Archive for January, 2012

Get BRITE – Or – World Premier of Columbia U/NYAMA CMO Study

You are not alone…there are other corporate marketers facing the same dilemma of managing their communications across social media, mobile, online, tv, print.

Now you can learn from them.  What is working?  How do they measure ROI? How the hell do we make sense out of all that data?

Introducing the BRITE/NYAMA CMO Study.  The world premier will be at the BRITE conference on March 5th in New York City.

Stay tuned for more details!

Brand China and Apple’s Image

My last post was about the image of China as a brand and as home to a number of Chinese brands.

Around the same time the New York Times was running a series of articles about the working conditions at some of the largest Chinese manufacturers — companies that are contracted to make products for Apple, Dell, HP, Nike and many other “American” brands.

Made-in-China has carried a stigma for a number of years because the country has been linked to many counterfeit and defective products.  These range from microchips to medicines — and have poisoned people and animals as well as destroyed computers, interrupted communications networks and caused other physical damage.

Now the spotlight is on working conditions in Chinese factories.   Moral outrage at sweatshops is part of American culture.  It made headlines when Wal-Mart locked the cleaning staff in overnight.  We get up in arms when chickens don’t have enough elbow room (or whatever is the chicken equivalent of elbows).  So it should be no surprise when the treatment of workers in China becomes a focal point.

Made-in-China is taking on the image of high tech sweatshops.

And that made-in-China label is very visibly, very publicly tarnishing Apple’s image.  A few days ago it was the NY Time’s big headlines on the human cost of iPads.  Before that it was a Times story on the iPhone.   The NY Times stories have been picked up and amplified across the media.  Here’s Bob Garfield writing in  Bob Garfield on the rot in Apple’s image

Will these revelations slow down the pace of Apple’s sales?  I doubt it.  But it will hurt Apple’s image in several important areas, particularly recruitment of the best and brightest and regulatory scrutiny.

This is an example of why reinventing the marketing model must include corporate image and corporate reputation.  Nike learned it the hard way and is now an exemplar.  The new reality in North America and Europe is that we want to know about the people and values of companies, not just the prices and products.

Chinese Brands and Brand China

Do the origins of a brand shape the perceptions of the brand?

Yes!  No!  A more accurate response might be, Maybe!  It all Depends!

This is a question that Chinese brands are facing every day now.  For more than a decade the rise of Chinese exports has captured the front pages and led to predictions that Chinese brand will soon breakthrough to become powerful global brands. Haier.  Lenovo.  Huwaei.

It hasn’t happened yet.  For some insights, here’s Columbia’s Professor Don Sexton discussing the state of Chinese brands:

Prof Don Sexton on Chinese Brands

Professor Don Sexton

Brand That Place – or – George Washington Slept Here

In today’s NY Post there is a swell piece about Brooklyn as a brand.  And, yes, that is me being quoted.

My first experience of branding a place was spending some of my cavity prone years in Morristown, NJ.  Everywhere you look there is a plaque about George Washington.  George Washington Slept Here (A Lot) is pretty much the town’s unofficial slogan.

Best of all in Morristown is Fort Nonsense.  Basically it is just a hill. The story is that George Washington had his men build fortifications, dig trenches and put up a guard house on the hill for the sole purpose of  keeping the soldiers busy during the winter months.  It was never used and soon reverted back to its natural state as a hill.   All that remains are plaques on the hill, telling its unique narrative.

Fort Nonsense is such a wonderful name and a wonderful example of how branding a place can create a legend.  The story carries so much value that today a plain hill is a historical landmark and a national park!

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