SOTB: 2010 Retrospective ~ Brand Mix

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

SOTB: 2010 Retrospective

It's almost time to say goodbye to 2010. A year that featured the launch of the iPad, the Old Spice commercials, the European debt crisis, Foursquare rising (soon to fall?), Groupon turning down a $6 billion offer from Google, Steven Slater's dramatic exit from his Jet Blue flight (and career), the TSA-inspired catchphrase "Don't Touch My Junk," a Gap logo that was junked following a Twitter outcry and Spain winning the World Cup (while I was there). While all this was going on, these were the six most popular Brand Mix posts of the year:

1) Great Brands of Tomorrow
Credit Suisse released an impressive report on the 27 brands it considered to have the greatest potential in the years to come. Most of the brands on the list are ones that have started to make the leap from niche/emerging players into powerful mainstream brands. Brands like Trader Joe's and Hyundai. These brands still have plenty of room to grow but are more established and have less risk of flaming out than early-stage companies. The report also had some interesting thoughts on the power of brand investing and what, in their opinion, constitutes sustainable brand value creation.

2) Marriott launches Autograph Collection, a tricky proposition
It was nice to see a post about brand architecture, my specialty area, make the top six. This post talked about the branding challenges for Marriott as it launched its new Autograph Collection bringing together high-end, unique properties in an upscale franchise. It's a  tricky challenge to get the balance right between recognizing marketing and operating efficiencies of bringing these properties closer together without eroding the unique characteristics that customers value.

3) Six of the Best: Sticky accelerators, iPad jokes, phone book forts and more edition
Back in January, almost any reference to iPad in your headline was guaranteed to increase traffic. In the early days of the iPad, there was a lot of chat about the name and its unfortunate proximity to a category of feminine hygiene products. In this SOTB, I listed a post written by Hayes Roth, Landor's CMO, who correctly predicted that the product would be a smash and the hoo-hah about the name quickly forgotten.

4) In questions of perception and behavior, font matters
This post reported on an article by Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz in the February edition of The Psychologist that showed how fonts can significantly influence people's assessment about how easy or difficult things are to do. People estimated that an exercise with instructions printed in Arial would be much easier and faster to complete than the same exercise with instructions printed in Script MT. The more difficult-to-read fonts tax our brain's limited processing power and lead us to make false inferences about the task itself.

5) Six of the Best: Branding edition
I should probably put the words brand and branding into my titles more often if I want to get more readership. Anyway, this SOTB featured six posts about various aspects of branding from what we can learn from the remarkable turnaround of Ford to the transformation of Bill Gates as a presenter.

6) Essentials of Branding: FREE! download
Well this post had "branding" and "FREE!" in the title so it should have been the most popular of all. McGraw Hill's Big Book of Marketing is, they say: "The most comprehensive book of its kind... the definitive resource for marketing your business in the twenty-first century." Landor contributed content for the chapter on branding and it's that content that's STILL available for free download on

That's it! Back soon with more stories from the world of brand strategy. More thoughts and comments also available on Twitter (@martinjbishop).

Photo: last rays by paul (dex)  (Flickr)

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