A marketing best seller!
But how many executives really get it? D'Alessandro, who moonlights as CEO of John Hancock Financial Services, neatly lays out what makes a brand great and what smart corporate types must do to protect and enhance the brand.
D'Alessandro got his start in branding at a tender age working in the family grocery store in Utica, N.Y. When D'Alessandro's grandmother died, his grandfather recruited him to go to the slaughterhouse every morning to lick carcasses to determine which were bacteria-free. The meat that passed the licking test was immediately stamped "D'Alessandro Store" to ensure it didn't get switched on the way to the grocery. Because of D'Alessandro's efforts, the store maintained its reputation for selling the best beef.
From such unusual early business practices, D'Alessandro developed an innate feeling for the brand and the importance of protecting its sanctity. And as his new book makes clear, this knowledge smoothed the way for his meteoric rise to the top of one of the nation's major financial services company.
All the rules in D'Alessandro's book really flow from one fact: Every brand has a distinct, appealing, carefully nurtured personality. Anyone committed to sustaining and building the brand should understand that. Inevitably, D'Alessandro gets around to discussing a brand's all-important relationship with its advertising agency, and he's brutally blunt about what is at the core of most such business arrangements. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a brand builder is to assume that advertising agencies want to help you build your brand and sell your products, D'Alessandro writes. "Don't be silly; what they really want is to keep you as a fee-paying client for as long as possible.
The author wraps up this diatribe by characterizing most agencies as sycophants. D'Alessandro underscores this point with an amusing and telling story about a John Hancock advertising campaign that was in place just before he was named president.
That campaign's central image was a set of scales, which perplexed D'Alessandro until he walked into a secluded part of his predecessor's office and discovered--much to his amazement--shelves and shelves of antique scales.
Judging from his comments in Brand Warfare, D'Alessandro is a big fan of bold, breakthrough advertising. He states several times that one great commercial can do as much to build a brand as millions and millions of dollars spent on mediocre advertising. He has witnessed firsthand the horrific effects of too many, poorly equipped people putting their two cents into campaigns that wound up pale shadows of what they were intended to be. Once good creatives have been subjected to such indignities, D'Alessandro writes, they never again will give their all to developing great, brand-building advertising.
- America Media International
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Abridged, CD
- Product dimensions:
- 5.70(w) x 4.86(h) x 0.98(d)
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