Category Archives: Brand Management
Many companies wonder if their logos and brand graphics need a fresh look after a number of years. Do we need to rebrand or simply tweak our current brand in order to remain relevant? Sometimes a brand tune up is all a company needs.
While I’d prefer to focus on Kmart’s radical attempt to make its brand more hip and
relevant (the brilliant and hilarious online ad that promotes shopping for Kmart products online, which resulted in a media frenzy and almost 15 million YouTube views in the last week) but some people have taken offense to the ad, so I’ll stay on safe ground and discuss a less radical but still relevant rebranding effort….the Kool Aid Man.
Starting in the 1960s, children grew up watching the iconic gigantic pitcher of red Kool Aid crash through doors and walls. This beloved mascot is definitely recognizable and possesses a lot of brand equity so it’s no wonder Kool Aid chose to keep its beloved mascot and simply update the look. The company is retiring the human suit and replacing with it with a technologically advanced GCI character that has a colorful personality, a distinctive new voice and a more robust vocabulary to increase the “mom appeal.”
The new look launched this month in conjunction with a new brand campaign called “Smile, It’s Kool Aid” and included new television ads and a Kool Aid man Facebook page, providing followers with games and giveaways in order to keep customers engaged.
Like I mentioned, the company is by no means abandoning the brand that made it the most popular flavored drink mix. The company reports that the newer, slicker, more well-spoken Kool Aid man will continue to bust through walls. Oh Yeah!
April first doesn’t simply mark the first day of the month, but more importantly a day filled with pranks providing comic relief to the workday. There’s your traditional harmless office prank, like flipping offices around, changing your co-workers office signature, taping a colleague’s phone handset down to the base, sticky-noting cubicles, and the list goes on-and-on. But, on the rare occasion, some companies have tricked thousands of people into believing some truly bizarre things.
Top PRanks of all time:
1. Taco Bell’s “Purchase” of the Liberty Bell—In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page ad in six major daily newspapers stating that it had bought the Liberty Bell to help reduce the national debt. The ad said: “It will now be called the ‘Taco Liberty Bell’ and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.” People responded very confused and upset, even members of Congress made phone calls in disgust. Taco Bell followed up with a second press release later in the day acknowledging the prank and despite negative comments they defended the joke by saying that it brought attention to a real issue at hand for the need to better preserve our national monuments. They also donated $50,000 to the upkeep of the Liberty Bell, as well as landing themselves a whole lot of attention.
2. Burger King’s “Left-Handed Whopper”—Finally, some respect for the left-handed folk. In 1998, an ad was placed in USA Today about their newest menu item: The Left-Handed Whopper. As noted in a press release, the burger was said to contain the same ingredients, but was redesigned to “fit more comfortably in the left hand.” “This will result in fewer condiment ‘spills’ for left-handed hamburger lovers,” the press release said. “The new Left-Handed Whopper will have all the condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of them skew to the left.” People lined up in stores to try the new burger, completely ignorant to the fact that a burger is circular and will fit exactly the same in the left-hand as it does in the right. Burger King issued a press release the following day acknowledging the new sandwich was a joke.
3. Gmail’s Vowel Outage—On April 1, 2010, Gmail’s Engineering Director, Sam Schillace, posted a notice for Gmail users stating: “If you logged into Gmail over the last hour (or visited the Gmail homepage), you probably noticed that something looked a bit off: all the vowels are missing. We realize this makes things difficult for all of you who rely on Gmail — whether at home or at work — and we’re incredibly sorry. We take morphological issues like this extremely seriously, so we want to let you all know what happened and what we’re doing about it.” Throughout the day, updates were posted to the Gmail blog: Update (7:30 am): We’ve determined that the letter ‘y’ is not impacted. Update (3:02 pm): This issue has been resolved. Update (12:01 am): Also, this issue never happened. Happy April 1st. Quite Clever, Google.
Although April Fool’s Day jokes can provide a few good laughs, they can also have extremely negative implications and backlash. Protecting the reputation of a brand is a full-time job, and cannot “take a holiday” on April first. Did your office participate in April Fool’s Day? What are some funny jokes you’ve played on your co-workers?
How confident are you in your brand? Likely not as confident as the NFL, which seems convinced that fans, players and broadcasters will quickly forget the replacement referee crisis as soon as an agreement is reached…whenever that may be. The league seems to be in no rush to cut a deal to end the “crisis.” That’s confident; but is it smart?
After Monday night’s most controversial call of the strike to date, the Twittersphere united fans and players in disgust. Angry fans reportedly left more than 70,000 voicemails for the NFL League Office in a single night. Even President Obama and Governor Romney were united in a shared position on at least this one issue: the strike needs to be settled quickly and experienced refs brought back on the field.
The league’s credibility in managing through the strike is also under fire. Countless commentators have expressed concerns that not only will season records be marred, but that players may be hurt as a result of blown plays. And in a particularly amusing revelation, we learned this week that the one of the replacement refs was fired from the LFL. That’s the “Lingerie Football League” you know. And he was FIRED.
But, ticket sales are good and TV ratings are up. So the only down side to the strike for the NFL, it appears, are the licks to its reputation. That’s apparently one price the league is happily willing to pay.
Most organizations are not in a position to be so cavalier about their reputation. Realizing reputational harm can threaten the stability or economic health of an organization, smart organizational leaders take steps to minimize negative media coverage, limit the negative impact among stakeholders, and help retain or rebuild credibility and trust.
But in the eyes of the NFL, I guess, it’s only a game; and its leadership seems to believe it holds the winning hand. What do you think? Is the risk they’re taking a good business decision?
Online reputation management is a critical task for any company. The web is a world-wide conversation site whether your business has a strong internet presence or not. The internet has made it possible for consumers and competitors to converse openly about opinions and experiences with companies, whether positive or negative. With the prominence of review sites out there such as Yelp and CitySearch and Ripoff Report, in addition to social media sites, it is important to always be aware of any talk about your company. Here are five essential steps to help ensure sure that your company reputation is the best it can be!
- Be prepared for and aware of risks. All companies should consider how to avoid and respond to any internet dialogue that has the potential to damage the company brand. Developing a crisis plan and being prepared in advance is critical for fast and effective online reputation management.
- Track and monitor your brand. Have you ever Googled yourself out of curiosity? If you have not done so with your company, it’s time. Frequent monitoring of your brand is essential, as new content is placed on the internet daily. One easy way to do this is to create Google Alerts which will send you email updates of the latest internet mentions of your company based on the search terms you provide. Regularly searching for keywords that relate to your company, your competitors and your industry is another easy way to monitor your brand and business space
- Register domains and IDs. Protect your brand for the future by registering your company name on new sites in case they become popular later. If you search for your name on Twitter or Facebook, it is likely you will find many other people out there with the same name: same goes for your company. By spending a few minutes and a few extra dollars to register domains and IDs, your company won’t be hit by roadblocks in the future
- Create proactive content. Acting proactively is an important part of any reputation strategy as you plan positive messages, articles, press releases, etc. to insure you have a constant flow of content for your audience. Sharing your company’s stories and ideas across various types of media outlets will help get your name out there and let consumers know that you are real people with real and valuable ideas
- Remove negative content. In the case that negative content gets out about your brand, there are several ways to get rid of or bury the bad news. If you are in control of content that you don’t want others to see such as on Facebook, Twitter or a blog, simply delete the negative content or change your privacy settings. If negative content is on a site that you do not control, review the sites Terms or Content Policies and politely ask the owner of the site to remove the content if it is in violation. And by creating new, positive content on high-ranking sites, your search results will show the positive over the negative.
Do you or your company follow any of these guidelines to protect your online reputation? What’s worked (or hasn’t worked) for you? Let us know in the comments section.