Tag Archives: branding

The Intel Inside Model

June 24th, 2010

Intel were in a bit of a sticky position, they wanted to grow but as part of the value chain weren’t recognised by consumers, people couldn’t see the insides of their computers.

Thus they built the Intel Inside brand and stuck a sticker on every computer that was powered by their chips.

They poured money into marketing to help establish the brand, generate awareness and recognition.

Suddenly consumers became much more savvy and willing to discriminate based on the presence of Intel Inside.

This is a great model for businesses that operate behind the scenes and are trending towards becoming a commodity, it allows you to establish value and ensure your continual part in the value chain.

I’ve seen clothing companies do the same with fabric standards ie Gore Tex… you can be any brand but you want it to be Gore Tex.

Branding 101

July 9th, 2009

Please avoid specific industry terms, like ‘Ben Young Property’.  What if after 5 years you want to sell up? Or you find property isn’t your market.

By being too specific you box yourself into a corner.

You are far better off using something like bwagy, Nike or Starbucks that way over time you can evolve the brand to mean more than what you originally intended.

Create your own term then associate meaning to it, that way as your business evolves so can your brand.  Literal terms tend to halt this as they have literal meaning.  And there is nothing worse than putting a limit on your business from the get go.

What if Nike had been called ‘Fast Shoes’, could they have evolved into Basketball? Swimming? Fitnesss? I doubt it.

Building a Marketing Strategy

May 13th, 2009

Building a Marketing Strategy is not straight forward, well not at least till you have done it over and over again.

Of recent I have had a lot of focus on very early stage strategy, taking a brand from nothing, starting from scratch.

The benefit of getting in at this stage is it’s very exciting, the possibilities seem to be endless, also very open to risk.

Often my job is like that of a rider, to rein the horse in, refocus on business objectives and how can we achieve that.

The strategy is always highly constrained; on time, funds & absolute need for leverage.

Oh and usually the only funds available are for my time (sometimes not even that!)

Where I am going with this is that building a marketing strategy is all about taking the steps from beginning to end and to keep taking them.  

Simplicity works over complexity.

Living the brand

May 4th, 2009

Brand experiences tend to be post event. 

However now we have the technology for live experiences. 

Social networks with live engagement are such an example.

Local energy drink provider has taken advantage of this with their V Bebo Community.

Another great example is Vaughan Rowsell.

Now Vaughan is cycling the length of New Zealand Uphill (bottom to top) for charity.  He is just about half way now.

You can send him messages on twitter, see his blog, watch his videos.  I have included his first one below:


You can experience it as he does.  With the right software and cell coverage he could even stream live from his cycle trip.

Imagine watching the Tour De France from Lance Armstrongs bike with his commentary as he rides.  Motor racing does this with in car cams – but there is a ways to go.

You could be sponsoring such an experience as Vaughans, some great fits would be:

  • Hotel Chain (where to rest after a long day of travel)
  • Energy / Sports Drinks (providing the fuel for the journey)
  • Clearly the bike / clothing
  • Technology (we are where you want to be)

This isn’t for everyone, yes it is less controlled, you don’t know what will happen.  Maybe it will be boring? Or maybe you will be there when something remarkable happens.  It is reality tv meets real world.  We all know reality tv isn’t that real anyway so why not deliver an authentic experience.  (Hell if you even track Vaughan down you can partake).

Twitter, Blogging, Video all allow people to engage with your brand real time which creates an extremely loyal customer base.  Neat huh?

(Vaughan is raising money for a good cause TASC The Agency for Spinal Concerns, check his blog out for more details).

Living a brand rather than seeing it

April 30th, 2009

A brand experience is magnitudes times more valuable than observing a brand.

You experience the Apple lifestyle, you experience the Gary Vaynerchuk brand through his video blog, you experience my brand through this very blog.

Seeing an advertisement at a bus stop just doesn’t compare – however pairing that up with an experience completely changes the game.  A great example is a free ringtone which you can grab via bluetooth from the advertisement which then gives you something to walk away with and experience.

Living a brand is so much more fun, engaging and most of all attractive to others as they want to be a part of it.

Sure it’s not for everyone but those that can master it will reap the outrageous rewards….

Early Stage Marketing

April 16th, 2009

Some guidelines for internet entrepreneurs developing their early stage marketing strategy:

  • SEO is about branding, it takes time, it does pay off, but don’t expect overnight success.  Expect months of hard work to recreate the apparent look of overnight success.
  • PPC is great if you can sustain it.  Often you are developing or creating a segment of which it is hard to get a return on this initially.  If you are in the rare stance of breaking even or making a profit (whilst in startup mode) go horizontal, invest in MSN, in Yahoo.  Get their lower competition marketplaces to help you drive profit.
  • Viral tactics are just as the term describes, tactics.  They help provide a short term boost, or add the icing to the cake.  Realise this and use it to your advantage.  Solid business growth still comes from delivering insane value to your customers and looking after them.
  • Marketing results always take double the amount of time that you predicted, it takes time to refine your strategy, make the technological changes, talk to all developed parties.  However picking up the phone and calling your existing clients can be done today.
  • Focus on building brand name searches, measure the numbers of visit by your brand, focus on pushing that.  No one can compete when people are motivated to look for you.
  • Do not skimp on metrics, use Google Analytics, capture all that you can (helps for future analysis) but focus on the key metrics that drive your business today.  Match them to business objectives and real dollars in the hand. 
  • Blogging will be your #1 Marketing Tool if you use it wisely, so only blog if you’re going to do a good job of it.
  • Communities are fantastic but like blogging require a lot of work, if you are time poor this may not be your best approach.  It is better to not do it at all than do it miserably.
  • The best people you can hire (if you need hire at all) come from referrals, they don’t need splashy websites to sell themselves, their clients sell them.
  • Free is good, creating a product that people marvel you charge so low for it is better.  Case in point Basecamp.
  • Stick to your strategy, it will naturally evolve over time but if you quit because you don’t get instant results you are following the path to mediocrity.
  • ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) question those that provide marketing advice, it helps you understand their thinking and helps them learn about you.
  • Once you have your strategy get onto it, there are a thousand ways to skin a cat, focus on yours.  Marketing fads come and go.

And finally….Stop procrastinating and start now!  Many entrepreneurs know what they need to do, they just don’t do it, like this blog I just do it, not spend all my time talking ….

Price Discrimination at the Pump

January 4th, 2009

One of my first Monday Ideas Posts was about how Petrol Stations could improve their service.

I want to follow that up and push it a bit further.

Cafes are renowned for price discrimination ie Free Trade coffee for $0.50 extra however the coffee beans only make up a minor part of the production cost.

Petrol stations have this with premium petrol but I think they can do better.

Let’s help the customers help themselves.

Have a carbon credit rate, where you pay for your gas plus a premium to cover the avg carbon credits you would use for that tank of gas. 

By my calculations, using 22mpg and 12,000 miles/yr (from here: http://www.liveneutral.org/calculator/) you would pay$0.0045 per mile or 11 cents a gallon.

Why do this?

  • Customers know about global warming
  • They also still need to fill up their car.
  • You can help them do this without feeling guilty, garner extra revenue but also help build your brand for whent he day comes that fuel is no longer needed.

Thoughts? Would you pay extra for this? Should it be compulsory for businesses to pay the premium? Government vehicles?

The problem of legitimising

November 23rd, 2008

With a start up how do you legitimise?

What makes this concept real? how can we communicate that? how do we convince people that in all likelihood we will never meet but conduct business with?

Quotes, press releases, buzz, real physical address, photos via flickr, blogging, techcrunch mention..

All different routes.

How about a standard, a brand, voted for by the industry, like the Intel Inside brand.

A brand that reinforces legitimacy and rewards action.

Certain actions provide points, and start ups are only admitted once they have met criteria set by the community.

A brand that says we are a real business and are here for the long haul.

Now I’ll be the first to say, this isn’t for everyone, and if you are facing legimacy problems maybe there’s something bigger wrong.

However there is a real market need.

I don’t think this is quite the answer, but it’s less wrong than no answer…..

What box are you in?

October 27th, 2008

It is human nature to put things into boxes.

We need them there so that we can relate and understand something in relation to everything else we know.

What box are you in?

What box have others put you in?

Are you happy with them? Identify some boxes…


Why do we need to be in a box? Our name is enough.  We need Ben Young.  We need Nike.  We need Alibaba.

Build a brand, let that be what defines you, avoid boxes, build your brand.

You need to ask, How can I build our company brand so that people ask for us not our box category?

Creating Value (Easily) through Scarcity

September 2nd, 2008

How can my friend who is a one man band charge $175/hour excl gst one year and only $50/hr two years ago.

Simple he created scarcity.

He is in a unique position where he is the guy to get.

Resources in scarcity cost more and clients are happy to pay it as they realise how scarce he is…

So think about it, how can i become scarce in my industry?


– Be the best at it or at a unique mix ie social media in the public sector

– Build your personal brand

– Limit availability…i only work 20/hours a week and only have 5 clients

– Be different

– Do something no one else will ever do ie transparency in a walled garden industry

Sure you can come up with a few of your own.

(remember it’s all about the story your telling by being scarce)

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