Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hey baby

When choosing a name for your brand, the rules – both common sense and according to those who know – are pretty basic.
  • Keep it simple and honest
  • Appeal to your customers’ needs and interests
  • Make it memorable
  • Protect it by trademark
There’s one brand I’ve been using since, well, since I was a baby. It complies with the first three branding bullets, and I don’t think it’s suffered from ignoring the fourth: Johnson's.

Johnson’s baby powder. Johnson’s baby shampoo. Johnson’s baby oil.

Only the word “Johnson’s” is a registered trademark – and capitalized. The products themselves have common names and are in unassuming lower case.

Still the power of the brand persists.I know what I’m getting every single time. It looks and feels and smells exactly the same as my earliest memories.

Maybe Johnson & Johnson wouldn’t be so successful in its baby-care product line if it launched them today. Maybe it’s plain luck that J&J got there first and has lasted the longest.

Maybe I’d still buy these products if they had fancier names – something like Johnson’s SkinMagic Oil for Babies and Adults, or Johnson’s SilkySmooth Talc for Sticky Moments.

But I’m glad they don’t.

Baby powder works for me, as a name and as a product. And I'm the only baby in my house.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's a shore thing

Hurricane Sandy hit hard on many of the places that formed my childhood and vacation memories. The Jersey shore. Boardwalks. Long stretches of beach. Boating on the bay. Wading in the waves.

The impact of Sandy is still being felt and dealt with, to varying degrees of success.

Yet, just as the stars aligned to create this Frankenstorm, another set of stars united for an amazing one-hour telethon, Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together.

A constant crawl across the bottom of the screen encouraged contributions to the Red Cross, either by:
  • Texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10, or
  • Going to iTunes, where you could donate in increments up to $200, or
  • Visiting the Red Cross online or at1-800-RED-CROSS.
Only though this last, relatively low-tech option could you give an amount of your own choosing: $5, $500, $5,000. Whatever you felt was right in your heart and your wallet.

It's great that texting has becoming a quick and easy way to support a worthy cause, and if the volume of tweets are any indication, many people chose this option. But $10? Why can't it be just as easy to donate more than the least amount, for those who are able.

Just think about how far $10 will (or won't) get you in a single day at the shore, while the memories created are priceless.

So for those of you fortunate enough to have escaped Sandy's punishment, feel moved to help those who didn't, and have some extra cash, consider making a contribution that falls somewhere between $10 and priceless. Even if you have to be old fashioned about it and write a check.

It's not the least you can do. It's better.