Is brand extension hurting your brand?

Tims & the new Oreo donut

Tims Oreo Donut

If I asked you who had an Oreo treat available this summer, what restaurant would you say? DQ? McDonald’s? Your local ice cream shop? Nope. It’s Tim Hortons.

Have you noticed Tims continues to get further and further away from marketing what made them famous? What ever happened to their coffee? All I hear and see is marketing for their new Oreo treats or their Greek Yogurt. It makes me wonder if McDonald’s and Starbucks are taking away their share of the coffee market.

A year ago, I couldn’t walk around my office without seeing Tims cups. Now, it’s Starbucks, McDonald’s or the office K-Cup brew. I’ve heard rumours McDonald’s has the contract Tims used to have for its coffee supplier. Does McDonalds coffee taste better? Does Tims coffee taste worst? Or have we stopped thinking about it because Tims has stopped informing us about their coffee?

I don’t know what Tim Hortons stands for any more. Is it coffee? Is it donuts? Is it an Oreo treat?

The same thing is happening with Subway. Since when does Subway have pizzas? I thought they were ‘Sandwich Artists,’ not ‘Pizza Artists.’

Good ol’ brand extension.

You add different items under your brand name to try and lure people to purchase these items because your brand is already familiar to them. Should I get a Tims Oreo treat? “Sure, I like their coffee, so why not try their Oreo treat.” That’s what Tims wants. Unfortunately, it also hurts what made them famous…COFFEE. If you have a bad experience with the treat, you’ll notice you’ll start having negative feelings toward their coffee (or Oreo). That’s the trouble with brand extension.

Why do you think Proctor & Gamble rarely uses their company name when marketing their products? You hear of Swiffer, Tide, Crest, etc… but rarely P&G. You each have feelings about these products, but if you have a bad experience with Tide, you probably won’t have ill feelings toward Swiffer. However, if it was P&G Tide or P&G Swiffer, your thoughts would probably change.

The same goes with YOU and your personal brand. What do people think about you? What are their expectations? Are you being true to yourself or are you over extending your brand? Be careful not to stretch too far or people will forget what made you famous.

Check out this latest example from Amazon and their earnings. They’re trying to stretch too far from what made them famous hurting their earnings: CLICK HERE

Love you,


Winners showcase their vulnerabilities; losers cover them up

Calgary, Kensington, Scotch

At home with my buddy Scotch – he usually doesn’t look this disgruntled.

This week I walked into a store and the lady instantly knew I was a winner. How could I tell? Before I opened my mouth, she smiled and said, “I can tell you’re a winner.” She has been working at the same company for over a decade and before the owner passed away, she was very close with him. He told her to look for the winners in life as those are the people you want to work with. I guess this lady has seen enough losers and winners in her lifetime to figure out who’s a winner and who’s a loser.

In my line of work, I regularly meet up to 20 people a day. The experienced get it and they know what I’m about as soon as I walk in the door. The others don’t and that’s fine as I’m not for everyone. And YOU don’t have to be for everyone.The biggest reason people know I’m a winner is I’m relatable. I stand out and they feel that I’m not trying to be something I’m not. I’m very honest and open about who I am and what I do.

In this day and age people can see through bullshit in a second. As a society we’ve been abused by the capitalism machine. As a result, the amount of BS messages we’re inundated with is overwhelming. The funny part is, the internet has somewhat levelled the playing field. The world is now open to the malicious practices of corporations whether it’s the abuse of animals in the food processing industry to the self-made YouTube video of someone testing the bogus claims of a product. Reviews and eyes are everywhere. BS meters are at an all-time high, so don’t try to run from this…embrace it.

When I walk in with my bow tie and smile on my face people know that I’m probably there to sell them something. Some are welcoming, some are not, but that’s life. However, I don’t BS my way through things. I don’t throw cheesy sales lines down their throat or pretend to be this high-rolling business professional. I’m down to earth and a bit vulnerable, but that’s okay because I’m human.

How relatable and human are you?

Last week I had a phone call with a woman from the left coast and I asked the question, “What do you like to do on Saturday morning in your free time?” She responded with, “I don’t know what that has to do with business.” Wow! Great personality lady. I told her I asked the question because I wanted to know she was human. That she was a person with a pulse who wasn’t just a robot who’s focused on WORK WORK WORK all the time. I nearly hung up the phone on her as I’m not prepared to deal with someone who’s business business business all the time.

Before I landed my current gig I took a different approach to the application process. I knew I could get the job as it was another position within my company. However, I knew I was applying to someone who was very savvy and had a low tolerance for BS. So, in my cover letter I mentioned one of the reasons I’m successful is because of the chip on my shoulder as a result of my father abandoning me when I was born. I didn’t know and I still don’t (even though he reached out to me years ago) really know who he is. I have a name and a letter and that’s it. This changed the game for me in the application process. The hiring manager instantly knew I was relatable and someone who didn’t hide behind BS. I was vulnerable and I wasn’t afraid to unload a huge personal detail in my life. I also did a couple other things that really separated me from the pack, but that’s what I do. I never settle for good enough.

Enough about me.

What can you do to make yourself more vulnerable? You might not have a story like mine, but you have something. You may think you’re the most boring person in the world and that’s fine. If you are the most boring person in the world OWN IT. Mention that in everything you do. You’ll be surprised at the responses you get.

The same goes with your marketing (personal or business). Are you BSing your way through it? Are you relatable? Are you real? Are you a winner or a loser?

How many times have you heard, “We have the best service and lowest prices.” Maybe you should start highlighting your vulnerabilities. “Hey, we’re in a terrible location, but you’ll find us.” Take what you think as disadvantage and turn it into an advantage. Maybe you have a really ugly mole on your face. OWN IT! Say, you’re Mr. or Mrs. Mole. Or maybe you’re really shy. OWN IT! Don’t be afraid of it, it may turn out to be the best quality you have.

Until next week…BE REAL!

Love you,


Three things to put your advertising on the top shelf…or close to it

Disney, World

Me in Dino-Rama at Disney World.

This entry is going to be short and sweet. Why? Because I have family in town, so suck it.

I want to throw you three things that will immediately put your advertising on to the top shelf…or at least closer to the top shelf.

1) Focus
2) Consistency
3) Sponsorship

Let’s dive in shall we:


You need to focus your advertising dollars on something you can own. When you own something you win. What you own depends on how much money you have (and you have money for advertising, right…RIGHT?) For years I’ve always focused on owning the most of the market for the least amount of money. Now, I’ve been focused on big things like outdoor advertising. Your business may not be able to handle that much money.

So, what can you own? Can you own an apartment building near your place of business? A street? A neighbourhood? A town? A city? Maybe you can only afford to drop off letters you made up in a Word doc to residences by your business. Or maybe you can afford to own close to 40% off an outdoor medium. Whatever it is…FOCUS your advertising dollars and own something. PLEASE OWN SOMETHING!!


Now that your dollars are focused, you need to hit that same building, street, neighbourhood, etc… over and over and over and over and over. The outdoor ads I’ve run in two cities are up for close to 52 weeks a year. That’s right, the message is hit over and over and over again. Plus, the message is consistent. If you don’t know what your message is or should be, I can help (email me or connect with me on Twitter…don’t be shy).


This is similar to focus, but I wanted to include it anyway. Can you find an event you can own in your community? Can you sponsor it? Can you be one of the biggest sponsors? Can you own a certain section of the event?

For example – a local restaurant is the go to community bbq sponsor. If you’re having a BBQ or golf tournament and you need food guess who you call? Spolumbos. Why do you call them? Because when they were starting out (an itty bitty restaurant) they never turned down an opportunity to cook their sausage & beef at community BBQ’s or golf tournaments. They wanted to be on-site at all of these events and guess what? Now, they don’t really have to advertise, because everyone in the community knows them because they sponsored just about every event they could…and still do. And their restaurant (now much larger) is packed every day. It helps they have a great product and great service, but they were eager to tell everyone (and get their product in the hands of consumers) every chance they got through sponsorship.

Now take action, while I go have some fun with my family.

Love you,