It has been a few days. The two people who actually follow my blog both asked me about this hiatus. I explained that, after reading blog after blog from my blogroll, I realized that most bloggers do not produce every day. Some sites have an entire staff lined up in order that they can submit every day! Some sites (like Southwest's blogsite) are daily updated by various random employees who work (not necessarily in a blogging capacity) for the company, which, by the way, I think is an awesome idea. But I am just one man! Anyway, I guess what I'm saying here is, I am cutting down on my blog-posting frequency. No doubt, marketing gurus across the country-nay, across the world-who seek the counsel of this teacher whose aspirations to transfer into corporate marketing landed him a badge-carrying interning stint in a small "cube" in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will surely be feeling deprived.
Welcome to my best friend (we'll just call him "Pup") to the blogosphere. Take a moment to check out his blog, WAIT...I THINK I HAVE A PENNY. His link is posted in my blogroll, so once this entry is archived, and you don't feel like digging around in my archives (who would do such a thing?), you can find his site there.
Like I Said...
As I was perusing the latest marketing/branding/advertising blogs this morning, I found one that captured an important aspect of what I have referred to as The Living Brand (see HBR, May 2005 and my previous blogs). In his blog entitled, "Mimicking Whole Foods Market," John Moore comments, "competitors can replicate products and programs but they can’t replicate people." Let me explain the context of this insightful quote: retail giants Wal Mart, Publix, and Giant have been jumping on the "Lifestyle Stores" bandwagon with their own earthy, marketplace branches. Moore predicts (and I concur-not that that really quantifies anything) that these stores will "fall short." This will occur, not because these companies have not done their best to replicate the physical environment experienced at WFM, but because they have not created the culture that WFM has created. Again, I qoute Moore, "It’s the people that matter more in creating a brand than do products or programs." I call this "The Living Brand." (Actually, Bendapudi and Bendapudi call it the Living Brand. I simply reference them.) I believe that creating this Living Brand is the platform of differentiation upon which CMO's, CBO's, C(enter whatever letter you like here that could possibly be the first letter in an executive title-namely, a marketing-oriented executive)O's should be working. You see, I can buy a product anywhere, from anyone, or from nowhere and no one (Internet). But to receive service that conveys the company's mission in a near-tangible way, that is what is going to keep me coming back, perhaps even passing a couple of similar retailers on the way (like I do when I drive past Kum and Go on my way to QuikTrip). Sometimes, I will even pay a little more at said companies, just to get their branded service (like what I always get at Car Toys, even though their entire staff knows that right now, I am just a poor teacher with little to spend on their pricey wares). But be warned: creating this type of corporate culture requires time and money. Is it worth it? Perhaps we should just ask the execs and stockholders (where applicable) at WFM, QuikTrip, Cold Stone Creamery, Marriott, etc., etc.