Focus Group of 1 - Observations from The Brand Poobah

Follow me on Instagram

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Posted by Julie on 01 Dec 15 - 0 Comments

InstagramI converted my inconsistently updated blog over to Instagram, taking note of interesting marketing messaging, programs and products wth short commentary.

Please connect with me there.

Thanks very much,


Be My (Brand) Valentine!

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Posted by Julie on 09 Feb 15 - 0 Comments

Maker's Mark ValentineHope the new year finds you well and you are off to a good start.  Now February, it’s the perfect month to fall in love… with your brand!”

  • Do you have that crazy, excited, tingly feeling in your heart when you think of your own brand?
  • Does your brand sparkle and grow more relevant?
  • Do your employees and customers evangelize for your brand?
  • Are you and your employees thinking about your brand all the time?
  • Is your brand experience consistent for your customers and your employees?

I have a passion for brands.   I’ll help you uncover new strategies to strengthen your brand’s affection, build beautiful new product or campaign launches, and adore your bottom line.  Let’s discover growth opportunities, via improved targeting, positioning, message, plan development & deployment, product mix, new products and more.

Follow my month of Brand Valentines! juliebyerlein

Learn more about my clients, results, and sweet spots,
Better still, call me at 720-635-3650 – even if you don’t have needs now, I would love to reconnect with you.

Love Your Brand!

PS. Please be my Valentine!!

Kudos to Crestor Marketing and Agency Team!

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Posted by Julie on 17 Jul 14 - 0 Comments

I have long admired the CRESTOR commercial – now commercialS.  I’m amused at the web postings about folks hating these spots.  Sure, they may be silly, but man do they break through!  These stand out very meaningfully amongst the overwhelming clutter of made up names for assorted CRESTOR Dadpills, most of which I don’t even know what the hell they are for, even after watching a 60 second commercial.

Crestor features an approachable and loveable husband and dad who is fan-crazed over Crestor.  Their brand name and core brand colors are on screen virtually the entire length of the spots.  It’s fun and entertaining to watch ‘Joe’ go crazy for Crestor.  I watch it each and every time and enjoy it.  The visuals are so engaging, that I don’t even hear the cheery voiceover warning me of any side effects!

Ask me to name as many pharmaceuticals as I can recall  – and Crestor tops the very short list.

Big Pharma industry spends over $4 billion annually on advertising directed to consumers (“ask your doctor”).  And, I can barely remember any names, even though I am part of the boomer target market.  That couple who takes the camper trip out west…seen it dozens of times…cannot recall what it’s for, but I remember the Arizona highway map in bed, the rain bringing the man inside, the beautiful vistas, the cute golden retriever.  And what about that long spot with the guy at the outdoor cookout in the country?!  I remember his green salad dinner at the picnic table and the group around the campfire later.  Lots of folks smiling for no apparent reason and I still don’t know the product.

Talk about expensive spots to produce – big location shot for the camping pair and lots of talent fees for the guy at the cookout.  And I cannot tell you what is the product and what the heck is it for, even when I try to pay close attention.  Yes, I am trying to understand, but all I hear is side effects alerts and am distracted by a story I don’t understand.  And the logo and name shows up only at the end.

This agency (Publicis?) has taken the permanent client cliche wish to “make the logo bigger/more prominent” to new heights and it works!

Ace has done a good job to differentiate itself from the big box competitors and delivers on helpfulness above others (see their commercials on YouTube).

OPI Paint BannerNow, they have added another strong differentiator to the important paint department.  Their partnership to leverage the colors of OPI nail polish is brilliant.  Ace understands that women make the paint color decisions at home.  There are solid reasons to link these brands – similar emotional language around self-expression and passion whether it be on nails or walls.  Similar adjectives arise into the decision process, where both decisions seek to capture some luxury, freshness, boldness and daring.

And, even if folks only purchase less bold colors, they are received the message loud and clear:  Ace’s Clark & Kensington brand has bold and interesting colors, and appreciates my desire to express myself on my home walls. Their clever-ness impresses me and makes me want to seek out an ACE Hardware location for my next paint purchase, or any color!

Merry Merry Maker’s Mark®!

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Posted by Julie on 11 Dec 11 - 0 Comments

Maker’s Mark® brand, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

I’ve been a Maker’s Mark Ambassador since the program began in 2005.  Besides being delicious, I’ve long admired the Maker’s brand and their Ambassador evangelist program, where the brand communication is flawless.

They surprise and delight me all the time.  Over the last several years, they have sent holiday treats.  Patterned gift wrap and bottle bags.  Round ice cube trays for the perfect cocktail.  Bar glasses dipped in red was.  Drink stirrers.

This year took the cake.  Just seeing the return address from Loretto KY got me excited.  Then to see the bottle sweater with Maker’s sewn in.  How cool is that!!  Of course, I immediately poured myself a glass and tried the sweater on.  Sat outside on my sunny back patio and built a snowman pal for my happy bottle.

The next day, I was at the home of fellow Ambassadors Tiffany and Rick Beach and was envious they had TWO sweaters – had to take that pic too and share it.

Merry Christmas and Enjoy your Eggnog….with Maker’s of course.


Smart brand alignment

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Posted by Julie on 27 Nov 11 - 0 Comments

smart carCheck out the new smart car campaign playing on Sundance channel.  The Sundance channel viewers and programming celebrate individuality and unique points of view.  These 2 brands share several characteristics, including authenticity, individuality, quirkiness and passion.

What a perfect pairing for smart car to place mini docs of smart car owners.  The full minute profile of Dan Katz features his ‘favorite things’ – which of course includes his smart car.  Other owners (and their smart car love) are profiled on their excellent community site for their passionate fans to connect with each other.

Bottom line, it’s exciting to see a message well placed to hit their proper audience with a relevant and compelling message.  Smart car understands their buyer and where to find them.  Calling their buyers ‘smart’ is one of many smart things they do.

Lexus, you have missed your golden opportunity.

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Posted by Julie on 22 Aug 11 - 0 Comments

Lexus Commercial Screen ShotHere’s the first 20 seconds of voiceover from 3 current Lexus TV spots.

“Imagine all of your missed opportunities in one place.”

“The best selling novel you never wrote.    The exotic vacation you never took.  The front row tickets you never got.  The lucrative investment you missed out.  The winning horse.  That old flame you should have called.  The leap of faith you never took.  The race of your life  you never ran.  The trip around the world you never took.”

OK, so you hear that and see strong visuals.  You are hardly in the mental state for a positive view of whoever reminded you of your missed opportunities.

And, I don’t think buying a Lexus will make me feel any better about my failings in life.  Hello Lexus, how about you congratulate me on being my best self and taking advantage of opportunities in front of me.  Let that be your segue into your Golden Opportunity Sales Event.

It’s always a challenge to have effective brand communication when there’s negative context.  The brain registers the negative information, so it’s near impossible to counter that in 5 to 10 seconds.

I wish I was going back to School!

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Posted by Julie on 11 Aug 11 - 1 Comment

Back to school would rock when buying all supplies at Target.  And glitter.  So much glitter.

Another home run for Target, whose commercials are consistently so captivating that I pay full attention at each and every viewing.  The new Back to School spots earn an A.  By representing teachers positively and committed, the spots inspire me to have passion for my work too.

And where can I meet the cute music teacher?!

Screenshot of Target Commercial

Mango Margarita on the Rock

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Posted by Julie on 23 Jul 11 - 0 Comments

A good night indeed.  Enough said.  Thank you, Anne.


Mango Margarita on the Rock

I’m feeling the Colbert Bump!

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Posted by Julie on 21 Jul 11 - 1 Comment

Colbert Report ScreenshotYes, I donated to Stephen’s Super PAC and was delighted to see myself properly listed as a hero.  If I give a small amount, will my name appear each time?  If I make a bigger donation, can the font be larger and the scroll slower?

Colbert Super PAC Thank YouStephen is brilliantly highlighting the scam of SuperPacs, which have virtually no accountability and can influence election outcomes with no-limit donations and exagerated messages.  There are predictions that over $200Million of Super Pac money will be spent in the 2012 election, across national and state races.

The Colbert Bump feels so good!