Sometimes it makes sense to make fun of your brand

A few years ago, when I was working as the Director of Public Information and Marketing at Kellogg Community College, a fellow employee who had an interest in marketing came to me with a question about a particular t-shirt being sold in the bookstore. The t-shirt read “Cornflake University” and was a spoof on the Kellogg part of…

Should churches stick to the “brand” of their denomination?

  The United Methodist Church (of which I’m a member of), has a very distinctive logo that is easily recognized as that of the church; it’s a cross with two flames intersecting it. The logo and brand is pretty well-known, and yet, a large number of churches opt not to use the logo as their…

The Hunger Games and a Universal Sign of Respect

“At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to…

Thanks, John Kerfoot, for showing us how to laugh at ourselves

This post is dedicated to someone I’ve never met, but want to thank. For those of you “non-Michiganders,” you might not be familiar with John Kerfoot, but he’s very popular in Michigan. He owns Tri-Foot productions and is an instructor at Wayne State University, but we all know him because he’s the guy that publishes…

Brand hijacking Abercrombie & Fitch by a “brand readjustment”

A couple of years ago, one of my Michigan State University professors, Dr. Keith Adler, introduced me to the book Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed finding examples brand hijacking in modern culture. For those unfamiliar with the term, Brand Hijacking refers to a group of consumers take over a particular brand,…

Stealth Marketing: Where is the ethical line?

A Narrative You wake up in the morning, check your Facebook page, and read how one of your friends discovered a really cool new protein bar that they love and you make a mental note to try it next time you hit the store. At the beach later in the day, a couple stops you…

Brand Hijacking the ‘V is for Vendetta’ Mask

A couple of years ago, one of my Michigan State University professors, Dr. Keith Adler, introduced me to the book Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed finding examples brand hijacking in modern culture. For those unfamiliar with the term, Brand Hijacking refers to a group of consumers take over a particular…

What burning toilet paper and high school teacher reminded me about marketing and pr

We, as marketers and public relations professionals, need to promote our organizations to the best of our ability through traditional advertising, press releases, digital media, etc. But we must never underestimate the power of interactions with employees of our organizations. An advertising campaign may bring someone to your organization, but whether or not you gain a customer, is all about the interactions that customer has with employees.

Social media strategy means starting with a goal and losing control

Social media can be a brands best or worst enemy. In a flash, it can propel the success of a brand. However, it can also easily create its demise. The difference, more often than not, has to do with the goals of the social media strategy and whether or not an organization is willing to lose a little bit of the control.