30pm
I had an experience over the weekend that brought into focus one of the most important laws of branding. I frequently talk and blog, and always advise clients, about the importance of understanding that absolutely everything they do - in one way or another - contributes to either building or eroding their brand. My admonitions about this were made manifest on Friday night.
I took something of a trek this weekend. I drove 13 hours, attended an event, and then headed to the hotel for some very much needed rest. I made my reservation earlier in the week through Priceline.com. I had used them a time or two in the past and definitely appreciate the savings they can provide. Despite the reservation, when I got there the hotel had no space; there wasn’t a room for me. After all that I had gone through that day (getting up at 2 AM, driving almost 900 miles, etc.), at around midnight - totally exhausted in every way - and in an unfamiliar city - I was without a place to lay my head.
I called Priceline’s toll free customer service number and it took me about 15 minutes to maneuver through the unusually circuitous - perpetually looped - automated system before I got to a live human being. She then had to transfer me to another person - which took another 20 minutes of waiting. That…Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on November 13, 2013 at 11:00am
Most large consumer companies understand the profound power of leveraging emotion to maximize the impact of their advertising. Celebrating the emotional potential of their product pulls consumers in and gives them an even more compelling reason - beyond just features and benefits - to want what you’re selling. To be sure, a product’s ultimate impact is not just what it does, but how it makes us feel. As such, advertisers are smart to include this in marketing and sales messages. These days, this is not revolutionary, or even particularly controversial, thinking. That’s why it surprises me so much when I see ads (pretty much) devoid of these appeals from companies that should know better.
Take this Samsung ad for its Galaxy Note 3 phone. I haven’t seen the research but I’m guessing that Samsung is targeting early adopter cell phone and technology consumers. I’m also guessing that those folks are most influenced by really smart and innovative “bells and whistles”. To that end, this ad does a great job of presenting this phone’s cool new functionality. Although some may not see the heavy reliance on a stylus as a step forward, the way the phone manages output from the stylus seems (and this is a technical term) “way cool”!
Samsung delivered a well produced ad that highlights the unique ways that their new phone is special. This sounds logical enough when targeting these consumers, but the approach…Continue
Posted by Michael B. Moore on November 4, 2013 at 12:30pm
I have marketing conversations frequently about the importance of ensuring that every consumer touch point (every way that a brand interacts with its consumers) is wholly consistent with its brand positioning and marketing strategy. While leveraging consumer insights to develop the most compelling thing to say, and then being consistent in saying it may sound logical, you’d be surprised how many forget this - both on the client and agency side. In that spirit, I thought I’d share WHY this alignment is so important.
Ensuring that all consumer touch points are ‘on strategy’ is critical for three primary reasons:
Integrity: having brand messages or experiences that are inconsistent is like a country music radio station playing rap. It just doesn't make sense and confuses consumers as to who you really are. Most examples are less obvious (perhaps a classic rock station playing grunge), but nonetheless have no choice but to negatively impact brand perception and sales.
Efficiency: If you've taken the time to develop a thoughtful…
Posted by Michael B. Moore on September 17, 2013 at 1:00pm