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empty theatre 3I was so utterly, disgustingly, profoundly, disappointed to hear that they were making a Die Hard 5, I didn’t even care what the proposed plot was. To be honest, I thought the whole idea was just a rumor, then when I saw the trailer, I really thought it was a bad Saturday Night Live sketch or some kind of joke that I just didn’t get. Well, it is true that there does exist a Die Hard 5, and it also appears that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a real stinkeroo. A quick Google Search of “Die Hard 5 Reviews” will show you what I mean.

This is a sad example of how a line extension can sometimes be the worst thing that can be done to a brand. A brand has a successful fan following, so the marketer tries to milk its appeal at every possible opportunity, only to end up alienating the original target audience and sometimes, as is the case here, to end up utterly humiliating itself!

As you may have guessed, this bitter, spiteful, jaded, hurtful tone you are hearing is from a long-time fan of the franchise.

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Texas flag on barnEarlier this month I had the privilege of traveling to Grapevine, Texas to help a fellow speaker and good friend of mine, Dave Lieber, raise money for a superb cause he co-founded a few years back called Summer Santa. You can learn more about what they do here, and don’t be embarrassed if you get a little teary-eyed reading about the many ways they help children in need year-round, not just during the big end-of-year holidays. They do all this with no paid staff, either. It was an absolute honor to serve as their auctioneer for the evening and to work with such a talented, motivated team. I am proud to have been a part of it.

Great Wolf Lodge served as a generous sponsor of the event, and that’s where my family and I had the chance to stay over the weekend. I’ve gotta tell you, they lived up to everything I’d heard about them and then some! Everything about our stay, from the width of the parking spaces to the speed of the checkout process was an textbook study in how a premium brand experience should be delivered. Look out, Disney, these guys are the ones to beat, in my book! The virtual tour of the facility alone is pretty amazing, but it’s nothing like being there folks!

Thank you Summer Santa and thank you Great Wolf Lodge for being two excellent brand experiences worth telling the world about!

A brand is a promise. It creates the expectations that the product has to deliver.” – Jack Trout


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A very popular local restaurant offers over 600 varieties of soda pop. My guess is they probably only sell about 20% of those (A partially scientific guess, based on the time-honored 80/20 rule!). This suggests that the return on investment (ROI) on such a broad inventory might not be that high and that a pruning of the product line might be in order, with the goal of stocking only the best-selling, most profitable flavors.

On the other hand, how many customers visit  just because they want to see a place that has 600 varieties of soda pop displayed in one spot? If the 600 varieties of pop are what brought the customer through the doors in the first place, they become less relevant as an inventory or product mix offering and more so as an overall marketing investment! So there is a payoff, but exactly how to quantify that payoff is often another story. But I’ll bet in their case it’s huge, and deservedly so because this is a great restaurant!

Marketers hate math not because they’re not smart, but because really, really figuring what the exact return on investment is can be a really, really big headache. I’d suggest that a better idea is to constantly listen to our customers and constantly watch the bottom line. If we have happy customers and we have profits, that’s the kind of win-win VALUE marketing should provide.

 The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” – William James, Psychologist and Philosopher


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question mark darkWe may think we’re marketing a “product,” but what the customer wants to buy is a solution. The customer cares less about features (what it is) than benefits (what it DOES for them). Features and facts may help them justify a purchase with logic afterward, but the decision to buy, the benefits they are seeking, are largely emotional.

If the customer wants to buy a solution or the benefits of the product, that’s what our whole campaign should be marketing, shouldn’t it?


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