Limited Edition Packaging: How to Use it as Part of Your Brand Strategy

Posted by Lorraine Carter on September 01 2015 @ 11:40

Store aisles and eCommerce pages are packed with products sold in limited-edition packages that are intended to drive increased sales. However, industry data publicized by Nielsen indicates that as much as 90 percent of new limited edition packaging designs don’t have the desired effect—and in some cases, may even hurt brand equity.


On the other hand, to a faithful collector of a favourite DVD series or dedicated brand loyalist, limited-edition packaging can be a compelling reason to purchase a new or alternative version of a much desired product as soon as possible. Indeed, it could be argued that the entire concept of limited-edition packaging is meant to urge consumers to open their wallets on the spot. Waiting too long could result in disappointment.


Below, we'll look at several case studies, along with the associated benefits and downsides. This information could help you decide whether limited-edition packaging is a great brand strategy decision that will lead to outstanding results—or whether it’s likely to incur more costs than benefits.




Limited Edition Packaging that Promotes the Concept of Scarcity: Special Monopoly Sets Offer Real Money


Sometimes indicating that a product is a limited-edition item only available for a short period of time is enough to stimulate sales. Interested buyers can quickly recognize that there’s a relatively small number being made, and that fact makes them want it more.


Those items are frequently prized by collectors, and in other cases, people just desire them for the novelty value. Hasbro, manufacturer of the popular game Monopoly, successfully used this concept of scarcity to market the game via a specially packaged limited edition version.


    French Monopoly Real Euros

 Image via www.mashable.com, Patrick Hertzog/AFP 



To celebrate the game's 80th anniversary, 80 versions of the game that were sold in France came with real money. In most cases, the genuine currency was mixed in with fake bills. However, one of the packages came entirely with spendable real euros. The benefit of this approach is that it appeals to people who might already want to buy the game for nostalgic reasons to reminisce about their childhoods by playing this classic game. Plus, since only 80 game sets of this sort were made, the scarcity factor drives up the perceived brand value.


For many hopeful customers, the act of opening a Monopoly box to see if it came stocked with real spendable money was probably something akin to when Charlie Bucket of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory anxiously ripped open the candy bar wrapper to see if it contained the coveted golden ticket that allowed him and a select group of others admittance into Willy Wonka’s magical candy-making site.




Limited Edition Packaging Designed to Leverage Core Brand Messages: Scotch Magic Tape


Scotch's Magic Tape is very popular because of the way it seems to disappear onto paper after applied. The brand has even developed a dispenser so people can only use one hand to put the tape in place.





A few years ago, German company Kolle-Rebbe designed packaging that contained mirrored panels inside to create the illusion that the Magic Tape package was empty, even though it was holding five rolls of the adhesive. The special tape package even won a CLIO Award, which is the equivalent of an Academy Award in the film industry, but instead honours design, advertising, and communication professionals.


The box design promotes the brand's "invisibility" benefit, and is an unconventional idea that makes people take notice when surveying available adhesive choices. That’s true even if they are not already familiar with what makes the tape stand out from competitors. The branding message indicates that Magic Tape makes paper tears “disappear”, because it patches them up so clearly. Plus, as already mentioned, the tape’s material is made to blend into the paper after it’s applied.



 Scotch Tape Magic 3 M

Image via www.packworld.com and 3M



Furthermore, it was said that the decision to include green as the primary colour in the box’s design was a nod to a commitment to environmental sustainability. While that may be the case, it can also be strongly argued that the vivid green shade is already well-known to consumers.


There are many varieties of Scotch products, but the Magic Tape always has a green packaging design. Choosing to use any other colour when designing the “invisible” box could possibly have caused unnecessary confusion, and perhaps meant shoppers would have mistakenly overlooked the product when visually scanning store shelves.


This is a great example of how a limited-edition package can reinforce the brand message in a way which is both aesethetically 'on brand' and functional in its delivery, and we’ve had similarly favourable results when helping our clients combine aesthetics with functional benefits and practicality.




Limited Edition Packaging that Relies on Star Power: Michael Jackson Pepsi Cans and "Bad" Album 25th Anniversary Campaign


People around the world were devastated when Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” passed away. Pepsi had been a long-time partner of Michael Jackson, and that loyalty continued after the pop star's death.


In 2012, the beverage brand launched its first global campaign to honour the artist, releasing limited edition Pepsi cans in over 20 countries. The packaging retained the brand’s usual blue background, but featured Jackson in a range of typically dramatic poses that were highly recognizable, consequently drawing instant attention from consumers.


  Pepsi Michael Jackson 600px

Image via www.marketingmagazine.co.uk



To further stimulate demand, Pepsi also tapped top music stars of today to pay tribute to the artist in relation to the 25th anniversary of the Bad album. That piece of work was the seventh studio release from Jackson, and is repeatedly cited as a major influence on today’s artists. The performances were heavily viewed online and served to reinforce the concept that Jackson is one of the few artists who can boast timeless appeal across generations.


This campaign had value to music collectors, and also helped stimulate the desire in diehard fans to buy products relating to the deceased artist. Because Pepsi had to strike a deal with the managers of the late artist’s estate, the campaign undoubtedly required a significant amount of logistics. However, the challenges paid off, especially in terms of brand visibility.







Limited Edition Packaging That Supports a Charity: Bottle Green's Stylish Drink Bottles to Fight Breast Cancer


Bottle Green sells unusual flavours of sparkling water and thereby caters to a niche market. In 2011, it developed a set of limited edition bottles that were available in the UK. The containers supported a charity called Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and featured images of stylish women. The bottles had strong onshelf impact, and were atypical to the category, which undoubtably drew the attention of their primary target audience.



Bottlegreen Csr

Image via www.packagingoftheworld.com



More importantly, that effort was part of the brand’s dedication to corporate social responsibility, and reflected a continual effort to support causes that fight breast cancer. Research indicates that when customers are presented with two similar brands in the same category, the one that supports a clear CSR activity, charity or ‘gives back’ in some way for the great good, will typically be the preferred purchase and have higher sales than the one that doesn’t. Similarly the Bottle Green CSR campaign likely helped to strengthen awareness of the brand’s charitable heart. When working with our own clients, we tend to strongly agree that a target audience feels more compelled to buy something if it aligns with a charitable cause.


Interestingly enough, unlike some brands that are sold in connection with fighting breast cancer, the range doesn't feature a dominant pink hue. However, the arresting design of the women’s faces is very powerful. Presumably, it was more than enough to encourage customers to pick up the containers and read them more closely to get the story behind the aesthetics.




Limited Edition Packaging That Leverages Premiumisation


Luxury brands often use limited-edition packaging as part of their premiumisation strategy for adding perceived value. Oscar de la Renta is one strong example of a brand that has done this successfully—but in this case, so-called “brand evangelism” is just as important, or even more so, than actual sales numbers.


In 2011, Oscar de la Renta launched the first-ever sales initiative that was completely contained within Facebook. The brand offered a solid perfume variety of its scent Esprit d’Oscar, which was packaged inside a wearable ring and sold with a price tag of $65. After a consumer bought a ring, he or she was encouraged to share that news via Facebook. Therefore, in the space of a few seconds, awareness of the product could theoretically spread to thousands of people or more, plus make a person feel special about being among those select few who were able to snag a ring before it was too late.


  Oscar De La Renta Facebook

Image via http://wwd.com, www.oscardelarenta.com



On the day of its release, one extremely eager evangelist found she was not able to access Facebook while at work, and was so concerned that she contacted the brand to inquire about the likelihood that the rings would be sold out before she could get one. Ultimately, a brand representative agreed to put one aside for her.



Oscar De La Renta Ring 

Image via http://wwd.com, www.oscardelarenta.com



Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this case study is that people were not able to access the purchase page for the limited-edition product without first liking the brand’s Facebook page. Before offering the limited-edition ring, the brand tested that strategy by offering free samples of the perfume to people who liked the Facebook page. In just one week, the number of likes grew by 40 percent. Furthermore, 5,000 people agreed to fill out feedback surveys.


The limited-edition ring created a win-win situation: customers got the chance to order something that had built-in exclusivity, and the brand’s marketers built their databases of interested consumers.




Limited Edition Packaging Compromises Product: Halo 3 Video Game


Early versions of limited-editions of the Halo 3 had faulty hubs in the packaging that did not consistently hold the discs securely in place. This meant many people opening the packaging with the intention of starting to play the game, found that the discs had become loose during shipping and consequently were scratched, resulting in the brand owner Microsoft having to offer replacements to its customers.



 Halo3 Packaging

Image via http://www.dailytech.com



Despite this initial issue, Halo 3 ended up being the top-selling title of its time. It sold a total of $170 million on release day, and more than 1.7 fans decided to splurge on the $70 limited-edition version.





This is a good example of how limited-edition packaging must be properly tested to ensure they are fully functional as well as aesthetically eye-catching. The brand’s reputation didn’t really suffer as a result of the packaging problem, and neither did early sales. However, it’s important to remember that many brands don’t have the built-in advantage of such a large and dedicated fan base.


Those players were so eager to become immersed in the latest Halo release that the faulty packaging might have momentarily frustrated them, but it almost certainly wasn’t enough to cause the consumers to think twice about buying another Halo game or recommending them to friends. In this case study, the other inherent benefits of the game outweigh the issues with the packaging.




Packaging That’s too Bulky, Which Makes Storage or Merchandising Difficult: The Simpsons Box Sets


Boxed TV series sets are perpetually popular gifts, and great ways for TV fanatics to indulge themselves by being able to watch favourite episodes at any time. It’s not unusual for boxed sets to have holographic portions, fold-out sections, and other embellishments that aim to add aesthetic brand value. However, in the case of boxed sets for FOX’s animated hit, The Simpsons, the quest to dazzle possibly went a bit too far.



 Simpsons Packaging 3 D

Image via http://www.tvshowsondvd.com



The DVDs were packaged in boxes with three-dimensional facial features from popular characters. However, this limited edition packaging feature made the DVDs very hard to store because the more bulky packaging required extra shelf space when stored alongside other DVDs. Eventually, the manufacturer announced it would also be possible to buy a version where the three-dimensional parts could be removed, making the front of the box flat for easier storage.


The Simpsons brand has a very strong established fan base so it’s very unlikely that viewers would elect not to buy the DVD sets just because they had a bulky design. However, by making the decision to also offer a version where the three dimensional facial features could be removed, the manufacturers had to incur extra overheads, which potentially cut into increased profits.


We frequently caution our own clients that it’s crucial to perform a brand audit or extensive research around the feasibility of a limited-edition packaging strategy from multiple perspectives before proceeding to brand design or production. A lack of research, proper prototype testing or unchallenged assumptions can incurr unexpected costs which eat into a campaigns profitability, or worse, cause it to run at a loss, so please do your homework before your invest in your limited edition packaging!




Limited Editions Packaging Delayed Shipment of Product: Batman: Arkham Knight Game


A special YouTube channel was created to stimulate demand for the Batman: Arkham Knight serial superhero game. However early adopters didn't get entirely what they expected when they enthusiastically purchased the game online following a teaser campaign with video clips from scenes of the game.





Gamers who pre-ordered the limited edition of the Batman: Arkham Knight game from Amazon UK received an e-mail saying there was an unspecified problem with the packaging, which meant those shoppers would get their physical goods nearly three weeks later than expected.


Because many people specifically pre-order limited-edition goods to get them on or before the official release date, this announcement undoubtedly caused some disappointment. To compensate, Amazon UK said it would provide download codes so people could play the games on the release date, even without having their physical goods.


Unlike the above instances of packaging issues, this example probably caused more logistical headaches than financial ones. The availability of download codes meant that even though buyers couldn’t immediately enjoy the tangible goods they were promised when pre-ordering the limited edition, they could at least play the game on time—which was probably a sufficient compromise for many customers.


What’s unique about this case study compared to the others we have examined is that the limited-edition packaging not only caused hassles for the manufacturer, but also for a retailer.




What We Can Learn From These Case Studies


As the above examples demonstrate, there are many advantages to using special edition packaging as part of your brand strategy. Specifically, it usually works best when:


  • The limited-edition package is produced in extremely small quantities. This helps give items exclusivity and inceases desirability as consumers make dedicated efforts to buy them.


  • The packaging leverages and enhances the product’s branding, but still has design elements that are familiar to consumers thereby strengthening brand affinity.


  • Unusual packaging design details are integrated, but not at the expense of outweighing functional use or practicality or by becoming excessively costly or difficult to ship, store or merchandise.


  • Pop culture references and/or celebrities are leveraged through brand collaboration or joint venture to increase the perceived value of a limited edition package.


  • The special edition packaging is designed in support of a charitable cause. It’s especially helpful when endeavours like these align with a company’s already-established commitment to corporate social responsibility.


  • Items featuring limited edition packages are sold solely through social media, and people can only make purchases after first interacting with the brand’s social media page in a designated way. This approach can theoretically help a brand gain traction on social media, connect with people who might not ordinarily use social media except to buy the products, and assist with building a database that’s populated with customer feedback and contact details.




However, limited-edition packaging can also be very cost- prohibitive, to the point where profitability is undermined if not properly researched and tested. That scenario is more likely if:


  • Proper testing is not carried out in advance to ensure the elements of the limited-edition packaging performs well functionally and aesthetically. That should include taking steps to see if the packaging can withstand the rigors of being shipped around the world.


  • The limited-edition packaging is too ‘ordinary’, so it doesn’t resonate strongly enough with its primary audience. In some cases, this may mean the packaging only seems valuable to people who have proven that their brand loyalty is so deep that they’ll buy a limited-edition package even if it’s not really all that special or very eye-catching.


  • Packaging details are very complex and overly elaborate. Sometimes, focusing too much on the artistry can mean practical and functional needs get overlooked or undermined.


  • It becomes evident that the production time for a limited-edition packaging will be longer than expected, meaning the products won’t be distributed on time to meet customer expectations or launch timelines.




The Final Limited Edition Packaging Brand Strategy Takeaway


If you decide to use limited edition packaging as part of your own brand strategy then its important to ensure you blend all the functional brand essentials with the brand aesthetics, while remaining true to your core brand values and positioning.


You should also ideally conduct research, not only to test your prototype but to ensure there is actually a market for your limited line that will be attracted to your special limited edition packaging, and if you aren’t sure, weigh up the costs of doing a very small batch test of special packages. These precautions can help make your limited-edition packages much more successful instead of turning into marketing decisions that eat up profits, undermine your brand and frustrate customers.



You may also like:


• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet


• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand


• Rebranding Strategy: Using Premium Repositioning To Increase Profitability


• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


• Brand Management: Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Brand Reputation


• Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success




So what do you think?


  • Do you agree with the claim that the Scotch Magic Tape packaging was green to promote environmental sustainability, or was that message just being broadcast to urge eco-minded shoppers to buy the tape?


  • Is the approach of offering a limited edition product solely on Facebook, as Oscar de la Renta did, a worthwhile brand strategy, or do you think it might be missing an opportunity with interested customers who’d perhaps like to purchase the items, but don’t use Facebook?


  • Do you think it’s more effective to showcase corporate responsibility by using packaging design that’s very obviously made to support a charitable cause, or is the “less is more” tactic used by Green Bottle a clever one?


  • In cases where smaller brands want to use pop culture references for broader brand positioning, but don’t have the resources to consider global stars like Michael Jackson, what other possibilities could they explore?


  • While developing limited edition packaging, how important is it to get input from consumers about the features they would like to see? What do you think is the best way to acquire that information? Should you reward participants in return for their feedback?


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Baby Boomer Branding: How and Why to Market to this Lucrative Demographic

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 24 2015 @ 13:20

Although there’s a lot of talk about millennials and their desire to engage in consumerism, it’s important not to overlook the baby boomer generation, born from the end of World War 2 up to the early 1960s (roughly between 1946-1964). After all, Baby Boomers hold 70 percent of all disposable income in the United States.


Also, government data indicates that the baby boomers outspend other generational groups’ spending on consumer products and services by an average of $400 million.




Branding Strategies for Baby Boomers: A Unique Process


If those statistics have stimulated your curiosity and made it clear that to overlook the baby boomer demographic is potentially a very costly mistake, keep in mind that you can’t just retool most of your brand concepts currently used to reach out to older target markets.


For starters, baby boomers are usually very loyal to brands—and as shown by the opening statistics, they have disposable income. Also, don’t assume that this demographic will settle for less as they get older, or even that they’ll settle down.


When looking at the specifics associated with marketing to baby boomers, experts have found that this group prefers living in comfortable homes surrounded by the latest amenities. Also, they generally want to maintain very active lifestyles. Those findings align with what we’ve discovered when developing brands to meet the needs of affinity groups within this demographic.




Misconceptions about Baby Boomers are Common


Even marketers who are guided by solid research and good intentions sometimes miss the mark as they attempt to resonate with the baby boomer generation. Often, that’s due in large part to some pervasive misconceptions.


Earlier, we mentioned how baby boomers tend to be faithful to the brands they love. That’s true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that baby boomers are set in their ways. According to Nielsen research from 2012, only five percent of advertising budgets were geared toward baby boomers, but some experts believe baby boomers are not as brand loyal as millennials.


There’s another prevailing assumption about baby boomers, which some of our clients have expressed: the belief that baby boomers are not tech-savvy.


Although baby boomers were not early adopters of technology, they tend to use tech devices more frequently than you might expect. However, they do so differently than their younger counterparts.


Whereas a younger person might primarily use social media to connect with friends, baby boomers may feel more compelled to do so because that’s the way their kids and grandkids share updates and photos. The shift over to technology, in many cases, probably wasn’t primarily out of desire, but because boomers realized social media was the quickest way to keep in touch with younger generations.


Additionally, apps that are related to health services frequently get built for cross-generational appeal. Some boomers have shown interest in using an app that might help them check in faster for a hospital appointment or enjoy easier access to medical records, for example.


Finally, some marketers seem to forget that the baby boomer generation encompasses anyone between the ages of 51 and 69. It’s not sufficient to believe that certain branding strategies will universally connect with everyone. A younger baby boomer might prefer very active vacations, while one who’s nearing 70 or older may want to go on a cruise instead.


Of course, that’s a very broad example. The point is, marketers should try to focus their brand strategy on reaching baby boomers of certain ages, through developing affinity groups as a tool for profiling them or at least recognizing that older baby boomers have different needs and desires than younger ones.




Examples of When Multi-Generational Branding Strategies Can Work


Even though you’ve now learned how there’s a fine art to baby boomer branding, don’t get discouraged and think it’s necessary to do away with every tactic you use to appeal to younger generations. In fact, research has shown there are some valuable commonalities. In fact, some of our clients achieved the best results with cross-generational approaches.


Specifically, both boomers and millennials love bargains, and a high percentage of them (more than 80 percent for either group) are very comfortable shopping online. Also, 75 percent of boomers and millennials are more likely to purchase something if it’s associated with a perk, such as a loyal discount or a coupon.


Now, let’s take a look at some actionable strategies, and case studies of companies that have used them well.




Case Study: J. Jill and the Uncomplicate Clothing Line


As discussed above, baby boomers don’t want to settle for less when they get older. The clothing brand J. Jill took that into consideration with its Uncomplicate collection, which is marketed toward baby boomers.



 J Jill Site 600px

Image via www.jjill.com



The goal is to show that like younger generations of females, older women also deserve wardrobe upgrades. With this clothing line, they can look forward to clothes that are equal parts fashionable and comfortable.


Focus groups held before the new line kicked off found that women prefer attire they can easily dress up or down. When analyzing details of the Uncomplicate line, marketers realized that baby boomers wanted to look their best, without wasting time that could be used for more important pursuits. J. Jill also embraces a mix-and-match style with its Wearever line. These proactive steps reflect the brand’s realization that baby boomers have just as many reasons to enjoy new clothes as younger generations.






No matter how you market to boomers, we’ve found that customers respond best when you make it easy for them to meet their identified needs.




Case Study: Harley Davidson’s Tricycles


Baby boomers don’t like to be given the hard sell. They want to see the benefits of a product, but not in an intrusive way. Sometimes, brands have enough of a built-in following that people of all ages understand there are inherent advantages to choosing them, so there’s no need for a massive marketing campaign.



 Harley Davidson Free Wheeler 600px

Image via www.harley-davidson.com




Harley-Davidson has released a three-wheel motorcycle called the Freewheeler that’s made for great stability, but still reaches impressive speeds. The Freewheeler is an improvement on a previous model of a three-wheel model, which was called the Tri Glide. In comparison, the Freewheeler is less bulky and features a lighter weight than its predecessor. Reviews of the Freewheeler trike are generally favorable, and the brand’s press release boasts, “Riding on three wheels has never been cooler.”






Going back to what you’ve read about baby boomers wanting to stay active, this trike is a perfect example of that principle. Sometimes it’s not necessary to reinvent a product so it caters to baby boomers, but to just tweak the details while preserving the familiar aspects that attracted consumers in the first place.




Case Study: Spirit 50


Across the world, there have been concerns that as baby boomers get older and require more medical attention, there will be an increased demand on the healthcare system. One forward-thinking Canadian entrepreneur named Erin Billowits is trying to keep baby boomers healthier as they age by marketing a fitness program that lets her demographic work out at home. The program, Spirit 50, combines instructional videos with step-by-step instructions. Users can even purchase consultations that take place over Skype.


  Spirit50 600px

Image via  www.spirit50.com



In her research, Billowits found that a majority of baby boomers want to improve their health, and many are willing to make small, proactive changes without being prodded.


When designing her fitness program, Billowits looked at possible technological barriers. As you can see from the format of this YouTube clip, the exercises are explained in a straightforward way that’s not patronizing. Also, because the videos aren’t lengthy, most browsers should start playing them right away.






If you plan to market something to baby boomers that’s technological in nature, it’s important to do the legwork beforehand and make sure your concept doesn’t come across as overwhelming. Billowits identified that a need was there, but she recognized that some of her clientele may not be willing to embrace her exercise concept if it took them too far out of their comfort zones. 


Furthermore, to sign up for a fitness plan, users only have to submit usernames, passwords, and e-mails. That’s simple enough even for baby boomers who aren’t accustomed to filling out a lot of online forms.





Case Study: Japanese Convenience Stores


In Japan, convenience stores are doing whatever they can to appeal to an older demographic. Executives have realized that a growing number of people from the baby boomer generation are stopping into Japanese convenience stores to get what they need without delay. A few major brands are branching out by offering a home delivery service of nutritious and easy-to-make meals, including bento boxes. This strategy appeals to boomers who aren’t willing to sustain themselves on sodium-riddled frozen dinners of low nutritional value.


Some stores stock attire that’s marketed toward an older demographic, but others focus on more practical things, such as healthcare items that baby boomers might need. Others have thrown their hats into the ring and aimed to meet needs that are a little more obscure, but still have merit. Two examples are health advice counters, and karaoke equipment that turns convenience stores into social gathering places for baby boomers who want to have fun among their peers.


These kinds of purpose-based approaches make sense. If baby boomers feel alienated due to a perception that most of what’s available to consumers isn’t relevant to their lives, they’re less likely engage with a particular brand or shop at a particular establishment, no matter how convenient it claims to be.





Case Study: Ford Motors


As Ford Motors has discovered, successfully marketing to baby boomers starts during the engineering process. The company makes some of its auto engineers wear “aging suits” that mimic what it’s like to be an older driver. Dubbed the Third Age Suit, the device is designed to make a person physically feel approximately 30 years older. Using a corset and orthotic devices, the suit causes stiffness in the hip region, knees, shoulders, and feet. Earplugs simulate being hard of hearing, and special goggles mimic vision-related disorders that are common in older adults.






Although this case study doesn’t represent an example of direct marketing to baby boomers, it demonstrates an effort made by engineers in the early phases to understand how aging affects driver capabilities and comfort. This could eventually influence baby boomers to choose certain makes and models of vehicles over others.





A Worthy Venture


Clearly, the baby boomer generation is not to be overlooked when it comes to ensuring that your brand gets noticed by those with a great deal of purchasing power.


Although it’s necessary to tailor your branding strategies using some of the methodologies discussed above, the ultimate payoff could be a major factor in helping your business stay competitive and indeed become more profitable in a crowded marketplace. 



You make also like:


• Millennial Branding: Creating Brands to Appeal to Teens and Young Adults


• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling


• Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable


• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health - Can It Be Improved?


• Brand Strategy: 6 Lessons Learned from Tourism Queensland, One of the Most Successful Branding Campaigns Ever


• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet


• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Strong Enough to Compete?  


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success




So what do you think?


• Have you used brand profiling and positioning is when marketing to baby boomers?


• Do you think a brand name that alludes to the baby boomer market, such as ‘Spirit 50’ is an important part of the brand strategy for connecting with a target audience?


Rebranding strategy was crucial for J.Jill when realizing, during a brand audit and through market research studies, that the fashion needs of baby boomers weren't being met. Have you had a similar moment that has made you discover that baby boomers may be an untapped market?


• In Japan, several convenience stores have incorporated the needs of an older generation into the brand identity design. Do you think that will eventually mean that the majority of convenience store shoppers will be much older than in preceding generations?


Brand positioning was a crucial aspect for marketing the Harley-Davidson trikes to a market that was already likely cued into what makes the brand worth following. Do you think that the brand strategy was comprehensive enough, or should it have been more extensive?



Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.



1 comment(s)

Rebranding Strategy: The ABCs of Rebranding Google

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 18 2015 @ 10:40


Google made us uncomfortable!


When the third most valuable brand in the world [Forbes, 2015] announces a surprise rebranding, people notice.


On a recent midsummer Silicon Valley afternoon, the Co-founder and CEO of Google morphed into the CEO of Alphabet before our eyes. What’s Alphabet, we wondered?


Larry Page opened his official blog post saying, “We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”




 Image via https://abc.xyz



“Uncomfortably excited” is a state of mind that Googlers are well familiar with; they say it comes up frequently during internal meetings. When Larry Page addressed the graduating class of the University of Michigan in 2009, he counseled, “Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting.”[1]






“We Do Search”


With the perspective of a few days and hundreds of pieces of content produced by Google observers, the picture came into focus. People realized that Google wasn’t disappearing (audible sigh of relief), but rather that Alphabet was born to give Google the space to be Google. The bottom line is that from a consumer perspective, it’s business as usual!



 Googles Products



Google is a search engine and an advertising platform. And clearly, it’s a cash cow -- which has everything to do with funding the next big breakthrough and nothing to do with Google’s (um, Alphabet’s) next passion project, whatever it may be.


As an obscure campus startup, Google’s mission was "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." Two years on, Google AdWords launched with 350 customers.[2] Overwhelming success has been declared in the blink of an eye, in about one and a half decades.


The authors of “The Google Story” discussed the profound impact of the founders’ vision to make all web-based information searchable via PageRank algorithms, comparing it to the first mechanical printing press in 1440. They wrote, “Not since Gutenberg...has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google."[3]



The Google Story By David A Vise



“We do search,” was the core of Google’s philosophy as expressed in its original “Ten Things We Know to Be True”[4] document. However last winter, Larry Page said, “Google has ‘outgrown’ its 14-year-old mission statement.”[5]


So, on second thoughts, no one  should have been surprised by Google’s big announcement. In October 2014, Page laid it out in an interview with the FT,[6] expressing his desire to step away from daily chores at the colossal search engine. “The world’s most powerful internet company is ready to trade the cash from its search engine monopoly for a slice of the next century’s technological bonanza,” is how the FT put it. 




Spelling it Out


Alphabet is about brand innovation. When Larry Page titled his announcement “G is for Google,” the implication is that it leaves another 25 letters for Alphabet to dream big.






Several of the spaces on the virtual Scrabble board have already been filled in: Life Sciences, working on the glucose-sensing contact lens; Calico, focused on longevity; Nest for smart-home products; Fiber for super-connectivity and whatever words are played next, sometimes via acquisition.


Google X is the think tank for moonshots, artificial intelligence, robotics, longevity, health advancements, biotech, self-driving cars and smart glasses. Google Ventures re-invests.


It’s all about staying “uncomfortably excited” and attracting the best minds for collective ideation.






Brand Architecture : A House of Brands


Alphabet is now an umbrella for one of the largest brands we’ve known. From a brand architecture perspective, Google bucks the trend of the last decade which has seen large brands consolidate toward a single 'brand house' approach e.g. Unilever (2004), P&G (2011), Coca-Cola (2015). Google is doing the opposite by creating a 'house of brands.’


The scale of Google’s size and scope demands a more efficient approach for managing multiple brands with different cultures, complex mergers and acquisitions, innovation, brand sub-cultures whilst satisfying Wall Street demands for accountability.


As an article published in the Harvard Business Review points out:

“...the financial returns of the search engine and advertising business could not be observed separately from the investments in all of the new businesses. The new structure ensures that there will be, at a minimum, independent accounting numbers produced for the Google business, and perhaps for the others as well.”


The Alphabet umbrella brand also reduces risk in terms of brand reputation management, with risk being ring-fenced around each individual brand and its own CEO within the 'house of brands'. Alphabet will be much less vulnerable to major scandal or irregularity and it will also not be a consumer brand.


The point of a ‘house of brands’ structure is that the corporate brand becomes essentially invisible to the outside world, only relevant to senior employees and investors. How clever is Google?




What are the Branding Takeaways?


For smaller businesses, it’s more advantageous to manage a single brand or ‘brand house’ with one budget, one culture, one organisational structure, one employer, one leadership team and so on.


At first blush, the immediate branding Alphabet/Google learnings or takeaways from their initial announcement, for any size company or organisation, are as follows:


1)    Continually evaluate your core business, product or service and re-evaluate ancillary revenue streams, products and services to remain properly focused. [Note: Apple’s Steve Jobs used to tell Larry Page that he was trying to do too much. Page told Jobs that Apple wasn’t doing enough.]


2)    Secondly, re-visit your mission statement. It doesn’t belong in a box file in a drawer, but in a frame on the wall at reception and in the lunch room. Dust it off and discuss it, make it the heart of your business, a living breathing, authencitic expression of who you are and what you do and the true reason why you do what you do.



Mission Drives The Business Gapingvoid 

Image via http://www.gapingvoidart.com, Hugh MacLeod




3)    Not every hiccup or even a crisis requires a rebrand, sometimes a brand health check is one of the most useful tools to protect your most valuable asset. Talk to us. 


4)    Does your existing brand name properly represent your business today and into the future or has it become something of a misnomer as your business has grown and evolved? Do you need some help re-evaluating your brand name relevance?


Larry Page explained the decision behind their new name.

“We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for!”


Rebrands happen. For a number of reasons, they can be an exceptionally good move at the right time for the right reasons. We’re here to help.



You may also like:


• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can it be Improved?


• Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger


• Brand Renaming: Name and Tagline Change Considerations


• Brand Audit: When the USA Took the Branding Bull by the Horns


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


• Brand Naming: Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation    


• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling


• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand 


• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


• CEO Brand Leadership: How Does Your Leadership Impact Your Brand?




Are you getting uncomfortably excited about your own business? Or just excited? Let us know what you think about these questions that pop into your mind as we ponder the changing Google landscape.




  • How can I know whether a rebrand will help or hurt my business and its reputation?



  •  How can I budget properly for all that a rebranding entails?


  • Are there potentially moments in the life of a business when a brand health check or rebrand is the right strategy, even when the company is performing well, like Google?



[1] Larry Page’s University of Michigan commencement address

[2] http://www.google.com/about/company/history

[3] Vise, David, and Malseed, Mark. The Google Story, Delta Publ. (2006)

[4] http://www.google.com/about/company/philosophy

[5] Samuel Gibbs (November 3, 2014) The Guardian.

[6] Richard Waters (October 2014) Financial Times.





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Brand Management: Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Brand Reputation

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 11 2015 @ 07:38

Got a brand? Just like a person, your brand has a reputation to establish and uphold. The identity of your brand, of course, begins with its name. Your product or service is your brand’s body and mind, and you must use all five senses to reach out in appealing ways to old and new friends (customers). Your brand lives, breathes and grows via its brand personality, which has simply got to be consistently appealing, authentic and dependable.






That’s all wrapped up in what brand marketers refer to as a brand’s tone of voice. It reveals a style reflected across everything your brand says and does online and offline, both written and visual.



Leverage Your ROI


Smaller businesses can punch above their weight without a string of zeroes in the budget when they get their branding basics right. Why? Because brand loyalty, sharing, peer recommendations, transparent feedback and brand ambassadorship are stronger than ever in the digital age. We’re passionate about working with brands every day, large and small, to make this happen, so they can leverage their ROI to the maximum.



Google For Business 

Image via www.google.com



See and Be Seen Where Your Brand Belongs


Even the most popular person can’t be -- and shouldn’t try to be -- everywhere at once. Decide where you want to be seen and heard depending upon who your customers are and where the circles of your brands’ look-alike audiences (as Facebook Ads have named this tool) are found. That’s why you don’t go to a convention for lovers of African violets to network with extreme adventure travelers and vice versa. Nor would anyone switch on a television shopping channel to buy heirloom Tiffany & Co. gems.



Online and On Brand


Apply traditional channel and networking logic to online platforms to determine where you belong. An anti-aging cream on Snapchat represents wasted effort in the same way that a traditional print advertisement for wrinkle cream would be absurd in the pages of Seventeen magazine. If you need some brand strategy support our team can steer you through your social media distribution decisions, specific to your brand, to get the most from your investment.


To see the big picture, AdWeek[1] has published infographics providing some insights about the expected growth in online audiences of 180 million by platform and age group worldwide through the end of 2016. We can take your brand on a deeper dive into your brand’s affinity groups and demographics to pin down your best placement.



Who's Really Using Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Instagram In 2015 

 Image via www.adweek.com



Lights On, Always Open for Business


Since your consumers (all consumers!) are online, let’s go there first to discuss building your brand’s online personality in sync with your offline one. Importantly, they require fine-tuned alignment.


The days of turning out the lights and locking up the shop for the night are over, as you’re open for business 24/7 online. In the hearts and minds of your primary audience, the digital brand is indistinguishable from the bricks and mortar brand. Your clients don’t separate the online and offline personality of your brand, and you shouldn’t either. 



Claim Your Free Real Estate


1. Claim your free real estate from these main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Google+ and Google Places for Business are must-dos for everyone wanting to be found 24/7 by customers online. You can easily edit your contact information, business description, hours, website URL and photos. Not being on social media at all is not an option; you cannot manage your brand reputation if you're invisible.


2. Add to your brand’s online presence by completing your business profile on free aggregate platforms pertaining to your business sector, such as TripAdvisor for travel and hospitality providers or Realtor.com for real estate. Your competitors are doing likewise.


3. Make sure your website is 100 percent mobile responsive; this is no longer optional. From April 2015, Google’s algorithms began penalizing search results for websites that don’t provide the best user experience on mobile devices.


According to Search Engine Watch[2], Google says that “near me” mobile searches have grown 34 times over since 2011. With 73 percent of the world’s population using mobile phones, we can be certain that mobile wallets are poised for exponential growth. In other words, brands that don’t optimize their online presence by paying attention to their appearance and brand tone of voice are leaving heaps of money on the table.


4. Develop the right tone of voice for your brand with brand profiling, using a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ and use it consistently across all content, all visuals and all devices (desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles for all operating systems). You need to think of your brand as a humanized entity with a richly developed brand personality with key character attributes much like a real person e.g. likeable, friendly, sincere and genuine. Corporate-speak really doesn’t fly.


5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s no point in signing onto a social media platform other than to drive business to your website or to your door. So, once you create your online personality, brand reputation management has only just begun. As the old scouting song goes, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”


Answer comments and questions promptly and sincerely. An honest response to a negative review sets you up for an even better review.[3] Remember, online you are speaking to two audiences -- the person who make the comment and the rest of the world! Brand authenticity and honesty pays!







Visuals Are Vital


6. Upload original quality photos and videos. You simply cannot have too many. Visually appealing content needs the same attention as bricks and mortar appearances such as clean shop windows and display shelves free of dust.


The impact of visual is enormous. According to Social Media Today[4], 63 percent of social media is made up of images and 50 percent of users have shared online images and videos. On Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll inspire users and gain followers by creating hashtags and boards, translating in to more free real estate for your brand.


   Content With Relevant Images Gets 94  More Views

Image via www.socialmediatoday.com



Twitter indicates[5] that content with a relevant photo gets 313 percent higher engagement, good news for small and medium-sized businesses. Make sure your brand personality and brand tone of voice is consistently expressed through your chosen images as well. Are you a fashion shop showing dresses, a utility provider showing friendly staff, an animal shelter featuring pets for adoption? Have fun with who you are to drive engagement.



Get it Right From the Start


It cannot be over-emphasized that getting your brand tone of voice right for your online brand personality is essential. Once you’ve taken control of that voice, it’s all yours for as long as it works effectively. We can help you with everything from developing your brand personality through brand profiling, or auditing your brand to give it a health check to creating your brand name, to re-branding (if and when that becomes necessary) and developing your brand strategy. 



New and Improved Offline


7. Protect your brand’s reputation. One of the 10 commandments of effective leadership applies directly to brand reputation management, “Thou Shalt Not Over-Promise and Under-Deliver.”


Meeting and exceeding expectations is classic business strategy and the risks associated with getting it wrong fill volumes of business manuals. It comes straight back to the pillars of reputation management: authenticity and dependability. Your successful business has likely been handling this properly all along, or you wouldn’t be where you are today. However it’s always a good time to dust off and revitalize through refreshing, reminding, re-enthusing and re-training your staff — they are your brand ambassdors and consequently a really important part of your brand strategy.


8. Authenticity is everything...and the moment it’s lost, you're damaged goods. Your strong and clear voice is required wherever your brand touches, in both your digital presence and offline, too. Always consider as a minimum the four ‘Ps’ of Marketing 101: Product, Promotion, Place, Price -- which lead the way on the path to Profit.


9. Listening is good, conversation is even better. Wow, WOMMA! The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is a real thing...it has even has its own annual conference. Of course, before the internet, one-by-one sharing via word of mouth was the prevalent means of unpaid advertising. And it still works, more powerfully than ever. We can help you engage with customers in more dialogues for wider and deeper reach, always maintaining the critical overlay of brand authenticity.


10. Satisfy every customer from entry to exit. Imagine your brand once again as a real personality and recall these two tenets, “First impressions count” and “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Both statements are true, but there’s more. We believe that the entire customer experience is integral to perceptions about your brand, from the moment your client walks in or first engages with your brand, until they depart, and your follow up in-between and later on. Your core brand values and what your brand stands for must shine through consistently in all your brand communications be they online or offline. Own it and win.





You may also like:


• Brand Voice: Differentiating Through Your Own Brand Language and Attitude


• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling


• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand


• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?


• Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success


• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet



Feel free to get in touch and let us know how you’d like us to help you with building your brand and establish a strong brand reputation online and offline:

T: +353 1 8322724

E: brand@personadesign.ie



• Is your current brand personality and tone of voice hitting all the right notes for your brand? Is it truly reflective of your core brand values and what your brand stands for?


• Do you know how to craft an authentic, humanized brand voice through brand profiling to get people raving about your brand to all of their friends?


• Has your brand strategically planned for the changing social media landscape? Are you thinking differently or are you winging it with occasional assistance from an intern?


• Is your brand in the right places at the right times and talking to the right people to realize the most bang for your buck?


• Do you know if you are getting more than your fair market share, and if not, what to do about it?


• How well do you know your customers? Have you developed your buyer personas? Have you organized channels for customer feedback for continual improvement?






[1] AdWeek, Jan. 12, 2015 http://bit.ly/1SRJM4D

[2] John Schepke, Search Engine Watch, June 25, 2015  http://bit.ly/1Stzlt1

[3] eTourism Summit interview with Andrew Wiens, TripAdvisor, Nov. 20, 2014 http://bit.ly/1KIsWU3

[4] David Hall, Social Media Today, April 6, 2015 http://bit.ly/1fTDxk7

[5] Jane Stecyk, TweetTip, Small Business Content Team, January 28, 2015 http://bit.ly/1JEq0ZL

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Brand Audit: When the USA Took the Branding Bull by the Horns

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 28 2015 @ 15:14

Household brands bearing the “Made in America” tag were in big trouble in the mid-1980s. Shivers ran down the spines of Detroit automakers as efficient Japanese models filled the U.S. highways. Sony Walkmans, Nintendo and Atari video games were on everyone’s shopping list. America lost ownership of household brand names as well as bricks and mortar symbols of the USA, such as Rockefeller Center and Columbia Pictures of Hollywood.  


The U.S. Department of Commerce’s solution was a renewed focus on supporting American brands in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. A new public-private partnership began with incentivizing American companies to ensure continuous product improvement before asking consumers to support American brands via their wallets.


When the cabinet leader that President Reagan had in mind to spearhead the re-branding of the USA’s output was fatally injured in a rodeo accident, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program was named in his honour — envisioned as a standard of excellence to help U.S. organizations achieve world-class quality.  


America’s only presidential award for performance excellence among both private and public companies goes annually to a maximum of 18 organizations within six sectors: small business, service, manufacturing, healthcare, education and nonprofit.





Groundbreaking in its day, the core competencies of the program are now widespread. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, many U.S. states and 60 other countries have adopted the Baldrige Criteria to create similar programs at home.[1] The European Quality Award is modeled on Baldrige Criteria, adding two additional  layers for social and environmental community. [2]





How Can A Brand Improve Itself?

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program criteria reflect an evolution from a focus on service and product to a broader, strategic focus on overall organizational quality, called performance excellence.


In other words, don’t just build a better mousetrap (product). Do so with a good roadmap (leadership, vision, planning) examining the means to reach the ends (training, education, management) and keep a happy workforce (engagement, performance) and customers (quality, profit). 


The Baldrige Criteria guide a company through examination within seven areas of achievement and improvement.  


  • Leadership: How upper management leads the organization, and how the organization leads within the community.


  • Strategic Planning: How the organization establishes and plans to implement strategic directions.


  • Customer and Market Focus: How the organization builds and maintains strong, lasting relationships with customers.


  • Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management: How the organization uses data to support key processes and manage performance.


  • Human Fesource Focus: How the organization empowers and involves its workforce.


  • Process Management: How the organization designs, manages and improves key processes.


  • Business/Organizational Performance Results: How the organization performs in terms of customer satisfaction, finances, human resources, supplier and partner performance, operations, governance and social responsibility, and how the organization compares to its competitors.



Look Inside

Companies applying for a Baldrige Award go through self-assessment as a first step. It’s a framework that empowers an organization to understand its own strengths and weaknesses, improve, reach goals, become more competitive. A good number of companies in the Baldrige circle indicate that this process — and the trained Examiner who leads them through it — is the most useful aspect of the program, award or no award. 



Evaluate to Elevate

When you evaluate your organization from a branding perspective, you’ll compare your own performance with best practices across brand profiling, brand strategy, brand alignment, brand communication, brand execution, and additional markers. As a Baldrige Examiner would do for an applicant in that program, we can guide you through the brand audit process, make recommendations and work with you to elevate your brand.


These two companies won the Baldrige Award. Of the 23 small businesses to earn the quality prize since 1987, K&N Management did it in 2010. Ritz-Carlton is the only winner in lodging...and they achieved it twice. 



K&N Management: The Love of Excellence


K&N Management is a small Austin-based operator of burger and BBQ restaurants in eight Texas locations. 


What is the world “management” doing in the name of a burger, fries and shakes outfit? As one of only two restaurant companies to win the National Quality Award, K&N’s website tells the story of the family behind the grill. 





It’s more than flipping burgers; they have a vision and brand values:


  • Mission: “To Guarantee Every Guest is Delighted Because of Me”


  • Vision: “To Become World Famous By Delighting One Guest at a Time”


  • Core Values: “Excellence - Quality - Integrity - Relationships”


  • Key Business Drivers: “Food Quality - Speed of Service - Cleanliness - Texas Hospitality℠ - Accuracy - Team Members - Value”


At K&N Management, they make leaders. Training courses are offered for each step up the career ladder, such as “How to Create Effective Internal Communications.” The career progression ladder — with salary expectations — is shared with employees (and the public). It looks like they’re doing the unimaginable: inspiring fast food workers, retaining staff, creating community, promoting from within.


    Kand N Mangement

 Image via www.knmanagement.com



Visit the website to see more about the employee volunteerism being fostered by K&N Management, including Gold Recognition for Community Impact. The recognition that comes with that certificate held high for the camera is accompanied by peer support, kudos from management, family and company pride in addition to the important volunteer work itself.


     Kand N Mangement Quality Award

 Image via www.knmanagement.com



“Our guests can expect Texas Hospitality℠ at each of our restaurants: Rudy’s Austin and Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes,” is the statement of pride from the same folks who can claim “Awarded the Highest Presidential Honor.”      



Ritz-Carlton Hotels: Lasting Success


Ritz-Carlton operates 89 luxury properties in 29 countries with 35,000 employees.


Founded in 1983, within three years, Ritz-Carlton was named best hotel group with only five hotels. In the fall of 1992, with 23 hotels under management, Ritz-Carlton became the first hotel company to win a Baldrige Award. “We realized the award criteria could serve as a road map for quality improvement," said Patrick Mene of Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.





America’s Ivy League Cornell University School of Hotel Administration built a case study around the Ritz-Carlton’s 1992 success, only to witness the company, now with 36 hotels, collecting the service category Baldrige Award from the president of the United States for an unprecedented second win in 1999.



 Ritz Carlton Logo 600px

Image via www.ritzcarlton.com



Did the lessons learned from the process of self-assessment and improvement stick? In July 2015, J.D. Powers and Associates released the results of their 19th annual satisfaction survey of 62,000 North American hotel guests. Number one in luxury hotels: Ritz-Carlton.


How are the lessons learned from the process being shared across brands? The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Centre is now the place where executives from other companies worldwide in many disciplines come to learn The Ritz-Carlton principles of service.


Clearly, even in a five-star hotel, not everyone’s job is a glamorous one, yet every member of staff must be proud of the brand. The Ritz-Carlton brand motto rings in the ears of many hoteliers: "We are Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen."


Former founding President and COO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C., Horst Schutze, explained, "’Ladies and Gentleman’ has two values to us. Of course, the first is the expression of our expectations of our employees, from the president to the vice president to the last housekeeper or dishwasher. It expresses to them an expectation of how to behave, look and so on. At the same time it expresses a promise to the same group that they all are important to this organization. Their jobs may be different, but they're equal. They are in service but aren't servants.”

Remembering that Total Quality Management intrinsically promotes brand, and likewise to brand, it is an integrated philosophy embodied by everyone with whom it engages. Here are a few takeaways from the case study of the original Ritz-Carlton win:


  • Commit to Quality: This requires support throughout the organization and must be actively led from the top.


  • Focus on Customer Satisfaction: Customers know what quality looks like to them, and the company must meet and exceed expectations.


  • Assess Organizational Structure: A good, long, honest look inside the company must focus on its culture and identify any places where organizational structure could impede the drive for performance excellence.


  • Empower Employees and Teams: Adequate training is required so that empowered staff and teams can implement best practice from the bottom-up.


  • Measure Quality Efforts: It is critical to gauge efforts toward superior employee performance, streamlined decision-making, supplier responsiveness and improved customer satisfaction.



Learning, improvement and quality are integral to any successful brand, particularly one that goes after a competitive award that’s a good fit for the brand. The Malcolm Baldrige Award is estimated to have an ROI of 820-to-1. Can you identify a suitable crowning achievement that your brand might also pursue?


You may also like:


• CEO Brand Leadership: How Does Your Leadership Impact Your Brand?


• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can it be Improved?


• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?


• Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger  


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


• Branding Amazon: 3 Lessons to Learn for Your Brand Success


• Brand Audits: 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know



So what do you think?

• Can you identify a suitable crowning achievement that your brand might go after?


• Are there any community, local, regional brand awards that you’d like to earn? Go for it!


• Have you crafted a mission statementand a vision for the future of your brand through your brand profiling?


• Do you perform an annual brand audit and SWAT analysis for your business?


• How does your organization create exceptional brand experiences and recognize outstanding customer-facing performance?


• How does your organization recognize and reward exceptional employee performance ‘behind-the-scenes’ so that peers are aware too? 


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.


[1] Mark L. Blazey, Insight to Performance Excellence 2013-2014: Understanding the Integrated Management System and the Baldrige Criteria 

[2] American Society for Quality

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Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 21 2015 @ 12:36

The differences between a tired, old, has-been of a brand and a fresh, lithe and provocative one can be boiled down to a singular concept: storytelling. The art of telling a story, and telling it well, is integral to grabbing every potential customer’s attention, and a key part of your brand strategy.


An evocative narrative can also help your brand hold that attention. When your brand engages the hopes, dreams, aspirations, empathy, sense of humour and so forth — in short, the emotions of your clients — you stand a much greater chance of retaining those individuals attention, and being remembered by them, because they relate to your message and you have enriched their lives in a small but meaningful way.


Who doesn’t like to be surprised by a strange news story, or to laugh at a clever series of jokes strung together in a pithy YouTube video?


For these reasons and more, content marketing has taken its place at the top of the food chain, with every business feeding this great, omnipotent entity. Entrepreneur.com called 2014 the “Year of the Story” due to the explosive rise of content marketing, and other modern forms of brand storytelling.


The venerable institution of the Harvard Business Review recently published a piece on the power great storytelling has over the human brain. With so much compelling evidence about the absolute importance of storytelling, and its growing prevalence, you might agree that its worth incorporating this dynamic tool into your rebranding strategy.



We Have Always Been Storytellers

Ever since humankind was composed entirely of hunters and gatherers, we have been congregating around campfires to keep warm, to be in good company and to while away the nighttime hours with storytelling.


Before we even learn to speak, we giggle gleefully at the cadence and colour of a good yarn told by our parents or grandparents. As each of us matures, we seek out more and more complex tales. That pursuit is part of what makes us human.


Stories provide shelter from the proverbial cold nights of human existence; they give each of us much needed catharsis. We have used many media to relate powerful, emotionally-charged stories over the millennia of human existence: cave paintings, tablets, parchment, novels, novellas, newspapers and, now, the Internet. What does storytelling look like on the Internet?



The Top 5 Components of a Great Brand Story


The secret to success in the elegant art of storytelling lies in understanding its fundamental components. Though by no means comprehensive, what follows is a breakdown of some major elements that any good story should include. These are in fact some of the key ingredients we incorporate in our Story Selling System™ used when developing our clients’ brand stories:


1. The Call

Also known as the outset or journey, this beginning is integral to the life of a story because it provides the reader/viewer/listener with the seeds of a theme that will grow over the course of the story. Rites of passage, the first pangs of a heady romance or a simple scene of a family at home each will set the stage for what is to come in that particular story. In other words, they provide the essential “why.”

2. Colourful Characters

Every story needs a cast of full-bodied, three-dimensional heroes/heroines, sages/gurus, villain, foils, clowns and so on. Research shows that character-driven stories with strong emotional content result in better understanding of key messages and stronger recall weeks later.

3. Setting the Scene

Next the teller will build upon the beginning by showing what “a day in the life” is like. Establishing the “norm” is critical to a good story, because you need to strike a balance before you can upset it.

4. Adversity

The difference between a great story and a simple anecdote is conflict. Conflict leads to struggle and strife, the expression of fears, failures and frustration. Uncertainty and self-doubt, among many other narrative tools, allow the storyteller to build up tension and, thus, excitement with sustained listener attention.

5. The Breakthrough

Also called the climax of a story, this is the part where, in branding terms, you make the conversion. After an enticing beginning, the introduction of a wonderful cast, setting the scene and building up tension through adversity, the climax represents the apex of conflict. Then occurs the breakthrough, that moment when, at last, we achieve resolution. This element is necessary to the successful conclusion of a story because it provides catharsis, which is the big reason we seek to escape through stories in the first place.



The Humanity of Brand Storytelling

A study published by the University of California, Berkeley, found that oxytocin is the neurochemical that makes it possible for human beings to experience empathy and take a voyage of the mind by reading, watching or listening to stories.


Character-driven tales resonate with the human brain on the deepest levels. To effectively translate this information to aid your rebranding initiatives, first know that oxytocin is also responsible for the human impulses of cooperation and charity. That makes sense, because these drives naturally derive from our ability to empathize.


This empathy is not limited to real-world (i.e. nonfictional) people, either. Our brains’ production of oxytocin ensures that we emulate the feelings the characters on the screen or on the page are feeling. In a tragedy, we are right there with the hero, grieving for the loss of his mother. An action-packed adventure liberates us from the mundane and makes us feel like we really are Indiana Jones, swooping in to steal an ancient artifact.


The most important, and often unspoken, rule of storytelling is that you must tell human-scale stories, because doing so humanizes your brand. You will have found a winning rebranding strategy if you can manage to instill your brand’s core values, mission, vision, promise, experience and personality into believable human characters.


A perfect example of this is Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” ad campaign. This ad perfectly targets the aspirations of real, everyday people, and thus the brand is powerfully related to our common struggles, making us much more likely to pay attention and, eventually, buy the product.






Unifying Branding and Storytelling

Video content marketing: 2012-2013 video was one of the fastest growing segments. Everyone now has a device that you can access good, high quality video from just about anywhere. Videos don’t need to be that expensive either. Sure, you need high end video, but telling a strong story through a video series is very powerful. Viral video does not equal content marketing, but a tool thereof. What you really want is to be shared, which requires an integrated approach. Consistently tell a story that enables customers to do something. Some stories are most effectively told through video, and more and more will fall under this category in the future.

Here is a great, short video by Joe Pulizzi to explain further.






The Personal Touch

A wonderful, multipart video ad campaign is Progressive Insurance’s “Small Business Tips,” which answers questions that any small business owner might have. Part one focuses on where to naturally find your ideal hires, showcasing short clips of a restaurant followed by the tip itself: “fish where the fish are.”


In just 39 seconds, this video tells a micro story which sets up the “why,” establishes conflict (finding those hires) and ultimately resolves the problem with the tip, the lesson learned.





Another type of cutting-edge and clever marketing is the interactive video. An advertisement for the Subaru Forester, entitled “The Big Night,” takes viewers on a visual journey during which they have to make choices. These may be technically simple, as the style boils down to “yes or no” or multiple choice. However, by putting the prospect into the role of a detective of sorts, he or she clicks through the mini-adventure out of curiosity.



 Subaru The Big Night 600px

Image via www.subaru-global.com  



By the time the advert is over, the prospective customer has learned a lot about the Forester’s features but the experience was so seamless that he or she doesn’t even know that that information has been woven into his or her mind.




A Picture is Worth… You Know the Rest

In line with the video brand storytelling, a powerful way to evoke the emotions of your audience is to share your message in the form of eye-catching brand collateral or graphics and pictures. Whether inspiring, thought-provoking, comical, anything in between or any combination thereof, visual content marketing is on the rise.


We all know the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but there is a reason it’s considered a cliché: the sentiment is indisputably true. A great example of this would be the Panera Bread’s Pinterest page, which the company keeps constantly updated with not only hi-definition pictures of its products but also self-care and crafting tips, among other topics, all of which reflect the brands story and values while continuing to resonate with is constantly growing list of followers — now at over 40,000.



Panera Bread Pinterest 600px



No matter what angle you go for when creating and publishing your brand story through a visual content marketing campaign, just be sure that your approach is share-worthy yet human, personal and specific, yet primed for mass consumption.


The best part of telling a brand story well is that relating to your customer on a personal level is precisely what gives it the potential for universal appeal. We all, fundamentally, are endowed with the same capacity to love, fear, to be joyful or melancholy. Storytelling, in essence, unites us with the rest of humankind.




Storytelling Can Serve any Brand

Whether your brand is big or small, new to the market or an established behemoth, storytelling for the purposes of branding or rebranding is a really powerful tool that is easily accessible to you.


Instagram is free to use; a recurring blog with regular, fresh content can be put in place choosing from a plethora of hosting sites; and video blogs or mini-series can be put up on YouTube, Vimeo or your own website. The most important thing though is to ensure you are consistent across all your chosen brand platforms, channels and touchpoints.


Your brand story and how it expresses itself be must congruent and authentic in how it reflects your brand personality, values, vision, mission, promise and experience offered.


With so many apps and avenues to choose from, the hardest part might be choosing the one most suited to your brand strategy and primary target audience. The trick to successfully implementing brand storytelling to invigorate or reinvigorate your brand is to uncover what makes your brand truly unique and amplifying the elements that bring that special brand DNA to life through your brand storytelling.


In other words, what is your story? How can it be related to the struggles of everyday people (i.e. your customers)? How does your brand solve their problems and meet their needs?


Would you be better served by posting a series of captivating storytelling images, a customer testimonial backed by invigorating music or a short personable message from one of the leaders in your company, adding that invaluable human touch?


Brand storytelling helps businesses grow, increases brand awareness and most importantly helps increase profitability so what’s stopping you from telling your own brand story and bringing it to life in a way that really captures the imagination of your primary customer?


You may also like:

Brand Story: The Key Ingredients to What Makes it Compelling


Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger


Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


FMCG Branding: Top 4 Tips for Competing Profitably Against Own Label Brands


Brand Resurgence: 4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Comebacks


So what do you think?


• How does your rebranding strategy incorporate storytelling?


• What ad campaign do you remember well because it incorporated brand storytelling so successfully?


• Does your branding strategy incorporate the top 5 components of great storytelling?


• Could your brand’s adverts use more empathetic storytelling?


• Are your adverts strongly tied to your brand identity?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.


0 comment(s)

Brand Strategy: 7 Winning Components of a Market Leading Brand Plan

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 15 2015 @ 16:05

This may sound obvious but how people feel about your company significantly impacts how much they’ll spend on, or refer your products or services.


If you want customers or prospective customers to feel positively inclined towards your brand, or indeed to become enthusiastic brand advocates, then you need a really solid and consistently applied brand strategy to make it happen.


Ryanair and their change in brand strategy with a ‘customer charm offensive’ initiated earlier this year is a great case in point. Michael O’Leary, CEO of Europe’s largest airline Ryanair, infamously said “If I’d known that being nice to customers was going to be so good for my business I would have done it years ago.”



Bloomberg Ryanair Charm



An effective brand strategy is a blend of science and art that engages customers, meets their needs, solves their problems and strengthens brand affinity by making them feel good about choosing your brand. In a nutshell it’s the action plan for putting your brand to work effectively in the market place to generate a positive return. 


When developing and executing your brand strategy it must be centred around your core brand vision, values, promise, personality, story and customer brand experience. You need to ensure you’re clearly engaging with your audience congruent with what your brand stands for, so that it authentically resonates with them. Consequently, if what you do and say is true and believable while meeting the needs of your customers, solving their problems and enhancing their lives, your customers will increasingly value everything that makes your brand worthwhile.


Conversely it’s also important to note that haphazard or inconsistent brand activity can sabotage the context of what your brand is all about. To use industry jargon, ‘off brand’ activity can in fact dilute or undermine the credibility and impact of your brand, together with your connection and engagement with your primary audience and the perceived value and benefits your brand offers from a customer perspective — all of which can ultimately undermine your brand’s profitability.



Getting Started with Your Brand Strategy


Assuming you haven’t inadvertently done any significant brand damage, through engaging in branding activities without a well thought out brand strategy, you can get back on track and put your brand to work to best effect.


However it does takes time and thought to build a strong brand strategy that your ideal customers are attracted to and can identify with, and most importantly, believe in. It’s also really important to identify what success means i.e. your desired outcomes and goals, and measure what’s working best to achieve those results. This is a key part of brand strategy development and an area we delve into with considerable depth when working with our clients before supporting them in executing it consistently.


The following are seven primary factors that can help you develop a strong brand strategy. Each piece works together to create the engine that supports your brand’s external and internal culture and perceptions. Like engines, brand strategies need regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly and achieving the required results and should be reviewed on a regular basis. Consider this your brand strategy tune-up.



1. Your Brand Strategy Must Align with Your Products or Services Offered


A brand is much more than a single product or a clever logo. Remember your brand logo is just your visual identifier, not your brand! However they must all work congruently together. Your company possibly evolved around one product initially or a set of similar products, so it’s typically worth including this heritage in your brand messaging, assuming it's still relevant and a valuable part of your brand equity.


Most importantly your brand strategy needs to be customer centric - focussed around how you can add perceived value for your customers, how your brand more than meets their needs and helps your customers overcome their challenges and so forth. It needs to have a well developed and distinctive brand personality that engages your target customers, highlights your products or services offered and enhances your customers’ interactions with your brand.


Your brand profile or personality is developed using a system like our bespoke Personality Profile Performer™ System. Customers will be confused and wary if your brand attitude, marketing and messaging don’t feel right and consistent with how your brand expresses itself.


Occasionally we see marketing strategies that break away from what the brand is all about, expressing themselves inappropriately or in a way which isn’t reflective of the brands’ true personality or feel. These strategies typically perform poorly and at best, do little to help grow the brand, or worse still can actually damage the brand so are best avoided.


Apple is one of the most well-known examples of how a brand has built massive success on delivering, not only leading edge products technically but by making their brand strategy totally customer centric — making customer interaction and how the brand enhances their customers lives integral to their products and business models.


When someone talks about Apple, they typically do so in an emotive way, associating the brand with how easy and intuitive it is to use and how it enhances various aspects of their lives. Unless someone has geeky inclinations, you’ll rarely get a customer talking about their love of the brand in technical specification terms!


Regardless of the product or model purchased, be it Apple Watches, iPhones, iPads or MacBooks the overall brand experience and strategy is consistent across all of its various product lines. Apple’s products are elegantly designed and intuitive, their brand strategy reflects these attributes and amplifies their message in a way which is also elegant, and emotionally engaging, and which most importantly enables the brand to reach beyond any single device.


Coca-Cola does the same thing with a brand strategy which is built on triggering and associating with moments of “happiness”. It’s a brand that’s more about celebrating all the different moments of happiness in our lives and bringing people together, than selling sugary soft drinks to satisfy a thirst. Heightened emotion — happiness in this case — is what makes it memorable and compelling. That’s why its adverts work even when there’s no product shown.





For small brands, it’s vital to align branding and products. Orabrush, a tongue cleaner, is a great example of how even startups can capitalize in this space. 





Orabrush has been able to create a personable brand that highlights very personal, somewhat wince-inducing experiences, around a product that is extremely personal, through social proof.






They’ve built a brand from very humble beginnings to worldwide distribution using YouTube videos exclusively, most of which is user generated. To build the brand, Orabrush gave away a first product for free and invited people to try it out and post their response on YouTube.



 Orabrush Bristles Wired Design 600px

  Image via www.orabrush.com



This very small company with just one product, until recently, has more online viewers than P&G, Crest and every other product in the oral healthcare sector combined!



2. Make a Keep Your Brand Promises

Every successful business makes promises and commitments to its customers. These are at the heart of your brand strategy because keeping promises, and indeed exceeding them, is what keeps customers coming back.


Orabrush’s brand promise is to get rid of the bacteria and other unsavoury coatings on your tongue that are responsible for 90% of bad breath. The promise is entirely personal and requires trust for people to believe it. That makes the brand strategy of social proof through public endorsements especially effective.





By using ordinary people that the audience trusts to pitch their product, Orabrush demonstrates a commitment and delivery of its promise building trust before many customers even try it for the first time.


The important part of branding around your commitment is to be consistent in the execution. Make a promise and deliver every time; and if you can’t, apologize quickly so customers can see you’re human and working hard to fix things fast.


Keeping your commitments to everyone, not just the final customer, is important. The restaurant chain Arby’s has a deal with Pepsi to feature its soft drinks in at least two Arby’s commercials each year. Last year it forgot and almost failed to live up to the deal. Campaigns were already made, so the brand needed a new commercial.


Its mea culpa was public and heavily touted Pepsi – definitely worth the 30-second watching – and did great things for the brand. The commercial had high sharing volumes on social media, got a lot of press coverage and the majority of comments on news stories were positive.





Taking responsibility builds trust and improving trust enhances bottom lines. We’ve seen clients achieve stronger results when their brand promise is integral to their brand strategy and consistently delivered, and when the occasional glitch has occurred, being willing to own up to their mistakes quickly.



3. Leverage Public Relations as Part of Your Brand Strategy


If you choose to use public relations within your brand strategy then it too must also be built on, and congruent with your overall brand strategy. Done well, it can help you amplify, build and leverage your company’s brand reputation and establish the perceived market leadership you need to build or maintain that image.


A good PR strategy helps your brand tell its story relevantly, coupled with highlighting its industry, social and public successes. It can be especially effective when you don’t have a large advertising or media budget but it must be executed effectively and consistently to get the desired results. 



4. Online Marketing


Brand strategies, large and small, can include a range of channels to show your primary audience exactly who you are, what you stand for and what you offer in a way that's most relevant to your customers. Most effective brand strategies today must include digital in the mix. These elements need to be fully integrated, with a look and feel that is consistent throughout your communications and appropriate to where your customers interact most. A professional services brand might include their primary focus on their blog, YouTube and Linkedin while an FMCG brand might favour Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.


Brands with a clearly defined and articulated mission and purpose — communicated consistently in both their offline and online dialogues — develop much stronger brand identities, all of which results in enhanced brand perceptions and most importantly increased profitability.


A good online brand strategy team can also help you stay current with what’s happening in your industry by tracking digital information e.g. what the competition is up to and where customers see gaps in service. Attentive listening can help you identifying weaknesses in a competitor’s offer and then use it as an opportunity to present your brand as the solution that meets your customer’s needs. It can also help you develop new product solutions driven by what your customers are specifically requesting or looking for.


From 2006 to 2009, Apple ran a solid campaign against Windows with 66 different "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" TV spots. Adverts were built specifically around the complaints in the PC space and presented Apple as the alternative choice with a solution that solved all those issues. 





Apple had a strong team that was listening to people, conducting interviews and cataloging competitor problems. Consequently Apple’s commercials were built around how they solved the problems identified in the competitor brand.


It was all done with a humorous touch, which also helped increase Apple’s customer rapport, creating an overall brand perceived to be reliable and intuitively easy to use. It was a strong campaign that led to growth throughout its run. The adverts were shown on TV as well as on YouTube, enabling them to be accessed and shared across a wide variety of social media sites and channels.


One of the most important reasons for having an integrated offline and online strategy is that some of your customers want to shop in person and others want to shop online. Lines between the on and offline worlds are becoming more and more blurred so your brand strategy needs to consider meeting the needs of your customer through a fully integrated solution for both.



5. Make Customer Recognition Part of Your DNA


The success of a company is built on many different people and customers. Strong branding strategies incorporate recognition of people both within the business and loyal customers externally because it makes a business more productive and profitable. It's also conducive to better company morale, stronger brand culture and enhanced customer relations.


Recognition enables your customers to feel like they’re part of your brand; it makes you more human, trustworthy and engaging.


Discounter T.J. Maxx is a good example of using customer recognition to build brand engagement. It built its recent brand strategy around how their core customer thinks and shops. Adverts highlight its customers as fashion-forward and able to pull off stunning looks, while still saving money. The branding started with adverts and its “Maxxinista” push, which it promoted on social networks.





It really stepped up its game when it began sharing all of the shopping hauls customers were posting online, providing instant recognition to loyal customers. The retweet and share efforts were so successful that it built an entire site dedicated to recognizing its shoppers.



6. Track What You Do


It’s a mistake to leave decisions about metrics and analytics till after a campaign has begun. You need to know what you’re aiming for with your brand strategy to achieve the required outcomes or evaluate what success looks like. Brand owners who evaluate their objectives and set clear goals early on in their brand strategy process, and determine how to track those targets achieve far more than those with a less structured approach.


Search is also another way to start the process. Start tracking organic and branded searches before a campaign and continue through the full cycle. If you record an increase after the campaign starts, you’re building attention. If you maintain that growth momentum through the end of your campaign, you’re building a broader recognition and fan base.


Metrics also let you know when the message isn’t working. So if your campaign isn’t showing the desired increase in activity or you’re not improving how long people spend on your site, it’s probably time to change gears.



7. Be Rigidly Flexible


The final part of a high performing brand strategy is to establish limits and boundaries. You have core brand values and a brand promise, which are sacrosanct but sometimes your strategy and execution may have to adapt to meet the changing needs of your market or your customers.


A brand needs to have a strong brand personality, developed through brand profiling and positioning, with highly recognizable characteristics and unique ways of expressing itself so that your brand strategy has a clear road map from which to base its communications. Without this your brand strategy lacks much needed strategic direction and coherency. When you develop your brand profile using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™ you establish the do’s and don’ts of your brands’ behaviours and characteristics, all of which are used to underpin your brand strategy.


Define and articulate this solid centre to your brand and also establish what parts of your brand identity can be flexible or negotiable and what parts must never be compromised, otherwise you’ll lose your way and your brand will get lost in the competing noise.


If you shift too often, your customers may get confused and won’t necessarily trust you, and that can undermine profitability too. On the other hand, if you’re too rigid you can lose your edge and get left behind as trends and markets change. The best brand strategies work with well-defined boundaries of what can and what can’t change. It all requires a delicate balance and brand profiling provides that much needed strategic direction to hit the magic tipping point for your success.


Change doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Clearly define where you’re willing to compromise and your branding team will have a clear roadmap to keep your brand on track and your brand’s image safe. Brand strategies that anticipate market changes or roadblocks can adapt without losing their core identity.


Like all successful brands, many of our clients have had to evolve their brand strategy and image over the years, and the greatest successes come when everyone understands and can articulate their core brand DNA. This then empowers them to make choices around where their brand can be evolved to move forward strategically and meet the needs of a constantly moving market place. The secret lies in having a well developed brand strategy and then also being able to evaluate when, where and how to best adapt to stay relevant — to be the brand leader within your niche in your market sector.


You may also like:


Brand Personality: Is Your Brand's Character Big Enough to Compete?


Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand


Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger


Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand's Health - Can it be Improved?


Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


CEO Brand Leadership: How Does Your Leadership Impact Your Brand?



So, what do you think?


• Does your branding strategy congruently reflect your products and personnel?


• Would a brand audit help you develop a more effective brand strategy?


• Are your customers being recognized and rewarded? Could a rebranding strategy which includes recognition increase your customer engagement levels?


• Could your existing brand collateral be better aligned with your core brand values and does it fit in with your brand strategy?


• Do you conduct brand audits of your campaigns to ensure they’re achieving the results you want?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!


0 comment(s)

Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 07 2015 @ 14:34

There a literally thousands of excellent products and services available in the market that very few people ever purchase — even though they’ve been developed with them in mind.


This behaviour might seem perplexing, but it is actually quite simple: great products and services alone are not enough to motivate people to engage in a potential purchase. The product, service or idea must instead offer more emotionally compelling reasons to achieve 'purchase' or 'buy in' beyond mere facts, data and features.


If you want to awaken a customer, client or investor to your brand you need to engage them in an emotionally heightened state. It’s only when you trigger a strong emotional response that your brand will be noticed, remembered, picked up, referred, cause someone to smile, be curious, want to know more and so forth. Put in its most simplistic sense, if your brand is a banal ‘more of the same’ generic blend, why should anyone bother with it?


Your target audience needs to be drawn to what your brand can do for them, not in the literal sense, but in the perceived emotive sense of what is relevant or important to them such as familial bonding, associated prestige, excitement, relaxation, desire, safety, high risk thrills etc.


It’s only when you truly understand your primary audiences needs, wants, problems, aspirations and desires and so forth that you can create an emotionally compelling brand that attracts them. These in-depth insights and understanding of your customer will then enable you to develop a brand, product or service, that resonates with their needs at a deeper level and consequently drives purchase, loyalty, emphatic social recommendations among hyper-connected customers and ultimately profitable growth.


Simon Sinek refers to this principle as putting your “Big Why” first, before the finer details of the product, the reason why someone should care — on an emotional level — in the first place. From that central idea, you can craft your brand’s vision, its mission, its unique story, its promise and the ultimate experience a consumer will have. This is what’s also known as brand profiling.


It’s only when you have these critical brand foundations fully developed that you can begin to focus on other aspects of your brand strategy like brand identity, brand collateral, social media, advertising techniques, product packaging and marketing campaigns etc.


Without your fully developed brand profile you’re in effect attempting to develop a brand without a framework or foundation on which to base it. As Simon Sinek puts it: “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”





To help your brand achieve this level of singular vision and emotional connection to increase your profitability, here are some important factors to consider. Some of the following case studies may also inspire you to lead your company in a direction that drives customer engagement and action, rather than apathy.



Use Data to Help You Extract Market Insights


Although there are a number of exceptions, great ideas don’t often come tumbling out of thin air. Perceptive brands must often deduce them by evaluating their market carefully and from multiple perspectives.


Data research can give many of the much-sought answers needed, and since data propels nearly everything in this modern age, data driven strategies fit with the direction of many businesses. However don’t overlook the value of on the ground experience and exposure too—at the forefront of customer interactions so to speak.


Data processing agencies like the international company Annalect have discovered profound ways to link data within creative processes to give new perspectives on consumer choice as well as how those choices can be impacted. Smaller brands can harness this type of power through methods like social listening as well as by examining statistical reports provided by firms like Nielsen.


For instance, a Nielsen report from February discovered that despite a professed public interest in healthier eating, “indulgent” food sales have not shrunk. In Europe, they have actually grown! Owners of CPG brands (consumer packaged goods) can use such information to begin crafting your brand’s big “why,” and working your way towards developing your brand’s defining values, unique brand vision, promise, image, story and overarching brand experience—in short your brand profile. We develop brand profiles for our clients through a process called the Personality Profile Performer™.



Think Socially

In today’s hyper-connected society, brands that achieve emotional resonance see greater success in both online brand affinity and reputation. This effect comes from the fact that people online are constantly in search of stories to share, and brands that have been able to master the content game early on are now cashing in with campaigns that drive interest, sharing and, eventually, conversions.



Red Bull Logo 600px

Image via www.redbull.com 



Red Bull has been able to dominate the digital landscape using such techniques, all without even bothering in many cases to mention their product. The reason is that the emotion generated by Red Bull campaigns has become so intrinsically linked to the brand image that consumers have begun to see Red Bull’s extreme stunts and sports as products unto themselves.





As an example, their Space Jump video in 2012 was streamed by 8 million viewers simultaneously, received 3.2 million tweets using official branded hashtags and a single Facebook photo of the event garnered 1 million likes, all within a few hours of the jump occurring.



Humour Sells


While being appropriately humorous is not always easy to achieve, those that have a knack for it can create strong connections for their brand in ways that create instant customer affinity. Humour can even be used to overcome negative or neutral emotions that would otherwise have been associated with your brand.



Nintendo Muppets

 Image via www.gameinformer.com



As an example, fans of the international video game brand Nintendo were largely dispirited by the lack of new game announcements that stirred excitement at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Some announcements generated a positive response, but overall the video game press reported both highs and lows.


Yet, despite the lack of a single, overwhelmingly-exciting announcement, Nintendo was still able to strike a chord online and earn millions of social shares and renewed brand attention. How? With Muppets!





Nintendo decided that a humorous, borderline-whimsical presentation, using charming puppets was the best way to go about making their announcements. They even took the trouble to enlist the help of Jim Henson Studios to construct the puppets, which sparked a whole new round of accolades and adoration. This humour and originality softened the blow for gamers who were looking forward to more unexpected developments, and it strengthened the position of those who have faith in Nintendo regardless of the market’s current milieu.



Use Emotion to Engage and Share Your Brand Story


Emotional branding is often a shorthand that requires the audience to fill in the blanks. Priceline’s memorable stint with William Shatner as “The Negotiator” implied that the brand would fight hard to get you the best possible deal on travel rates, no matter the lengths required.



Priceline Site 

 Image via www.priceline.com



Travellers could feel empowered by having such a masculine figure at their side, but at no point were they invited to participate in the event—as in shopping through Priceline could help you “kick butt” in a way that brought those unwilling to haggle to their knees. Yes, the campaign was iconic and effective thanks to an engaging celebrity endorsement, but the emotional connection remained somewhat incomplete.





Contrast that humorous approach with Expedia Australia’s recent YouTube spot that shows ordinary people longing for an escape to experience the extraordinary. Almost instantly, viewers feel a sense connection to that yearning feeling, of being removed from the trap of everyday mundanity. Others like the cab driver exude a sense of lost opportunity. A whimsical song of dreaming also helps evoke nostalgic memories, while also connecting all of society in a commonly experienced and familiar emotional moment.





When the characters in the unfolding story use Expedia, their achievement is triumphant. A holiday is suddenly transformed into a life-changing experience through Expedia’s help. Throughout the story told in the advert we have a complete arc of multiple characters hailing from all walks of life. Expedia was the key to unlocking their dreams, but their emotions took centre stage the entire time and are what engaged us—the viewer—with a universal sense of shared feelings. We can relate to what they are feeling and consequently are much more emotionally engaged in the unfolding story.



Authentically Live Your Brands’ ‘Big Why’ to Find a Place in Your Customer’s Hearts and Minds


If brands are to be really successful, they must emotionally engage their primary target audience in a way that's totally relevant and appropriate to their particular needs by tapping into their subconscious at a deeper level. This is one of the key secrets to driving brand growth and long term loyalty.


These emotional connections are intrinsic to human life regardless of gender, social status, occupation or even geography. They’re a universal given that stand the test of time, the key is to evolve them to maintain relevance as the market changes and transforms.


Your brands’ “Big Why” must be the engine that drives your branding process. Your unique vision and promise to your customers will be what they remember above all else, but if you cannot define and articulate the “Big Why” of what separates your brand from its competitors then neither will your customers. Your special “Why” should be transparent — plain as day — from the moment a potential customer sees your blog posts, your website, your social media content, your packaging or experiences your brand.


The full range of human emotions is at your disposal to engage your customers. The secret is to choosing which route is most effective and relevant to both your brand and your primary customer, all of which is underpinned by the outputs from your brand profiling process.


You can choose to use humour to remind people of what makes your company human, you can use yearning and the joy of fulfillment as Expedia has done or you can forge your own path along the face of the earth to create a unique mix of emotions that no other brand could hope to emulate. The trick with all of it is to remain true to your “Big Why” and your brand’s humanized story, its profile, and leave everything else, features and benefits to become secondary.


For more inspiration on how to make your brand unique and enable your brand’s “Big Why” to shine through in everything you do, you can engage our help and put our Personality Profile Performer™ System to good use. It will help you identify and amplify the key traits unique to your brand and thereby separate your brand from your competitors. Click here to discover more about how the Personality Profile Performer™ System can transform new brands that are about to be born or more mature brands in need of revitalization into market leaders.


You may also like:


• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


Branding for Women: Why and How Women are Redefining Brands and Branding


Brand Promises: Are You Consisently Deliverying Yours? 


Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


Brand Audits: Top 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know



So What Do You Think?


• Does your brand strategy encompass a unique, transparent “Big Why” that underpins the reasons you want to enter the market in the first place?


• Does your brand’s packaging design reflect your “Big Why” while also evoking congruent emotions on your social media channels or adverts?


• Would your brand benefit from a rebranding strategy that follows Simon Senek’s model of beginning with a “Big Why” then moving on to “how” and finally “what”?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.

0 comment(s)

Brand Strategy: 6 Lessons Learned - Tourism Queensland's Amazing Campaign

Posted by Lorraine Carter on June 30 2015 @ 11:25

How do you get 53.9 million page views by 8 million unique visitors in six weeks while generating a 60-minute BBC documentary and 6,000 news stories worth $US165 million in free coverage?    


Turn a media campaign into a job search, was the response for one of the most successful brand campaigns ever. Tourism Queensland’s 2009 “Best Job in the World” campaign provides a stunning case study — and it was all done on a relatively modest budget. We take a closer look to determine six ways the brilliant brand strategy employed here is applicable to brands outside of travel and tourism and can be scaled up or down to suit your brand and resources.


First, we’ll look at the product and its competition. Let’s say you want to go on an island adventure  holiday. What springs to mind? The Caribbean, Hawaii, the Seychelles and Maldives, perhaps? Islands of the Great Barrier Reef were aiming for that kind of top-of-mind-awareness among global experience seekers in their eight key country markets.


Tourism Queensland consulted ad agency CumminsNitro in Brisbane as the recession hit new lows. They determined the only solution was to capture public interest with something that seemed too good to be true and eminently shareable. In fact, they said, don’t just visit this gorgeous place, live here. And we’ll pay you, too. 


Why not promote an international search for the best job in the world?



The Campaign


The Challenge: Create International Brand Awareness


For Tourism Queensland officials, the islands of the Great Barrier Reef were the product. Substitute your brand here.



The Budget: Small


A budget of $US1.2 million for a global campaign was appropriate for developing the brand strategy and creating multiple print ads in seven languages, placing these as classified ads on recruitment pages of newspapers in selected markets around the world, creating a YouTube channel with compelling content together with a Facebook, Twitter and Myspace presence and a landing page for job applications.


No fixed budget is required to model this campaign, which doesn’t require international reach to be successful. Scale it to suit your brand needs. A city-wide or nation wide ‘job search’ brand campaign can be extremely effective too.



Best Job In The World Print Ad 

 Image via www.teq.queensland.com



The Idea: Offer a prize that’s not a prize. Make it a Job


Call it “The Best Job in the World” and buy classified ads in newspapers in the key markets around the world. The position? Vacant Island Caretaker. Job responsibilities? Clean the pool, feed the fish, collect the mail, explore and report back. Salary? $AUD150K for 6 months. (Accommodation and transportation included.)


Message: Anyone can apply. And they did…





The ROI: Priceless


On day one of the launch, the landing page received 4 million hits an hour, beating out Google searches. By the end of six weeks, 1.4 million applications were received. 34,684 one-minute video job applications included one from at least one person in every country in the world, including Vatican City. Worldwide media attention supplemented the reach to an estimated 3 billion people. 



Tourism Queensland Hamilton Island Caretaker 

 Image via www.teq.queensland.com



The Top 6 Takeaways


Social media evolves quickly. When Tourism Queensland brainstormed in 2008, Twitter had only 6 million occasional users. Facebook pages for business were “nice to have,” an afterthought. 



Levi's Girl Job Ad 

Image via www.levi.com 



Mirroring Tourism Queensland, at the start of 2011, Levi’s launched a Facebook search with crowdsourced voting for the next “Levi’s Girl” selected to model and be the online voice of the brand for six months in a job based at headquarters in San Francisco. The following year, #iamlevis hit Instagram. In an article about the latter campaign, Esquire magazine wrote, “Will someone explain to us what the hell Pinterest is?” Need we mention Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat?



Lesson 1: Be Everywhere


Integrate social media to deliver real results. Tourism Queensland had fully integrated all their key brand marketing elements on and offline, including a website, print advertising and public relations. If you want to maximise your brand reach you must integrate social media across multi-device, multi-channel platforms to tap into viewers wherever they are, fostering sharing. 






In 2010, Procter & Gamble introduced the Old Spice guy on TV to appeal to men’s fragrance buyers (the women), but when ad agency Wieden+Kennedy plugged into shareable channels YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, sales increased by 107 percent.



Lesson 2: Be flexible. Be bold


Hard times call for tough decisions. For a luxury brand, fewer consumer dollars directed at discretionary spending during a global recession was felt even more deeply by a long-haul destination with strong appeal to youth.


“The Best Job in the World” campaign had a built-in deadline six weeks after launch, which meant gaining agreement for pouring the lion’s share of the entire year’s budget into a single campaign conducted in January and February.



Lesson 3: Review and Repeat


Extend reach. Tourism Australia re-introduced the campaign in 2013 to involve more states in a single voice by expansion into six regions. The 2013 re-launch of “The Best Jobs in the World” acquired 60 strategic partners, including Virgin Australia, STA Travel, Citibank, DELL, IKEA, Sony Music and Monster.com.






What about the ‘losers’? Tourism Australia Director Andrew McEvoy said, “We’re now going to capitalise on the enormous interest in this campaign by working with Virgin Australia and STA Travel to sell holidays and working holidays to those who missed out on one of the six best jobs.”



Lesson 4: Be Ready and Prepared


User-generated content has its challenges. According to Chris Chambers, digital marketing lead in Queensland, they were unprepared for submissions wildly above estimates, not to mention crisis management due to the demands that mass media attention garnered. 


In addition to watching nearly 35,000 videos, some 20,000 emails required responses. By creating a URL for shared content, as Tourism Queensland did with the video job applications, anything can be posted.


A brand must be ready with both policy and people to curate, post content and manage content.



Lesson 5:  Surprise and Delight


The evolution of social media for brands means that the interactive aspect of brand response takes on immediacy far beyond what happened in 2009. Early campaigns such as “The Best Job in the World”  and the guy from Old Spice have taught us that brands must develop marketing plans to engage with consumers, surprise and delight, drive sharing via brand evangelists and ambassadors and work with social media pros to maximize impact.






With an eye-watering 35 percent of the lingerie market, Victoria’s Secret has the world’s top models under contract and hardly needs a hand. Yet, in 2009, they launched a nationwide search for the newest runway Angel to represent the brand. The online and media presence are closely aligned to the retail stores. 



 Victorias Secret's Angels

 Image via Cyril Attias, flickr 2.0CC  



Lesson 6: Crowdsource Content


We’ve been hearing that content is king for several years and the crown remains securely in place. However, not all content is created equally. User-generated content resonates more loudly, drives distribution, creates word-of-mouth, prompts engagement, builds loyalty, gets shares that maximize tapping into free networks run by other people. As a bonus, social media activates mass media.

Here's the million dollar question, where and how do you think you could take the learnings from these various examples discussed and integrate them into your branding strategy? Maybe your brand needs a complete overhaul and revitalisation with a strong rebranding strategy to give it a new lease of life.


Regardless of your business size there are opportunities here which even the most modest budgets could potentially leverage to great effect — with some solid strategic thinking and creativity.


You may also like:


Destination Branding: The Key Essentials for Success


Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


Branding Amazon: 3 Lessons to Learn for Your Brand Success


Entrepreneurial Branding: 5 Top Tips for Brand Success


World Cup Branding: What Can You Learn from the World Cup Campaigns?


So, what do you think?


• Does your brand need repositioning or revitalisation and would a ‘job search’ brand strategy work for your brand? Full-time or interim?


• What is the most desirable aspect of working for your brand?

• Does a ‘job search’ brand campaign fit with your company brand culture?

• Would user-generated content work well for your brand?

• Where can you harness the best resources to develop your brand strategy, execute the plan effectively, get the required return on your investment and ensure all your brand collateral is cohesive, both on and offline?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!



1 comment(s)

Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

Posted by Lorraine Carter on June 25 2015 @ 11:40

The growing proliferation of multiple different brands in the market place has made customers spoilt for choice, but often at the expense of easy decision-making.


As most of us know, shopping has become a far more arduous affair where we frequently find ourselves overwhelmed and sometimes confused by the array of products on shelf and amount of decisions we’re required to make.


When presented with an assortment of options in which nothing decisively stands out, with a compellingly clear message that speaks to a customer succinctly, analysis paralysis sets in. It’s when faced with this situation that a confused shopper will typically default to making decisions based on price alone.


The question here is, where does your brand sit in the mix?


Does it stand out from the crowd with a really strong message that attracts its ideal target audience with laser edged efficiency? Or is it guilty of the ultimate sin . . . hybrid mediocrity, blending in with every other competitor and lost in the crowd!


The question for under performing brands becomes how to differentiate themselves effectively from among their competitors in a way that makes it much easier for them to attract the attention of their ideal customer and convince them to buy, all in the blink of an eye.



Mc Connells 600px 



Part of the winning formula of these high performers lies in that fact that those leading brands have absolute clarity over who their ideal customer is. Consequently they’ve developed a really strong brand message, which irresistibly appeals to their particular customer who in turn sees that brand as different, distinctive and memorable in a way that’s totally relevant to their specific preferences.


A really distinct brand has a unique brand profile, with a clear position and purpose, which helps it cut through the competing noise so it stands out, head and shoulders above the rest.


By not only being perceived to be unique but also solving problems, making life easier, supplying exclusive solutions for a particular kind of customer and communicating this uniqueness through subtle and overt on pack messaging a brand can outperform its competitors.


However don’t make the mistake of thinking that packaging design aesthetics alone are going to provide you with repeated lotto wins! Effective design must be underpinned by a well-developed strategic focus, which provides the required creative direction.  It’s when you have those insights, understanding and a fully developed brand profile that a brand can speak directly and distinctly to its ideal customer through great design.


Leading brands cut through the visual and cognitive noise created by an oversaturated market full of aggressive competitors and hook their ideal customers by meeting their needs both emotionally and rationally.



Evaluate Your Market and Define Your Brand Position and Purpose


Before any of the above objectives can be met, brands must first define their ideal customer or customers and then develop their brand strategy to reach those customers. Their branding strategy will be guided by how they respond to several key factors that help set brands apart from one another.


1. Fit for Purpose

What function does your brand serve? Does it have a deeper purpose beyond the obvious — what’s its ‘big why’? Successful brands dig deeper beyond the superficial and glaringly obviousness of their product category, to something which meets the needs of their customers in more emotionally engaging ways.

A toothbrush might seem rather hum drum and ubiquitousis. It's certainly used for cleaning your teeth, but is your toothbrush especially effective with its new cutting edge technology making it far more thorough than the competition in removing dental plaque? Is it made with materials which have been chosen to appeal more strongly to your customers with a particular set of values? Define your unique purpose, align them to your brand values and amplify these through your messaging so your brand is separated from the rest in a meaningful way.


2. Emotionally Engaging

An emotional connection might be seen as a secondary factor, but in reality, it’s equally important and often more important than functional benefits. Is your toothbrush commanding a more premium position that not only reduces visits to the dentist, but represents the preferred choice of professional dentists and oral hygenists, making the customer feel more confident and happier with their choice? Will your extra-thorough, VIP celebrity endorsed toothbrush, the preferred choice of ‘those in the know,’ help your ideal customer feel better and more assured they have made the right decision?


3. Commercially Viable

Your brand’s positioning must be congruent with your budget and marketing strategy. Your pricing strategy, for instance, could fill a gap in between existing competitor prices or command a premium. Perhaps your toothbrush is perceived to be so much more superior compared to its nearest competitor that a higher price point is justified.


Remember that pricing can be seen as a direct value-added relationship, but higher price points or margins can also be achieved by altering brand perceptions in relation to the brand’s position to appeal to a more upscale market through premiumisation, also known as premium brand positioning. 


4. Translates Regionally, Nationally or Internationally as Required

Brands looking to scale must plan for regional or national differences combined with having absolute clarity of their buyer personas, also known as customer profiles or pen portraits of their primary target audience, if they intend to penetrate other markets. A brand positioning and profile that works well for one region may not translate so well to another, even on an island as small as Ireland or the UK. Will your ultra-premium toothbrush, which appeals to high end Londoners, be seen as irrelevant by customers in Leeds?


Combining answers to these factors and questions will help you create an overarching brand profile that matches the needs of your core customer profile. A fully developed brand profile will typically include how your brand communicates its unique:

  • Vision — The way your brand sees the world and consequently stands out
  • Values — What matters to your brand, its aesthetics or the social causes your brand cares about the most
  • Personality — The characteristics of the humanised way in which your brand speaks to your market
  • Experience — The customer’s journey from discovery of your brand to usage, referral and repeat business
  • Promise — A combination of values and experience that you pledge to uphold to your customer
  • Story — Your brand’s purpose explained through both narrative and aesthetic choices


The development of your brand profile under all these key headings are what provides the much needed direction and rational for your brand packaging design. It's one of the most important stages in the branding process and one we engage in with every client we work with before moving on to design or communications strategy, assuming the research or brand audit work as also been completed before hand.


Every considered detail in your packaging design from the colour palette to the typography, messaging and copywriting, graphics, photography or illustration references these factors to ensure the design route chosen is relevant and effective — or what’s known in industry jargon as being ‘on brand’.


To give you a better idea of how this process informs packaging design, here are some examples of strongly-positioned brands aided by unique package designs in order to establish a compelling shelf presence and wholly original brand position. 



Three Examples of How Effective Packaging Design Can Influence Customer Brand Perceptions and Buying Decisions



Dutch brand Lovechock recently underwent a major rebranding overhaul, pulling off their transition beautifully. Their new package gives them a unique shelf presence, atypical to competitors in their category, through a simple shape and strikingly singular vision. The overall effect of the packaging is one that engenders trust amongst those customers looking for “free from” products of natural origin.


 Lovechock Pure 600px

 Image via www.lovechock.com/en/ 



Plain, brown kraft cardboard boxes not only speak to environmental values, they also conjure up the rich tones of the chocolate itself. A band of vibrant and natural-looking colours on the differing product labels ensures each variant is clearly distinguishable from the next while also enticing the palate with colours that excite the senses.

The simplicity of the outer pack hides a wonderful surprise inside. Open the pack to find the beauty of illustrative patterns reminiscent of decorative hardcover book end papers. This subtle design element surprises and delights, connecting to their “happiness inside” tagline whilst broadcasting the brand’s personal value set that something simple and natural can hide a deeper inner beauty.



Image via www.lovechock.com/en/ 




Continuing with their “raw” theme, Lovechock uses clean and modern sans-serif fonts but with a “chunky” look that reminds you of the products natural and ostensibly handmade origins. An all-lowercase logo and “happiness inside” tagline are contrasted with the all-uppercase “100% RAW CHOCOLATE” to clearly indicate the product’s difference from the majority of its competitors.



A simple logo in the style of the hand drawn whimsical feeling typeface continues the product’s handmade, printmaking aesthetic. The little Aztec man speaks to the chocolate’s Central American roots. He holds a “molinillo” which is a two-handed tool for whisking chocolate and blending cocoa beans into an even mixture. The end is covered in chocolate to form a heart, blending “love” and “chocolate” together. Small hearts emanating from this first heart show how positive feelings can emanate from a single, natural source.





Structural Packaging Design Details

Lovechock uses a simple shape and an unfolding box to hark back to a time when packaging was of a more handmade aesthetic. The long, blocky shape also reminds customers of the mouthwatering, log-shaped product inside, so that each bar’s box is delicious-looking by association. A tiny visible patch of the inner pattern is also used to tease the mind about the hidden pleasures and secrets the box holds inside.


Packaging Digest called this approach “seductive,” and when the ideal customer opens the pack to see the product and beautifully patterned paper lining inside their expectations will have been exceeded, assuming of course the test excels too!


The package also uses 100 percent recyclable materials to give back to the earth that produced the chocolate while also helping customers spread the love rather than their love of chocolate hurting the planet in return — all of which is totally congruent with Lovechock's core brand values, vision, story and brand promise.




Marmite is a brand with a rich historical legacy stretching back to the nineteenth century and yet it’s managed to maintain primary consumer relevance combined with tradition throughout the decades. Admittedly this is a very British brand with an almost a cult like following between consumers who love this spread with its distinctive, powerful, salty flavour and those who don’t — and not much in between. Marmite knows this and plays to its polarising factor to the full in its branding strategy — to great effect.


This is a brand with a strong personality, individualistic and singular in its outlook and a clever sense of humour that is very British in its quirkiness and eccentricity. It has a really distinctive brand voice that is unmistakably memorable ensuring it really stands out, indeed proudly shouts out its idiosyncratic and unrivalled specialness!


     Marmite History Jars 600px

 Image via www.marmite.co.uk



Every pack successful expresses this brand's unique personality. Its’ bulbous shaped jar is a very distinctive shape and it has been sold in this shape since the 1920’s. Even without a visible brand name it’s entirely recognisable and consequently a very definitive unique part of the brand’s identity. An owned asset, which can’t be copied!






Part of Marmite’s incredible success can be attributed to its limited or special editions brand packaging strategy, which it started in 2002 with its 100th year anniversary. Each limited edition jar has successfully encapsulated more of the brands uniquely British personality through its messaging and choice of language, and personably use of the British vernacular.


   Marmite Limited Editions 600px

Image via www.marmite.co.uk



Since then the brand has released a significant number of limited editions packaging design lines with great success. The brand has also aligned with other iconic brands in its limited editions packaging strategy. A great example is the limited edition Marmite Guinness range produced in just 300,000 250g jars using 30% Guinness yeast in 2007 which elevated the brand in terms of profile and positioning.



 Marmite Limited Editions2

 Image via www.marmite.co.uk



The brand’s most recent limited edition packaging is themed around ‘Summer of Love’ and ‘Summer of Hate’ Marmite jars which are only available from July next month until September. Only ninety-four ‘Summer of Hate’ jars will be available across the UK (one for each day of the UK summer). Such scarcity will make them even more appealing as collectibles amongst its fans. Made with a ‘lighter summery blend’, the packaging takes its inspiration from Woodstock and the summer of love in 1967, playing on its nostalgic provenance to the full.



Marmite Summer Limited Edition 600px

  Image via www.marmite.co.uk




Boss Monster Card Game 

Sometimes, a packaging concept can be so powerful that it stands in as a major selling point of the product unto itself. American card game designer Brotherwise Games struck a chord of nostalgia with Kickstarter funders.



 Boss Monster Cards 600px

 Image via www.brotherwisegames.com



Accuracy of design was absolutely crucial to this concept in order to win over the right type of fans. The box containing the card decks looks uncannily identical to a product box for original Nintendo Entertainment System games of the late ‘80s, all the way down to the shape of the illustration border and the placement of badges.


Card game enthusiasts were so enthusiastic about the nostalgic element of this packaging design that they funded the game’s initial Kickstarter campaign well beyond all the initial funding goals.


  Bossmonster Box Sleeve 600px

 Image via www.brotherwisegames.com 



Many buyers were adamant about getting the special packaging sleeve that slid over the original package and mimicked Nintendo’s famous first “Legend of Zelda” game box. Products like these create strong emotional connections, develop cult followings and invite “unboxing” videos galore on social media.






Conclusion: Plot Your Unique Brand Path Then Journey Down It Fearlessly

In an ideal world all agencies, organisations and companies would invest resources into developing their brand strategy to ensure that it is fit for purpose, emotionally engaging and commercially successful in the short and medium term while also ensuring that it translates nationally and internationally as required across all its relevant markets.


With so many choices and options available be it at the local supermarket or online, brands cannot afford to be unclear or equivocal about their brand’s positioning, promise, personality or the way in which it communicate its values. Instead, the brand packaging must be like a lightning rod drawing energy and enthusiasm towards the shelved product.


Our experience working with many clients over the years has repeatedly brought to the fore that one of the many challenges organisations and businesses face is evaluating and developing the most effective positioning and profile for their brand — the best way in which to engage their primary target audiences and give them a compelling reason to engage and become loyal brand advocates. It's the uppermost issue that challenenges brand owners and managers all the time, and the reason why we developed the Personality Profile Performer™, a systemized process to provide them with a much needed solution. 


People buy with emotion, regardless of gender, and justify with rationale. Consequently, every brand needs to be grounded in emotional appeal by tapping into the emotionally motivating factors that most readily engages their primary audiences. After all, there are very few, if any, truly new-to-the-world ideas anymore. To be perceived as truly distinctive, a brand must convey more compelling, sustaining differentiation, and the best way to do so is through emotion, as evidenced masterfully by Apple. Tying service, product details or even ideas to emotional values and seeking emotional connections with your primary audience cultivates more meaningful, sustained customer relationships.


In order to forge this type of relationship, your organisation needs to create an emotionally compelling, humanised brand through a highly-developed brand strategy. Part of this task includes shaping your brand, defining it and articulating what it is “all about” as well as what it stands for in the global scheme. Developing your brand’s profile involves defining: vision, values, personality, experience, promise and story, coupled with hierarchy planning — all focussed around the needs of your primary target audience. This process is accomplished using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™, which we use when working with our clients.


Applying a strategic approach in this way provides stronger direction and the essential brand foundations required for positioning, differentiation and directing the creative expression of the brand or design outputs — e.g. brand logo design, brand collateral design, web design, packaging design, etc. All of these elements can only come after the brand foundation work has been completed. The outputs from Personality Profile Performer™ help identify, and amplify differentiating brand messaging which is also used to shape the bespoke nature of integrated marketing communications as well as PR focused around the needs and preferences the primary target audience.


In the end, your brand must be able to speak to the world through its packaging in a clear, distinct voice that not only resonates with a clearly identified group but impels them to take action. Successful brands are able to reinforce emotional customer behaviours to the point where repeat business almost becomes a ritual in loyalty. Unsuccessful brands are faceless generic packs gathering dust on a shelf before they disappear forever.


You may also like:


Colour in Brand Strategy: Colour Psychology and How it Influences Branding


Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger


• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand's Character Big Enough to Compete?


Packaging Design: How it Can Make or Break Your Brand


Humanizing Your Brand: Why it's Key to Commercial Success 



So what do you think?

• What promises does your brand strategy make to your primary customers?


• Does your product packaging design accurately distil your brand’s promises and the values they hold dear?


• Are the colours, graphics, typefaces, illustration or photography style used in your packaging design conveying the right brand messages?


• Are you doing everything you can to reduce your packaging’s carbon footprint or impact on the environment?


• Are there elements of your current packaging design that no longer serve your brand appropriately, or no longer fit with current trends within branding or packaging and would be best eliminated as part of your rebranding strategy?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! 

1 comment(s)

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