BrandPoints: Barbie’s Doing Brand Right, Once Again.

August 4, 2023

CEO Jeff Cohn discusses Barbie’s brand brilliance, and the exceptionally stupid X brand

For decades now, I’ve been consumed with the concept of brand strategy. So much so that I made it part of my life’s career. COHN has been honored to help over 150 clients with their brand through impactful storytelling, thoughtful expression, brilliant strategic planning and consistent delivery through marketing services. It’s been a great ride.

One thing I’ve observed is that there are clients and companies that share our belief that brands don’t just happen. They come to life through hard work, focused thinking and consistency that is led from the top of the organization. A CEO committed to doing it right and ensuring companywide brand adoption is critical to success. Investments in planning are the difference between success and failure. Every now and then, dumb luck sets in and a poorly planned brand will succeed just due to market forces and desires (did anyone really develop a brand strategy around Tik-Tok?) But in general, investment in brand development and marketing planning are the real hallmarks of success.

When considering these two examples, you see this point magnified. One brand (Barbie) has done it right every step of the way. From planning to thoughtful execution, the Barbie movie campaign is simply brilliant on every level. Mattel knew they had to invest and protect the Barbie brand and the results are remarkable.

On the other hand, Mr. Musk clearly acted without a whole lot of thought or consideration. He more or less said, “Hey, here’s the new name and logo. Go.” No research. No testing. No collaboration. No brand planning. Just a half-baked attempt to erase the history of Twitter and completely change the direction of his company into a multi-faceted digital marketplace. I have a hard time believing it’s going to work for his company.

Barbie was born in 1959 just like me. We both lived in Denver (she was “born” here). And her brand has adapted over the years to meet a changing world. I’m impressed at how her brand is going to new heights with the Barbie Movie and all of its related brand marketing. I’m betting on her success. Between these two brands, thoughtful strategy and marketing excellence win every time.

Thanks, Barbie, for showing us the way once again.


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