Friday, July 10, 2009

How To Destroy Brand Equity

A perfect example of how to destroy brand equity is playing out this month in the Entertainment arena. The SciFi Channel, with much flair and fanfare, has rolled out what it thought was a brilliant re-branding initiative.

They changed their name to SyFy and tagged it with a new slogan: "Imagine Greater"

If you are not a SciFi fan, you're probably scratching your head already. "Imagine what?" you might be saying. And SyFy... pronounced siffy? ...or what??

The marketing geniuses (and I use the term sarcastically in this case) decided with the name, SyFy, pronounced according to them the same way as SciFi, was a necessary change so they could "own" the name as a trademark for merchandising, etc.

They also believed it would allow them to widen their market.

As they put it:
By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond just the traditional sci-fi genre, including fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure. It also positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.

They further state that they are not "abandoning our legacy or our core audience" but rather the new name now "invites more people in and recognizes our broader range of programming with literally something for everyone."

Well, a large percentage of their core audience appears to disagree with them.

One commenter wrote:
I am glad to see that amidst this economic crisis a safe haven exists, employing people not worth a dime.

For the rest of the world, which generally is not into random leetspeak, the new name will sound more as if it was the Syphilis channel.
Once that buzz gets around, it's pretty difficult to imagine people walking around in SyFy t-shirts, or any other merchandising garb.

Other comments from "this IS pathetic" to "utterly ridiculous" flowed into their marketing website where they made the announcement -- some quite angry -- the vast majority negative. [link - opens in new window] In fact, it was difficult to find a positive response to the announcement.

The lesson in all of this?

One of the Top 20 Rebranding Mistakes in an article written by Rebrand is: Not leveraging existing brand equity and goodwill.
Dismissing brand equity when rebranding alienates established customers, while unnecessary overhauls can irreparably damage a brand’s perception. Consider the needs and mindset of the target market carefully before digging into the process. Sometimes a small evolution - or a new coat of paint - is all that’s needed to rejuvenate and make a brand relevant.

It remains to be seen whether the former SciFi -- now SyFy -- Channel will succeed in their rebranding efforts. I wish them luck, but have serious doubts. As many commentors have said, and I tend to agree, it really does sound like the short form for Syphilis. I won't be buying the hat.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It Starts With Facebook

Building your networks online can be a lot of fun, once you understand how some network platforms and communities work. I've been avoiding one of the BIG ones for quite some time now... and today, I decided to take the plunge.

You probably rightfully guessed by the headline of this mini post that I'm referring to Facebook.

At first, I found it a bit confusing... not quite sure how to find friends through this medium. However, once I discovered the Find Friends feature where you can upload a contact list and/or load your email address book, things went far smoother.

Within 2 short days I had my profile set up, sent out invites to those not yet on Facebook, connected with some people I hadn't "seen" in a VERY long time and loaded three photo albums.

Hint -- I didn't publish 2 of the albums.


For the sake of having "new" content when I don't have time to go and put anything on, I simply saved the albums without publishing. I'll be building about 6 more albums the same way... Then, when I don't have a lot to say, I'll just publish one of the albums.

There is an important reason I'm "getting involved" with Facebook now.

I'll explain more when I tie it into some important networking/SEO techniques that I will be building on in future PowerTips.

For now, I recommend if you haven't already grabbed your own free Facebook account, you might want to do it today. You will quickly see how it applies to massive marketing and SEO boosting.

Until then, see you soon!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Have You Seen Google Wave?

An awesome development in Google Apps has been announced this past week ...and it has website developers and online entrepreneurs equally excited. Even more important -- it is open source -- free for developers to grab, develop and create their own mashups.

Check out this Google Wave demo video for a sneak peek.

I can already picture the multitude of ways this powerful development in online communications will be applied.

It's mainly in demo mode right now... and I gotta tell 'ya... way ahead of the curve!

High five's to the Engineering team at Google.

I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Get On The News

Did you know there are writers and reporters looking for great sources pertaining to specific subjects all the time?

Of course you did.

But, what you might not know about is a great FREE source you can tap into to find out what writers/reporters/casting agents are searching for. Find out from where some of them are getting their sources...

Check out this resource.

In addition to the website, here's a twitter address you might want to follow:

I'll be back soon with some great fill-in-the-blank "pitch" formulas that can work wonders when contacting reporters about your story/business/product/etc.

Until then, I hope these two new resources will serve you well!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's Your Commercial?

Back in my younger days (translated: a long time ago when the earth was green) when I worked evenings and weekends in a recording studio writing "lyrics" and "slogans" for jingles, I was fortunate to learn from some of the best in the market.

One of the best features of a great slogan &/or jingle was, and still is: BRIEF.

In fact, the shorter the better.

When working with multi-media - audio/visual - you have a slight advantage. Combining visual with a short, memorable and catchy phrase can stick in people's minds far longer.

Here's a fun example VISA used for the 2008 Olympics. Note the brevity in words:

But when working strictly with words, I think the shortest slogan (ever) used only ONE word, repeated THREE times.

Can you guess which word it was, and which car company used it?

I'll tell you in a second.

First, here are a few great, short, snappy slogans that either sum up their products in as few words as possible or that they've managed to marry well to their brand to paint a picture in your mind -- without using the actual brand name in the slogan. See if you recognize the product brands for each:

- Reach out and touch someone
- Plop, plop; fizz, fizz; oh what a relief it is.
- How do you spell relief?
- Finger lickin' good.
- M'm M'm Good
- Snap, Crackle, Pop
- They're G-r-reat!
- Let your fingers do the walking.
- The beer that made Milwaukee famous.
- The King of beers.
- Don't leave home without it
- The Greatest Show on Earth
- Good to the last drop
- Put a Tiger in Your Tank
- Oh what a feeling
- A little dab'll do ya

(Above, in order... AT&T, Alcaceltzer, Rolaids, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Campbell's Condensed Soup, Rice Krispies, Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes, Yellow Pages, Schlitz Beer, Budweiser Beer, American Express Card, Barnum & Bailey Circus, Maxwell House Coffee, Esso, Toyota, Brylcreem.)

Next, here are a few great, short, snappy slogans that use the actual brand name:

- You're in good hands with Allstate (Allstate Insurance)
- Doesn't your dog deserve ALPO? (Alpo Dog Food)
- Bayer works wonders (Bayer Aspirin)
- Flick your Bic (Bic Lighters)
- Burger King - the home of the Whopper (Burger King)
- Raid kills bugs dead (Raid Insecticide/Repellent)
- Come to Marlboro Country (Marlboro Cigarettes)
- Yahoo! Mountain Dew (Mountain Dew Soda)
- Tetley make tea-bags make tea (Tetley's tea)
- If it's got to be clean, it's got to be Tide (Tide Laundry Powder Soap)
- You're not fully clean until you're Zestfully clean (Zest Soap)
- Built Ford Tough (Ford Trucks)
- See the USA in a Chevrolet (Chevrolet)
- Cooks who know trust Crisco (Crisco Vegetable Shortening)

To state the obvious, the slogans above either describe their product (such as for Raid) or convey an emotion the advertisers want you to associate with their product (such as "trust" for Crisco).

Here is a fun exercise.

Describe your product, or an emotion you want people to associate with your product, in one paragraph. Then melt that paragraph down to a single sentence. Then melt it down even further to a short handful of words.

Fun, right?

Now, for the shortest slogan (ever) that used only ONE word, repeated THREE times, which was also a musical jingle...

"Zoom. Zoom. Zoom."