Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What's the world's greatest brand?

Tough question. Lot's a ideas come to mind. Apple. Nike. Starbucks. There are plenty of others. But the one thing those brands have in common is that they are winners. And we all want to be associated with winners, right?

But hang on, if there was a brand that was so strong, so compelling, that it could turn losing into winning, wouldn't that make it a really great brand?

Enter the Chicago Cubs. This iconic brand has turned losing into a success story.

Now, I admit I'm deeply biased here. I've spent a lot of my precious lifespan following the Cubs, sitting in cold rain and sweltering heat in the Friendly Confines, hoping for a run or two and vowing with great abandon each season that "This year may be the year." (By the way, this year very likely WON'T be the year.)

In a recent article, Rick Reilly of ESPN joins the chorus of voices with the latest theory on why the Cubs can't win, and this one has nothing to do with a goat. Reilly argues that because Wrigley Field and the City of Chicago don't allow advertising displays in the ballpark, the Cubs miss out on tens of millions of dollars that could help them buy success. "If I were a Cubs fan, I would despise Wrigley. I'd want Wrigley laid flatter than Wrigley gum," Reilly writes.

What the author fails to understand is that the Cubs' brand, despite - or perhaps because of - its losing ways, may be one of, if not THE, greatest baseball brand today. And much to his dismay, the Cubs' owners rake in the cash on that brand year after year. Have you tried getting a Cubs ticket in the last ten years? Good luck.

Sure, the Cubs could move out to Evanston or some other suburb, build a mega-stadium, grow ad revenue and have cash to buy the best players (although the Yankees have proven this doesn't always work), but they would no longer be the Cubs. Just ask any true Cubs fan.

Sometimes, brands are so powerfully held in the minds of their faithful, they become more powerful than virtually any other corporate asset. Coca Cola knows this. So does the Gap. And Maker's Mark. What marketer wouldn't want to build such a brand, even if it meant losing to do it?

Hey hey, holy mackerel. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ten myths about youth marketing

Fuse Marketing, an agency to Fortune 500 companies that specializes in youth marketing, recently published the "10 Myths About Youth Marketing That Are Holding Back Your Brand." Here they are:

Myth #1: "Young people are so different today."  Fact: There is remarkable consistency in the concerns of young people regardless of the decade they are studied.

Myth #2: "The environment is a key concern for the majority of young people." Fact: Only about two percent of young people rank the environment as a key concern. Nearly ten times that many rank money as a key concern.

Myth #3: "A brand's website is its most important marketing asset." Fact: Social media command much greater attention than a brand's website.

Myth #4: "Young people dominate social media." Fact: Less than 20 percent of Facebook's 750 million users are teens. Twitter's use by young people is even smaller.

Myth #5: "DIY (Do It Yourself) Culture is a new phenomena." Fact: Each generation has its own version of independence. DIY has been well documented for at least 50 years.

Myth #6: "As the most ethnically diverse generation in history, brands need to segment consumers to communicate effectively to them." Fact: The many ethnicities that make up today's youth culture are more homogenous than in times past.

Myth #7: "Gaming is irrelevant to me - I'm not in the video game industry." Fact: Young people play video games for an average of two hours per day.

Myth #8: "TV and print advertising are dead/dying." Fact: Both media are extremely relevant today. Millennials watch about 2.5 hours of TV per day; 68 percent read magazines regularly.

Myth #9: "Music (and the music industry) is less important to young people, and therefore to marketers, too." Fact: Millennials spend a little more that five hours per day listening to music.

Myth #10: "Texting (a.k.a. mobile marketing) is an effective way to reach young people." Fact: Only ten percent of young people say it's okay for brands to text them.