Disaster Brands.

    Moment of Proof.


    i vs. Smart.


    There are two brands in the mobile phone business iPhones and smartphones. In the U.S. and U.K. the “i” is winning.  In the ROW (rest of world) the smarts have it. Smartphone is a generic term and more often than not includes phones with Google’s Android operating system. That said, most people just call them smartphones not Android phones. 

    As Microsoft starts to improve its standing in the U.S. with its own Windows phone operating system (7 or 8?) it, too, will probably be referred to as a smartphone.  Remind you of Mac vs. PC? 

    What I enjoy about branding – way more than using paid media to display my ideas in market – is to listen to the market, hear how it speaks and thinks, and use the market’s own language to  gain conversation.  iPhone is paid, smartphone is organic. Mac is paid. PC is organic.

    Xerox is paid and organic.  

    Apple is a lovely brand.  It has taught the world how to design and market. The world is catching up. It needs a new I, me thinks.  Peace!



    Elevator Speech Vs. Is-Does


    A term of art in branding these days is “elevator speech.” It is a reference to a concise explanation of purpose. David Belasco, a great theater impresario, once said “If you can’t put your idea on the back of a business card, it’s not a clear idea.”

    The thing about elevator speeches is that they can be poorly constructed. They can meander. They also can be incomplete. Last week I met someone who referred to herself as an educational consultant, when in fact, she counseled high school students selecting colleges. I thought she provided consulting services to K12 and universities. Poor elevator speech.

    I get around this by coaching clients to think about their Is-Does: What a brand is and what a brand does.  In this day and age of tech start-ups, it is sometimes hard to know if you are dealing with a company, service, software, hardware or some combination thereof…often referred to as a platform. You are likely to find a company’s Is-Does in the first sentence and “About” paragraph of their press releases. Also on their website About section. But even there, they are not always clear. Not always succinct.

    Undercurrent’s Is-Does: “Strategic partner for the 21st century” is a good one. Pregnant with meaning. My Is-Does for What’s the Idea?: “A brand consultancy” is good one, but lacks a benefit a la for the 21st century reference of Undercurrent — read innovation.  

    A good way to judge your Is-Does is to think of it as you would a 5 second radio sponsorship. Fill in these blanks. This program brought to you by Brand X, the ________, that ________. Hmm. Maybe I should change Is-Does to The-That.  

    Get your Is-Does right…so others can. It’s the first step in good branding. Peace. 


    Reimagine Possible.


    Jeff Dachis is a really smarty dude. We’ve never met but I’m a big admirer.  He co-founded Razorfish a digital ad agency, then co-founded Bond, Art and Science and experiential marketing firm. Next came the Dachis Group, a social business outfit which was really edgy.  Jeff and I were cohorts in thinking about the social web and its impact on business. I was trying to coin the term “social computing” he called it “social business.”  The startup I worked for at the time was Zude, his was Dachis Group. The winner??? Jeff.

    His most recent effort, and outgrowth of a diabetes diagnosis is called One Drop: a perfectly named business meant to improve and simplify the life of diabetics. Jeff built the business into a multi-million dollar company, in fact, Bayer just invested $100 million this past August. Now it seems One Drop will expand beyond diabetes into other disease states. Stay tuned.

    Smart is as smart does.  Until it comes to a branding. And taglines.  One Drop’s line, from the website, is Reimagine Possible. Huh?  If it seems you’ve heard it before, you have. It’s probably an ad headline, a thousand times over. Also a problem, it’s not particularly endemic to healthcare. Lastly, it is not a top patient care-about.  It feels to me like Mr. Dachis approved it because he didn’t want to over-manage someone in his marketing dept. 

    Branding is hard. Real hard. Even for smart people.