Category Archives: branding

Its a Cadillac.

If you were looking for a great example of a premium product, offering premium value, sold at a premium price, what brand name do you think of?  And conversely, what is the brand at the opposite (i.e., low) end of the spectrum?

I’ve been laughed at a few times recently when in conversation, to describe such a product, I’ve used the term “Cadillac” as that reference point.

“Bill, don’t you realize that most people under 40 have no affinity with the brand Cadillac, or that it stands for premium, if they even know it at all.  Oh yea, and remember that General Motors is in financial distress.”  More laughter (at Bill).

Yet twenty years ago; maybe even ten years ago, that expression would be spot on.  I guess old (expression) habits are hard to break.

So I surfed a bit on this topic stumbled upon the blog post  What makes a premium brand premium? by David Murphy, a brand strategist.  He says we are willing to pay more for a premium product or service despite other offerings providing equivalent function because…

…a premium brand is built upon specific tangible and intangible attributes that give it a sense worth:

  • Sensuality — it is sensory, tactile and a bit mysterious.
  • Rarity — it represents a discerning choice, intriguing because it is uncommon.
  • Confidence — it projects a feeling of intrinsic worth.
  • Authenticity — is has a sense of “true north” and remains true to this ideal.
  • Quality — it is consistent and shows extreme attention to detail.

Makes sense.  And I still associate each of these attributes to Cadillac.  But in my next conversation, I’m going to try a different premium brand to see what reaction that incites.

The “Really Really Like” Button

I am not one of those Facebook users that Likes every page they come across.  I really really need to Like it.  I thought I would share two Really Really Like Fan pages of organizations doing a great job of engaging their customers with their product, and consequently in their brand.  OK, maybe that isn’t true.  Lets just say they are doing a great job of engaging me in their brand.

Oreos.

I love Oreos.  I am a fan of the Oreo Facebook page along with 8.9 million  other people.   The level of engagement on the Oreo fan page is impressive.  The Oreo brand managers are swimming in a wealth of authentic insights from their customers unlike any kind of market research they could have previously conducted.

A recent post asks, “Sometimes it’s not who you share an Oreo with, but where.  What’s your favorite place to have an Oreo?”  As of this writing, 2,847 fans left comments on their favorite place.  Imagine this information being used to help design sets or locations used in advertising, or messaging in the advertising that enhances the experience of that location.  And for me, its standing around the kitchen island using a green juice glass from my childhood whose rim is just wide enough to fit an Oreo.

Dunking an Oreo in my favorite glass.

There are other fun and provocative threads.  “If milk could talk, what would it say to an Oreo?”   Over 6500 people left funny, sexual, and silly responses to that question.  Then they reversed it and asked, “What would the Oreo say to the milk?”  Need an off-color laugh?  Its worth reading a few of these comments.

Personally, I’ve only contributed to the dialogue on Oreo dunking techniques, which I have some very strong opinions.  Oreos have an entire page dedicated to “Dunk vs. Don’t Dunk”.   Obviously, this is an extremely pressing issue for our society and one which I have strong feelings given that I’ve been perfecting my dunking techniques over the last fifty-two years.

Market research?  The folks behind Oreos seem to be executing it quite well.

O-H-I-O.

Spelling is a big deal to people from Ohio, especially as football season approaches.   Script Ohio is a tradition of  The Ohio State University marching band started in 1936 that still sends chills up my spine.  Another more interactive ritual is shared throughout the world.  When strolling down the sidewalk sporting any garb from The Ohio State University and you spot someone oncoming also sporting Ohio State garb of any form,  it is customary, actually expected, that one of you will blurt out “O-H” and the other knows to answer “I-O”.  It is universal.

But recently OSU has done a great job of cultivating all this spelling into an extremely engaging “Share Your Pride” program.  Over 5800 people have shared their pride thinking of clever ways to spell O-H-I-O.  Its easy to post.  And through Facebook, it is easy to follow a featured photo everyday, which I really look forward to seeing.  Here are three of my favorites chosen especially for my Canadian friends: CN Tower, Stanley Cup, and Innocent Canadian Bystanders.  Everyone of these people feels strong enough about the brand of Ohio State to plan a clever photo, submit to the university, and be thrilled seeing their work prominently displayed publicly.  And the cost to implement?  Nearly zero (as is evidenced by their weak user interface to navigate the photos).  The value returned?  Priceless.

What About You?

I’m curious.  What brands do you love and have done a great job of engaging you?  And wearing their t-shirt doesn’t count as that isn’t nearly engaging.