Mike Wagner breaks down LF’s Battle of the Brands

Well, it’s time again for July Madness…you read THAT right! July Madness when we all gather around the computer screen for Lessing-Flynn’s Battle of the Brands! So what can we expect and who will win?



It’s never easy to pick one brand over another unless you are the customer. Standing on the outside looking in can be tough. How do you connect a brand’s promise to it’s fulfillment? But I don’t intend to let that slow me down. So here is what we’ll be looking for.


There are four “keys to victory”  I would expect the eventual winner to exhibit: visibility, expectation, surprise and relevance.


Visibility has everything to do with how successful a brand has been at breaking through the noise of the marketplace and becoming signal. Typically you expect well-established brands to be the most visible scoring highest in terms of name recognition. Watch for a strong showing from nearly every entrant in the Leaders and Legends brackets! But visibility isn’t going to be enough to win it all!


Expectation also counts! Which brands are the best at creating anticipation around a promised brand experience? Which ones keep you guessing? Business to consumer brands should be able to score an advantage here. But, it all depends on the quality of their marketing. This opens up the competition quite a bit!


Surprise is the wild card brand trait. That makes sense of course…it is “surprise” after all. Which brands are the best at generating surprise? A strong willingness to be creative with a desire to challenge the status quo could catapult nearly anyone past the historically strong brands. Brand consultant and guru Duke Ellington said it best, “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!”


Finally, look for relevance to be the final key to victory. At the end of the day “winner brands” solve a relevant problem for customers and clients. Fail to do that and you won’t be advancing beyond the early rounds.






NOW for my picks…





Sweet 16:


Elite 8:


Iowa Cubs vs. Kum & Go
Smarty Pig vs. Dowalla
Des Moines Register vs. John Deere
Hy-Vee vs. AE


Final 4:


Des Moines Register vs. Hy-Vee
Iowa Cubs vs. Smarty Pig




Hy-Vee vs. Iowa Cubs








Click here to view the Lessing-Flynn Battle of the Brands bracket.


Mike Wagner’s business acumen has been developed through more than thirty years of experience with a number of organizations in a variety of industries. Over those years, it became clear that businesses with bottom line success have some very basic things in common: focused leaders around a vision and support from engaged employees.Mike wears many “hats” for White Rabbit Group including speaker, facilitator, and business development. He has experience in a broad range of industries including web development, sales management, and consultative sales.