Strong Amazon Corporate Image Protects Customer Loyalty Levels

Corporate Brand Helps Maintain Loyalty of Customers

Last week we wrote in The Monday Morning Marketing Memo blog that “nothing touches the customer more than how he or she perceives your corporate image.”

Research released this week concerning the Amazon brand by the YouGov BrandIndex Buzz score confirms this.

The research shows that, despite high levels of awareness of a recent NY Times negative story on the Amazon workplace, “the percentage of consumers who would consider buying from Amazon the next time they want to buy from a retail store dropped a mere two percentage points, from 72% to 70%.”

As these two points are within the study’s margin of error, the drop is not statistically meaningful.

The fundamental perception of the corporate image is a major factor that determines whether a customer will decide to conduct business with you and, more important, enter into a long-term and mutually rewarding relationship with your organization.

As we see in the case of Amazon, the over perception of the Amazon brand is significantly strong that even an exposé in the New York Times is not enough to the change buying habits and loyalty of consumers.

Amazon may have taken a short-term PR hit last month. But unless new revelations are released, it certainly appears that the powerful Amazon corporate image has warded off any hits to the loyalty of its customers.

Nike TVC: Don’t Listen to Words of Discouragement

Nike Korea TVC Motivates and Gives Chills

Every athlete, professional or amateur, has heard words of discouragement. Nike knows this.

Nike also knows that younger athletes often hear such negative comments from the very adults who should be encouraging them.

And that’s what makes this recent Nike commercial in Korea so powerful:

Kudos to the agency Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo and Nike for showing young athletes, or any of us for that matter, not to let these outside voices of deterrence become our inner voices. In fact, in keeping with the powerful Nike brand, the underlining message is that our inner voices should always be telling us “Just Do It.”

This is a well-executed commercial, one which will undoubtedly give chills to a few viewers. And it is so congruent with the Nike brand.

I suspect it will also help motivate a few of us as well.

Marketing to Mr Mom

Brands Need To Recognize Not All Dads Are Dolts

There’s an important demographic that many marketers seem to overlook or approach irrationally.

I am talking about the working fathers now heavily involved in the raising of their children. This demographic includes both the work-from-home Mr Moms as well as workplace fathers sharing responsibility for child rearing.

A recent article in Strategy + Business, Making Room for Mr. Mom, caught my attention last week. The article is focused on how companies need to react to this societal shift from an employee policy and organizational culture perspective. However, I suggest marketers read the article and contemplate the implications of this societal shift on their marketing programs and initiatives.

The first place I suggest to start is for organizations to stop portraying all fathers as idiots in their product advertising.

Fathers take just as much pride in their multi-tasking, work and family life balancing acts, and juggling of professional and family schedules as their female partners. Brand managers would fare greatly by appealing to these feelings of pride and accomplishment, rather than showing dads as dolts.

As the article in Strategy + Business points out, “it is time to transcend the traditional stereotype” of fatherhood. This needs to take place both in the workplace and in our branding campaigns.

Do you agree?

The Branding of Bernie Sanders

While I am not a supporter of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, I do admire the branding being associated with this endeavor.

Typical of the grass-roots nature of this campaign, the use of colorful and strong-messaging T-shirts, hoodies, and bumper stickers has been fundamental in communicating the iconoclast image of Senator Sanders.

Here’s the best example I’ve seen:

Bernie Sanders Not For Sale

Senator Sanders may not be winning in the polls, but he is certainly winning in the T-Shirt wars. Have a look at the Razzle website and you’ll see what I mean…..there are 65 pages of Bernie Sanders T-shirts with 3888 choices to select from!

I look forward to observing the continued branding of Bernie Sanders.

He may not be his party’s leader yet, but his campaign team is certainly making him into a Brand Leader.


Top 10 Weird TV Commercials

Are these the weirdest TV commercials ever?

In keeping with the theme of recent blog posts on Superbowl commercials, I thought I would share with you this list of the 10 Weirdest TV Ads in History.

Some are simply weird, others are just too strange to explain. And in almost every case, with the exception of the Coca-Cola I’d like to teach the world to sing spot, you have to ask yourself “what were they thinking?”

But if you are a fan of TV advertising, or interested in the history of the TV commercial, all are worth watching.

Let me know what you think of these.

Super Bowl Commercials: a sport all its own

Watching the annual Super Bowl commercials has become quite the spectator sport.

Of course, not so long ago you had to actually watch the game in order to see the commercials. Now, of couse, all of the commercials are readily available the day after on various websites.

For those of you who missed the commercials, and for those of us living outside the US and not able to view these, here are two websites feauring all of the spots:

Advertising Age


I haven’t had the chance to view all of these yet, but I writer I admire, Thom Forbes in his MediaPost blog, was less impressed with this year’s collection. From the ones I’ve viewed thus far, I must admit I agree with his comments that “it was all much ado about mediocrity.”

Do you agree?

Super Bowl TV Commercials: Best, Funniest, Overpowering

Marketing and Sports Are Interwoven on Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday in America.

This means the two most talked about topics for the next 48 hours will be a football game and the advertising shown during the commercial breaks of the TV broadcast.

I cannot tell you much about the game itself, except that most forecasters predict a closely fought battle between two evenly matched teams.

But to get you into the marketing mood for the TV commercials, here are two compilations of previous Super Bowl commercials worth watching:

10 Super Bowl Ads That Overpowered Their Products

Are These the 10 Funniest Super Bowl Commercials Ever?


You can also vote at Huffington Post on some of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time.


And let us know what you think about these spots in the comments section below. Which is your all-time favorite?

Customers Keen To Know More About Companies Behind Brands

Consumers want to know the companies behind the brands.

The recently released Weber Shandwick research study, The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust, shows conclusively that consumers around the globe are making product and brand purchase decisions based on company reputations.

Additionally, the survey shows that customers use several methods to find out who manufactures and sells the products and brands being considered, including reading labels and conducting their own research.

This study shows that:

·         67% of consumers increasingly check product labels to see what company is behind the product they are buying

·         70% will avoid buying a product if they do not like the company behind the product

·         56% hesitate to buy products if they cannot tell who makes them

·         61% get annoyed when they cannot tell what company is behind a particular product or brand

·         56% conduct their own research to learn more about the companies that make what they intend to buy

Consumers are keen to know what a company is doing to (or for) the environment, where products are being manufactured, and how the employees are being treated. A good example of this last point is the storm that has erupted in the past week about how the employees at a manufacturing facility making Apple products are treated. In just a few short days, over 110,000 people have signed an open petition asking Apple to intervene with their supplier as there are no labor laws in China to protect these staff.

In addition, there are now calls to boycott Apple products and a New York Times article last week was headlined “In China, human costs are built into an iPad.”

Another source of information for consumers is the BrandKarma website, where anyone can rate a brand or company on the quality of their products, how well they treat people, and how well they look after the planet. Apple, which scores high for Product Karma, has a cumulative below average score for both People Karma and Planet Karma.

The Weber Shandwick survey report states, “As consumers around the world have greater online access to a brand’s lineage, the influence of the brand parent, or company behind the brand, matters even more.”

The bottom line, as we wrote in the Monday Morning Marketing Memo this week, is that corporate reputations and corporate image actually matter more than ever and they have a major impact on the sales performance of brands and products. To think (or act) otherwise is simply foolish.

6 New Realities of Corporate Reputations

Corporate Image Management matters more now than ever.

Corporate reputations impact brand and product sales performance. That’s one of the key findings from a recent global study by Weber Shandwick called The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust.

As the survey report states, “As consumers around the world have greater online access to a brand’s lineage, the influence of the brand parent, or company behind the brand, matters even more.”

The study identified Six New Realities of Corporate Reputation, which the PR firm says serves as reminders that business leaders cannot view their company’s reputation and their product brands as separately as they once did. These six “new realities” are:

1.       The corporate brand is as important as the product brand(s).

2.       Corporate reputation provides product quality assurance.

3.       Any disconnect between corporate and product reputation triggers sharp consumer reaction.

4.       Products drive customer discussions, with reputation close behind.

5.       Consumers shape corporate reputations instantly.

6.       Corporate reputation contributes to company market value.

In actuality, none of these are truly “new” realities, other than perhaps the ability of consumers to now shape corporate reputations instantly via social media.

All were highlighted, in one way or another, in my book Corporate Image Management: A Marketing Discipline which was published in 1998.

However, today’s more conversant and knowledgeable consumer is more aware of the companies behind branded products and services. They are also more informed and responsive to the actions of these companies.

The study showed that 67% of consumers report that they increasingly check product labels to see what company is behind the product they are buying, and a full 56% will hesitate to buy a product if they cannot tell who makes it.

Plus, as we highlighted in this week’s Monday Morning Marketing Memo, a walloping  70% of the consumers surveyed in this study reported that they avoid buying a product if they do not like the company behind the product.

This survey confirms that what I wrote 14 years ago in Corporate Image Management still rings true today: the ultimate battleground for winning and maintaining customer relationships takes place in the minds, hearts, emotions, and perceptions of customers.

Which is why corporate reputations matter more than ever.

Neil French: The Man Who Wrote The Ads

Advertising (and other) lessons from the master copywriter.

To describe Neil French as rakish is utterly wrong. There has never been anything “ish” about this giant of a man.

(You could classify him as a rake, but that probably does injustice to all the other tools in the shed.)

I recently finished reading his memoirs, whose title Sorry for the Lobsters will resonate with everyone who can recall what traveling around Asia was like 30+ years ago. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to truly understand how powerful great advertising can be, and unfortunately how most of what the advertising industry produces is mere crap disguised in loudness, padded ideas and a pandering to the lower common denominator of a targeted (though not necessarily understood) audience.

This is a great book for those of us who have personally known Neil and admired the brilliance of his thinking and the profundity of his copywriting skills. As such it is a wonderful voyage down the numerous paths he has taken  from novice bullfighter in Spain to part-time gangster along the streets and back alleys of London, to a rock band promoter and eventually as a paradigm shift changing, Godlier than God Creative Director first in Asia and eventually globally.

A revealing and worthy narrative on his personal journey through what has certainly been a life truly lived, Sorry for the Lobsters is a fabulous read with just enough sidetracks in the tale to make the reader wonder what Neil will get up to next.

Far more important however, especially to those in the advertising industry who are unfortunate not to have been directly impacted by Neil’s devotion to creative thinking and execution excellence, is the book’s Appendix.

For in the Appendix are shared Neil’s frank and forthright gems on the pluses and minuses of advertising. These essays and short pieces, written in the latter stages of his career for various industry and in-house publications, include a plethora of golden nuggets, such as:

In any ad there is a minimum of four elements: headline, picture, copy, logo. If you can do an ad that really works using only one of these elements, you’ve got a winner. Two elements only, and it’ll be pretty good. If you can’t get below four, it’s possible that the basic idea isn’t strong enough, or that you haven’t expressed it well enough.

Reductio ad absurdum. Try it. It works.

* * * * *

To me, writing an ad is talking on paper.

It’s not really writing at all. It’s just a chat.

The art is all about knowing to whom you’re talking.

You lose them the moment you stop talking one-on-one, and start pontificating to “the audience.”

* * * * *

An ad that resembles what the competition is doing is likely to help the competition.

* * * * *

It’s your career. It’s your life. And I can assure you nobody’s last words were ever “I wish I’d made that logo a bit bigger.”


With katana sword precision, Neil gave a cutting and penetrating soliloquy on integrity, and the relative lack of it in the advertising business, in his acceptance speech when given a Clio Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. If anything, his words are more relevant today, almost a decade later, and equally consignable to the worlds of business, politics and government. But that’s another story for another day.

In the meantime, if you want to see great advertising from a master of copywriting and strategic thinking, go to the Neil French website. The examples there will simply amaze.

He was a master craftsman and a crafty wordsmith (and undoubtedly still is).

In Neil’s words, he “just wrote the ads.”

And many a brand manager and CEO (not to mention agency heads) whose bonuses he enlarged were glad he did.

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