8 Brand Management Success Factors Drive Hess Toy Truck

Credit: Hess Toy Truck social media.

Both of these marketing statements are true:

  • The Hess Toy Truck brand is thriving.
  • The Hess consumer-retail brand is dead.

No, this isn’t a strange SAT logic test. It’s an example of how a strong sub-brand can flourish even though the parent brand is essentially defunct.

Keep reading for the explanation, and the eight, winning brand management success factors. Continue reading

A Business Remedy for Conventional Wisdom and Groupthink

Merriam-Webster defines conventional wisdom as “the generally accepted belief, opinion, judgment, or prediction about a particular matter.”

More than ever, we need vigilance and counter-measures to prevent conventional wisdom and the related danger of groupthink from derailing high-performing organizations.

Credit: iStock

Picture this. Colleagues sitting around a table (or maybe remotely connected by phone or video), giving their views, sharing ideas, making recommendations, or just pontificating. Someone has a question, wants a clarification, or can offer a different point-of-view, or an alternate way forward.

We’ve all been there. But what really happens? Continue reading

This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business

A new corporate brand campaign for MGM Resorts International has a hidden benefit.

It helps translate and demonstrate what some business leaders consider “mumbo jumbo.” That would be marketing cornerstones such as branding, positioning and customer experience.

These critical building blocks, and others, are like oxygen to marketers and business leaders who believe in the power of smart, disciplined marketing to help build and grow profitable businesses, and keep them relevant.

But, not everyone is a believer, and not all practitioners have instilled confidence.

Credit: MGM Resorts International.

So, particularly for the marketing skeptics, this new MGM marketing is instructive. It’s strong, bold marketing that grabs attention. And seemingly has a chance to be effective.* Continue reading

All Aboard. Back-to-School Marketing Refresher from 1929 Blue Comet Train.

It’s back-to-school season. Even though we’re not heading off to class, those of us done with our formal education understand that learning and subject-matter refreshers never stop.

Sometimes that happens in unexpected places. That was the case for me this summer, while taking my visiting, young nephews to a local museum. For the price of admission, I got fun time with my buddies and:

◉ A marketing communications refresher about the importance of painting an image and creating anticipated, sought-after experiences in the mind of the target customer. Continue reading

Brand Management Dilemma: Grow, But Don’t Kill the Core

I think, in retrospect, we may have tried too hard to attract new guests. That left some of our fans shaking their heads, asking ‘What happened to Applebee’s?’

Patrick Lenow (VP Communications and Public Affairs, DineEquity – August 10, 2017)


That’s an eye-opening, unusually direct assessment. There’s even more blunt analysis from Applebee’s president.

First, let’s set the stage with some framing thoughts on brand management.

A Quick Primer – What To Do and Not Do

It’s a constant dilemma and challenge: how to expand the appeal of brand x and/or position it for growth without alienating existing customers and destroying the core business.

Depending on the type of product or service, many actions can be implemented, such as: product upgrades, promoting secondary usage, launching new products, stimulating growth of the overall category, expanding distribution channels, developing brand refresh/renovation tactics, or even complete repositioning.

JCPenney failed.

Domino’s seems to have had success.

Hardees/Carl’s Jr. is trying to reboot their image and brand positioning.

Effective brand management requires smart discipline. To borrow from Ringo Starr, it don’t come easy.

► Building brands is a process, which requires steady, disciplined hands at the helm. It can take time and money. Unfortunately, steady discipline, time and money can be in short supply in CEO suites and boardrooms where results are measured short-term in weeks and quarters. Plus, marketing teams themselves can fall victim to a lack of steady discipline on occasion. Continue reading