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Ries' Pieces



Laura Ries on the business of branding



Last Build Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:36:05 -0400

 



Striking Out Cancer with a Visual Hammer

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:36:05 -0400

Every cancer center has a mission, vision and core values. If you looked them all up, they are all pretty similar. It is tough to differentiate your brand. But the leading cancer center for 10 of the past 13 years according to the U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey, does a few things differently.



Flying Flags on the Fourth

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:21:48 -0400

As we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday here in the United States, I am reminded of the emotional power flags have. A flag can become powerful visual hammer for a country, company, idea or movement.



What can a red nose do?

Tue, 19 May 2015 16:34:54 -0400

What can a red nose do? It can build a brand. A red nose is the visual hammer for Red Nose Day, a campaign started in the U.K. and has now moved into America. The Red Nose Day fund is a program of Comic Relief, a non-profit that raises money for children living in poverty. Hundreds of charities do similar work, but most don’t become as well-known or raise as much money. The difference? A visual hammer that drives the brand into the mind. It might be a simple or silly thing like a pink ribbon, a yellow bracelet or a red nose. Three visuals that have built powerful, relatively-new non-profit giants.



HP splits into a circle and a rectangle? Oh my.

Thu, 23 Apr 2015 10:10:23 -0400

Hewlett-Packard is trying to become more focused by dividing itself in half. But dividing isn’t so easy. It is messy legally, corporately and mentally. The lawyers can separate the assets, but how to you separate the companies in the mind? One way is with the name, another way is with a visual. But the new logo for Hewlett Packard Enterprise is empty and boring. Is the rectangular shape supposed to be a server? If so, it would seems to position them as just another boring computer consulting company.



Political Branding - 2016 Preview

Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:52:46 -0400

Running for President of the United States means building a brand that at least 51% of the country is willing to buy on Election Day. Not an easy task in a country as large and diverse as America. Too narrow a focus and you won’t get a majority vote. The key to winning an election is to find a key issue narrow enough to stand for something but broad enough to be appeal to several constituencies.



Hashtag Branding - How to not get burned

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:53:48 -0400

Starbucks, like most companies these days, is obsessed with buzz. Not the kind you get from a double-espresso but the kind you find online with tweets, hashtags and likes. It used to be that the major media outlets controlled the conversation. Today, consumers via social media have the power to start, join or change the conversation. The media covers the buzz instead of creating it. As a result, companies are trying harder than ever to encourage consumers to start conversations online with hashtag campaigns.



Super Bowl 2015

Mon, 02 Feb 2015 16:04:45 -0500

We saw fewer special effects, sexy girls and kicks to the crotch this year. And the few that took that route fell flat. What did score big is what always scores big. Ads from brands that own strong positions in the mind, that dominate categories and that hammer us with a familiar theme and visual in a new and entertaining way. Budweiser, Snickers, Doritos and Always scored big.



High Hopes for Marley

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:44:25 -0500

The Weed Wars are coming. As the legalization of marijuana continues to move forward, we will see hundreds of homegrown brands turn into a handful of big brands and eventually a couple of dominant brands. It happened with cars; it happened with beer; it happened with computers; it happened with energy drinks. It will happen with marijuana.



Burger King loses its way

Wed, 21 May 2014 15:47:48 -0400

What kills most marketing programs is “change.” When you keep changing your slogans, you confuse consumers and after a while they don’t attention to what you are trying to say. Over the years, Burger King has had a lot of slogans. Remember “Where is Herb?” Burger King spent over $40 million trying to find him. They never did!



Super Bowl 2014

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 16:40:23 -0500

Unless you were a Seattle fan, the 2014 Super Bowl wasn’t a super game to watch. The puppy bowl was more competitive. So that left a lot of pressure on the commercials to deliver some much needed excitement and entertainment. A few spots delivered but most were not very memorable. One thing that continues to make the difference between failure and success is the use of a consistent visual hammer.