Branding

What is a brand? And how strong is yours?

What is a brand? And how strong is yours?

Brands are often thought about in very limited terms, but in reality they exercise tremendous power in every kind of business or organization.read more
Branding eats policy for lunch: How the Trump brand won in 2016

Branding eats policy for lunch: How the Trump brand won in 2016

Donald Trump won the presidential election by doing what we tell our clients to do every day. He rigorously stuck with the Trump brand.read more
History Brands (History and the Mechanisms of the Mind)

History Brands (History and the Mechanisms of the Mind)

We like clean narratives because they are easy to hold and remember. This goes for history, and for branding. What will history make of our time?read more
Culture eats strategy for what?

Culture eats strategy for what?

Does culture eat strategy for lunch? Not really. But will a misaligned culture eat up your strategic efforts? Probably. Does it make sense to pay careful attention to an organization's culture and not just its business strategy? Absolutely!read more
What is marketing discovery?

What is marketing discovery?

Our marketing discovery process is aided by a set of tools outlined here. We believe that they are some of the best available.read more
The Brand of No Brand

The Brand of No Brand

A brand is more than marketing or empty promises and these case studies show that it really is impossible to have a product without a brand of some kind.read more
"She Who Tells a Story" at National Museum of Women in the Arts

"She Who Tells a Story" at National Museum of Women in the Arts

While the popularity of She Who Tells a Story is undoubtedly affected by the curiosity and national climate of oversimplification and stereotyping that surrounds the Arab world and Iran, the real engine for attendance is the quality of the exhibition itself. (Also, we're proud of our advertising campaign.)read more
Is the new Barbie still Barbie?

Is the new Barbie still Barbie?

Who is Barbie now if not a svelte blonde that most girls can only aspire to be? Is the new Barbie still Barbie?read more
What business are you in?

What business are you in?

What business are you in? I have found this question poses a challenge in almost every engagement, surprising participants. It wakes people up as they realize that they cannot answer or cannot agree on the answer. "If we cannot agree on who we are or what business we are in, how is anyone on the outside going to understand or guess right?"read more
Cultural Generalization

Cultural Generalization

Bagels. Bagels everywhere. Savory bagels. Sweet bagels. Bagels and cream cheese. Bagels. Just. Everywhere. Tronvig Group's intern from Australia muses about cultural stereotypes.read more
What does Mr. Clean have to do with Tronvig Group?

What does Mr. Clean have to do with Tronvig Group?

Tronvig Group President James Heaton was quoted in AdWeek earlier this week giving his thoughts on the 50+ year old Procter & Gamble cleaning brand Mr. Clean.read more
Are you in good company?

Are you in good company?

Whether music or luxury goods, it’s crucial to be in good company or the company you are hoping to attract. Your product will be perceived only as good as the company it keeps, for better or worse.read more
The Tronvig Group Brand Pyramid

The Tronvig Group Brand Pyramid

We are developing a Brand Pyramid download that will walk you through the process and pose the questions for your organization, your company or your product. It will walk through how you can use these questions to expose strategic weaknesses and fix them.read more
The Beef Brand

The Beef Brand

Beef has come to be interpreted not just as meat from a cow but rather as the more generic and simplified meat; "If he does not eat beef, he must be a vegetarian." These two brands are differentiated enough and simple enough to make it easy to move between them, A to B. Where does your brand fall on this scheme?read more
Choosing When You've Too Many Choices

Choosing When You've Too Many Choices

How does a consumer choose when there are too many choices? Here's my experience shopping for skin care products in Korea.read more
A Look into Tronvig Group: Honesty in Marketing

A Look into Tronvig Group: Honesty in Marketing

With essentially no real experience in the actual marketing business, I came to Tronvig Group with an open mind and ready to learn. My mind is stuffed now and I have learned some surprising things.read more
City Brands: The New Seoul Brand

City Brands: The New Seoul Brand

Seoul unveiled its new city brand mark after an open and democratic selection process. Thoughts on "I.SEOUL.U" and what it conveys.read more
The Tattoo Brand

The Tattoo Brand

On my 19th birthday, I told my parents that my sister and I were going out to lunch. We are only two years apart and had fought a lot growing up, so they pursed their lips, shared a bemused glance, and did nothing to rock the boat. We weren’t getting lunch. We were getting our first tattoos.read more
Price and Pleasure

Price and Pleasure

Does it feel better to pay a lot for something? If we pay a lot for something we need it to be good.read more
Strategic Plan (Carpe Diem)

Strategic Plan (Carpe Diem)

We traveled safely from Washington D.C. to New York on the 7PM train Tuesday, May 12th. The 7:10PM train which could just as easily have been our train was not so lucky. On hearing the news that we were unharmed I got an email from our client in D.C. with the sign-off "carpe diem."read more
Strategy Primer

Strategy Primer

Strategy is a very misused word. Marketing strategies are—if you look at how the word is used—any marketing activity that might possibly work. People talk about "strategies" such as "posting to Facebook more."read more
Visual Brand and 360 Brand: What's the difference?

Visual Brand and 360 Brand: What's the difference?

What is the difference between a visual brand and a true 360 brand? How do you get your organization to think beyond just the visual brand?read more
Bigger is better ... right?

Bigger is better ... right?

Hiring a big and flashy agency may seem "safe." But think about what they stand to gain by working with an organization of your size and budget. You may find that you're actually sacrificing the responsiveness, energy and focus on quality of smaller firms for the false sense of security that comes from going big.read more
The "Made in China" Brand

The "Made in China" Brand

It was only after I got home that I looked at the back label again and noticed three words that I had missed on the lower left hand corner. If you are familiar with the Face Screaming in Fear emoji, you may get a sense of how I felt when I read ”Product of China” under the bar code.read more
Nonprofit Marketing Return on Investment

Nonprofit Marketing Return on Investment

Return on investment in a brand initiative is very important. Measuring the results of any initiative and doing proper goal-setting for a project is an essential part of good governance, of good strategic behavior. But how do you measure the return when you are not really selling widgets?read more
Marketing, Half-truths, and USDA Organic (A Follow-up to "Tell Them the Truth")

Marketing, Half-truths, and USDA Organic (A Follow-up to "Tell Them the Truth")

Examining the trend of marketing half-truths to the consumer. The USDA's Organic labeling provokes the question: Has the government jumped on this bandwagon?read more
Zoo Brands, Conservation and the Future of Zoos

Zoo Brands, Conservation and the Future of Zoos

I asked my 11-year-old son if he thought zoos were good or bad. His answer was immediate and unequivocal: "Bad," he said, "I don't like the idea of animals being held in cages." If there is another side to this story, and there is, zoos need to get busy telling it.read more
Branding and Sales: a Bank Brand Story

Branding and Sales: a Bank Brand Story

What happens when you attempt to take over a brand space that is already occupied by a strong competitor?read more
Carnegie Hill Neighbors

Carnegie Hill Neighbors

Carnegie Hill Neighbors is hard at work preserving, protecting, and improving their Upper East Side Manhattan neighborhood. Tronvig Group helped them to find brand expression through a new keynote message that answers not only what and how they help Carnegie Hill, but why they do it and why anyone in the neighborhood should care about the valuable work they do every day, much of it unsung or behind the scenes: "Because it's our home."read more
City Brands: Dealing with a Lack of Control

City Brands: Dealing with a Lack of Control

Cities have become important actors on the global scene. Metropolitan governments are among the best ‘glocal’ players, sharpening their global influence strategy and improving the management of their brand. International city branding has its undeniable challenges, however.read more
College Brands (Can colleges save millions by having better brands?)

College Brands (Can colleges save millions by having better brands?)

How strong is the average college brand? How well are America's liberal arts colleges able to meaningfully differentiate themselves from each other?read more
Millennials and Museums: Oil and Water?

Millennials and Museums: Oil and Water?

What chance does the museum world have with millennials? Are millennials and museums really oil and water? Let's hear the story from the horse's mouth.read more
Mascots as Brand Amplifiers

Mascots as Brand Amplifiers

Mascots—those lovable anthropomorphized characters who push cereal, chocolate milk, and tires—are more than just cute tools for marketing to children.read more
Brand Power and Its Limits

Brand Power and Its Limits

"Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind." —Walter Landorread more
Brand Strategy Basics

Brand Strategy Basics

Brand strategy gives McDonald's a 27 billion dollar advantage over Burger King. It's important that you understand how this happened, and how it applies to your organization.read more
Find the Pain: Business-to-Business Marketing

Find the Pain: Business-to-Business Marketing

Pain, fear, anxiety … these are strong emotions that drive behavior. This is true of life. Life is also, it turns out, the very stuff of marketing, even that most rarified and peculiar kind—business-to-business marketing.read more
What is the brand of New York? (Historic House Museums)

What is the brand of New York? (Historic House Museums)

We don't always think of cities as having brands, but they certainly do. While some cultural institutions are actually strong enough to be active builders of the brands of their fair city, most are not, and most historic house museums are certainly not in such a position. But each institution's history and meaning in relationship with the existing brand of its city is a factor in its success.read more
Museums and Race

Museums and Race

Does thinking about race make you racist? No. Does not thinking about race make you racist? Unfortunately sometimes yes. These are uncomfortable issues and hard to look squarely in the eye, but they are standing right in front of you. Time to say hello.read more
Your Brand Idea: Who but Horton can hear it?

Your Brand Idea: Who but Horton can hear it?

If your Brand Idea is succinct, meaningful and consistently and coherently expressed, it will be able to break free. It will be hearable outside of your brand bubble, outside of Whoville.read more
Marketing and Desire: What can we learn from Buddhists?

Marketing and Desire: What can we learn from Buddhists?

The cessation of desire leads to the cessation of suffering. —Gautama Buddha (paraphrased). The implication of this, the second of the Four Noble Truths, is that the enlightened are generally not good marketing targets. Fortunately for most marketers this is a very small group.read more
What is marketing strategy?

What is marketing strategy?

Marketing strategy allows you to use pathways and footholds that apply your limited marketing budget more effectively (everyone's marketing budget is limited). Marketing strategy facilitates your ability to apply marketing money to the correct half of the Wanamaker equation—the half you are not wasting on audiences who do not value your message.read more
Is the museum brand god dead?

Is the museum brand god dead?

In a postmodern world—the one we live in now—the AUTHORITY, the curator, the author, the expert—anyone whose charge it is to create grand classifications and assign meaning—has been demoted. This is our Internet paradigm, is it not? The authority is now just one voice among many. What does this mean for museum branding?read more
When FedEx Slew the Giant: Sell Value Not Price

When FedEx Slew the Giant: Sell Value Not Price

When you think overnight courier, what comes to mind? I'm guessing FedEx is probably at the top of the list. This was not always the case. Let me take you back to the moment when a budding company called Federal Express slew the Goliath of its industry—Emery. Let's take a look at what happened and what you should learn from Emery's horrible death.read more
What if museums were run like successful companies?

What if museums were run like successful companies?

If you are not marketing and innovating, you will be eliminated from the market place. In business this happens all the time. More than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 no longer exist. Maybe this sounds like an entirely different world from yours. I'd suggest that it is not.read more
Brain Science and Marketing: Role of the Limbic & Reptilian Brains

Brain Science and Marketing: Role of the Limbic & Reptilian Brains

You think you are in control. "You"—your sense of self—your highly developed, amazingly capable conscious mind, housed in the big wrinkly hemispheric thing that we most often associate with the brain: the neocortex—is not really in control as much as it thinks. It's just easier for all of us to carry on with this delusion.read more
Marketing of the Bronx Museum

Marketing of the Bronx Museum

Museums exist in particular places. The Bronx Museum exists in the South Bronx; it's a contemporary art museum located right in the middle of the poorest community in the continental United States, a community that could not be more distant from the stereotype of the whitewall, high art tradition underpinning much of the aesthetics and behaviors that permeate the world of contemporary art.read more
"I don't need a brand. I need a product."

"I don't need a brand. I need a product."

When saying "I don't need a brand. I need a product." the speaker was saying she doesn’t need McDonalds, she just needs fries—any fries for that matter. She doesn’t need HP, she just needs a computer or printer—any computer or printer will do. She's assuming her consumers will behave this way. I think they will not.read more
Local Brand Positioning: ICI French Country Kitchen

Local Brand Positioning: ICI French Country Kitchen

Tronvig Group developed the brand strategy, the new brand, as well as brand applications such as menus, signage, and a new website for this local Brooklyn farm-to-table restaurant and event space. ICI French Country Kitchen, Est. Brooklyn 2004 is located between the Ft. Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn and is within walking distance from our new office.read more
Tell them the truth.

Tell them the truth.

"Tell them the truth. First, because it is the right thing to do, and second, they'll find out anyway." —Paul Galvin. Ahh the truth. That thing to be finessed if you want to succeed in marketing ... NOT.read more
We make mistakes.

We make mistakes.

"To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas." —Leo Burnett. We make mistakes. The trick, of course, is to learn—and to make process changes from that learning—so that on our next pass through that same or a similar gauntlet we exhibit more finesse.read more
Your Name is Your Biggest Brand Asset

Your Name is Your Biggest Brand Asset

Is it better to have a unique name like Kinko's or a more descriptive one like Staples? Is it better to have a name that's actually a person's name like Lowe's or something that really clues you in to the core business promise is such as Home Depot? International Business Machines or just a feel good symbol like Apple? There is danger and reward everywhere.read more
I want a new website.

I want a new website.

"I want a new website." There is a certainty in the eyes and voice that pushes back my objections. "That's what we need. Here is what we want it to do. How much will it be?" This desire and clarity of purpose is supported by the belief that a new website will make things all better, like a mommy's kiss.read more
Strategy Applied on the Web: Center for Social Inclusion

Strategy Applied on the Web: Center for Social Inclusion

Two years into its young life, after we initially created it, the Center For Social Inclusion website needed a refresh.read more
The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

What is the difference between marketing and branding? In a recent conversation with a very senior person at a financial institution my colleague was told, "I think private wealth managers will have a hard time seeing the value of branding—they see marketing as a cost center, not a driver of sales." Hold it. How did we go from branding to marketing in one sentence like that?read more
DiMenna Children's History Museum Website

DiMenna Children's History Museum Website

Tronvig Group created a website for the newly opened DiMenna Children's History Museum, part of the New-York Historical Society.read more
Nonprofit Brand Basics

Nonprofit Brand Basics

For any organization, arguably your most important brand asset is your name. Some names are better than others at explaining why you exist and why you matter. So, along with the name, most organizations also need a tagline. The tagline can serve various roles. For a nonprofit its most important role is clarification. Some nonprofits have very practical taglines that do a good job of explaining why someone should support them. Others have taken on a very catchy marketing style and are often lofty sounding but vague. Sometimes these work. More often they do not.read more
Brand as Defense Against Attack

Brand as Defense Against Attack

Branding is often managed like a propaganda war for the hearts and minds of brand consumers. This aligns with Wikipedia's basic description of propaganda: "As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience." Propaganda is not really about the truth, but about influencing minds, and so may resort to a variety of tactics such as errors of omission, selective truths and the straw man fallacy to make its case. Interestingly, if you look at the history of advertising and propaganda, they both came of age as vehicles of mass persuasionread more
Brand Truth

Brand Truth

Our statement about brand truth—”We prefer truth. It gets you farther faster and holds tremendous power.“—was recently criticized on Twitter for being “grand and presumptuous.” My first reaction to this criticism was humor: “We just like it better than the alternative, and it’s a lot easier to keep track …”read more
The Business of Demand Creation

The Business of Demand Creation

I was asked to explain what I mean when I say, as I often do, "We are not in the business of demand creation." I usually go on to say, "We leave that job up to the big agencies" who seem on occasion to quite successfully create demand for products regardless of their actual quality.read more
Invisible Consequences: How Branding Impacts B2B Sales

Invisible Consequences: How Branding Impacts B2B Sales

How do you get new clients? If you sell B2B, the short answer is probably “relationships.” Almost.read more
Why Documentary Style Photography?

Why Documentary Style Photography?

People and relationships are critical in business to business transactions, and so a strong B2B brand should communicate a sense of personal connection. It should speak to who the key players are and what it will be like to work with them. Great people photography facilitates this tremendously.read more
Brand Impact on CSI (Center for Social Inclusion) Reports

Brand Impact on CSI (Center for Social Inclusion) Reports

It has been about a year since we finished re-branding the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI). What is the brand impact of this work?read more
Life and Pecans: Why Truth Matters

Life and Pecans: Why Truth Matters

Last weekend I was reading the Sunday Times and snacking. I was looking at the paper and not my food, which was pecans from a glass jar. As I arrived at the bottom of the jar, I looked down and noticed little cobwebs all around the edges of the glass. Most of the remaining pecans had clearly been munched on already, and not by me.read more
You’ve got 30 seconds.

You’ve got 30 seconds.

"If your single most persuasive idea takes more than one sentence to explain, it probably isn't single. Or persuasive." —Lee Clow's Beard from Twitter, January 14th 2010. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but I make a habit of telling my clients that they only have thirty seconds to convey their keynote brand message. And we work very hard to achieve this so that the website (and most of the time we are having this discussion in the context of a website) communicates its essential truths immediately and with word and visual expression.read more
Pantone

Pantone

These ads were done back in 2000 for Pantone as they were first expanding into fashion and home.read more