Every year, about this time, I look forward to this 3 minute film Google puts together – looking back at the year in search. As a marketer, it was amazing to see how much brands were involved in the events of the year. From Red Bull to Adidas, to NatGeo – 2012 was definitely the Year of the Brand.
If you watched the Academy Awards on Sunday, you’ll know that the Hurt Locker was the big winner of the bunch. However, as a marketer I found one nomination and subsequent victory to be very interesting – the winner of the animated short film category: Logorama. This is a film entirely dedicated to brands. They do a marvelous job of incorporating hundreds of logos in a compelling and entertaining short…don’t take my word for it – the entire spot is embedded below. I’m still trying to find our Intel logo in the mix… if you find it – leave a comment with the timestamp of where in the video it is…
We’ve all seen the writing on the wall for some time now – MTV is not really a TV station dedicated to music anymore – and it hasn’t been for quite some time. Last week – they made it official, with a very deliberate change in their iconic logo and tagline. For the first time in 30 years, you won’t see the tagline ‘Music Television’ as part of their logo – on air, online, or in print. It’s not surprising really – we’ve seen the media leader change from the attitude of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ to ‘Reality Bites’. Gone are the video mega-hits like Thriller or Vogue. In their place? Jersey Shore & 16 and Pregnant. As a product of the 80′s and 90′s and countless hours spent singing along to my favorite artists as they told a musical story through the magic of video I must admit, I’m disappointed. MTV – I’d hoped for better from you…what I get is a dose of reality…TV, that is.
Honestly, this campaign baffles me a bit – hasn’t the Internet always been ours? Now Yahoo is giving us the persmission to actually state that obvious fact? Apparently so, and it is costing them $100M to grant that permission. Reading a summary of the campaign announcement on the Wall Street Journal’s Digits Blog, I found myself shaking my head – until I read one of the user comments that summed up my feelings in one sentence:
badgett wrote: No new core value proposition =>wacky marketing
Well said. Perhaps Yahoo should go back to the drawing board on this one. Working at Intel for the last 10 years, I’ve been through my share of rebranding efforts and this one has several components that are, frankly, similar to our current campaign with the most obvious being an updated soundmark – an auditory, recognizable symbol of a company. According to the WSJ article:
“The rebranding effort includes a modified version of Yahoo’s well-known yodel, something she called ‘an essential part of Yahoo’s DNA, but I think we have to admit it’s a bit dusty.’ Yahoo will use several new yodels, and the new campaign ends with one sung by a choir that ends with children’s laughter.”
Interesting… oddly similar to the way we end our newest TV spots. Coincidence or Flattery?
I’m usually pretty in tune with the news about the company I work for, but this one must have slipped by me in the last few months. At the end of April Millward Brown released their report on the top 100 most valuable global brands. Intel comes in at #23 (up from #27 last year) at a value of nearly $23 billion with a modest gain in value of 4%. Not bad in these economic times, but we are still behind several other technology companies (Google, Microsoft, and Apple to name a few) in terms of both rank and % gain in value. What was very surprising to me is that Blackberry made a massive move over the last year – gaining an astounding 100% in value to be the largest mover in the tech sector. Blackberry is on a roll, having jumped 390% in 2008. Pretty impressive. Looking forward to the 2010 results to see how we respond.
Working at a very recognizable high tech company for the last 10 years (and a smaller, yet equally recognizable one for the 5 years prior) has taught me a lot about what companies think about when they proclaim ‘Leadership’ in their space. At Intel, on the back of our employee badges, we have our ‘Values’. Those values revolve around Customer Orientation, Discipline, and Quality – to name a few. One sub-bullet under the value of Quality stands out to me and it says “Do the right things right”. I think that’s a great line and is applicable to so many aspects of the business. I peek at our values from time to time – mostly when I am writing my self assessment around review periods or mapping a project justification document to the core tenants upon which our company was built. Today I was compelled to review them again after reading a guest post on Fast Company by Paul Worthington. He made a great observation about the power of the customer and the responsibility of brands to lead in their space.
He negates (well, at least cautions against) a popular and rampant belief that, with the power of Social Media and direct feedback, the customer is absolutely in charge and brands must simply accept that as fact. I appreciated how he urged brands to take control of their own fate and do more. Not just with their customers, but also in how they square off with their challengers. He summarizes his observation of what makes brands leaders in their space in three lines:
- Innovate by leading your customer
- Create amazing experiences
- Get involved with the conversation
Three very simple tenants that every brand leader must heed. #3, in my opinion, is probably the most important and could be the potential foundation for the other two to build off of. It all starts with understanding what your customer is expecting from your brand. By listening to, and incorporating their input into, your traditional product development cycle a brand will be better equipped to ‘create an amazing experience’ for current and future customers. Some brands ‘get’ this far more intuitively than other brands. At Intel, we are getting better with #3 and it makes me proud of the team that is helping move that discipline forward.
Hat tip to Paul Worthington for a well thought out post.
CNN Money reports today that in at least one Seattle location, Starbucks is undergoing an identity change and swapping out it’s globally recognized brand name in favor of a more local ‘flavor’ – naming each store to reflect it’s neighborhood location. In addition to this name change, Starbucks is planning on also transforming the experience the customer has within the store itself. Beyond their trademark coffee and tea offerings they are planning on adding beer and wine to the beverage list and ‘opening stores with a more sophisticated tone that hearkens back to its early coffeehouse days‘.
It’s an interesting move. Starbucks has faced declining sales in the last year as the economy has pulled back and the customer is closely watching their pocketbook in the face of financial uncertainties. Premium coffee habits have given way to more pressing needs in the minds of consumers. Will changing a globally recognized brand name and revamping the customer experience inside the store help this?
From my perspective, they should have tapped into their thriving community to see what they thought of the idea. They clearly have a valued and active area for people to share their thoughts and wishes – why not ask for something back from that same community when Starbucks is testing a new concept? That would have been the smart move. This will be an interesting one to watch. Now instead of grabbing a ‘Starbucks’, I guess at least some coffee addicts in Seattle will be grabbing a 15th Ave Coffee. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Then again, you can’t get a beer at a Starbucks so they’ve got that going for them!