Author: Bonnie Harris

As Disney approaches its hundredth anniversary in 2023, the company is celebrating the success of its new "Star Wars" franchise. "The Force Awakens" broke the previous $760.5 million box office record held by "Avatar" early in January, and at over $2 billion internationally, it's nipping the heels of "Avatar's" global record. Four other Disney movies currently sit on the international box office top ten list: the first two "Avengers" movies, "Frozen," and "Iron Man 3." As these cinema successes illustrate, Disney's corporate face has shifted from Mickey Mouse to science fiction and fantasy, superheroes and princesses, enabling Disney to adapt to today's markets. Here are a few other brands that have stood the test of time by adapting while staying true to themsleves.

Coca-Cola

[caption id="attachment_11900" align="alignleft" width="120"]. .[/caption] One hundred thirty years after its introduction in 1886, Coca-Cola's $78.423 billion dollar business remains the third most valuable brand in the world, behind Apple and Google. Since its inception, the Coca-Cola logo has used the same trademark script, preserving the brand's identity. But Coke has also been innovative, starting by being the first soft drink company to bottle its product. Since 1916, the shape of Coke's bottle has set it apart from other brands. Coke also pioneered the use of free sample coupons. Later Coke set its mark on TV marketing with memorable ads like "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" and Mean Joe Greene tossing a towel to a young Steelers fan. In 2009, Coke's "Open Happiness" campaign brought the brand into the digital advertising age. Coke is continuing to thrive, airing Super Bowl ads every year and enjoying a strategic partnership with McDonald's, the world's ninth most valuable brand.

Ketel One

In another segment of the beverage industry, vodka producer Ketel One has been around even longer than Coca-Cola. Hailing from the historic Dutch spirits distillery center of Schiedam, Netherlands, Ketel One has remained in the Nolet family since its beginning in 1691. The Nolets' business thrived during the 1700s when the Netherlands was the world's major sea power. By the 1800s, the Dutch had lost control of the sea to the British, and the 1900s saw the invention of the column still, which drove most distilleries out of business. The Nolets' business faced a new crisis during World War II when the Rotterdam Blitz destroyed the area around the distillery. Between this devastation, technology changes and mergers, the Nolet Distillery was the only distillery left in Schiedam in the post-war years. In order to adapt, the Nolet family shifted from producing a wide range of spirits to focusing on a few high-quality spirits. Discovering that only three major vodka brands were available in America, Carolus Nolet decided to introduce a high-quality vodka to the U.S. in 1983. The Nolet family marketed Ketel One to bartenders in San Francisco through personal networking and the Youngs Market distribution network, and they soon built a strong network of bartenders, bars and restaurants. After selling over a million cases, Ketel One launched its first ad thanking its customers in 2003. By 2008, the brand sold two million cases a year. Today it continues to grow through social media, with over 18,000 Ketel One Vodka Twitter followers.

IBM

Nearly 105 years after its founding in June 1911, IBM ranks just behind Microsoft as the world's fifth most valuable brand. IBM initially grew out of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, which produced electric punched card equipment for rapidly performing tabulations and computations such as U.S. Census tallies. CTR became the International Business Machines Corporation in 1924.

celebrity spokespersonI've worked with a fair number of famous people, from Ralph Nader to guys from Duck Dynasty. Although it's really not in my wheelhouse anymore I sometimes still get calls to find out how much it would cost for a celebrity to attend their event, endorse their product or contribute to their non-profit cause.   No matter how great your product , or how important your cause, stars generally don't do anything for free unless its for their own foundation (or for George Clooney). The good news is that almost any celebrity can  be booked if you have enough money. Here are a few tips for figuring out how to find someone, how much they cost and what the process might be like.
  • Find out who represents them. The easiest way is to buy a subscription to Who Represents an online listing of virtually every celebrity agent, publicist and manager.  Although some people like to go through managers first, I always call the agent. Agents are usually straightforward, no BS types who will give you prices and explain the ins and outs of back-end deals and endorsements.
  • Know your budget.

Lego Marvel AvengersEven for the biggest brands, launching a new video game can be a significant challenge. In a market where any game competes against thousands of other titles, many with long life cycles, it’s tough to get consumers’ attention – and money. And this is not a new phenomenon. As the popularity of video games has risen over the past 40 years, so have the number of titles available at any given time. Recently, one particular marketing and advertising campaign for Lego Marvel Avengers stood out among the rest as an excellent example of integrated marketing communications at work. The game’s success earns it one more accolade, our IMC Campaign of the Month. Lego Marvel Avengers was released on January 26, 2016 by TT Games. TT Games was careful to coincide its television advertising with cartoons that targeted the key demographic – primarily younger consumers who have both an interest in Lego toys and superheroes. Cartoons presented a perfect vehicle to hitch to Lego Marvel Avengers ads. With compelling previews of game play and live action shots from the latest Avengers movie, the television spots had kids eagerly awaiting the release of the game in January.

Facebook advertisingSocial media has opened up a world of affordable, highly visible advertising. Understanding this world requires a solid grasp on marketing and computer science. Facebook advertising  offers more than one form of audience-specific advertising platforms, each of which has its own legal, fiscal and promotional considerations.

1. Custom audience advertising makes your company look big

For as low as $50 per month, Facebook will put your ad onto a viewer’s feed. Facebook advertising charges per impression, or each time the ad shows on a page, so it is important to put the ad on the page of someone who will care about it. The best place to start is with people who are already familiar with your services. Facebook’s custom audience ads let you upload your customer email list, so your ads only show on these people’s feeds. Because the users do not know that you specifically targeted their page, it gives the illusion that you have a successful business and the marketing budget to support it.

2. Lookalike audiences are the next step

After you have your base audience secured, it is time to bring in new customers.

Brand transparency is directly related to industry trust, company loyalty and long-term revenue. As an integral part of relationship marketing, transparency is foundational to creating long-lasting consumer-business relationships. Yet most small businesses confuse transparency with authenticity and have misconceptions about the uses and parameters of positive brand transparency. Understanding how transparency works to develop consumer-business relationships is essential to developing a revenue-building marketing campaign.

Transparency Mitigates Conflict

Relationship marketing is a strategy that focuses on establishing, developing and maintaining successful personal interactions. Sales are not the primary emphasis but an associated outcome of a healthy consumer-business relationship. Conflict minimization is the most important factor in relationship development, and transparency is the best way to reduce conflict. When customers feel that they are well aware of the ins and outs of a company’s policies and procedures, they are less likely to perceive conflict, even if they do not like the outcome. Most large companies have their corporate docs available on their websites, but smaller companies tend to forget this step. At the very least, make sure your mission statement and executive bios are available for everyone to see. If you can make other information available without giving away proprietary company material, do so.

eWoM Still Has Eyes

In the days before digital media, much of marketing was done by word-of-mouth (WoM). Salespeople traveled from home to home, soliciting purchases and asking for leads. There was something about looking a person in the eye that helped to develop a relationship. A handshake was more important than today’s online consent form. Consider social media a digital version of WoM marketing. As such, it relies heavily on trust. The BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey found that

Most small business owners do not start or buy a business because they were interested in becoming marketing geniuses. Yet marketing is a critical success factor for any business, small or otherwise. And it's easy to take a wrong turn where marketing is concerned. Recently we spoke to Mark Montini, Chief Results Officer for m2M Strategies, a franchise marketing firm, about the biggest mistakes most new small business owners make. Known for his ability to architect fully-integrated distributed marketing programs, Mark has helped franchises, Fortune 500 companies, startups, non-profits, and even political organizations increase revenue. His work has been featured in newspapers across the country including the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. [caption id="attachment_11811" align="alignright" width="200"]Mark Montini, m2M Strategies Mark Montini, m2M Strategies[/caption] "Small businesses can eliminate a lot of frustration by addressing the common marketing mistakes I see on a frequent basis," says Montini. "Those mistakes are usually centered around focus - on the wrong data, the wrong tactics and even the wrong message." Montini says there are three primary marketing mistakes that can cause failure for any small business right from the start. 1. Focusing on the wrong metrics

Large and small businesses alike have hundreds of options when it comes to choosing items to carry their company logos. Mugs, mouse pads, and wall calendars in myriad configurations abound, just waiting for a little decoration before they start displaying a business’s name to the public. But what are the best items to choose from among the offerings (there are literally hundreds of options)? Here are some factors that can make or break your branded merchandise. Use - No matter what size your business is, you want to put your logo on items that will be useful for the recipients, especially if the merchandise is a free giveaway. Items that are free for customers but not useful are more likely to be discarded. So it’s best to imprint your logo on tools that current or potential customers use every day. Here are some examples:
  • Writing utensils such as pens and pencils
  • Office supplies like magnetic clips
  • Paper products such as sticky notes and note pads
Electronics - If your main customer base is made up of tech-savvy Millennials, you can target them with useful electronic items that are likely to be in heavy rotation on a daily basis. Consider these items for putting your company’s name at the top of their minds every day:

social mediaVisual media is an important element of your marketing. It grabs the attention of the viewer and tells a meaningful story in a glance. Visuals help you create brand recognition, highlight events, promote products and create a curated catalog of your business. The kiss of death for any visual social media is poor-quality photos. You don’t want blurriness, undersaturation and low exposure to distract from the content of the photo. There are many ways you can go about the production of your social media photos, ranging from a professional photographer to a high-quality smartphone camera. The following tips will help you create the best photos and videos for your social media marketing campaigns:

Professional Photographer

If you have the funds for a professional photographer, hire one. Professional photographers have the artistic expertise and the camera equipment needed to produce outstanding photos. The photographer should at the very least have three different lenses, a tripod, a detachable flash and studio lights. You can generally hire a photographer for a project-based rate, rather than an hourly rate. Make sure to check out online profiles when you shop around for a photographer. A portfolio gives you an idea of the photographer’s range; it reveals if he or she is a one-trick pony or if he or she can take high-quality photos in multiple genres with a variation in tone.

DIY Digital SLR

If you own a digital SLR,