Top Ten Branding Stories and Videos of 2010

Lists give a convenient way to organize a topic, where you can scan and get a bucket-full of ideas in a flash. And it’s helpful to remember that lists are subjective. Within this context of opinion, I offer my top branding stories of 2010.

1. Conan O’Brien announced his new show name with much fanfare. Lesson: as Conan says in this video, keep the brand simple and pure.

2. Sticking to the simplicity theme, I foot tap and hum every time I see the iPad TV ad. Like the original iPhone ad, the music is raw and simple; the product, as we know, is Apple’s deliciously elegant design. In fact, any Apple ad is worth studying for excellence in branding.

3. Dos Equis vs Old Spice ads: videos that go viral don’t always translate into increased sales. Lesson: the story must feature a concept that’s enduring and makes the viewer want to be the person or associate with the type of person in the ad (and by extension own the product associated with the person in the ad). The Old Spice videos did not increase sales. The Dos Equis ads did.

4. The Gap flap: the venerable Gap clothing and retail icon rebranded itself this year with a new logo. It was easy to miss, because the new brand icon created such an uproar it was pulled after a couple of days. Side note about the type face, or font, in Gap’s abandoned logo: Helvetica type face can look strong and inviting, versus AT&T’s usage, which to me seems wimpy.

5, Part I. BP did such a lousy job presenting its public face after the Deep Horizon oil well disaster that the company’s value plummeted more than $32 million a day.

5, Part II. Tony Hayward, BP’s CEO at the time of the disaster, told the world what he wanted most, adding fuel to one of the biggest public relations fires in history.

If you had been BP’s CEO, what would you have done differently? If you or your small business were to make a mistake that put your name at the top of the news reports, how would you handle it? Do you have a crisis communications plan in place?

6. Toyota occupied our minds earlier in the year with its massive automobile recall. Here’s one authoritative view on how Toyota is fairing today, along with a video of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak commenting on his Toyota experience and problems with his Prius.

A branding list would be boring without videos, some gone viral. Here are my favorites.

7. Digital Nativity

8. Blendtec/Old Spice new Will it Blend?

Be sure to listen to the background music. Why do you think the producers chose that style of music?

9. And for instant translation from English to Spanish, and Spanish to English on the iPhone, there’s the Word Lens app.

10. Your choice here: what’s your favorite branding story of 2010?

Roberta Guise enables successful women to become thought leaders. She also works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611.