what's in a name
Posted by Abe Sauer on August 12, 2013 11:33 AM
A built-in fanbase; a global market; a universally recognizable brand name and logo. Some of the world's biggest brands are well-endowed with all of these characteristics, however, many of them are missing one, important thing: a great brand story. However, one international conglomerate has found a way around this; by buying a local Milwaukee, Wis. coffee shop's backstory.
With the kind of humble beginnings that make for a great brand heritage, Alterra Coffee opened its doors in 1993 on the fifth floor of a Milwaukee warehouse amidst the metro areas worst financial years. With record-setting unemployment and a widespread cryptosporidium outbreak in the municipal water supply, it wasn't the best time to start peddling coffee. But with grit, good grounds and great service, Alterra built a tremendous local reputation. The brand's locations—which mirror the clean, franchised, free WiFi designs of other major coffee houses—popped up all over Milwaukee. As a movement toward buying local took off across the US, Alterra was perfectly positioned to give Milwaukee coffee lovers their desired Starbucks experience with a local conscience. But it turns out that Alterra's dark roast wasn't the most coveted part of its business.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 16, 2012 06:47 PM
If you're a Republican politician in the Upper Midwest, you may appreciate what Wisconsin's Republican governor, Scott Walker, has done to advance the cause of GOP politics, balanced state budgets, restraints on taxes and anti-unionism with his efforts to roll back the costs and power of public-sector unions. But for some of the same reasons, you probably aren't eager to see an aggressive "Brand Wisconsin" trying to get the companies in your state to expand or relocate in the Badger State.
Nevertheless, Walker himself is spearheading "In Wisconsin," a state branding and advertising campaign that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is promoting to try to lure more companies and jobs toward the Cheesehead State. The WEDC will spend $2 million this year on the campaign featuring well-known Wisconsin-based brands such as Organic Valley, Schneider National, Rockwell Automation, and Trek Bicycles, including web-only videos and print ads running in Illinois and the Twin Cities as well as Wisconsin. The new platform features an image of the state with the word "in" highlighted.
"We can offer a great deal to many companies that are looking to grow," Walker told brandchannel. "The pitch isn't just that we've got great [relocation] incentives but that our long-term bonds are strong, our budget is balanced, and our taxes are going down."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 14, 2011 11:59 AM
At least one geopolitical struggle has eased this holiday season, and a temporary peace reigns — around the Great Lakes, that is. This is because Wisconsin and Michigan appear to have buried the hatchet in their epic struggle over which state has the most legitimate claim to the mitten metaphor to describe the shape of their homeland.
Sounds like big stakes, eh? Well, despite the thorniness of the issue, Michigan and Wisconsin tourism officials today managed to declare a truce in the mitten war and even their joint establishment of a philanthropic effort they're calling The Great Lakes Mitten Campaign.
"We encourage everyone in both states to 'shake hands' and donate mittens to help make this winter a bit warmer for those in need," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a press statement announcing a handful of mitten-dropoff sites around the state.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 8, 2011 05:31 PM
It's a border battle fit for the season. And with this new Michigan-Wisconsin dispute comes all the underlying tensions from a long and tenuous adjacency that include zebra mussels, Asian carp, rights to the Upper Peninsula, Packers-Lions, Badgers-Spartans, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, beach envy, Lake Michigan mineral rights, and which state really has the fattest people.
Yes, Wisconsin's tourism department has appropriated mitten imagery for new web-based winter promotion of its mitten-shaped state. And that has made mavens of mitten-shaped Michigan — well, mightily miffed. The result is a frosty contretemps between pillars of the Upper Midwest that is only likely to get more icy.
You see, Michiganders clearly own the historical and traditional use of their right hands — with fingers straight up and together, they form a perfect mitten shape —when pointing out, usually with their left index fingers, where something is located in the state's Lower Peninsula.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 26, 2011 03:01 PM
The Green Bay Packers dispatched its sworn enemy, the Chicago Bears, this past weekend in a win that moves the team to an undefeated record of 3-0. But the defending Super Bowl champions appear to have picked up a sworn enemy off the field as well.
A new billboard on the highway to "Title Town," Green Bay's legendary Lambeau Field, warns Wisconsinites that cheese, the state's most identifiable product and characteristic, can kill them. Unsurprisingly, some in Wisconsin are throwing a yellow flag on the ad. Worse, the poor sporstmanship may backfire.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 22, 2011 10:00 AM
It’s not really clear who or what the students of Wisconsin’s Osseo-Fairchild will be rooting for when the next sports season gets rolling, but one thing one is very much known: They won’t be rooting for the Chieftains.
Further to our story last month, WQOW reports that the school district “is completing the process of permanently removing the ‘chieftain’ logo and nickname from the district.”
In July of last year, the district was given 365 days to get rid of the logo and mascot by the Department of Public Instruction.
As of July 17th, “any reference to the ‘chieftain’ logo or nickname is no longer allowed by the district," WQOW notes.
It looks like the bill that Republican state representative Mary Lazich was proposing that would have allowed schools to take until July of next to make the transition (in order to deal with any financial stress involved, of course) didn’t go anywhere.
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 6, 2011 03:30 PM
The NFL has its Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins. Major League Baseball has its Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. And the state of Wisconsin has the Osseo-Fairchild High School Chieftains.
Team names that have been deemed offensive have been finding protests against them in many forms over the years, many have stuck by their brands. While those professional sports teams pack some powerful brandage, high school sports have their own special power on a local level, and Chieftains past and present are feeling it a little extra these days.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 19, 2011 11:30 AM
From America's hallowed land of cheese comes a case study about what can happen when a popular viral movement gets adapted by a commerce-driven entity.
With an eye to the University of Wisconsin-promoting video Teach Me How to Bucky, above, the Wisconsin county of Sheboygan has launched a new tourism campaign, "How do you Sheboygan?" Local reaction is hostile, but that doesn't mean it won't work (though it probably won't).Continue reading...