Here are this week’s links and stories that caught my attention in branding and digital marketing this week.
#1 – “Why Some Brand Extensions Are Brilliant and Others Are Just Awkward” – Time.com
Premise: Brand extensions are happening all of the time – some of them work tremendously, while others are tremendous flops. This article provides a few, recent examples of both. The good: Chipotle and NyQuil; the bad: Zippo and Virgin.
Thoughts: Failed brand extensions and product launches that go too far beyond a brand’s core principles drive me a little batty. If a brand feels the need to reinvent their wheel and go in a completely different direction, just start a new brand and give it a unique name. Know your strengths and your limitations of where you can go, and “Focus” on what you are doing right to ensure you have a sustainable business.
(The “ “ around focus is intentional, as we’ll be starting a book review this coming week on some of my favorites around the world of branding and digital marketing. Cliffhanger alert.)
#2 – “Groupon’s Andrew Mason: ‘I was fired’” – AdAge.com
Premise: After Groupon’s latest quarterly report, the board finally pulled the plug on its founder and CEO, Andrew Mason. The article pastes in Mason’s full email to his employees.
Thoughts: I have sparingly used Groupon over the past few years but never truly understood how this could be a sustainable business model, particularly with the likes of Google and Amazon continuously looking to get into this space. Groupon has proven to be one big mess of a company since going public, burning through cash at an alarming rate. (Mason once turned down a $6 billion offer from Google several years ago. Ouch.)
With all of that said, I thought Mason’s email to employees, as well as his general humor on social media about being let go, were done in good fashion.
#3 – “Zynga Joins Gamble on Online Gambling” – MobileMarketingWatch.com
Premise: It isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” online gambling comes in full force to the United States. Nevada and (my very own) New Jersey are pushing down on the accelerator here and others are sure to follow. Zynga and its CEO Mark Pincus are looking to join the fray, taking online gambling and making it “social”.
Thoughts: Zynga’s move towards “real” online gambling is a no brainer for the company. The potential revenue from this is tremendous. The company already enjoys millions of players for its Zynga Poker game and has recently launched ‘Go Slots’ and ‘Lucky Play’ (a sportsbook) on its own web site. Similar to Groupon, Zynga has had a tough time convincing investors the company has a sustainable business. However, the quicker online gambling is adopted in the US, the quicker Zynga can turn around its business.
(Disclosure: I bought Zynga stock when it first went public and have since bought on the huge drop-off. Still holding now and waiting for … well, the above to come to fruition.)
#4 – “Making LinkedIn Work For Your Business” – manireblog.net.
Premise: LinkedIn continues to mold itself into a preeminent spot on the web for businesses. The author takes us through a few of the more powerful steps in which LinkedIn can be leveraged, most specifically on lead generation. With the redesign of the site’s ‘company pages’ feature, businesses have the opportunity to customize their design and message on their page.
Thoughts: As we have mentioned here a number of times over the first month of the Sunday Musings, LinkedIn has continued to shape the functionality of its site for both businesses and individuals. While a few of the thoughts and recommendations may seem a little basic to some, this article does a nice job of explaining what you should be covering off on if you are creating or updating your businesses LinkedIn page.
#5 – “Google Glass Changes Everything Including Inbound Marketing” – Square2Marketing.com
Premise: Google Glass has been launched and rather than just “Ooh” and “Aah” over its design and capabilities, this article takes a unique perspective on how Google Glass can have a significant impact on inbound marketing.
Thoughts: This is an interesting spin on what Google Glass can do for businesses and marketers. The continuous search for more content, knowledge and power takes another step towards being at our fingertips 24/7 with Google Glass. Connecting and sharing content through voice command is going to be taking a significant step forward in 2013 and into 2014 with Glass.
Take a look at the official video and feel free to “Ooh” and “Aah”:
There was a lot of news in technology this week, particularly in three companies (Groupon, Zynga, and LinkedIn) that went public more recently. While LinkedIn has seen tremendous growth over that time, the others have struggled. What do you think the future is for any of these three?