5 Marketing Strategies From Major Brands: What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes and Successes

Marketing is a spectator sport. We can all learn from each other by observing what brands do in the marketplace, even if we don’t have big budgets.

Specifically, we’re finding more and more brands making a buzz in the court of social media, and there’s something to be learned from every one of them: the good and the, shall we say, not-so-good.

Marketing strategy mishaps


One of the most newsworthy marketing moments of late came from PepsiCo, which made headlines about snacks designed for women. Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree talking about “Lady Doritos,” asking CEO Indra Nooyi to focus on the bigger issues facing women that are making headlines right now. Even Ellen had something to say about it! 

The lesson: Before any public announcement, prepare a message track that you have vetted with those closest to you to make sure it all makes sense. Then, make sure you understand the greater consciousness happening in the world and consider it in everything you say and do.


We recently enjoyed an entire buffet of Super Bowl commercials, many of them scoring quite well with consumers. But, one commercial in particular failed to resonate the way the company must have hoped. Ram Trucks used a voiceover clip from a speech from Dr. Martin Luther King that talks about service, and in the context of the commercial, it came across as disingenuous.

The lesson: Make sure your branding is consistent across the board, from your product or service offering to all of your marketing materials and messaging. 

Marketing strategy successes

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean, via Facebook and perhaps other touch-points, announced that it was no longer offering a lifetime guarantee, but rather a one-year return policy along with further consideration for defects that occur after that time. The company basically blamed those who abused the policy for having to eliminate it.

Yet, many customers explained that the lifetime guarantee was the only reason to purchase and the only justification for the price points. L.L. Bean kept quiet for a moment, and let other customers come to its defense by explaining the reasonableness of the policy and the need to uphold sustainable business policies. I actually joined in myself on that one! As a result, what could have been bad buzz quickly became a non-news item.

The lesson: Let your loyalists speak on your behalf in good times and in bad. Others can be far more influential for you than you can be for yourself.


Retailer CVS announced that it will no longer retouch photography in the marketing of its beauty products and it will stamp or label any other brands who continue to retouch or alter imagery, in an effort to promote positive self-esteem and healthy beauty standards. While viewed in conjunction with its decision to discontinue tobacco products a few years back, this move was heralded as yet another triumph.

The lesson: create a powerful platform that people can rally behind and that is at the core of what you do, and stick to it by repeating it with consistent and innovative initiatives over and over again.


After 140,000 applications to be the new Gerber spokesbaby, the brand picked its first baby with Down Syndrome after 90 years, which met with an immediate standing ovation on social media. The brand announced Lucas on The Today Show. According to Gerber CEO Bill Partyka in a press release, it was Lucas’s “winning smile and joyful expression” that won him the role and by the looks of the pic everyone could see why.  In one moment, Gerber proved its long-lasting mantra of inclusion that says “every baby is a Gerber baby.”

The lesson: Make sure your marketing materials reflect your brand — and prevailing attitudes that are relevant to your brand.

Marketing is certainly a spectator sport, for big brands and small. Pay attention to what’s out there in the marketplace, and you’ll learn things that you can positively apply to your marketing plan, too.

Jim Joseph
Contributor / Marketing Master – Author – Blogger – Dad
Originally Published on Entrepreneur.com 


Author:  Shannon Barnes – Melbourne Freelance Copywriter10 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Thrive Outside of School  - Image 1

The link between successful people and getting bad grades at school is often exaggerated.

Albert Einstein actually got very good grades through most of his schooling years (he did struggle learning French though). Warren Buffet got a Master of Science in economics at Columbia University and many schools around the world are starting to run entrepreneur courses for those wanting to develop their business skills.

However, there are also many people who have succeeded in business by going out into the real world instead. They think outside the box, take risks, and build their knowledge through practical experience. And while most institutions embrace these ideas, they’re bogged down by conflicting rules and guidelines that limit student’s freedom.

Here are some of reasons why entrepreneurs don’t thrive in the conventional education system.

1. They Want to Be Different

As a student, you’re expected to do the same things as everyone else. Attend the same classes, participate in the same activities and take the same exams. But in the world of business, being different is sometimes the only way to capitalise to succeed.

Entrepreneurs have a knack for coming up with solutions to problems that people aren’t aware of. As opposed to getting a nice grade on their report card – this satisfaction can be much more rewarding for some people.

2. They Have Their Own Definition of Success

In school, you attend classes, do assignments and take exams, all in an attempt to earn good grades. What you do with the knowledge you’ve gained afterwards is entirely up to you.

However, if you’re the kind of person who aspires to use their skills and knowledge for other purposes, the desire to get good grades may pale in comparison to the allure of starting a successful enterprise.

3. They Yearn for Independence

If you’re studying a creative practice in school, you’re always under the guidance of an instructor leading you on the ‘right’ path. Not only that, but you’re expected to do assignments, in-class tasks and exams on topics that carry no value outside of school. This process can be de-motivating… even if you’re studying a subject that genuinely interests you.

As an entrepreneur, you have the freedom to pick and choose the information that best suits your goals. Plus, you get to see the results on a much wider scale than a conventional school setting.

4. They Love Learning, But Hate the School

For most entrepreneurs, learning is a lifelong journey, not something that only happens in the classroom. In today’s world, you can learn from taking online courses, reading e-books, listening to audiobooks and podcasts. You can even learn a whole new trade from watching YouTube videos.

With so many options that fall outside the conventional school system, it’s no wonder many creative entrepreneurs forge their own path to gain knowledge.

5. They Prefer Practical Experience Over Theory

Unless you’re undertaking a job placement or studying at a trade-school, you’re probably learning from textbooks.

Studying real-life and hypothetical scenarios is crucial to developing your knowledge. However, some entrepreneurs simply cannot wait that long to utilise their skills in the real world.

6. They Learn From Failing

When you get a bad grade in school, you either care enough to put more effort in next time, or you simply ‘go through the motions’ until you graduate. In the world of business, the consequences of failing is much higher… and being mediocre won’t get you very far.

It’s true that many successful entrepreneurs failed in starting their first business. It’s these major setbacks that pushed them harder to succeed – and without any loss of enthusiasm too.

7. They Don’t Like Copying Other People

Innovation drives industries to explore new ideas, reach new audiences and create competition in the marketplace.

In school, most of your time is spent learning from others. While it’s important to learn the rules before you break them, some people can reach this stage faster than others. And depending on the kind of institution you attend, you may never get the chance to explore your own ideas until you’ve entered the real world.

8. They Want to Build Their Portfolio

Most people outside of school will never ask you about your grades. And many entrepreneurs would rather be developing their folio than satisfying a report card.

These people understand the importance of building new relationships, starting new endeavours and putting in the hours to complete projects they’re proud to showcase to others.

If you have nothing to show for your portfolio other than a bachelor’s degree or high GPA, you risk being overshadowed by someone with the same qualifications, but more experience in the real world.

9. They Want Better Mentors

In academia, your exposure to good mentors is mostly limited to the classroom. If you’re in a class with a lousy or uninspiring teacher – well, then you’re out of luck.

Those who want to learn from the best will go out there to find inspiration. If that means stepping out of the school system to find it, they’re probably going to go ahead do it.

10. They Know How to Live Outside the System

In Professor Karen Arnold’s book, Lives of Promise: What Becomes of High School Valedictorians, 15 past students are interviewed and studied over a 14-year period.

While these students were the best and brightest of the class, Arnold reveals that, “They’re extremely well rounded and successful, personally and professionally… but they’ve never been devoted to a single area in which they put all their passion.”

Arnold also states that many who never graduated college went on to pursue ambitious careers, like being a poet or social justice activist.

This case study is not a definitive argument against doing well in school. However, it does highlight the limitations of a learning culture that may not be doing enough to prepare students for life outside the schoolyard.
Originally published on Freelancer