What’s Cookin’? “Paula Deen Pitch Hard to Swallow” – WSJ

By SUZANNE VRANICA

Celebrity chef Paula Deen’s decision to become a pitchwoman for a diabetes drug is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Madison Avenue branding experts.

Ms. Deen, a Food Network star known for her fat-laden recipes, disclosed on Tuesday that she has had Type 2 diabetes for about three years and that she has signed on to be the spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk AS, which makes diabetes drugs such as Victoza.

Obesity increases people’s risk for Type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Novo Nordisk is launching a new marketing campaign featuring Ms. Dean to show off healthy recipes. For instance, the drug maker’s website provides a recipe for lasagna made with low-fat ingredients including extra-lean ground beef and reduced-fat cheese. It’s a far cry from Ms. Deen’s typical recipes that have included “Deep-Fried Mac and Cheese” and “Fried Butter Balls.”

Ad executives say this switch will confuse consumers. Her brand is all about “rich, tasty and decadent eating” but now she is supposed to be about “eating healthy and low fat,” said Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor New York, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC. “It’s a big change to expect consumers to buy into,” he added.

Many consumers bemoaned and mocked the news on social-media sites such as Twitter. “I think it’s completely gross that Paula Deen made $$$ pushing food that makes you sick and will now make $$$ pushing the medication for it,” read one Tweet.

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Associated PressPaula Deen, a Food Network star known for her fat-laden recipes, disclosed on Tuesday that she has Type 2 diabetes.

A spokeswoman for Novo said it chose Ms. Deen because she “resonates with people” and she has “the power to make a difference.” Her new emphasis on healthy foods could undercut her existing cookbooks “that are all tied to fatty foods,” noted Dean Crutchfield, a branding expert at Caffeine. If it’s going to succeed, Mr. Crutchfield said Ms. Deen is “going to have to change her shows and all the recipes she puts out there.”

A spokeswoman for Ms. Deen said that the chef will be creating lighter alternatives for her recipes and is in discussions with the Food Network to have those recipes incorporated into her show. Still, the spokeswoman added that Ms. Deen will also “stay true to her Grandmama Paul’s Southern cooking, which is part of her heritage.”

Odd alliances aren’t unknown on Madison Avenue. In 2002, B.B. King simultaneously promoted Burger King and diabetes products, including a blood-sugar test kit by LifeScan Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson.

Write to Suzanne Vranica at suzanne.vranica@wsj.com

Substance versus Symbolism

Brand is not marketing: It’s about who you are.

B2B Branding: Symbolism versus Substance.

By Dean Crutchfield

Brand is not marketing: It’s about who you are. The role of business is to create customers through marketing and innovation, but customers have often lost out in the relentless push to maximize shareholder value. As Neutron Jack (Welch) would tell you, “Shareholder value is a result not a strategy. Your main constituencies are your employees, products and customers.”

Whether it’s a Business-to-Business (B2B) or a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) brand, it’s all about Business-to-People (B2P). So as we reap the grim harvest of imprudent lending amidst insider dealing, bankruptcy, accusation, claim and counter claim, misconduct by big brand names and shifting customer and investor behavior has changed the perceived value exchange of B2B brands and transformed the meaning and context of trust. Look at banking; historically banks focused on acquiring, growing and protecting their clients’ assets, lending money and making profit out of the assets under management. Then at the turn of the century the value relationship between banks and clients abruptly changed: it switched to banks trading their own products at the sacrifice of their own clients and overnight the compensation model was based on upon how much money can you make by the volume of products they could sell, not the number of clients they were managing. The outcome we all know.

Trust is a crucial ingredient of all brands and their reputations. Today that contract of trust has been shattered: stocks do not have a memory recall button, but investors and customers do and that’s why fewer than half of all Americans have a favorable opinion of business today.

Compounding the brand fatigue that has besmirched many B2B brands is the belief that customer-centricity can be achieved by entering B2C’s Temple of Mammon and bedecking themselves with happy logos, pleasant typefaces, comforting language, and a library full of stock photography with smiling friendly people to lift them from their somnolence as staid corporations and market themselves as perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline and pure. The irony, of course, is that some of the best B2B brands are anything but sweet and friendly, but they are serious about who they are.

The changes wrought by the financial breakdown will reveal that our notion of trust has dramatically moved on from trust in the company to trust in the people behind the company! It’s about whom do you trust and that battle will be won and lost on the consistent delivery between word and deed.

Today, most organizations commonly refer to the meaning of share in terms of market share, profit share, revenue share, etc. What they overlook, however, is that they are also ferociously competing with other brands for share of trust.

Beauty fades with age and any B2B brand built on image has been found wanting. Tomorrow’s B2B brands need to obviate that trap and be built and driven first and foremost by their “capabilities”. These defined capabilities should dictate the products and services in their offering, the culture of the organization and finally their image to the world – not the traditional B2C way of image first.

To optimize this new era, B2B brands need to first redefine their meaning by identifying who they truly are and why they are in business. This will provide a picture of their future, their organizational style and the direction they need to take. As Jim Collins writes: “All good-to-great companies began the process of finding a path to greatness by confronting the brutal facts of their current reality.”

The second priority is for those in a position of leadership to recognize that if their people don’t believe, they’re not coming. Therefore, what are the rock hard beliefs their people can hold onto?

Third, culture, the engine that makes the B2B brand work. According to Bain, every four years, the average company loses more than half its customers! The two determinates of value creation in business are how tight the ship is run and the closeness of the relationship with the customer; don’t forget it costs 5X more to acquire a new customer, but if you retain 5% of your customers it can increase your bottom line 25%! Retaining customers can only be achieved by a culture that has shared responsibility, share benefits and shared values. Therefore, how do you separate value from commodity?

People and business live their lives in the future not the present. Whilst many B2B brands have attempted to shift from being functionally oriented to emotionally oriented-brands, the real “leap” is in being values-centric brands: It is no longer enough for B2B brands to define themselves in terms of what they are, they must make a commitment (environmentally and socially) about who they want to be. The current mindset encases itself in the moment, forgetting the prosperity of the past and ignoring our ability to shape the future. How people see the world shapes the world.

John Maynard Keynes identified sinking confidence and pessimism as causal to sustaining and deepening economic recessions. The psychology of investors and ordinary consumers is in many respects more critical than what might be described as “objective economic conditions.” The time is now for companies to take on the responsibility of rebuilding trust and advancing the common good as an antidote to the debilitating fear that will assuredly delay a speedy economic recovery. Finance might be the brains of corporations, but brands are the heart.

Dean Crutchfield: In the Press VII

Dean Crutchfield insights on marketing and brands across a variety of media and press: Subaru, Hummer, Obama, GM, General Motors, Microsoft, Bing, Brinks, Shaq, Twitter,

Thrifty Fans help Subaru Weather the Recession

Todd Wasserman, September 19th, 2009, Brandweek

http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3i0d52172227325f2868cd78baa0c610a3

Hummer’s next ride

Matt Vela, September 11th, 2009, Porfolio.com

http://www.portfolio.com/business-news/2009/09/11/stakes-for-chinese-auto-firm-considering-buying-hummer/

Ten things to think about hard before featuring the Chairman in the Advertising
Michael Bush, September 14th, 2009, AdAge

http://adage.com/article?article_id=138984

DJ plays up Obama’s cool-guy spin

Abby Phillip, July 14th, 2009, Politico.com

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/24877.html

What Did Shaq Just Tweet? A New Web Site Knows

Richard Sandomir, July 3rd, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/sports/04jock.html?_r=1&ref=sports

Brinks set to unveil an $120M rebranding effort

Natalie Zmuda, June 30th 2009, Adage

http://adage.com/article?article_id=137686

Microsoft’s Ballmer pledges big budget for Bing

Nick Eaton, June 3rd 2009, Seattlepi.com

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/171648.asp

Nike Quietly Goes Green

Reena Jana, June 11th 2009, Business Week

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_25/b4136056155092.htm?campaign_id=rss_daily

Dean Crutchfield