Making Meaning

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This book was a little more focused on large corporations than I was expecting (eg: they discuss hiring ethnographers to roll out new services to foreign markets), but it had some ideas that really resonated with me. This passage describes my philosophy about brand development nicely:

Experience branding is a company’s effort to be consistent in its value proposition and its expression in every connection to the consumer.

I also marked the comprehensive – but not exhaustive – list of universally valued experiences. Of the 15 presented, I really think wonder, accomplishment, and community have the best potential for my future work.

Buy this book.

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This is a generic brand video

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This is (ironically?) produced by a stock footage company, partly to illustrate the quality of their footage that you can use in your own generic brand video.

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I was crushed to learn that this is fake

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Despite how much I wanted it to be real, it turns out that this screen grab is fake. But trying to verify its authenticity reveals an interesting comparison of corporate run Twitter accounts.

I started by looking at the Cottonelle Twitter feed which reveals a boring one-way broadcast of corporate written marketing messages. It’s as boring as their product. No mention of this screengrab, though you can see the actual tweet that kicks off the war.

Then I had a look at the Charmin feed, where they recently tweeted that it was fake (I can only imagine that the “it” in question is the screengrab).

But then I had a look at the rest of their feed, and was surprised to see that there’s an actual personality here, and it’s entertaining. Here’s a funny tweet from earlier in the week:

 

Before today I didn’t have much of an opinion on this category beyond “not newspaper,” but now I am decidedly more fond of Charmin. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

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On the Power of Positioning

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A nice little story about positioning from Office Depot.

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Don’t Waste Your Customer’s Time

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Marketers require empathy for their customers. Having some compassion and respect for your customer’s time is a necessary part of building a brand that is taken seriously by its audience.

Here are two easy ways to undo that work:

Website Surveys

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Here’s a great explanation of the problem with these site surveys, from Neven Mrgn:

As you’re about to take that first bite of your food, the server puts a comment card between you and the plate: PLEASE RATE OUR RESTAURANT

Pointless Emails

From Zach Holman:

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Kill me if I ever work for a company that carpet bombs their customers with shit like this.

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Steve Jobs Branding Lecture from 1997

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The thing that stuck in my head about his explanation of branding is the notion that the audience has so little room in their memory for your brand, that you had better distill your core values – things that your brand believes and will never stop believing – into a concise message that you apply consistently.

Some of the other rules of advertising he lays out, Apple would go on to break in the next 15 years (or so). The famous “I’m a Mac” campaign was devoted entirely to talking about Apple’s rival, Windows.

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Maentis: Universal Unbranding

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The Maentis art collective has created this series of satirical logos. Some of these are pretty clever.

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This diagram illustrates how marketing works to fight the natural tendency for your brand to drift from being a specialty to being a commodity.

Also, these questions can be used to help spur creative insights:

  • What do customers hate about our category?
  • What are the top 3 things on our ceo’s agenda?
  • What deeper need can we satisfy?
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A one-off logo for a debate society.

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