In Chapter 8 of Essentials of Marketing we talk about the value branding provides to a company and how they protect those brands with trademarks. The USA Today recently ran the article, “What’s the story behind Apple’s logo, and those of Amazon, Starbucks and other companies?” The article opens with the video embedded here and then goes on to talk about some of the earliest logos used along with some history and backstories on the logos used by many large companies today including Amazon, FedEx, AT&T and more. It covers some hidden secrets students might not be aware of. For instance, did they know that the smile in the Amazon logo connects the “A” and “z” together signifying Amazon’s ability to provide everything from A-Z? Did they know there is a hidden arrow in the FedEx logo symbolizing the company’s logistics speed and accuracy? In 2007 Baskin-Robbins decided they needed to overhaul their logo to become more current but that meant throwing out the “31 flavors” identity they had built over the past 50 years. Their solution – hide the “31” in the “BR” of their new logo. How about the significance of the peacock in the NBC logo or the significance of the number of feathers in that logo? The article is a fun read and will certainly surprise students with the depth of thought and meaning behind some of the iconic logos that we know today.
Video games, once considered the domain of young kids and self-proclaimed geeks, are growing at an astounding rate. According to NewZoo’s Global Games Market Report, the industry was expected to reach $138B in 2018. With that growth and the emergence of esports we’re now seeing gamers stepping into the influencer role alongside traditional athletes. One of those gamers, Ninja, has teamed up with energy drink producer Red Bull.
Red Bull wants to boost brand awareness in the gamer segment who frequently rely on energy drinks to power through long gaming sessions. Red Bull’s campaign includes a contest that gives fans a chance to meet Ninja and have a gaming session with the superstar. You can read more about the campaign in this Marketing Dive article. The topic could apply to a discussion about segmentation, brand building, influencers and advertising/sales promotion.
Most students understand that a recognizable brand is an important asset for a company, but few realize that value can be quantified as brand equity. In Essentials of Marketing we define brand equity as “the value of a brand’s overall strength in the market.” In this Interbrand report on the world’s most valuable brands you can see the staggering value of top global brands but it’s also interesting to see how many of these top brands are technology companies. Time-honored brands like McDonald’s, Disney, and even Coca-Cola have fallen in value relative to tech giants like Apple and Google.
A simple but fun class discussion can be sparked by posting half a dozen popular brands on a slide and asking students to estimate what those brands are worth. You can then reveal the actual value of those brands and have a discussion with students about the value of brand equity. With so much riding on their brand, companies spend millions of dollars to establish, maintain, and protect their brand image and familiarity. In chapter 8 we talk about the importance of brand selection and some of the characteristics to consider when choosing a brand name. Another exercise can be to give students a few brand names and ask them to evaluate those names based on the criteria outlined in chapter 8.