On names, wow, vision, parasites and the deep end of digital

Picking a brand name has got to be one of the toughest jobs out there. All the best web domains are taken. And just about every word in the English language – that makes sense, anyhow, has been used and reused. To make it tougher, the flat world requires that brands translate effectively into virtually any language. I’m sure most of you have heard the stories about the Chevy Nova, which it South America means it wouldn’t run. Or the or how the Volkswagen Jetta translates into letta in Italian which means misfortune. So that’s why I found this article on how Lexicon develops some of the most successful names in the world insightful. Like Blackberry, for instance. Read on!

This past Tuesday’s #Leadershipchat hosted by @lisapetrilli and @swoodruff discussed vision – the importance of and creating. As well as how vision is very different than mission. Garage Technology Ventures has a great read on crafting your wow statement – something that will cut through the noise and actually mean something to the right people. Whether for your business, brand, product or yourself, being able to articulate a clear vision that’s memorable is critical. And many of us tend to gloss over it, put it off, or make it far too complex. Particularly if we’re in a highly technical niche, it’s easy to go straight to the jargon, and a fairly difficult exercise to distill one’s vision into a snackable, memorable chunk. Their key takeaway is to make it simple. And simple is hard. It’s something I need to do a better job personally, and would bet many of you do to. So read on and spend some time here. It’ll pay off later.

Too many brands focus on the quick buck at the expense of building something meaningful, and hence sustainable. Sometimes that takes a bit of time and many boards of directors get impatient. This profile on Under Armour – now a billion dollar brand and growing underscores the importance of managing your brand story and ‘respecting the consumer.’ Note how Kevin Plank, CEO, talks about passion, vision and people – which underscores again why the piece above is so important. They grew slowly – by solving real problems. I like stories of brands built out of solving an unmet need. Rather than sensing opportunity and tossing a me-too product at it.

Who doesn’t like or often need to get something for nothing? With most facing shrinking marketing budgets, and ever higher objectives,  each dollar needs to work harder and be spent with more finesse. That’s why Stephen Denny’s post on Parasite Branding is a timely read, which talks about how to leverage another brand to dramatically expand your audience and reach. I first met Stephen (@note_to_CMO) on #imcchat and quickly came to appreciate the value he brings to the discussions. He makes you think bigger and challenge mediocrity. Read on then dive deeper into his writing – I also recommend his post lamenting the push for increasing simplicity in logos, which may not always be the best approach.

Are you maximizing your opportunities in all digital channels? If you think digital means placing a few banners and creating a microsite or two, think again. Frédéric Winckler who I know more by @lefreddie makes you think. If you haven’t noticed yet, I like to think and ask questions. He talks about creating deep digital programs – learning and pushing further than most of us have at this point. There are many salient points here, including how many companies start social media programs too late: only when they want to sell; but need to build them right into your products and services. And about building community, tapping into your audience, and thinking about platforms rather than the web.

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