May 17th, 2012 by Steve Nelson
One of my favorite ads was for Rolling Rock beer, ca 1996: "Here's to subtle differences." Rolling Rock uses slightly more malt for a little more body, a little more bite, and they're encouraging you to appreciate that the next time you imbibe. There were several versions in the campaign, but the one I found most effective was "the look":
You see what I mean.
The power of subtle difference came to mind in the recent scandal that lead to the resignation of Scott Thompson at Yahoo!, centering around a slightly fudged resumé.
If you ask me (and you didn't, but here you are): something subtle turned me off of the brand of Scott Thompson when I saw the picture from his Yahoo! bio page that accompanied many of the recent news stories. It was a subtle difference that affected me, as a consumer of news, as a consumer of the services and therefore the brand of Yahoo! Here it is:
If I had seen more of the official photo on the left, I might have been less unsympathetic (subtly different from "more sympathetic") to Thompson and his plight. However, I saw much more of the official photo on the right, on his Yahoo! bio page and in many of the news stories about his deceit. Do you see the difference? I do. A slight upward tilt of the head, shot from a slightly lower angle, in a classic pose of superiority, arrogance, perhaps looking down his nose at you. It's there, and in that 50 milliseconds it takes to determine a level of trust in a brand, that subtle difference made a difference to me.
This plays out every day at every touchpoint of your brand. We've done both subjective and ultra-objective testing of the many factors leading to successful web design, and it is often the most subtle differences that make or break the day.
October 14th, 2010 by Steve Nelson
Branding & Social Media Seminar
October 19, noon – 1 p.m.
Bishop Ranch Conference Center
2623 Camino Ramon, Suite 175 (BR3) (see map)
San Ramon, CA
Free, including light lunch
How do you create a social media presence? What can employees legally share about their company via sites like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube? The social media opportunities are exciting, but clearly, there’s a lot to consider.
In this follow-up to its presentation in April, AP42, a company located in Bishop Ranch 11, will present "Practical Steps and Legal Issues in Social Media Marketing." Topics will include the following:
* How to sign up for social media accounts and establish your presence
* How to create a playbook, including the who, what and when of maintaining your presence
* The Top 5 opportunities for success
* The Top 5 pitfalls to avoid
* How social media and your company’s legal department can peacefully co-exist
Call Tenant Services to sign up at 925.543.0100.
October 8th, 2010 by Steve Nelson
Roger Ehrenberg's post "Brands: Authenticity and Pattern Recognition" comments on Doc Searls's "Brands are Bull" (which followed his "Brands are Boring") by pointing out that whether or not you believe that brands should make a difference, they do. Much of the contempt for the use of the word "brand" is based on poor definition of the term, or underlying concept. Or lack of consensus going in as to what people mean when they use the word. (Much like religious disagreements that arise when everyone assumes they are working from the same definition of the word "God".)
Maybe the branding of "brand" has some problems.
I like the way that Roger characterizes a brand as an "organizing principle", and a facilitator of "pattern recognition". This comes closer to me than "a brand is a conversation", which, though I get where that's coming from, doesn't capture its essence.
I think a brand is something that is simultaneously designed and emerges. I'm as interested in the latter, especially as it helps with the former. Brand as an emergent property of people forming and sharing their ideas of products, people, companies, etc. influences how people will ultimately relate to those products, people and companies. Organizing principles emerge, patterns are recognized out of a mass of information.
I've been considering a definition of "brand" that fits my own working model. But rather than just writing it out, I'll first give the world's largest corpus a chance to define it through emergence, with thousands of examples:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22whenever+I+think+of%22+-you (with a few thousand more here.)
This is based on my (work in progress) personal definition:
A brand is
the representative projection of
the essential nature of
(companies | organizations | products | people | places)
in people's minds
that is achieved through intelligent design
or emerges through natural selection.
(Funny how the analogy once again arises.)