“Schizophrenic behavior dilutes core brand equity. While it may help in the short term, knee-jerk reactions to the immediate environment can prove detrimental to the long-term value of the brand, especially if they don’t link up to what a brand represents or the bigger brand idea.”

Defying The Genericizing of Brands – BSI

This morning, VSA writer/strategist, Phil K. points to some of the new work VSA is collaborating with O&M, SYPartners and IBM on. Having participated in some the planning for the new, Smart Planet campaign and these videos on “Progress” specifically, I will admit, I am a bit biased as well. But I am happy to see how well they turned out.

Like many people, I was not a big fan of the spots O&M did for IBM towards the end of ’08, which attempted to combine the playfulness of Disney characters with the rigidness of  the corporate world. In my opinion, they failed. Compared with the spots I see now (including this one), the effectiveness is night and day.

As Phil mentions, this is “some gorgeous, emotionally resonant work in support of IBM’s Smarter Planet campaign.” At a time with so much uncertainty and so many questions about the future of the country, world, etc., the message is relevant, humanizing and confidence inducing. It makes me feel optimistic about the future. IBM cares, they realize the magnitude of the work ahead, but they are some of the smartest people in the world and they have a plan to help make the world a better (“smarter”) place. It makes me want to invest (more) in IBM.

I’ve been blazing through Friedman’s, Hot, Flat and Crowded (which is terrific by the way), and it is impressive how well the Smarter Planet concept fits into his suggestion for how a “Green Revolution” could be realized.

Originally posted on 3.18.09

Some people may not see this as a branding decision, but I do…

I’m really irritated Yellow Pages–or “Dex”–continues to send out phone books to everyone possible–sometimes two per household!  I just walked down the street and must have seen 30 or so piled up along the sidewalk…just on one block!

I realize the majority of Americans don’t have access to the internet and do actually use the physical book, but I do have the internet and I don’t need five pounds of paper delivered to me from Yellow Pages every year, or, really, ever again. Honestly, I would imagine there are thousands, maybe millions of others who feel the same way. If I need to know where something is, I Google it, or I use Yelp! or I use the F-ing YELLOW PAGES App on my phone!

I’m no genius, but I would think it would be fairly simple to buy a list from Comcast or AT&T or any other internet provider and basically take those residents OFF the mailing list. Is it more complicated than that, Dex? Would this process really cost more than what you now pay for paper, manufacturing, delivery, etc? I truly doubt it.

Yellow Pages has done very little in terms of brand building or reputation management, but this has to be one of the biggest no-brainers I’ve ever witnessed. They would not only cut down on paper consumption and costs, they would reduce their manufacturing impact and costs, and decrease their delivery impact and costs.  It would be such an easy shift and it would all be so simple to measure and report. There is absolutely zero downside. Does anyone understand the hold up?

UPDATE: A very cool phonebook reuse-design is pointed to by Inhabitat, who mentions, “every year in the United States alone 500 million directories are printed, and the E.P.A. estimates that they account for nearly 5% of total landfill waste.”