Archive for the 'Liquid Brand Summit' Category

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

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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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Celebrity endorsement: The road to fame or the road to shame?

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Sometimes celebrity partnerships work out very well. And sometimes they can be a disaster.

For example, In 2004 Glaceau VitaminWater recruited the rapper 50 Cent to help promote the brand. He created his own VitaminWater flavor and sales of the brand skyrocketed among young consumers. Nike’s relationship with Michael Jordan is the stuff of legend. And Priceline has done well with William Shatner for over a decade; and lately Dr. Dre is using his own brand to help promote HP’s Envy notebooks. These partnerships have worked out very well.

Of course, that’s not always the case. Tiger Woods’ personal issues became a fiasco for several brands - while allegations of drug use by Kate Moss led to Chanel, Burberry and H&M terminating their relationship with the model.

Do the benefits of working with celebrities outweigh the risks? Can a troubled celebrity seriously damage a brand that is being endorsed by them? What can brands do to protect themselves from negative publicity generated by celebrities associated with the brand? What’s the best way to structure such relationships? Which brands have done this well? When do brands drop the relationship and how?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please post your comments!!!

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Nike, HP and other amazing brands will be at the Liquid Brand Summit.

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We are ramping up for the Brand Summit 2011, and soon we’re going to announce the final Session Leaders.

We’re not at liberty to reveal the names of the individuals who are considering being Session Leaders until they are confirmed, but soon we will be including names, photos and bios to our site. In the meanwhile, we wanted to share the names of the brands that we have contacted so you can get an idea of the caliber of expertise that will be there.

The line up is going to be spectacular!
Here’s a list of companies that are currently on our list:
Nike, HP, Jawbone, Virgin Mobile / Boost, Twitter, Cisco, Microsoft, MySpace, Method, Tesla, Skull Candy, and a few more.

Besides the Session Leaders we’re also going to announce some special guests.

Stay tuned…and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Jesse Kearney
jesse@liquidagency.com

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Turning customers into brand advocates: What’s the secret?

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Some brands create such strong customer communities that they are practically cults.
Apple, the Grateful Dead, and Harley Davidson are a few good examples. The customers for these brands become part of a tribe - with its own culture and sense of belonging. The brands that succeed in creating such a strong connection among its customers and employees benefit from exceptionally high levels of loyalty, to the extent their customers rarely practice brand-switching - instead, they actually promote the brand actively - and often try to convert others into becoming “brand believers”.

I am curious to see if anyone has any thoughts on how do companies create such strong affection for their brands that their customers are compelled to become active brand champions? Does this phenomenon happen on its own…or is there a secret to help it along? If so, what are the programs that are put in place? How are they run? What are the strategies and tactics that turn average customers into brand advocate superheroes? On the other hand, in your experience what have brands tried that simply does not work?

Your thoughts and ideas are welcome. We look forward to hearing from you!!!

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The Best Practices Report 2008 is here.

Best Practices 2008This year’s Best Practices Report provides interesting insight about what brand marketers discussed at the Liquid Brand Summit - and identifies the best practices that emerged from the various sessions. It’s a great way to get a summary on what successful companies consider to be a “best practice” on a wide variety of topics that are top of mind for marketers of tech brands. Just click here.
The Enjoy!

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Liquid Brand Summit 2008 Photo Gallery

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Liquid Brand Summit Session Preview: Green Business

Fast Company Senior Editor, David Lidsky has a preview for summit attendees - He’s blogging on the Fast Company site - so check it out. Here’s his latest blog

“David Roman, VP WW Marketing Communications, PSG for HP (got all that, acronym lovers?), and I had a great chat about his session topic, “How green is your brand? And why should I care?” We literally could have chatted for hours, and I imagine his session will be one of the more ardently attended and debated. To get you ready, here are a few highlights of what to expect:

* Different constituencies look at issues in different ways: The youth market and commercial enterprise may not feel the same way about any green initiatives you have. Can you appeal to disparate audiences like this with the same product?
* Earning a badge for complying with some requirement isn’t worth any brownie points, so perhaps you shouldn’t tout it as if it does.
* If the industry is largely looked at by outside groups as being about the same in terms of companies’ environmental responsibility, how do you differentiate yourself with marketing? How do you deal with the fact that the environmental lobby is fragmented and any move could be perceived as both positive and negative within the community?
* “You should only get credit for what you’ve done, not what you promise,” Roman says. That phrase should be engraved on the desk of every CEO.
* As technologists, how can we champion using technology to help ameliorate or solve some of the inherent environmental issues with electronics, such as smarter power consumption? Then, of course, as marketers, how do we communicate that in a positive way?
* Where should a green aspect of a product simply be baked into the features, such as Intel’s chipset that allows remote control management of PCs so computers be turned off from anywhere and even managed without being on? And where should the green aspect of the product be front and center, such as Toyota’s Prius, which bested Honda’s hybrid Civic by letting people show off that they were being responsible rather than looking like they were just driving a Civic?

I could go on, but as you can see, there’s much to discuss.”

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You are invited to join the Fast Company blog

We invite all participants to JOIN the Liquid Brand Summit Group on the FAST COMPANY blog. There you’ll get a preview of several upcoming summit sessions - thanks to our moderator, David Lidsky, Fast Company Senior Editor.

Here is David’s preview on the Mobile Marketing session with Adobe’s Joan Delfino.

“I had a chance to chat with Joan Delfino today. She’s Adobe’s VP for mobile content and the session leader for session #2, also known as “Extending brands in new digital media. How to take advantage of mobile marketing?” She gave me a preview of her point of view on the topic and some of Adobe’s initiatives in this realm. Here are a few highlights:
We’re seeing a progression of adoption of data on cell phones, from text messaging to casual games to more complex games to deeper forms of content. As that progression occurs, we’re similarly seeing marketers pursue opportunities in these specific arenas.
Delfino expects that trial and error will rule the day in determining the lines where customers accept being marketed to and where they’ll rebel. As she said, though, if you can add value to the group you’re targeting, you’re far less likely to be seen as intrusive rather than helpful. Location-based services are a good example of adding value.
There’s still a love-hate relationship with carriers and their role as the gatekeepers to reaching customers with innovative services. Delfino speculated that that grip may loosen as the mobile Web experience gets better and better.
Adobe’s initiatives here are very interesting and forward thinking. It’s bringing its Flash platform to the cell phone in a few compelling ways. Flash Lite is what it sounds like, a phone-friendly version of the multimedia platform. Flash Home is an opportunity to create a customized experience throughout the handset when it’s idle, such as a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed phone. Finally and most interestingly, Flash Cast is a set of channels with content that downloads in the background and is cached and ready to go. This could be popular Web content or channels devoted to specific companies and brands. Some channels will be free and some may be premium. It feels like a big step forward for the mobile Web experience and a huge opportunity for marketers to think about content as their advertising rather than advertising to support other content.
I look forward to hearing the discussion at this session on Tuesday. This arena is maturing, companies are beginning to embrace it, and there’s so much potential here, both for customers and marketers.”

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A Preview of What’s in Store for Brand Summit Attendees

Fast Company Senior Editor David Lidsky will be moderating the end of the day panel discussion at next weeks Liquid Brand Summit. He’s been blogging about the upcoming summit and the topics that will be part of the event. Today, David interviewed one of the summit session leaders -about his Session Topic to get the conversation started early. His post is provided below:

Rod Swanson, senior director of the EA brand, overcame an odd, persistent buzzing sound in his hotel room to chat with me about the Liquid Brand session he’ll moderate, “Co-Creation: What do customers know and why should brands listen?” Here are some highlights of our conversation and a preview of his session:

* IDEO’s lessons are a great starting point in co-creation. We have a tendency to create things for ourselves and not for users, but rapid prototyping and testing can help bring customers into the feedback loop early in the design phase.
* Offering customers the chance to customize a product is cool, but it’s not the same as letting them share in the design of a product, which is more powerful
* EA’s products are a great example of “enabling the user to be the storyteller, the hero of what we create,” Swanson says. That’s a wonderful idea, and we’ve seen it play out in its sports games where the features that get added year-to-year come straight from hardcore fans, as well as The Sims, where it released tools to let players produce art for the game and have “overshadowed what we created ourselves.” Other brands that we discussed include Adobe for its well-developed built-in feedback within its creative tools, and Amazon for the way it lets customers create content with reviews and such, driving sales by just giving them the tools to contribute and getting out of the way.

Not everyone is in the videogame business, of course, but what can we do to make customers the hero of our products?

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Sr. Tech Editor from Fast Company will moderate the Panel Discussion.

We’re thrilled to announce that David Lidsky, the Senior Technology Editor from Fast Company magazine will moderate the Panel Discussion that takes place at the end of the Liquid Brand Summit.

David Lidsky joined Fast Company in March 2004 and currently co-edits the front of the book, editing Fast Talk, Next, and the magazine’s columnists. He is the co-editor of the magazine’s anniversary compilation book, Fast Company’s Greatest Hits: Ten Years of the Most Innovative Ideas in Business, published by Portfolio.

Prior to joining Fast Company, David worked at FSB (Fortune Small Business magazine) and PC Magazine before that. At FSB, he was an editor and columnist, penning the “Tech Skeptic,” a column skewering conventional tech wisdom. At PC Magazine, he covered the Internet in its formative years (’96-’99). But he asserts that the best character-building experience of his life was working as an associate at Marshall’s department store where he was once named an employee of the month.

As the final component of the Brand Summit, David is going to facilitate a panel discussion between the Brand Summit’s Session Leaders about the findings that emerged from the various sessions….with lots of participation from the audience (made up of Brand Summit attendees).

“We’re very excited that David is participating” said Alfredo Muccino, Chief Creative Officer from Liquid Agency - and one of the key figures behind the event, “David’s insight into the challenges that tech brands face during this uncertain economy, combined with such a distinguished set of Session Leaders, should make for a lively and interesting discussion”.

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