Marketing Decisions

The blog of LHL Partners, LLC. The blogger is (often) Rick Lightburn, Chief Knowledge Officer of LHL Partners, with his observations about marketing. Our main page is at

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Brand Building

I received an invitation to a course led by a big-name marketing professor on "Building a Brand," with topics to include, according to the invitation,
- How important is branding?
- How do you develop a brand concept?
- How do you promote a brand?
- What makes a strong brand?
- When do you stretch a brand?
- How do you revitalize a brand?
- How do you rationalize your product line?
- How do you assess brand performance?
- What are the most frequent causes of brand failure?

It's missing the most important question: Why build a brand? I don't mean this question as rhetorical. It's an important question.
A brand is only a tool. The purpose of an organization isn't to build a brand; a brand is only a tool for achieving some other ends--a brand may be a really good way of reaching those other ends, or even the only way of achieving those ends, but it shouldn't be confused with those ends.
While "building a brand" may provide a common point of reference for the organization, it can't substitute for articulating a common sense of purpose.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Innovation from the perspective of Origination

Innovation can be approached from two perspectives: Origination or Innovators.
One can hope to make your organization associated with innovations so that your organization originates more innovations, or you can work to make your people more innovative.
The economist Brian Arthur has a new paper working from the first perspective:The Logic of Invention


Monday, July 10, 2006

The 80-20 rule and Outsourcing customers

Does the 80-20 rule apply to your customer revenue? Do you get get 80% of your revenue, or profit, from 20% of your customers? (Perhaps the concentration is different ... no matter.) Are you doing enough to service these 'key accounts?' Do you even know who these 'key accounts' are?

What about the 80% of your customers, who only generate 20% of your revenue? Are all of them even profitable? Are you giving too much service for these customers? Maybe you ought to think about 'outsourcing' these customers?

Thursday, July 06, 2006


"Innovation" is an emerging topic of substantial importance. Here's one weblog that covers the topic. The publication "Business Week" has a section on "Innovation and Design" here. One can't discuss "Innovation" without mentioning Doblin Inc. as one of its thought leaders. Both "Business Week" and Doblin come from a background of (Industrial) Design.

While "Innovation" has been around in one form or another such as creativity, it seems to have developed a new intensity and focus recently as it emerges from the shadow of "Design." The link between innovation and growth has become more obvious, and as growth is always important (but elusive) innovation has emerged as a separate topic.