Month: August 2014

Executive Kidnapping Fears Trigger BMW’s New Armored SUV for Russia

As the traditional wisdom goes, a brand that prospers is the one that answers the needs of its market. The nimble R&D team at BMW AG proved this maxim at the Moscow International Automobile Salon yesterday, by unveiling armored versions of its X5 SUV. Consistent with so many other aspects of German engineering, when BMW says its car is bulletproof, it’s not kidding: Both the X5 Security and X5 Security Plus, as the vehicles are known, can withstand a full-on barrage from an AK-47.

“The risk of armed violence—and in particular, attack with automatic weapons like the AK-47—is a fact of everyday life for certain customers,” the company said in a statement.

Also known as the Kalashnikov, the AK-47 is the world’s most common assault rifle and the choice of malefactors everywhere. By one estimate, there are up to 100 million of the rifles loose in the world, which tallies to one gun for every 60 human beings.

While Russia under Vladimir Putin has largely emerged from the Yeltsin-era terrors of organized crime (the country’s homicide rate dropped from 27,343 murders in 2004 to 14,574 in 2010, according to United Nations figures) it’s still a potentially dangerous place to do business—and many U.S. companies do, from John Deere to McDonald’s to Pepsico. A report from security-management firm Globe Risk International lists Russia among its top 10 countries for corporate kidnapping, predicting that “given the continued predilection for corruption among governments in the former Soviet Union, as well as the strength of the Mafia organizations in these countries, [Russia] could see a steady rise in this type of kidnapping in the future.”

Which means that daring executives from U.S. brands might want to head to a BMW dealership in Moscow. There are 15 of them (here’s a directory.)

The X5 series features Kevlar flooring, a steel-reinforced passenger compartment and bullet proof glass which BMW claims can withstand withering fire from AK-47s during roadside ambushes, reported The Wall Street Journal. The bullet-proof Beemers also come equipped with all wheel-drive powered by a 450-horsepower turbocharged engine for off-road getaways. "Sometimes a hasty retreat is the best form of defense,” according to the German manufacturer.

The armor-plated BMWs start at $ 180,000 and go up to a quarter million for the X5 Security Plus model. Both are designed to look like your standard, off-the-lot luxury SUV.

The concomitant rise of corporate globalism and global terrorism has created quite a growth industry for armored vehicles. Jaguar offers armor-plated models (British Prime Minister David Cameron’s official car is an armored Jaguar XJ), as do Mercedes, Volkswagen and Audi. There are also any number of U.S.-based companies like Texas Armoring and International Armoring Corporation that’ll refit your off-the-lot car with enough plating to get you past an improvised explosive device.

Meanwhile, BMW’s hot new armored car hitting the Russian market begs a big question: Will Vladimir Putin buy one?

Not likely. According to the leader’s personal website, “Putin prefers Russian cars.” A 2012 story in the Christian Science Monitor revealed that Putin was actually planning to toss out the keys to the customary Mercedes and BMW armored limos favored by his predecessors, and opt for a new ZiL model 4112P. Boosting his brand, a ZiL spokesman said that the enormous black car “is much better looking than the Cadillac Obama drives around in—which is a scary submarine, scary to look at.”

Adweek : Advertising & Branding

Energy is Eternal Delight

Energy is Eternal Delight

The work, the craft, the art, the energy.
In a manner, much of my journey has been about where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. And what is unforgettable in my experiences with designers, craftspeople, makers and wonderers [and wanderers]. The above image from a hand-colored print of
William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.”

Energy is Eternal Delight

Time and time again, the telling character of the quality of work — design, architecture, product development, illustration, mind and invention shows through that telling — commitment and energy, to arrive at the newly found, and personally profound, idea.

You can never get there without committing all to that journey. Every step, each stride, each upward glance — commitment and energy, an intertwined signature of catalytic power and accomplishment. With it, journeys of darkness and stumbling failure, with it — new vistas of light and discovery.

As a journeyer in the landscape of creativity for more than four decades, I’ve seen those dreams come alive like wildfire, and dissipate and sputter out like so many candles, merely in the breeze of uncertainty. Know yourself, and you go.

Commit to the path, and only then with more insights gather
like moths to flame, or iron in the earth to the magnet.

With energy, you can go anywhere.

Blakes lines, to this phrasing?
And who was William Blake?

And interestingly, in William Blake’s journey, for all his energy and commitment, he was mostly unrecognized in his life, called “mad” by most of his contemporaries — still, he moved on, combining drawing, poetry and his journeys into a collective, creative concatenation of genius and invention that has culled commentary that he was among the greatest of Britons.

Worth studying.
What’s your take?
The journey of energy,
and creativity,
does many meanders take:

Energy is Eternal Delight



GIRVIN | Strategic Branding Blog

Rethinking How To Reach Brand Audiences

GoPro Brand Strategy

We need to move on. That’s my take-away from a piece by Tara Walpert Levy. We need to move on from a mind-set based on reach and drop-off, and replace it with one centered on engagement and accumulation. “Historically, our media plans have focused more on exposure and broadcasting than engagement and response…,” writes Levy. “We focused on reaching as large an audience as we could and hoped or planned that of that 100%, we would eventually whittle down to the, call it 5%, of people who actually cared and mattered for our brand. We focused on reach because our ability to measure engagement…was lousy.”

Not any more. Instead of opening the jaws of the sales funnel as far as they will go, Levy calls for an engagement pyramid that flips the funnel on its head. Start with what has always been seen as the end of the filter – the 5% who will be most interested  – she says, engage them, get them talking and let the growth begin. Her thinking directly echoes that of Joseph Jaffe whose book of that name some years back first drew my attention to the need to pay attention to the “right” end of the funnel and use commitment as the multiplier.

The thing all brands with a social presence need to be paying attention to, Levy says, are the dynamics of Gen C (the content generation). For this tribe, content is the basis of conversation. It’s the prompt everyone in this generation is looking for in order to have something to share. Gen C are using social networks and content platforms to define their sense of self. They are what they see, what they make and what they distribute. Here’s a great insight: “When they share a video or an image, they’re not just sharing the object, they’re sharing the emotional response it creates.”

And this selfie generation don’t just define their lives this way, they record them as well. One in four upload a video every week and nearly half upload a photo every week. The way I see it that makes almost every Gen C participant a potential media company because so many people are now documentary makers. They are documenting their lives in words, pics, tweets, opinions and shares.

So the future for technology brands, at least in a content world, seems to lie very much in helping that happen or in being a product placement in everyone’s personal suite of content. The future lies in catering to the Gen C question, “What can I tell the world now?”

Levy cites GoPro as a classic example of a brand that has drawn directly on Gen C’s proclivity for content. At first glance, the success of the little sports camera is an enigma. In a world where phones are ubiquitous and Flip failed, how did GoPro go public? The answer, according to this article in Wired, is that GoPro didn’t try to sell technology. Rather, they sold the memories and emotions that GoPro literally captured, and they have flourished because the thrill of capturing those memories talks to everything that Gen-C is about. “GoPro has sold consumers not on the camera, itself, but on something the smartphone can’t easily replace: the experience of using the camera.”

Once captured, of course, experiences must be shared – content – and through sharing, the brand’s reputation has literally been spread. In 2013 alone, according to Wired, GoPro customers uploaded 2.8-years worth of video featuring GoPro in the title and in the first quarter of 2014, people watched over 50 million hours of videos with GoPro somewhere in the title, filename, tag, or description.

My take-away. Scaling is no longer just about expansion, in the sense of adding more and being in more places to reach more people. Scaling, at least for lifestyle brands, is about acquiring a greater and greater sense of identity. But not the identity that brands talk about and know how to do. Rather the identity that consumers have – the sense of self that they gain in seeing progress and achievement for themselves and that they are then motivated to share. GoPro works not so much because of what it does but because of how well it enables people to put more of themselves in the world. They enhance their footprint through the brand as much as the brand enhances its footprint through them. Jawbone Up’s done something similar. Redefined how people document the lives they have and want, using their screens and social media buttons as the playback and sharing mechanisms.

Roll camera. Life…Flipping the funnel is about building brands through granularity, not reach. Start with personal experiences as the critical beach-head. Build small communities. Encourage each of them to grow. Look for ways to knit them together. Rinse and repeat.

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Design the Life You Dream of Having Today

beautifulWhat do you want from your work? What do you really want from business?

Is it fame or fortune? Is it self worth? Is it recognition? Is it a combination?

Often we find ourselves going through the motions. Often we find ourselves thinking, is this it? That is understandable, after all leisure time is often much more enjoyable than working….

But what if you could turn work into something that felt like leisure? You can you know…..if you take a close look at what motivates you.

You see.. leisure is enjoyable because you are doing something YOU want to do – but don’t forget work can be too!

You see..leisure is enjoyable because you are doing it with people you like and respect – but don’t forget work can be too!

You see… leisure is a choice, a personal choice which you have majority of the control over – but don’t forget work can be too!

It has always struck me that people who are successful love what they do, really love every minute of it. Roger Federer is one of my sporting heroes and he often responds to being asked when he is going to retire by saying….”He just loves hitting balls. He loves the practice, the matches…he loves tennis. So only when that love has gone.”

It doesn’t matter what walk of life there is the mundane. Think about the hours of practice a classical pianist puts in before stepping out into that great hall…think about the hours of training a Doctor puts in before he can call himself a specialist…think about the amount of failures that Edison endured before he came across his world famous ideas.

If you don’t love the mundane then you won’t work hard enough to achieve the applause. (Tweet this)

If you don’t love what you do then you won’t convince others to love what you offer. (Tweet this)

If you don’t feel that you have a choice then you will see it as work.(Tweet this)

The truth is that life, that business, that work is all a choice. We choose how we spend our days. Now I know that some people will say…that’s wrong…..I have no choice, I hate my job but I have a family to feed….BUT you do have a choice.

The choice is this…

Do you want to give up on enjoying both life and business and work for the rest of your life OR

Do you value your life and the effect your happiness has on those around you?

If it is the latter then what are you doing today, this hour, this minute to change the future?

Are you learning a new skill? Are you networking and meeting those people who can help you get that job that you would love? Are you recognising what you can do today, to give you THE choice tomorrow?

It is a tough message. It is tough to hear that YOU do have a choice. Because when you accept there is one, then it is down to you to make it happen.

This weekend decide the choice that you want to have….design a path towards that choice…then enjoy the leisure time and start working on Monday towards that choice.

Need more tips on how to succeed in life and business then let me send you my inside tips..

Download Bob's Guide to Social Leadership Super Powers NOW! Download Bob's Guide to Social Leadership Super Powers NOW!

The post Design the Life You Dream of Having Today appeared first on The Engaging Brand.

The Engaging Brand

5 ways to market if you don’t have a lot of money

ways to market if you don't have a lot of moneyNo matter where I speak, who the audience is or even the topic I am supposed to address, this same question comes up:

How do you market your business if you don’t have a lot of money?

Well, the short answer to that is you’d better find some resources for marketing or you are in a lot of trouble. But, that doesn’t mean they all have to cost an arm and a leg.

In the meantime, while you’re scraping together the money to spend on marketing — try this budget friendly tactics.

Hang out where your potential customers hang out and be helpful. Do your clients read certain blogs? Then be there and share your expertise. Do they all run in local marathons? Be there, handing out clean, dry socks with your logo on them. Do they go to industry trade shows? Be there and host a free Q&A about their biggest problems. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go out and find their watering hole.

Know your perfect customer and only take work from them. This requires incredible discipline but pays big dividends. Rather than taking clients for cash flow, ONLY take on those clients that you can delight. And who delight you by paying you a fair price.

Create a referral network by delivering the first referral. When you help someone, it is human nature that they want to return the favor. Why not set the example by making an incredible connection. Now of course to do that…you need to know who their perfect customer is. Which means you get to have a very meaningful conversation that’s all about them. See how the human nature thing is going to work?

Use handwritten thank you notes to show your appreciation. In today’s high tech world, a personal gesture like a handwritten note means a great deal. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Just from the heart. And if you can’t thank a client from the heart, you should fire them before they fire you.

Let them have a taste. Sampling is one of the most effective marketing tactics around. There is no substitute for actually experiencing your product or service. This is your greatest opportunity to earn their trust and their business. So do it right.

I can hear your collective gasp. Give away what you sell? Sampling is a golden oldie in terms of marketing tactics. The biggest buying obstacle any business has is the uncertainty of that first time.

Why not leapfrog over that worry by just giving them a taste? Walk through any grocery store or big box store on a Saturday and watch the marketing tactic at work.  This works just as well for service-based businesses even though they don’t have a physical “thing” to offer.

Bottom line on how to market without spending a lot of money – know who you can help the most and be relentless in your efforts on their behalf. Be generous and be grateful.

I know…I didn’t even mention social media or direct mail or cold calling.  Trust me.  If you try these 5 ways to market if you don’t have a lot of money — the rest will fall into place.

The post 5 ways to market if you don’t have a lot of money appeared first on Drew's Marketing Minute.

Drew’s Marketing Minute

Master and Apprentice Are Back, and Ridiculous as Ever, for Steak ‘n Shake

The latest ads in Carmichael Lynch's master and apprentice campaign for Steak 'n Shake continue to use sound effects and choice props to comic effect.

This time, the main featured sound effect is the comically exaggerated air karate chop. The latest series of wooshes reminds us fondly of Weird Al's absurd dance sequence in his 1988 parody of Michael Jackson's Bad ("Because I'm fat …"). As for the prop, it's a black blindfold that Master wears in his "Pin the tail on the donkey" like search for a milkshake in the desert. The tagline remains, "Hunger wisely."

As with last year's spots, these were directed by Harold Einstein.

Client: Steak ‘n Shake
Spots: "Kung Fu Elbow," "Blindfold"
Agency: Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis
Chief Creative Officer: Dave Damman
Executive Creative Director: Marty Senn
Art Director: Matt Pruett
Art Director (Food): Teela Shandess
Writer: Nick Nelson
Director of Production: Joe Grundhoefer
Executive Content Producer: Freddie Richards
Senior Content Producer: Jon Mielke
Producer (Food): Jenny Barnes
Business Manager: Vicki Oachs
Account Service Team: Stacy Janicki, Sarah Brehm
Senior Project Manager: Lisa Brody
Postproduction Company: Dummy Films
Director: Harold Einstein
Executive Producer: Eric Liney
Director of Photography: Ramsey Nickell
Edit House: Arcade Edit, New York
Executive Producer: Sila Soyer
Editor: Dave Anderson
Assistant Editor: Mark Popham
Online Artists: Tristian Wake
Telecine: CO3
Colorist: Tim Masick
Sound Design: Butter & Heard City
Audio Post: Heard City
Mixer: Keith Reynaud
On-Camera Talent: Mark Montgomery (Master), Alex Miles (Apprentice)
Voiceover Talent: Tom Hair

Adweek : Advertising & Branding

Nocturnal Beer Drinkers Just Hang Around in This Batty Ad From Brazil

When you get to a certain point, usually around your mid-20s, you realize there's not much more to life than drinking delicious beer. Imagine a world where you only wake up when it's time to imbibe a bottle of suds. 

That's the strange reality in this dark, surreal Brazilian ad for Skol by agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, in which sleeping bat-people, hanging upside down all over town, wake up when they hear a Skol Beats beer opening.

I can dig it. Take a look below, and see if you're willing to suspend your disbelief (from the ceiling … without spilling your beer).

Client: Ambev
Product: Skol Beats
Agency: F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi
Spot: "Morcegos" ("Bats")
Creative Executive Directors: Fabio Fernandes, Eduardo Lima
Creative Director: Theo Rocha
Creative Staff: Theo Rocha, Thiago Carvalho
Account Supervisors: Marcello Penna, Ricardo Forli, Rafael Cappelli, Marcela Paiva
Planners: José Porto, Guilherme Pasculli, Victor Marx, Felipe Santini
Media: Fabio Freitas, André Cais, Bruno Storace, Vivian Simões, Caroline Pascuinelli
Agency Producers: Victor Alloza, Renato Chabuh, Gisele Campos, Maira Massullo, Rafael Paes
Production Company: Zohar Cinema E Comunicação Ltda
Director: 300 Ml
Executive Producer: Carlos Paiva, Isabelle Tanugi
DOP: Enrique Chediak
Producer: Angelo Gastal
Editor: Rami D’aguiar
Motion: Full Frame
Postproduction: Full Frame
Sound: A9
Client Supervisors: Pedro Earp, Fábio Baracho, Pedro Adamy, Taciana Ávila

Adweek : Advertising & Branding

Repositioning vs. Rebranding

Rebranding Repositioning Strategy

Today on Branding Strategy Insider, another brand strategy question from the BSI Emailbag. Lisa, a marketer in Washington D.C. asks:

“What is the difference between repositioning and rebranding?”

Thanks for your question Lisa. Rebranding has become quite popular, especially for brands that want to shed a previously negative image. For instance, Philip Morris rebranded itself to Altria. Or brands that are facing increased competitive pressure like McDonald’s. Rebranding is simply changing the brand’s identity. It typically includes changing most or all of the brand identity elements such as the name, icon, colors, type font and tagline. The identity change may also be accompanied by brand repositioning.

However, a brand can be repositioned without changing its identity. Repositioning focuses on changing what customers associate with the brand and sometimes competing brands. This usually entails a change in the brand’s promise and its personality. Taglines often change with brand repositioning (to communicate the new promise). And sometimes the identity itself is updated or refreshed to reinforce the change in the brand’s positioning. However, most brand repositioning projects do not result in completely changed identities. That is, usually the brand name does not change. And frequently, neither do the identity elements other than the tagline and perhaps a slight identity system updating.

Another way to envision this is to think of a brand as a person. If a person rebrands himself, he gains or loses weight, changes his hairstyle and color and wardrobe and perhaps changes his name. If the person repositions himself, he changes his values, attitude, personality or behavior. Any combination of these changes can occur together or separately.

In summary, rebranding is an identity change. Repositioning is a change in the brand’s promise, personality or other associations. These changes can be performed together or separately.

Do you have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project

Sponsored ByThe Brand Positioning Workshop, the Brand Storytelling Workshop Series and Brand Strategy and Customer Co-Creation Workshops

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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Branding Strategy Insider