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  • Posted by: Christoph Meyer-Roscher on Monday, May 13 2013 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

    House Parties

    Across Europe people are counting down to the start of summer. It’s time to shake off winter doldrums, get out and have some fun.

    Huge sports events and concert tours kick off. This season’s concert lineup promises to be huge with big names like The Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Pink, Beyonce and One Direction headlining world tours. In sports, this summer brings the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final in London, arguably the biggest football event in the world, and the World Masters Games in Torino, Italy.

    Best Global Brand Coca-Cola, consistently earning the number one spot on Interbrand's annual report, is kicking off a number of concerts and sporting events this summer. Starting May 16 in Manchester, UK, Relentless kicks off a series of house parties across England, co-hosted and co-curated with local musicians, featuring live performances and popular DJs. Delphic headlines the first show also showcasing Bipolar Sunshine and Egyptian Hip Hop.

     Wake the Line

    May 24 – May 25 in Köln, Germany, O’Neill Wake the Line launches. Transforming the Köln Stadium into a wakeboard course, top riders from around the world will compete for prize money and prestige while concerts and after parties feature groups like Die Orsons and Flo Mega and popular DJs.

    The house parties and unique sports events align with the brand's image as part of a young, active lifestyle. The brand successfully appeals to Millennials with a high-energy website featuring films on extreme sports, athletes and footage of various Relentless festivals. The films have garnered thousands of views on YouTube and the brand engages its fans on Twitter and Facebook as well.

    The brand’s summer events not only offer it an opportunity to create memorable branded experiences for consumers, it's a chance for Relentless to reconnect with loyal consumers after this winter’s new packaging design release was met with customer complaints. In the post-digital world brands get feedback real-time and in this case, countless comments of dislike and protest in its social media communities.

    Relentless PackagingIn February Relentless revamped its packaging with an emphasis on a much clearer color-coding of the varieties. In the course of the redesign, however, they dropped an important functional benefit: the re-sealable top of the can.

    The new packaging color palette differentiated itself from those of competitors like Red Bull and Monster, but with that move Relentless lost some of its visual punch and some felt the design was "a bit too light" for an energy drink. One critic I spoke with noted, "it feels like switching from AC/DC to Coldplay while keeping the lyrics."

    Loyal fans were most upset to see the re-sealable can part become history. One fan went so far as to write a 450-word Relentless love-story, ending in a break-up with the brand posted on its Facebook page.

    While Relentless has had success connecting with fans in social media, its handling of the backlash didn't help matters with answers that seemed copy and paste instead of authentic, organic conversations. The brand's approach seemed to fuel the complaints.

    Alexander Murray, a strategy director for Interbrand Tokyo comments regarding the potential for social media "disasters" for brands and strategies to avoid them, "With many social media ‘disasters’ a fast, decisive response can help reduce any risk of long-term damage to the brand. However, this can be one of the hardest things to achieve. 'Company culture' ('the way we do things around here') is critically important. It allows people to respond quickly and instinctively to unpredictable situations."

    "It is a cliché," Murray adds, "but the time to take action is before you have a problem. People need to know what the right thing to do is, before they are faced with a situation where they have to make a decision. Managing a brand in the new social world is less about dictating rules and more about empowering people."

    Relentless Can TopNora Geiss, a director and digital strategist for Interbrand New York's Verbal Identity department adds, "Social media 'disasters' almost always represent an opportunity just as much as they represent potential for damage. The difference between an opportunity and a path to damage depends on how well the brand is listening to the conversation around their efforts, how responsive they are in the immediate term, and how strategically they approach evolving their response in a meaningful way over the long term."

    "Ultimately it still comes down to transparency and genuine interest in the concerns of your audience," Geiss says. "A good rule of thumb: If your customer is standing in front of you in person sharing the same concerns that they share over social media, what would you do? How would you respond? What promises would you make to address their concerns? And how would you keep the conversation going?"

    Relentless now has the opportunity to tap into the energy of its summer lineup and position itself as a BandC rather than a B2C. Now is the time to build a social media strategy going forward to build on and grow from consumer feedback in a positive and genuine way. As Patrick Stal, MD of Interbrand Amsterdam says, "With social media missteps, consumers understand that brands are human, make mistakes and are usually willing to move on with the brand if there’s genuine communication going forward."

    Christoph Meyer-Roscher is part of Interbrand Hamburg's Design Team.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Briggs on Friday, March 30 2012 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

    As you tune into the March Madness games, what do you think your favorite college athletics should receive for their hard work on the court, their image, and likeness? As you mull over that question, consider this case.

    In the fall of 2011, former Boston Celtic and University of San Francisco athlete, Bill Russell, who led University of San Francisco to the NCAA championship in 1955 and 1956, joined forces with former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon on the behalf of other former NCAA players to sue Electronic Arts and the NCAA, as covered by Bloomberg News.

    The former college basketball stars accused the NCAA and Electronic Arts for “violating federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men’s basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likeness,” stated Jon King, an attorney for the former players, to Bloomberg.

    O’Bannon and several other former NCAA athletes have challenged the NCAA's right to profit from the legend’s likeness in perpetuity, without seeking consent and without compensation. This has allowed the NCAA to take classic games and images and either replay them on the Internet or sell the rebroadcast rights to television, such as ESPN Classics. In a deal involving the NCAA and Electronics Arts, Electronics Arts has generated more than $500 million in sales on NCAA college football and basketball games over the course of a six-year contract, reported by Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN’s Enterprise Unit.

    Nicole Briggs is a Consultant for Interbrand New York

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Wednesday, December 21 2011 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Jez Frampton

    In this edition of Demand and Desire, Interbrand’s Global CEO, Jez Frampton, travels to the Brazilian Grand Prix where he delves into the relationship between brands and sponsorship.

    Sports sponsorships can associate your brand with the aesthetics of winning, with heroic brand ambassadors, and - in the case of Formula 1™ - with notions of ‘premium’ and ‘performance’.

    But will you get value for money?

    Listen as Jez discusses this topic with Andreas Sigl, who serves as the Global Director of Formula 1™ activities for Infiniti, Alex Pinedo, who is Managing Director of Interbrand’s office in Brazil and Silvia Keller, who oversees corporate hospitality for Infiniti at the Brazilian Grand Prix.


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  • Posted by: Bertrand Chovet on Wednesday, May 4 2011 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

    On May 2, 2011, Volcom agreed to join the French luxury group PPR, owner of world-famous, iconic brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, and the lifestyle brand PUMA.

    The appearance of the “Youth Against Establishment,” boards sports and apparel brand in a portfolio of brands targeted at more mature customers may seem surprising. However, it already promises a huge potential of synergies betwee PPR, PUMA, and Volcom, from footwear to fashion. And in many ways it bears similarities to Nike’s acquisition of Hurley in 2002.

    But the most interesting piece of the acquisition is surely the youth content and what it should deliver in terms of influence and presence. Though Volcom's 2010 revenue was less than a tenth of PUMA's revenue, it outpaces PUMA's presence in other ways – for example, with approximately 1.3 million fans on Facebook, it has the lead on PUMA (with 4.7 million fans) by 27 percent.

    Why? Because Volcom speaks to skateboarders, snowboarders, and surfers in a unique tone and voice. The brand mixes rock, trash, and punk content with extreme sports and board sports. For years, the brand has been admired for its consistency and its ability to embrace skate, surf, and snowboard under one brand – a very specific lifestyle that speaks directly to younger audiences.

    While today, the Volcom brand doesn’t achieve the same level of business as PUMA, it seems clear that the owners are aiming to preserve its authenticity, protect and enhance its brand relevance, and also improve its operational efficiency. PPR’s acquisition definitely represents a turning point for the board sports industry – and for Volcom.

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  • Posted by: Patrick Kerns on Friday, February 4 2011 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

    As reported in my article on Super Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, sports stars ranging from Tiger Woods to John McEnroe have been plagued by image problems due to personal scandals. But history has shown that if the athlete performs well enough and makes an effort to address a scandal in an authentic and apologetic way, the world will be forgiving—especially if this effort is accompanied by success.

    That brings us back to the case of LeBron James and our personal brand valuation about the basketball star back in July. To recap: we argued that LeBron James should have chosen the New York Knicks in his (now-infamous) free agency decision to maximize his lifetime earnings. Our analysis took into account four crucial factors: player brand (image and reputation), market (exposure, media weight, disposable income present), franchise (fan loyalty, size of fan base, historical team performance), and on-court performance (how well a player, and his team, performs). We argued that all four factors are intrinsic to a strong personal brand, but performance is by far the most important.

    According to our valuation, LeBron had the player brand and the personal performance (minus the championships), but needed the market, the franchise, and most importantly, a ring. New York, with its endless opportunities, storied franchise and diehard fanbase, was the option that held the most personal brand potential—with none of the other candidates even coming close.

    As we all know, however, LeBron didn’t heed our advice and ended up taking his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat instead. The result? Angry fans and negative media attention. To make matters worse, LeBron’s failure to address these image issues (some would argue he even embraced them) caused his star to descend even further. And to top it all off, LeBron’s performance also declined—and with a lack of a strong team brand to support him, his personal brand value plummeted.

    As the season has gone on, however, something has happened. LeBron and the Heat have figured things out on the court. Winning streaks and stat lines have started dominating the headlines, instead of the “Decision” debacle. LeBron’s on-court performance—and his team’s—has improved, and this is beginning to drive the brand once again.

    The question now is, will performance be enough? As brandchannel reports, LeBron is currently one of the most disliked athletes in America, making any sponsorship bad for business. Our advice to LeBron? Keep winning and don’t forget to focus on your image, addressing the public in an authentic and straightforward way. Otherwise, expect marketers to be wary.

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