Thursday, March 3

Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart

I always say that really good marketing is about making good decisions. Good decisions based on data, judgement, brand equity, and true consumer understanding. When you look at the evolution of great brands, you'll often see a string of really smart decisions.

Like Nike. Consistently good decision making over the years as they have expanded product lines, introduced new spokespeople, opened up retail stores, and gone into new markets. Consistently good decision making.

Now contrast that with Martha Stewart. A brand that I personally respect a lot, having nothing to do with my personal feelings about Martha Stewart the person or Martha Stewart the celebrity. When you examine the chronology of the brand, however, I believe you see a series of some pretty good decisions mixed with some not so good. Turns out that The Martha Stewart Apprentice Show was not so good. Events leading to jail time, not so good. Partnerships with Macy's, Michaels, and American Express - pretty good.

The latest? A partnership with Sandals Resorts where you can have a Martha Stewart destination wedding. Not so sure.

It's an all-inclusive package that you can purchase to have a fully-loaded tricked-out wedding, complete with caterer, flowers, hotel rooms, and festivities right at one of the Sandals Caribbean locations.

The advertising - almost an infomercial - was a bit cheesy. The website, ok. Can't exactly put my finger on it, but it just doesn't feel right. In many ways it should be fine, her weddings publications have done very well. And she certainly knows food and catering. But there's just something about it that doesn't feel right.

I don't think the brand equities match at all, and I have a sense that it wasn't a good decision for the Martha Stewart brand.

What do you think ... what's your experience? Jim.

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