Monday, October 31, 2011

The Best Brands in the United States (Part 2)

Best Brands — The Remix
Happy Halloween! Last year I presented my list of the top ten brands in the United States. After revisiting my list, I wouldn’t change anything, so I figured I’d present the next ten brands on my list. To create this list, I relied heavily upon my opinion of the general perception of each brand versus its competitors, and how much of a premium the brand can charge because of that perception. I didn't get hung up on revenue data or market share numbers — I just went with what I see and hear every day and threw in my own opinion from a marketer's point of view.

Here's my list of brands ranked 11-20:

11. Starbucks — Just missing the top ten, Starbucks put gourmet coffee on the map and showed the world how to create a company focused on the customer experience that happens to sell coffee.

12. Disney World — Millions of families make a pilgrimage to Orlando just to visit the theme park every year. I’ll bet your parents took you there when you were young. Mine did and I loved it.

13. YouTube — Not only is YouTube the second largest search engine in the world, but it’s the first place we turn when we want to find a video clip of that thing everyone’s talking about. It even creates celebrities. Just ask Justin Bieber and Susan Boyle.

14. Nike — The number one brand in sports apparel. It’s every young athletes dream to be a spokesperson for Nike. Reebok can’t say that.

15. Lady Gaga — She has the most loyal fans in the industry and every time she appears in public she creates a stir. (Here’s what I think she should wear to the Grammys.)

16. Amazon.com — The number one retailer in the United States.

17. Southwest Airlines — In an industry plagued by commoditization, Southwest is the only airline with a definable brand.

18. Harley Davidson — The pride of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has some of the most loyal fans in the world.

19. Angry Birds — The first huge game for mobile devices. Tons of big brands want to partner with the game to push their messages.

20. The city of Las Vegas — America’s adult playground and one of our country’s top tourist destinations. No other city name sounds better with the word “baby” after it. I’m impressed at the way the city has redefined itself over time.

Add This To Your To-Do List
What did I forget? Where am I wrong? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

There's never a lack of ideas.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Sixth “P” of Marketing

P is for Packaging 
Packaging is an essential part of a customer's experience with your products. The traditional "four Ps" of marketing are price, product, promotion, and placement. Sometimes "people" is added as the fifth P. I'd like to offer a sixth P: "packaging." From the way the products are packaged when shipped, to the packaging protecting the products themselves, packaging is very, very important.

That's one of the reasons I love buying products from Jill's Boutique on Etsy.com. Jill takes the time to wrap each of her headbands in beautiful tissue paper and a ribbon before shipping them (pictured on the right). When customers open the package, they are greeted with that beautiful paper and it sets the tone for the product. It shows that headband was created and packaged with care and makes it feel special right out of the box.

More than Meets the Eye 
Yet, the importance of packaging extends far beyond consumer-packaged goods. It applies to the experience a customer has in the waiting room at your doctor's office, the hold music your customers listen to while waiting to speak to their financial planner, and the cleanliness of the carpets on the floor of your restaurant. The entire customer experience — the "packaging" of your service — is very important to acquiring new customers and keeping existing ones happy.

Add This to Your To-Do List 
When was the last time you thought about the packaging of your product? If you ship items to your customers, what message are you sending with the way your boxes are packed? If your business has a retail location, think about the tone you set from the minute your customers enter the door. What tone does your reception area set? How are customers greeted? Maybe now is the time to do a thorough review of your packaging. You might be surprised by what you find. 

There's never a lack of ideas.