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Tagged ‘Branding’


Philip Bouchard

Have We Entered the Era of Internet Caveat Emptor?

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A failed method of decision support is Internet searches.  The Internet is completely algorithm-based now.  And the balance of transparency vs. being targeted has shifted heavily in the favor of advertisers. Where on the Internet can decision-makers find trust and authenticity?  There must be providers of trusted, skillfully curated and delivered information.  TrustedPeer is one of those sites.

My thoughts were ignited by David Segal’s May 4th New York Times Sunday Business article “The Great Unwatched."  As Mr. Segal points out in the article, "57 percent of two billion ads surveyed over two months were deemed to be unviewable," yet companies still paid for the ads.

Unfortunately, I think of dubious parallels:
  • Remember Collateralized Debt Obligations and other structured asset-backed securities? 
  • Remember in Casablanca when Claude Rains declares that he’s shocked that gambling is going on as he palms a payoff on the side?
  • Are we aware, while we “research,” the Internet can be gamed in so many areas? Think of Wikipedia content or LinkedIn endorsements or, per Mr. Segal, video ad placement.  
The fact is that we should all be skeptical of the Internet as a decision support tool.  However, any problem presents an opportunity.  There is a parallel trend where authenticity, quality and objectivity are being are being held in higher esteem.

At TrustedPeer, we're building our brand on trust, authenticity and quality.  One TrustedPeer Expert at a time.

If you need consulting on Business Management, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard.
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Ted Judson

Taking Chocolate to the Next Level: A New-Dimension Line Extension

Most product line extensions do not stray far from the original offering. For example, video games are commonly extended into movies, as shown by films like Mortal Kombat and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Similarly, television shows regularly prompt board game extensions, like the Simpsons® Monopoly® edition. Even the wildly popular internet video 'What Does the Fox Say?' is now being turned into a children's book! All of these examples are very natural extensions of the original product, because they fall under the general category of entertainment. This kind of closely-related extension is considered same-dimensional.

Rarer are extensions which are new-dimensional, representing a complete transformation into mediums which were not there at the start. A recent example comes from M&Ms®, the beloved chocolate candy, which will soon star in a movie! This is not the first line extension for this iconic brand: they have extended their original chocolate product to everything from pretzel and dark chocolate versions to Easter and mini-sized versions. They have also ventured further afield, making candy dispensers, mugs and even t-shirts celebrating their product. However, these extensions have all been in the food category or in the broader consumer packaged goods (CPG) arena. Their newest product bridges their offering from a food product to an entertainment vehicle.

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This is not an easy feat, and it did not happen overnight. What first paved the way for this revenue-generating extension was the brand's commercials. Initially, the creative team came up with the idea to anthropomorphize the candies in ads to help sell more chocolate by fueling a sense of connection. One way to do this, they found, was to make the product relatable, by pumping up its personality. This early idea resulted in ads in which different colors of M&M® candies had different personas: fun, mischievous and sometimes cheeky. The life of these personalities continued to evolve in subsequent ads with ongoing storylines for each color of candy. Finally, there had been enough exposure to these ads that the characters had come alive to consumers. With this series of small steps, Mars built up consumer demand for a movie featuring their candies.

But how did the brand know that their characters were ready for the big screen? The key would have been observing how consumers perceived the brand. For example, in focus groups, did consumers talk about liking 'that color' – or did they mention liking 'that guy?' Consumers who thought of M&Ms® as 'guys' were seeing them as peers, for whom certain actions would be in- or out-of-character. This is why an M&M® movie is hitting theaters, but a gummy bear movie is not: you would be hard-pressed to name or assign characteristics to any individual bear. 

New-dimensional product extensions like this are very rare – and have great potential. Though it is difficult to predict how successful the transition will be for M&Ms®, it is an opportunity that not many brands have.

The important question is: will watching M&Ms® on the big screen increase or decrease M&M® sales at the theaters themselves? How will viewers see it: happy convergence or disturbing cannibalism?

If you need consulting on Product Life Cycle Management, contact TrustedPeer Expert Ted Judson.


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Rick Bragdon

MiO and the World Language of Branding

Increased use of names beyond the United States require "world language" naming techniques, international trademark search and language analysis in multiple countries.

Successfully creating names to be used internationally requires familiarity with multiple languages and the idiosyncratic ways in which letters and letter combinations are pronounced by speakers of these languages. Not only that, but some words and names may have meanings that are positive in one language, but pejorative in another. "World language" is a way of naming that significantly increases the likelihood that a name will appeal to and be pronounceable by target audiences in many countries.  MiO, for example, is a name created by Idiom to identify a popular new water enhancer from Kraft Foods.   "Mio" means "mine" in Italian, but is readily recognized in America and all of the Romance language-speaking countries. So the name helps to communicate the product's position ("my water, my way") while transcending language barriers.

To read more by Rick on Brand and Product Name Development, click here

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