Brand MarkETing… No More Brand Marking!

By , January 31, 2013 12:06 pm

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Brand MarkETing

Are we seeing Trans-Planetary Brand MarkETing in our digitized mobile economy? Drawing by Arthur Winters

So what is the difference between brand marking and markETing?

In the past, branding was initially a way of marking or identifying a brand as in marking a rancher’s cattle with a branding iron. As time went on, logos were developed to mark and establish an identity for companies, products and services. More recently in our digitized world, brand managers must bring an ET — Extra-Terrestrial or more likely, an Essential Technology element to their branding. Bringing a more advanced brand marking to their brand markETing.

In the past few years, many customers have felt more of a divide between what they want and what brands offer. Brands that have a vision of what the customer really wants make the most of what their customers value and enjoy. In addition, the customer is increasingly aware of their involvement in product development in their role as “prosumer.”  We see an increase in the desire for personalization from and customization of products, services and experiences.

To satisfy their new brand expectations, customers are moving rapidly to shopping with online retailers. Retailer brands will have to explore more UC, Unified Communications, that include retail pop-up stores and departments similar to and kiosks for brand offers similar to UC strategies will be created that involve real voice (as opposed to electronic menus) responses to customers’ demands for personal attention and customization.

Strong brands that fulfilled customer expectations in the past may diminish, as many consumers are no longer loyal to brands they perceive as category leaders. As always, Brand Managers have to create strategies that convert consumers into customers. The hard work is now in creating an innovative presentation of relevant and much desired brand attributes for the most effective brand positioning. Some brands are creating differences that are being told through their brand story. A compelling brand story and the brand’s history can be delivered to better sell the brand’s positioning assets, differences, and superiority.

So we find content and technology merging in new ways. Consumers may now depend on apps that provide applications to personally bring to mind brand differences and values. These can be inspired by knowledge of their singular profiles and their current desires. And right up there in ET brand positioning is the brand manager’s awareness of their customers who are not really engaged. Previous paradigms for customer-engagement may no longer be effective and customer experiences, CX, that are no longer current in today’s retail marketing, will need to adjust and innovate like never before!

Next, brands will rely more and more on VOC (Voice of customer), innovative interactions with customers and encourage buying recommended by their friends via social media. Successful brands will acquire more knowledge about operations involved in a consumer-run world. As we have mentioned previously, PDA’s/mobiles employed by consumers will dramatically increase. Consumers will be scanning their own screens to connect with a brand, and perhaps, influence their buying. A brand will need to unify all of its messaging and specifically its advertising that is designed for the mobile customer. This may include new screen-oriented techniques for these new retail venues. Google made over $20 billion in ad revenues this year, more than all U.S. print media combined!

We suggest the oft-quoted phrase: “The Future is NOW” — might apply.
What do you think?

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.


By , December 27, 2012 6:09 pm

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RETAILORS might remember, as we have often suggested, to make their brand management an ongoing process of reinventing customer experiences and providing more personalized mobile engagements. For retailors, their creative strategies must now be based on their target customers’ own positioning of their most relevant attributes, differences and behaviors. Customers’ self-brand perceptions rely on their omni-present sources of contact, information and cultural sharing. The concept of “everywhereness” is a current zeitgeist in the mobile world, as exhibited in the Tracfone Everywhereness commercials.

Retail innovations by leading retailers mandate that all their strategic planning is a brand retailoring that evolves from their study of the current evolution of our species, technologically. Quickly gone is the concept of the physical “retail store” as a shopping destination or necessity. Struggling to remain relevant is the mission, “should you choose to accept it.” We hope it will not be a “Mission Impossible.”

Drawing by Art Winters

There is no doubt that mobile is now a bio-digital part of the customer, aka 21st Century Human. For example, living within all the “everywhereness,” retailors must consider that there is a stronger customer’s need for individuality, as exhibited through an interest in fashion tailor-mades or bespoke products – from clothing and accessories to automobiles. Mobile customers are quickly adopting and increasing their mobile “self-styling” options. Changing their shopping behavior more readily than those who are store-only shoppers. Retailors are building their “everywhereness” opportunities to attract more customers with new personalized mobile apps and interactive options.

Inevitably, retailers have to consider “showrooming” as a challenge. How should they strategically respond to this use of their physical store as a showroom and the Internet sites as the P.O.S.? Certainly the retailor is actively working to provide targeted CX (Customer Experiences) that offer personalized mobile and in-store service and incentives that would also advance their NPS (Net Promoter Score). Also, brand managers should be creating new, innovative, and more customer interaction options for their ever-changing loyalty programs and tailor-made offerings. The retailor must realize that since mobile technology enables the customer to shop many stores on their own time, from wherever they choose, it is time to get creative and inventive. Work at brand “relate-ability” with self-visualizations of value and helpful relevant touch points for the customer’s tailor-made desires.

Our thought is: “If retailers want to be anywhere, they must now be everywhere.”


Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

THE SIGN for DESIGN … Creativity Before Marketing

By , November 29, 2012 8:24 am

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As businesses and consumer groups grapple with the effects of global marketing, we are observing how various fashion designers adjust their marketing strategies to suit this uncertain new world. Some fashion designers are re-thinking creative design as a foundation for marketing. They are concentrating on how to bring a sense of personal involvement in self-styling for the consumer as a fundamental marketing strategy. When the world gets more confusing, either we pull in the reins and go to our strengths — or we go all out and cast a wider net.

Designers are focused less on “The Look,” in their seasonal collections. They are busy researching and creating a line that can satisfy more than one demo/psycho-graphic market. While staying true to their core target audience, they are also reaching beyond that to a broader range of ages and body shapes with a wider selection of fabrics, colors, styles, …. Looking to connect to “What is their world,” the new wave of fashion designer wants to create a brand story that will stimulate or revive consumer emotions and aspirations. More than ever, it is important that a style and the brand have relevance to the consumer.

A good example could be the current repercussions of the world’s poor economies. What kind of choices will be made with this in mind? When so many things look bleak for so many people, how can one’s personal styling make the consumer more optimistic? A designer may think back and design forward to create different styles that reactivate pleasurable emotions. It may be time to extend beyond the security of the “I can wear it anywhere” black dress, exploring the brighter, fun colors, patterns, and styles, offered at more reasonable, affordable prices.

What we are saying here is largely attributed to singular Lanvin designer, Alber Elbaz. Elbaz fashions are being created to resurrect one’s own “golden age,” and also to make one aware of their fashion self-actualization.

An example of “fashion self-actualization” could be one interpretation of “tomboy” style in a woman’s wardrobe. It may be a woman’s answer to not being obviously sexy. The tomboy may want to demonstrate that she has no present desire to arouse a man’s sex drive. It may signal her desire for freedom from flirting, as well as freedom from high heels, classic dresses and full-on makeup. Or it could be a desire to be trendy, yet casually elegant?

Note the following possible interpretations of the “Tomboy” fashion style. Let’s see how you react to the possibilities, as we need to find comfort in our currently uncomfortable world…



Photo on the right is of one of Ann Mashburn’s famous mood boards — by F.E. Castleberry of Unabashedly Prep.

 As we stated above: designers look back to design forward…

tomboy booktomboy define

The mood, the lifestyle, the “fashion self-actualization” of “The Tomboy”

Drawing by Arthur A. Winters

Drawing by Arthur A. Winters

The designer who thinks “What is their world now?” —

is more likely to attract more customers.

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

What is Your Brand Story Strategy?

By , October 25, 2012 11:22 am

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by Peggy and Arthur Winters

We recently came across a quote from John Norman, CCO of The Martin Agency, which struck a familiar cord:

“We used to tell stories through campaigns. Now we build stories.”

As we mentioned in our August 2012 blog post, some companies communicate their Brand Stories better than others.

Telling a story is based more on a one-way communication and Building a story is based more on today’s demand for two-way communications between the brand and the customer and among many of the brand’s customers.

A good example of building a brand story is The Martin Agency’s “GEICO” campaign. How many companies have invested so much in a campaign, with a series of different ads to keep everyone entertained and informed on what the brand story is and does? This strategy is much more than the Gecko avatar, but he is its star no doubt. The campaign continues to live up to The Martin Agency’s philosophy to surprise, delight and break through the clutter with creativity.


Tying in with “You Know the Lyrics,” on a radio station’s website – Always in tune?

Looking at a brand or company, its personality and its projected image is how consumers take that first step to becoming one of the brand’s customers. When the brand weaves a believable, relevant, entertaining or useful story about what it offers, the consumer is ready to connect and build a long-term relationship. The attraction was strong and the brand delivers on its brand promises, a longer relationship will hopefully develop and last over time.

Take for example the new TV and YouTube ads for CHICO’S: vibrant, enthusiastic, romantic dancing, cheeky, stylish for their target customer:  fashion savvy women of 30 years and older, enjoying the joy of fashion, friendship, and life…

Or their sister brand, White House/Black Market, another spirited brand — building their story through an image that offers: “WORK IT, The Other Side of Work Wear.”
Connecting with another TV commercial and YouTube video presenting their dancing spirit with style and a fashion show. They are “dedicated to helping their customers feel that every place they go is more beautiful… simply because they are there.”

Both TV Commercials (YouTube links below) are strategically running during the popular TV show, “Dancing With The Stars.”  A smart alignment of message and audience, wouldn’t you say?

chicos logo


white house black market logo

The challenge for every brand in this fractious, chaotic media world, is to take a fresh look at and deeply know who is their audience. What are their new media habits? How can the brand’s biography, history, and interesting/relevant anecdotes resonate across media formats to this more well-understood audience?

So it may be time to ask: When was the last time you took a fresh look at your audience and your Brand Story? And moreover, have you built a relationship with your customers? Are they looking for you and connecting with the brand?


Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.


By , September 27, 2012 12:15 pm

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by Peggy and Arthur Winters

Net Promoter Score (NPS) has been defined as a management tool that can be used to investigate the degrees of loyalty in a firm’s customers’ experiences. It serves as an additional tool to traditional customer satisfaction research. The Net Promoter Score is obtained by asking customers a single question on a 0 to 10 rating scale. “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” Based on their responses, customers are categorized into one of three groups: Promoters – extremely likely to recommend (9-10 rating), Passives – likely (7-8 rating), and Detractors – not at all likely (0-6 rating). Subtracting the proportion of detractors from the proportion of promoters and converting it to a percent gives a Net Promoter Score.

Any analysis of NPS reveals that it is being employed as a useful form of market research that can present companies with an understandable way to measure customer satisfaction without getting lost in deep data. It gets companies to think about their customers’ experiences and loyalty from the customers’ point of view. NPS and CX should serve as a matrix or model for how customers see their interactions with a brand / designer / store and/or website and how the brand should work to improve these experiences.

But answers to only one question will not reveal the whole story of WHY a customer might or might not recommend the brand. To improve one’s loyalty NPS, one must look for the root cause. These interactions include individual stages in the customer’s exploration, discovery, purchase, satisfied use and services rendered.

Additional ways to employ NPS as an indicator of customer loyalty could include:

ACE – Actual Customer Experiences and referrals – using point of sale, call center and billing data that signifies exactly what customer interactions have occurred…

SPA – Superior Perception of Attributes that are revealed through customer conversations that inquire how satisfying were their experiences with the good old 4 Ps — Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

APS – Analysis of Promoter Score through further evaluations of customer interactions asking what they did as a result of interactions with the brand (designer, product, store, website, or experience). Specifically: “Have you recommended this brand?” These evaluations are calculated to define customer perceptions, future intentions for purchasing, and importantly, recommendations and referrals.

NPS can be an effective predictor of whether, how, and when a customer might, and actually has recommended the brand to a friend, family or colleague.

Above all, NPS can also be an analysis of Customer Experiences (CX) that serves as a reference for a company’s Internal Branding. NPS can be infused as a metric for evaluating a company’s systems for creating related Customer Experiences (CX).

Drawing by Arthur A. Winters

How would this recommendation affect “STAYSEXY™’s” NPS Net Promoter Score? Drawing by Arthur A. Winters.


Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

WHAT YOU SEE… Visual Content… is WHAT YOU GET

By , August 30, 2012 10:47 am

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Drawing by Arthur Winters

Drawing by Arthur Winters

For today’s fashion marketing, original visual content is vital.  The marketing communications strategy is how to make it effective. We’re still seeing some fashion brands using old-style fashion model poses in their visualizations of their new styles or products. But, we appreciate and recommend fashion brands that are creating better visual stories, which provide customers with answers and suggestions. These brands tell a visual story of what they can do for the customer, not just what items they make that only create awareness by projecting their brand image.

Desk to Dinner ad

Visual Content — yes …

Burberry Sport

Visual — but NO story …

Fashion marketing needs better communications that connect with the customer’s branding of self. Marketers could now look at their products for visual content and the story that generates its facility for self-styling. And in this multi-media, social media world, visualization in all its forms is pre-eminent.


“Power to the She” –self-styling visual and verbal story

A significant brand mark for fashion marketers is to see visual content that covers all aspects of customer/consumer experience. For example, a fashion firm might even introduce their customers to a fly-on-the-wall look at their design team at work. There is no doubt that fashion may be a most visual product that offers ever-flowing fountains of ideas for visual content – and desire, especially with the use of social media and web sites.

Fashion brand positioning can be more inspiring by showing the customer real life style and life-stage happenings instead of static, mannequin-posed model photos with their logo.


Starbucks visualizes it is the customer’s lifestyle…

Those brand managers who have a sense of the visual in communications may be the new Rembrands of fashion marketing!

What’s your story?


Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.


GLOCAL… (GLObal and loCAL) It’s still all Local with Multicultural Global Influences

By , June 28, 2012 3:35 pm

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glocal drawing by arthur winters

Segmented Marketing has been rapidly replacing, or at least collaborating as part of,what we have known as Mass Marketing. So why would any brand, U.S. or “other world,” not customize their communications about their product, service or experience? With a rising local diversity in our domestic market, and an increasing mix of different global cultures throughout the world, a brand needs to continue to create strategies and communications for glocal brand marketing.

Some brands are trying multicultural marketing that attempts to create communications for more than one market segment. The brands that seem to do the job best do forms of Integrated Marketing that go beyond running traditional ads, doing outdoor advertising or going on-line. They are developing innovative Consumer-Centric Promotions (CCP) and Customer Experiences (CX). And they are considering cross-over life-style psychographics to identify “cross-across” target markets.

Today’s Brand Management has to recognize that cross-over segmented markets require more glocal strategies and multicultural communications than ever before.

One to watch is what a retail giant like The GAP is doing. GAP Inc. has products available to customers in over 90 countries worldwide. Their global expansion formula is to enter a country with brand-building flagship stores, after which outlets and smaller franchise stores can be added beyond the main cities, in addition to building an online web presence for each country/region/language and offering international shipping.  This plan goes on even with the news that they will be closing a number of stores in NYC, the USA and Canada.

In the Gap Inc.’s case, they are promoting their image of Americana and it’s fun, family, fashion and value appeals across the globe. They integrate or “glocalize” their promotions with the local customers as seen on their international web pages:

Gap Intnl

Gap Japan• 12.06.07


(Color:Navy Stripe/¥6,900/ID:160758)


Gap Japan• 12.06.07


(Color:Grape Vine/¥3,900/ID:164289)


The Gap is approaching each segmented market with its brand story and brand image, while welcoming each target market in their own language and giving them the opportunity to adapt this American brand in their own “glocal” way.  In today’s global economy world, we need to develop our own global perspectives as we choose which ideas or products to include in our company brands and our personal customer lifestyles.

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

BRANDISHING… A 21st Century Brand Weapon

By , May 31, 2012 10:14 am

Brandpsych logoBRANDISHING…  A 21st Century Brand Weapon

Brandishing is becoming a brand-building strategy for designers and products.  So what is it? Brandishing is a strategy of customer-centric “weapons” for competitively positioning brand values. These values must be innovatively brandished:

1. IdentitySelf-Brandualization is the customer brandishing pride…

2. Experience – Brandishing of special experiences and engagements – such as Macy’s “find your magic” special events

3. Relevance – enabling a customer to fit a brand’s style to their own lifestyle… e.g., NIKE’s “just do it”

4. Battle Plan – Empower customers to be fearless, to feel that the brand they choose is a “one-and-only” to help them in their personal wars by having their own “secret”

In this fast-paced century, Brandishing requires a sharper brand sword that can cut through some of the current customer skepticism and disbelief.

The “ultimate driving machine” has to keep moving to higher customer standards and “its amazing what soup can do,” will need to do it even better. If modesty is just a memory, then now “there’s nothing between me and my whatevers!” How long will we believe that “a diamond is forever”? How long will we still “care enough to send the very best”? Thus we must ask: Will we continue to hear the battle cry: “because I’m worth it!” We think yes, if brands understand that customers believe in — Brandishing of the customer — by the customer – for the customer!

The power thrust of a brand is in its brandishing of superiority over and difference within its industry category.

BRANDishing drawing by Arthur Winters

Which brands do you choose to Brandish?


Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

THE ERA of the SOLIPSTYLISTIC CUSTOMER Fashion Style By One’s Self

By , April 26, 2012 8:58 am

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As we have discussed “My-Style” in a previous blog, we see a development toward what we might call: the Solipsistic Customer. Having a sense that “one can only be aware of one’s own experiences and state of mind,” this customer can now do on-line and in-store self-styling like never before! So what’s happening to the changing shopping behavior? Just ask the emerging neuro-marketers and the fashion companies who see this as an opportunity to make stronger connections with their customers. Is self-styling fashion for one’s self a product of the varieties of brain enhancement that are now happening in the research labs? Can we ever know or better understand our customers?

The neuro-marketers may be creating brand strategies and neuro-experiences designed to depolarize the neural membranes in the part of the brain known for long-standing brand loyalties. This is calculated to make its cells more excitable and more responsive to “solipstylistic” branding. Some brand managers are consulting with neuroscientists to learn how to accelerate the formation of new neural pathways to brand acceptance. They believe that they need to change the need for design-help to solipstyling by one’s self.

For example, is a Toronto website which provides stimuli for How You Can be In Fashion. It features thinking straight from elite designers and fashion artists. It also offers answers to questions about current fashion websites and blogs.

There are now many ways for the Solipstylistic Customer to do it herself. With these developing concepts, the fashion designer-partner and the share-the-experience store may get back in the act!

This could be the ultimate in One-to-One marketing.

Arthur Winters drawing

Drawing by Arthur Winters. Many young children demand to choose their clothing with the often heard line: “By Myself!” This desire continues on into adulthood when searching for personal styles and trends featured on fashion and media websites.


fashionizeyourself co web

“A girl with the dragoon tattoo “– Film – fashion inspiration for H&M

“A girl with the dragoon tattoo “– Film – fashion inspiration for H&M

Self-styler: Madonna in Givenchy Haute Couture at Super Bowl Halftime Show

Self-styler: Madonna in Givenchy Haute Couture at Super Bowl Halftime Show

Spring - Summer Ad Campaigns 2012 (Part II)

Spring - Summer Ad Campaigns 2012 (Part II)

Spring - Summer 2012 Ad Campaigns (Part I)

Spring - Summer 2012 Ad Campaigns (Part I)

Trend Forecast from the Menswear AW 2012-13

Trend Forecast from the Menswear AW 2012-13

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.


By , March 29, 2012 8:00 am

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What turns the Wheel of Fashion?
We think that it is ever-rolling change.

Reinventing the Wheel of Fashion drawing by Art Winters

drawing by Art Winters

drawing by Art Winters

For example, designer Alexa Galler is giving the woman’s T-shirt a new Worth by designing “asymmetrical” shapes that could be cocktail party attire….” She is also making “different silhouettes” for men’s khakis, button-downs, and blazers.  Her Ecco Domani awarded collection: “Eighteenth,” is taking a basic item and wheeling it into “Reinvented Fashion.”

As the wheel turns towards different Hierarchies of consumer needs, designer Wes Gordon relies on fashion history for his peplum shapes and floor-length cuts.  His objective here is “my own style Engagementwith present customers and their engagements with potential customers.

Another spoke in the Fashion Wheel speaks of Expectations. For example, comfort is now the most prevalent attribute expected in jean brands.  All of this is designed to create Loyalty – which is being measured by designer and store brands use of Customer Loyalty Metrics (CLM).

CLM is a brand’s analytical research conducted to identify degrees of loyalty based upon the customer’s perception of the Fashion WHEEL.  As mentioned above, designer Wes Gordon has developed remarkable customer loyalty by Reinventing his own WHEEL.  In his own words, he has revived traditional work-style fashions for Jones New York with his “sharp tailoring and cool materials.”

Among the many new fashion directions that may now ride on a whole new Hierarchy is the MADMEN Collection by Banana Republic.  What could be more appealing to the fashion-fit than finding styles that fit?

Mad Men for Banana Republic

And finally, some Fashion Wheel Expectation and excitement at Baby Gap and Gap Kids!  Diane von Furstenberg is designing adorably cute styles and fabrics to burst into spring 2012!  Can we hope for this Fashion Wheel to roll into The Gap for grownups too?

 DVF for Baby GAP and GAP KIDS

 DVF for Baby GAP and GAP KIDS

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

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