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NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, established his brand leadership within a few months after taking office from longtime commissioner David Stern. Adam Silver made his first major decision as NBA commissioner by banning embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life after allegations of making racist comments. This was definitely a tough decision given all the dynamics that take place, but I applaude the NBA and Adam Silver with the decision they made. Their brand image has never been higher in my mind and I believe standing up for what is right in today’s world goes a long long long way in the mind of players, fans, customers, employees and the world population at large…

We are currently learning about the importance of personal branding in our 15.846 Branding class at MIT Sloan. My perspective going into classes this week is that personal branding is very similar to one’s own reputation. It take years and years to build a reputation and only minutes to destroy it. You have to protect your brand, always looking for ways to improve and maintain it. Just like you have to protect your reputation. The first thing that came into my mind with regards to personal brand leadership is Lance Armstrong. He built up quite a reputation and brand surrounding him after winning 7 Tour de Frances and overcoming cancer. As a result, people often associate determination, commitment, sacrifice, hard work, and winning with Lance Armstrong. However, his personal brand all came crumbling down when the rumor of doping became truth. It not only takes great skill and hard work to build a personal brand, but it takes even more effort and dedication to maintain your brand and not sacrifice everything you have built up, event when it might be easier…

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Personal Branding = Leadership Requirement, Not Self-Promotion

We are currently learning about the importance of personal branding in our #branding class at #MITSloan. As a complete new concept to me, I was quite surprised to find so many articles and blogs online regarding personal branding…

"View your personal brand as a trademark; an asset that you must protect while continuously molding and shaping it."

More to come on this topic.

My personal brand is currently under construction…My Personal Brand is currently under construction...

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Recently in Branding Class at MIT Sloan, we learned about the “new importance” of customer loyalty and advocacy. Marketers in today’s world are moving beyond identifying, raising awareness/preference and ultimately influencing the purchasing decision of its customers and focusing instead on the improving advocacy and loyalty. With the rise of social media, marketers prefer their customers to talk about their great experience with the brand with the hopes that people will follow.

I am a current and loyal customer to First Republic Bank. It is a regional bank with operations in California, New York and Massachusetts. However, it is one of the only businesses I have seen recently that still uses “customer testimonials” in an effective manner. First Republic engages with its current clients by having them speak out openly (and positively) in advertisements regarding the high quality service and loyalty to the bank. When I see these signs up it reconfirms by feelings and loyalty to the brand. If I were not already a customer, I believe I would quickly become one. Other people’s loyalty is contagious - that is a fact.

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After reading the Intel Inside case, I came to appreciate the importance of building a brand around something that consumers do not directly understand, nor want to understand. I know very little about computers or microprocessors, but definitely have come to appreciate the value of owning a desktop or laptop made with Intel chips. Just the logo on the computer makes me feel comfortable about the quality of the product and provides reassurance that the performance will be great.

I immediately thought of how microprocessors (Intel) is similar to car engines (Rolls Royce). I have bought a handful of cars in my short lifetime, but I have never really given much thought to they type or quality of the engine inside the car. Again, I know very little about engines or how cars (exactly) work, but I definitely appreciate the brand. If someone tells me the engine is a Rolls Royce engine, I immediately put a stamp of approval on the product and assume the performance is going to be great.

My big takeaway is that products that consumers a) know little about or b) do not ascribe enough value to, should focus on building a strong brand identity and brand equity to get consumers more comfortable on the product and increase their willingness to pay for the product.

To this day, I will not buy a computer unless it has an Intel Chip inside!

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When can your brand be too much of a good thing?

As companies attempt to sell more products through licensing agreements, the brand image and cachet can be negatively impacted. As we found out studying the history of Burberry, a company rich with tradition and a brand symbolizing both luxury and durability achieved too much success in the mid-1990’s and licensing agreements and lack of brand control led Burberry to saturate the market with all sorts of related Burberry products. While the bottom line might have benefited in the short-run, the company’s brand image and appeal to its target customer base began to fade as the over-extended product lost much of its exclusivity and product became available for sale in retail environments and geographic areas inconsistent with its brand value proposition. However, CEO Rose Marie Bravo was able to right the ship and return Burberry to its aspirational, functional and fashionable roots. Rather than expanding SKUs, often the right decision is to limit the number of products available for sale. In addition, rather than tarnish the brand through licensing agreements to make an extra buck in the short-term, sometimes the right decision is to pull back and put more control and oversight over the use of your brand. The Burberry story provides a valuable a branding lesson for how to maintain and sustain your brand while remaining relevant to your customers.

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"SIA is not a transportation company; it was a unique travel experience"

Singapore Airlines built its brand and reputation by delivering the highest level of customer service possible in an industry that traditionally did not focus on customer service. SIA built a culture and designed its operations with the goal of providing exceptional in-flight service. This strategy resulted in a small, regional player in Asia dominating the long-haul flight market throughout the world. However, as in any industry, success attracts competition. With above industry profits, a loyal customer base, and high marks for its customer service, SIA soon began to experience increased competitive pressures from BA and other airlines. However, SIA continued to invest not only in its service offering, but in the talent and training programs for its employees. “Competitors may offer the same hardware…but the software is hard to imitate or emulate”. Even with other airlines providing as comfortable seats, gourmet food, in-flight entertainment systems, etc, Singapore Airlines still maintained an advantage because of the culture of the airline was deeply rooted excellent customer service. In my opinion, the management and employees of Singapore Airlines built its brand and are responsible for maintaining that brand in the face of competition. Anyone can buy a fancy brand new car, but at the end of the day you need someone that knows how to drive it…

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I have never really thought about how wine labels and regions can induce my sensory expectations when it comes to ordering and buying wine. However, when I think about ordering a bottle of wine at a restaurant, I immediately first look first to regions I associate with good wine - certain parts of France, Italy, Argentina and California. If I do not recognize any of the wine brands on the list, I always look for wines produced in certain areas where I’ve enjoyed wine before. At first I thought this was because I was being safe and less adventurous. However, now I realize that the “various cues of quality, such as origin, name, or label of a wine might influence one’s expected taste of the wine”. Now it makes more sense to me why you see more organizations, countries and states marketing the wine from their regions than the actual wineries themselves.

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professorgosline:

kdbranding:

The likelihood of success for a new product can be analyzed using traditional Product Diffusion Theory.  However, some products, that are expected to never bridge “the chasm” or to gain traction do to their small addressable consumer segment, are wildly successful.  CNBC outlined 11 such products that surprisingly made millions.  However, on deeper inspection, the success of these products could have been predicted because, although they may be considered quirky, they fill a consumer need and have several underlying characteristics that are strong predictors of success.  Examples include:

Doggles:

  • Large market size (dog owners)
  • Focused market (it’s easy to identify who to market to)
  • Low price point (if your dog doesn’t like it, you didn’t waste much money)          
  • Easy customer access (sold at PetCo, PetSmart, Amazon, and several other online channels)

Clocky:

  • Large market size (the majority of people hit the snooze button in the morning more than they wish they did)
  • Little need to educate people on their need for the product (everyone who has this issue is aware of it)
  • Little need to educate people on the product itself (it’s fairly intuitive and low-tech)
  • Easy customer access (sold at Best Buy, Brookstone, Amazon, and other online channels)

FitDeck:

  • Large market (everyone wants to get healthier)
  • Low price point (not a large hurdle to try the product; cheaper than a gym membership)
  • Little need to educate people on their need for the product
  • Little need to educate people on the product itself
  • Easy / moderate customer access (sold on Amazon, FitDeck online store, and other online channels)

#mitbranding #mitsloanbranding

Nice post!

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After spending five weeks in the classroom and two weeks on the ground studying branding from a global perspective, I feel like I have finally achieved clarity surrounding what makes a brand a Brand.

“A brand is a promise – a promise of an experience”

Through our learning in four countries, I learned how brands craft their image, how brands shape the world, how you can destroy a brand, and the importance of national and political branding. I also learned about the brand authenticity and the importance of consistency in all facets of branding. I learned about how to write a tight creative brief and get out of the way so the creative folks can do their thing.

Most importantly, I learned that when it comes to branding, you have to leave your classroom, cubicle, couch or any stationary state of mind and get into the field. Push yourself to get into the mind of the consumer. Find a group of 26 friends and colleagues, grab your passport and go see the world through the lenses of Dan Draper, David Ogilvy and Renee Gosline. See firsthand what consumers need, want and how they act – then never look back.

I want to say thank you to my fellow classmates, professors and administrators who joined me on this seven week branding adventure that took us all over the world.

"Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand." - David Ogilvy

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Corona is an amazing story about how a brand with some creative marketing became the best-selling imported beer in the United States. I personally cannot think or look at a beach without automatically thinking of Corona. Corona. Aspirational. Find Your Beach.

Black and Decker - if you try too hard to be everything to everyone, you run the risk of alienating customers. #True or #False

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professorgosline:

Our trip to meet with the CEO and Executives at STL, parent company of the Carolina Herrera, Purificación Garcia, and Dominio do Bibei wine brands, was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. From the moment we arrived, we were in awe of the beauty, kindness, and humility of our hosts.

We began with a presentation on the STL brand architecture (its House of Brands). It’s funny — prior to my visit, I associated the Carolina Herrera label with three things: the iconic white shirt, red carpet couture, and an older sophisticated clientele. After our visit, I realized that the brand is so much more. It is luxury with energy, or “upbeat elegance,” as they say at STL. The students felt likewise and now view themselves as the brand’s target audience.

We were impressed not only by the STL brands, but also by the executives’ personal leadership styles. They are phenomenal brand ambassadors who are clearly passionately dedicated to quality and style. Their graciousness as hosts extends to the Carolina Herrera brand: they offer impeccable customer service, should your bag experience damage.

We were treated to a two-part tour. First, we toured the Carolina Herrera factory. There, we saw exceptional craftsmanship and quality. The leather goods are hand-made and hand-stitched. Exquisite. The patterns are fresh and vibrant. And the shoes, oh, the shoes! You can see for yourself; the Carolina Herrera brand is truly unique and enticing.

Thinking about brand strategy issues, I couldn’t help but think that there are some great research projects going on at MIT that could be relevant for STL. For instance, translating the luxury experience to the e-commerce environment, the role of storytelling in building brand equity, and balancing the tension between exclusivity and accessibility. It would be great to continue this relationship with experiment-based collaborative research.

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Quick stop at airport location of CH Carolina Herrera. Curious as to why company would open a shop in Madrid airport. Increase brand awareness or dilute premium image?

#everydayI’mTumblin’

Co-Branding? Only in Europe! Fake it till you make it!