Monthly Archives: September 2013

Coca-Cola dries up

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Logo design Leamington

For the first time in 13 years, Apple has usurped Coca-Cola to top an Interbrand list of the world’s most valuable brands. This list measures the BRAND VALUE of organisations.

​​Brand value is about the entire experience customers have with a company and its products or services. It’s basically the extra revenue a company can make solely because of its brand name.

In the latest list, released today, Coca-Cola was also beaten by Google which now sits just behind Apple in second place.

Here's the top 20 in full:

1. Apple
2. Google
3. Coca-Cola
4. IBM
5. Microsoft
6. General Electric
7. McDonald's
8. Samsung
9. Intel
10. Toyota
11. Mercedes-Benz
12. BMW
13. Cisco
14. Disney
15. Hewlett-Packard
16. Gillette
17. Louis Vuitton
18. Oracle
19. Amazon
20. Honda

So - what gives these brands such value?

There are five notable qualities that leading brands share.

1. A compelling idea.
Behind every brand is a great idea, which captures customers’ attention and ensures their loyalty by satisfying a need or desire.

2. A core goal and purpose.
For example, for BMW, the brand communications reiterate the phrase “the ultimate driving machine”, whatever model is being promoted. The target audience for each BMW model differs but the core goal stays the same: “to be the world's leading provider of premium products and premium services for individual mobility.”

3. A brand proposition which permeates the business.
The brand position, purpose and values are used at every level to guide decision-making. Once staff understand what the brand is all about, it gives direction to the whole business. It guides what products they make, what images will look like, what copy will sound like, even how they answer the phone.

4. Understanding the importance of their brand.
Most leading brands recognise that to succeed in business they need to differentiate themselves in ways that can't be copied by other companies. They protect the brand, strive to
increase its value and measure its performance as they would any other business asset.

5. Staying relevant.
Leading brands endeavour to remain relevant to their customers, and different from the competition. One way in which this can be achieved is through innovation, both of products and business processes. Blackberry for example is struggling to stay relevant as it loses ground to Apple and other smartphone brands, especially in the business market where it once held a near monopoly.

OK... so those five points are all well and good if you're a top 20 global brand. But smaller businesses can also learn from their successes. Start to incorporate brand-building into your business plan, and make increasing your brand value one of your business objectives.

Once you have defined your organisation's unique brand you can look at ways of portraying it, which will add to its value. That's where Public can help, for example with your logo and corporate image. We'll help you decide what colours, fonts and design will appeal to your potential customers and create a highly successful brand image for you.

And if you build on this image by delivering a high-quality product or service, your customers will keep coming back and your brand value will grow.

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What's the point of celebrities?

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Marketing Leamington Spa

Today, Centaur Communications launched a subscription web service called Celebrity Intelligence. It's a brand new B2B product aimed specifically at helping brand marketers and PRs identify and do business with the celebrities most likely to give them a competitive advantage.

At the core of the new product is an extensive, up-to-date celebrity database, with full demographic and commercial career details on more than 28,000 stars from the world of film, TV, music, sports, fashion and the arts. It shows what brands celebrities endorse, what charities they work with and many more essential details.

The site offers a range of easy-to-use search tools which enable users to segment the celebrities by a wide range of different criteria including by age, sex, sector, or even skills and interests, or ailments. All the relevant contact details are available for every one of the 28,000 celebrities.

Most advertisers can't afford the thousands or even millions of pounds it takes to hire a celebrity endorser. But if your company falls in that category, take heart. Why?


1. Celebrity endorsers aren't only pricey, they're risky.

Because celebrities exist in the spotlight, the risk of getting caught doing something embarrassing is much higher than for the rest of us. The list of celebrities who lost their endorsements is endless: Kerry Katona and Iceland (alleged cocaine use), Tiger Woods and Gillette (alleged extra-marital affairs), Michael Phelps and Kelloggs (alleged marijuana use), Ronaldinho and Coca-Cola (publicly drinking Pepsi), Kerry Katona (again) and Cash Lady Payday Loans (bankruptcy!).

2. Endorsements may only help raise the celebrity's profile, not your brand's.

Consider Rihanna's advertising deal with Nivea skincare. The press ads featuring a near-naked Rihanna got a lot of attention, but not for the skincare they advertised. They helped build on the star's raunchy image, while the sponsoring brand made an about-face on the singer, claiming that the campaign should never have aired.

3. The more products they endorse, the more diluted each endorsement becomes.

Tennis player Maria Sharapova endorses Head, Nike, TAG Heuer, Samsung, Porsche, Evian, Cole Haan, not to mention her own 'Sugarpova' range of sweets. With so many endorsements going on at one time, one face representing so many brands can have a negative effect on the product. According to Hamish Pringle, who wrote Celebrity Sells in 2004, “There is research to show that consumers lose confidence in celebrities who do too many things. Consumers understand that celebrities are paid, so why should they be believed?”


Is there an alternative?

The answer is yes. Celebrity endorsements are expensive and risky, and they don't always pay off. If you believe your brand is in need of additional equity, instead of borrowing it from a celebrity, develop it yourself. You may need to refocus your efforts on making your brand more appealing, more affordable, or more easily available (and perhaps all of the above).

Take the money you would otherwise hand over to an already well-paid celebrity and invest it in developing original creative ideas that will make your brand stand out. That way, the equity you create will be nothing but your own.

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No speak English

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Marketing copywriting Leamington

OK, so we've all seen them on holiday – the badly-translated but charming signs that are well intentioned, and give us a giggle.

Sometimes you get the gist of what they were trying to say:

Marketing copywriting Leamington

And on other occasions the mind simply boggles:

Marketing copywriting Leamington

Nowadays many people use Google Translate and keep their fingers crossed. A bit like this person. I'm guessing the site crashed and this error message popped up:

Marketing copywriting Leamington

We should spare a thought for the signwriters and translators. English is a complex language, even for native English speakers.

However, in business I can't stress enough the importance of:

1. Ensuring that your marketing copy is written in perfect English, with no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors;

2. Using a native English speaker to truly understand idiom, culture and branding;

3. Using a copywriter to help you express your marketing messages clearly, and tailor the language to your specific market.

In a business context, many international organisations use translation agencies. They may be very good at what they do – but they’re not marketing professionals.

Your copywriting is part of your communication strategy. Your communication strategy is formed using knowledge of your customers, market and stakeholders.

At Public, we consider your market and your customers when working on your copy, to ensure that your your message retains the same meaning and power after it's been translated.

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