Archive for the 'Global Brand Marketing' Category

Q&A with Boost Mobile’s Caralene Robinson

Caralene Robinson, Boost Mobile

An exclusive interview with Boost Mobile’s Brand and Marketing Director, Caralene Robinson. Ms. Robinson will lead a discussion at the Liquid Brand Summit on how brands are turning shoppers into buyers with new retail-experience centers.

Click here to learn more about the Summit and our other outstanding guest speakers and session leaders.

Caralene Robinson, director of Brand Marketing and Communications for Boost Mobile, has spent more than a decade producing advertising and marketing campaigns across a broad range of products and services. Known for delivering results and creating vanguard campaigns, she’s earned a reputation as a creative innovator. At Boost, Caralene is responsible for planning and executing the company’s consumer marketing. In addition to developing all advertising campaigns, she utilizes brand assets, media, merchandising, creative, sponsorships, and local planning to drive integrated marketing programs that engage Boost Mobile’s core customer base.

Q: Define today’s retail experience through the Boost Mobile lens.

A: The consumer exploration and decision sequence has changed. For significant purchases, consumers now typically research online and collect opinions prior to visiting retail locations. They often visit retail locations with a partial decision, utilizing several locations to compare prices, engage with the product and connect with a live salesperson. Therefore, it is critical to create an engaging informative experience at retail. As a result, while we very much value our retail partners, over the past two years we’ve worked hard to create brand-exclusive destinations designed to create a surround sound retail experience.

Q: How do you think retail experience centers will evolve in two to three years?

A: Retail centers will become more of a comprehensive brand experience, designed to drive acquisition, retention and up sell.

Q: How do you use your brand ambassadors (athletes, musicians and celebrity) to boost the retail experience. Do you have a specific example of a particular retail experience or event that utilized your brand ambassadors extremely effectively.

A: We use integrated marketing and local experiences in partnership with our retailers to drive traffic to retail locations. In partnership with a regional sponsor, we utilized radio and a promotional contest to drive customers to a retail location for an autograph signing with one of our brand ambassadors. There was an incredible turnout and significant increase in sales on that day.

Q: How can retail centers become “community centers” for their customers and how do you sell the experience of the brand through those centers?

A: Like Apple Stores, retail centers should become destinations for learning, socialization and experience. Every consumer engagement in this environment should epitomize the brand-product, collateral as well as employee look and feel.

Q: How can story be used to energize internal audiences like retail employees and partners? How do brand stories become part of the employee belief system?

A: A brand story, mantra and positioning should be organizationally socialized prior to consumer launch. We use a core team to engage with every corporate function and provide an assignment that requires each group to define how they will integrate, process and execute against the brand story. These assignments are presented to the larger core audience, ensuring alignment and consistency.

Send your questions and thoughts. We’ll include them in discussions at the Liquid Brand Summit. We look forward to hearing from you.


Building an Army of Brand Advocates, One Shoe at a Time


There are brand advocates . . . and then there are super hero brand advocates. TOMS Shoes, a company that started just four short years ago, knows how to attract super hero brand advocates - they’ve been able to very quickly build a community that includes millions of followers worldwide. How did they do it? With a unique offering that positioned TOMS outside the reach of other shoe companies and a very compelling brand story.

That story started in 2006 when TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina and found that an astounding number of children didn’t have shoes to protect their feet. He then created TOMS, with the promise of matching every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. They coined the phrase “One for One,” to describe their business model and began calling it a movement, and they’ve been using it ever since to help strengthen their brand and excite customers into becoming “super” brand advocates.

Their simple message resonated with the fashionably trendy, yet socially-conscious Gen Y and Gen X set - but its not just messaging that sells their shoes. Among those who love TOMS, they are considered as essentially hip, stylish and “must hav” as an iPhone. That’s because TOMS very smartly used their brand story to help build an internal and external brand culture that attracts fresh, hipster-type creative talent to the company, talent that has helped TOMS stay “in the know” with their customer base and ahead of the design curve.

Today, TOMS is selling not just hundreds-of-thousands, but millions of shoes around the world, with retail locations in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia. Celebrities like Demi Moore and Jay Leno and high profile brands like Nordstrom, AT&T and Element Skateboards have bought into the TOMS “One for One” movement.

The company has definitely found its “onliness,” that unique space of differentiation that separates it from others in the market. And, its been wildly successful in leveraging that uniqueness to build and strengthen their brand community, which is made up of brand advocates who are near religious in their loyalty to TOMS and willingness to go out and evangelize its mission.

From college campus clubs to”Style Your Sole” shoes parties to a global “One Day Without Shoes” event, TOMS is using its status as a company that does good to expand its “movement” worldwide. And it’s working. Go to the TOMS Facebook page, and you’ll find more than 700,000 followers. Their Twitter page has nearly 600,00. And the TOMS YouTube channel? Well, it has had nearly 2 million upload views.

TOMS has also been brilliant in using documentary filmmaking to share their brand story with customers. The power of the images they capture and the story that supports them, paired with the power of social media to push them viral, has been instrumental in spreading their message.

When it comes to building customer communities that are practically cults, TOMS has found their magic formula. But can they sustain their momentum? The fashion industry is notorious for throwing today’s “must haves” out with tomorrow’s trends. Is TOMS brand story strong enough and its community loyal enough to carry it through being the current trend of the moment? Perhaps, that depends on how the company evolves as the market changes. Will TOMS be able to remain relevant in the long run? What are your thoughts?

Also, if brand advocacy is something you’re challenged with or are interested in, then join us for the Liquid Brand Summit on March 1 to discuss this and other issues associated with “transformation” and how brands and brand marketers stay relevant and competitive.


Making a brand relevant…again. The fine art of revitalization.


The information/internet age has redefined the way we perceive, interact and evolve with large brands in “real time” - today’s hottest new thing, tomorrow’s cold coffee. Today’s brands face challenges everyday: The competitive landscape can become difficult to navigate; shifts in the corporate structure and/or ownership can be chaotic; audiences and their habits can change making it challenging to remain relevant; products and services can become obsolete or tarnished over time. Simply put, a brand now has to exist and thrive amidst continuously changing platforms and preferences. Established brands are capable of losing their vitality because of this transient landscape.

But, we have seen recent efforts from AOL, Yahoo and MySpace who have revamped their brands through successful experiential design campaigns. Even GM, has emerged from bankruptcy to become the biggest IPO in US history.

So…what are the tell-tale signs for a revitalization effort? How does one go about the task of reinvigorating a brand whose luster has faded? How do brands stay relevant with their audiences? What do you think the best practices for reinvigorating brands-at-risk. What are tactics for keeping a brand fresh, transforming relationships with consumers, and creating experiences that build relevance and loyalty?

Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.

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Check out these Session Leaders!

“What’s Next” features a “Who’s Who” in brand marketing!
If you have not had a chance to check out the Session Leaders for the 2008 Liquid Brand Summit, you should take a minute and look through their bios. Our line up includes the person that spearheaded Adobe’s global brand campaigns…and one of our session leaders is responsible for the global management of Dell’s direct consumer sales and marketing efforts. Another Session Leader is the marketer behind the brilliant “shop victoriously” campaign for eBay. A former Brand Summit participant (and now Session Leader) is responsible for the brand management of the EA brand at a global level. In 2006 one of our Session Leaders was the recipient of the Creativity 50 award, honoring the most influential creatives in the world! And we have much, much more.

In fact we can pretty much guarantee that on February 26, we will have more talent, more experience, more ideas and more creativity in one place than anywhere else in Silicon Valley…or anywhere else for that matter.

The Session Leaders we’ve been able to gather are an outstanding group. Check out their bios on the site…and be ready for the fact that we’re about to announce a couple more that we’re very excited about. We can’t say who…but let’s just all say yahoo!!!

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