Is it Gold? Is it Blue? Does it Matter?

February 27, 2015

by Heather Keroes

In non-news news, while perusing Facebook last night I watched a number of friends argue over a black and white  … no, a white and gold … no, a black and blue issue.  The Internet is debating the color of this dress.  And by Internet, I mean the majority of my friends on Facebook, their friends, most blogs, Taylor Swift and actual news websites – including our local paper, the Orlando Sentinel.

I have seen the dress.  I have researched the history of the dress.  I have no idea why I have spent time doing any of this, but does this dedication of valuable time mean that this dress is news?

CNN Money posted a story about the debate.  CNN Money.  Perhaps I’m a hypocrite by writing this blog post, further feeding the frenzy.  It’s hard to say what should be categorized as news these days and what truly matters.  Instead of writing a worthier post about net neutrality, I’m still stuck on this dress.  And now, I’m taking the time to reflect.

As a public relations professional, I have had the opportunity to work with media on a wide range of stories, from theme parks to technology.  But I have always felt strongly about the value of the news I was sharing.  Unfortunately, as the dress story proves, news isn’t always about sharing valuable information, but about what draws the most attention.  In this case, the dress is click bait, and you can count me among the hooked.

Brands Build Themselves

August 24, 2012

by Roger Pynn

It takes time to build a brand.  In fact, I question whether you can build one.  Rather, product lines become brands because they have been adopted by satisfied and loyal customers who have come to believe they can count on them.

This article from CNNMoney is just another example of the continuing misunderstanding of what we have come to refer to as the “branding” process.  AT&T’s Global Marketing Officer Cathy Coughlin is doing some pretty creative things that are sustaining a brand that evolved over the last century as America’s telephone monopoly became ingrained in our culture.

But I’d imagine even she would argue with the headline that suggests you can “build a superbrand – superfast.”

The whole concept of “branding” as a marketing verb amuses me … and that many marketers have convinced their senior management that they are somehow creating brands deludes executives into thinking they can force themselves into market dominance.  This article only begs further confusion.  Next thing we know CEOs could by calling us in to demand “I want you to build this brand and I want it tomorrow.”

Only one thing creates a brand … living up to your customers’ expectations.  And you have to do it over and over and over again until they are calling you or purchasing your product habitually because there’s no doubt in their mind that you’ll deliver as promised.

Geoff Colvin’s Q&A with Ms. Coughlin was really about the importance of having a nimble marketing communications capability … something AT&T proved deftly during the Olympics by producing overnight some outstanding vignette-style commercials that celebrated winning performances.

Advertising, public relations and promotions programs reinforce the beliefs of satisfied customers that you will continue to make them happy.  They are critically important to building market share, establishing credibility in the financial community and capitalizing on brand satisfaction when you launch new products.

“Branding” is not a verb.  It is a buzz word.  Branding is for cattle.  Brand building is for the long haul.

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