Weights Watchers Changes its Name

On NBR with with Susan Herera about Weight Watchers name change:

HERERA: Let`s start with WW. The market liked it. It was up 4.5 percent today. Last year, it was a huge gainer on the stock market.

What do you make of their move today?

CRUTCHFIELD: Well, you know, brands are about standing out or die. And so, to stand out, you need to be relevant and Weight Watchers realizes that the past was about dieting and looking good. Today and tomorrow is about feeling good and getting more out of life.

And so, they want to create a platform that`s not just about diet but is beyond diet and in many ways they`re an ecommerce business that can be selling dietary products, health food products, they can be selling healthcare equipment. There`s lots of opportunity for a stretch for WW far more than it did when it was Weight Watchers.

GRIFFETH: Then there are those companies that don`t want to remind people of the past of what`s happened. GMAC (NYSE:GJM) that Sue mentioned before, GMAC (NYSE:GJM) Bank becoming Ally Bank. GMAC (NYSE:GJM) was notorious for some of the subprime loans that led to the financial crisis, right?

CRUTCHFIELD: Absolutely. And I think — you know, one wants to break away from the past. GMAC (NYSE:GJM) is a classic example of that where, yes, it was literally drowned out by the whole subprime mortgage scandal. So, it needed to signal change.

One of the best ways for a company to signal change is through a naming and identity program. It`s the only public way one can do that. But the question is how well you do it, how well do you manage the process but most importantly, you know, what do people think? What`s the perception especially from the investor market?

HERERA: You point out that an unsuccessful name change, and I`m sure there has been more than this one, but this one everybody will probably remember, Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) became BlackBerry. You say by the time they did that and tried to become more hip and more relevant, it was too late.

CRUTCHFIELD: Yes, I mean, they lost their relevance. I remember
recommending Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) back in 2000 change its name to BlackBerry but they were too arrogant to recognize their most important brand was BlackBerry. And that disconnect I think really hurt them from a development point of view. And by the time they started to grab hold of that name BlackBerry, BlackBerry has lost their relevance and so had
Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and the rest is history.

GRIFFETH: Then there`s Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). They restructured the company to create this umbrella name Alphabet, but we still find ourselves even today, years later, referring to the company as Alphabet, better known as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

CRUTCHFIELD: Right.

GRIFFETH: I mean, whether that name change has worked or not remains to be seen, huh?

CRUTCHFIELD: Well, I think it`s really about — that`s a business issue. That`s a business definition issue. Don`t forget they used to be called BackRub up until 2000. So, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was a far better improvement on that.

But Alphabet is really about that view the company has of A to Z of any investment. It`s got YouTube. It`s phenomenally successful Android platform. It also creates products like Pixel. So, it doesn`t want to be defined by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) which is a search engine and a very successful one, but it`s just part of its portfolio.

So, strategically they`re trying to build a reputation around Alphabet. It`s particularly an investor brand as opposed to a consumer brand like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

HERERA: Very interesting, Dean. As always, thanks for joining us.

Speaking at IAAs What’s Next? The Challenges Facing Brands

Crises are like particle accelerators for brands. It’s not a matter of if, but when. All organizations spanning all business sectors face the reality of crisis. Privately held mom-and-pop shops, publicly held conglomerates and nonprofit foundations. None are immune. Whether an act of God or act of Man, a crisis will hit and, by its very nature, will hit when least expected.

Too many crises end in cataclysmic failure because companies fail to realize that the initial story is often just the appetizer. When news and social media burst when crisis strikes you need to marshall a crisis team and open all lines of communication with a bold response within 24hrs.

At the IAA Global conference on November 6th in NYC, I will be presenting about brands in chaos and how to manage crisis.

Here’s What You Can Learn From Taylor Swift’s Viral Instagram Post

Political statements from brands are highly attractive to consumers–when done correctly. Here’s what I shared with Inc. Magazine

 

Check Out an Amazon Go Store

If you want to glimpse the future of retail, check out an Amazon Go store.

They’re sleek and modern, with a minimalist vibe. Black merchandise racks. Wood veneer. Polished concrete. Pop music plays softly in the background; cameras nestled in the ceiling monitor your every move as you wander the aisles.

“Big deal,” you may be thinking. “Sounds like Whole Foods.” True. But you won’t see a single cashier, cash register, or self-service checkout stand.

What’s in a Name Change? For Those Saying U.S.M.C.A., a Mouthful

President Trump has long wielded the word “Nafta” like an epithet, deriding the North American Free Trade Agreement as the worst trade deal in history.

So when he renamed it the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — or U.S.M.C.A. — this week, he may have short-circuited attempts to criticize the new deal. Why? Because the name itself is really hard to say.

Even Mr. Trump, who bills himself as a master brander, appeared to grasp that U.S.M.C.A. was not as smooth as Nafta, saying on Monday that people would make use of the new term “99 percent” of the time. At an event in Philadelphia on Tuesday he poked fun at the name, arguing that it had to be changed because Nafta was so bad for the country.

“U.S.M.C.A. Like Y.M.C.A., or United States Marine Corps with an A at the end,” Mr. Trump said. “I like the way it sounded.”

He is largely alone. While reviews of the trade deal itself are still coming in, the name itself has gotten a resounding thumbs down.

Top Trump administration officials have stumbled over the agreement’s shorthand, which linguists say is tricky to verbalize because it is an initialism rather than an acronym, like Nafta, which slides off the lips like a word.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, made clear that he was still coming to terms with the new name while espousing its many virtues.

“The North American deal — the U.S.A. — uh, uh — got to get this right — U.S.A.M.C.?” Mr. Kudlow said.

Dean Crutchfield, a branding and marketing strategist in New York, said that since the name was officially being changed in the text, it would probably take hold, as long as the news media used it.

“I think the more people see it, the more they will get accustomed to it,” Mr. Crutchfield said.

The Future regarding Elon Musk

Should Elon stay or should he go? That is the question we discussed on CNBC Power Lunch. The issues facing Tesla are like a spreading sore. Trust has taken a major battering.

There is a dysfunctional dynamic at Tesla. Leadership is to help people develop beyond their dreams and hold their fears. Elon has been weighed, measured, and found wanting.

Shareholder value is not a strategy it’s a result. One thing is for sure the Tesla brand can be stretched beyond cars, trucks and lithium batteries. Other automakers cannot. Should Elon be running the day to day or should he be focusing on those bigger bets? Here’s the segment.

How do Retailers Differentiate and Build Reputation?

Was Build a Bear’s “Pay your age” a success? It certainly garnered substantial media coverage. What can retailers be doing about standing out in the crowded market with marketing that’s sustainable?

Here are some thoughts I shared with China Global Television.