3 Brand Values Sears/Craftsman Taught Us

craftsman-the-power-of-brandingEvery now and then I find an article written by someone else that’s so good it has to be shared. That’s the case with this blog post from Kleber & Associates, a building products sales and marketing company.

When you go to branding school, one of the first things you learn is a lesson on the power of a brand, using the example of Coca-Cola.

The professor is likely to quiz the students: “If you could divide the Coca-Cola company into two parts — one part is all of the factories, bottlers, formula, buildings, equipment assets, and the other part is the Coke brand name and trademark — which would you take?”

Your answer better be the Coke brand.

Why? Because all of that other infrastructure and distribution can be replicated, but a brand with the magnitude of Coke would take generations to rebuild.

But aside from a lesson for marketing students, why would anyone consider that a company be parsed up in that way?

In a way, however, it just happened, and with an iconic American brand, no less. Not with Coke, but with Craftsman.

In a move designed to stave off insolvency, Sears recently sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million. While we’re sure there was more to the sale than the Craftsman name and branding standards manual, it all appears so very counter-intuitive to us.

We can’t help but think that Sears Holdings Corp. CEO Edward Lampert should have kept the Craftsman brand and sold everything else.

craftsman-logoMention the Craftsman brand to any red-blooded American male (and an increasing number of females), and they’ll rattle off a list of traits the brand has come to stand for. Durable, American made, strong, reliable. Despite missteps over the years, and the struggles of the brand’s caretakers at Sears, the Craftsman name is largely unspoiled.

We as marketers and branding nerds can all rest easy, as it appears the cherished Craftsman name is in good hands. We can also look back and remember what the Craftsman brand has been over the years.

Most importantly, we can take heed of some of the lessons Craftsman has taught us about how to build a strong brand:

 

Make a simple, strong promise

While we respect the role legal and actuarial professionals play in advising how building products and tools are marketed, how warm-n-fuzzy does it make you feel when you hear that a product has a “limited lifetime” warranty?

The Craftsman brand confidently stood for “Made in America. Guaranteed forever.” Forever. There’s no mincing words in that tagline.

Granted, it’s easy to guarantee forever if your product is essentially a hunk of nearly indestructible forged steel.

But the point is that a brand is the sum of the simplest, strongest promises it can build.

 

Keep innovating

When you think of Craftsman tools, you most likely think of the multi-piece wrench sets, neatly hanging in order of size on a pegboard. It’s a product that hasn’t been changed in a century.

Still, every year Craftsman came out with some new gadget or gizmo. Some were pretty superfluous (a battery-powered heated jacket, really?), others actually pretty smart.

But no matter what, those new products always caught the eye of their target audience (see below) and brought people into the Sears stores to buy them, along with the standard wrench sets. Craftsman never stood pat. They always found a way to capture consumers’ attention with their innovations.

Well, except for the battery-powered jacket.

 

Remember your audience

Since their founding in 1927, Craftsman stayed true to their two audiences: NASCAR mechanics and middle-aged, suburban men who secretly wished they were NASCAR mechanics. The second group was probably the biggest.

Craftsman has always been for the guys. They didn’t ebb into pink tools for women or co-brand with Star Wars to appeal to kids. They knew who their audience was and always, always connected with him. In fact, when Jimmy Carter was presented with a farewell gift as he departed from the White House, it was a Craftsman woodworking set.

In this day and age of an ever-changing landscape — where brands feel like they have to please everyone — it’s refreshing to see a brand remember who got them where they are.

So why hold onto the stores, Mr. Lampert? Will you be auctioning the DieHard battery and Kenmore appliance brands next? We’d advise instead, that you should have taken a page from Revlon’s playbook, as they are clearly prioritizing their brands over distribution. They realize astutely in this omni-channel age, that audiences are far less loyal to rigid shopping venues and that customer allegiance celebrates Brand Value over Brand Available.

So Stanley Black & Decker will now leverage the American-made, forever-guaranteed torch. We’re confident that the Craftsman brand is in good hands and will continue to occupy a prominent place in American garages for years to come.

As for its former parent brand, Sears… well, the future is not so bright.

Good Selling!

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Share Visual Stories On SlideShare

On SlideShare, millions of people upload professional presentations aimed at engaging more visually-minded thinkers. Sales teams can use SlideShare to drum up interest from their pitch decks. Best of all, SlideShare can be used for free and allows users to easily link to and share live presentations.

Furthermore, instead of sending large PowerPoint files over email, salespeople can link to a SlideShare presentation. This method makes it easier for prospects to circulate the presentation within their team and with other decision makers at their firm. Presentations with high view counts offer an added bonus of social authority, which readers may see as a positive signal about your brand.

Market Your Brand on SlideShare

To successfully market your brand on SlideShare, communications expert Leyl Black outlines five steps.

  1. Provide readers with information they need to do their job better.
  2. Tell a linear and logical story.
  3. Use featured images and compelling visuals to complement your message.
  4. Add a call-to-action, such as a link to related content or a lead generation form.
  5. Promote your presentations.

Good selling!

Are You Leveraging These Up & Coming Social Media Apps To Make Your Brand Standout?

Up & Coming Social Media AppsYou’ve finally gotten a handle on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. But here’s one guarantee about social media platforms: They’re constantly changing. What’s today’s popular site is tomorrow’s old news. Translation? You have to take extra care to pay attention to what’s new and where people of all ages are flocking.

Some of these sites are likely on your radar. Those include Snapchat and Vimeo. Others, like Yo and Yik Yak, might be less so. Why do more and more new sites keep popping up? Because more and more users worldwide are diving in to social media—some estimates place that total in the billions.

There are social benefits for individuals to all these programs, but businesses aren’t excluded from good things, too. You’ll cement your community, increase your sales, and boost your brand presence.

Use this graphic to get started on what’s new, and understand what you need to do to take advantage of social media platforms

Click To Enlarge

11 Smaller Social Media Apps Poised to Break Out in 2016

Via Salesforce