Tag Archive | "branding"

Sergio’s Challenge: Build Jeep Into FCA’s Top Global Brand By 2018

Auto analysts are skeptical that Sergio Marchionne, the hyperbolic chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, can meet his most ambitious goal: to nearly double Jeep’s global sales over the next four years, reported Reuters.

Marchionne reiterated his aggressive target for boosting Jeep’s annual volume to 1.9 million, while pacing the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday during the newly merged company’s first day of trading.

That’s nearly 700,000 vehicles more than the average of analysts surveyed Tuesday by Reuters, who believe FCA is more likely to boost Jeep volume to just over 1.2 million by 2018, from a projected 1 million this year.

“I have all the best intentions” of hitting the 1.9 million mark, Marchionne said in an interview Monday with Bloomberg TV. “We may even blow through it.”

Counters longtime auto analyst and consultant Maryann Keller: “Realistically, he’s not going to make the numbers.”

Even if Jeep realizes only the more modest growth projected by analysts, it still is likely to emerge as the company’s largest brand, accounting for 25 percent or more of total volume. Marchionne is expecting FCA sales to reach 7 million by 2018; analysts are expecting 5.1 million.

The success of FCA’s Jeep growth strategy hinges not on a huge expansion of the brand’s product portfolio, but rather on an expansion of its manufacturing and sales presence outside North America, Jeep’s traditional stronghold since its post-World War II metamorphosis from military to civilian use.

FCA currently builds five Jeep models in four U.S. plants and is just adding a sixth model, the Jeep Renegade subcompact, in Italy. The Renegade is slated to go on sale in North America early next year.

Four years from now, the plan is to build six models in six countries. That includes two plants in China that are scheduled to open in 2015 and 2016, with a combined annual production capacity of 500,000, or roughly one-quarter of Jeep’s projected global volume.

Future Jeep models include only one other addition to the portfolio: A luxurious seven-passenger flagship in late 2018 that will revive the Grand Wagoneer name.

The Compass and Patriot compacts will be replaced by a single model in 2016, with redesigns of the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler slated for 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Barclays Capital expects Jeep sales to reach 1.4 million by 2018. Whether Marchionne can hit the higher target depends “less on flooding the U.S. market with more Jeeps and more with taking an iconic brand global,” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said in an interview on Tuesday.

While FCA expects to increase Jeep sales in Europe and Latin America, the real prize remains China, where the company continues to lag behind most of the major multinational automakers. Marchionne wants to leverage projected double-digit growth in SUV demand among Chinese consumers.

The brand’s re-entry into China “will provide Fiat with a turbo boost” to growth in that market, said Richard Hilgert, an analyst at research firm Morningstar.

Marchionne agrees that “our big future” is in China.

But FCA and Jeep “aren’t the only ones trying to grow” outside North America, said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, which expects global Jeep volume to reach 1.2 million in 2018.

Considering the swarm of new competitors coming, especially in the compact SUV segment, Schuster described Marchionne’s target for Jeep as “unrealistic” and “a very, very difficult road.”

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Word of Mouth Still Rules for Brand Advocacy

Even if consumers really like a product or service, they’re not likely to share those feelings on Facebook or Twitter, new research suggests, reported Fox Business.

Instead, social media users are more likely to express their opinions about products in face-to-face social situations, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

Researchers said this is because most users usually have a wide range of friends or followers on social media sites, and may not feel as comfortable expressing their opinions to these connections as they would with their close family members and friends. This lack of close connection, as well as their vulnerability to adverse comments, often deters people from sharing their opinions about brands on social media sites, the researchers said.

Andreas Eisingerich, a researcher at the Imperial College Business School in London and a co-author of the study, said that social media websites such as Facebook have completely revolutionized the way consumers share information and communicate with one another.

“Our report shows that when it comes to sharing recommendations on products and services on these sites, users tend to stay quiet,” Eisingerich said. “They would rather communicate via word of mouth because many users don’t want to embarrass themselves online, as work colleagues or acquaintances may not endorse or appreciate the same products that they do.”

As part of the study, the researchers surveyed 407 participants in labs and face-to-face surveys to find out how they communicated about their favorite brands. They found that the participants were reluctant to endorse products on social media sites due to the perceived risk that they could embarrass themselves if their views were not endorsed or shared by others. On the flip side, sharing information in face-to-face situations among a smaller group of people, usually family and friends, doesn’t have the same social pressures, the researchers said.

The researchers also discovered that the study participants who did share their opinions about their favorite products and services did so because it made them feel good about themselves, and that it raised their self-esteem. They found that as users’ need to enhance their self-esteem increased, so did their willingness to share their views.

The study’s authors suggested that their findings could be used by social media companies and marketers to take steps to ensure that consumers don’t feel threatened by these online social risks. These steps include providing opportunities for consumers to selectively share their opinions with members of their social network.

“Our report could influence how businesses spend advertising budgets on social media websites,” Eisingerich said.

The study was co-authored by researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; the Leeds University Business School in the United Kingdom; the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California; and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

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Is Your Business Brand Outdated?

Via SBA.gov

Sometimes, it’s tough for a business owner to see what everyone else does. Like an elderly person happily ensconced in a house they last redecorated in 1972, you don’t realize your website is the design equivalent of an avocado green refrigerator, or your logo looks about as current as orange shag carpeting. Is your business brand outdated? Here’s how to examine your brand with a critical eye and see if it needs a refresher.

First, understand what a brand is. More than your logo, font or website colors, more than your advertising and marketing, your brand is the “personality” of your business. It’s what people think of when they think of your business—whether that’s innovation (like Apple), glamour (like Versace) or an affordable little luxury (like Starbucks). Advertising and marketing support and enhance your brand—but they aren’t your brand.

Next, ask these questions:

Does your brand convey your business’s current mission? It’s natural for a business’s mission to evolve as the company grows. Maybe your business started out as a simple coffeehouse, but along the way you expanded your mission to include a focus on fair-trade, sustainably farmed coffees. You also donate part of each purchase to organizations supporting sustainable farming in the third world. If social responsibility is now a hallmark of your mission, is that clearly conveyed by your brand?

Do customers see your brand the way you do? Consider conducting focus groups or online surveys to explore how customers see your brand. Ask them to choose from different descriptors or attributes—“fun,” “affordable,” “trustworthy,” “exciting” or whatever attributes you believe your brand has. If customers’ perceptions of your brand are way off from how you want to be perceived, it’s time to rebrand.

How does your brand compare with your competitors’? Check out your competition’s advertising, websites, social media presence and marketing materials. If all your competitors are using muted colors and sophisticated fonts while you’re using purple Comic Sans, perhaps you’re standing out in the right way—but chances are you’re standing out in the wrong way, as someone whose brand hasn’t kept pace with the times.

Has your customer base changed? As your customers evolve and change, your brand should change with them. Maybe you started out marketing to “slackers” in the 1990s and your “extreme” branding reflected that target market. Now, however, those former slackers are parents in their 40s. Your branding needs to change to reflect the changes they’ve gone through. Even if you marketed to teens 10 years ago and still market to teens today, what teens consider cool has changed immeasurably (10 years ago, social media didn’t exist). Keep up with what your customer base values and adjust your brand to reflect that.

Is your business website up-to-date? Your website is such an important part of your branding that it deserves its own mention. Simplicity is key in websites today, with icons and images replacing overly wordy site design. In addition, if your website is still using outmoded technology such as Flash or if it doesn’t display well on mobile phones and tablets, your online brand will seem hopelessly out of date.

Are you planning to expand? When you’re adding new products, new services, new locations or new markets, it’s a natural time to re-evaluate your brand. Always assess your brand before an expansion so that if a brand revision is needed, you can add this into the costs.

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How to Make Your Business Unforgettable

Via Fox Business

There are many different theories as to what creates more revenue for a business. Some methods are successful, and some are just a waste of time. There are, however, a few general guidelines that have proven to be effective over time.

Keeping a positive image of your business in the minds of your customers will always help you create more revenue. This will not only make your customers want to come back to your business, but they will also provide great word-of-mouth advertising for your business, sometimes without even realizing that they are doing it. Use this list of advice to keep that positive image of your business in the minds of your customers to help your business move forward.

Provide outstanding customer service

Not a groundbreaking new piece of information, but still probably one of the most difficult to achieve and most commonly neglected aspects of good business practice. As the old adage goes, “The customer is always right.”

Keeping your cool and being patient can be extremely difficult in any customer service situation, but going the extra mile to remain pleasant and friendly will resonate with your customers like no other technique in the book.

Create a mobile app for your business

Customer mobile apps keep your brand and business at your customers’ fingertips all the time. What better way to ensure that you will keep popping up in their minds with little effort on your part?

Creating a mobile app is now simpler than ever. Using a program or company, create an experience similar to your website, or even similar to the experience they would have when they set foot inside your place of business. You can use the app to advertise, enable push notifications, and create a customer service portal.

Advertise locally

Use what you have around you to attract potential customers who are already in your area. Use things that are inexpensive but still effective. Such items include advertising in the local newspaper as opposed to a larger publication, or spending some time on air with your local radio station. You can also look for websites that promote a niche that is specific to your area and use it for target marketing.

Launch a blog

You already have a website, so why not add a blog to it? Blogging can help you do a number of things for free that you would have to pay a lot of money for if you used other methods. For example, you can advertise events for your business from your blog, use link-building from other sites to get more traffic to your site, post regularly to entice customers to come back to your site often, and other free forms of advertising and improving brand recognition.

Do not neglect social media

Forgetting about social media is one of the biggest and most common mistakes that businesses make today. Use you social media site to engage customers on a more personal level. Respond to all comments and messages on your social media sites as you would customer satisfaction emails or other requests in house.

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AUL Rolls‐out New Company Logo

NAPA – AUL Corp., a national provider of used car service contracts announced the launch of a new logo and corporate identity. The new logo and identity were unveiled at the 2012 AUL National Agency Meeting in Napa, CA where the company is headquartered.

As noted by AUL’s Marketing Manager, Jacqueline Swank: “The response from our agents has been overwhelmingly positive. They are excited about the logo and sales materials and believe it is a terrific step forward for AUL.” In addition to new marketing materials released at the meeting, AUL will update all of its materials and website over the next several months. A national advertising campaign, including the new brand, will begin in June. This new identity better reflects who AUL has been and will continue to be in the future.

The new logo and identity were inspired by the human element and unique culture AUL has built over the last 22 years of business. The attributes of this new brand include friendliness, approachability, protection, and meaningful relationships. The new AUL logo has a more approachable font, along with a new mark that includes three new colors that represent transparency and protection, important aspects of AUL.

Founder and CEO Luis Nieves said: “AUL has always demonstrated the commitment to innovation and change since the introduction of the revolutionary “Any Year, Any Mileage®” program 22 years ago. We believe that the new branding better reflects our business approach and culture as we grow our business, yet we will always maintain the values and standards we set at the founding of AUL, to be the premier service contract administrator in America.”

Jimmy Atkinson, COO, explains, “This is about more than just new branding. It represents responsiveness to our agents and dealers in bringing them meaningful improvements to our products, processes and systems. In the last several months we have made significant enhancements to our website, produced a sales video for use at the point of sale and expanded our product offering to meet the needs of our customers.”

AUL worked closely with Project6 Design, Inc., an award winning graphic design firm based in Berkeley, CA, to develop the new branding.

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When You Need a Trademark and, or a Copyright

When you’re setting up your small business, you’re naturally concerned about getting your name out there to make sure your brand succeeds. An integral part of that brand is what you call yourself, and what designs or logos accompany your company’s name.

To that end, small business owners need to be sure to protect their trademarks and copyrights as they try to get their endeavor off the ground by marketing and advertising their product or service.

Trademarks protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods. You don’t necessarily have to register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but you can benefit from it. U.S. trademarks can last forever, as long as the trademark is used in commerce and defended against infringement.

“In the United States, you get automatic trademark rights in your brand just by virtue of using it. There’s nothing special you have to do,” explained Michael Atkins, founder of Atkins Intellectual Property in Seattle.

A small business owner typically does not have to register his or her trademark if operating in a small geographic area. But with the proliferation of e-commerce, if one is selling their product over the Internet to other states or regions, the trademark protection becomes more important.

“These days, everybody’s on the Internet, which, in my opinion, makes getting a federal registration more important,” Atkins said. “Probably the neatest benefit of getting a registration is it expands the geographic area throughout the state or the country, depending on what kind of registration you get.”

It typically costs between $275 and $325 to register each mark with the USPTO, plus lawyer fees if you retain counsel to help with the process. If you have to choose between registering your company’s name or your trademark because of a tight budget, Atkins recommends registering the name since you receive broader rights.

Trademark protection from the USPTO, however, does not mean your trademark is protected overseas. You have to register your trademark in the countries in which you desire to do business to be protected there.


According to the U.S. Copyright office, copyrights protect original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture. This can include things like HTML or other code that programs specific Web sites. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed. For small business’ Web sites, copyright protects all original authorship on the Web site – writings, artwork, pictures, and other elements. Although registering your copyright is not required, it is recommended. It’s particularly important for you to register your copyright if you’re in a business that is creative.

“Like trademark law, you get automatic copyright protection. Meaning, if you write it down and it’s original enough, nobody can copy it without your permission,” Atkins said. “Copyright protects against copying of original expression but the expression has got to be at least minimally original.”

But you do need to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office in order to enforce it in court. It costs about $35 to register and you can do it online. It often takes about one year to issue the registration, but you can get registered faster by paying a higher fee.

“When you launch your Web site, get it registered. Not only can you immediately enforce your rights against copycats but the copyright law gives you two other things: That is the rights to seek attorney fees and statutory damages,” Atkins explained. That way, you don’t have to prove out-of-pocket loss if infringement occurred after registration was issued.

According to the USPTO, copyright protection is for a limited term. For works created after January 1, 1978, copyrights last for 70 years after the death of their owner. For works made for hire -covering the usual type of work owned by a small business – the copyright lasts for 95 years from the year of its first publication, or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.

Keep Watch

Don’t have time to scour the Web or elsewhere making sure no one is infringing on your copyright or trademark and making money off your creations or ideas? Relax, there are intellectual property watch services that do just that.

“If you spent thousands and thousands of dollars developing a product … you don’t want someone to rip it off,” said Dan Zendel, the partner in charge of the watch service at Ladas & Parry intellectual property law firm in New York City. A watch service is “actually an important option for small and big business owners,” he added.

“The purpose of this is to police the client’s trademark and advise them of potential infringements or, at least, conflicts. …We look at it as an insurance policy or a policing policy,” he said.

This article was written by Liza Porteus Viana and published on Foxbusiness.com.

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