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Thursday, September 23, 2010


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Rob Wallace

Brand brand brand. And the energy drinks example is especially interesting as this is an entirely new category (think "new technology" or "new media") and it's pretty fascinating how the brands have differentiated themselves. Red Bull is the approachable everyman's drink, reflected in their iconic line-art animation ads and goofy sense of humor about themselves. The packaging is equally stylish, subdued, very euro metro.

Contrast that with Amp and Monster. Adrenaline. Testosterone. Lightning bolts and neon colors, tribal tattoos. Loud. Their painfully frenetic ads scream instead of wink.

These are all born out of assumptions about segments of their target audience as they're carving out their niche. They all taste like lighter fluid and saccharine, so I doubt anyone is buying based on flavor or the qualities of the liquids themselves.

But the brand of each is intended to be a reflection of the dreams and wishes of the target audience. A wise professor once hammered home that a magazine, or any publication/communication, must first reflect and then fulfill the vision that the reader has of THEMSELVES. It's the fantasy that the customer wants to live. From that, all else flows.

Matt Wright

Sam - good points. These are textbook examples of big brands that succeeded because of well-executed focus. Working with a big brand myself, I can assure your readers that this is something that we all should consider every day. In fact, narrowing your focus can actually expand your opportunities. You've heard the phrase "less is more". It also holds true in business when deep-diving on fewer things can yield wider and fuller gains down the road. This was a great reminder, Sam.

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Sam founded Bonfante Group with partner Eric Herbst to assist socially-relevant institutions, organizations and companies build brand dominance. Please visit us at www.bonfantegroup.com for more information. Prior to founding Bonfante Group Sam served as the Associate Publisher of The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, where he led the University and Non-Profit Client Group. Before joining The Chronicle, he served in a similar capacity at Education Week, the leading policy and news source for primary and secondary education in the United States, where he worked closely with technology and information companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Pearson, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Thomson, Reuters, and Google in their advocacy and outreach programs to American education policy-makers on federal, state and local levels.

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