Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Five Things We Want in a Brand Now and Who Delivers

We have high hopes for brands. In fact, brands are all about hope. We want them to show concern for less fortunate people, provide us great service, give us good advice, care about the planet, and help us take care of ourselves. In looking at the brandscape recently, I found a few surprises. Here's a summary, and a few comments on each one.

The brands that deliver now:

  1. Social Conscience:
    Benetton uses its ads to make a case for ending hunger, fighting AIDs, and more. The images are usually bold and often shocking. It's attention-getting stuff. TOM’s Shoes takes a different approach by building social responsibility into its business model, not just its marketing. They give away a pair of shoes to a child in Latin America or Africa for every pair they sell. Customers can get in on the Shoe-Drop events, too.

  2. Great Service:
    You’ve heard the urban legend about Nordstrom taking back defective tires, which they've never carried. They’ve been the poster child for customer service. strives to be the online service leader, and through their policies, training, and depth of inventory, they are doing just that. They carry all the major brands, shipping is free, shipping upgrades are used to surprise and delight customers and returns are accepted, no questions asked.

  3. Good Advice:
    In the old days, financial advisors did all the talking. Remember EF Hutton's "When EF Hutton talks, people listen"? But the slogan belied a one-size-fits-all approach to advice. In a perfect Web 2.0 take on what good advice is, Schwab acknowledges that people today want someone to listen them, and give advice that's relevant to their situation. Schwab's tagline, "Talk to Chuck" says it all.

  4. Green Cred:
    From its support of the Surf Rider Foundation to effectively creating the market for organic cotton to working with their suppliers to produce recycled raw materials, Patagonia was the first brand with Green Cred. And by using Patagonia's products some of that cred rubbed off onto customers. Now, Nalgene is the way to make a statement about your Green Cred. Their polycarbonate and HDPE bottles are the way we'll keep bottled water companies from draining our springs and avoid all those water bottles ending up in our landfills.

  5. Good For Your Body:
    Thanks to fruit smoothies, Jamba Juice became known as a provider of healthy snacks. Here’s a surprise: Taco Bell’s Fresco Menu is lighter fare than most items on the Jamba Juice regular menu, and its “Why Pay More?” campaign makes it good for your wallet, too.

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