Jonathan Salem Baskin


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For every argument that brand value matters (or that brands even exist as logical constructs of any kind whatsoever), there's a simple, stunningly shocking riposte: people don't remember much, and what they do remember doesn’t necessarily affect their behaviors as consumers.

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Bright Lights Project: Stock Markets

When I came up with the idea of writing a Bright Lights essay about stock markets, I was really thinking about brainstorming how retail financial services brands could better address the current gaping void between what's happening in the markets, and the needs of individual investors for meaningful and reliable information about it.

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CRM Did It, Eventually

Customer Relationship Management, or "CRM," is a broad idea that was successfully marketed starting at the turn of the century...and then fell far short of everyone's expectations. It’s useful now, but not in the ways any of its evangelists had hoped, and I wonder if business use of social media technologies will follow a somewhat similar path.

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Bright Lights Project: Apple

(Full disclosure: I worked for Apple on the original iMac launch, I have friends there whom I like and respect, and I am a customer. My observations aren't based on any insider knowledge, but rather constitute the musings of an old friend).

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More than 140 Characters

Twitter is expanding its staff and its efforts to communicate with the world, and in doing so is turning to a lot of the tried-and-true structures and approaches that its 140-character service helped destroy. The changes beg a few questions, most notably why?


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Bright Lights Project: HP

Hewlett-Packard is a Silicon valley legend. No, it invented the legend, or at least the stereotype of two guys founding a technology company in their garage, which is what Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard actually did in 1939 in Palo Alto, CA. It was a very successful company through the 1980s focusing primarily on scientific equipment, which made it turn down employee Steve Wozniak's original design for the Apple I, and then branching out to desktop devices like calculators, computers, and printers (but all arising from its focus on scientific uses).

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Hell Hath Frozen

Wait. Let me pinch myself. Burger King is forsaking its mascot in favor of food and experience content in its marketing. Gap has admitted that its marketing stinks, especially the mannequin campaign for Old Navy? No, a pinch isn't enough. I need a stiff drink, but only after I let out a loud, obnoxious, self-congratulatory I told you so

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Bright Lights Project: JCPenney

Bright_Lights_Project_-_JCPenney.mp4 Watch on Posterous

I’ve often written that the world doesn’t need another computer OS or power chord teen anthem band. It also doesn’t need another department store. This isn’t good news for JCPenney, which comes about as close as any to getting slotted into the player-to-be-named-later category.

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Potatoes vs. Salad

There are two trends underway in America these days, and they're about as contradictory as trends can get: marketers are chasing healthy living markets -- food, drinks, clothing, vacations -- while more people are getting and staying fat than ever before.

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Too Krafty for Their Own Good

Kraft Foods is going to split into two publicly traded companies, according to an announcement it made last week. This is what big companies do when businesses are under pressure to do something and all the traditional salves -- even the "new" ones that the Conventional Wisdom recommends -- aren't doing much good. Top leadership has few other tools at their disposal, so they wrangle a complex financial arrangement and wrap it in glowing language about strategy, focus, and priorities.

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