Brand

Twitter Had A Field Day With The Ivanka Trump Brand Father’s Day Gift Guide

Ivanka Trump has made moves to distance herself from her clothing and lifestyle brand.

Father’s Day is fast approaching, and lifestyle brands are sharing their top gift recommendations ― that includes Ivanka Trump’s brand.

The tweet features a photo of gift options, like grilling tools and coasters. “Whether a football lover or a coffee aficionado, these picks will please every dad,” Ivanka Trump HQ wrote.

Trump has made moves to distance herself from her clothing and lifestyle brand and currently serves as an “assistant to the president,” but

Lean data: Trusted brands, financial performance, and politics (VB Live)

Trust isn’t just a warm fuzzy feeling. For companies that know how to add trust to their brand attributes, they can see their work show up in a graph, a trendline, and an upside in performance.

Trusted brands and the stock market

Each year, Fortune magazine releases a list of various business rankings, including the Fortune 100, which many of us rely on as the 100 largest public and privately-held companies in the U.S. ranked according to market cap and valuation.

In 2016, SurveyMonkey sorted the Fortune 100 in a different way: from highest to lowest in terms of consumer “trust” metrics. To follow that thread, my team measured the difference in stock-price performance between the S&P 500 and the Fortune 100 Most Trusted. We thought that there might be a performance difference between those two cohorts. We were right but what we found was even more interesting.

I was shocked to learn of a massive difference in performance between the top 15 and the bottom 15 of the Fortune 100 most-trusted companies. The top 15 Fortune 100 most-trusted performed at 26 percent greater the bottom 15 Fortune?!

Wow. Wait. We crunched the numbers again. Yep. 26 percent higher.

This stock performance happened at the same time that Edelman’s 2016 Trust Barometer showed 50 percent of respondents have lost trust in businesses because of their lack of contributions to “society’s greater good,” and 62 percent of earned-brand respondents said they will not buy from a brand that fails to meet its societal obligations.

And in 2017, it’s not getting any more trustworthy out there. The 2017 Edelman Trust Index reports that customer trust is now “imploding” after a year of “unimaginable upheaval.”

Trusted brands and politics

In these politically charged times, consumers now expect corporations and businesses to take a firm stand and act on what they believe in. Conscious Consumers want to know, not just how brands handle their business decisions, but also where they put their socio-political influence.

Global Strategy Group reported in Forbes that 56 percent of Americans believe corporations should engage in dialogue surrounding controversial social-political issues.

But speaking up on controversial issues has risks. Another study quoted in the same Forbes article says 8.1 percent of Americans are more likely to purchase from a company that shares their opinions and nearly equally, but 8.4 percent are less likely to purchase from a company that doesn’t share their opinions. That’s a big 16 percent swing. But there’s more to this when it’s broken down by age groups.

Middle-aged Americans (36 to 55) are the least likely to consider corporate social advocacy in their purchasing decisions, regardless of whether or not it aligns with their own beliefs. Put simply, when consumers hit their late 30s, they get set in their ways for a…

4 Reasons Content Marketers Should Think Like Designers

For many brand marketers, design is an afterthought. That’s because most (tech) brands are started by founders who likely had tech or business backgrounds, who were focused first on building and selling a product/service and attracting customers.

Building a strong brand is crucial to attract those customers, yet many people overlook how valuable design is to building a strong brand, especially in a company’s early days.

Additionally, when it comes to visual design, most marketers aren’t trained in it. They’re not thinking about what their brand looks and feels like from their customers’ point of view.

This is a common problem: Customers are the most important part of marketing, but they’re often one of the last components a company thinks about. The thought process is all too often:

  1. What do we want to build?
  2. How do we want to sell it?
  3. Who do we want to sell it to?

That sequence has ‘uphill battle written all over it.

If your product and your brand are remarkable, you won’t need to do any marketing.

But most brands aren’t remarkable—yet.

How do you build this type of brand? Concentrate on a specific problem (a need or want) your future customers are facing, then find a way to convince them that your services or products represent the best possible solution.

Convincing means communicating, so to figure out how best to communicate that you are the answer to their desires, you need to do one thing: Think like a designer.

How do designers think?

Designers are trained and experienced problem solvers. It’s what they do day in, day out.

Designers are taught to think conceptually. They’re able to see opportunities and creatively connect the dots; they’re able to take an early idea and develop a plan (and often, execute) to turn that into a reality.

Designers are always thinking about the end-user experience. They know how to make things easy to follow.

Designers care deeply about brands and brand integrity. They understand better than others what it means to be off brand and on…

Ask the Readers: Which Brand Name Products Are Worth It?

One popular frugal tip is to always buy generic, and for most daily purchase, this works. However, some products are really worth paying the extra cost, especially if it means you get better quality for something you plan to use for a long time.

Which brand name products are worth it? What makes them better than the generic versions? What brand name products are not worth the extra cost?

Tell us which brand name products are worth the extra cost and…

Nvidia and SAP use AI to spot brand appearances in the real world

Nvidia and SAP have teamed up to use artificial intelligence and computer vision to figure out how many times a brand appears in the real world.

Somewhere, somebody whose job it is to count how many times a logo appears on a race car in front of a TV camera or a crowd in the real world is saying thanks. Normally, it takes humans a lot of work to estimate how many advertising impressions are made in the real world. Nvidia showed a demo of the capability at its GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Calif.

But SAP…

How Dove Ruined Its Body Image

Dove

Dove has worked hard to connect its brand image to social ideals. Thanks to a decade of “Real Beauty” campaigns, the personal-care products company has successfully associated itself with the goal of positive body image. In one campaign, billboard ads depict ordinary women instead of professional models. Another shows the process of Photoshopping a pretty but imperfect woman into the impossible ideal typically shown in marketing images.

The company’s latest effort in the series is called Real Beauty Bottles. “Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes,” a commercial declares. “There is no one perfect shape.” As evidence, the ad rolls out six different shapes of Dove-branded plastic body-wash bottles. Each roughly correlates with a (woman’s) body type. There’s an hourglass bottle. A tall, thin bottle with smaller curves. A pear-shaped bottle. An even squatter pear-shaped bottle. “Real beauty breaks molds,” the ad quips, before revealing that the six bottles are available as a limited-edition run.

The ad hopes to connect body-type dispassion with the Dove brand, scoring another victory for the company’s purported mission. But in practice, something else happens. The Real Beauty Bottles seem offensive, but it’s hard to put a finger on why. I’ll help.

* * *

Dove makes personal-care products like soap, deodorant, lotion, and shampoo. Big whoop, right? Everyone needs ordinary consumer goods like these, and nobody wants to think too much about them. The best body wash or antiperspirant is the one that’s cheapest but still works.

That’s a problem for consumer packaged-goods companies like Dove—or Bounty, or Coca-Cola, or Tide. If all products are sufficiently equivalent, how can companies distinguish them such that the consumer would choose one over another?

That’s where product differentiation comes in—separating products by how they work rather than how they are promoted. A soap made from natural ingredients, or one that opts against animal testing, or one with antimicrobial properties. Advertising that touts the functional benefits of products is called demonstrative, because it provides direct information about a product’s tangible features. Think of old ads on television that showed an announcer describing a product’s benefits, or magazine ads with a lot of descriptive copy. These ads, which declined over the course of the 20th century, appeal to consumers’ sense of reason. The product is better because of what it can do.

But it’s often hard to differentiate products, especially commodities. And as anyone who watched Mad Men learned, advertising is about happiness. “Whatever you’re doing is okay,” Don Draper summarized in that show’s pilot. “You are okay.” Reason isn’t always the best way to make consumers feel okay.

Instead, advertising started connecting products and services with ideals. This is called associative advertising. These ads provide indirect information and communicate intangibles about a product. Associative ads don’t appeal to the features of the products themselves. Instead, they correlate the product, or the product’s brand, with an activity or a lifestyle. Coca-Cola became associated with Americanism. The Volkswagen Beetle with fun and free-spiritedness. And Dove with positive body image. Until now.

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Most advertisements are produced as images. They might be printed on glossy paper, they might be broadcast on-air, and they might flank online articles like this one. But there’s a problem with…

The 5 Best Luxury Pens

Most of us need pens on a daily basis, so why not treat yourself with the finest pen available? A luxury pen is a lavish — yet practical — purchase that can pay off with years of reliable use. Some luxury pens can even last a lifetime.

What Is a Luxury Pen?

A luxury pen is a stylish writing instrument that can add flair to your desk and provide the best writing experience available at your home and office. The most common types of luxury pens include ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pens. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or want to upgrade your personal office supplies and enhance your writing experience, the options below will help you make your mark. (See also: The 5 Best Pens)

Top 5 Luxury Pens

Cross Edge Capless Gel Ink Pen

The Cross Edge Capless Gel Ink Pen writes smoothly, is comfortable to hold, and features front-load refill technology. The capless rollerball pen features a patented click-and-slide mechanism, in which you slide to open and click to close for easy single-handed operation. The timeless style is encased in metallic fusion resin and features a punched-out logo detailing.

This is available in various finishes and ink colors. You can also choose between ink and ballpoint pen refills. Many reviewers said that it writes like a fountain pen with less hassle. It is backed…

How Google Cashes In on the Space Right Under the Search Bar

SAN FRANCISCO — Before Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google, they wrote a research paper as doctoral students at Stanford University in which they questioned the appropriateness of ads on search engines.

“It could be argued from the consumer point of view that the better the search engine is, the fewer advertisements will be needed for the consumer to find what they want,” the pair wrote in the 1998 paper.

How times change. Two decades later, it’s not unusual for a smartphone user to see only ads on a Google search page before scrolling down to the regular results.

When Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reports earnings this week, the internet giant’s big profits are expected to demonstrate yet again that the billboard space accompanying Google queries is the web’s most valuable real estate for advertisements.

In the 17 years since Google introduced text-based advertising above search results, the company has allocated more space to ads and created new forms of them. The ad creep on Google has pushed “organic” (unpaid) search results farther down the screen, an effect even more pronounced on the smaller displays of smartphones.

The changes are profound for retailers and brands that rely on leads from Google searches to drive online sales. With limited space available near the top of search results, not advertising on search terms associated with your brand or displaying images of your products is tantamount to telling potential customers to spend their money elsewhere.

The biggest development with search ads is the proliferation of so-called product listing ads, or P.L.A.s. In a departure from its text-based ads, Google started allowing retailers to post pictures, descriptions and prices of products at the top of search results in 2009.

In recent years, Google has served more product ads and expanded their availability to more general search terms — for example, showing photo ads on a search for “running shoes,” not just “Nike Air Max.” It has also tinkered with the size, location and number of ads on results pages for both computers and smartphones.

Retailers are snapping up product ads. They accounted for 52 percent of all Google search ad spending by retailers in the first quarter of 2017, versus 8 percent in 2011, according to the digital marketing agency Merkle.

“P.L.A.s takes the search engine results page to a different level,” said Andy Taylor, Merkle’s associate director of research.

A Google spokeswoman said the company’s goal had always been to quickly give people the best search results.

“Our goal has always been to deliver results that people find immediately useful, which is even more important on mobile devices with smaller screens,” said the spokeswoman, Chi Hea Cho. “For most queries, we show no ads, and we recently…