• Is Social Media an Excuse for Brand Positioning Laziness?

    by  • September 19, 2011

    I retired from the CEO’s office in 1994 and from strategy and marketing consulting last year. Other than a casual Facebook page with a couple of dozen friends, I knew little of social media until I discovered Twitter in February, 2011. That led to periodic posts on this blog. Thanks to social media, I’m re-engaged. I’m fascinated by the marketing opportunities afforded by the digital network and I’m impressed with the results achieved by the new medium’s best marketers. Back in my CMO days, I would have had a field day with social media. Why?

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    Crisis Management: The Ultimate Test of a Leader

    by  • September 12, 2011

    The sudden, unexpected and potentially catastrophic event that threatens a business is a CEO’s greatest challenge. Ever since the Tylenol tampering recall of 30 years ago, the performances of companies in crisis have come under public scrutiny. The entire world was touched by the most environmentally destructive business crisis of all time – BP’s oil spill in the Gulf. Everyone watched as CEO Tony Hayward made blunder after blunder while BP’s crude killed. Three weeks after the explosion, Hayward called the spill “relatively tiny” in comparison with the size of the ocean – 6 weeks later he said he’d like his life back, and 6 weeks after that, BP’s shell-shocked Board finally put him out of his misery.

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    Why HR and the CEO should be joined at the Hip

    by  • September 6, 2011

    The day the Jacobs Suchard (now part of Kraft Foods) Board of Directors promoted me to the C-Suite, they strongly suggested I align myself with the CFO. The advice proved excellent, and for the rest of my days in the corner office I was joined at the hip with an outstanding finance executive who is now the CFO of Lindt & Sprüngli, the world’s leading chocolatier. My regret is that I did not free up my other hip for Human Resources, a group of eager young managers at the rear of the functional pecking order.

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    Clout as Strategy and Why Companies Won’t Admit It

    by  • August 29, 2011

    What is the definition of strategy? Elementary question, you say. Here is the elementary answer. Strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a defined goal. There are all sorts of strategies in today’s business – at the top is corporate strategy, followed by a slew of functional and sub-functional strategies ranging from marketing to waste management. Frankly, strategy is overused and misused; the word is tossed around corporate boardrooms with reckless abandon. Tactics are often misconstrued as strategies. So are goals. Ever heard this? “Our strategy is to become the biggest and the best.” Articulating how a company will become the biggest and the best is the strategy. And that strategy can be good or bad.
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    Distant Replay: My Mid-Life Crisis

    by  • August 23, 2011

    Sara, John, David1Back in February, I started blogging. My intent was to write about business, life and writing – 30 posts later, I’ve managed but one post on life (Lessons from 9-year Olds) and one on writing (Branding the Aspiring Novelist). Today’s musing is about life, and it is personal – a reflection of a special time and a special place. Two months have passed since my 65th birthday. I feel different. Rather than looking ahead, I’m glancing over my shoulder into the past . . . feeling a little melancholic and wondering where all those years have gone.
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    Beauty Marketers: Best in Class

    by  • August 15, 2011

    A couple of years ago, Advertising Age published an impressive 20-page tribute to L’Oreal, entitled 100 Years of Celebrating Beauty. The piece described a passionate marketing company who has believed in the power of advertising and branding for most of its 100 years. Over those years, the L’Oreal moniker has become synonymous with the image of the quintessential Parissiene – upscale, exclusive and aspirational.

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    Market(ing) Meltdown: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

    by  • August 9, 2011

    I’m going to admit at the outset that I’m not a stock market expert. In fact, I pay little attention to the daily moves of the market or the individual stocks in my portfolio. For those of you still with me, here’s my quick take on the current market meltdown – or should I say marketing meltdown?

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    Old Brands. New Hands. Last Stands

    by  • August 1, 2011

    I realize I’ve been around a long time whenever I reminisce about the brands I was associated with in my early career. A few are still leaders, some are shadows of their former selves, the rest are dead. My first job was with Bristol-Myers, the maker of notable health and beauty aids Ban Deodorant, Clairol, Bufferin and Excedrin. At that time, Bristol-Myers also marketed a slew of also-rans such as Ipana and Fact Toothpaste, Vitalis Hair Tonic, Softique Bath Oil and Mum and Trig Deodorant. Where are they now?
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    The Green Thing

    by  • July 26, 2011

    This tale has been making the rounds on the internet. If I knew the creator’s identity I would have given due credit as my guest blogger. Have a chuckle.

    In a line at the grocery store, a cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own bags because plastic bags were terrible for the environment. The woman apologized to the cashier and said, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
    The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today, because your generation didn’t care enough to save our environment.”

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    What Makes ABSOLUT, Absolute?

    by  • July 24, 2011

    absolutABSOLUT Vodka’s advertising campaign is one of the most successful and longest running consumer products campaigns in the history of advertising. The original concept, created by Art Director Geoff Hayes in a bathtub, and perpetuated by several creative notables, has managed to stand the cruel test of time and create the 3rd largest-selling liquor brand on the globe. How has this campaign lasted so long?
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