There is no doubt The United States of America is a patriotic nation. And there is no doubt our patriotism is heightened during the American holiday-filled summer. On Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and in the days between, we wave flags, we wear flags and we generally try to be as ‘merican as we can be.
Purchasing patriotism is part of the spirit. Sometimes inadvertently, we honor our country through the brands we buy. In a recent, 4th-fueled poll conducted by Brand Keys, groups of individuals from nine census regions around the country were surveyed on the brands they thought displayed the most patriotism. The results were compelling in their similarities: Smith & Wesson, Craftsman Tools, Wranglers, LL Bean, Marlboro, and the traditional, 20th century list goes on.
The poll favors an America of yore. Today the American consumer landscape is moving further and further from these tried and true wild, rugged, pioneer brands that used to depict our nation. The US is growing increasingly urban and ethnically diverse, and our cultural perspective is shifting as a result.
As the new face of the American consumer comes into focus, we propose three brands that will define American culture in the coming years. …Continue reading
The word, innovation, is so over used that it’s almost lost all meaning. Yet, as with all aspects of business, innovation evolves. Innovation will remain the process by which newness comes into the world, but the how of innovation is in flux. New business landscapes, new technologies, and the wearing out of old models require us to reimage how we innovate.
When we think of innovation we might think of Silicon Valley, Google, Apple, and schools like Stanford University. We might imagine brilliance being created everyday in these places, and the fumes of great ideas spewing out the windows of well designed buildings. And in fact, these are accurate portrayals of what innovation can look like. But it’s not the full story. Many businesses have misaligned views on how to achieve innovation. Employee motivation and collaboration is essential to innovate, but often businesses lack authenticity in these efforts. Keeping up with what’s current gives you a read on what’s in vogue, yet you don’t need to follow the entire world on Twitter to change your business. Culture is important; however you don’t need to have an office full of free thinkers to come up with something new. And you certainly don’t need a Mac to think differently.
There are a lot of beliefs that pervade the world of innovation. However, many of these beliefs have the potential to hold us back. Some of these beliefs are, in fact, myths: great stories that fail the test of reality. If we’re not careful, these myths of innovation can become barriers to our growth. …Continue reading
Businesses who fail to make connections with their customers in turn fail as businesses. And oddly enough, one of the key connection points companies lose sight of is through the product itself. When a product succeeds, it is produced with the customer in mind; it is made from quality materials, is created authentically, and harnesses a unique design. If businesses can be inspired to return their focus to the products they produce, they give themselves an opportunity to get ahead of the game. So, where do we look? Who creates products that capture these authentic qualities?
No one focuses on the product in a deeper way than the craftsman.
What makes craftsmanship remarkable? It is a notably old way of doing things, and it’s an incredibly slow way of doing things. Let’s be honest, using our hands and expending significant physical energy on a single product is downright archaic. This is why industry exists; it saves us from slaving over the loom or the flames of a hearth. But a product produced by a true craftsman is valued for its superior quality, authentic origins, and unique design. In today’s world, most of our products are produced in massive factories, assembled by a large work force and utilize highly complex processes. As a result, many consumers feel that they lose a connection to the products they buy.
It’s this disconnected mass-manufacturing process has left the door wide open for a new class of entrepreneurs. What can we learn from these craftsmen of the 21st century? As it turns out, quite a bit. …Continue reading
Adapting to change: Business lessons from the natural world
You’d be surprised at the lessons you can learn from a whale. Dr. Joy Reidenberg, professor of anatomy and functional morphology at Mt. Sinai, has made it her career to expose these lessons. Joy looks to nature for inspiration to solve human problems. Today we look to Joy for a new approach to a common business concern – adapting to change. Just as whales and other organisms have adapted to dramatic change in the natural environment, companies need to adapt to ever-changing business climate. What can we learn from the processes of change in nature that we can apply to our organizations? To answer this question, Joy discusses the evolution of whales and how nature can teach us some unique lessons. We also talked to David Aaker, Prophet’s Vice Chairman and the author of the best-selling book Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant, for a valuable business perspective. [Music brought to you by: Greenland]
From Prophet’s curator and provocateur team, Interested and Interesting is a monthly exploration of the business of brand, marketing, innovation, digital, design, and analytics. Hosts Geof and Josh introduce listeners to inspiring stories that engage and illustrate business principles in an abstract, provocative way. Our goal – to inspire listeners and liberate ideas to help drive business growth.
A key ingredient to success is to have a clear, realizable, impactful business strategy. But what is a business strategy? I developed my view for part of my book, Strategic Market Management (updated edition coming soon), and I deduced that four dimensions define it. The first concerns where you should compete, and the remaining three concern how you should compete.
The first dimension concerns the product-market investment strategy, the scope of the business and the dynamics and resource priorities within that scope. Which products should be offered, and which segments should be targeted? Which should get aggressive investment to enter or grow, which should get minimal investment, and which should be milked, exited or avoided? Where should growth come from? Options include bringing existing products to new markets (market expansion), bringing new products to existing markets (product expansion), or entering new product markets (diversification).
The seconddimension concerns the customer value proposition, which needs to be relevant and meaningful to the customer, reflected in the positioning of the product or service, sustainable over time and differentiated from competitors. In can involve elements such as providing good value (Wal-Mart), excellence on an attribute such as getting clothes clean (Tide), quality (Lexus), product line breadth (Amazon), innovative offerings (3M), personality that connects (Harley-Davidson), organizational values (saleforce.com), or a shared interest (Pampers and baby care). …Continue reading
Believe it or not, a successful bank robber might have more in common with your company’s social media strategy than you think. Both are fabled to result in fast gains that will set you apart from your competitors – But without a long term plan, you’re probably not walking away with much.
Significance, the magazine published by The Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association published a study after leading economists gained rare access to data provided by the British Bankers’ Association. With this unique opportunity, the scientists investigated an oft-unexplored economic phenomenon: The robbery of English banks. Their findings revealed some very interesting discoveries; chief amongst them was the mediocre gains achieved by successful bank robbers.
According to the study, the average take in a British heist per person, per robbery was only £12,706.60, or the equivalent to six months average wage in the UK.
Taking several factors into consideration – the number of robbers, the presence of weaponry in the crime, the total amount lost by the bank – the study was conclusive in its findings: Robbing banks in England is a pretty poor career move.
These findings fly in the face of the smash and grab, get-rich-quick perception that has long been attached to bank heists. Perhaps it’s the cultural allure of crime; that unfamiliar, exotic, larger than life feeling that convince us the gains are worth the risk. Perhaps it’s the romanticizing of Dillinger or Hollywood’s Clive Owen. Either way, criminals are working very hard for very little.
So why should you care? Because your company might be doing the exact same thing.
For a few years now, the shiniest new toy in the digital marketplace has been the mobile app.
The proliferation has been amazing: The 1-millionth app went live as 2011 came to a close, and the pace has continued through 2012. The trend, Mobilewalla told the New York Times, has been 15,000 mobile app releases per week.
Everyone wants to get a piece of this pie. And why not? How can you argue with the huge consumer franchise Zynga has created with its With Friends games (Words, Scramble, Hanging, etc.)? Or Rovio’s Angry Birds? Or the way Flipboard has revolutionized mobile publishing? …Continue reading
There is often a business case to stretch a brand into an area that it just does not fit, even when shielded by a subbrand or as an endorser. The answer can be a shadow endorser.
BMW is a shadow endorser of the MINI Cooper. A shadow endorser brand is not connected visibly to the endorsed brand, but most consumers or potential customers know about the link or can be informed about it prior to purchase. It’s in the shadows. The fact that the brands are not visibly linked makes a statement about each brand. It communicates that the organization realizes that the shadow-endorsed brand represents a totally different product and market segment than other offerings connected to the endorser.
A shadow endorser can protect the endorser brand while still providing the reassurance that an endorsement provides. Every buyer of a MINI Cooper knows that it is made by BMW and will have the same quality and innovation standards, even though it’s a cut below the BMW line. But the BMW owner does not connect the two, and thus the emotional and self-expressive benefits connected to the BMW are not in jeopardy.