Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-26-13


Branding and Digital Marketing from The Shore

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  Hope you are enjoying the holiday (if you are in the States)!  No rest at the shore, here are this week’s top stories in branding and digital marketing!

#1 – Kmart Strikes Again, Continues Building Clever Marketing Campaign –

Premise: Kmart has built off of its creative, yet risky “Ship my pants” advertising with a new ad and catchphrase; “Big gas savings”.  The retailer has picked up some traction due to its edgy campaign and is looking to build off of it with a second campaign.

Thoughts: Kmart hasn’t been relevant in about 20 years in my opinion, so the fact that they are even still around is somewhat surprising.  I think this was a good risk to take for the retailer, perhaps showing a lighter side to the brand name and building some traction with a broader audience.  Bob put the two ads on this blog entry, so take a look at both of them if you haven’t seen them yet.  They are pretty humorous.  You may also notice that both ads have hashtags included in them, signaling that Kmart isn’t actually stuck in the 1980’s.

It will be interesting to see if or how this pays off a few months from now.  Will sales increase for the retailer?  Does this make you any more open to shopping at Kmart?

#2 – “Meet the World’s Most Audacious Marketer” –  

Premise: Red Bull has moved from ‘just an energy drink’ to a high powered marketer.  The company now sponsors ~500 athletes around the world and goes broadly across a number of extreme sports.  The most memorable of the brand’s campaigns thus far was last year’s sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s skydive from space.  (Video below)

Thoughts: Red Bull has very creative advertising to say the least.  As the article points out, they have also created a nice little niche for itself in extreme sports via sponsorship and several well-branded events.  My favorite part of this article is the short response that the Red Bull team provides on their marketing, “The marketing strategy that has worked best for us is not to publish our strategies”.  That’s brilliant!

Allow me to use this as a reminder to vote in our poll for which brand you believe has the strongest social media presence.  The winning brand will be featured in a future blog entry.

Here is a highlight video that Red Bull put together on Baumgartner’s jump in case you are interested in watching this again.  Despite being on the live news, I still don’t believe this receives enough attention.  This guy skydived from space … and lived!

 #3 – “Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2014” –

Premise: Every year, predicts ten brands that won’t survive the year.  Within the article, you’ll find that they actually had a good success rate in last year’s predictions, with the majority of brands mentioned either collapsing or merging with another.  This year’s list includes two magazines, which shouldn’t be too surprising given the move away from print.  Coincidentally however, another prediction is Nook.  Others include JCPenney and two automotive companies (Volvo and Mitsubishi).

Thoughts: I’m a little surprised at how results turned out for their 2013 predictions.  That doesn’t seem to bode well for those listed here.  JCPenney has certainly had their struggles thus far in 2013, and has already replaced its CEO.  Can the company be turned around?  I think so – particularly if he continues to pivot away from the strategy the retailer tried to employ at the beginning of Ron Johnson’s tenure.

I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see the Nook business crumble.  Despite the investment/backing from Microsoft, the Nook business continues to lose ground to Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Which companies on the list would you expect to see cease to exist by the time 2014 rolls around?

#4 – “Social Media #Fails Every Company Should Learn From” –  

Premise: Possibly spawned by last week’s social media fail story that we also covered in last Sunday’s Musings, SEJ took to the web to remind its readers that all it takes is one colossal mistake to ruin your brand.  This story goes through more than a handful of examples, including Volkswagon and Progressive.

Thoughts: These stories never cease to amaze me and every time I click on one of the summary write-ups like this, I seem to find at least one new one.  The newbies after reading this include the social media fails by American Apparel and Kmart after Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown, CT shootings, respectively.  Seriously, what were they thinking?

(By the way, that is one positive and one negative mention in the same write-up for Kmart.  I never thought I would ever put so many words together about the retailer.)

#5 – “Why Tumblr Won’t Move Yahoo’s Needle” –

Premise: In case you missed it, Yahoo bought Tumblr for a cool $1.1 billion at the beginning of the week.  After a few days of dissecting the pros and cons of the deal, this article does a good job of summarizing those thoughts and how Yahoo will continue to struggle to make money off of the acquisition.  While Tumblr will bring an abundance of traffic for Yahoo, they have yet to generate the revenue needed to help Yahoo’s bottom line.  Yahoo will not have the depth and breadth of data that Facebook, Google, etc. has on their users, as Tumblr did not collect as much information as the others have.

Thoughts: The author of this article paints a pretty dour picture on Yahoo’s acquisition, even though she calls out several positives.  As you read through the details and the competitive forces that Yahoo is up against, you likely have a hard time reaching a different conclusion than what is seen at the end of this write-up; Yahoo is still going to have a hard time convincing others that it is not a has-been.

I used to be a loyal Yahoo user – it would be my home page, email, news source, etc.  I don’t think I spend 20 minutes a week on the site now.  The acquisition of Tumblr does, literally, nothing for me.  I am glad that I sold the stock years ago so I don’t have to be pulled along this roller coaster any further.

What stories in branding and digital marketing caught your attention this week?  Again, enjoy the rest of your holiday weekends (for those of you in the US)!