SOURCE: CoreBrand

November 15, 2006 10:00 ET

CoreBrand CEO Jim Gregory Foresees Major Trends to Impact Brands in 2007

STAMFORD, CT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 15, 2006 --


1. Energy Independence

Energy independence will emerge as the number one issue in the 2008 Presidential campaign. With national efforts required to find innovative solutions to energy needs, the federal government will create incentives for solution while mobilizing to get our energy consumption under control.

2. Crisis with Unions

America can no longer compete effectively in the world due to the intransigence of Unions and management greed. These issues will come to a boiling point in 2007.

3. Ethics/Trust/Value Issues will Fade

The SOX culture is suffocating management and mediocrity reigns. The requirement for SOX standards will fade as the need to become more competitive grows. New gross violations will not become apparent for years until a new major crisis refocuses the spotlight on the importance of Ethics/Trust/Values.

4. Ford Motor Company

A corporation once synonymous with US industrial prowess and innovation is broken up and sold for scrap. The various divisions are sold off as Toyota declines to buy the company for pennies on the dollar.

5. Third generation of CMOs

Chief Marketing Officers are more sophisticated and are making significant improvements to the competitiveness of companies. Finally, CMOs are being considered in line for CEO.

6. Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR is becoming mainstream for many organizations. A clear strategy to engage in CSR activities is being implemented in leading corporations where integration of CSR within business functions is central to the dialogue. There's a movement to link CSR messaging in engaging stakeholders and impact every touch-point including brand reputation, organizational objectives in making it a core competency. The trend is developing good corporate citizenship and a new position, Chief Responsibility Officer (CRO), has become integral to Fortune 500 org charts.

7. Customer Experience Management (CEM)

Back to basics -- Getting closer to the customer (one-to-one), listening to your customer, understanding your customer, having a CEM program with a personal touch -- is becoming key to every organization's market success. It's not just outsourcing (i.e. India call center model), and IP technology, which has deficiencies. Smart CEM will grab new customers and improve revenues.

The trend will move from customer satisfaction to customer loyalty; a change in organizational thinking across touch points is needed. It's all about helping customers make the most of their purchase, and to increase the time consumers invest in the brand relationship. Quantifiable measurements to increase profitability are key to the process.

8. The US is facing a major crisis of confidence

--  Loss of stature in the world
--  Loss of major industries
--  Loss of competitiveness
--  Loss of innovation
--  Loss of new products -- IP knockoffs have taken a major toll on the US
    being perceived as "Innovative"
    

New initiatives are launched to identify how to make the US more competitive. Legislation is introduced to better protect America's vital industries without becoming protectionist. The debate will rage over the next decade. In the end, the ebbs and flows of free market economies will prevail and the US market will be perceived as a "low cost provider."

James R. Gregory
CEO
CoreBrand
www.CoreBrand.com
Jim Gregory is an author, founder and CEO of CoreBrand, a global brand strategy and communications firm based in Stamford, Connecticut with offices in New York, New York and Tokyo, Japan.

With 30 years experience, Jim is a leading expert on brand management, credited with developing innovative tools for measuring the power of brands and their impact on corporate financial performance. Jim developed the Corporate Branding Index® (CBI) -- research that has continuously tracked the reputation and financial performance of 1,200 publicly traded companies in 47 industries since 1990. CoreBrand helps clients understand how their brand compares with peers and determines how communications can impact corporate reputation and financial performance, stock price and revenue growth. Jim's books include "Marketing Corporate Image," "Leveraging the Corporate Brand," "Branding Across Borders" and "The Best of Branding."

About CoreBrand

CoreBrand (www.CoreBrand.com) is an independent, global brand strategy and integrated communications firm specializing in measuring, crafting and expressing corporate brands. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, with offices in New York City and Tokyo, the company works with many of the best-known brands in the world.

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