onsdag 31 december 2008

Moving from brand to generic name

My good friend in Oslo is making Waldorff-salad to go with the turkey at our New Years-dinner tonight. I wonder who this Waldorff-person was. Would he/she know in advance that a salad would be branded with his/her name?

There are many products where the brands have turned into generic names. I wouldn´t say that the Waldorff-salad is, but melitta-filters and thermoses certainly are. Wettex might be on its´way. Google is already there. One of the conditions for this phenomenon is that there is one unique and specific product that is connected with the brandname. And it takes time. If there are copies coming up on the market too soon, the effect of the original product may not be strong enough.

I wouldn´t say that this phenomenon is something to aim for, but if you do - go for a very unique product which will be alone on the market for a while. Then you may succeed and your original brand will eventually turn into a wellknown generic product or service.

torsdag 25 december 2008

Sweden as a brand

According to a survey made by the Reputation Institute, Sweden is the 5th strongest brand when people rank other countries than their own. www.reputationinstitute.com

More than 1 000 persons in each country have answered questions about how they value countries in nine different categories, such as wellfaresystem, economic stability, business, brands, natural attraction and so on. Sweden is ranked highest when it comes to "global attraction", which is defined as a country that takes high responsibility in the global community and supports good causes.

The best brands:
1 Switzerland
2 Canada
3 Greece
4 Italy
5 Sweden
6 Norway

lördag 20 december 2008

Merry Christmas! God Jul!

If you plan to have an active Christmas - have fun! I will.
If you need to take a break and slow down, do it with good conscience.
Find some inspiration here: www.timetrappers.com

Merry Christmas!

fredag 19 december 2008

The best combination

Every company has a brand - more or less well developed.
Every employee has a personal brand - more or less well developed.

It is when these two brands fit together well, that a company grows fast and in a successful way. And it is when these two brands fit together well, that employees grow and contribute with extraordinary results.

It isn´t only when you hire people that you need to look for the right ones. It is also when you re-organise and people - more or less volontarily - get new assignments. If a person is degraded for some reason, you can almost count on reduced results due to decreased motivation. People need to be in the most optimal position for themselves, in order to contribute in the best way.

If you have certain employees who are more valuable to your company than others - take good care of them, expecially when it comes to their position, their mandates and their possibility to develop their skills and interests. And remember that employees who might not seem to be your best choice, could simply be in the wrong position. Find out where they would fit in best, and make a change if possible. Your companies success will gain on that - and so will the employee.

A perfect fit between employer and employee will be one of the keys to future success.

torsdag 18 december 2008

Turning a negative topic into a positive message

I really like the commercial where our public radioservice thanks people who pay their TV/radio-fee. The commercial takes place in public areas like a library and a supermarket. A choir surprisingly starts singing a tribute to a person in the room who has paid his or her fee. There are some funny faces here!

Just turning a negative topic into a positive one is great. The quality of the commercial is so-so, which emphasizes the impression of a giggeling surprise. The brand Radiotjänst will strenghten their image through this campaign.

The commercial in the supermarket was just voted Film of the Month by Resumé. www.resume.se

onsdag 17 december 2008

Personal branding - do we need it?

Your personal brand already exists. Maybe you didn't consciously create it, but people already have ideas about who you are, which is exactly what personal branding is all about.

Marieke Hensel

There is no way out. You already have a personal brand. You might not even be in charge of it. Would you like to be in charge of it? Then set your goals and aim for them. Take good care of your talents and use them. Be consequent in your basic values, but make sure that you add some extraordinary stuff now and then. In that way, you will stand out in a crowd.

You need to be genuine. People will notice if you try to be someone else than who you really are. You will confuse them and your personal brand will loose strength. The important thing is not what others think about you, but when they catch you the way you want them to, they will help you on your way.

When you know who you are and what you want - go for it all the way, in everything you do. You will have fun and - on some extra sunny days - you will reach your goals.

Learn more about personal branding here: personalbrandingblog

tisdag 16 december 2008

Articles about branding

During 2009 I will be writing articles about branding for the Swedish site www.driftig.nu. It is a site mainly for female entrepreneurs within all kinds of businesses. Come and visit every month to get some new insights in branding and many other subjects like health, economy, leadership and sales.

söndag 14 december 2008


Whatever your talent is, make sure that you use and develop it in the best way you can. Get better at it, inspire other people and enjoy it on the way. That is the best way to build your personal brand.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson 1992, as spoken by Nelson Mandela

torsdag 11 december 2008

The fragrance of a brand

Brands are built in so many different ways!

One of our strong senses is the olfactory sense. It has a strong connection to our memory. When we smell cinnamon we might think of Christmas. A certain perfume might bring your thoughts to a certain person. Many people associate the smell of tar with boats. Lavender may bring back memories of newly-washed bedlinen. You can probably think of many more examples like this.

If we manage to connect a fragrance to our brand, we will influence people both consciously and subconsciously. The trick is to find a fragrance that most people find pleasant and that has a natural connection to your product or service. Make it subtile, but still strong enough so that people will notice it and appreciate it.

If you run a store, there are companies who offer special fragrance-systems and a quantity of different scents. If you work with products, you need to build the fragrance into the product - or the package. If you build your personal brand you might like to be associated with a certain perfume. If you meet clients in your office - play with fragrances like fresh flowers, newly-baked cookies or fresh tidiness.

If you don´t want to add fragrances to your brand - at least you need to make sure that the genuine fragrance is positive and attractive. Otherwise you might need to adjust it. Remember that the olfactory sense is strong and that it has an important effect on our memory and mood. It can put your clients in a buying-mood or a non-buying-mood.

onsdag 10 december 2008

Outsourcing with quality assurance of the brand

Every person who works for a brand is also an ambassador for it. A happy employee is usually a great ambassador with a direct connection to the business.

The further a person is from the core-organization, the harder it is to be updated about the brand identity and thus speak about the brand in wishful ways. Personal opinions will then colour the way a person communicates the brand.

Think about this when you consider outsourcing - even if it concerns areas that are distant from your clients. You need to educate every single person who works with your brand. Give them as much information as possible when it comes to core values, positioning and values. Encourage them to build and take care of the brand in the part of the business where they are active.

All brand ambassadors are valuable for you. Treat them well. The more you communicate with them, the closer their own brand stories will be to yours.

måndag 8 december 2008

A 100 % strategy

In branding, there is no coffee-break or day off. Branding continues day and night, weekday and holiday all year around. To build a successful brand platform, you need branding activities that link into eachother and cover different areas, different targetgroups, different times of day, different medias. Your budget may be limited, which means that your mix must be cost-effective.

Make sure that you use the grape-vine, which is free of charge. Your loyal fans will do part of the job for you.

Build a storybank which makes it easy for your ambassadors - employees and loyal clients - to spread positive and genuine stories about your company. Storytelling can also be a great tool within the company, when you want to build a certain atmosphere.

Make sure that your graphic manuals and design manuals are up to date and easy to use. The visual part of the brand is very important, and you need to be professional here.

Be brave and surprise your clients every now and then. They will love you for it.

Whatever tools you use to build your brand - use a 100 % strategy. Halfway solutions should not be your bag. A halfway solution is a halfway brand.

söndag 7 december 2008

Brand your time

Some people love their electronic calendars. I have had one for a few years. It has never really made my day. Posts are erased without reason, I can not get a good overview of my time and I can not use nice pens to write in it.

For people like me, there is a good complement: personal calenders. Build the whole calendar in your own personal way. It isn´t fancy, but it is creative. Check it out at www.personligalmanacka.se.

I got mine as a gift from a friend and it has turned into a favorite.

tisdag 2 december 2008

Copies for better and for worse

It is easy to find cheap clothes in Nepal - if you are ok with buying copies of the well-known brands. I have not checked, but I assume that some countries have said No Thanks to the large companies when they want to protect their brands legally on the local market. The copycat-business is enormous, both for tourists and locals.

In outdoor-equipment you can find copies of brands like Mammut, Marmot, Nike, Adidas, Haglöfs, North Face, Patagonia... You can actually choose a piece of clothing, tell the shop-owner which logotype you prefer, and get it embroidered on the garment within a few hours. This evens out the different styles of the brands.

There are obviously reasons why this is negative for the original brand.
1) Poor quality of the copies will hollow out the image of the original brand
2) Copies will cannibalize on the sales of the original stuff
3) The style and fashion of the copies does not always rhyme with the original
4) If/when the quality of a copy is good, it will make it harder to justify the price-difference of original vs copy.

Could there possibly be any positive aspects of these copies? I believe so.
1) Just the fact that you´re being copied is quite an acknowledgement which strengthens your image
2) The target group of the originals and the copies is probably not quite the same. In this way the brand (= the copy of it) will be spread to a larger amount of people

We think we may own and rule our brands, but the market is actually playing tricks with us right in front of our eyes. We depend on our customers, but they can also throw a spanner in the works if they don´t value the qualities of our original brand high enough. We need to find new strategies to handle this.

torsdag 27 november 2008


Electing Barack Obama for president of the US has resulted in such massive ovations all over the world. What is it then - besides his political message - that makes him so popular and interesting?

He and his team have worked in a clever way with the brand Obama. It has been the most successful branding campaign in American presidential election history. He is enthusiastic, renewing, inspired. And it seems to me like it is genuine. He will represent a fresh new start, which many people have waited for. Read more about the campaign here: Obama - the brand

Now, as he moves on from his candidate-days to some real stuff , it will be interesting to see how the branding strategy will be developed. The person Obama has been a lot in focus during this period. Now the political issues will need more space, backed-up by the guarantor Obama. It will be a tricky and exciting case to handle for the branding experts. I will watch and learn.

Is your Advent-candlestick working?

We are moving closer to the first weekend of Advent.
Is your candlestick working? It is quite frustrating to dig it out from a box in the attic, prepare room for it on the best windowsill, plug it in and realise that it is totally dead. You change the lamps and nothing happens.

This is when you need some happy candlestick-fixers and a cup of glögg.

Vimmerby Energi invited all their customers to some glögg and candlestick-fixing yesterday. The place was crowded with customers and the Santa Claus-workshop was very busy fixing their customers´needs. Happy people returned home with one less Christmas-hassle on their mind.

One of the core-values of Vimmerby Energi is vicinity. With an event like this, they build their customer-relations and strengthen the brand. People will spread the word about it and they will remember it all year long. Way to go, Vimmerby Energi!

måndag 24 november 2008

Product vs brand

In the beginning, there is only the product.

The qualities and capacities signify the product. The name or brand doesn´t mean much, since people can´t associate to it. The product stands for itself. If the market needs and appreciates it, the product will survive.

As time goes, the market will start relying on the product. They will trust that the product keeps delivering the same quality, pricelevel, service and functions as they have become used to. And to make it easier, they will start associating the name or brand with these qualities.

When the following product is released under the same brand, the market will trust that it holds the same qualities as the first product. They will accept the new product without needing to judge it in detail. So the brand has partly taken charge of the clients´satisfaction. The single new product won´t start from scratch on the same low level as the first product did.

With a consistent behavior in launching products, you will slowly build your brand. At this early stage you need to build trust, awareness and positive associations. You don´t need confused customers.

I´m simplifying the process of course. However - over time, the qualities of the single product lose importance when it comes to buying-decisions. The brand will be the overall convincing-factor and the product will be the confirmer.

When your products - over a longer period of time - confirm the characteristics and values that the market has started to associate with the brand, you are quite safe in your customers mind. Then you can start playing with new and attractive attributes - but always with your fundamental brand values in mind.

torsdag 20 november 2008

Being consistent or being brave?

Being consistent has been one of the successfactors in branding. Partly it still is. But what happens if we are so consistent that our brand stagnates? It will slowly die, of course.

There is a lot of noise out there. Not many people will listen to us, unless we break through the noise. The possibilities in social medias force us to be creative and unpredictable. Some brands are good at this. They are greatly rewarded, when their fans spread their messages on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and other communities.

So how do we combine being consistent with being brave? Maybe our brand manuals need a bit more open possibilities. Maybe the global brands need to be a bit more local. Maybe we need to let our customers rule the brands a bit more than before. (They do anyway - they won´t ask us if they may or may not...). Maybe we need to combine the steady core values with some rocking surprises.

Check these out:

onsdag 19 november 2008

tisdag 18 november 2008

Yeti, the snowman

In the Himalayas, there is a snowman called The Yeti. It has a thick, hairy body the size of a gorilla and its´ hands and feet have four fingers each. It has a conical scalp, pointed ears and a humanlike face. The Yeti is known to eat yaks and sheep. It has superhuman strenghts. There are only a dozen people who have seen the Yeti in real life. Most of these people haved died soon after they saw it. It appears at times - though very rarely - at the foothills of Mt Everest. Mysterious footprints in the snow support the legend of the Yeti.

I have actually seen a Yeti-skull. It was a cultural gift to the people of Khumjung from their neighbours many years ago. If you pay a small donation to the monastery where the skull is kept, you can have a peek at it.

Together with "Nessie" and "Bigfoot", the Yeti is the most wellknown creature in the cryptozoology - the research about animals which are said to exist, but where there are no scientifical evidence. The name Yeti is said to originate from the tibetan word yeh-teh, which means cliff-bear.

The Yeti has an important roll in the comicbook "Tintin in Tibet", where it is described as quite a nice creature who helps surviving people after a plane-crash.

We need fascinating stories. They may not be true, but they trigger our fantasy and imagination. We also need true stories, told with passion and finesse. To build a brand you need to work with the stories of your company or of yourself. Refine them, spread them and let the stories do part of the work for you.

Big Thinking in Personal Branding

There is an online magazine called Think Big Magazine. It is definitely worth looking through every now and then. Subscribe for free at www.thinkbigmagazine.com.

The author and speaker Justin Herald writes about our "success DNA" in one of the issues. While some people suggest that we should benchmark successful people in order to become successful, Justin Herald believes that we all have our own way of succeeding. I agree. Do it your way. Find your way based on your own goals and values. Get inspiration from other successful people, but do only copy them if they are in sync with your own way.

måndag 17 november 2008

The elderly of Himalaya

We did not meet many people from the older generation in the Himalayan mountains. There were a few, who seemed to be well and enjoy the sunny days.

The average age of the Himalayan people is quite low. People start working at an early age. Then they live tough lives through the hard winters and long, struggling working-days.

Click on the last picture and you will meet this wonderful lady closer up.

Intuition as a tool to trust

The consultant-agency Krauthammer made a survey among 445 europeans. The result showed that 64 % of employees trust their intuition often or very often in their jobs. Good.

Our intuition must be a result of the knowledge we have gained over time in different areas, combined with our values and views. Compared to simple facts the intuition gives a wider perspective, since it means that the facts also have been evaluated by ourselves.

The challenge is to prove that our intuition is worth trusting. There isn´t always concrete proof to show before making the decision. When managers and leaders are bold enough to trust the intuition of themselves and others, I believe that improvement and development will show faster. Lack of proof in all aspects will then not stop the pace of activities.

Let´s have the guts to combine plain facts with intuition in our judgements and decisions. It usually works for me - especially when the people around me are non-traditional in their own decisionmaking.

It is windy at the top

Blowing with the strength of a hurricane, the Jet Stream blasts the rocky, icy summit of Mt Everest almost all year long. The Jet Stream is a constant wind force at 4-6 miles above the earth. Observers can tell when the Jet Stream is blowing on the summit of Everest from the long white stream of ice crystals extending out from the tip of the mountain. Expeditions to the top have to choose their moment carefully. The mountain is most inviting in early May, when the Jet Stream is pushed northward over Tibet by the arrival of the monsoon. There is also a window of opportunity in fall, when the Jet Stream is pushed northward again.

lördag 15 november 2008

The views of Himalaya, Part I

Walking in the Himalayas is like being part of a movie like The Lord of the rings or The Brothers Lionheart. There are breathtaking views around every cliff and cottagecorner. Mt Everest is fantastic, but so is Amadablam, the mountain which looks like a sugarcane.