Brand Extensions, Shortcuts by ...


It’s been a couple months since my last Grab Bag post.

With over 10 items in the queue, I made some tough choices on the three vignettes that made the cut.

Here goes.

Extending a Brand

Too many companies extend their brands in ways that trade incremental revenue for flinging an incongruent message to their customers.

I enjoyed the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” but do we really need “Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul Pet Food”?

Whatever that is.

Now comes KFC putting a chicken spin on pizza.KFC Tweet 07-15I’m still debating whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Regardless, it’s another proof point that life is better than fiction.

Shortcuts by Journalists

It’s become de rigueur for journalists to reach out to sources for comment via email or through social channels.

Journalists even periodically conduct interviews via email.

Winning back 30, 20 or just 10 minutes of time helps when there’s pressure to turn the crank for yet another story.

But here’s something I haven’t seen before. The New York Times ran an interview with Gawker founder Nick Denton on the publication’s recent debacle. OK, nothing unusual about this except the NYT journalist conducted the interview by IM.

“The following conversation was conducted by instant message on Sunday afternoon, the day before a kind of reintroduction of Gawker, as it moves to new offices. It has been edited for length and clarity.”

Perhaps there’s an emerging market for apps targeting journalists who conduct interviews on IM. I can see it now, an app that flags what appears to be a dishonest answer based on linguistic science.

As a sidenote, the interview on Gawker included this comment from Denton: “Access is overrated in journalism.” I’m guessing most people don’t exactly put out the milk and cookies for Gawker.

Public Rejection as a PR Strategy

I’ve been thinking about the post from Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, in which he publicly shared the notes from seven venture capitalists who dared to take a pass on his business plan.

Seven rejections similar to this one appeared in the post:Airbnb Rejection 07-15After reading the post, I was perplexed. Why would Mr. Chesky decide to go public with his hurt feelings? After all, no business plan bats 100 percent with the venture capital community. You could have the cure for cancer with FDA-supported data, and some VCs would still find a reason to not fork over a dime (rise of organic food will shrink demand for cancer medicine).

I suppose it’s possible that Mr. Chesky wanted to generate media coverage, which came in a 24-hour flurry with the likes of Fortune and Quartz weighing in.

Regardless, his storytelling instincts nailed it. Rather than write a 1,000-word tirade on why VCs get it wrong, he let the raw anecdotal evidence carry the narrative.

Minus the anecdotes, there is no story.

Leave a Reply