Tag Archives: Brand

Top Five Brand and Innovation Tips From 2014

Research insights from the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin

Texas EnterpriseI work among brilliant people at the McCombs School of Business. For your benefit and mine, I keep my eyes open and watch for the big ideas that are most useful for brand builders and innovators. Here are five of the best tips gleaned from Texas Enterprise during 2014.

1. Don’t Tell Me About Your Brand, Engage With My Life

Febreze BottleProfessor Art Markman reminds us that communication is only one, and not the most important, factor in engaging consumers with a brand. “We are all lazy creatures,” he writes. “That means that [marketers] need to help customers to arrange their environments in ways that support the continued engagement with a product.” He points to a redesign of the Febreze container, designed to encourage consumers to leave the product out and visible rather than hidden away under the counter. Usage and sales increased.

2. Your Personal Brand is About Relationships, Not Just Connections

In a must-see presentation for professionals, especially those currently looking for a job, Rajiv Garg uses his research on social networks to show that the quality of your professional network will advance your career, not the size. While having hundreds of LinkedIn connections may reward your ego, when it comes to leveraging your network when you need it most, there is nothing that replaces trusted colleagues who know you well and are willing to vouch for your abilities. Garg offers three key suggestions for building your personal professional brand: Identify, Connect and Convert.

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Consumer Brand Choices – Perceptions Trump Logic

“We are ruled by our emotions first, and then we build justifications for our response.”

iPhone or Android?Originally published in Texas Enterprise.

Let’s consider a popular consumer brand choice you’ve likely thought about. Is the iPhone or the Android better for you? At the time this was written there were more than 97 million results on Google for that question, with lots of data points to consider. Which platform has the most advanced multitasking capacity? Which has better applications? You likely have a list of logical reasons in your head why one or the other is the best choice.

You may be disappointed to know two researchers at The University of Texas at Austin suspect those rational reasons may have little to do with your decision.

The fundamental question is whether consumers make their choices based on logical comparisons of performance, or are they emotional creatures who gravitate to products that appeal to their senses, feelings or moods?

Marketing professor Raj Raghunathan and Ph.D. student Szu-Chi Huang of the McCombs School of Business point to their research study that shows comparative features are important, but mostly as justification after a buyer makes a consumer brand choice based on emotional response.

The Case of the Attractive Chicken and the Unattractive Chicken

Unattractive Chicken PhotoIn one phase of their study, Raghunathan and Huang showed participants two photos. One was a nice looking, plump chicken. The other was a chicken that looked thin and sickly. Participants were told that the plump chicken was a natural chicken, and the thin chicken was genetically engineered.

The researchers informed half of the participants that natural chickens were healthy but less tasty, and genetically engineered chickens were tasty, but less healthy. The other half were told the opposite.

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The Pony Sheet – How to Develop a Brand and Ride It

“With that much horse manure,” she exclaimed, “there must be a pony in here somewhere.”

Pony Analogy for Brand DevelopmentHere’s a useful tool for how to develop a brand, leading your team through the brand discovery process. I’m including it here with relatively little explanation, as most of it is Branding 101 stuff. It isn’t brain surgery, but it takes skill and diligence to pull together a successful brand strategy in actual practice.

The name Pony Sheet came from the old story about the young girl whose parents took her out to the barn on her birthday and announced, “We have a big birthday surprise for you.” Opening the door, she spied a huge pile of horse manure in the middle of the floor, a rather disappointing sight. Yet being a young optimist (most children are), the lass clapped her hands with joy. “With that much horse manure,” she exclaimed, “there must be a pony in here somewhere.”

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Your Brand is Spamming Me! Website Targets Botnets

Will public embarrassment cause brands to weed out botnets and tighten security? SpamRankings hopes so.

Would you avoid doing business with a company that doesn’t carefully protect its computer system from hackers? It probably depends.

If you’re buying a cheeseburger you likely don’t care about the back office’s security measures–but consider a hospital that has your social security number, credit card information and private medical records on file. If you discovered that hospital is a regular victim of computer hackers, you might reconsider your options for care, or at least raise a fuss with administrators.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are conducting a spam tracking experiment to see if the threat of reputation damage will encourage organizations to improve computer security. Their laboratory tool is SpamRankings.net, a website that publicizes the world’s biggest spam havens.

Spam = Compromised Security Procedures

Poor computer security is at the heart of both spam and data theft. Spammers use what are called botnets to send spam using computers hijacked without the knowledge of their legitimate owners. Computer systems infected with botnets are likely targets for other malfeasance, including theft of data, which puts consumers at risk.

“Outbound spam is a proxy for poor organizational security,” explains Dr. Andrew Whinston, the e-commerce sage at The University of Texas at Austin, “because outbound spam indicates botnets, botnets indicate vulnerabilities, and vulnerabilities indicate susceptibility to other malware, including phishing, DDoS, and identify theft.”

Whinston and his research team wondered what would happen if they published lists of the top spam havens. Will public embarrassment cause brands to weed out botnets and tighten security?

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What is a brand?

“We need a brand strategy.”

Those five simple words have an amazingly complex meaning. Over the years, I’ve seen them lead executive teams almost anywhere, from a simple logo redesign to a full-scale restructure of their organization’s operational processes and outcomes.

And it generally begins with the follow-up question, “What is a brand?”

This simple slide presentation, What is a Brand?, is a good place to begin.

Other Branding Resources: