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March 2008


Bill Gammell


It’s nice to hear that you will be here in good ol’ Utah. I would agree...we do need better branding. While you are at it, can you fix the font on our license plates and our utah.com website. The "U" just looks odd. I wish I could hear you speak!


What are your thoughts on Red Bull's Cola (http://www.bevnet.com/news/2008/03-24-2008-red_bull_cola.asp)
? I thought they were running the right way with Carpe Diem (completely new line), but that this is a step in the wrong direction, as consumer don't think soda when they think Red Bull.


What an interesting way to get people interested in reading! Book trailers are like movie trailers, but for books! You can find them all over the internet now, but here is a site that's featuring them on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/booktrailers


microsoft never inveted a useful think. everything which has some sense, was bought or stolen. no new category or new idea from redmont, only copies (and mostly spoilages). i dont know how we can think that now (when they have problems in web) they will act differently.

Richard Saling

Sadly I have worked for a couple of those companies. My present company, ICRossing is excluded from that list as we are very focussed on who we are as a company and what we do and do not stray from that which is so tempting to so many companies to be all things to all people instead of finding your strengths and sticking to that. When you dilute your brand, your message or even the service provided, you confuse the employees who don't have a purpose and confuse the clients who don't know your value proposition.

Laura Ries

Pepsi's enemy is Coca-Cola. But Coca-Cola's enemy is not Pepsi.

Coke's enemies are energy drinks, water and other sodas. But the biggest enemy of Coke is Diet Coke.

That is why line extension is a killer. Coke needs to say "why drink that sissy diet stuff when you should be drinking the real thing!" But they can't because Coke is in the name.

And don't get me started on Coke Zero! Great product, terrible name.

Coke buying Honest Tea is interesting. I think the brand is going to lose a lot of its specialness. I don't think it has the broad appeal they think it will either. Coke will push it too fast too soon. Since they probably paid too much for it.

I'm skiing in Utah, enjoying great powder. I talk to the Salt Lake City convention and tourism board on Thursday. Utah is a fantastic place, I've been coming here for over 20 years. But they need some better branding. Colorado kicks their butt in terms of brands, but never snow!

- Laura

tyler dewitt

Theres another great post by Laura

tyler dewitt

There another great post by Laura


Great post, I agree that "a company without an enemy is a company without a purpose" but I think a lot of companies pick enemies that really shouldn't be their main purpose...is Coke really Pepsi's enemy or is the consumer's changing neeeds the enemy Pepsi should focus on? Or is it both?

Neil Bull

Quote of the year:

"A company without a focus is a company without an enemy. And a company without an enemy is a company without a purpose."


Mario Sanchez

Hi Laura:
I had just read about Coca-Cola's recent acquisition of cult brand Honest Tea when I read your article, and I wonder what will happen to Honest Tea's culture and positioning in the name of synergies. Great, thought provoking post.

Geoff Livingston

Great post, Laura. I just saw C.K. Prahalad speak last week on this very topic. Spot on.

The worst is companies see innovation as an end result, when in reality entrepreneurs understand that innovation is a process to get somewhere: Usually helping your customers or the marketplace.

Martin Calle

You are always so spot on. What a great conversation starter. As decades progressed in the new product and brand invigoration arena I'd had so many similar thoughts as to why some managers got it while others did not. Over time, I came to witness new brands in the rapid growth versus mature earnings phases of their lifecycles, then it dawned on me that the managers managing the businesses were not creators, they were managers, and typically had never created a brand, a positioning or new product concept from scratch. They simply continued to manage something that was handed off to them previously similarly managed by someone else. The origins of the brand (no pun intended) so distant as to be inmaterial.

I do not wish to slam managers for lackluster performance in innovation. Having repeated the innovation process successfully many times, I only find it sad that it takes people a lifetime to gain their first career worth of experience. J. Peter Grace told me that "life was a matter of exposure." And that "the more you expose yourself to, the more likely you are to succeed." So what processes are in-house, or that may be outsourced that can provide multiple lifetimes of experience in one "less than a year" new product development lifecycle? Maybe that could offer such managers a creative jolt of on-demand understanding, insight and execution.

Bill Gammell

Dripping with Awesomeness. Thanks Laura!

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