Anti-French. Pro-American. Green?!?!?!

2/22/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Cadillac ELR
General Motor's Cadillac has a fascinating, complex ad that plays with so many stereotypes it's dizzying. Anti-French/European. Pro-American. Trophy wife. Going to the moon?--No problem. American ingenuity and "winning" attitude.  All in the service of -- an electric car!

That's Cadillac Global's CMO, Uwe Ellinghaus's effort to reinterpret cultural and brand stereotypes. (Just for the record, Ellinghaus came to Cadillac from senior marketing positions at Montblanc International and BMW AG which are . . . European.)

Uwe Ellinghaus
CMO, Cadillac Global
It will be fascinating to see if this ad campaign works. Audi, you might remember, used to be an old fuddy-duddy brand, till VW re-imagined and re-branded it.  Ford has failed with rebranding strategy for Lincoln. But maybe GM has a winning approach for Cadillac. In recent years, Cadillac has won serious industry awards and media attention.

Is it possible that Cadillac may become a brand success icon of the 21st Century?

(And for any of you who are not history buffs, just a reminder -- the 1902-created auto brand is named after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, a French explorer of North America in the early 18th Century whose adventures led him from from Nova Scotia to New Orleans to . . . . Detroit.)

Linda Kaplan Thaler joins BIC advisory board

2/15/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Linda Kaplan Thaler
Publicis Kaplan Thaler
On February 14, 2014, Professor Nancy R. Tag, Program Director of the City College of New York, MPS degree program in Branding + Integrated Communications (BIC), announced that Linda Kaplan Thaler, Chair of Publicis Kaplan Thaler, has joined the BIC Advisory Board.

Linda Kaplan Thaler, an alumna of the City College of New York, has created some of the most successful and memorable advertising in America. Much of her work has become part of pop culture, including the Toys R’ Us “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” jingle, Kodak Moments, Clairol Herbal Essences’ “Yes, Yes, Yes” campaign and the Aflac duck.

Ms. Thaler is Chairman of the U.S. flagship office of Publicis Worldwide and its blue-chip client roster, including P&G, CITI, NestlĂ©, L’Oreal, Merck, Pfizer and Wendy’s, among many others. Previously, Linda was CEO and Chief Creative Officer of the Kaplan Thaler Group, which she founded in 1997 and grew from a fledgling start-up to a company with over $1 billion in billings. In 2013, the Kaplan Thaler Group merged with Publicis New York to form Publicis Kaplan Thaler.

She is also a best-selling author and television personality. Her three collaborations with coauthor Robin Koval, Bang!, The Power of Nice, and The Power of Small, have all received national recognition. In 2005, Linda hosted the Oxygen television series “Making It Big,” and she has also appeared on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” as a judge. Her creative talents have earned her the prestigious MATRIX Award for Women in Communications and she was recognized in 2012 by Advertising Age as one of the "100 Most Influential Women in Advertising." She has also earned the Advertising Woman of the Year Award from AWNY, the New York Women in Film and Television’s Muse Award and 13 Clio’s, among many others.

Ms. Thaler joins the BIC Advisory Members, David Sable, CEO of Young & Rubicam; Barri Rafferty, CEO North America, Ketchum PR; Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer Global, GroupM; and Peter Finn, Founding Partner, Finn Partners Public Relations.

IBM brand architect on brand as business strategy

2/12/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Forbes today published excerpts from a discussion between Forbes contributor, Allen Adamson, and a real tried-and-tested branding professional, Randy Golden, who was a senior executive in the corporate brand architecture and design group at IBM for over twenty years.

The discussion circles around, in several ways, the concept of the corporate brand being "in the DNA" of a company -- not just in the advertising -- understood and lived by all levels of employees. They make the case for branding as a business strategy. Golden says, "It was the responsibility of the brand team to identify, prioritize, and build intgrated systems for presenting the IBM brand across all of the global business units and the numerous departments, products and programs."

Golden continues, "The challenge in big companies is the ability to act and behave across the business in a way that is consistent with the core brand. . . . [At IBM] Management knew that the brand and its values needed to guide all organizational behavior. It had to be the infrastructure around which everything else was developed. Advertising needs to be an integrated part of the overall brand presentation, but not the driver."

Adamson concurs: "If stakeholders, employees, can't understand how the brand character and messaging should be deployed in their individual areas of business, how this allows them to differentiate the brand in the minds of consumers, no amount of advertising can help. You have to get them to be able to internalize it, act on it in their world."

You can never coast on past performance?

2/10/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

James Surowiecki writes "Twilight of the Brands" in The New Yorker this week explores his view of the fragility of brands in an information-rich and an empowered-consumer marketplace: "consumers are supremely well informed and far more likely to investigate the real value of products than to rely on logos."  He makes the case for a significant erosion of brand loyalty ("Only twenty-five percent of American respondetns in a recent Ernst & Young study said that brand loyalty affected how they shopped"). Surowiecki thinks consumers are the winners; established brands are the losers -- comparison shopping is amazingly easy; upstart competitors can challenge market-dominant players.  In an off-hand comments, however, he underplays a critical point: "brands retain value where the brand association is integral to the experience of a product . . . or where they confer status." If that's true, then brands just might be more important than ever as brands need to lure the consumer to trial -- and as many brands may have minimal distinguishing features.

Brands protecting their Sochi investment

2/10/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Mashable's T. L. Stanley reported yesterday on the social media manpower being deployed by Olympic global sponsors to protect any online attacks from critics of Russia and the local game organization.  Especially after McDonald's #CheersToSochi campaign got co-opted by civil rights activists, Olympic sponsors have geared up their monitoring and response capabilities.  Visa, to cite just one example, has teams from multiple agencies -- BBDO Worldwide, Atmosphere Proximity, Omnicom's OMD, MRY, and FleishmanHillard all on the look-out for social opportunities as well as potential problems.

The smartest branding thinkers are pausing and thinking before they hit the send key. "There's a real downside to lobbing your hat into the conversation if you don't have anything relevant to say or the credibility to say it," said David Srere, co-CEO of strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale. "Silencee can be golden."

No smoking

2/05/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

CVS Caremark's President/CEO
announces the pharmacy's plan to stop
selling all tobacco products 
CVS/Caremark made a strong brand move today with its announcement of its intention to phase out sale of all tobacco products before the end of 2014 -- and the potential loss of $2 billion in annual sales. The move clearly distinguishes CVS/Caremark from Walgreens and Rite-Aid. We will see if CVS/Caremark is a leader, or whether this action will create a new brand category of health-oriented retailing.