Outlook 07

Rob Frankel, Founder, RobFrankel.com

cnbc.com staff

Rob Frankel has garnered acclaim for his marketing acumen – as he’ll be the first to tell you.   His clients include The Walt Disney Co., Burger King and the U.S. Forest Service. He offers both virtual and in-person seminars on creating “brands that turn users into evangelists.”  Frankel’s books include “The Revenge of Brand X."

In cnbc.com’s exclusive OUTLOOK 07 series, Frankel told CNBC’s Liz Claman what marketers do right – and wrong.

Frankel declares that “the key is first understanding how misunderstood” the art and science of branding is. He maintains that claims of offering the “best or cheapest” solutions to client needs isn’t enough: “You have to be perceived as the only solution.”

He urges advertisers to remember that that “the brand isn’t about you, it’s about them”: the would-be customers. Frankel points to Federal Express as the zenith of this thinking. When the shipping firm started out in business, he says, other delivery companies “bragged about how great they were – but FedEx looked at what the clients needed.”

Frankel praises Apple Computer – and not for its iPods or iTunes. The marketing sage says that “The thing that Apple realizes is that branding is non-rational. It appeals to the human aspect, not the charts and graphs that accountants love.”

He chides the perceived losers in the branding game, saying “99% of Corporate America has neglected their brand. …Wal-Mart , Kodak and Microsoft are heavy-hitters” when it comes to such indifference, he says.