Self Driving Cars -Just Down the Road

Tesla's self-driving prototype

Tesla’s self-driving prototype

Implications are very positive for marketers as “drivers” will have more time 

It is not news that autonomous vehicle development programs are nearing market launch. Alphabet current has cars on the road and the projected timetable for commercial launches includes:  Uber and Volvo 2017, GM 2018, Tesla 2019, Nissan 2020 and Ford 2021. While most people are in denial, which is often the case with game changing technologies, soon our driving culture will change. Part of the promise is increased safety. This past year over 43,000 people in the U.S were killed in traffic accidents and this total is predicted to decline significantly with the advent of self-driving cars.

From a marketing perspective there will be new opportunities to get advertised messages and branded content in front of “drivers,” who will soon have more time on their hands to read magazines, use their mobile devices and who knows maybe even pick up a newspaper – wouldn’t that be a novel idea?

According to a report in the wall street journal Delphi Automotive and Mobileye, two leading auto parts suppliers are collaborating to manufacture “fully autonomous driving system that car makers could begin placing in their vehicles in 2019.”

This will change our culture, improve our time management and allow for advertisers to have new, more engaging ways to reach consumers during their daily commutes. Brands that start their planning early will have an advantage.

Top 5 Reasons Why “Top 5” Posts May Be Hurting Your Brand

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.56.23 AMRemember the old trick where someone would create an ad that said “Sex,” and then the body copy would read “Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about…” Dishonesty and trickery, while initially getting your attention, usually leaves people disappointed or worse yet upset and predisposed to not wanting what you are selling. How many times have we all been tricked into reading a blog post that promised the “Top 5” or “Top 10 Reasons?”  The rationale in favor of this blogging tactic is that “it must work, otherwise people would not do it.”  A valid point perhaps, but marketers need to ask if the net result is in fact brand building or rather aversion. So here are my TOP 5 REASONS WHY TOP 5 POSTS ARE HURTING YOUR BRAND:

Reason #1:  People are sick of it.

Reason #2:  Interest is converted to dislike.

Reason # 3: You bury the benefit or value of your brand.

Reason #4: Your brand is seen as not authentic

Reason #5: Awareness, in many cases is less important than preference

Is this a brand innovation? Wake up and smell the chewable tablet?

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.44.27 AMIt has finally happened. Technology is now taking away one of the last remaining true pleasures in life: the aroma and flavor of a nice hot cup of coffee. In case you haven’t seen it you might want to explore the latest craze from Nootropics, the creators of Go Cubes who claim to be “experts at cognitive enhancement.”  Kind of reminds me when my dry cleaner told me a few years ago that he wants to be seen as a “cleaning solutions provider,” instead of a plain old dry cleaner.  Non-the-less, the new chewable coffee made a great impression at SWSW, where it was offered as more portable than coffee, less expensive per serving and containing ingredients that temper coffee’s harsher effects. Created by techies, GO Cubes now face a brand challenge to appeal to a broader audience outside of geeky engineers trying to stay up all night to write a few more lines of code. Taking on coffee is most probably a thankless task as the coffee “habit” is a global, cultural phenomenon that does not conform to any kind of rational alternative no matter how convenient or cost effective. Pretty much all branding professionals these days know that successful brands must not only provide value but have to deliver an engaging customer experience. So, I invite anyone who is interested to sit down with the NY Sunday Times, a warm and crackling fire place and a plate full of chewable caffeine tabs, now known as the Go Cube. In my view the Go Cube will soon be rebranded the “Gone Cube.”  Goodbye and good luck!

Marketing Innovation and Leadership

As the chairman of the 2016 Marketing Hall of Fame, it is my special pleasure to congratulate three outstanding marketing leaders who will be inducted in the Marketing Hall of Fame at a ceremony to be held in NY on April 28th, 3 inductees

Bob Greenberg, founder, chairman/CEO of trailblazing agency R/GA; John Hayes, former chief marketing officer at American Express; and legendary marketing strategist and author Al Ries.

The three will be celebrated at the 2016 Marketing Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, April 28, 2016, 6:00-9:00 pm in the auditorium at PwC headquarters, 300 Madison Avenue at 42nd St in New York. For tickets and other information, please visit

The Marketing Hall of Fame was established by the NY chapter of the AMA ( to celebrate brilliance in marketing across all fields and industries. Each year, the program recognizes individuals who are making outstanding contributions to the field and inspiring a new generation of marketers.

The honor is open to any current marketing practitioner from the corporate, agency, research or academic worlds with a minimum of 10 years experience who is responsible for marketing innovations that have had dramatic impact on business results, raised marketing’s profile in business overall or moved the profession forward by creating new tools and approaches.

Past Marketing Hall of Fame inductees include Trevor Edwards, president, Nike Brands; Yvon Chouinard, founder, Patagonia; Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather; Beth Comstock, CMO, GE; Joseph V. Tripodi, former chief marketing & commerce officer, The Coca-Cola Company; David Aaker, vice chairman, Prophet and BerkeleyHaas School of Business, UC Berkeley professor emeritus, and Philip Kotler, author and distinguished professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Hear from Four Legends of Marketing: May 21 at the Marketing Hall of Fame 2015

Be a part of marketing history & hear insights from four legendary marketers in one evening: Shelly Lazarus (Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather); Yvon Chouinard (Founder, Patagonia); Trevor Edwards (President of Brand, Nike); and David Aaker (branding author, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley).

It’s an event you won’t want to miss! On the evening of Thursday, May 21st, the 2015 Marketing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be presented by the New York American Marketing Association. Join us as we honor these marketing legends, who will each share a keynote speech with their views on brilliance in marketing.

Buy your tickets soon as we expect a sell-out! Join us for an evening of celebration, and connect over cocktails and appetizers with your peers. (Post to Twitter with hashtag #marketingHoF after purchasing your tickets, and be entered to win free entry to 5 New York AMA events!)

TICKETS sold here:


The struggles of another legacy brand: Avon

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The famous doorbell sound and the welcoming voice that proclaimed “AVON CALLING,” is remembered by many as beauty products sold to you be a friend or neighbor. Yet, times have changed as the do in so many traditional businesses. “Avon Weighs Sale as Woes Deepen” in today’s WSJ is yet another wake up call to legacy brands that the market has a short memory and more nimble competitors can quickly outmaneuver slower moving giants. I remember, several years ago meeting Andrea Jong who at that time was CEO of Avon. It was a genuine moment when she entered the room. She had real presence and spoke quite eloquently about the role that Avon plays in empowering women. Avon has always been much more that a beauty products company because the business model created armies of women who helped each other. Interestingly, the door-to door sales approach is still going strong in developing and international markets, which now represent a surprising 80% of the company’s current revenue. In the U.S competition from other direct sellers like Amway, Mary Kay and Herbalife plus retail competition from the mass market beauty brands has lowered Avon’s market share to 4.3% from a previous high of 10% in 2007. So now, when you hear the words “Avon Calling,” it is most probably the phone ringing at a NY investment banking firm looking to find a buyer for the US business. The brand will survive because it has significant goodwill but most probably needs a new distribution strategy. I wish them luck.

How will climate change impact brands?

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 8.58.41 AMClimate change is no longer a future scenario. It is here now. In a stunning and comprehensive report issued today on and reported in the NY Times, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future has moved firmly into the present.” The implications for our society are grave and as the subject is debated in Washington and scientific circles, there will undoubtedly be more open discussion about the implications for marketers.

From the perspective of CSR and brand reputation it is time to consider the implications for how companies position their products, to what degree regional climate differences will impact sales patterns and how distribution concerns will need to factored into the supply chain.  This is just the beginning of what I believe will become an important topic in marketing in the months and years ahead.

Can you name the six generations of consumers?

World War II/Swing generations
Members of the WWII Generation were born in 1932 or before and are
aged 82 or older in 2014. Members of the Swing Generation were born
from 1933 to 1945 and are aged 69-81 in 2014.

Baby Boomers
The generation born between 1946 and 1964. In 2014, Baby Boomers are
between the ages of 50 and 68.

Generation X
The generation born between 1965 and 1976. In 2014, Gen Xers are
between the ages of 38 and 49.

Born between 1977 and 1994, Millennials are aged 20 to 37 in 2014.

Born between 1995 and 2007, members of iGen are aged 7-19 in 2014.

Emerging generation
The newest generation began in 2008 as the annual number of births
declined sharply with the recession. In 2014 members of this as-yet unnamed
generation are younger than 7.

Announcing Our Expanded Team

Stamford-Based Marketing Firm Expands Team to Offer Big-Agency Results

Kahn Consulting updates web site to commemorate eighth anniversary.

January 14, 2014, Stamford, CT – In response to client needs for high-powered marketing and branding solutions without the big price tag of a full-service agency, Kahn Consulting has expanded its team to provide “Big-Agency Brains Without the Head Count.”

Joining the team are Jerry Kuyper, a corporate identity expert based in Westport, CT; digital guru Michael Carusi of Stamford, CT; and Harry Segal, award winning designer and founder of Segal Savad in New York. Expanded Kahn Consulting services now include web site and mobile app development, SEO and all forms of digital content, and the core mix of naming, brand creation and marketing communications.

“As a former executive at Ogilvy & Mather and founding principal at Futurebrand, a leading global branding firm, it has taken me years to build a network of first-class talent that I know and trust,” said Robert Kahn, who founded Kahn Consulting in 2006. “By creating ready access to these strategic and creative resources, I have built a cost-effective way for clients to get high-quality results here in Connecticut and throughout the New York area. Our goal is to do great work for our clients at affordable rates.”

According to Ellen Mullen, founder of Goodfit Darien and a Kahn client, “Bob is like an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer. He brings the added value of a loyal advisor who has the best interests of the clients in mind.”

The Kahn Consulting business model provides an efficient way to manage relationships with specialist partners like designers, copywriters, web developers and many others who are only needed at specific times in a campaign’s development. Clients get only senior-level talent without the burden of less-productive headcount.

About Kahn Consulting
Kahn Consulting, Inc. is a Stamford-based branding and marketing consultancy that helps clients create and evolve brands through a combination of targeted strategy, logo design, naming, copywriting collateral creation and web site development. Since the company’s founding in 2006 it has completed over 50 projects and has worked with a wide range of corporations and local businesses including L3 Communications, Gannett, GE Lighting, Landmark Aviation, Goodfit Darien and Kaplan Test-Prep.

For more information, please visit


Robert Kahn
Kahn Consulting, Inc.






Fasten your seat belt for the “battle of the brands”

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 8.56.25 AMThe Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 phased out the Civil Aeronautics Board and its control of pricing and routes in commercial aviation and paved the way for decades of new entrants and consolidation on an unprecedented scale. Now in the U.S. we have three major airlines: American, United and Delta and of course three favorite “brands” in JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America. So, it is not surprising that we are in the midst of a classic “battle of the brands,” as the big three legacy carriers attempt to carve out distinctive images.

As we know, American launched a new identity in 2013 and is digging itself out of a self-inflicted hole by aggressively adding new aircraft and showing computer animated simulations of the new livery flying around in the clouds with a voice-over featuring “Don Draper,” from Mad Men. Delta, while often producing beautifully filmed TV commercials, still punctuates them with the theme “Keep Climbing,” which seems ironically similar to the ill-fated United campaign of a few years ago, “Rising,” which failed because it offered a service proposition that they were unable to credibly deliver.

United, in an attempt to freshen their image, has turned back the clock and re-introduced the “Fly the Friendly Skies” tag line that many of us remember from childhood.  They have done a brilliant job in bringing back one of the most memorable tag lines in U.S. advertising history (not just in aviation) and made it relevant for today’s audiences. So far the feedback has been positive as United is showing that a great idea is one that stands the test of time. In the new ads and billboards, it is not surprising to see visuals of a mobile device accessing the United route map in a cyber inspired environment, and to see United working with Twitter followers to build intimacy across the globe.

Marketers will be observing closely how these three campaigns unfold and whether or not consumers will be moved to embrace the ongoing attempt to win loyalty in the skies, whether “friendly” or not.