Belief

Like any major brand, it started with humble beginnings. In this case, it was a one-day rail excursion from Leicester to Loughborough.

Fast-forward 170 years, and the company that still bears its founders name has evolved into an industry giant. Thomas Cook has over 30 tour-operating brands, 2,000 travel agencies, 60 aircraft and 30,000 staff. However, big doesn’t necessarily mean best. It might be large, but it’s in trouble.

Thomas Cook’s share price is in free fall. And its debt pile is threatening to bankrupt the company. Read more

Why Don’t You Drink It?

When it comes to advertising claims, the majority of us are sceptics. And it’s no surprise. From beauty creams that make our wrinkles vanish, pills that make our hair grow back, or chocolate bars that are actually good for us. We’ve heard it all before.

A few years back, American entrepreneur Eric Ryan was in London launching his new product; a line of toilet cleaner.

As expected, the audience heard the usual spiel about amazing cleaning qualities. But Eric also claimed something else. He reckoned his product was harmless too. Unlike others, his contained no poisonous nasties. Read more

Rediscover the Soul

It was meant to be THE launch. The event that would help rescue ailing telecoms company Nokia from its perilous slide into brand irrelevancy.

Last week to a packed audience in New York, Nokia Senior VP Jo Harlow unveiled the Lumia 920 smartphone; the device many predict will either make or break the struggling Finnish company.

Harlow beamed as she proudly proclaimed that the Lumia is ‘the most innovative smartphone in the world’. Unfortunately, the markets didn’t quite share her enthusiasm. Nokia’s share price slumped by 11.4% to a meagre $2.51 following the announcement.
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Smoke and Mirrors

Enron is a name that is synonymous with scandal, corruption, greed and arrogance. Its collapse in 2001 left 20,000 employees out of work and $1.2 billion missing from their retirement funds.

In its heyday Enron was the poster-child of Wall Street. A true stock-market darling, reporting revenues of $100 billion and shares trading at an eye-watering 55 times earnings. It was America’s 7th largest corporation and valued in excess of $70 billion.

Analysts everywhere praised the organisation for its game-changing approaches. Fortune magazine named it “Most Innovative Company” six years in a row. Its trading floors were packed full of the smartest and brightest minds. Enron was a force to be reckoned with.
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Selling a Lie

Tiger Woods was once the epitome of the all-round American good guy. He was a devoted family man, uber-successful sports star, and brand figurehead for the likes of Nike, Accenture and TAG Heuer. He’d won a total of 71 official PGA Tour events, including 14 majors, and was hailed as the world’s most marketable athlete.

But in 2009 things changed. Tiger crashed his Cadillac into a fire hydrant, yards from his Florida home. The crash set in motion a chain of revelations, in which fans learnt that Tiger had been a very naughty boy; cheating on his wife with over a dozen women, ranging from porn stars to cocktail waitresses.
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Purpose or the Paycheck?

In 2010, Kirsty Henshaw appeared on the popular TV series “Dragons Den”. She had invented a healthy alternative to ice-cream, and was looking for a £65K investment in exchange for 15% of her company.

Kirsty successfully secured dragons Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne as her new partners. Granted, her product is innovative. At a feature level, it’s bang-on trend by being low fat, and low calorie. It’s also free of dairy, sugar, gluten, additives, soya, cholesterol and nuts. But watch the clip and you’ll realise it’s not just Kirsty’s product that catches the interest of the multi-millionaire investors, it’s her story. This exemplifies branding through storytelling. Read more