Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Highest Form of Flattery.....

Advertising for McDonald's on the Via di Propa...Image via Wikipedia
They say that the highest form of flattery one can receive is for someone to copy or emulate something you are doing. Is it? In the marketing and advertising business it's done all the time. You take an idea and try and use it yourself.  Hopefully changing it up so that it appears to be an original idea of your own.  If it's an idea of a big corporation, hopefully you don't set yourself up for trademark or copyright infringements.  However, there are some companies that are just down right blatant about it.

Do some feel threaten by what others do or are they trying to ride their coat tails?  Or do they just have a total lack of imagination or original ideas for their own marketing and promotion?

When you're a solepreneur, you do it all.  You are everything from the 'CEO, admin person, marketing department, sales, etc. while trying to look like and compete with those in the larger arenas.  So what do you do when you birth an idea and implement it, only to see it copied verbatim by someone else in a bigger arena?  Do you consider it flattery?  Or stealing your idea?   I guess the answer is, if you didn't copyright it or trademark it in some way, it's all fair game. 

At least Burger King gives McDonald's credit for their 'Egg McMuffin' idea, but I wonder if they asked first?  Do they or should they ask first?

Happy Marketing!
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Acronyms Don't Work - Computer Associates Learns the Hard Way!

The following article is from my favorite marketing and branding expert, Liz Goodgold with Red Fire Branding.  She gives some great advice in picking a name for your company.  Alphabet soup doesn't always work. 

Acronyms Don't Work - Computer Associates Learns the Hard Way!
Five years ago, Computer Associates got tainted by a big accounting scandal and decided to vary its name to CA. Ooops! Try Googling CA and guess what you get? How about the State of California? Cocaine Anonymous?  Repeat after me: Acronyms Don't Work!

Now, CA has seen the light and is rebranding again as CA Technologies with a $200 million budget. Hard to imagine stakeholders are excited about this naming fiasco.

What's the lesson here:  Shortening your name to letters and creating alphabet soup is a recipe for disaster. Here are a few key reasons:

1.    Acronyms are less memorable than real words
2.    Sounds of letters are easily misheard ("did you say B or D?)
3.    Letters don't imbue any brand personality - they are as vanilla as, well, the alphabet!

Want a complete discussion of naming missteps and secrets to success? See Chapter 3 entitled Name Dropping: How to Build a Brand That Sizzles in Red Fire Branding

Duck Sizzling Example -

Aflac American Family Life Assurance Co. catapulted its domestic name recognition from approximately 2 percent in 1990 to approximately 80 percent now, thanks to the famous AFLAC duck. The duck is so famous that even Ben Affleck, during an appearance on David Letterman's show, starting making fun of his own name! Keep in mind, however, that this acronym sizzles because the company turned the acronym into both a word and an enduring mascot.
The above article "by Liz Goodgold, Branding Expert, Author, and Speaker. Sign up for her FREE Brand Finale  newsletter with valuable information at"
In appreciation,
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"

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