Archive for the 'Technology Brands' Category

Q&A with Myspace SVP of Communications Rosabel Tao

Q&A with Myspace SVP of Communications Rosabel Tao
An excerpt from our interview with Rosabel Tao of Myspace.. Ms. Tao led a discussion on brand relevancy at the Liquid Brand Summit 2011, which took place March 1 in Palo Alto. View photos of the Summit here.

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

ABOUT ROSABEL
Rosabel Tao is an accomplished corporate communications strategist with two decades of experience creating integrated, multi–disciplinary communications programs and building communications organizations from the ground up. She’s worked with a broad portfolio of companies in a full range of growth stages — from global brands to start–ups, including of Bank of America, Microsoft, HP, Levi Strauss, Safeway and Spot Runner.

Q: As brands evolve, so do their audiences. What are some tactics companies use to ensure brands remain aligned with their core audiences or adapt to new audiences as market forces change?

A: First, brands need to be very clear about who their desired target audience is and focus on serving that audience. This is more difficult than it sounds — I’ve seen many companies try to be all things to all people for fear of not capturing everyone who could possibly want their product/service. Oftentimes, this results in an offering that is too broad to appeal deeply to any one audience and prevents the brand from truly taking root. It’s best to build a core, loyal audience first and expand from there.

Disneyland, for example, has historically catered to families with children. Over time, the theme park has added new rides and shows and expanded some of its marketing to appeal to a broader audience, but at the heart, it continues to remain true to its core demographic.

Starbucks is an example of a company that built a loyal core audience for its coffee drinks and the experience of its stores. There was period of time when it expanded very quickly and got into music, food, ice cream, merchandise and more — and it lost focus of its core customer and started losing marketshare to a wide array of competitors. Since then, it has recommitted itself to its heritage of coffee and the store experience.

FOR THE REST OF ROSABEL’S INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE.

WATCH FOR MORE FROM THE LIQUID BRAND SUMMIT 2011
We’ll soon be publishing more content from the Liquid Brand Summit, including additional video interviews with our expert session leaders, as well as key findings from the Summit’s 10 sessions.

Also, check out this year’s top tech brands, as named by the the Liquid Brand Impact Report 2011.

For more on brand transformation, visit Liquid Agency.

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Liquid and Socratic release the results of annual Brand Impact study.

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Liquid Brand Summit attendees got a sneak peek.
Who are the biggest brands in the technology sector? Folks who attended the Liquid Brand Summit last week were the first to find out as Liquid Agency released the findings from an annual research study by Socratic Technologies evaluating the impact of brands in 40 different technology markets.

Facebook dominates social media.

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When you combine Facebook’s explosive growth with the fact that TIME Magazine named Mark Zuckerberg its “2010 Person of the Year” and Hollywood released an award-winning film about the company, it’s no surprise that Facebook was named “Brand of the Year” in the Liquid Brand Impact Report 2011. The report summarizes the findings from the annual research study by Liquid Agency and its research partner, Socratic Technologies – which found that Facebook is the clear winner in the social media category.

More than 200 brands are evaluated in the study.

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The Liquid Brand Impact Report is derived from a quantitative study of more than 200 technology brands in 40 business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) categories. It examines a brand’s relative strength as measured by its “Brand Power Rating,” which is derived from a Socratic Technologies’ model measuring several key market perceptions: Awareness; Consideration; Preference, and Purchase Intent (ACPP). The Brand Power Rating has a very high correlation to a company’s current market share, but more importantly, it can detect early shifts toward newcomers with the potential to disrupt the status quo.

Adobe scores highest in B2B category.

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With its win as Brand of the Year, Facebook edged out Amazon who came in a close second. Adobe, Google and Intel rounded out the top five performing brands. In addition, Facebook also took top honors in the B2C category, while Adobe won the B2B category.

VMware, EMC, Vizio and HTC showed the most growth.

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The Liquid Brand Impact Report also tracks the biggest movers up or down in terms of a company’s brand impact in each of the 40 categories. This includes companies like VMware with the biggest upward movement in Virtualization Software, EMC for Enterprise Software, Vizio for HDTV and HTC for smartphones, to name a few.

Download the report.

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To download the full Liquid Brand Impact Report 2011, which provides a detailed breakdown of rankings and brand performances in each of the 40 categories, go here.

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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.

ABOUT CARALENE:
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.

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

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Q&A with Robert Richman of Zappos Insights

Zappos Insights-Liquid Brand Summit

An exclusive interview with Zappos Insights guru Robert Richman. Mr. Richman is one of the Session Leaders at the upcoming Liquid Brand Summit, taking place on March 1, 2011 in Palo Alto.

ABOUT ROBERT:
Robert Richman lives in Las Vegas, where he works for Zappos Insights, an off-shoot of Zappos.com that was started by CEO Tony Hsieh to show other companies how to create a workplace people love and a service customers rave about. Robert began his career in 1996 creating sites for U.S. Senators and co-founding the web strategy company Articulated Impact. He co-wrote the business plan for a new online venture from the Tony Robbins companies and has developed digital media strategies for The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard Magazine, and The National Leadership Institute. When Tony met Rob, he asked him to re-launch the Zappos Insights program - then a small web site with a staff of one. Rob has grown the program to a 12-person company, offering a range of experiences and services to educate companies about culture and to give insight into “what” and “how” Zappos.com has built such an amazing culture and brand.

THE INTERVIEW:
Q: How do you define brand culture?
A: Brand and culture are two sides of the same coin. One faces inside the company; the other faces outside. It is made up of the values, stories and rituals that a company engages, and it all starts from within, so the brand is usually a lagging indicator of the true state of the culture.

Q: How is a company’s overall performance influenced by its brand culture - for example, its management, growth, innovation, customer relationships, etc.?
A: The culture influences everything because it is everything. Said simply, the culture is the way of being. Or to be even more literal: In biology, you use a culture to grow something - it’s the environment that creates the context for growth, interactions, and relationships.

Q: Brand culture can be a fairly abstract concept. Name two or three concrete things that Zappos does on a regular basis to maintain and even strengthen its culture.
A: The most important ingredient to a strong culture is people, so we take a very long time to recruit the right people and we interview them based on our core values. Then, we spend four weeks training them so that they have the right mindset, connections and tools to succeed and grow our culture. Lastly, we encourage people to express themselves so they can bring all of their talents to the office. If you get the right people, empower them and set them free, we find that people take responsibility for growing the culture.

Q: Can you give an example of a company and/or companies whose brand culture you admire? If so, what is it that you admire most?
A: I admire companies that are not afraid to commit to their core values and also share what they’ve learned with others. I believe companies that share their culture learn the fastest - examples include IDEO, 37 Signals, and Ritz Carlton.

ASK ROBERT:
Please feel free to send us comments or questions, and we will make sure that we include them in the discussions during the Liquid Brand Summit. We look forward to hearing from you.

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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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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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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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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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TiVo CMO will be Keynote Speaker!