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The latest news on Branding from Business Insider

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    Vintage Kraft Ad

    Putting lipstick on a pig may be easier than making old brands new.

    But that never stops consumer product makers from trying to put new spins on old brands. Ironically, they often succeed because of name familiarity. Procter & Gamble wants to bring Pepto-Bismol into the 21st century. Ditto for its Oral-B dental floss. Kraft wants to bring Planters out of the Stone Age and reinvent its dated Wheat Thins.

    None of this is easy. It requires targeted research and an ultra-nuanced ability to stay true to the brand's core -- even as it changes.

    "The worst thing is changing the brand too much and trying too hard to be cool," says brand guru Laura Ries. How four brands seek cool:

    - Going portable. The 111-year-old Pepto-Bismol is trapped in the image of a bulky, bottle filled with the thick, pink liquid. Sure, 40 percent of consumers keep that bottle at home, but only 6percent use it in a year, says Jeff Jarrett, associate marketing director for global digestive wellness.

    Solution: Go portable. And change the rationale. Pepto is touting Pepto-Bismol To-Go, a pack of 12 cherry-flavored, chewable tablets in a pink, plastic cylinder no larger than a pack of Life Savers. The brand no longer wants you to think of Pepto as just a sick-at-home cure-all for stomach aches, but as an on-the-go product you should cart to parties.

    - Tweaking the product. Oral-B has been around since 1920, but in 2012, it's trying to make its floss hip. Enter the Oral-B Glide 3D White Floss Pick. These are tiny, plastic floss sticks with tooth whitening. "We should have filled that need long ago," says Marchoe Northern, associate marketing director for North America oral care. Some 25 percent of consumers view whitening as important.

    - Hyping good nutrition. At 106 years old, Planters is finally getting hip to why folks eat nuts. It's dropping the cocktail party chatter and latching onto nutritional snacks. Its new Planters NUT-rition Men's Health Recommended Mix is made with just peanuts, almonds and pistachios. "A healthy snack marketed to men can make the brand more relevant," says Scott Marcus, senior brand manager.

    - Reinventing itself. Since 1947, Wheat Thins have been crackers. Kraft executives now want you to think of them as salty snacks. "That's our true future," says Jim Low, senior director of marketing for crackers. It's even adding youth-targeted flavors: Spicy Buffalo and Zesty Salsa.

    Please follow War Room on Twitter and Facebook.

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    youtube logo

    While Hollywood stars line up for new projects with online portals from YouTube to Hulu, the stars of the digital age finally have an agency to represent them: Big Frame.

    Founded in 2010 by Sarah Penna, Big Frame is one of the first YouTube-centric management companies anywhere. Its channel, Bammo, will take center stage during the Google-owned portals' presentation on Wednesday at the equivalent of TV’s upfronts for online video, called the NewFronts.

    The company finds and represents the most popular YouTube personalities, talent that goes by names like MysteryGuitarMan, DeStorm and DudePerfect. The agency helps connect them with big global brands that sponsor their content.

    Big Frame's current collection of YouTube stars draws more than 8 million viewers a month. Among the Internet giants, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL have all made ambitious gambits into original video, but YouTube remains the undisputed king, with 146 million viewers in March alone.

    Also Read: YouTube Sensation Freddie Wong: 'Hollywood Is Out of Date' (Exclusive)

    While Big Frame calls itself a media company, what makes it stand out from the big boys in the increasingly crowded online video-production business is its management element.

    The biggest flaws with YouTube’s content initiatives right now are “discovery and promotion,” Penna told TheWrap. “It’s not easy right now to be discovered if you are just starting out and not plugged into some form of community.”

    Since the October launch of YouTube’s 100-channel original-content initiative, which saw the site partner with the likes of Hearst and Jay-Z, an already big business grew even bigger. Capitalizing on that, Big Frame has orchestrated major brand partnerships between its talent and companies like Home Depot and Pepsi.  

    Brands can get involved in YouTube in a number of ways. There’s the traditional sponsorship, where a certain video or star is sponsored by a particular brand.

    But Big Frame also takes other approaches. For example, DeStorm, a rapper, made a music video that takes place almost entirely in a Home Depot.

    “It’s not easy right now to be discovered if you are just starting out and not plugged into some form of community."

    Or, a couple of years ago GMC approached DudePerfect, a group of Texans who film trick shots, about a partnership. They ended up giving the guys a plane to shoot out of and using the video in an ad campaign.

    “Artists have to be brand-friendly,” Penna told TheWrap. “It’s how we keep the lights on."

    Big Frame started off being completely financed through brand deals, but it is now closing in on an investment round after launching its YouTube Channel, Bammo, in March. Bammo specializes in special effects-focused work that takes people behind the scenes of the creative process with stars like MysteryGuitarMan and DudePerfect.

    DudePerfect, in fact, is an example of a YouTube star Big Frame signed and cultivated, even after they had appeared on “Good Morning America” with their first viral video back in 2009.

    “Once you’ve been in it for a little while, you realize how much you don’t know,” Jeff Toney, father of DudePerfect’s Tyler Toney, told TheWrap.

    “The Big Frame organization has experience in a lot of areas and can help us increase ad revenue for our videos and make sure we are better positioned to get the right kinds of business opportunities. They can help further the DudePerfect brand.”

    Big Frame also oversees marketing and production for Bammo and Penna approves the new videos and makes sure they are both brand-friendly and of adequate quality. That differs from a company like Maker studios, which is more like a full-fledged studio.

    In talking with Penna in Big Frame’s West Hollywood office, it’s quite clear she saw where the world was going before it went there. Just one thing: It took her a few years to realize how ahead of everyone she was. 

    “It’s a new space and a new way of getting a message out there for a brand. There are ways of doing that that are very effective.”

    She worked at Current TV in its pre-Al Gore infancy, when it was still dedicated to user-generated content. That was a great idea until YouTube made Current and all broadcast attempts at user-generated content irrelevant.

    Still, while at Current she made a series of documentaries, giving her experience on the production side. She also was responsible for scouring for talent, hooking her up with a network of eager and skilled content producers.

    “In doing that I uncovered this whole world that was emerging, but I didn’t think much of it,” she said. “I was interested and started watching [YouTube personalities] Stevie Ryan and Phillip DeFranco. I was really impressed with this stuff being made, but in my mind distribution had to be on TV. I still had that mentality of, ‘How can we bring it to TV?’

    “Then I realized they have better distribution and are getting millions of views.”

    Still, after Current, Penna only went halfway, working at a company that created narrative web series. It wasn't a success, but in the process she continued to notice YouTube talent and suggested they use them in the shows.

    Eventually DeFranco hired her and she “de facto became his manager.”

    Through that work, she connected with brands who wanted her to pitch them more stars, while the “YouTubers” wanted her to hook them up with brands.

    So how did that turn into Big Frame?

    “I saw something special and wanted to make sure brands came into the space and that brand integrations were done properly,” Penna said. “It’s a new space and a new way of getting a message out there for a brand. There are ways of doing that that are very effective.”

    So she decided to start a company that manages YouTube talent, called it Cloud Media, and gave herself six months to see if she could make it work.

    “People said, ‘What? How do you make money on YouTube? How do you make money from the people who make money on YouTube?’”

    What these people didn't know about was branding, and the commission a management company could take for its services.

     Nor did they know YouTube was planning its major channels initiative, which Penna heard about not too long after starting the company.

    Still, after she launched Cloud Media, Penna realized she had a problem -- just being a management company was insufficient. It either had to be a massive management company or it had to get into the other facets of the YouTube business.

    Hollywood is slow and bloated, he said. On YouTube, you get instantaneous feedback and can alter your programming to satisfy the audience.

    So she decided to turn it into a media company, overseeing every aspect of a YouTube star’s career and creating YouTube channels.

    To help do that, she brought in Steve Raymond, whose career had taken him through the worlds of big media (Comcast and Yahoo) and start-ups (Relegence and Musicmatch).

    “It was a perfect aligning of the stars. I was looking for somebody to come in and figure out the investor side of things and ad sales,” Penna said.

    One individual from a rival company, who asked not to be identified, said Big Frame had a way to go in defining itself.

    “I don’t know what they are providing,” he told TheWrap. “It feels more like a sales and marketing company or an ad network. 'We’re a media company.' But that just means you have these disparate businesses and you have to bring them together.”

    When TheWrap spoke with Raymond over lunch, he made pretty clear he thought YouTube was the future of TV. Hollywood is slow and bloated, he said. On YouTube, you get instantaneous feedback and can alter your programming to satisfy the audience.

    And while some question whether these YouTube stars can cross, Penna and Raymond say that isn’t even a focus right now. They’ve been approached by networks and resisted.

    Given the meteoric rise of online video, having to figure out your identity -- with revenue already coming in -- falls under growing pains.

    Now, check out 15 films that were banned in the United States. "Cannibal Holocaust" anyone? >

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    coca cola coke pepsi

    Brad Jakeman signed on as president of global enjoyment and chief creative officer of Pepsi last year and was tasked with developing the identity of Pepsi's biggest drink brands.

    First, he had to figure out what exactly makes the Pepsi brand different from eternal enemy Coca-Cola. It took a while — nine months to be exact — but him and his crew finally came to a conclusion, reports Natalie Zmuda in a feature on Pepsi's Beverage Lab at AdAge

    Look at what they went through, according to AdAge:

    "For nine months, a core team of Pepsi execs, including Messrs. Jakeman and Lowden, scoured the globe for inspiration, looked to the past for insights and sought to understand what precisely made Pepsi different from Coke. There were exhaustive focus groups, in-home ethnographies, quantitative and qualitative studies, and cultural immersions in markets as diverse as Argentina, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Russia."

    What did they come up with after all that effort? "Coke is timeless. Pepsi is timely." Essentially, Coke represents permanent happiness while Pepsi embraces excitement.

    It just goes to show how much effort big brands put into their research. Pepsi used all that research to develop its simple new tagline, "Live for Now."

    Is all that effort worth it? It seems excessive, but the Coke and Pepsi marketing machines are the most important things at their respective companies and they'll do everything possible to perfect them.

    NOW SEE: Coke vs. Pepsi — The Story Behind The Infamous Cola Wars >

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    Every month, YouGov BrandIndex polls people about their perception of brands to see which created the most buzz through advertising, news, or word-of-mouth.

    Click here to see who upped their game (and how)>

    This month, YouGov released its list of brand that have seen the biggest increase in buzz from March to April.

    Unsurprisingly, Google is on the list of brands that have upped their perception and buzz. But its a little more surprising to see that Bank of America and Sears have faired so well with consumers in the past month. It turns out that Kardashians in lingerie can up your buzz.

    For its studies, YouGov BrandIndex interviews individuals drawn from an online panel of more than 1.5 million people. After questioning panels about more than 1,100 brands, it then assigns each brand a score ranging from 100 to -100 based on the amount of buzz that brand has built.

    1. Google

    March Buzz Score: 21.2

    April Buzz Score: 34.8

    Improvement: 13.6

    Google increased its perception by 13.6 points from March to April with a host of good press. First, Google Glasses created buzz on social media and a spot on the Jon Stewart show. Then, Instagram launched on Google apps. To top it off, the brand gave one lucky kid the opportunity to have his or her art featured on Google's homepage in the Google Doodle contest.

    2. Google+

    March Buzz Score: 6.6

    April Buzz Score: 16.8

    Improvement: 10.2

    Google+ gained points with users after the site was redesigned in early April to improve navigation and make the site prettier. The new layout includes a customizable navigation ribbon on the left side of the page and a cover photo similar to Facebook's timeline. 

    3. Bank of America

    March Buzz Score: -23.2

    April Buzz Score: -13.9

    Improvement: 9.3

    While consumers still have a negative brand perception of Bank of America, the brand improved by 9.3 points in the last month. The jump can be attributed to the news of refinancing help for homeowners with underwater mortgages, as well as the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card that is offering cash back on grocery and gas purchases.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    quiznos sandwich

    The Quiznos turnaround plan has been set into motion, reports Lisa Jennings at Nation's Restaurant News.

    A change in ownership, and the subsequent restructuring deal, rescued Quiznos from the brink of bankruptcy earlier this year.

    Now with new management in place, it's changing pretty much everything to relaunch the brand and put up a fight against medium-sized chains like Jimmy John's and industry titan Subway.

    It announced back in January that it was going to make moves, but now there are a lot more details.

    Here's a look at what it's doing, according to NRN's report:

    New menu

    The Sammie, Bullet and Torpedo sandwiches have all been killed. In their place, the "Better Than Ever" menu has wraps, salads, grilled panini flatbreads and a line of Sub Sliders — smaller subs on a sweet brioche bun. Quiznos has added more than 25 items in total, and kept only some signature favorites. Customers can now also customize their own sandwiches.

    The chain's ingredients are changing too, as it's switching to Angus beef, all-natural chicken and better turkey.

    Revamping the brand

    Quiznos' new ad campaign features the tagline "Qrave Quiznos" and they focus on the "craveability" of the menu items. The brand is also significantly amping up its media spend.

    Remodeling stores

    The physical spaces of all Quiznos locations are being remodeled, and employees are getting new uniforms. New stores will have a more upscale design.

    Quiznos store staffers are being retrained for the new menu and a greater focus on customer service.

    NOW SEE: The 'Aha Moment' That Inspired The Umami Restaurant Empire >

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    When Diet Coke surpassed Pepsi to become the No.2 soda in America, it was as if the Cola Wars had finally declared a winner: Coca-Cola.

    Some may argue that the Cola Wars were over long ago. Fortune Magazine thought that Coke won the war back in 1996. And in some respects it was right. 

    PepsiCo may have brought in 38 percent more revenue in 2011 than Coca Cola. But its archrival sold $28 billion worth of soda while PepsiCo only sold $12 billion. 

    This is the result of PepsiCo diversifying its business and increasingly relying on the other brands it owns -- Frito Lay, Quaker, Tropicana -- to keep the company's revenue up.

    Unfortunately, it also has to do with the astronomical number of gaffes Pepsi has made in the past few years, particularly in its brand management and the way it has branded its flagship product.

    The Cola Wars heated up in 1975 with the Pepsi Challenge, a blind taste test.

    Even though Pepsi and Coca-Cola had been competing for market share since the birth of Pepsi-Cola in 1899, the Pepsi Challenge marked a turning point in the Cola War. The blind taste test found that more people liked the taste of Pepsi than Coke.

    In response to the test, Coca Cola would reformulate its cola and launch New Coke, which was an utter disaster. Pepsi sales would benefit from the New Coke mishap for some time, But then Pepsi started making mistakes of its own.

    Starting in the 1980s, Pepsi had a number of controversies surrounding their pop star endorsers.

    • The first international pop star to become a spokesperson for Pepsi was Michael Jackson. While filming an ad in 1984, a pyrotechnics stunt went wrong and badly burnt Jackson. The accident would leave Jackson addicted to painkillers for the rest of his life.
    • In 1987, David Bowie and Tina Turner sang a duet of "Modern Love" for a Pepsi ad. The same year, Bowie was accused of sexual assault and the company dropped the ad immediately. 
    • Madonna was named the new Pepsi spokeswoman in 1989. However, her video for "Like a Prayer," a song that was used in a Pepsi commercial, was deemed blasphemous and brought accusations of anti-Catholicism against the company.
    • In August 2002, Pepsi pulled a national 30-second ad featuring Ludacris from the air after Fox's Bill O'Reilly called for a boycott of the soft drink company for using an "immoral rapper" as a spokesperson. When Pepsi began running ads with the Osbournes instead, Russell Simmons said it was racially insensitive. In the end, Pepsi was asked to make an annual contribution of $1 million to the Ludacris Foundation for three years as amends. 

    In the 1990s, people found syringes in cans in more than 20 states.

    Pepsi and Diet Pepsi had a scare in 1993 when consumers in more than 20 states found syringes in the brand's soda cans. The reports, which quickly hit national news, created a panic among consumers.

    But it wasn't Pepsi's fault. Authorities eventually found video of a woman in Colorado who had been inserting syringes into cans.

    Yet even after her arrest, reports of syringes continued to roll in. In the end, there were more than 50 tampering claims filed and more than a dozen arrests made for filing false reports.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    You've got to take risks to create buzz about a brand.

    Ad agency 22 Squared identified 8 ways to get people talking in a recent presentation. These include making new rules, marketing a belief, creating belonging, enabling expression, creating culture, leveraging tension, using scarcity and encouraging play.

    From a distance these tips sounds rather generic, but in the presentation were 60 great examples.

    An example of how brands make new rules from 22 Squared.

    An example of how brands make new rules from 22 Squared.

    An example of how brands make new rules from 22 Squared.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    Please follow War Room on Twitter and Facebook.

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    What do the Apple, Victoria's Secret and IKEA brands have in common? They're all from the same archetype.

    The brand are "Creators," according to a case study from marketing firm Added Value. 

    It's all about how consumers are able to use the brands to create their own identities. Creator brands allow people to "tap into their potential and re-invent themselves — their minds, personalities, environments, bodies, ambitions, and dreams," according to the report.

    How do these brands manage to do this? Since there's a focus on self-creation, one big way is by allowing the individual to have choices, yet still fit with the brand. For instance, Victoria's Secret offers a wide variety of styles, but every product still promises one thing — a flattering figure.

    And the brands make sure you have the information to make those choices. Apple allows for intimate testing in its retail stores, while IKEA has showrooms and design apps.

    "The most successful Creator brands let people bask in their self-creation," says the report. "But at the same time, the brands themselves are linked to consumers’ satisfying experiences and end results."

    Below are the charts that show how high these brands scored on Added Value's index. Note that IKEA actually scored highest out of all of them as a Creator brand. 

    apple ikea victorias secret chartapple ikea victorias secret chartapple ikea victorias secret chart

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    golden apple

    After an incredible increase in sales, Apple is once again the most valuable brand in the world. 

    Apple's brand value is $182 billion, an incredible 19 percent increase from last year, according to the list from BrandZ

    BrandZ and Millward Brown Optimor calculated value based on branded earnings and a survey to determine how much of those earnings are generated by the brand's close bond with customers. For companies like Apple, the loyalty of customers is more than a balance sheet could reflect.  

    Brand value differentiated winners from losers and helped "sustain brands through a challenging year" marred by shaky consumer confidence and financial woes, according to the report. 

    Top-10 companies also included telecom giants Verizon, Vodafone and AT&T, which formed partnerships and expanded in emerging markets. Google slipped to number three after its Google + feature  failed to garner much usage. 

    #28 Toyota

    Brand value: $21.8 billion

    % Change v. 2011: -10%

    What happened: Toyota's Prius led hybrid sales, which remained steady this year. Hybrid cars are increasingly important to an anti-consumerist economy. The company suffered supply disruption after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan and flooding in Thailand.

    Data calculated by Millward Brown Optimor and BrandZ

    #27 Oracle

    Brand value: $22.5 billion

    % Change v. 2011: -16%

    What happened: Oracle shifted strategies, introducing the Exalytics In-Memory Machine, which is the first in-memory machine that quickly stores company data "as fast as you can type," according to founder Larry Ellison. But they had to compete with SAP's technology.

    Data calculated by Millward Brown Optimor and BrandZ

    #26 HP

    Brand value: $22.9 billion

    % Change v. 2011: -35%

    What happened: HP went through a period of uncertainty and getting a new CEO, and struggled to define itself as a leader among businesses. The company simplified its operation and focused on business products and software instead of personal computers, once a staple.

    Data calculated by Millward Brown Optimor and BrandZ

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Most companies named after a person or family have a possessive apostrophe signifying ownership. Look at Kohl's, Macy's, Dillard's and many more.

    Yet Wegmans, the popular supermarket chain that has developed something of a cult following in its region, doesn't have one. It doesn't keep its name singular either (like, say, Nordstrom.)

    Wegmans had an apostrophe when it was founded by John and Walter Wegman in 1916, but it dropped it years ago, making the name plural. Why is that?

    "It's been missing in action since 1931, when the company incorporated and we simplified the logo," says the Wegmans website. "Just think of it as the plural Wegmans, as in the many generations of Wegman family members that have built the company!"

    Even if Wegmans wanted to revert its name back and add that apostrophe, it'd be quite expensive. Wegmans estimates that if it added an apostrophe to the sign on the front of each of its stores, it would cost more than $500,000.

    That's not counting all the changes it'd have to make on all its other signage, bags, products and more. Wegmans has changed its logo plenty of times over the years without putting back the apostrophe, but it had far fewer stores when it made the switches (aside from its 2008 rebranding.)

    Wegmans has around 75 total stores now. Imagine if a brand like Subway — a fast food chain with around 37,000 locations across the globe — changed its logo? It would cost the company, and its franchisees, millions.

    You get a sense of how pricey rebranding moves are when you see a company like JCPenney not only changing its signage, but its entire store layouts as well.

    NOW SEE: Can You Identify These 12 Brands By Their Trademarked Colors Alone?

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    baby billboards

    Artist Dietrich Wegner covered the entire bodies of babies in tattoos to create these strange images. 

    Don't worry, that's not real ink. It's all Photoshopped on.

    The series of photographs is called "Cumulous Brand," and the logos featured range from Lego and PBS to Hoegaarden and Coca-Cola.

    "The tattoos are selected through an interview process with an adult prominent in the child’s life, usually the parents," says Wegner, according to Inhabitots. "Each work is a portrait through the logos of the products used, the activities participated in and organizations belonged to throughout this adult’s life.”

    "Cumulous Brand is a meditation on how our identities evolve and how we declare them."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Craig Romanok

    Today's advice comes from Craig Romanok, managing director of Cline Davis Mann Princeton, via his interview with Fast Company

    "The first step in getting the brand team aligned with the brand strategy or brand new idea is to make sure that they understand and really embrace what that brand stands for from a purpose perspective."

    It's imperative that your team is on board with the overall goal you've created for the brand. Without enthusiasm and belief in the brand, the results of your success will be subpar. People tend to work harder when they're mentally invested in the project. 

    "It's the understanding of the belief, why that brand exists, why that brand was developed, and why that brand is being marketed to the individuals in the consumer segment. Once they understand the purpose, the passion for that brand will start to exist and come alive and then they can embrace that brand.

    Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email. 

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    Sara Lee

    For years, Sara Lee has drummed its brand into our brains with the slogan “Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee” and the catchy jingle that goes with it.

    On top of that, they have seared that white-on- red logo into our heads with its branding iron.

    How they renamed the company in 1985

    Prior to 1985, the parent company was known as Consolidated Foods. It changed the corporate name to Sara Lee because it was the best known of its brands.

    One might question that decision in 1985 since Sara Lee at the time was known mainly for its frozen cakes while Consolidated Foods owned businesses that went far beyond foods to include pantyhose and golf carts. Nonetheless, the company made that decision and spent billions of dollars to make buyers comfortable with the Sara Lee brand.

    Why might this name change be a mistake? The market knew Sara Lee for baked goods, and the company owned a lot of other varied businesses. Associating the company brand with the best-known product brand, while not totally without merit, limits the future if you decide to get out of that business.

    It also presents a problem if the baked goods line gets into trouble. The negativity can spill over to the corporate brand and the stock price. Similarly if Sara Lee Corp gets into trouble, it could seriously damage the brand image and sales of the baked goods line for which it was known.

    Making the same mistake again, but now it is even worse

    After making a huge investment in the Sara Lee brand, the company sold off many of its baked goods businesses over the past two years – highlighting one of the problems with naming the company after its baked goods brand in the first place.

    Yesterday, it announced plans to split its businesses in two on June 28th with its North American “meat products” business to be named Hillshire Brands and its European coffee and tea business to be called D.E. Master Blenders 1753. Sean Connolly, who will be CEO of the “meat products” company, said the company chose Hillshire Brands because of the strong brand recognition of its Hillshire Farms product line.

    However, the brands of new company will also include Ball Park franks, Jimmy Dean sausage, and yes, Sara Lee frozen desserts amongst others. Isn’t that the same mistake they made with naming the company after Sara Lee? Why would they switch the name of the company to coincide with one of its meat products? What if management decides to get out of that business at some future date? What about the other product brands, such as Sara Lee, which have nothing to do with meat?

    As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the reason Connolly gives for naming the company Hillshire is to rejuvenate the lackluster sales of Hillshire Farms. Did I hear that right? Hillshire Farms is slumping and therefore they are naming the company after a declining brand to promote it? Yikes. This seems like an ill-fated attempt to kill the healthy chicken to make chicken soup to feed the sick chicken. So the company will be named Hillshire Brands for two seemingly contradictory, and some may even say ridiculous, reasons – (1) high brand recognition and (2) the need to promote a slumping brand by naming the company after it. Beam me up Scotty!

    At least their naming mistakes are consistent

    What about the European company that will be headquartered in Amsterdam named D.E. Master Blenders 1753? This name also comes from one of the coffee brands the European spin off will sell – Douwe Egberts, which began in 1753. One thing you can say about the parent company is that since 1985, their naming processes are consistent. Maybe General Motors should rename themselves Chevrolet, Apple should become the iCompany, or Procter & Gamble should name themselves Tide.

    How should companies choose a name?

    Selecting the name of a company should not be taken lightly. Serious thought and logic should be invested because the name is one of the three most important branding elements – the other two are typically the logo and slogan. It depends if the company is starting out or is a going concern.

    Start-up: If starting out, a company should select name that will do one or more of the following:

    • Be easy to pronounce, remember, and pass on to others in viral pyramids (Apple)
    • Represent the main products the company will sell (Home Depot)
    • Incorporate the company mission (SpaceX)
    • Give benefits or good reasons to do business with the company (Best Buy or Costco)
    • Be unique and not be taken by others in the same business (Xerox)
    • Not be easily confused with competitors in the same business (Goodrich and Goodyear)
    • Lend itself to a good stock abbreviation (IBM)
    • Not have bad meanings or connotations in foreign markets in which the company is likely to operate (Mondelez)
    • Represents the founding fathers or mothers (Hewlett-Packard)

    Going concern: If it is a going concern, a company should select a name that will…

    • Make sure the reasons for making a change outweigh the reasons for keeping the previous name
    • Show a relationship to the former name (unless the image of the former company is bad or wrong for the new business)
    • Take advantage of the brand equity built up in the former name
    • Not confuse existing customers
    • Not be a liability in the future as the business or product line may change

    While it is nearly impossible to create a name that does it all, the above lists can provide a logical framework to help executives name (or rename) their organizations.

    What might be the right move for Sara Lee Corp?

    Since Sara Lee selected its current name in 1985 when the company was in many more divergent businesses than it is today, there does not seem to be any clear and compelling reasons to change the company name to a product brand that is faltering. On the other hand, if there is any verifiable data that proves keeping the corporate name of Sara Lee is a greater liability than an asset, the company could choose SLC Holdings or SLEnterprises, which would relate the new to the old and, in the latter case, enable the company to keep the same stock symbol as it has now (SLE).

    For the North American and European split, it could be SLCA and SLCE or some variation thereof, or better yet SLC Foods and SLC Coffee & Tea. Whatever name is finally chosen, it would seem that changing the company name from Sara Lee to Hillshire Brands perpetuates the problems of the past and loses the positive brand equity and relationships the name represents to customers, stockholders, vendors, and resellers. More importantly, it avoids tying the corporate brand to a product brand that has been on the decline.

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    If a bottle of Tabasco has no label, does it still taste as hot?

    Andrew Miller works at Carbon Smolan, an agency that specializing in design and branding in NYC. Between his job, his ad-packed city's streets, and his masters program in branding, it's safe to say he is bombarding with labels all the time.

    After hearing a photographer speak about capturing "the essence of the subject, rather than the appearance," Miller got an idea: He would whitewash one product (costing under $10) every day for 100 days.

    And thus the blog Brand Spirit, was born.

    "I became captivated by the idea of presenting the essence of branded objects from different categories to uncover new connections and meanings," Miller told BI.

    The pictures are captivating and take the products completely out of their element. They also show that a product's shape or the dimensions of its packaging can be just as important as its colors, logos and trade dress.

    This is ...

    An Original Nintendo

    "The response to the original Nintendo controller from the NES was very surprising," Miller told Business Insider. "Most of the objects get between 25-200 notes on tumblr, Nintendo got over 7,000."

    This is ...

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    New Twitter Logo

    There are three things the CEO’s running Corporate America truly care about. The size of their pay package, which usually enjoys an inverse relationship to their company’s revenues, profits and stock performance.

    How many golf tournaments they can convince their handpicked boards of directors to sponsor that will reward them with a personal one-on-one round with Tiger… And the company logo.

    Why the company logo? Because unlike the general public, these Captains of Industry see the damn thing all the time. It’s on their stationary; it’s on the napkins their drinks are served on aboard their corporate jet; it’s embossed on their golf bag, it’s even on the Annual Report.

    To the CEO, the logo is a big deal. That’s why they fuss over it, and that’s why lots of “Corporate Design Gurus” make dumpster loads of money by noodling barely discernible graphic changes to something that looked just fine a few million dollars ago.

    This last week, we have been treated to the re-designed Twitter logo. Which looks exactly like the old logo, except they’ve shaved off its forelock and made it a slightly darker shade of blue. However, in the words of Twitter’s Creative Director

    Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.”

    Oh yes indeed! Now you know what a Creative Director does at Twitter to earn his forthcoming IPO millions.

    The whole preciousness of this kind of thinking is best summed up in a wonderful Goodby Silverstein + Partners video of their first experience with Twitter. In the prescient words of Rich Silverstein… “Lose the bird… Just lose the bird!”

    Meantime, over at Pepsi, further proof that Corporate America does not learn from the lessons of history with the news that they have just appointed Mauro Porcini as their “Chief Design Officer.” We are told that “his reach will extend from package design to advertising, industrial design and digital experiences.” Obviously, this will include the logo, and stupid me naively thought that Mr. Porcini’s primary expertise was in mushroom farming!

    It just goes to show how little I know! And yet, it only seems like yesterday since the implosion of ace design guru, Peter Arnell with his multi-million dollar redesign of both Pepsi and Tropicana packaging, which, after it was discovered that the entire universe hated it, cost the company millions more to revert back to the original design.

    This in spite of Arnell’s notorious 27 page memo (titled BREATHTAKING Design Strategy)  justifying the new Pepsi logo by equating it with such diverse influences as Feng shui, the Renaissance, the Earth’s magnetic fields and the sun’s radiation. All this for what Steve Jobs once described as fizzy sugared water for kids, when he was persuading John Sculley to jump ship from Pepsi to Apple.

    Many years ago, while freelancing on the Xerox account at Y&R, I attended a meeting at Xerox corporate headquarters for the unveiling of their new corporate design and logo. This had taken several months and several million dollars sunk into the bottomless pit of a world famous design company, and was intended to finally put the nail in the coffin lid of the commonly held perception that all Xerox did was make copiers.

    Something which, even today, after expending billions of marketing dollars, the vast majority of people still think is their primary business. On the day, a hundred or so people assembled for the presentation. As usual, this required a “set-up” involving many Power Point slides, lots of graphics and the mind numbing presentation of “insights” that were blindingly obvious. But finally, the big moment came.            

    The world famous Design Company’s recommendation was that from this time forward everything should be signed as… “The Document Company – Xerox.” There was moment of stunned silence, and then someone grabbed a hand mike and shouted… “But that’s what we’ve always called ourselves.” “No,” replied the world famous design guru. “You’ve always said you are, “Xerox – The Document Company.” We’ve changed the emphasis.”

    And that’s worth five million dollars of any CEO’s money. Particularly as in reality, it’s not his or hers, it’s the shareholders. So it won’t affect their next “Performance” bonus.

    And always remember… If in doubt… Make the logo bigger.

    George Parker has spent more than 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is, which he describes as, “required reading for those looking for a piss & vinegar view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, "Confessions of a Mad Man," makes the TV show “Mad Men” look like “Sesame Street.”

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    Some brand acronyms are instantly recognizable. KFC is Kentucky Fried Chicken, HP is Hewlett-Packard and MTV is Music Television.

    Others are more esoteric. Companies often rebrand and abandon their old names, deciding to simplify their images down to the acronym on their logo.

    We've put together a quiz of 12 companies and what their acronyms stand for. How many do you know?


    Mars & Murrie's — It's named after Mars founder Forrest Mars and Hershey's Bruce Murrie, since Hershey had control of rationed chocolate during World War II when M&M's came to be


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    sad ronald mcdonald

    It's a given that a brand has to have a social media presence. The only problem is that some brands are really bad at it. And we aren't just talking about obvious flubs—like when McDonald's #McDStories hashtag prompted people to publicly bash the fast food joint—but simple bad customer service, like ignoring Tweet complaints, which has very real consequences.

    According to a study commissioned by Conversocial, which manages customer service on social media for everyone from Groupon to Net-A-Porter, more than half of consumers surveyed (55 percent) were disappointed by big brands' communication on social media.

    "If people have a bad experience in-store, they will tweet it -- amplifying it 100 fold," Joshua March, CEO of Conversocial, told Business Insider. "This can have a massive negative affect." In fact, 88 percent of consumers were unlikely to buy from a brand that ignored their complaints on Facebook or Twitter.

    So who are the winners and losers on social media? In general, supermarkets, telecommunications, and retail banks were the worst offenders while restaurants and department stores had it down.

    Conversocial's study ranked how satisfied customers were with a brand's social media presence. Most of those surveyed answered "no opinion," which means that while a brand wasn't doing anything wrong it wasn't doing anything right either.

    Here's how they rank in terms of the percent of people who were satisfied with their social media interactions:

    Best Buy: 50.8 percent

    Subway: 48.8 percent

    Target: 47.8 percent

    Walgreens: 45.8 percent

    J.C. Penney: 42.5 percent

    McDonald's: 41.9 percent

    CVS: 41.4 percent

    Apple Store: 40.8 percent

    Starbucks: 40.8 percent

    Walmart: 40.3 percent

    Burger King: 39.2 percent

    Verizon Wireless: 37.3 percent

    AT&T Wireless: 34.8 percent

    Macy's: 33.9 percent

    Sears: 33.1 percent

    Dell: 32.7 percent

    Game Stop: 32.4 percent

    The Gap: 31.2 percent

    Bank of America: 31 percent

    Radio Shack: 30.4 percent

    Rite Aid: 28.7 percent

    Comcast: 27.9 percent

    Nordstrom: 26.1 percent

    Citi Bank: 25.8 percent

    7-Eleven: 25.3 percent

    Costco: 23.5 percent (largest percent that didn't respond: 46.1 percent)

    Time-Warner Cable: 23.3 percent

    Neiman Marcus: 22.2 percent

    Chase Manhattan: 21.2 percent

    The Limited: 20.2 percent

    Safeway: 19.2 percent

    HSBC: 18.2 percent

    TD Bank: 16.3 percent

    Shoprite: 16 percent

    A&P: 16 percent

    Publix: 15.8 percent

    Cablevision: 14.6 percent

    Supervalu: 8.9 percent

    When looking within individual fields: Subway was better than Starbucks, McDonald's trumped Burger King, Best Buy beat Apple, and Target dominated department stores.

    conversocial social media customer service

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    weather channel ipad app

    Curt Hecht, chief global revenue officer at The Weather Channel Companies, spoke at Business Insider's Mobile Advertising Conference in New York City today, and he shared some of his company's secrets to success as technology continues to progress.

    The Weather Channel has a few very important advantages, which have certainly pushed it on its way to success.

    It reports information that people truly need

    By its nature, the Weather Channel's product is something that people need — not merely want"People need the weather on their phone," said Hecht.

    Still, you can get weather information from other places, so it's the Weather Channel's job to make sure that its product stands out.

    Weather matters in sports, for instance, and superfans want as much information as possible. Look at fantasy sports players, who can gain an advantage if they know the wind and weather conditions.

    "It's just added value, at the end of the day," said Hecht.

    The Weather Channel's brand is instantly recognizable

    As the prime source of weather news on television for years, the brand has developed into something ingrained in the minds of a very broad audience.

    As a result, as the world moves to digital and mobile, people instantly identify with the brand and consider it the go-to source.

    "People know the Weather Channel brand, so if they're not satisfied with the Apple app, they come to us," said Hecht.

    It hits consumers on all fronts by using multiple channels

    Half of the Weather Channel's whole business is on digital. "I don't know how many media companies can go out there and say [that]," said Hecht. "We are a multi-screen company."

    Having all those platforms allows the Weather Channel to achieve a level of reach and frequency that resonates. Wherever someone needs the weather, the Weather Channel offers it.

    "Certainly Facebook doesn't have that kind of presence and distribution," and neither does Google, said Hecht.

    NOW SEE: 24 Trademarked Brands Everyone Uses As Generic Names >

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    dominos artisan pizza

    Maybe it was when fast food companies such as Domino's and Dunkin Donuts started acting like their food was handmade by an army of flour-dusted grandmothers, or maybe it was when the a Brooklyn food festival last month forced people to wait two hours in the scorching sun to pay $10 for a tiny schmear of foie gras.

    A lot of people believe it was the day the gourmet mayonnaise shop opened in Brooklyn and became a thing that you have convince people from out of town that—no, really—it actually exists, and it's not a joke we made up to poke fun of a particular breed of extreme foodieism.

    Whatever it is, there is a definite sense out there that the "artisanal" food movement has finally jumped the organic, cage-free, milk-rubbed shark.

    As many as 800 new foods have dubbed themselves "artisanal" in the past five years, an exponential jump from previous years. Even Panera Bread has started calling itself "artisan fast food." The too-precious attitude toward even the most processed of foods is making some commenters, restauranteurs, and marketers wonder: If all our food is special, is none of our food special?

    The Atlantic Wire's Jen Doll declared the word "artisanal" dead on May 30 in a mock obituary that lamented the word's rise from son of a "hardworking craftsman who could avail little to his son in terms of the nurturing the young boy required," to its stature as a "debased" and "meaningless" buzzword. Doll writes:

    Artisanal, a word that fought early in his career to ensure recognition of craftsmen for their important contributions to society before later being drafted into the creation of a worldwide gourmet branding glut, died Wednesday at his brownstone in Brooklyn overlooking a small gourmet mayonnaise store.

    The same day, The Daily News declared RIP Brooklyn, tracing a line from the noble poetics of Walt Whitman to the lyrics of Jay-Z to their perceived mawkishness of a store that charges $8 for fancy mayonnaise.

    On The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Lewis Black unleashed his particular form of vitriol at mass-produced foods coopting the "artisan" label, from Dunkin' Donuts' bagels to shredded grocery store cheese.

    "Here's a good rule of thumb," Black says in the video. "If your product is served by dumping it out of a plastic bag into a bowl of microwaved chili, it's not artisan. If it takes less than 30 minutes to make and deliver, it's not food."

    Jokes aside, there is some serious concern for food businesses that labels like "artisan" don't hold quite the punch they used to.

    "You can design a pizza that says 'this is an artisan pizza' and have some (advertising) copy, but you're not going to get any loyalty beyond that," says David Bernard, co-founder of Mythmaker, a brand identity firm that grew out of Odwalla, a health-beverage and food compay, in the 1980s and mostly works with small, organic, and environmentally conscious companies.

    "When big companies co-opt these ideas of 'artisan' it does make it more difficult. You've got to give them something beyond that: Show where it comes from, what it is, how it's made."

    One sign that the public is suffering artisan fatigue is the backlash against big food festivals. The first Great GoogaMooga, a festival from the organizers behind Bonnaroo, was held in Brooklyn's Prospect Park—a giant meadow smack in the middle of perhaps the epicenter of the 'organic everything' movement—last month and was meant to celebrate the idea that "food is the new rock."

    On the free side of the festival, attendees were frustrated to find themselves waiting in long lines for a small but pricey bit of food—well, if there was any left. On the VIP side, attendees were so disappointed in the lack of sufficient options that organizers offered to refund their entire $250 admission fees.

    Right after that, another foodie event in New York City took a big stumble. After originally offering a food crawl at a price of $550 per ticket, Bon Appetit's Brooklyn Grub Crawl slashed its price by more than half to $250.

    Bernard says people in the branding world see this as a sign that "artisanal" is just the latest buzzword–along with "organic" and "all-natural"--to go from small kitchen earnestness (a marketer's dream!) to a diluted mass-market tired and buzz-less word.

    "Companies with all kinds of weird stuff have been throwing out 'all natural' forever," he says.

    That makes it more difficult for the companies actually producing items with an authentic story behind them to stand out.

    "When your language or your look gets co-opted then you've got to do something else," he says. "Suddenly it becomes suspect."

    A big subject of scorn among people who consider themselves actual artisans is the big brands such as Tostitos and Domino's that have started offering their mass-produced "artisan" style products, such as the latter's "Tuscan Salami & Roasted Veggie" pizza.

    But Domino's considers itself in on the joke, not the butt of it.

    "That's kind of why we took the approach we did, which was more tongue in cheek, as far as how we debuted the artisanal pizza," company spokesman Chris Brandon says. "We're poking fun at the way that people have begun to use 'artisan' more in marketing, and stuff like that."

    Indeed, when the line debuted in October, the company released a commercial showing a supposedly gourmet chef bumbling his lines when trying to describe the pizza before cutting back to Domino's actual pizza chef.

    "We were poking a little bit of harmless fun at the way it's being used," Brandon says. "We didn't take ourselves (or) the artisan designation too seriously."

    But still, the square, thin-crust fancy pizzas are sticking around as (at least semi-) permanent menu items, and the company is taking them seriously enough that they're not letting customers substitute toppings.

    "We believe so much that these set recipes that were so good we wanted people to experience them as they are," he says.

    For actual boutique food-makers and start-ups, the hope is still that discerning customers will be able to tell between something that just uses a perceived-as-hip buzz-word and a product that has a real story behind it. In that vein, the gourmet mayonnaise shops of the world are still on the side of good, Bernard says.

    "If you are, say, Frito Lay, and you want to do an artisan cookie, that's really hard to do. You cannot authentically claim that, because you're going to invent a story," he says. "It's going to be a Chef Boyardee, it's going to be a Grandma's Cookie. You're going to have to get the real-life Mad men to invent a narrative for you."

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    sistine chapel

    Our brains respond the same way to both religion and iconic brands (like Apple.)

    Via Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy:

    DR. CALVERT analyzed the fMRI data, she found that strong brands brought about greater activity in many areas of the brain involved in memory, emotion, decision-making, and meaning than weak brands did. This didn’t surprise me terribly much. After all, it makes sense that an image of BP Oil would inspire less emotional engagement than a shiny red Ferrari.

    But it was Dr. Calvert’s next finding that was truly fascinating.

    She discovered that when people viewed images associated with the strong brands— the iPod, the Harley-Davidson, the Ferrari, and others— their brains registered the exact same patterns of activity as they did when they viewed the religious images. Bottom line, there was no discernible difference between the way the subjects’ brains reacted.

    Follow me on Twitter here or get updates via email here.

    Related posts:

    Can seeing the Apple logo make you more creative?

    Why do people love Apple products so much?

    41 ways to be more creative



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