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The latest news on Branding from Business Insider

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    kevin plank

    Last year Under Armour passed Adidas as the second-most-popular athletic equipment and apparel company in the US, behind Nike.

    The relatively new company in the industry has a fascinating origin story, particularly in how it got its name.

    At first glance, it might seem as if the Baltimore-based company uses the British spelling of "armor" for faux sophistication or visual appeal.

    But as CEO and founder Kevin Plank told The Washington Post last fall, it was actually the result of trying to get a cool toll-free phone number.

    In fact, the entire naming process unfolded haphazardly, he said.

    Plank, a former University of Maryland football player, began developing a proprietary sweat-wicking athletic undershirt out of his grandmother's townhouse in Georgetown in 1996.

    He initially wanted to call the company Heart, as in "wearing your heart on your sleeve," but he couldn't obtain a trademark.

    His next idea was Body Armor, a name he fell in love with, he told The Post. He applied for a trademark and prematurely told everyone that was the name of his company. But when the clearing process finished two weeks later, the trademark was once again denied.

    The day Plank found out, he said: "I was a bit dejected, but I had lunch plans that afternoon with my oldest brother, Bill. So I show up to pick him up, knock on the door, and he looks down at me the way only an older brother can look at a younger brother, and he asks, 'How's that company you're working on, uhh ... Under Armor?'"

    steph curry under armour shoes

    Plank still doesn't know whether his brother was messing with him, but the name immediately clicked with him. He said he canceled his lunch plans and went home to fill out another trademark application. He received a trademark for Under Armour three weeks later.

    "Oh, and the reason we added the 'U' in 'Armour' is that I was skeptical at the time about whether this whole internet thing would stick," Plank told The Post. "So I thought the phone number 888-4ARMOUR was much more compelling than 888-44ARMOR. I wish there was a little more science or an entire marketing study behind it, but it was that simple."

    For more on the early days of Under Armour, you can read the rest of Plank's interview on The Washington Post's site.

    SEE ALSO: The athlete endorsements that are turning Under Armour into Nike's strongest competitor

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: It's official: Under Armour is on fire

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    Woman Clothes ShoppingThe apparel industry rakes in a massive amount of revenue each year.

    But as shopping malls struggle with a decline in foot traffic, many retailers have had to get creative to keep sales growing.

    Some companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, are dominating the industry, while others, like Gap, are closing stores and laying off employees

    The website Fashionista recently compiled a list of the top brands in the US ranked by sales.  

    Check out what Americans love to wear:

    10. Under Armour

    Under Armour

    Annual revenue: $3.1 billion

    The sports retailer made more than $3 billion in revenue last year. It may be far from eclipsing Nike's global empire, but it continues to grow and sign major deals with impressive athletes, like Stephen Curry and Jordan Spieth. 

    9. American Eagle

    American Eagle

    Annual revenue: $3.3 billion

    American Eagle implemented new techniques to help its business after comparable sales decreased by 5% in fiscal 2014. It launched a one-size-fits-all brand called Don't Ask Why to connect with more of a teen audience.

    8. Tommy Hilfiger

    Tommy Hilfiger

    Annual revenue: $3.6 billion

    This iconic American brand recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and it definitely hasn't lost its luster. The company reported a fourth consecutive earnings beat in the most recent fiscal quarter. Revenues increased 3%, and earnings per share grew 20%, according to an earnings call.

    7. Coach

    coach bag

    Annual revenue: $4.3 billion

    This luxury fashion house recently reported disappointing sales, and some believe that its decline lies in its decision to open too many outlet stores. Millennials are less inclined to spend more money on luxury apparel, which is hurting brands like Coach. 

    6. Michael Kors

    the most expensive zip code in the country, 10065, new york city, upper east side, michael kors

    Annual revenue: $4.4 billion

    Michael Kors, like Coach, is affected by millennials' gravitation away from luxury brands. Michael Kors' decline is affecting large department stores like Macy's; many believe the brand's time has passed because it got too popular, and it's name no longer holds the same value. 

    5. Levi Strauss & Co.


    Annual revenue: $4.8 billion 

    Levi's jeans have seen a resurgence in recent years. More customers are embracing basics and drifting back to classic styles from one of the most famous jean retailers in the world.

    4. Gap


    Annual revenue: $6.2 billion

    Although Gap's revenue lends the company a high ranking on this list, the brand is in major trouble. It's closing many stores and firing a large number of employees; sales have even declined for 13 straight months. Some credit the company's decline to its struggle to capitalize on its key products, while others believe its' Instagram and other social media presences are to blame.

    3. Old Navy

    Old Navy

    Annual revenue: $6.6 billion

    Old Navy is currently doing better than its parent brand, the Gap. It has lower prices and tends to stay on brand, targeting the right consumers with affordable styles. 

    2. Ralph Lauren

    Ralph Lauren

    Annual revenue: $7.6 billion

    Ralph Lauren is a staple in American apparel. It's one of the leading brands in this industry year after year because it stays true to its core aesthetic and sticks with what works. 

    1. Nike


    Annual revenue: $30.6 billion

    Nike is the most successful and recognizable sports brand in the world. It recently closed a deal rumored to be worth roughly $1 billion to become the official uniform and apparel provider for the NBA. 

    SEE ALSO: The bizarre inspiration behind Nike's first pair of running shoes

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    NOW WATCH: Here's the most important trend that's changing the way big brands interact with you

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    Perhaps the biggest risk-taking generation yet, millennials will go to great lengths for freebies. And brands are catching on. We've pulled together some of the most outrageous marketing stunts geared towards these Gen Y daredevils. 

    Produced by Jenner Deal

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    As usually happens when a company announces a rebrand, or an entirely new brand name, lots of people have immediately reacted to Google's creation of its new parent company "Alphabet" by discussing (and in some cases criticizing) the brand name.

    Branding is hugely important. Companies pay millions of dollars to branding consultants to come up with the names, logos, and brand vision that will both appeal to customers and stand the test of time.

    Alphabet is a slightly different case.

    In a blog post, Google co-founder and now Alphabet CEO Larry Page, explained that the goal isn't to be a big consumer brand with a bunch of related products, but rather that "the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands."

    Page also gave some explanation behind the thinking of the "Alphabet" name:

    "We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha‑bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!" 

    But ultimately all of that doesn't really matter.

    This is a "brand architecture" move

    Melbourne Business School associate professor of marketing, branding consultant, and Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson told Business Insider people discussing the Alphabet name and the rights to the web domain, or social media rights "totally miss the point."

    Google has made an important "brand architecture move," he said. Just like HSBC, or Unilever, or Diageo, or LMVH; Alphabet is a holding entity. And to that end, it's simply letterhead. What is more important is not the branded house, but the brands inside that alphabet

    But let there be no mistake: This announcement is huge and historical.

    John Marshall, chief strategy and client officer at brand strategy and design agency Lippincott, says: “In creating Alphabet, Google is bucking a powerful trend in corporate branding—the unification of disparate companies and products under a strong ‘name’ parent brand, such as Apple, GE, or IBM. This move is consistent with Google’s game-changing ambitions. This is the branding story of the year — perhaps, too, the decade.”

    Chris Clarke, international chief creative officer at global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBI jokes that Alphabet "sounds a bit like a wedding band," but adds that taking on a Berkshire Hathaway-type holding company model "makes perfect sense" from a branding perspective.

    "On the one hand Google is an ad-funded search company, and on the other hand it's a DNA mapping company, and soon it will be an auto brand. If you seek to do all of these things, having a holding company is a smart move because it allows all those separate parts to breathe," Clarke added.

    It's also a genius employee and acquisition marketing play

    The Alphabet model will also help Google make even more acquisitions than it already does. The company is extremely acquisitive, having acquired more than 180 brands, but now it is likely to buy and divest even more.

    Ritson explains: "This is the ideal approach to do that. It allows a brand significant autonomy, which is attractive to them when they're being approached. And it allows Google an easier structure for divestment. You can bolt on a brand in a house of brands structure in a matter of weeks. And, similarly, you can get rid of it. The reason companies like Diageo and LVMH have these structures is exactly that point: It allows them to bolt on or spin off brands very easily."

    googleInternally, staff are likely to be cheering the move (many employees have already shared their excitement on Quora.) Each new business under the Alphabet structure will now have separate management teams, allowing more opportunities for career development. Similarly, it means Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are still running the company, but not engaging in the full-time, day-to-day of discussing dull but important ad metrics like CPCs and CPMs. They can focus on the bigger picture.

    Clarke said: "A holding company structure allows the different businesses to operate independently, which is great for the attraction and retention of talent, particularly as the company moves more down the DNA, science, and automotive routes. Employer branding is a big thing and now each business will have their own autonomy, identity, values, and a new ladder up to heading up a company. It's a smart move."

    Ultimately, Ritson says Google/Alphabet will become more innovative a company as a result of the re-org.

    "There's a very big link with a house of brands structure and innovation. A single dominant brand can stifle innovation in other parts of the organization, which is something Google just cannot afford to do. But a house of brands is a strong catalyst for innovation, because different brands can work differently," he added.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what analysts are saying about Google's huge re-organization announcement

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Listen to this YouTuber perfectly impersonate 15 musicians — including Bruce Springsteen and Sam Smith

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    burger king

    If you're craving some Lay's chips in London or a Burger King meal in Australia, you're in luck because those brands exist abroad.

    The only problem is that you might never be able to find them.

    Famous brands in America often go by completely different names abroad. Sometimes the change makes sense, other times the changes are so small and random they seem pointless.

    See if you can identify what famous brands are called outside of the US.

    Laura Stampler contributed to the original version of this post.

    NOW SEE: 16 famous brands that started off as products for the military

    It's known as KFC practically everywhere...

    Except in Quebec, where it's known as PFK. The Quebec language watchdog insists the name of a business in the region must be French — but not all big brands comply.

    You might scrub your floors with Mr Clean in the US.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    When companies set out to design logos to brand their products, they often go above and beyond to create recognizable and memorable graphics.

    Over and over again, we see examples of corporate logos with hidden visual messages buried inside.

    Produced by Matt Johnston.

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    Sara Rotman

    Tory Burch, Joe Fresh, Vera Wang — what do they have in common? That is, aside from being very successful brands.

    They've all been touched by the creative wand of Sara Rotman, a tattooed, polo-playing design guru who has helped many popular retailers define — or redefine — their brands.

    Rotman, who went from designing album covers at Sony to working for big ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, started her creative firm MODCo (which is short for My Own Damn Company) just a few years ago. 

    You can see her creative touch on apparel every day.

    Back when she worked with Tory Burch, she helped create the iconic logo.

    She did this by zeroing in on what the famous designer wanted.

    "That was a visceral reaction that I had in partnership in collaboration with Tory during all our discussions about what inspired her for the brand," Rotman said to Business Insider, "and it stuck."

    "She [Tory Burch] was definitely interested in color," Rotman said. "She wanted to remain fashion forward, she was certainly inspired by her historical collection of the fashion inspiration that had informed her design point of view."

    Rotman explained that Burch stressed she "[wanted] give women something fashionable that they [could] go to work in as well as go to the playground [with her kids]."

    Tory Burch, flats

    Now, Rotman is tasked with creating a new icon for Lilly Pulitzer, the fluorescent, preppy (and often criticized) retailer known for discriminating against larger women. This icon will appear on Lilly Pulitzer apparel.

    While Rotman stresses that she is not responsible for re-positioning the entire brand, she does acknowledge the crucial nature of a graphic — especially if it's emblazoned across all of the brand's apparel.

    To do that for Lilly Pulitzer, she plans to get back to the brand's "truth."

    Which, Rotman says, is not what it appears to be.

    Lilly Pulitzer

    "Lilly, in my opinion, was one of the most punk rock avant garde human beings that ever walked this planet," the very punk-rock Rotman said. "I'm absolutely serious! She was a true bohemian. She walked around barefoot ... She was a woman working on her own who chose a bohemian path when no one else did that and she managed to do that with a flair and a style, a joie de vivre unparalleled. And it was important to her. She founded that brand because she wanted to sell orange juice out of the beautiful citrus trees that she had in her backyard. She lived an affluent life; she went to Palm Beach."

    But, Rotman points out, Pulitzer was a "bohemian in a world [where] that was not that common. She made fabulous happen, but she did it with a true artist's flair, and she developed clothes that  — although now we think of them as preppy and trite, to some degree, in their worst case — she developed clothing that was truly avant garde."

    All of this background — the "truth" of the brand — informs how Rotman will create its new iconography.

    Lilly Pulitzer

    Now, people associate Lilly Pulitzer with its bright green and pink hues. But generally speaking, developing a narrow association is a challenge for any brand.

    "It ... can be challenging for a company, not just like Lilly [Pulitzer], but for anyone," Rotman said. "That’s when we start to pander — when [we] start to sell green and pink a lot and then you think your brand becomes green and pink ... I think green and pink should be the result of the bohemian point of view that’s based and founded on the beach — but green and pink isn't the point. Green and pink is the tactic, not the strategy ...We try to get our brands back to the strategy and let that inform them."

    In Lilly Pulitzer's case, "if you start being afraid that you're [just] green and pink, then you become painted into a very small box, and it's hard to remain current, but if you get back to modern resort wear and sunshiny places ... all of a sudden, you have a bigger universe that you can pull into from a product development point of view and advertising point of viewand a  marketing point of view...and life becomes much simpler and more compelling for your consumer."

    Fortunately, a company like Lilly Pulitzer, Rotman said, has "the benefit of a founder and a founder’s story that is so compelling."

    How does she plan to convey all of that with just great new iconography? It's not that simple.

    Rotman confesses that ultimately, "great branding is a combination of fairy dust and intellect."

    SEE ALSO: Photos from inside Lilly Pulitzer headquarters show cartoons mocking the 'fat, white, and hideous'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The one reason Zara is dominating the fashion industry right now

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    SoulCycle spinning cycling

    It's shortly after 9 a.m. on a Wednesday and a line has already formed on Wooster Street in New York's fashionable Soho neighborhood.

    The crowd is mostly women, many of them late for work, and they're impatient. A suited bouncer at the door and a bag check are slowing everything down.

    This isn't the launch of Apple's latest iPhone or a limited-edition, collectible Nike sneaker.

    It's SoulCycle's warehouse sale.

    The scene above — which took place earlier this month — is emblematic of the indoor-cycling chain's success. Its devotees shell out huge sums for the classes and the logo-adorned clothes. They're its biggest advocates, and — when the company's pseudo-yogic platitudes are criticized— its fiercest defenders.

    Yes, this has drawn comparisons to a cult.

    But that's not a bad thing. In fact, marketers looking to recreate the success of brands like SoulCycle, Apple and CrossFit — another fitness chain – sometimes look to cults for branding inspiration, says Rick A. Ross of The Cult Education Institute.

    Ross would know. Although he's focused on real cults — the kind called "destructive"— Ross is frequently approached by businesses looking for insights in how to foster devotion among customers. There are a few key traits that cults share with successful brands: authoritarian leadership and a worldview that somehow sets them apart.

    They also influence their members with jargon-loaded language and the notion that the group's ideology trumps all others.

    "CrossFit and SoulCycle create a kind of environment that they control — it's reinforcing that they use likability, they use authority, they have a philosophy, they tend to think that their way is the right way and other ways are not," Ross said in an interview. "You can become embedded in a kind of subculture with either group."

    Fitness groups lend themselves to some of these traits more easily than other brands. For example, for 45 minutes to an hour, customers are subject to the authority of the trainer.

    crossfit handstand

    A wildly loyal community is also crucial.

    "The social level is a vital part of what's happened, and it is why you might think this is a cult — you might think it's a religion," CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman said in an interview. "The values are simple though, and we believe they are salient lifestyle choices that will make a profound difference in your life."

    Glassman says CrossFit's cult-like status is accidental, and a product of the camaraderie that comes from "agony coupled with laughter" that is part of the exhausting workout. 

    But some marketers are more deliberate than Glassman. At, fostering a community was an important part of the company's ability to keep people coming back to groups, said Douglas Atkin, a former executive at the company who has written a book called "The Culting of Brands."

    "They are extreme forms of belonging that normal people take, and therefore we can learn stuff from apply to normal situations, like buying a brand," said Atkin, who is now gobal head of community at Airbnb.

    macbook outside

    Of course, having an ideology — a worldview — that creates brand loyalty, also means alienating some people.

    "You have to accept you will not get 100% of the population," Atkin said. "You want the people who love you and that means you have to be discriminating. You have to put a steak in the ground 'we stand for this and not for that.'"

    He points to Harley Davidson motorcycles and Apple as prime examples of "cult brands" with strong ideologies. SoulCycle declined to comment for this story, and Apple didn't respond to requests for a comment.

    Harley Davidson

    Harley Davidson, on the other hand, acknowledged that lifestyle, community, and ideology are all responsible for its massive following.

    "We’ve enabled a lifestyle that brings people together to celebrate personal freedom," Mark-Hans Richer, Harley Davidson's chief marketing officer, wrote in an email. "Freedom is a global, human ideal that transcends age, gender, culture and race, and our customers want to experience it in their own ways through Harley-Davidson. We understand that, and our goal is to not try to be all things to all people, but to be our thing to more people."

    Regarding CrossFit, Glassman said, "it isn't for everybody. But it is for anybody."

    Apple's cult status is cultivated in part by the company's efforts to demonize its rivals. Apple's been doing this from its early days, famously attacking IBM in a Super Bowl ad in 1984, and taking on the stuffy personal computer in an series of ads starting in 2006.

    Uniting against a "demon," so to speak, allows brands and their followers to coalesce. What brings together people stronger than a common enemy?

    "If you paint a picture of a threat from the outside — you demonize a local god or you demonize a competitor like IBM — you create solidarity amongst your community because you have to unify to fight against an external threat," Atkin explained.  

    "Steve Jobs defined IBM as a bullying, monolithic, bureaucratic, soul sucking and a corporation. Therefore by contrast, Apple was about freedom, about creativity, about passion."

    Similarly, CrossFit demonizes traditional fitness regimes.


    Undeniably, Apple and SoulCycle are "cult brands," but what really matters is whether they're causing harm.

    Arguably, extreme fitness regimes with diehard followings can cause harm — from overuse or poorly designed routines — but they're not out to do that intentionally. In order to classify as a destructive cult, people would have to be evicted from their homes or forgo relationships with their families to spend time and money on exercise classes, Ross explains.

    Those sorts of people are anomalies, and the fitness studio isn't responsible for their behavior, says psychologist Jodi Rubin, an expert in identifying and treating over-exercising.

    "One needs to have an emotional vulnerability in order to do any of these things destructively," she said.
    "I have gotten calls from one of the boutique studios — the cycling studios — saying we have a few people who are going from studio to studio taking multiple classes a day, and we’re really concerned — what do we do?"

    CrossFit, SoulCycle, and Apple can each claim a massive achievement in building such loyal followings. Calling SoulCycle — or any of these brands — a cult could, in fact, be taken a compliment.

    "People talk about SoulCycle as a cult. My feeling is that SoulCycle makes you feel great," the fitness chain's founder, Julie Rice, told Los Angeles Magazine in an interview last year. "
    When we feel great, we become obsessed with what makes us feel great."

    SEE ALSO: One of Soul Cycle's founders turned on the brand and started its biggest rival

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This Starbucks hack will save you $2 on one of its coffee drinks

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    SoulCycle riders cycling

    It's not easy to amass a cult following.

    But some brands have managed to cultivate tremendous loyalty from their customers.

    Bizarrely enough, others looking to emulate this sort of success look to actual cults for inspiration, cult expert Rick A. Ross told Business Insider.

    Cults depend on strong ideologies, differentiating worldviews, and iconic leaders to hook their followers.

    These brands have managed to figured all that out.

    Danielle Schlanger and Kim Bhasin contributed to an earlier version of this story.

    SEE ALSO: SoulCycle and Harley Davidson will always have this in common


    The brand got a shout-out on a Harvard Divinity School document called "How We Gather," crediting the brand for creating a strong community. 

    SoulCycle acolytes wait until the clock strikes 12 on Mondays to sign up for classes. There's even an entire culture built around "earning" your way to the front row of the class.

    "People talk about SoulCycle as a cult. My feeling is that SoulCycle makes you feel great," the fitness chain's founder, Julie Rice, told Los Angeles Magazine in an interview last year. "When we feel great, we become obsessed with what makes us feel great."


    Founder Greg Glassman explained to Business Insider that the brand amassed the following and community incidentally. The fitness company was featured in Harvard Divinity School's "How We Gather" list, which pointed out notable groups that fostered strong communities. Glassman is even speaking at the Harvard Divinity School in November.

    CrossFit's social aspect is very strong and is certainly crucial to its success. "The social level is a vital part of what's happened, and it is why you might think this is a cult — you might think it's a religion," CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman said in an interview. "The values are simple though, and we believe they are salient lifestyle choices that will make a profound difference in your life."


    You don't have to look much further than the hoopla surrounding every Apple product's release to recognize that Apple has a very loyal following.

    One way to amass a loyal following is to create a demon which the community can unite against.

    "If you paint a picture of a threat from the outside — you demonize a local god or you demonize a competitor like IBM — you create solidarity amongst your community because you have to unify to fight against an external threat," Douglas Atkin, author of "The Culting of Brands", explained to Business Insider. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Meagan Cignoli is the wizard of short, branded videos. She started her career as a freelance photographer, and then switched to video. 

    Her company, “Visual Country,” makes innovative short videos. They cover topics like fashion, food, and design. “Visual Country” has also made over 200 video campaigns. Her Vine campaign for Lowe’s was featured in AdWeek

    Meagan started making vines right when the video app launched, and she now has over 637,000 followers. She’s been featured in Wired and Time magazines for her stop-motion mastery. Lowe’s Chief Marketing Officer said Meagan gave the company “a different dimension."

    Story and editing by Jeremy Dreyfuss




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    spotify pharrell

    When executed well, a new logo can inject life into a company and drive a new wave of sales and brand loyalty.

    When executed poorly, a new logo can be the cringe-worthy mark of a brand's decline.

    There have been some significant brand overhauls this year, from Google to IHOP. Flat, sans-serif logos have been in vogue for the past few years and this year's no different, though for the most part there's simultaneously a recognizable trend of being respectful of a brand's heritage.

    We took a look through the graphic-design publisher UnderConsideration's excellent Brand New blog to find how some of the most recognizable brands worked with design agencies to change their logos this year.

    SEE ALSO: 20 books Mark Zuckerberg thinks everyone should read

    Google changed its logo significantly for the first time in 16 years, replacing a dated serif font with a cleaner one while retaining the childlike feel synonymous with the brand.

    Studio Tilt changed the "Restaurant" bar in IHOP's logo to create a smiley face that adds a burst of cheer without detracting from recognizability of the popular restaurant chain.

    Designers have long hated Verizon's logo, and its new one from Pentagram is in the vein of another mocked tradition of stripping down a logo and adding an icon in the top right corner.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sleepy hollow

    When General Motors closed its Hudson River plant in New York in 1996 for cheaper property elsewhere, the Village of North Tarrytown lost more than 4,000 jobs and its main source of tax revenue.

    To avoid letting their hometown fall into destitution, locals decided to think like marketers and voted that same year to rebrand North Tarrytown as Sleepy Hollow, in honor of Washington Irving's 1820 short story "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

    Although the story is fictional, Irving set his tale in a real village, which is today a short train ride north of New York City. The village was officially named North Tarrytown in 1883 and kept that moniker for over a century.

    The name change transformed the industrial town into a spooky destination and a beautiful fall attraction for New Yorkers. Irving's classic story looms over the entire village, and, with a nudge from the FOX drama of the same name, tourism has further picked up in the past couple years.

    "Everything is all about the Headless Horseman now," Sleepy Hollow village administrator Anthony Giaccio told Business Insider last year, referring to the iconic ghoul of Irving's tale.

    Giaccio noted that even when it was North Tarrytown, its high school was always known as Sleepy Hollow High and its teams known as the Horsemen, but today you can find the Horseman chasing Ichabod on the village's ambulances, cop cars, and fire engines.

    sleepy hollowTourists can visit the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Irving is buried, and take photos with the Horseman himself.

    The Historic Hudson Valley organization transforms the historical landmark Philipsburg Manor every autumn into a haunted house that, of course, also features the Horseman.

    And in between these attractions, tourists can grab an Ichabod Ale at one of the town's bars. The beer may be from Michigan, but its name allows it to fit perfectly into the experience.

    Giaccio said that the village, with a population of 10,000, has never hired a company to measure exactly how much revenue comes in during its peak season, which is from late September through early November, but he estimated that about 100,000 tourists come through during that time.

    There has been some opposition to the Sleepy Hollow brand since '96, Giaccio said — "North Tarrytown Forever" bumper stickers are a thing — but he attributes it more to a feeling of nostalgia than a hatred of tourists. He said the critics don't understand that the name has kept their town alive.

    sleepy hollowGiaccio said that he found that the village has really started to embrace the Sleepy Hollow brand since the TV show debuted in September 2013. It has featured shots of and references to the actual village, thanks to a tourism advertising deal the town secured with New York's state government.

    The Sleepy Hollow government even invited "Sleepy Hollow" cast members Orlando Jones and Lyndie Greenwood to kick off the Halloween season last year. The show's ratings are in a steep decline this year, but it has already taught millions of Americans that Sleepy Hollow is indeed a real place they can visit.

    There's an obvious parallel to America's No. 1 Halloween destination Salem, Massachusetts, and it's why the Sleepy Hollow government sends scouts there. Salem, as site of the infamous Salem witch trials of the 17th century, has built a thriving fall economy on its dark history. Sleepy Hollow scouts have studied the way Salem has successfully associated itself with fall and the supernatural thrills of Halloween, glimmers of which exist there even in the dead of summer.

    "We have a long way to go," Giaccio said, explaining that Sleepy Hollow has only realized in the past several years that embracing the Halloween spirit brings a surge of energy and revenue to the village. The village government is still testing ways to attract tourists during the three seasons the Horseman isn't sauntering about the cemetery amid orange foliage.

    "There's a lot of stuff that we really need to figure out how to do a better job at. But each and every year we get a little better," Giaccio said.

    SEE ALSO: Mark Cuban's biggest 'Shark Tank' investment of all time was in this spooky Halloween event — here's what it's like

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    NOW WATCH: Adam Savage: Here's the toughest myth I've ever busted

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    Okta Todd McKinnon Oktane15 3

    Last week, Todd McKinnon the co-founder CEO of Okta, stood on stage in front of 1,000 of his customers and did something he had been wanting to do for years: unveil a better website.

    When he began the better-website project, he didn't realize it would drag him through a series of exercises that he didn't want to do at all. But this process ultimately changed how he thought about his own company, he told Business Insider.

    It was a growing-up moment for McKinnon as CEO of his 6-year-old, 600-employee company that's raised $230 million and was valued at $1.2 billion in September

    The project started in February, he said.

    "The marketing team came to me and said, we need to do a 'branding exercise.' and I thought to myself, what is that? Why do we need that?" 

    The marketing team sold it to him as a project to build a new website, which he wanted. They hired an agency but McKinnon still really wasn't on board.

    Someone from the agency came into his office to quiz him about his company. 

    "We started this interview and I was pretty cynical about it and not very cooperative," McKinnon said. "And I was like, why do I have to tell this guy this stuff? We need a new website, can't he just do that? Do we really need to spend our time on a 'branding' project? Can't we just get a new logo? Can't we just get some new colors on the website?"

    TienTzuo (1) copyThe agency had given him some references and one of them was his good friend and former co-worker, Tien Tzuo. 

    Tzuo and McKinnon were early employees of Salesforce. Tzuo is the co-founder CEO of Zuora, another skyrocketing startup that's raised about $243 million and has about a $1 billion valuation.

    Tzuo is also a really calm, chill dude, with a deep, radio announcer-like voice. He's the perfect person to talk a fellow CEO out of a tantrum.

    Tzuo told him that the process of having someone from the outside come in and tell you what your company is really about was fantastic for Zuora. 

    So McKinnon played along.

    "I didn't really hear much about the project for a few months. And then the team presented to me a progress update and it was a amazing. It wasn't a website," he said.

    It was a different way to look and talk about his company: "what language to use. Of course we also got into visuals and a new logo."

    It made him realize, "We're now at a size and scale that they can't just get the essence of the company by talking to the founders. You have to do things at scale."

    So now instead of telling everyone that Okta is a startup that does "single sign-on for cloud apps" he's now thinking of Okta as "the foundation layer for secure connections between people and technology."

    And while that new tagline sounds like the kind of marketing-speak that would come from a "brand" exercise, it really made McKinnon stop and think. 

    The "challenge" for himself as CEO was to stop thinking of his company in terms of its first and most successful product, the one he and co-founder Frederic Kerrest created, which manages employee's passwords for cloud apps. Okta now offers a bunch of other stuff, too.  Growing up meant thinking bigger, but he also had to learn how to talk bigger. And for an engineer like McKinnon, he needed help to do that, even if he didn't think he wanted it. 


    SEE ALSO: How a mom earned $500,000 in three years selling clothes through an app called Poshmark

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    Kostelecké uzeniny

    An organization's logo is the first thing a prospective customer sees.

    And when it's bad, it can scare people away for good.

    We've gathered some of the worst logo fails of all time. These unintentionally (or sometimes intentionally) reminded consumers of sex acts, lewd behavior, and other things that make 13-year-olds hysterical.

    Many were pulled, and all will go down in internet infamy.

    This is an update of previously published article by Aaron Taube and Laura Stampler.

    SEE ALSO: Did you notice that these 20 companies changed their logos this year?

    The English press had some fun with the London 2012 Summer Olympics logo, saying it resembled both Lisa Simpson performing a sex act and a "punk" swastika. The Iranian government even claimed the stylized "2012" spelled out "Zion" and entertained boycotting the event in protest. The logo ended up looking better in action in its various stylings, but the damage was done.

    Via the Guardian >>

    Brazil's Federal University of Santa Catarina's Institute of Oriental Studies was going for a Japanese temple against the Japanese rising sun. As soon as someone saw the uh, roof, in a butt, the logo achieved meme status in 2005 and the school took it down.

    Via the Telegraph >>

    Kostelecké uzeniny is a popular Czech sausage company that has been around since 1917. It's easy to see why non-Czechs find the logo so amusing, but it's been on all the company's products since the '20s.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    When Robby Ayala starting making Vines with his friends in law school, he had no idea that the 6-second videos would eventually bring him fame and fortune. At our IGNITION conference, Ayala talks about life as a Vine star.

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    johnnie walker

    A great logo change can breathe new life into an old brand.

    This year, several major companies changed their logos. To identify the best revamps, Business Insider looked through graphic-design publisher UnderConsideration's Brand New blog archives and picked our favorites. We only considered large, non-athletic-team or university brands that rolled out the changes in 2015.

    Take a look below to see what caught our eye this year:

    SEE ALSO: Did you notice that these 20 companies changed their logos this year?

    DON'T MISS: The 15 worst corporate logo fails

    10. With the help of design firm Studio Tilt, IHOP changed the "Restaurant" bar in its logo to create a smiley face that adds a burst of cheer. The brand reinvention arrived two months before the popular restaurant chain reported its strongest second-quarter sales in over a decade.

    9. The dinner-reservation service OpenTable worked with Tomorrow Partners for a logo that looks great on the current generation of smartphones. Its icon cleverly represents a diner waiting for a table.

    8. Creative agency Troika updated Turner Broadcasting's logo with a modern look that still maintains its unique "r" shapes.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    When changing an established corporate logo, there's a fine line between success and disaster.

    This year, several major companies changed their logos, and some simply fell flat.

    To identify the worst revamps, Business Insider looked through graphic-design publisher UnderConsideration's Brand New blog archives and picked out our least favorites. We only considered large, non-athletic-team or university brands that rolled out the changes in 2015.

    Take a look below to see some of the worst redesigns of the year:

    SEE ALSO: The 10 best logo changes of 2015

    DON'T MISS: The 15 worst corporate-logo fails

    9. Lenovo is a rapidly growing Chinese tech company that had $1.1 billion in operating income this year. It hired Saatchi and Saatchi to give it a makeover worthy of a major global brand, but the result is underwhelming.

    8. The design community has long hated Verizon's logo, and its new one from Pentagram isn't much of an improvement. The new lettering is more streamlined, but the tiny check mark detracts from the overall look.

    7. The first redesign of CBS Sports' logo in 35 years also falls flat. The new font and boxy presentation ultimately appear staid and boring.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    This year, several leading brands changed their logos. We combed through UnderConsideration's Brand New graphic design and branding site to find our favorites.

    Produced by Jenner Deal. Original Reporting by Richard Feloni.

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    drake future

    No brand has driven sneaker culture like Nike. 

    It's connected running and hip hop and streetwear to one another, made super athletes seem a little more human, and helped change American perspectives on exercise. 

    Here's a few of the ways Nike has defined 'cool' in American culture.

    1973: Nike signs its first athlete to an endorsement deal — a 22-year-old by the name of Steve Prefontaine.

    Prefontaine, or "Pre," as he came to be known, was a running prodigy without peer. 

    He set his first national record at age 15 by running two miles in 8:41:5. 

    Before he died in a car accident at age 24, he held an American record in every long distance event, from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters.

    Pre signed with Nike for $5,000 in 1974, when the company was two years old. With his flowing hair, punk rock attitude, and unprecedented success, Pre helped brand Nike as swaggering and dominant.

    1970-1978: Nike helps make jogging a thing.

    Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman was also a legendary track coach at the University of Oregon. He recruited Pre to join the University of Oregon, then had him sign on to Nike. 

    Bowerman was also a huge evangelist for running, or as it would become known as a recreational activity, jogging. 

    While it seems like running has always been a thing, it didn't become a popular pursuit until the Running Boom of the 1970s. Bowerman helped push running into the mainstream with books like "Jogging," to Nike's benefit. 

    "Certainly running was already popular among kids and athletes in the 1970s, but it wasn’t the social activity that we see it as today,"says marketing analyst Garrett Moon."The growing white-collar workforce helped pave the way for social activities that included the promotion of cardiovascular health. Once the trend was ingrained, the need shifted and the 'jogging shoes' themselves became the felt need."

    1985: Nike launches the Air Jordan.

    The most important athlete endorsement for a brand in the 1980s and 1990s was Michael Jordan. 

    And the most important sneaker of all time is the Air Jordan I, released in September 1985

    In October 1985, the NBA started fining Jordan $5,000 each time he wore the sneakers during a game, since they didn't fit the required color scheme. Nike gladly covered the expenses, since the controversy made the sneaks that much cooler.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Al Roker is much more than an entertainer. He's CEO of Al Roker Entertainment, a global multimedia company that produces TV programs and digital content for the world's biggest brands. At our IGNITION conference, Roker explains why he thinks live streaming is the next big thing.

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