Category Archives: brand essence

Top posts of 2013

Five years and nearly 300 posts ago this month, BrandSTOKE launched. Thank you for continuing to subscribe, read and comment. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please let me know. In celebration of BrandSTOKE’s five-year anniversary, here is a list of the most popular posts of 2013 as well as a few personal favorites: 10 most popular posts of 2013: Heineken: a brand that parties Smartphone brand positioning gets smarter Presidential campaign slogans: winners and losers Dasani water + Dasani drops = Diet Coke? “Lightning” strikes Gatorade Time for Nike to drop ties with all celebrities? How many Target … Continue reading

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Tullamore Dew: finally, an alcohol brand with taste

Last week, I bemoaned the me-too branding strategies of New Amsterdam, Heineken and Budweiser Black Crown. Their ads all feature hipsters at impossibly chic, look-alike parties and the same clichéd claim, “Drink our alcohol and you’ll be popular.” How refreshing, then, to see a brand in the same category break from the pack and position itself uniquely. Tullamore Dew is a brand of blended Irish whiskey, first distilled in 1829 in Tullamore, County Offaly. It is now produced by a Scottish company, William Grant & Sons, although the primary ingredients are from County Cork. The company maintains a visitor center … Continue reading

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New Amsterdam crashes the Heineken-Black Crown party

Look who showed up at the rave — New Amsterdam Spirits! You know the party — the exclusive one where beautiful, exotic people dance in a crowded private bunker that is hidden from the general public. You also know the strategy. Associate the alcohol brand with having fun. Suggest that, if only you would drink the right brand of alcohol, you’d have more fun with more interesting people. It’s the same strategy Heineken and Budweiser Black Crown follow. It even appears to be the same party. But good luck finding it. Heineken’s parties are typically located inside an unmarked door … Continue reading

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Bob’s stone-ground affinity brand

Affinity branding, a favorite topic at BrandSTOKE, is the ultimate in brand positioning. Affinity brands inspire a community of diehard evangelists, drawn together by a shared goal or belief system. Consumers identify with affinity brands because they represent something other than profit-making. Examples include Patagonia (environmentalism), Whole Foods (sustainability) and Harley-Davidson (freedom of expression). Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, a stone-grinding miller of whole-grain flours and cereals, is another. Bob’s product offerings are all-natural, high-fiber, organic and gluten-free. Most are sold in transparent packages. Bob’s Red Mill may also qualify as an artisan brand, which is typically small and independent. Artisan … Continue reading

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Airstream rivets fans to its brand

Few brands become cultural icons, such as Apple, Harley-Davidson and Levi’s. In the category of recreational vehicles, there is only one — Airstream. According to the manufacturer, over 70% of every trailer it has ever built is still on the road. Due to its aerodynamic shape and silver aluminum exterior, the Airstream trailer is instantly recognizable. Other brands have tried to imitate Airstream’s design, but none have lasted. “The brand’s power overrides any fear of imitation,” says Bob Wheeler, president and CEO. It may be due to the rivets. In 1931, founder Wally Byam intended the trailer’s bullet shape and … Continue reading

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What? Stoli’s not Russian?!

Following the recent enactment of several anti-gay laws in Russia, rights activists around the world declared a boycott of Stolichnaya vodka. Hit the Ruskies where it hurts was the reasoning. But, as it turns out, Stoli isn’t quite Russian. It’s made in Latvia, a former Soviet republic. This must come as a surprise to Stoli’s brand loyalists, as the vodka has been marketing itself as Russian for years. Only recently has the description on the label changed from “Russian Vodka” to “Premium Vodka.” It still features an illustration of Hotel Moskva, a landmark on Moscow’s Red Square. Brands from a … Continue reading

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