Losing money isn't child's play. Mattel, which considers itself a leading authority on fun, should know. The company
wanted a spiffy new brand identity for its online store, Shopmattel.com. "I knew that if we didn't have a
name, we had nothing," says Marc Rhatigan, marketing director for Mattel. Partly to please upper management,
the company hired a leading international branding consultant with a widespread reputation. Unfortunately, the
reputation was more promising than the result. "It felt very canned, a dog-and-pony-show," says Rhatigan.
Despite an elaborate branding process, nothing resonated with the company and Mattel ended up calling Idiom, a
regional two-person name-consulting firm, to salvage the project. Lessons Learned
: Bigger isn't always better. After tossing out $30,000, Mattel went to a smaller consultant
that cost it a fraction of what the big-name firm charged.