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Musings about current developments in the world of branding and marketing.

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Musings about Lilly for Target (and other unfortunate missteps)

Posted on April 20, 2015 at 1:05 AM

Today was the day that Target unveiled its eagerly anticipated Lilly Pulitzer for Target line of clothing, home decor and beauty products. Now, a mere 3 hours after Target stores in my area (Minneapolis) opened their doors and immediately sold out of everything in a reported 15 minutes, the web is blowing up with photos of in-store pandemonium and commentary...

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The Power of the Name

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 9:40 PM

On this, the momentous day that healthcare exchanges opened around the country (including MNsure, a project I had the privilege of working on a few months ago), I watched another brilliant man-on-the-street video by Jimmy Kimmel.  His hypothesis is that on the politically charged issue of healthcare reform, the name matters quite a lot.  

Taking a camera crew out onto the streets, people were asked if they preferred ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  ...

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It's really not about the logo

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Every once in a while, a company’s logo will be changed and will make the headlines. It happened back in 2010 when the Gap attempted to change their beloved blue block logo, only to meet with such ferocious backlash that they changed it right back to the original less than one week later.

The same thing has happened with beleaguered JC Penney, who had changed its logo four times in the past four years. Aside from creating consumer confusion, erratic branding sends ...

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The high-wire act of corporate apologies

Posted on October 31, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Today's news that Apple's iOS, Scott Forstall, has resigned has been paired with statements that his departure was the result of his refusal to apologize for the iPhone Maps debacle.  It's just the latest chapter in the saga that saw Tim Cook issue a formal apology on Apple's website in late September to address the furor surrounding the beleaguered app.  Cook's hope, presumably, was that a direct and contrite statement would curtail the online feeding frenzy about MAPS' embarrassin...

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The not-so-new company

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 9:35 PM

I launched this business, Cultivation, only about two months ago.  That's when I registered the business name, built the site, printed the business cards, and started promoting the services I offer.  My favorite part, so far, has been my meetings with all sorts of people throughout the business community in the Twin Cities.  I'm always amazed and impressed that people will take time out of their busy day to sit down with me, listen, and share their thoughts and advice.  I ...

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Apple's wrong turn with Maps

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Today, Apple's CEO Tim Cook issued a long, beautifully written letter of apology to its legions of customers, acknowledging what the blogosphere has been lampooning for days----their badly executed Maps feature.  I found it interesting for a couple of reasons.

1)  Though I myself am not an Apple devotee*, I love and respect the brand.  Who doesn't?  They are the picture of smart innovation, precision, gorgeous-design-as-brand, brilliant retail, brilliant ...

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The blinding power of marketing

Posted on September 15, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Last week, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel showed the incredible power of both brand and marketing.  In a short man-on-the-street segment, he took what was purported to be the new iPhone 5 on the streets of New York City to ask passerby their thoughts about it versus the iPhone 4S.  The catch?  The iPhone 5 isn't yet available, and the phone they were given to critique was, in fact, the current iPhone 4S.  

The truth revealed in their (hilarious)&#...

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Marketing and the vote

Posted on September 9, 2012 at 10:40 AM

As someone who loves the art and science of branding, it's been fascinating to watch this year's run-up to the presidential election.  Not that this year is probably any different than other Presidential elections over the past few decades.  For someone like me, who believes in the power of the spoken word, imagery, advertising, messaging, etc., it brings up some tricky questions.


1.  What is the objective?  I know, this seems like a s...

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A hard lesson in being a DIY website builder

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 8:35 PM

OK, I'll admit it.  I consider myself to be a pretty capable, self-sufficient, resourceful person.  Friends applaud when I do things like build a website (this one) in under two days flat, or paint a respectable impressionist oil painting for display over the fireplace mantel, or manage two often-grumpy teenage boys without being in a perpetual cranky mood. I have a good education and have over two decades of varied job experiences doing lots of different, interesting, complex jobs....

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