Tuesday, January 25, 2011

markeTING Blog Has Moved to Sweeney Website

It's taken a while, but we've finally launched our new website and are now hosting our blogs at www.sweeneypr.com

It's a timely occurrence as we celebrate our 25th anniversary throughout 2011. If your hunger for marketing and public relations knowledge persists (as ours does) we encourage you to go directly to our blogs... and offer your comments and criticisms at will:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The King of Marketing

This may seem peculiar if not downright inappropriate, but please bear with me.

Martin Luther King was - among other things - one of the most effective marketers of the 20th century.

Like all great marketers, he was passionate about a product; in his case, the cause of equality and civil rights.

Like all great marketers, he understood that success required more than simply taking your product to the marketplace, but instead demanded the ability to integrate it into the marketplace.

Like all great marketers, he recognized the need to identify target audiences and establish measurable objectives (I have a dream).

Like all great marketers, Martin Luther King Jr. employed every reasonable strategy at his disposal to achieve his goals, making the world his stage. Between 1957 and 1968, he traveled more than six million miles and spoke more than 2,500 times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest and action; meanwhile he wrote five books and numerous articles. During these 11 years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience, and inspiring his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of 20 times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

Martin Luther King Jr. did not create a brand or launch a product, he changed the world to the benefit of each and every one of us. Then he was unjustifiably assassinated - shot dead - on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis at the age of 39. Yes, he was only 39.

This Monday we celebrate his life with a national holiday... a day off of work for some, and just another day at the office for others. I implore you this Monday to take just a moment to think about Martin Luther King Jr. and what he meant to our world. Go to MLK Online and read his bio or listen to a speech or watch a video of his last speech, "I've been to the mountaintop." Then close your eyes and give thanks to one of the greatest marketers - and men - of our time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Is it Time to Change Your Logo?

If you were Howard Schultz and you finally managed to pull your stock back to levels it hasn't seen in four years, would you take the chance of changing what is arguably one of the most recognized logos on the planet?

Such a bold move can only mean one thing: the Starbucks business is also about to change.

Brand names and logos, especially ones that have attained significant market awareness and acceptance, should not be trifled with.

It's kind of silly when you think about it. While a good brand name and a good logo can help the cause of an organization to build awareness and engagement and loyalty, in and of themselves they are rather meaningless. Seriously, does anyone thing Google is a good name? Does anyone think golden arches make a good logo?

At the end of the day, it is the organization itself – its vision, its practice, its people, its products and services, its prices, its promise and the delivery of that promise – that make the brand names and logos work.

If Starbucks coffee tasted like gas station java (and it clearly does not), all the logo changes in the world would not make a difference. On the other hand, if Starbucks coffee is recognized worldwide as the highest-quality coffee (and it clearly is), even a minor logo change can be huge.

So when is it time to change your logo? Mostly when it is designed to reflect a change in your business. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule... even Starbucks altered its original logo back in the late 1980s when it realized a mysterious sea nymph might be more appropriate than a bare-breasted siren.