Apr 21 2017
In August 2016, Target’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones left the company to join Uber as its new President.
Just over six months later, he resigned, saying that “…the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber…”
That’s pretty damning, but it shouldn’t be all that surprising. In Jones’ first year, he spent a good deal of time talking to Uber drivers to hear about their issues and experiences. While our firm doesn’t work for Uber or its rival Lyft, I’ve been doing roughly the same thing for the past 18 months – asking drivers who work for both which one they prefer.
My informal tally of roughly 100 drivers shows that they prefer Lyft to Uber by a 9 to 1 margin.
You’d think the reason would be economic – that Lyft pays more than Uber, or that Lyft allows passengers to tip in the app (it does). But the reasons drivers cited were often less tangible – the policies on surge pricing (Uber being viewed as predatory), the method for doing auto safety checks (Lyft slower, but more deliberate), and the tone and tenor of
Mar 29 2017
Christian Markow and Barry Saunders have spent decades thinking about brand strategy and customer experience while working on top-notch brands, such as GE, Chick-fil-A and Target. They also lead Joe Smith, Padilla’s brand consultancy. I sat down with Christian and Barry a few weeks ago to discuss how B2B companies should approach branding.
Q: How is digital disruption affecting B2B branding?
B2B customers have been influenced by extreme improvements in customer experience and design on the consumer side. Everything we deal with in our daily lives – from the way we pay bills, buy stock and order sandwiches – influences how we think about our business relationships. So we have wonderful, dynamic, interesting and joyful experiences that are equally influenced by both digital and human interaction on the consumer side, but then our B2B interactions are total “BS.” They’re laden by horrible procurement processes, impossible invoicing and a customer experience with sales people who just spit stuff at us. Or we end up in the silo the salesperson represents when we need…
Jan 31 2017
Millennials are changing the face of the wine world. And they’re doing a pretty kick-ass job of it.
Propelled by a thirst for authenticity and discovery, this new generation of drinkers is embracing both old-world traditions and experimental styles. They’re not just drinking more, they’re drinking better.
Producers around the world are eagerly trying to engage this lucrative yet elusive market. And overall, they are not doing such a kick-ass job.
With a mass of curious new-comers on their doorstep, most of those trying to sell to them are doing so in the cryptic lingo of the wine aficionado—with promises of “bramble berries,” “old saddle leather” and “forest floor” as an attempt to start the conversation. While others, fueled by trends reports and superficial demographic data, are pursuing an opposite yet equally flawed strategy, of bending over backwards to show their audience how well their wine will fit into a mundane, millennial existence. (“You can pair it with pizza! You can take selfies with it!”)
Neither strategy is…
Nov 4 2016
Guys, the end is near.
No, not the apocalypse (though it feels like it at times). The 2016 Presidential Election is next week, offering us sweet, sweet relief from the chaos of these campaigns. We as consumers have been feeling the effects of this tumultuous election cycle for what seems like forever.
Alongside us, brands have been feeling those effects as well. Here’s a few ways how:
1) They spend a ton.
Given the exponential increase in political advertisements over the past decade, commercial advertising was bound to be impacted. One way is “political crowd-out” – competition for airtime is fierce, causing brands to purchase spots months earlier than usual. Brands that were looking to run advertisements during the Olympics or promote summer-themed products (such as sunscreen) likely went through a different ad purchasing process than in most years.
Additionally, brands fear a “spillover” effect – a negative political advertisement’s tone can be pervasive and a significant percentage of consumers are likely to change the channel, meaning they fail to absorb the message of the brand’s advertisement that immediately follows. And, if they do keep the channel on, a recent study from JWT showed that brand advertising that airs right
Nov 1 2016
Want to know the top-secret recipe to create a name for a new brand? Great. Here it is: Grab a few creative folks, lock them in a quiet room and toss in a case of beer before you lock the door. Give them a couple hours. Presto, new name!
Easy. That is, if you only want a name. If you want a GREAT name—one that is memorable, meaningful and steeped in your business; one that can spark and sustain an emotional bond with your target audience—well, then there’s a little more to it.
Great names don’t inspire standing ovations, but sneakily take up residence in our brains, influencing how we think, speak and behave. It’s hard to imagine a time when people used cotton swabs, adhesive strips and facial tissues instead of Q-Tips, Band-Aids and Kleenex; a time before anyone Googled, Swiffered, FedExed or Venmoed.
The hidden power of a good name helped transform these brands from a product to a staple in our lives; filling everyday activities like cleaning our ears or looking up directions with a little extra magic and meaning. But creating a name with that kind of power
Oct 26 2016
Distiller Dave Cuttino leaned back in his stool and pushed a short pour of bourbon in my direction. Yet, the way his words punctured my perception of reality, he could have been Morpheus, extending a handful of red pills.
Cuttino and his partner Jay Carpenter are the owners, distillers, managers, and pretty much the everything else-ers behind Reservoir distillery in Richmond, Virginia. A tiny operation that has found big success by defying a dirty little secret at work throughout much of the whiskey world.
The craft whiskey renaissance that we appear to be living through, is in many ways one big hand-crafted lie. Or at least, an act of artful artisanal misdirection.
Most of the whiskey brands on the market today don’t actually distill their own stuff. Odds are your favorite “small batch” whiskey actually originates from a company like MPG in Indiana, where oceans of bourbon, rye, vodka and gin, are distilled for dozens, if not hundreds of brands. If that doesn’t take the wind out of your flannel, know that, at the same location, they’re producing “food grade industrial…