A brand with a purpose

Posted by staceypilcher on Monday, June 4th, 2012 | No Comments

When 20% of your waste and 30% of your recyclables come from one source, it would seem like an easy decision to eliminate the source.  But when you are a National Park and this decision means the ban of bottled water sales you run the risk of upsetting hordes of tourists and the lucrative bottled water industry. 

This year Grand Canyon National Park joined, Zion National Park and Volcanoes National Park to ban the sale of bottled water.  Park visitors are encouraged to bring their own bottles or buy affordable reusable bottles at the Visitor’s Center. Grand Canyon National Park took it a step further by installing water stations – 10 on the South Rim and 3 on the North Rim, serving up free spring water from Roaring Springs in the canyon.

“Our parks should set the standard for resource protection and sustainability,” John Wessels, regional director for the park service, said in a statement. The National Parks were formed to preserve and protect special places in America, for all time.  As our culture changes, how this is accomplished evolves. The ban of the sale of bottled water is one way in today’s culture for the National Parks to reinforce its purpose and brand.

Worldwide over $100B is spent annually on bottled water.  In contrast, the United Nations estimates that $15B would reduce the number of people without access to clean water by 50% across the globe. Why buy spring water all the way from Fiji?  Or a bottle filled with filtered municipal tap water, when you can have spring water directly from the source? Trust me, the next time you visit Grand Canyon National Park, BYOB and enjoy fresh spring water courtesy of Mother Nature. 

For more information about the cost and impact of bottled water visit thewaterproject.org.

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Marketing’s double standard.

Posted by staceypilcher on Friday, May 11th, 2012 | No Comments

It is interesting when election year comes around, integrity seems to fly out the window.  Why is it that political marketers use a different playbook?  Falsehoods in political advertising are so prevalent we now have Factcheck.org and Flackcheck.org, both projects of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. And PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize-winning operation of the Tampa Bay Times.

Factcheck.org is aimed at reducing the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics – they watch and listen to ads, debates, speeches, interviews and then report of the factual accuracy.

Flackcheck.org debunks false political advertising and reviews how the media reports on political campaigns. They are also reminding broadcasters of their right to reject or require changes in political ads aired by super PACs.  (Candidate-produced advertising cannot be refused or censored even if it is inaccurate or defamatory. What? Yes, this is a federal law.)

And then there is the Fact Checker column in the Washington Post. The author Glenn Kessler, has recently issued a challenge to both Former Governor Mitt Romney and President Obama to “give a least one campaign speech, on a substantive policy issue, lasting at least 15 minutes, that does not contain a single factual error or misstatement. That means no sugar-coating of your record, no exaggerated claims about your opponent’s record, and no assertions that are technically true but lack crucial context.”

Fraudulent and deceptive marketing and advertising is not acceptable for any other product or service, just ask Reebok who is to refund $25 million for false advertising of the EasyTone and RunTone shoes.

Hopefully, in our lifetime, political marketers will be held to the same standard. What do you think?

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A comeback from almost certain death

Posted by staceypilcher on Friday, May 4th, 2012 | No Comments

In February 2000 the company was riding on top of a wave.  By November 2008 the stock had fallen 82%.  Death seemed imminent.  Was it mismanagement? Increased competition? According to the New York Times,  “. . .it filled its stores with stuff that people didn’t want.”

How is it that such a successful company loses its relevance?  The constant evolution of a concept, especially in fashion, is the number one rule for long-term success.  This requires a keen focus on the consumer to predict trends and stay fresh.  Brand foundations do not change, but how they are manifested does.

In this case, the brand “. . .offers inventive American style. Clean, classic clothing and accessories help customers express their individual sense of style.” In the 1990s this defined the khaki culture, but by the early 2000s consumers had moved on. Today the company is rethinking its products to help it deliver on its promise to offer “inventive American style”. And its stock is up nearly 54% so far this year. 

The Gap realized that its brand is not a logo, but the experience and products it delivers to consumers.

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