5 favorites on friday — favorite brand blogs
This is probably by far the hardest entry of the series, because there are so many great brand blogs — narrowing it down to 5 is a difficult task. I decided to use some specific criteria to aid in my selection:
- the blog has to be primarily about brands/branding — there are some great blogs on related topics (marketing, business strategy, communications, social media, marketing to women, sustainability, etc.), but this list is focused on brand resources.
- it has to be a blog, not an aggregator of blogs or other content — I regularly consult several aggregators (like Alltop and FutureLab’s Marketing & Strategy Innovation), but I’m only including the actual source content in this list.
- the blog writer/owner is an individual (vs. a group/firm/agency) — I struggled with whether or not to apply this criterium, but since I know from personal experience what it takes to maintain a blog by oneself and thus I have a greater appreciation for those that are, I decided to include it. Plus I needed to narrow down the plethora of choices and so this is one way to do it (I am considering doing a favorite brand blogs part 2 which would only include blogs by groups/firms/agencies — let me know if you’d be interested in this.)
Now onto the list:
1. Tom Fishburne’s blog — Tom, a “management cartoonist” and creator of Brand Camp cartoons, is also a Managing Director at method (the designed — in every sense of the word — home products company). This blog captures the creativity and pragmatism of these different, yet complementary roles.
Most of Tom’s blogposts start with a cartoon that pokes fun at the stupid things we brand marketers say and do, and then provides insights and ideas on the same topic. For example, a recent post featured a cartoon of the “view from marketing” and challenged marketers to combat the myopic, egotistical, and insular thinking which we all fall into at times. I love the elegant way Tom uses humor to make his points.
2. Brand Autopsy — by John Moore — Although this entire blog is really good, I consider it one of my favorites because of its “Would You Miss” series. In the series, John poses the question: Would You Miss X?, with X being a brand. Readers are invited to post responses to the question, with prompts from John like, “Does X provide such a unique product and customer experience that we would be saddened if it didn’t exist?” and “Does X forge such unfailing emotional connections with its customers that they would fail to find another [insert category] that could forge just as strong an emotional bond?”
Brands in the series include Costco, Ace Hardware, and Dairy Queen. I love the challenge of thinking through the role and value of the brand in question — and I always find the readers’ responses amusing.
3. Brand Mix — by Martin J. Bishop — Martin describes his blog as “branding stories, ideas, thoughts and observations” and I enjoy this milieu of insights and information. One feature of the blog which I really like is “SOTB” (Six of the Best.) Every week, Martin writes a post which recaps 6 noteworthy news items, posts, articles, and events.
Each SOTB has a theme, like the recent “Authenticity” edition which featured brief notes and links to items such as the letter from Tony Hsieh, Zappos‘ CEO, to his employees announcing the Amazon deal, a NYT article about the high-tech swimsuits that seemed to fuel recent victories, and an NPR piece on Jay-Z‘s new campaign on authenticity. Although usually by the time a SOTB is published I’ve seen at least a few of the items included in it, the post usually prompts me to think more critically about them relative to the SOTB theme.
4. Brand Tags — by Noah Brier — While not technically a blog, this project is fascinating. The way it works: visitors to the site are shown the logo of a company and are asked them to type in the first word or phrase that popped into their head upon seeing the logo. Then the results are displayed in a word cloud (most common responses in giant type size and less frequent ones in proportionately diminishing point sizes.)
At the time of this writing, over 1,000 brands are in the project — everything from Amazon to Aston Martin, M&Ms to Medieval Times, and Pixar to Priceline. The results are far from scientific, but I bet they’re pretty close to what you’d learn in formal brand perception research — and they’re revealing in content and format.
5. If That Were My Brand — by Martin Lindstrom — This is a new blog which asks its readers, “Have you ever looked at a brand in the news and thought ‘if I were brand manager I’d do things very differently’? Well, now’s your chance. Every week we’ll be posting a real-life branding challenge and inviting you to give us your thoughts on what you’d do if that were your brand…”
I love this idea because the posts and responses are so provocative. For example, one blogpost offered up Whole Foods after CEO John Mackey declared, “we sell a bunch of junk” — it spurred a slew of constructive criticism and ideas to reinvigorate and refocus the brand. I’m going to be watching this blog to see whether or not it stays on point and how it evolves, but for now, I’m a fan.
Thank you to the writers/owners of these blogs. You are a source of insight and inspiration to me!
PLEASE don’t be offended if your blog is not listed here — as I said earlier, it was really hard for me to limit the list to 5. If I didn’t list your blog but I regularly comment on it or tweet about it or have included you in the blogroll on my blog, then you know I hold you and your blog in high esteem. It’s truly a privilege to have access to so much great thinking and to learn from so many perspectives.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know some of your favorite brand blogs — and then check back next Friday for the next post in the series — favorite brand articles.