Posts Tagged 'narrative branding'

APPLE Loves Verse! Yes, We Will Be Your Verse!

This morning we discovered that Apple has written a love letter to us, Verse Group! And Apple put it right on the front page of the New York Times. Cheeky! Yes, a little past Valentines day but we can live with that.

NYTimes

Apple’s Love Letter To Us!

Hello Apple, we love you too. We will be your verse.

Right up front we must tell you we’ve been in a nearly 20 year open relationship with Samsung. Our history together started when we co-created their global brand strategy that lifted them to world-class status. Yes, Samsung and Verse have had our ups and down, but the ups are wonderful. Apple, you might remember seeing the Samsung Mobile PIN Shops around London during the Olympics? But to be honest with you we were disappointed to discover Samsung was also spending time with other branding companies. It’s an open relationship, not exclusive.  After all, we are the Verse of Magellan Health, Lockheed-Martin, BridentQuest Diagnostics.

What I mean is that we will be your Verse.

WhatWillYourVerseBe

Apple, we love you back. All of Verse loves you, designs with you, communicates with you,  is vastly entertained by you. But until now you have been a bit stand-offish, practically ignoring me even though we were classmates of your sister Mona in grad school at Columbia (where she shone with her exceptional talent).  Apple, in all candor sometimes you have seemed downright, well, narcissistic, yes, basking in the love of millions. That was the past. We see how you have changed, have developed the emotional security to share your love.

Now you are declaring your love for Verse to the world!

Guess who is the Apple of our eye!

Thank you Apple. Thank you for recognizing that we are your Verse!

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Is The World Ready for TRUTH in Advertising? How About Next Week? How About $5,000?

It’s January.  Time to for you to enter the Clios, the One Show and the newest advertising competition of all… The Truth in Advertising Contest!

Sure, those statues and plaques from the other award shows are fun.  The awards dinners are fun.  But do you win $5,000?  Only The Truth in Advertising Contest gives the winner $5,000.  http://truthinadvertisingcontest.tumblr.com

And remember, there’s only one place where you can find TRUTH in advertising.  And that’s in the novel by John Kenney.

You can order it today, but you’ll have to wait until next week for the Truth In Advertising.  That’s when it goes on sale.

TruthInAdvertising

Learn more at:  simonandschuster.com/truthinadvertising/

Two Good Things For You

Good Thing #1: Get Social!

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, 12/4 is the annual NYAMA holiday party.  A great way to see friends, to network.  A great way  support post-Hurricaine Sandy rebuilding of NY.

Donations collected at the party will be made to the Mayor’s Fund for the Advancement of New York.  This fund has been at the forefront in helping the people and their communities who continue to suffer from the aftermath of October’s storm.

The party is from 6 to 8 pm.  It is being hosted by JWT at 466 Lexington Avenue.  You can sign up at nyama.org or pay at the door.

Hope to see you there!

 

Good Thing #2: Get Ahead

One of the two or three absolute best Branding and Marketing conferences of the year is put on by The Conference Board on January 31st & February 1st.    Each year Lee Hornick gathers together a terrific group of corporate marketing and branding executives.  This year he has put together a terrific program.

Speakers include:

  • Brian Angiolet the VP of Marketing at Verizon Wireless
  • Lisa Fawcett, the VP of Global Marketing at Coopervision
  • Niharika Shah, VP of Marketing and Advertising Strategy at Prudential Financial
  • Michael Babikian, EVP/CMO of Transamerica Corporation

Why am I so keen on this conference?

Three reasons:

1.  I went to this conference when I was developing the Narrative Branding method.  It gave me a chance to see if this breakthrough really addressed the issues of corporate marketers and agencies.  The feedback and insights and support that I found there were invaluable to me.

2.  The NYAMA is a sponsor this year because we recognize this important forum for developing and celebrating brilliance in marketing.  Senior people from around the country will gather for two days to exchange ideas.

3. It’s at the Westin Hotel, about 30 feet from my office.  How could I not go?

I hope to see you at both of these great events!

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Today’s Branding Quote from Robert Frost

“Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.”  Robert Frost

A couple of days ago I was sitting in on a poetry class at the Kelly Writers House down at the University of Pennsylvania when this line from Frost popped into my mind.  Professor Al Filreis invited me to sit in on this class, the undergrad version of a course he’s teaching online to 35,000 people.

Yes, that’s right, 35,000 people are taking the same online poetry course taught by the same wonderful professor, going through close readings of modern poetry.

You could make a very compelling case that Mitt Romney lost the presidential election because of his carelessness with metaphors.  Among the memorable ones are“Binders full of women” and “47% of people…believe they are victims…” And he wasn’t helped by his spokesperson, Fehrnstrom who famously said of Romney’s ability to change positions:  “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.” 

So what does this have to do with marketing?  Remember a couple of years ago when Tropicana dropped it’s packaging metaphor of a straw in an orange?  The beautiful picture of OJ pouring into a glass was beautiful and vacuous.  People couldn’t find their Tropicana anymore.  In my house the comment was, “Why did you buy this instead of the regular OJ?”  It was an expensive headache for Pepsico, all because someone was not well educated in metaphor.

Almost single-handedly Al is going to educate us in metaphor for our own safety and for that of others around us.  Let’s join in to support Al and Kelly Writers House.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday 2 U-2

Not many companies have the staying power, the strong internal culture, to make it to the century mark.  Lockheed Martin is one of the few who do, who continue to be relevant to us today.  At Verse Group we are very proud to be helping Lockheed Martin tell their story of accelerating tomorrow.

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So this is also the year of big milestones for Oreos, Zurich Insurance, Citibank and Chevy.  What is most important about any branding program is making it relevant to us, the people who are going to be seeing the ads, going to the facebook pages and buying the products.  Okay, maybe we aren’t all in the market for an F-35.  But certainly Oreos!

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Oreos make their centennial relevant.

Citi and Zurich have missed the mark, they are rather more self-congratulatory than relevant.

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Cognitive Dissonance

In fact, Citibank’s advertising even features a shot of the Space Shuttle lifting off.   That really is something NASA accomplished with Lockheed Martin and a number of other vital corporations.  And you’ll see that Lockheed Martin’s centennial tells the story of our past century and how they’ve helped to accelerate the pace of innovation.  (note: updated with fixed links!)

 

 

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This has been a week of experiences for me.  “Brand Experience” is going to be the marketing buzzword of the year.  And not without reason.  So, here’s been my week:

First, I received a copy of The Apple Experience by Carmine Gallo (McGraw-Hill)

It’s a good primer into how Apple found success in retail after other computer companies had failed.   If you’re an Apple fanatic, then most of the book will be warm comfortable ground that you’ve been through before.

And if you aren’t the kind of person [or company] who obsessively benchmarks Brand Experiences, this is a great shortcut.

But Apple isn’t the only experience there is.  In many ways I find the Apple experience to be more about the sheer visual beauty of the stores, products and space.   There’s less than meets the eye, in some sense.  Try TD Bank to see just how much the actual experience overshadows the design.  Start by walking your dog into the branch and see how you are treated.  Now, go ahead to a nearby Citi location and try the same thing.

One complaint I have about Apple and Apple Stores is the feeling of being in a walled-in garden.  It is hermetic.  There is a built-in subversion, a paradox at the heart of the Apple Store.  Explicitly Apple is all about unleashing the creativity of people like you and me.  Implicitly, encoded in the heart of Apple is a “look at me, admire me, love me” sensibility, an extreme narcissism.  At it’s core Apple believes more in its own creativity than in yours or mine.

Second, I found this on Engadget:

Samsung promised one more surprise — and what it gave us was a special retail strategy. The company will be opening Mobile Pin locations, or glass-housed pop-up stores, to help showcase its new flagship phone [Samsung Galaxy S III launched in London earlier today]

Samsung Mobile PIN exterior from Engadget

Samsung Mobile PIN interior from Engadget

 

What’s Past Is Prologue – or – Ad Copy By Shakespeare

This just in from  forbes.com as retold by Michael Margolis

Storytelling is a hot business trend for a reason. In the face of growing cynicism and distrust, stores are how people decide if they belong in your tribe…. The brand story is what allows your message to travel.

Every brand has a founding myth, an epic narrative that explains how it came to be in this world. It’s important because it explains why you do what you do. If you’re clear about the end product you’re trying to create, you can use the past to help tell the story of your future.

Does every brand really have a founding myth?  No, but they should.  It’s like a back-story for an attraction at Disney World.  You may not know it but you can certainly sense it.
As the Bard once said, “what’s past is prologue”

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