Branding Genius: The Secrets Behind In-N-Out Burger’s Outsized Reputation

In our recent examination of Cohn & Wolfe’s Most Authentic Brands in the U.S., one major brand category felt conspicuously absent: fast food. This may be a result of our food culture’s recent growing focus on organic, local ingredients and seasonal menus, which leaves major chains hurting when it comes to consumer perceptions of authenticity. Or, it could be that fast food branding is in a bit of a slump. In an industry dominated by long-standing titans of convenience like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, there’s not a lot of incentive for innovation.

However, there is one fast food chain that looms large despite its relatively small footprint. In-N-Out Burger, which only has locations in California and parts of the Southwest, has nonetheless achieved an almost mythic quality among fast food enthusiasts. In fact, Nation’s Restaurant News recently ranked In-N-Out the highest in customer loyalty of any fast food chain nationwide, with 62% of respondents “saying their last visit… was motivated by the brand and not convenience.”

How does In-N-Out so successfully stand out from the crowd?

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More Case Studies in Authentic Branding: Newman’s Own, Crayola, Amazon, & More

We’ve been exploring the 2017 Cohn & Wolfe Authentic Brands study, which surveyed over 15,000 consumers to examine their perception of 1,400 popular brands. The result, the “Authentic 100”, is a list of the top 100 U.S. brands ranked according to consumer perception of authenticity. What can these brands reveal about successfully creating brand authenticity?

Let’s continue to examine the precedent set by the 10 most authentic brands. They provide powerful examples of how the most trusted brands in the U.S. have built a reputation for authenticity, consistency in today’s saturated marketplace.
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Case Studies in Authentic Branding: UPS, AAA, Lego, & M&Ms

We recently explored the 2017 Cohn & Wolfe Authentic Brands study, which surveyed over 15,000 consumers to examine their perception of 1,400 popular brands. The “Authentic 100” was the result: a list of the top 100 U.S. brands ranked according to consumer perception of authenticity. Now, we’ll look deeper into how to successfully create brand authenticity through the example of the 10 most authentic brands from Cohn & Wolfe’s recent research.
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Authenticity in Branding & Marketing: What’s Your Brand’s Promise?

The recently released 2017 Cohn & Wolfe Authentic Brands study is the result of an ambitious undertaking. Cohn & Wolfe surveyed over 15,000 consumers across a wide variety of markets in search of a deeper understanding of their perception of 1,400 popular brands. Culminating in the “Authentic 100” – the top 100 U.S. brands ranked according to consumer perception of authenticity – the study “examines the role of authenticity in business, the attributes associated with an authentic brand and the impact of authenticity on consumer… attitudes and behaviors.”

It’s no surprise that authenticity is an attribute that is highly valued by today’s consumers. In our social media-saturated society, consumers have more opportunities than ever before to interact with brands on a “personal” level and they demand that engagement in exchange for their loyalty to certain brands and products. Let’s take a look at how consumers perceive authenticity and what that means for today’s brand builders.
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The Rise of the eSports Economy

Competitive video gaming has existed for decades, as both amateur competitions between friends in suburban basements and professional level tournaments with large audiences and cash prizes. Now, gaming seems poised to take a major leap forward, gaining the legitimacy given to other organized competitions through the establishment of governing bodies and an expanding infrastructure catering to players and spectators alike. A recent local radio segment brought my attention to the rapid growth in collegiate eSports programs, revealing the breadth of interest and investment in the gaming economy.
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Augmented Reality: The Future is Ready to Download

In our previous exploration of augmented reality technology, Inside the Innovative Mind: Virtual & Augmented Reality, we took a look at the origins of AR and how it might evolve in ways that connect people to their surroundings in new and innovative ways. Today, less than a year later, the explosion of AR apps is already offering a broad range of new experiences to users. From enhanced gameplay in real-world environments to consumer/product interactions and even clinical applications in medicine and pharmacology, AR is making incredible strides.

Let’s take a look at some of the products of this new technology that are reshaping how we interact with the world around us.
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What “Peak TV” Can Teach Us About Brand Engagement

Industry experts call it “Peak TV” – a title that acknowledges both the quality and quantity of scripted series currently airing across established networks and upstart streaming services alike. For viewers at home, it may feel impossible to keep up with the sheer number of “must watch” shows. That’s an understandable feeling. FX Networks, which tracks the series currently on the air, notes that 342 individual scripted series have aired so far in 2017, making it the biggest year on record for TV programming.

For producers and marketing departments, this glut of content creates a mandate: stand out from the crowd or fade away. As a result, some of the strongest brands around right now belong to TV shows. In the age of Peak TV, what can show brands teach us about storytelling and audience engagement?
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