Monthly Archive: February 2013

Needed In Oregon and Elsewhere: A Meeting of Makers and Marketers

There is definitely a “Made in America” movement afoot. It’s a topic I examined last summer when meeting the Crispin-refugee founders of Boulder’s Made Movement, an agency dedicated to promoting American manufacturing.

As I conduct an internal “audit” of Oregon’s largest privately held companies and begin to assess their marketing needs (a first step in approaching them with innovative solutions), I see there are lots of manufacturers operating in the Beaver State.

Some of the more high profile things being manufactured in Oregon today (by hundreds of small privately held companies) include wine and beer. Combined, Oregon’s beer and wine industries generate $5 billion in revenue per year. Mix in the service sector tourism dollars that Oregon’s agribusiness attracts, and you’ve got an even bigger source of jobs, tax revenues and opportunities for contractors of every stripe.

What other tangible real world products are being made in Oregon, USA today? Here’s a quick look at a few B2C and B2B examples:

Interestingly, what’s not being made here are Nike or adidas shoes, or any of the sportswear that’s such an important part of Portland’s economic past, present and future. Sure the gear is designed here, but it’s made cheaply overseas. That’s not going to change overnight, but millions of American consumers (and some staff and trusted partners) would like to see it change, regardless.

Oregon-made is already a distinct mark of quality in food and beverage, software, advertising, TV and film, sustainable business and indie music circles. I’m suggesting we add our industrial sector makers to this list of sexy and promote “Made in Oregon, USA” to a wider audience and new markets.

Branding Precepts for Our Digital World: Keep It Fresh & Have Some Fun

Loosen up. The era of brand consistency is over and done with.

Media is fluid today and brand identities have to adapt if they are to remain dynamic. That’s the word from Jose Martinez Salmeron, Executive Creative Director for Social@Ogilvy in Washington, DC.

Brands should nowadays give themselves permission to be more surprising, to flirt with their customers, to listen to what they have to say and to cater to their desires. A modern brand should take leaps of faith, abandon self-obsessions and embrace risk. Conversely, by not doing this, the brand could become irrelevant in a hurry.

Martinez Salmeron also believes it is necessary to “embrace executional variance in a smart way, by establishing loose parameters that nonetheless can create a familial feel for an otherwise very rich group of brand applications across media and across continents.” In other words, brands are living cultural reflections–attempt to control them at your own peril.

bahamas_duffy

For a recent example of a fluid brand, Martinez Salmeron points to Duffy & Partners’ work for The Islands of the Bahamas — and how it is “a robust brand language that is endlessly adaptable, flexible and immediately recognizable.” Endlessly adaptable is a high standard, to say nothing of immediately recognizable. Add co-creation and engagement with the brand’s community, and the complexity of modern brand management is plain to see. Be that as it may, the job is to make it all seamless, simple and clear.

I am seeing this kind of flexibility/complexity in my own world right now. Our client, TeeBoxx, invested wisely in its brand identity and point-of-sale materials, now as the company readies its new website (and online store), creates sell sheets, branded merchandise, an event booth, pop up retail and so on, the applications for the new brand ID are multiple and varied.