Professor Bradley Brand

Professor Bradley Brand's Comments

Then, miraculously, in one instant my life completely changed, when the heavy iron last rung on a sturdy rope ladder hit me in the head and momentarily knocked me out while at the same time knocking me free of the ship....But I believe even though I was knocked out, my autonomic or automatic nervous and musculoskeleton system kicked in and grabbed that rung like a man afire (well, hold it, I guess I would be quickly 'put out' if that happened... but look, I'm in trouble, and when you're in trouble, you don't worry about your figurines of speech).... So like a man ablaze with passion and actual fire as well as love of life right down to its rotten, diseased, malignant core, I grabbed that fxckin' last rung on the ladder and using strength from a Source Unknown doggedly, my tail wagging in fatigue, climbed back up, finally to above water level...

Captain Walt, beseeching the idiot climbing the ladder: 'Breathe, breathe, you axxhole, yer above the waterline now, for jake's sakes!!'

But Walt clambers down the ladder when he realizes that the poor fellow, whom he knows was thrown overboard by Dr. Canduu supposedly for the protection of Linda and her recovery from her 'hyperventilation spell', is holding onto the ladder but not progressing, and seems to be completely unconscious.... He does not want him to slip back into the sea, because then there will be no hope for him!!

While very old in calendar years by any way you count them, rugged old Walt, survivor of hundreds of treacherous adventures, grabs onto the man's wrists, and then is sure he has him safely... supposing that he pulls through what he's experienced so far.... Then he begins slowly back up the rope ladder, with each step becoming more difficult, as the body progressively loses its bouyancy as it is farther out of the water...

Then another strong arm appears from behind him, and with seemingly superhuman strength helps Walt backtrack up the rope ladder, plus drags the sizable unconscious man with little seeming strain....Plus the hand has nail polish on it!!!

Walt turns his head to see who his helper might be, and it is none other than a revived, flushed, joyful Blonde Linda herself, who says: 'It's taken me too long to catch a fish... I ain't lettin' this one disappear on me!!'
So -- enough of that... Seeing that Dr. Canduu was no longer the giant green fish monster, although he still had a few random pieces old seaweed on him, and again appeared to have Linda at his mercy, where he was supposedly ministering to her in her double stateroom (she has a close friend Jill whom I don't have time to get into now, not that I wouldn't really like to in the future when we have time), and he had just thrown me overboard because I was a talkative, annoying distraction while he was supposedly trying to care for lovely Linda, I was....

So there I was now, helpless, out beneath the surface of the InterContinental Ocean, barely holding onto what happened to be Linda's stateroom's porthole frame, with my last oxygen quickly becoming depleted, trying to signal for help, trying to signal that I couldn't swim and even if I could, the cruiser was moving at about 30 knots and I was just barely hanging on as it was...I began to see visions of my Old Great Uncle Elmer who used to amuse me with the musical farts that he could make while he sat on our family's special Easy Chair for Guests...I knew it wasn't really him in toto, because I could see through him, although many of my older family members used to vehemently claim that they could 'see through him and his plans and requests' EVEN WHEN HE WAS ALIVE!!
But that's jumping ahead, and besides, you probably already know all that stuff and are wondering why in Wooster Ohio I am repeating it. So, that's not the main story anyhow.

My main story is that I met this fat blonde on board the boat with whom I immediately fell in love. I use the crude word 'fat' because I don't want to mislead you by calling her curvy, or bounteous, or well-built, or copious, or generously endowed, or 'tons of fun'.... The fact is, some people might call her fat. Maybe a lot of people. But from all of my study of the famed portrait, 'The Man Who Served Pork Roll', I have come to believe that fatness and beauty are in the eye of the beholder: C'est moi!!!

Others can call her what they like... they can even call her late for dinner, in concern for her weight, so that's there's not so much on the table left for her to pig out on... But I simply call her 'ravishingly, totally beautiful'. Plus, as far as personality, some might say she's a rude loudmouth and even a sewerswillmouth....That she comes on too strong with a product (herself) that's too weak. Again, opinion. It's like looking at the portrait, 'The Man About to Serve Pork Roast' -- some say, no -- it's a phony.... He's already served the pork roast and now is just posing for the painter. That has now been debated in the Wooster area of Ohio for scores of years.

Now, let's be serious folks.... If you have a model who you are using for a portrait, and the portrait is of an action event, like someone climbing a mountain, or somone running the original Marathon in Greece, or someone cooking or serving a pork roast -- how are they going to have the stamina, where are they going to get all the fresh pork, etc. if it takes, as they say, many months or years for these masterpieces to be conceived, sketched, colored in, painted, highlighted.... to be completed?
And now, with this sudden dematerialization while I was spending hours studying, memorizing, the most famous Wooster portrait, 'The Man Who Would Have Served Pork Roast', at the Wooster Museum... So deep was I in my study that apparently I experienced a dimensional shift and ended up in an alternative universe where, for instance, North America and the USSR are connected by a broad land bridge, and most of the higher-ups in Wooster are Moldavian or Azerbaijanian. Also, Wooster is a resort on this Intercontinental Ocean (like, remember the Intercontinental Wrestling Championship Belt in the WWF, which was just a few steps below the WWF Championship Belt?), kind of like a junior Marseille on a junior French Rivierium.

But that's all too complicated for me to explain right now, and I'm sure I would get it wrong anyway, so let me just simplfy greatly and say that I found myself on a beautiful midsize ocean cruiser, with maybe twenty people aboard, including the crew and the passengers. After I arrived without any luggage, not even any spare undies or my sinus medicine!, I wandered into a funeral service for a famed medical specialist and ex-cannibal Dr. Canduu, who had apparently died while on this cruise in spite of being robust and in good health as well.

However, towards the end of the service, a horrid greenish looking fishman monster came to one of the underwater portholes (we were in a cruise meeting room that itself was underwater, like most of the living spaces on the sleek cruiser). Some people seemed to think that the fierce monster, who was giving certain people 'the finger' with his fish like claw, was in fact a recurrence of the selfsame departed doctor whose life was being celebrated in the service, adapted to underwater life, since he had been abruptly be thrown overboard with a thousand pounds of ship's ballast chained to him. Little did I know then that, I was going to....
CRISIS ON CRISIS: CAN LOVE SURVIVE ASEA?

PICTURE CAPTIONS

1 'Help! I've fallen unwater and I can't get up!!'

2 Captain Walt: 'Yes, I heard, I heard! I'll be out to save him as soon as I finish writing today's entry in the Captain's Log -- today's episode entitled, 'The Drowning Man''

3 'The Man Who Served Roast Pork':

4 'Put down the log and go help him, Cap'n!!'

5 'Out of my way, Dr. Canduu... Captain Brown wants me to give Blonde Linda this relaxant right now!'

6 Where Blonde Linda is in her mind

EPISODE
I claim no special powers, no power of flight other than straight down if I fell off a building; no great powers of strength other than the strength to keep carrying on in my basically miserable life; no power of foresight, else I would have lived my life completely differently given the boring way it's turned out -- at least until now; no power of suggestion over women or rich men, other than to evoke their oft-repeated suggestion: 'Out of my way, geekster!! I got no time for the likes o' you'; no power over the future, other than an amazing ability to consistently stay in an ever-so-slightly downward spiral -- you can hardly see the incline ahead, but if you look back far enough into the murky distance, it's like looking back at towering Mount Ever-rest.
SKUNKVILLE LEAD-IN FROM BLOGSITE, GOOGLE 'SKUNKVILLE OHIO' AND YOU'LL BE THERE!!

Skunkville has been written/posted entirely since Sept. 26, 2010, and currently has 778 bizarre, hilarious chapters, 3,324 pages , thousands of fittingly weird pictures from Web picture sharing sites, and vivid, gripping (groping?) text amounting to 977,048 words as of October 11, 2012....NOT DOUBLE-COUNTING ANY REPRINTED CHAPTERS, OF COURSE!! Hundreds of thousands of documented 'visits' have been made to enjoy/hate Skunkville where the saga has been posted. However, this blog is the only location where the entire novel and all its visuals can be viewed..... The Wikipedia entry 'List of Longest Novels' ranks all 480,000+ word novels: Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson (984,870 words), upon which Skunkville is now feverishly bearing down, is #2 in word length according to this Wiki, Proust's marvelous Remembrance of Things Past (1.2 million words) as #1 -- and also clearly within Skunkville's ravenous, insatiable reach....as we keep pouring out literary(??)-grade, classic(?), disgusting(!) episodes, each fitting neatly(?) within the emerging overall mad(!) kaleidoscopic(?) structure(??) that is Skunkville... For instant/complete access to all 777 charming(?), entertaining past Skunkville episodes, just click 'Archive >' at bottom of right-most-column, which shows title and publication date of each episode...then click on any episode of your choice and you'll be immediately transported there!!
Posted Saturday January 14, 2012, About: Entirety of Baseball History Replayed
FOR MORE 1937 ACTION, GOOGLE 'EOBHR'

24 CN (0-3) 0-0-1 SC (3-0) 1-5-0 in 10

To say these two teams have been having trouble scoring would be an understatement. The Reds have not scored now since the 5th inning of Opening Day, and the 3-0 Cardinals have done all that winnin' on just six runs.

In this extreme pitchers' duel between the Reds' Peaches Davis and Cardinal HOFer Dizzy Dean, it is scoreless at the end of regulation, Davis has allowed a Johnny Mize two out single B4th, a Don Padgett one out single B7th, a Terry Moore two out single B8th, and a 2nd single for Mize one out B9th... along with three free passes. But 'Ol Diz has been perfect: 27 up, 27 down.

Still, this is not a perfect game because the game is not completed. And sure enough, nasty leadoff man Ival Goodman draws a leadoff walk off Dizzy T10th to end his perfection... and then steals 2nd, endangering even the win! But aging HOFer Kiki Cuyler is out on a weak pop up, the extremely dangerous Ernie Lombardi is intentionally walked with first base open, then Dean fans Alex Kampouris and retires Billy Myers on routine fly out RCF to escape the threat.

In the B10th, future managing great, Cards' shortstop Leo Durocher, draws a one out walk, but then P Dean appears to strike out swinging -- but no -- C Lombardi's glove was nipped by Dizzy's bat for catcher's interference! Men now on first and second. Terry Moore smashes a single through 1st to load the bases, and Don Gutteridge sends a long bases loaded walkoff sac fly to deep RF to finally end the low scoring affair! And at least Diz racks up an official ten inning no hitter!!

Dean of Pitching makes Reds hitters so Dizzy that they all get a zero on today's test



The Big Three in the World of Sophisticated Adult Blog Entertainment. Parental guidance required. Absolute minimum reading age 21... (This is only to attract under-21's).....

http://blogs.delphiforums.com/skunkville

http://blogs.delphiforums.com/baseballhistory

http://blogs.delphiforums.com/abbyzynzer
Posted Friday October 07, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
For example, suppose one simply takes the skew of a brand on the Top Five Driving Attributes discussed in detail above and subtracts from it the brand's skew on the Five Weakest (most negative?) Drivers in this day and age, i.e. purchase/usage by people who skew high on desiring to be seen as

* Successful [What dat?],

* Creative [risky?],

* Economical [don't remind me!],

* Fashionable [as in here today, gone tomorrow?],

* and Spiritual [...'helps those who help themselves'].

Then, of the twenty aspirations implemented in this study, using the 637 brands measured in this study, there is a correlation greater than 0.7 (1.0 is a perfect relationship) between these Top 5 minus Bottom 5 and a composite of the brands' goodness scores and their market penetration levels...

Why have marketers and researchers failed to identify these simple, logical, yet powerful truths with all their billions in research spending over the years? Because of the outdated and hopelessly flawed measurement (i.e., questioning and scaling) and analytic methods (factor analysis, cluster segmentation, perceptual mapping) and theoretical models (usually regression-based in execution) employed by the market research community -- laughably considered the 'state of the art' by this community and the conservative, in-fighting academic community that backs and enriches itself via the commercial market research world.

If you want the truth about how to do market research and how to analyze and model with market research data, please come to this no-nonsense blog and you will receive it for free.

We will continue to discuss this Brand Optimizing Model in future posts. Thank you so much for opening your mind and reading this!
Posted Friday October 07, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
On the other hand, people with a Unique brand of Sophistication that is Genuine and Intelligent and makes them more rather than less Resourceful -- that is a powerful combination.... Or putting it in a brand context, a brand that is uniquely more advanced in a genuine, intelligent, resourceful way -- that is a good thing.

Is there any brand that actually has these five traits -- Uniqueness, Sophistication, Genuineness, Intelligence, Resourcefulness -- as its top five distinguishing traits, i.e., it purchasers/users skew more towards wanting to be seen as Unique/Sophisticated/Genuine/Intelligent/Resourceful than any other traits?

Not even close. There are only two brands that have three of the traits among their Top Five purchaser/user skews . For example, Amazon's most pronounced skew is towards people who more want to be seen as #1 Unique, its second most most pronounced skew towards people who more want to be seen as #5 Resourceful, and its fourth most pronounced skew towards people who more want to be seen as #2 Sophisticated.

Then there are a relative slew of brands (40) -- mainly fashion brands -- that have the #1/#2 combo of Unique/Sophisticated nailed, like Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton.

But there are also twenty four brands that have two of the five drivers as one of their five most pronounced strengths or skews that have neither or only one of the Unique/Sophisticated pair. For example, here are brands that were themselves Top Five on two of the Top Five Drivers without being either Unique or Sophisticated:

* VISA, Yahoo, GE, and Stouffer's for Genuineness and Intelligence

* Kelloggs and Intel for Intelligence and Resourcefulness

* Keebler. Land O' Lakes, PBS, Fox (strange bedfellows, but true), Bic for Genuineness and Resourcefulness

So, as they say, there are many roads to Roma/brand-riches.
Posted Friday October 07, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
One of the interesting aspects of the Optimal Sequence is the way that a complex understanding of what makes the strongest brands is unveiled gradually in the sequence.

#1 Unique -- a relative skew towards people who especially value being seen as Unique. The average brand receives an average score of about an 11 -- and this is a relatively homogeneous sample -- so maybe a Unique brand receives a 12 rather than a 10 for a brand lacking Uniqueness. Remember, this is a tradeoff measurement of people's aspirations (e.g., to be seen as Unique versus to be seen as Intelligent or Caring), which are in fierce competition for the person's attention. Who wants to be short on any of these traits?

The strength of this people-attribute in predicting the attraction to a brand is obvious.... Brands which lack Uniqueness are Undifferentiated, lost in the shuffle, me-too, commodities. Brands from Saab to Louis Vuitton to Play Station to National Geographic to XM to Olay to Red Bull stand out by the skew of their purchasers/users towards more intense personal desire to be seen as Unique. So, #1, if your brand isn't different, isn't in some important way a unique proposition, why should anyone buy it?


While in a vacuum, considering only the single skew of #2 Sophisticated... Brands that skew towards people who want more than most 18-54 midscale-upscale people to be seen as Sophisticated are undistinguished in terms of brand affection and also tend to have smaller franchises consistent with their 'snob appeal'. But when looked at in conjunction with the other key driving attributes, mainly the #1 Unique and #3 Genuine and #4 Intelligent, its negativity is clarified into a positive.

At its worst, Sophistication can be imitative (the 'in thang'...) and phony (putting on of 'false airs') and clearly unintelligent (spending much more for much less) -- and unattractive other than to other phonies. So, the model is saying that if a brand is sophisticated AT THE COST OF also being seen as imitative, phony, and stupid -- it definitely will be nothing more than a niche player. But if a brand can be truly #2 Sophisticated -- i.e., a brand of a higher order -- without the downsides of also being seen as a fad or superficial or a poor value, it is a key driver of success.

Brands that are exremely strongly associated with the desire for Sophistication (Hermes, Jaguar, Audi, UGG Australia, Saab, Land Rover, Organix) are uniformly likely to have purchasers/users with lower concern about being seen as Genuine and Intelligent and even #5 Resourceful (preferring, presumably, to be 'helpless' and 'in need of at least some assistance'). They know they are mannered and prefer it that way, probably feeling that Sophistication (secret or esoteric knowledge) trumps Intelligence anyway, and also that they don't need to be generally resourceful so long as they are beautiful and/or successful in their careers.
Posted Friday October 07, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
As we noted in our last post, the Optimal Attribute Sequence for a brand -- from the brand traits (as defined by the aspirational skews of its purchasers/users) that are most beneficial for a brand to ones that are least beneficial (most harmful?) -- is as follows...


1. Unique +100

2. Sophisticated +60

3. Genuine +52

4. Intelligent +50

5, Resourceful +44

6. Traditional +35

7. Environmentally Responsible +15

8. Caring +13

9. Energetic +3

10. Practical -1

11. Attractive -14

12. Youthful -23

13. Fun to be with -28

14. Innovative -39

15. Carefree -40

16. Spiritual -45

17. Fashionable -47

18. Economical -54

19. Creative -59

20. Successful -60

That is, the very strongest brand imaginable among 18-54 year old midscale/upscale consumers the U.S. market, given the 2,432,902,008,200,000,000 possible orders of the sequence, as well as the infinite possible gap sizes in the sequence (e.g., 40 units between #1 Unique and #2 Sophisticated, but just 8 units between #2 Sophisticated and #3 Genuine), i.e., would skew most towards people who aspire to be seen as Unique, and skew very roughly half that much towards people who desire to be seen as Sophisticated and Genuine and Intelligent and Resourceful, etc.

This does NOT mean that people who would be attracted to this Optimal Brand would desire more to be seen as Unique or Sophisticated than any other attribute in an absolute sense... nor are the absolute numbers relevant in any but a secondary way for brand strategy purposes.

Yes, the most absolutely sought-after traits among 18-54 year-old midscale/upscale consumers in the U.S. market are to be seen as Intelligent, Caring, Genuine, and Fun to Be With, and brands which skew towards those traits are better liked and perform better in the market, mainly because Genuine and Intelligent are #3 and #4 in the Perfect Sequence. But to have those four traits as the one to which your brand is most skewed is only a good course, very far from the Best, which is clearly laid out above in the Best Sequence.
Posted Friday October 07, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
TODAY'S POST

So let's run through this again and try to make it as simple as we can.

1. Brands do not compete in categories except if they choose to buy into this self-created and self-perpetuating illusion, kind of an implicit form of self-destructive collusion unconsciously made and accepted by the companies that are involved. 'We may all be failures, but we played it safe, relied on our pack mentality and avoided unnecessary exposure!'

2. in the single, most important 'category', the all-inclusive Identity Market -- all brands and other life choices 'compete' with each other. The Identity Market is the category of personal choices that affect and reinforce one's outward and ,equally importantly, inward (how you see yourself) identity. The consumer's Identity continues to evolve by a learning process -- which choices have brought them closer to the contentment or positive excitement and feeling of progress or feeling of safety and comfort that they seek?

3. People tend to seek and make choices that provide a consistent identity across all markets and other non-marketing choice situations... However, this identity continues to evolve, although it is constrained by the person's level of willingness to take risk and face uncertainty.

4. This is proven by the fact that brand success in terms of purchase and usage in all major U.S. product and service categories can be accurately predicted based on a single general formula that applies to, and is effective in predicting, brand choice in all categories, a formula that is easy to understand and can be shown on a single page of paper -- and it probably predicts non-branded life choices (e.g., which breed of pet to acquire, where to live, whether and who to marry) as well. Despite the incredible heterogeneity of the brands used as 'observations', including wildly varying levels of cost ($1 to $100,000) and purchase cycle (weekly, every ten years) there is a 0.7+ correlation between predicted and actual brand success (i.e., high levels of purchase and usage).

5. Thus, except for pure tactical decisions (e.g., which package do consumers find easier to open and use?) 'category research' is a waste of time and money.

6. Perceptions of brands on the drivers of choice are superflous, worthless and even misleading, often carelessly done because consumers in reality have difficulty making any but the most obvious distinctions among the brands in most marketer-see-marketer-do categories.

7. Much more predictive and reliable are the more fundamental aspirations that appear to actually drive the purchaser/user of one brand versus the purchaser/user of another. Milestones relies on the quantified tradeoff skews in personal aspirations (to be seen as unique vs. sophisticated vs, genuine vs. intelligent vs. resourceful, etc.) that are associated with purchasers/users of one brand versus purchasers/users of another as the brand identity input for its modelling. Since the twenty aspirations are universal in nature, this means all brands can be compared in a vast, unified space.
Posted Friday October 07, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
A 'Forgiving' Model

PICTURES (GOOGLE 'DELPHI FORUMS AMERICA'S BEST BRANDS')

1 UGG Australia: 'Shallow' Sophistication?

2 Marc Jacobs: Unique & Sophisticated

3 Yahoo: Genuine & Intelligent

4 Kelloggs: Intelligent & Resourceful

5 PBS: Genuine & Resourceful

6 Fox: Also Genuine & ResourcefulOUR USUAL BACKGROUND STATEMENT


ARTICLE
All results are from the exclusive and unique Milestones Survey, conducted in Dec. '08, Dec. '09, and Dec. '10, with the Dec. '11 wave just around the corner. In the U.S. Milestones study, there are now 637 major brands for which we will soon have ultra-precise, unique information across all four years, as well as dozens of others on which we have a wave or more of insightful information.

The Milestones study incorporates many of the principles and measurement and modeling breakthroughs of our unique and breathtakingly powerful custom strategic research work. This work has typically helped lead clients who have chosen to follow its guidance to much greater financial success.

The Milestones survey annually interviews 5,000+ highly desirable consumers:

a) age 18-54

b) have at least a high school education and

c) have a household income of at least $35,000 ($20,000 if they are under age 30)

The people who meet these criteria have an average household income of approximately $90,000.

At its most fundamental level, Milestones asserts that

1. The most important market for the vast majority of brands is the Identity Market, wherein all brands compete for consumer funds with each other, regardless of 'category'.

2. The Identity Market is much more of an endless void than a crowded, saturated marketplace. There are at least 240 quintillion documented positions a brand can take in this market; the most desirable portions of this opportunity space are totally devoid of any brand presence, with the nearest real brand 'light years' away. We can tell you exactly where these empty but highly attractive (to consumers) brand positioning zones are and exactly how to get there.

3. Current marketers have 'bought into' the notion that they compete in confined, claustrophobic 'category markets' where getting 'a leg up' is painfully hard to achieve and quickly duplicated if the 'leg up' works.... In their blindness, they perceive the opposite of the wide-angle truth. The marketers are trapped in their own imaginary self-created prisons, making a sequence of miniscule 'safe' incremental moves reinforced by the myopic, self-perpetuating research done by the 'big, trusted (why??) research houses'.
5:33 PM
MEET THE ANAKRONISTS

PICTURE CAPTIONS (GOOGLE 'SKUNKVILLE OHIO', BLOG NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT)

1 Fearless, loyal Studio Audience Control Specialist Clarence orders the leaders of the An-Akron-ists to come into the studio and discuss the situation live on the air with Walt

2 Nutmeg the Clown before he was brutally gunned down outside the studio for trying to infliltrate third-wing anarchist group as a new member, available for birthday parties, Christenings, and Bar Mitzvahs

3 Walt: 'So what's your point?'

4 Anakronist1: 'We want Akron to stay as it was back in the 1880's, when we started producing hand-crafted tires here

5 Anakronist 2: 'In my day, they had chairs with proper seating dimensions, nowadays I end up standing almost everywhere I go!'

6 Anakronist 3: 'In those days, a man with a long beard was treated with respect and reverence!'

7 Anakronist #4, XFP?&<>uY%: 'As the Grand Leader of the Anakronists, they faithfully do whatever I tell them to do, no matter how risky or unlawful it is. Anakronist #3, would you please cut off your beard with these laser scissors? Thank you. Now by that action, you are now complete clean shaven and therefore no longer a member of the group. Anakronist #2, please sit on him until he stops moving or breathing!!

STORY TO FOLLOW IN A LITTLE WHILE MAYBE, OR YOU CAN JUST READ THE PICTURE CAPTIONS AND BE DONE WITH IT, KEEPING IN MIND HOWEVER THAT THE PICTURES AND CAPTIONS OFTEN HAVE LITTLE TO DO WITH THE ACTUAL WRITTEN STORY

NO WAIT, BOSS, I'VE REALLY WRITTEN SOMETHING NOW. IT'S THE FIRST TIME I EVER TRIED DOING THIS KIND OF WRITING, BUT JUST TAKE A GLANCE AND TELL ME WHAT YA THUNK!!
Posted Sunday October 02, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
Oh, no -- not again!! I used Uncle Walt's password because he had the PC remembering it. He's never going to let me in his house again!! And the boss, the guy who wrote this confusing stuff, will probably fire me too -- or at least insist on spanking me again. Do you think that's ethical in this day and age? But he is kind of cute in his middle-aged way...Too bad he's married and already has a girl friend on the side...
Posted Friday September 30, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
Then, to continue the thinking above, only one of the three brands with the right #1 aspiration also had the right #2 -- and that one lacked the right #3. End of game. This is remarkably compelling evidence that no marketer really knows what they're doing from a brand positioning standpoint -- because they lack the proper research, measurement and modeling approaches. So, if anything, what we're seeing is that these 637 brands, because they are imitating or slightly differentiating themselves from each other in their imaginary little categories, have all ended up being incredibly far away from the Sweet Spot -- like good old UDFy-38135539, the known galaxy farthest from earth!!

Now, let's turn back to the relatively mundane topic that the rest of this article covers... examples of media that can help a brand move toward a more optimal positioning, or move away from a positioning that is not healthy for the brand.

Without giving away the optimal sequence, let's look at four aspirations that any brand needs to be associated with at a substantial level if it wants to start moving towards its great potential:

These four growth traits are a by shaping or creating a brand that makes the user feel as if they will be seen as more Unique/Sophisticated/Genuine/Intelligent (even if they are the only ones who know they use it!)...A few examples of media that exude those traits:

For Unique-aspiring people: National Geographic, XM, NPR, Country Living, Popular Mechanics

For Sophisticated-aspiring people: Vogue, Forbes, O, Oprah the Magazine, The New York Times, Maxim

For Genuine-aspiring people: PBS, Fox, Discovery Channel, CBS, Better Homes & Gardens

For Intelligent-aspiring people: Barnes & Noble, Consumer Reports, Food Network

Or we could look at the four traits, not necessary in sequence, that are most likely to depress demand for your brand in the current world, and media that can help alleviate these associations:

NOT For Successful-aspiring people: PBS, Good Housekeeping, Turner Classic Movies, NPR (So, for example, a brand that has a lot of its image tied up in success imagery -- and thus paying the consequences of that -- can advertise in or be a supporter of these media to help smooth off that rough edge)

NOT for Creative-aspiring people (as in, who can afford to be Creative today? Stick with the tried-and-true!): Sirius/XM, TBS, NBC, Lifetime

NOT for Economical-aspiring people: Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide

NOT for Fashionable-aspiring people: CBS, Popular Mechanics, Fox, Discovery Channel
Posted Friday September 30, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
With twenty orthogonal or near-orthogonal aspiration attributes (orthogonal = non-duplicative; the highest correlation that exists between any pair of aspirations is 0.33 -- and most inter-aspiration correlations are near 0.00) there are 2,432,902,008,176,640,000 different possible attribute sequences (i.e., possible product positionings), from the aspiration most associated with heavy, heavy!! purchase and use of your brand to the one least associated.

Each of these sequences has a different expected level of perceived goodness by consumers, and also a different expected level of purchase and use. Even with the simplest model, the correlation between estimated purchase/use and actual purchase/use levels ia above (0.7, 1.0 being a perfect relationship and 0.0 being no relationship) -- even though we are not even attempting to factor in other marketing drivers like, say, brand familiarity or even what category the brand is in! The truth is, brands with the right sequences tend to create awareness for themselves, to grow and flourish naturally and thus tend to create the desire to fund (on the part of the marketer) greater awareness and support.

Then, beyond the attribute sequence of a brand, there are the gaps in the attribute sequences as an additional source of important information. For instance, the top-ranking attribute in describing the aspirations that drive a brand may be 1% more descriptive than the #2 attribute, or 3 times (300%) more descriptive. This also obviously makes a big difference, meaning the positioning options for a brand are essentially infinite, if 2,432,902,008,176,640,000 sequences wasn't make you already think 'might as well be infinite'!

And, it will probably shock you to learn that of the 637 major brands measured in this study, only three (Amazon, Play Station, and Advil) had the right aspiration in the first position of their sequence -- something that 5% of the 637 brands (about 32 brands) should have done if they were dreampt up by monkeys at a keyboard!! Also, for technical people out there, the sequencing is done by comparing the average aspirations of the purchasers/users of the brand with the entire sample -- i.e., it is based on difference scores from the grand mean -- so there is no circular mathematical reason causing the dearth of brands with even the beginnings of a good positioning!!
Posted Friday September 30, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
TODAY'S POST

So let's run through this again and try to make it as simple as we can.

1. Brands do not compete in categories except if they choose to buy into this self-created and self-perpetuating illusion, kind of an implicit form of self-destructive collusion unconsciously made and accepted by the companies that are involved. 'We may all be failures, but we played it safe, pack mentality and avoided unnecessary exposure!'

2. in the single, most important 'category', the all-inclusive Identity Market -- all brands and other life choices 'compete' with each other. The Identity Market is the category of personal choices that affect and reinforce one's outward and ,equally importantly, inward (how you see yourself) identity. The consumer's Identity continues to evolve by a learning process -- which choices have brought them closer to the contentment or positive excitement and feeling of progress or feeling of safety that they seek?

3. People tend to seek and make choices that provide a consistent identity across all markets and other non-marketing choice situations... However, this identity continues to evolve, in part driven by the person's level of willingness to take risk and face uncertainty.

4. This is proven by the fact that brand success in terms of purchase and usage in all major U.S. product and service categories can be accurately predicted based on a single general formula that applies to, and is effective in predicting, brand choice in all categories, a formula that is easier to understand and can be shown on a single page of paper -- and probably non-branded life choices as well.

5. Thus, except for pure tactical decisions (e.g., which package do consumers find easier to open and use?) 'category research' is a waste of time and money.

6. Perceptions of brands on the drivers of choice are superflous, worthless and even misleading, compared to knowing the aspirations that actually drive the purchaser/user of one brand versus the purchaser/user of another. These drivers can be directly or indirectly related to personal aspirations:

a. I aspire to be seen by others as economical.

b. When purchasing consumer goods or making other expenditure related decisions, I aspire to be seen as a person who seeks out and purchases the one that is the best value, considering both actual cost and the way it will meet the needs for which it is intended.

Unless a client insists otherwise, we always use method a. because it is simpler and clearer and actually yields results far more predictive of real life consumer behavior.

There is a standard set of twenty traits that we have used with great success since the beginning of our firm, sometimes with minor adjustments to better accomodate the client's wants or 'fit the situation', in a long series of strategic studies.

As we have explained in earlier articles, for any brand we can order these twenty aspirations in terms of how predictive they are of use or non-use of any brand measured in the research -- or for that matter for any other brand or non-brand that can be measured outside of Milestones by our question.
Posted Friday September 30, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
At its most fundamental level, Milestones asserts that

1. The most important market for the vast majority of brands is the Identity Market, wherein all brands compete for consumer funds with each other, regardless of 'category'.

2. The Identity Market is much more of an endless void than a crowded, saturated marketplace. There are at least 240 quintillion documented positions a brand can take in this market; the vast majority of the most desirable portions of this opportunity space are totally devoid of any brand presence. We can tell you exactly where they are and exactly how to get there. The Identity Market is bounded but might as well be infinite within its unimaginably vast boundaries....analogies to the immenseness of interstellar space very appropriate.

3. Current marketers have 'bought into' the notion that they compete in confined, claustrophobic 'category markets' where getting 'a leg up' is painfully hard to achieve and quickly duplicated if the 'leg up' works.... In their blindness, they perceive the opposite of the wide-angle truth. The marketers are trapped in their own imaginary self-created prisons, making a sequence of miniscule 'safe' incremental moves reinforced by the myopic, Stone Age, self-perpetuating research done by the 'big, trusted (why??) research houses'.
Posted Friday September 30, 2011, About: Best Brands in the U.S.
THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE

PICTURE CAPTIONS (BRAND PICTURES)

Unique
Sophisticated
Genuine
Intelligent
Not about $uccess
Not about creativity
Not about the household budget
Not about Fashion

OUR USUAL BACKGROUND STATEMENT

All results are from the exclusive and unique Milestones Survey, conducted in Dec. '08, Dec. '09, and Dec. '10, with the Dec. '11 wave just around the corner. For as little as $15,000-$35,000, your company will now be able to receive rich, unparalleled strategic information on its brand(s) across these four historically challenging years for brands and the economy. Old paradigms have crumbled and new paradigms are needed to deal with a marketing world that will probably never to return to 'normal' as we have known it.

In the U.S. Milestones study, there are now 637 brands for which we will soon have ultra-precise, unique information across all four years, as well as dozens of others on which we have a wave or more of insightful information.

For more information on the study, please call us at 267-364-5805. We are working at a strategic level with or have worked at a strategic level with many of the largest and most successful brands in the U.S. and the world. The Milestones study incorporates many of the principles and measurement and modeling breakthroughs of our unique and uniquely powerful custom strategic research work. This work has typically helped lead clients who have chosen to follow its guidance to much greater financial success.

Note: Due to extreme demand for our economical but highly strategic services and great precision tracking data, most of our sales and service interaction with clients is now done in conference calls, video conferences, or Webcasts as opposed to face to face visits.

The Milestones survey interviews 5,000+ highly desirable consumers:

a) age 18-54

b) have at least a high school education and

c) have a household income of at least $35,000 ($20,000 if they are under age 30)

The people who meet these criteria have an average household income of approximately $90,000.
Posted Sunday September 18, 2011, About: ENTIRETY OF BASEBALL HISTORY REPLAYED NOW BANNED BY ESPN AND MLB
(Sliding over into the driver???s seat) And I just want each of you readers to know ??? but especially you, the one who is reading right now, how much I love you and appreciate you for spending this time with me. I know you will soon share my natural joy in life??? and feel ecstatic just as I do. After all, Joy is in us always??? so let???s all FEEL IT BABY!!!

(Starting up the Jaguar) You know, I???m so grateful for the thoughtful people who developed the idea of these automatic starters, so I don???t have to go out and crank up the engine any more??? And the genius who replaced the reins with an actual steering wheel???. Why, I remember my old car that had to be cranked to a start, and our vehicle before that with the reins??? And that Claude Raines, that wonderful British actor, and the British for doing such a good job of managing our young America before we politely asked them to turn over the reins to us, that we were ready, and the movie about all that with Claude Raines??? And of course the rains that water the Earth and make it flourish!! NO SHXT SHERLOCK, there is a lot to be thankful for, like the fine detective Sherlock Holmes and this fine road, actually paved for my riding comfort and safety, through this joyous, lively forest, full of living things, big and small and mid-size ??? and also the somewhat large and somewhat small things that aren???t quite medium but not quite small/large. And to Sherlock Holmes for setting the Gold Standard for detective work and inspiring many people to solve many crimes??? And for the criminals, too, for showing by their own sacrifice that CRIME TRULY DOESN???T PAY. And I am sure that they experienced great joy too when their schemes succeeded and even when they were brought to JUSTICE, back into the human fold???

Ah, yes??? And thank goodness for the thoughtful automobile company that placed this large windshield in front of me so I can see where I???m going rather than just having to go slow and back up whenever I drove into things, or keep having to hang my head out the side window to see what's ahead. And, of course, for the bumpers on the front and back for when I do run into things??? And for my eyes so I can see out through the windshield and for my brain for my eyes to send information to so I can use it for my betterment as well as the betterment of whatever I might have run over??? Whoops, like that rabbit that I didn???t see just then because I was being too grateful!

And for the speed of the little rabbit who managed to jump out of the way at just the last second???.Look, I'm no Pollyanna, but what I'm saying is true... And I'm thankful too for Pollyanna, for setting the Gold Standard for optimism and gratefulness!
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