Why The Return of “Geoffrey the Giraffe” Demonstrates the Power of Brand Marketing

A recent conversation with a business executive reminded me that, for many non-marketers, there’s often vagueness or even confusion about the term “branding” and its application.

I suspect it’s connected to a fuzziness about what marketing is/does in general and the use and power of brands, branding and brand management in particular. That’s unfortunate because excellent marketing and effective brand management can be cornerstones for strong customer relationships and sustainable long-term business success.

Take last week’s announcement that Kroger is mounting a major 2018 holiday season push to sell specially branded toys via the launch of Geoffrey’s Toy Box across a multi-banner network of nearly 600 supermarkets.  The branded store-within-a-store is a reconstituted marketing and brand concept created from Toys “R” Us intellectual property. More on this in a moment.

Credit: Geoffrey LLC.


First, as a general principle, when it comes to your products and services, it’s an excellent idea to brand them. Doing so creates a distinct identity and perception with your customer that can generate sales, establish differentiation and produce loyal, repeat business. Lack of a brand name may put you into an unknown, generic box with everyone else. Continue reading

Teamwork Difference-Making Tips from Little League, Marvel and Town Hall

People can make the difference in business.

That means the level of success is often impacted by how management treats its workforce and how well colleagues jell together as a cohesive team.

At the same time, success doesn’t happen without core components such as products, supply chains, strategy and marketing plans. For the best long-term success, people, products and systems need to be clicking on all cylinders.

As summer 2018 comes to an end, let’s focus on the people/teamwork variable for success. Here are three examples that recently caught my attention from the Little League World Series, Marvel and a Minnesota community civility project. Continue reading

Showtime’s New Series is Built on Deception and Bad for America

Writing about marketing and business is more fun when sharing excellent examples and great creativity.

However, just as important, sometimes we have to learn from what’s not excellent. A new “comedy” series from Showtime is a glaring example.

Authenticity and transparency are important go-to-market levers. Consumers want that in their products and services. Citizens want that in their government. We don’t always get it.

Part of the reason is that we all, even implicitly, allow it to happen.

Credit: Showtime (sho.com)

Take Showtime’s new series with Sacha Baron Cohen, Who Is America? According to the network, the series “features his first new characters in 15 years, which are so believably performed that they can exist in the real world.”

Let me translate: these “believable new characters” are fraudulent impersonations of purportedly real people, designed to trick targets into participating in on-camera interviews.

With all the challenges we face as a society, why does Showtime feel the need to pay for and promote “gotcha” deception? Continue reading

Continue Marketing After the Sale with Packaging Messages. Even B2B!

The marketing job doesn’t end when the sale is made and the product is purchased or shipped.

Many factors contributing to company image and brand perception continue to be in play after the product leaves your premises. Top of the list is likely product performance. There’s something else though, perhaps underappreciated and deserving of more attention, that contributes to the overall customer experience.

The packaging that comes with your product — whether it’s the retail shopping bag, the shipping box, the actual product contents structure or even the B2B product container — can be a strong influencing factor in how you feel about what you just bought.

Credit: Harvey Chimoff.

Case in point is clothing and sports performance marketer Under Armour. Buy something in one of their factory stores and you’ll take your items home in a bag that boldly declares: Everything here was engineered to make you better. Continue reading

Why Every Marketer Dreams of a Wiffle Ball Type Customer Connection

WIFFLE®, the beloved and iconic American brand of white plastic ball and yellow bat, celebrates its 65th birthday this year.

While you can buy other baseball-size, plastic balls, there is no comparison when it comes to the combination of Wiffle’s performance and emotional attachment. These two factors make the 65-year sales run an excellent marketing and brand management achievement. The National Toy Hall of Fame agrees. They inducted the ball last year.

Photo Credit: Harvey Chimoff.

Continue reading