Friday, February 27, 2009

Can a technical brand also be a fashion brand?

People have always worn sneakers as a fashion statement just as guys with 4x4 trucks have had a preference for pavement. But as our economy shrinks and brands scale back their offerings, can products that fall outside the "core" brand vision survive the scrutiny of the fickle and frugal consumer. 

Will premium brands survive the recession?

I think it's safe to say that people are putting off purchases of everything from new plasma TV sets to new surfboards to new houses, and so on. So which brands are bullet proof if any? Obviously there will be reduced inventories as retailers scale back but there seems to be heavy traffic in the movie theaters and lots of people lining up at Starbucks in the morning.

A recent trip to TJ Maxx proved to be an eye opener as the aisles were packed with bargain hunters snapping up $20 jeans that normally retail for around 4100 at Nordstrom. You've got to wonder where al the Circuit City inventory is going to end up? And will it be discounted enough to get people off the couch and buy a new plasma?

I'm thinking that there might be some other great deals to be had other than foreclosed real estate, trucks with V8 engines and over-priced blue jeans. This is a great opportunity for brands like The Gap and Old Navy to reclaim the middle of the road, down to basics, affordable fashion thrown.

I also think that a lot of over extended brands can get back to their roots and focus on why they were relevant in the first place. Consumers will look for deals, but they will also reward innovation and authenticity.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stop your Saab-ing

"Today is the beginning of a new chapter in Saab's history," said Jan Ake Jonsson, Saab's managing director.

Whew... good thing I sold my SAAB wagon last year. Well, actually, I traded it on a Cadillac Escalade. If GM keeps heading in this downward spiral, my Escalade might be a bigger headache.

Saab said in a statement that the reorganisation was "the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment".

In a restructuring plan submitted to the US Treasury this week, GM had said it planned to make Saab an independent business by the start of 2010. Yeah. The entire company will be an independent unit unless they close up shop on Pontiac, Saturn, Buick and uhhh... oh yeah: SAAB!

Twitter Abuse!

Hey, I love Twitter just like the next techno geek. But posting every brain fart you have leaves a trail of meaningless dribble that is really not helping people share ideas or information.

Posts like: "I'm waiting to get on the plane at JFK but it's late" make me want to shoot that little blue bird! That one reads like a personal text to your girlfriend. Let's keep it that way.


IT’S ALL ABOUT INTEGRATION THESE DAYS. Can the web coincide with the retail environment? Can the ad campaign be in synch with an event that also has a web show? Managing this process requires integration of the marketing and creative teams. It also requires an individual who can navigate between the client and the agency without getting bogged down in the minutia and politics often associated with branding campaigns.

Creating meaningful experiences online has always centered on finding interesting ways to weave the product story into a compelling dialogue with the consumer. Brand integration begins with the strategy, advertising, retail and web teams coordinating not only to find the voice of the brand, but the visual threads that help consumers recognize a consistent and coherent personality.

As the web evolves, so does the consumer’s quest for a more complex, networked and personal relationship with a brand. This tribal behavior online helps fuel social networks and spread the viral capacity of a brand, giving it a larger playground than the traditional branding landscape would have allowed. Retailers are finding that their success rests on reinforcing that relationship, allowing consumers to immerse themselves into the product or service.

Surf brands are suffering... duh!

Could this be the death of the mom and pop surf shops? The surf industry has been on a steady growth curve for the past 10 years. With the California mortgage meltdown in full effect, who has money to buy a new board? Watch for consolidation, Chapter 11s and basically crappy news coming from the manufacturers.