Red Bull Car

Guerrilla Marketing: Grabbing the Brand by the Horns

Two different times last summer, strangers came to our door bearing gifts—free Red Bulls, to be exact. We asked, “What’s the catch?” They told us it was their summer job just to pass out Red Bull energy drinks to businesses… Read More
Want Customers To Love You? Be Trustworthy | Huebner Marketing Communications

Want Customers To Love You? Be Trustworthy

Here was the headline last week: “Bombshell report claims US ad agencies unethically pad their profits with secret rebate schemes.” It reminded me of a story a staff member told me years ago. She had worked for a mega-agency before… Read More
Fighting the Inevitable Forces Of Commoditization |Huebner Marketing Communications

Fighting the Inevitable Forces Of Commoditization

About two years ago—June 26, 2014 to be exact—GoPro launched their IPO and closed their first day as a public company at a share price of $31.33. That gave them a nearly $4 billion market cap. I remember the event… Read More
Good Shoes and Pleasant Breath: How To Do Trade Shows Right

Good Shoes and Pleasant Breath: How To Do Trade Shows Right

If you’ve been to many trade shows, you probably learned the same thing I did early on in the game. There’s a way to attend shows...and there’s a way NOT to attend shows. I remember going to my first real… Read More
Marketing Lessons From The Street...Er, Street Corner | Huebner Marketing Communications

Marketing Lessons From The Street…Er, Street Corner

For a number of years, there’s been a guy that stands on a street corner in Fort Collins, Colorado, promoting M&E Painting. They’re a local painting contractor serving homeowners in Northern Colorado. Now you might say, “Big deal. I see… Read More
How Long Can A Strong Brand Carry A Less-Than-Strong Product?

How Long Can A Strong Brand Carry A Less-Than-Strong Product?

Jeep®. The brand name alone creates so many powerful images in the minds of consumers. For some, it’s of patriotism with its connection to WWII. For others, it’s of exploration, ruggedness, durability and just plain fun. Few auto manufacturers enjoy… Read More
Some Things An Army Ranger Can't Protect You From...

Some Things An Army Ranger Can’t Protect You From…

My son-in-law is a stud in every sense of the word. He’s an Army Ranger and currently a Captain in the Army’s Signal Corps. He’s finishing his master’s degree in information technology. He’s a great dad to our granddaughter, consistently… Read More
How Far Does Your Love Go? Oh, About 29% Farther.

How Far Does Your Love Go? Oh, About 29% Farther.

How can I not love Southwest Airlines? I’m A-List Preferred, which means I get free internet usage on the plane. They give me a Companion Pass allowing my wife to fly free with me. I have Priority Boarding so I… Read More
The Power of a Good Brand Story

The Power of a Good Brand Story

I have the greatest wife. After some meetings in Nebraska last week, I was heading across the panhandle on I-80 when my wife called. She asked when I’d be home, and I told her I was approaching Sydney so it… Read More
The Value of Familiarity

The Value of Familiarity

After a long day of meetings earlier this week, I retreated back to my hotel room and decided to turn on the TV while I caught up on some unanswered email messages. I landed on the National Geographic channel and… Read More
Building A Premium Brand

Building A Premium Brand

Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard a similar comment in different meetings with clients and prospective clients. It’s been something to the effect of... “We want customers to come looking for our products instead of us having to go… Read More
Marketing... For The Rest Of Us

Marketing… For The Rest Of Us

Over the past couple of months, I’ve informally asked readers to give me some feedback on the Hmmm writings. The marketing researcher in me naturally wants to know what people like, don’t like, and what they’d like to see more… Read More
To Brand Extend Or NOT To Brand Extend? THAT Is The Question

To Brand Extend Or NOT To Brand Extend? THAT Is The Question

I remember a store in my hometown that sold two things: appliances and balloons. I got a kick out of dreaming up promotions for them... Buy A Balloon For $799...And Get A Refrigerator FREE! To me, it always seemed like… Read More
Avoid These Three Branding Trends At Your Own Risk

Avoid These Three Branding Trends At Your Own Risk

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a live webinar hosted by the Marketing Science Institute. To be honest, I typically don’t have time (or at least don’t make the time) for webinars. In fact, I can… Read More
DuckDuckGo Logo

One Thing Your Customers Hate…

When he was questioned once about product development at Apple, Steve Jobs said, “You can’t ask people what they want if it’s around the next corner.” In other words, customers can’t always tell you what they want until they are… Read More
Grocery Store

Mother’s Day and Brand Gemutlichkeit

No, that’s not a typo. Gemutlichkeit is a real word. A German word, in fact. And, oddly enough, how it related to branding was the topic of a conversation I had with my mom over the weekend. At 81, my… Read More
Satisfied Customers

When You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling…

If you’re in business, you’ve undoubtedly heard this line more than once over the years... “If it wasn’t for the customers, I’d love this job.” And then just last week, a friend of mine asked me this... “I know you guys… Read More
Ace Hardware Logo

Walking The Walk When It Comes To Brand Positioning

“Customer service is a big deal to us, so it doesn’t have to be a big deal to you...” That was the laughable opening line of a Comcast TV commercial that ran about a year and a half ago. It’s… Read More
Floating Boat

Using The Right SEO Keywords To “Float The Boat”

I’ve attended a number of creative workshops, sales seminars, what’s-coming-down-the-pike-next-type conferences, and how-to-improve-this-or-that webinars over the years. And I must admit—often times, much of the information presented at these sessions isn’t necessarily new. It may be a good reminder, it… Read More
TV Image of College Football Coach Urban Meyer

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To A National Championship…

We all know that college football is big business...and has been for a long time. Check out these 2012/2013 stats from the website SmartyCents.com. It ranks the most profitable football programs in the country. The net revenue numbers are pretty… Read More
Marc Benioff Interview

It’s Transformation Time

Ah, New Year’s Day. A time for turning over a new leaf, starting things off right, dropping bad habits and picking up better ones. It’s also as good of a time as any to be thinking about the transformation you’d… Read More
Rudolph

Going Down In History, Rudolph-Style

I must say, it warmed my heart a little to see that last week marked the 50th Anniversary of the Christmas classic “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” I have fond memories of the show and the anticipation that built up before… Read More
Bayer Low Dose Aspirin

Taking Relevant Product Development To Heart

My brother works with two cardiovascular surgeons in California, so he sees his fair share of heart problems. That’s why he nudges me on occasion about the importance of taking low dose aspirin each day. “That’s for older folks who… Read More
7-11 vs. Ben and Jerry's

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For BRANDing

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself where many might find themselves on a Monday night at nine o’clock in South Bend, Indiana... 7-Eleven. It had been a long, hot summer day and I was looking for some relief in the form… Read More
Light Bulbs

Looking For Innovation Success? You’d Better Have Good Dealers.

I ran across a really interesting article yesterday from the Marketing Science Institute’s website. It was titled: Innovation Success: The Overlooked Role of the Retailer The article was written by four university marketing professors, and it started out this way... “Despite… Read More
GoPro Logo

GoPro: The Brand That Consumers Built

The IPO du jour caught my attention last Thursday as GoPro offered shares on the NASDAQ for the first time. With a closing price of $31.33, this equated to a nearly $4 billion company valuation (on less than a billion… Read More
Digital Touchpoints Image

15 Questions Every Marketer Needs To Answer

Take all of the traditional marketing methods (those that existed twenty years ago and earlier). Combine that with all of the new marketing methods. It’s no wonder marketers can feel overwhelmed with the options and directional decisions they need to… Read More
Is It REALLY All About Price?

Is It REALLY All About Price?

An article on the Daily Dog caught my eye recently. The headline said... “America’s Household Brands Are Rapidly Losing Ground to Store Brands—and Consumers Have 'No Regrets' Dropping them as 9 in 10 Stick to Store Brands, Deloitte Study Finds.”… Read More
Traeger Grills

How To Win (And Then Lose) A Customer

My family knows. My office knows. My friends know. I love barbecue. In fact, when we moved our offices two years ago, one determining factor for the new space was the close proximity to great barbecue. I’m happy—nay, thrilled—to say Serious Texas BBQ is less than a… Read More
Ego Lawn Mower

Oh Mower, Where Art Thou?

Most mornings, I start the day out on the elliptical machine. I can’t say I enjoy it, but there is one benefit in addition to breaking a sweat. I get to watch a lot of television ads. Yes, while most people… Read More
The Justice League

Your Customers Are Looking For A Hero…

Heroes—particularly in business—are not always easy to come by. Take Webster’s definition and replace the word “person” with “company.” Now try to come up with a list of firms who are “admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” he·ro… Read More
Social Media Logo

Social Media: Purveyors Of Brand Trust (Building Brands Online: Part 3)

If building trust in a brand is a critical step toward creating a premium brand (which it is), then social media may be one of the most valuable tickets down that premium-brand-path. How? Well, according to life and leadership coach Michael… Read More
BlendTec Image

Content Marketing: Selling Without Selling

If you hadn’t noticed, the buzz about content marketing and its importance in the mix only seems to be growing louder. And that might seem strange due to the fact that the strategy has been around for ages. Take John… Read More
Branding Image

Can You Really Build A Brand With Helvetica 12 Point Type?

Well, I’m finally starting the series I’ve wanted to write about for quite some time. There has been so much discussion about building brands online — some meaningful and some completely misguided — that I thought I might offer my… Read More
Knowing where to advertise

Knowing Where To Advertise

I’ve always admired this ad. It originally ran in 1958 for McGraw-Hill Magazines. And even though it’s more than a half century old, I love how timeless the message is... Advertising works. Advertising warms the prospect up. It softens the… Read More
Founder of Costco James Sinegal

Name of the game? Stay Nimble.

I try to start most of my mornings on the elliptical machine watching CNBC. It’s my way of killing two birds with one stone—breaking a sweat and catching up on the brand and market news of the day. A couple of… Read More
Be Specific

Connecting Through The Power Of Specifics

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last twenty-five years it’s that specifics are a powerful thing. Whether you’re speaking in front of an audience, crafting an ad, conversing with a spouse, or sending an email message, speaking in specifics… Read More
Its A Wonderful Life Ticket

Getting Them to Trust Your Brand…George Bailey Style

It’s that time of year again, when I blow the dust off the DVD player, grab a couple of hankies, and plug in one of my many copies of It’s A Wonderful Life for the annual viewing. The movie has been… Read More
Pyramid Image 2

Building A Brand? Consider The Pyramid…(Part 2)

In my last blog post, we looked at the first three steps of my brand-building pyramid. I developed it a number of years ago to help explain the process to clients. The first step is a well-positioned brand. Second is… Read More
Pyramid Image 1

Building A Brand? Consider The Pyramid…(Part 1)

Whether you’re building a brand from scratch or trying to bring a tired brand back to life, I’ve discovered over the years that the process is basically always the same. In fact, the phases of brand- building had become so… Read More
Chappy's Image

Looking For More Business? Solve A Problem.

Lately, I have been reminded more than once that business—when it comes right down to it—is all about solving problems. Some companies solve big problems and some solve small problems—but they are all about solving some type of problem. When… Read More
Image of Tires

The Value Of A Good Dealer

I don’t typically make much conversation on the plane. It’s not that I’m not interested in other people — it’s just the whole process of air travel can be taxing, especially if you’ve done it multiple days in a row.… Read More

Is Digital Marketing REALLY Dead?

Having seen big growth in our digital marketing services over the past few years, a Business Insider headline this week abruptly grabbed my attention. It read, “P&G Brand Officer Says Digital Marketing Is Dead.” “Is the article suggesting that blogging, social… Read More
Honda Odyssey Image

The Oracle of Consumerism

This Saturday will mark more than just 28 years of wedded bliss with my wife. It will also mark 28 years of probably the best gift I could have been given to help me in my work. You see, my… Read More
Hampton Logo

Empty-Nesting Instincts: Price vs. Value

As we prepared to “empty the nest” and planned our cross-country trip to drop off our youngest for his freshman year of college, I missed one small detail—a place for my wife and I to stay during parent orientation. So… Read More
Wells Fargo Logo

It Takes All Kinds…

I do most of my banking at Wells Fargo. They have the best in online banking, lots of locations, and very friendly people. In fact, it crossed my mind recently that their people might just be TOO friendly. Let me… Read More
Coca Cola Image

The Case For Categories

When I think of long term market dominance, the first name that pops in my head is Coca-Cola. For 125 years, Coke has been “it.” But how common is it for a market leader to hold that position for a… Read More
Traffic Light Image

How To Increase “Foot Traffic”

I have a new pair of shoes that look nice but don’t feel so good after a day of hiking around a trade show. So before the last event, I decided to stop by the local Walmart to see if… Read More
Branding Image

Like It Or Not, You Are ALWAYS Branding

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several years ago, CEOs from around the world reported that the equity in their brand represented about 40% of their total market capitalization. Recently, Brand Channel stated that 70% of McDonald’s shareholder value… Read More
Why do they need you to do what you do?

“Why Do They Need You To Do What You Do?”

I just got back last night from our client’s annual dealer meeting. We look forward to these events because they offer great opportunities to connect with both corporate personnel as well as their dealers. Over the years, I’ve found myself… Read More
Ecoboost Logo

Hey! Does That Ecoboost Have A Hemi?

I’ve always been a bit of a Ford fan. My friend was a Ford mechanic and convinced me early on that Ford ruled. We also handled the marketing for some Ford dealerships early in our agency life where additional brainwashing… Read More
Traditional vs. Online Media: Finding Balance

Traditional vs. Online Media: Finding Balance

When I started this business in 1989, we were advertising in five basic ways: TV, radio, outdoor, print, and direct mail. The “Internet” was just a gleam in Al Gore’s eye. The word “email” was simply a typo. And “social… Read More
Nashville

Nashville — Music, Food, and Marketing Lessons

I just got back from Nashville where I attended the semi-annual meeting of Amplify, a small association of ad agencies from around the country. At this particular meeting, I was really looking forward to the presentation on SEO. Google is… Read More
Image of Money

How To NOT Compete On Price…

You might recall that my last newsletter discussed a brand positioning project we had tackled a number of years ago. We were charged with the task of finding out how the market perceived our client differently from their competitors, and… Read More
Woman Looking Through Binoculars

The Benefit Of Being On The Outside Looking In

I had breakfast today with a couple of guys who are launching a start-up. Pretty exciting stuff. And as the meeting went on, I was again reminded by them of the importance of third-party perspective. The analogy we discussed was this: When… Read More
John Deere Logo

A Deere John Letter

Whether there’s snow on the ground or not, once March hits I can’t help but start thinking about four of my favorite outdoor activities: mowing, trout fishing, camping and grilling. While there are plenty of branding issues to discuss when… Read More
Burke Cleaners Image

Taking Marketing To The Cleaners

I have to believe that location plays a key role in the success of a dry cleaning business. The group that seems to “clean up” in our area is a small, family-owned company called Burke Cleaners. They have 9 locations… Read More
Lessons from the Loo

Lessons From The Loo

Toilet seats. That’s probably the last thing I thought I’d ever write about in this newsletter. But when a marketing lesson is to be had—no matter the source—it’s worth conveying...so please...bear with me. With a broken seat waiting to be… Read More
Brand Portfolio Strategy Image

10 Ways To Extend A Brand

Few things can energize a brand like successfully extending it into new categories. While there are certainly risks associated with brand extension, doing it right can also provide great opportunities for both brand enhancement and growth. That’s why I read… Read More
Ambassador of Quan

Ambassador of Quan

If you’ve seen the classic sports movie Jerry Maguire, (yes, it was on a few nights ago and I just had to watch it...again), you might remember the final scene between NFL player Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his agent… Read More
Puppy Image

7 Ways Manufacturers Can Improve Their Co-operative Advertising Programs

My first job out of college on the client side was as an advertising manager for some Ace Hardware stores. It was a great experience because I had the chance to do it all—research, media buying, ad concepting, layouts, copywriting,… Read More
Grey Poupon

The Friend Effect

So just today, as I was typing up a pitch for a client, I think I coined a new marketing term. The friend effect. The friend effect has always existed in the realm of marketing. (Word of mouth. Refer a… Read More
Butterball Turkey Image

Butterball To The Rescue!

When choosing a turkey for your Thanksgiving this year there are probably a dozen brands from which you can choose. However, Butterball is the most recognized name for a terrific Turkey Day feast. This year Butterball continues to pull out all… Read More
USAA

Proud To Be A Member: The Value Of Extraordinary Customer Service

My husband is in the military and he has been a USAA member since he began his career. When we got married last year I joined his account reluctantly. Why was I reluctant? Well, the fact that USAA doesn’t have… Read More
KFC Image

Lost In Translation…

So every year — about this time of year — we spend a chunk of time translating brochures for one of our clients. We work closely with a translator, then send a proof off to one of our French-Canadian dealers… Read More
Rambo Image

Deciding When To Do It Yourself…

There’s a time and a place to do things yourself. When it comes to survival, you can definitely make the case for doing it yourself. I remember watching Rambo for the first time and being in awe of his grit… Read More
Copy Hackers Image

Notes From A Copy Writer

Lately, I’ve been reading Copy Hackers (because it never hurts to be reminded of the all the essential ingredients that make up good copy writing). As I read, I jot down tips and interesting thoughts (in my Huebner Marketing ideabook). I make notes on… Read More
Cross Word Puzzle

Choosing The Right Words

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word...is the difference between the lightning bug and lightning.”  - Mark Twain Words are powerful things. They can trigger wars. They can create great inspiration. And in the case of… Read More
Money Image

How Much Should You Charge?

Before starting my business twenty-three years ago, I asked my accountant how much I should charge. He said, “Charge what you need to charge to make what you need to make. If no one is willing to pay that rate,… Read More
Lands' End vs. Hertz

Branding Lessons From 11 Years Ago Today

I was told once that when you are shaken up, what’s really inside spills out. I’m certain it’s true with people. And as I look back at my journal entry from 9.11.01, I wonder if it’s true for companies, too.… Read More
Iphone 6

Mobile Is…Well…On The Move!

For nearly a decade, we’ve watched the effectiveness of our web marketing efforts become more sophisticated, more exact, and—fortunately for our clients—improve dramatically year after year. But I must say—what is happening on the mobile advertising front right now is… Read More
Olympic Swimmers Image

Commercial Olympics

With the summer Olympics well under way, we have decided to award our own medals to the most effective commercials we have seen throughout the games. The commercials during the Olympics, strike a different chord than you would normally expect.… Read More
Hertz Image

Looking To Drive In Vegas

A couple weekends ago, we flew to Las Vegas to take in some serious…basketball. My son’s team travelled to the annual Las Vegas Classic Basketball Tournament where they hoped to pick up some wins and bring home a little hardware.… Read More
Boxes

Moving Experiences

HuebnerPetersen is in the middle of an office move this week. It’s exciting—better creative space, adjacent warehouse for dealer fulfillment services, fresh paint—but a bit stressful. When you’re trying to meet deadlines AND move at the same time, it can… Read More
Tide-To-Go Image

Feature/Benefit Wins Over Price… Again

My daughter, Maddy, is basically a utilitarian. Clothing aside, she’s not necessarily the most brand-loyal member of our family, but usually just buys what makes the most sense. That’s why I was curious to observe her shopping behavior the other… Read More
Word of Mouth Marketing

Jumping Into Word Of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. 54% of purchase decisions are driven by word of mouth.  The explosion of social media has set word of mouth marketing on fire, amplifying its reach and making it accessible to all… Read More
Jayco Seismic

Showcasing Seismic

Often, landing pages get built and put up out of necessity for search engine marketing.  They are built purely for content and fail to offer much in the way of user experience.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it… Read More
Southwest Airlines Image

Southwest Airlines…Opportunity Missed

Recently, I went to book a flight on Southwest.com, which was nothing new for me. I prefer the airline because their flights are on time, I actually like the “choose-your-own-seat” feature, and the people are the friendliest in the business. (Yes,… Read More
American Flag

Even America Needs To Differentiate

Last summer, WPP’s JWT was hired to handle the marketing of Brand USA – the new tourism marketing entity in charge of promoting the United States to world visitors. I recently came across the first TV spot and wanted to share. The… Read More
Instagram and Facebook

Instagram: Brand Value Without Revenue

The gigantic sale of Instagram to Facebook has been the talk of the Internet world since it was announced. The purchase is stunning because the dollar amounts involved are huge, but also because Instagram has no actual revenue stream. The whole… Read More
Apple Logo

Get Rich Turning Relevance Into Irrelevance

I made up a new word today. The reason I know it’s an original word is because I “googled” it (hey – another word that was new not too long ago) and it said my “search did not match any… Read More
Image of Chicken Nuggets

Nuggets Of Marketing Wisdom From The Boss

Have you ever had the chance to dig into your boss’s head? I mean really dig? OK, maybe you don’t want to, but if given the chance, I recommend you do some serious digging. This kind of mining can be… Read More
Best Buy Logo

Are Company Policies Hurting Your Brand?

I am a fairly loyal Best Buy® customer. How do I measure that? Well, I was recently inducted as a Premier Silver Member (not based on my gray hair, but based on my volume of purchases). And when I need a computer, printer, TV,… Read More
ROI Image

Marketing Is An Investment, Not An Expense. Need To Prove It? Monetize It.

Industry magnate John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Fortunately, in today’s world of pay-per-click, direct response tracking, marketing automation, and even formulas for calculating brand equity, there… Read More
Strengthening Communication

Strengthening Communication To Your Frontlines

Marketing is all about communication: getting the word out about your product, your brand, or your service. What happens when you are not properly communicating why your product, brand, or service is the best to the people on your frontlines?… Read More
Boosting Business with Good Standards

The Importance of Establishing and Communicating Your Brand’s Standards

Every company has manufacturing standards. Determining your brand standards and how they’ll be communicated can be just as important. A furniture manufacturer I know insists on using a certain type of screw and a certain type of wood when producing… Read More
BranchOut

Facebook Takes On LinkedIn

It won’t be long (if it hasn’t already happened). Soon, you’ll probably receive a Facebook invitation (from one of your friends) asking you to join BranchOut. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Facebook app that could potentially take over… Read More
Standardized Test Image

Test, Test, and Test Again

“You’ll never know until you try!” I’m sure my mom wasn’t the only one who said that over and over and over to me while I was growing up.  It’s a standard mantra, and it applies to tasting new food, 10th grade ski… Read More
The Value of Good Design

The Value of Good Design

Those who know me best know that quantifying the value of what we do as a marketing communications firm is important to me. Frankly, it makes it much easier to convince clients that what we do matters. That’s why I… Read More
Sun Maid Raisins

Raisins and Brand Equity

I like raisins, probably because I feel like I’m getting the value of eating fruit, yet they don’t spoil – at least they don’t spoil over the course of a week or two. So when I went back to grab… Read More
Portfolio Image

Apple Isn’t The Only One Thinking Differently…

As competitive as the computer hardware business is, there are still good opportunities for manufacturers who are strategically-minded. That is, as long as a manufacturer sticks to one of the fundamental rules of product development and marketing — meaningful and… Read More
Pinterest Logo

Why Good Photography Is Worth The Investment

Businesses of all types are realizing that the exploding social media channel Pinterest, is quickly becoming one of the best word-of-mouth sources on the Internet. With this heightened interest in Pinterest, it is important to realize one of the biggest mistakes you can… Read More
Fresh Impressions on Brandmarks

Fresh Impressions

The Fresh Impressions on Brandmarks video was widely popular for a while because it’s a jaw dropping demonstration of just how powerful branding can be. A five year old, able to identify a wide range of brands and assert the emotions connected to… Read More
Goldfish Image

The Demand For Individuality

I was recently shopping for an iPad case and went to a number of retailers around my apartment to see what they had. I left each store feeling like they had a bland and boring selection. Needless to say, I… Read More