Category: Branding

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.


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.

Netflix Back Flips on Qwikster

Time to recover lost brand equity.

In another stunning move, Netflix announced today that it was abandoning its move to split websites for its DVD movie rentals and streaming businesses, and dropping the Qwikster name.

As we wrote less than a month ago, previous moves by the company’s management was effectively destroying its brand equity.

While the question of what the Netflix brand stands for still remains, this move today will undoubtedly put the Netflix brand back on firmer ground. Whether they regain the hundreds of thousands of lost customers is another question.

I guess every generation needs to have its “New Coke” moment. Hastings and his senior crew at Netflix have brought us ours, even surpassing the miscues made last year by the Gap logo saga.

What are your thoughts? Is the Netflix brand back on the road to salvation?

Netflix: Destroying Brand Equity

File this under the “what were they thinking?” category.

Netflix announced that it is splitting its DVD rental and streaming video businesses in an attempt to overcome the massive negative publicity and rapidly escalating customer attrition since it raised prices for both services in July.

Okay, that makes sense.

But here’s the killer.

In an attempt to “win back the trust of its customers,” the company is rebranding its DVD rental service to Qwikster.

Let’s see if I understand this correctly. Some 25 million customers signed up for Netflix as a convenient and preferred way to rent DVDs. And, until a couple of months ago, these customers seemed to trust Netflix.

So now, to win back the trust of the remaining customers (it has reportedly lost over 600,000 monthly subscribers since the July price hike), the CEO has decided to change the name of its DVD rental business and use the Netflix brand for its streaming services.

What could they possibly be thinking? Why not leverage the equity of the Netflix brand and call the streaming service Netflix On Demand, Netflix Streaming, Netflix Video, or even the Netflix Channel? Or anything else that created a brand extension and told customers “Netflix is a brand you can continue to trust.”

And if company management thinks the Netflix brand is not good enough to trust for those remaining 24 million customers who will now forcibly be shifted to Qwikster, what makes anyone think it is a brand that can be trusted for video streaming services?

Apparently even the Netflix DVD business will move to a new website. How confusing will that be to its customers?

I wonder how popular the search phrase “Netflix alternatives” is becoming?

In the past two months, the company has ineptly implemented a much maligned price hike to its existing customers (so much for customer loyalty), split its services into two, and dropped the Netflix branding from its most popular service.

So what does the Netflix brand stand for now? Who knows.

No wonder Netflix has lost roughly 50% of its market value since this series of blunders began in July.

If I were on the Board of Netflix I would be asking for the immediate resignation of CEO Reed Hastings on the grounds of destroying the brand equity of Netflix.

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