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!


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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)

Brand Honesty: Why and How It Pays to be Truthful

Posted by Lorraine Carter on June 09 2015 @ 17:46

Openly, honestly admitting your brand’s flaws is a daunting prospect, but it just might save your bottom line or even help grow it!


Few companies willingly confess their problems, but most customers notice those problems. Whether it’s an unclear label on some packaging that makes it difficult to read the ingredients, a supply chain that’s less than green, or terrible Wi-Fi at your conference table, attempting to hide flaws often leads to unrealistic customer expectations. When assumed standards aren’t met customers have poor experiences. They can become a source of frustration, which in turn can potentially boil over into anger. You can avoid those brand disasters by managing customer expectations through a well developed brand strategy and proactive messaging aligned with your core brand values — and properly developed brand packaging where applicable.


The easiest way for you to manage your customers’ expectations, minimize unrealistic frustrations, and show that you care is by being honest. Share all of the information that customers need – the great and the not so good – and you’ll create a level of trust with each customer interaction.


After you’ve established trust, you can leverage it by showing customers how you’ve overcome challenges or limitations. Manage expectations and your customers will not only forgive the big problems, they may even completely ignore the small ones like Velocity marketing did when it took a chance on an honest restaurant.


One great thing about honesty is that it standouts as a strong part of your brand voice when it’s an integral part of your brand strategy, marketing, sales and service. Now, you have to decide if you want that benefit.



8 Ways Brand Honesty Pays


1. What Does an Honest Brand Voice Do?


If customers believe your brand is honest and authentic, they’re more likely to trust the claims that you make.


For example, let’s say you have a system that truly saves procurement professionals 3% on every bulk order. If you’ve previously made similar claims but customers haven’t been able to achieve those savings, your messaging will seem like just another pitch. But, if you limit or frame your guarantees to very specific usage applications that customers can achieve, they’re more likely to believe and trust what you say.


Part of remaining believable is explaining your promotions and promises. If that 3% saving requires a continuous monthly order of more than 1,000 units in OEM hardware, that is the truth whether or not the marketing says so.


For FMCG brands, honest branding makes your claims far more believable — even if it goes against previous experiences. This is well evidenced with a brand sold in India, in a category that is very busy in terms of competitors all claiming similar things and nothing really significantly differentiating them or having much brand impact.

Heat can cause significant skin irritation and itching in hot climates, with prickly heat being a common and very uncomfortable skin ailment, especially in places like India. Many products on the market in India claimed they would provide instant relief, but that’s a claim very few – if any – brands could actually deliver on. Instead of making the poor “instant” claim, Medimix’s Prickly Heat Powder promises relief in three days.


 Medimix Prickly Heat Powder


 Image via www.cholayil.com 


The brand was able to quickly climb to a top seller in this category with a series of honest adverts about its three-day window. The observations that kids scratch their prickly heat skin itch without any inhibitions, a bit like monkeys, became the inspiration for this brand’s honest story. One of the best is this “Monkey” spot that shows it actually taking three days to find that sweet relief. Even if you don’t speak the language, the message is clear and feels extremely genuine.





Take it out of the fine print and make it a clear part of your sales communications. This honesty ensures your audience knows what to validly expect and it makes you far more trustworthy. The important part is that this honesty and openness will improve your brand reputation, even among prospects that aren’t suitable for availing of your offer.

And your brand reputation is more important than price when it comes to online sales.



2. From Problem Selling to Problem Solving


Today branding is all about meeting your customers where they need help and making their life easier. Yes, you do this through selling goods and services, but today’s customers crave a relationship. That means they’re more likely to feel spurned when things go wrong and consequently voice their feelings freely, particularly online.


If you have dissatisfied customers who are active on social media, you’re more likely to see a complaint out in the wild. That’s a trend that’s been on the rise since 2012.


Building your brand as an honest operator can help reduce the amount of complaints you see online by focusing your branding on what you truly provide. Don’t conflate capabilities; offer true solutions to problems. This excites customers by showing that you’re able to view the world from their eyes and work on problems that matter most to them.


When our clients have shifted from sales approaches to a customer centric service focus, and integrated this into their branding and marketing strategy, their customers responded very positively. Get rid of overt sales tactics that push the “buy, buy buy!” message and replace it with an honest evaluation of how your goods and services solve problems, and you’ll see those digital complaints turn into digital thanks.



3. Keep The Customers You Really Want


Honesty can sometimes scare away customers, but that’s part of your brand filter too. Those are probably the customers who were pursuing products, services or support that did not necessarily relate to your core competencies or align with your brand values.


Being forthright about your strengths and capabilities will enable you to attract your ideal customers who need the solutions and products you offer. Those who your honesty deters are more than likely poor leads – they would probably need significant inputs in areas that may not be a good fit with your core business model and likely be less satisfied with your brand.


Honest communication allows you to focus on and attract customers with a high lifetime value, while reducing the time and effort your sales and service teams deal with low lifetime value customers. It’s not a loss, it’s separating the chaff from the wheat. A its most fundamental that’s what effect branding is all about, attracting your ideal customers and deterring those who are not a good fit.


We’ve found clients achieve more success when they focus on core, high-value customers and connect to them on an honest brand level, living their brand values through how they operate internally, their brand culture, and the positive experiences they create for their ideal customers.



4. Honesty Sells, No Matter How Bad It Is


Would you stay at the worst hotel in the world?


Hans Brinker Hotel

Image via www.hansbrinker.com 



Amsterdam’s Hans Brinker Budget Hotel thinks you will. And it also thinks you’ll love the experience so much you’ll tell everyone you know. Even if you never stay there, you’ll probably be inclined to share its adverts when you spot one.






The brand doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it can poke honest fun about the fact that its forks will be bent, heating is just another blanket, and “it can’t get any worse, but we’ll do our best.”


The Hans Brinker has been advertising itself as the worst for more than 10 years because it wants customers who aren’t looking for the best. It focuses on the typical hostel tourist, backpacking across Europe for adventure or at least a temporary escape from college. That means it has created a large amount of buzz with each advert and continues to attract new customers.

Even when it promotes the germs and bugs that live in its sheets!






5. Honesty Helps You Make A Successful Come Back


Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) had a somewhat “unflattering” reputation, but it wasn’t a strong selling point for the brand. It hurt market share and provided opportunities for the rise of Google’s Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. For many Internet Explorer became the Web browser that people simply used to download other Web browsers.


When Microsoft wanted to unveil IE9, it had to acknowledge the problems of the old browser or customers simply wouldn’t have listened or believed them. So, Microsoft fessed up to its shortcomings and pushed honesty as the chief message for all the people who grew up with IE and its issues.


Microsoft began rebranding its browser with a pitch that harkened back to the nostalgia of the 1990s and it’s slower pace. It focused on the differences between the end of the analog era and what digital media has brought, noting that the brand grew up just like its core set of users. But, throughout all of its branding, Microsoft acknowledged the imperfections and showed how it changed – and only where it actually changed.





Our experience has shown that clients with brand challenges have been able to revitalize their brands more successfully when new brand messages are honest and open about past shortcomings, failures and successes. Saying the right Mea Culpa can improve your standing and help reconnect with customers who previously might have left through frustration and annoyance.



6. Honesty as a Competitive Advantage


Most brands aren’t at the top of their industry. We all want to be, but it’s a commercial reality that someone is going to come in second. If that’s you, being honest about it can garner a lot of attention.


 Avis We Try Harder 600px

 Image via www.avis.com



One of the biggest companies to embrace this has been Avis. The car rental service acknowledged competitors in its adverts for more than 50 years but consistently ran with the slogan: “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder” – later shortened to “We try harder.” They didn’t aim to win business by saying they were the best. Avis told you what its competitive advantage was – trying harder than the rest – and its adverts worked to show that for over 50 years.






Whether it’s a 1978 ad explaining what the brand does behind the scenes or another from more recent years that shares a true customer experience with someone going the extra mile, Avis lived its brand values and its promise, expressed through it slogan, and consequently was perceived to be an honest brand.





7. The B2B and B2C Honesty Commitment


Transparency is the order of the day for all brands be they B2C or B2B, from sourcing and logistics to software or the total cost of a product. Every customer wants to know as much about you, your values and your product or service costs as possible.


Transparency is simply the buzzword that means demonstrable honesty. A client who wants you to be more transparent is asking for you to provide honest claims and assessments, with tools, reports and other information to back up what you’re saying.


Transparency is also a key factor in making your other competitive advantages viable. If you’re trying to promote sustainability, two of the most important factors for your customers will be their awareness of a positive impact and the believability of your impact claims, according to a study from the United Nations Global Compact.



8. Make Your Brand Extraordinary with Honesty


An 80-year-old shirtless man running on a bridge kicked off one of the most well-known branding campaigns ever: Nike’s “Just Do It.” In just 32 seconds, Nike presented a simple, honest message that told a story everyone could relate to and was impressed by. It helped Nike jump from $800 million in sales to $9.2 billion in under 10 years.






Nike built its brand on an honest statement that didn’t promise anything it couldn’t provide: You do it, and Nike helps.


Your brand doesn’t have to come up with anything as minimalist or iconic as “Just Do It,” but you can take lessons from the approach of Nike, Avis, Microsoft and Hans Brinker. They show their flaws, highlight their strengths, don’t over-promise, and poke a little fun at themselves to show their human side — all of which gets us emotionally engaged. 


Remember, people buy with emotion and justify with rational, regardless of gender. If you want your brand to connect with your primary target audience you must engage them emotionally, in a positive way that's relevant to them, and honesty is integral to that lasting connectivity.


We’ve seen clients significantly enhance the perception of their brand and consequently their bottom line when they implement these fundamental pillars as part of their brand values. Is it time to try your hand at all of them and integrate brand honesty as part of your brand strategy?

Honesty is not only the best policy, it’s among the most profitable ones too.


You may also like:


Brand Promises: Are You Consistently Delivering Yours?


Humanizing Your Brand: Why It’s Key to Commercial Success


Brand Voice: Differentiating Through Your Own Brand Language and Attitude


Destination Branding: The Key Essentials for Success



So, what do you think?

• Would customers consider your branding and packaging design honest?


• Do you need a rebranding strategy to find a candid, authentic brand voice?


• Are there limitations you can acknowledge as part of your brand strategy that would ease the burden on your customer service?


• Could any of your brand collateral create customer misconceptions about your products, service or even core brand values?


• Would you stay at the worst hostel just for bragging rights? What would a brand audit highlight as part of your brand’s bragging rights?


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



0 comment(s)

Brand Voice: Differentiating Through Your Own Brand Language and Attitude

Posted by Lorraine Carter on May 15 2015 @ 09:26

In the world of branding, differentiation is a primary driver of success. However, it’s increasingly challenging for brands to stand out in a noisy, crowded marketplace where countless brands are competing across multiple channels for audience attention. One of the most effective ways to differentiate your brand and stand out from the crowd is to develop your own distinctive brand voice.


Brand voice is how your brand expresses its personality and messaging, the tone in which you engage with your audience. Brand voice involves not only what you have to say, but how you say it—through word choice, medium, and presentation. A great brand voice will genuinely reflect your brand’s personality, vision, messaging and brand promise in a way that truly resonates with your customers, empowering you to strengthen your brand differentiation and ultimately boost your bottom line.


The following top three tips will help you develop and use your brand voice to best effect — and are proven brand stratgies we use with our clients.


Top 3 Tips for Developing Your Brand’s Voice


1. Who Do You Think You Are?

The first and most vital step to building a brand voice is to understand who your brand is, it’s personality and what it stands for, and what you are endeavouring to consistently deliver, through your brand promise, to your customers.


Kate Spade New York Logo 

Image via www.katespade.com



Unfortunately many brands fail from the start, because they haven’t develop their brand profile using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™, which provides the foundations, direction and development parameters for a brands’ tone of voice. It’s also really important to understand that the personality of your brand and how it expresses itself and does things has a big impact on customer perceptions, who consequently help shape a brands tone of voice through their interactions with it, particularly online.





Regardless of what you want your brand to be, it is imperative to ensure that your customers relate to your brand vision. If your perception of your brand is contrary to that of your customers, out of alignment, then the brand voice you develop will not ring true—and this disconnect will alienate your customers. Your brand voice must be authentic in order to be effective.



2. Making Your Brand Voice Personal

Developing a personal voice ensures that you’re presenting customers with a brand, rather than a commodity. A commodity is a product or service that’s largely price driven, used with little thought to what it stands for, and has no real compelling reason to use that same product or service again, apart from price—but a brand is something customers find emotionally compelling, can get behind, remain loyal to, and encourage others to purchase and use too.


In order for your brand to be successful it needs a brand voice that is personalised, compelling, and accessible. Your brand voice should represent the hallmark of your brand, and convey an authentic honesty that reflects your brand’s values, story, platform, and market positioning.


Creating a personal brand voice requires establishing the personality of your brand in a way that reflects or influences customer perceptions, as discussed above, and then identifying and structuring communications throughout your company in terms of syntax, viewpoints, semantics, and word choice to amplify that personality.


   Lush Organic Skincare 600px

 Image via www.lush.co.uk



Even within the same product categories, brands can have very different and distinctive personal voices. As an example, beauty companies Lush and L’Oreal offer many of the same types of products—but the brand voice for each company is unique.


The language Lush uses in its marketing and brand collateral focuses on the eco-friendly qualities of their makeup, while L’Oreal’s word choice and descriptions draw upon science and innovation. Here’s how each of these brands describes their moisturisers:

Lush: In these little pots is every last ounce of our experience and expertise, along with a world of high quality, natural ingredients.

L’Oreal: Proven science, cutting-edge innovations captured in luxurious textures for a sumptuous skin care experience.


Within these descriptions, you may also note that Lush takes a more direct and conversational tone, while L’Oreal conveys greater sophistication through sentence style—which matches the high-end fashion perception of the brand.





3. Choosing the Right Channels and Keeping Them Consistent

It’s a multi-channel world out there, and not every channel is effective for every brand message. What sounds engaging as a spoken message, such as a YouTube video or a radio commercial, may fall flat in a different medium like text or graphics, and vice versa.


Once you’ve established your brand voice, underpinned by the direction from your brand profile outputs, it’s important to ensure your messaging is adjusted to suit the marketing channels you’re using to establish that voice—and further, that you’re choosing the channels where your audience is likely to receive your message and hear your voice and potentially engage with or respond to it. If your brand voice targets Millennials, for example, more traditional channels like television commercials, and print advertisements are unlikely to deliver much return on the investment.


But regardless of the channels you use, consistency is the key to a powerful and effective brand voice. The brand voice is a reflection of your brand promise, and should be cultivated to infuse every piece of brand collateral and every touch point, from your website to your customer service representatives and the way your employees answer the phone. Developing a consistent brand voice will drive greater customer engagement and loyalty, increasing your brand value and your revenues.



You may also like:


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


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


• Brand Stories: Top 7 Tips for Creating a Great Brand Story


So, what do you think?

• Have you focused on developing a brand voice? What’s the personality and tone of your brand?


• Do your customers’ perceptions match your own views of your brand?


• How well do your marketing messages align with your brand voice?


• What is the personality of your brand, and does your voice authentically reflect that personality?


• Does your brand strategy include using the appropriate and relevant channels to reach your target audience? Does your brand voice come across distinctly through those channels?


• How consistent is your brand voice? Is it reflected across all of your brand collateral, touch points and communications channels?


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


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Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

Posted by Lorraine Carter on May 06 2015 @ 15:16

Launching a new brand is both exciting and challenging. The excitement comes in the promise of something fresh and new that could be wildly successful, be it for your well established, emerging or new startup company — and the challenge comes in getting it right the first time.


Evaluating, articulating, developing and documenting your new brand’s position and purpose is crucial to building a strong successful brand. It provides the roadmap and rationale to get you out of the starting blocks and heading in the right direction towards your ultimate success. And similar to your business plan, it’s also a key foundation to any successful business, be it product or service.


   Top 10 Branding Tips For Success 600px



Getting your branding right, from the beginning, is particularly important when you consider it typically costs far more in the long run to rebrand again in the future, if you do it badly the first time, and that's assuming you even get a second chance.


To help you move in the right direction with your branding here are some of the elements we typically include in our branding process every time we’re working with a client to help them build their brand, whether it’s revitalizing an existing brand or launching a totally new brand to market. These are actionable points you should reference and evaluate before you launch your new brand — product or service — to market.



Top 10 Tips for Branding Success


1. Evaluate and Develop Your Brand Message

The strongest, most successful brands have a consistent message that encapsulates what the brand stands for, its promise and the expected customer experience. Your brand message should ‘show and tell’ your customers who you are through your brand story, and what defines your company—what you stand for and why you’re different, as well as what they can expect when they interact with your brand. They should be able to experience ‘what your brand stands for’ in a real tangible sense, as part of the brand experience.


Actions speak louder than words, so your brand will only be successful if you give your customers a compelling reason to buy through your brands mission, vision, values, promise and so forth. Your brand values and promise, the reasons ‘why’ you do what you do, must be a fully ‘livable experience’ within everything in your business both internally and externally from a customer perspective.

To use the words of Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.’


Developing a strong foundation for your brand is vital to the planning and execution of your successful brand strategy.

Consider these important points:

  • What are the needs or problems of your customers?
  • How does your brand fulfill those needs or solve those problems?
  • What values and qualities are important to your brand and your primary customer?
  • What type of experience do you want associated with your brand?
  • How will your brand enhance your primary customer’s life
  • Does it make their lives easier?
  • How will your brand make your customers feel? What do you want them to feel?


Note: People buy with emotion (regardless of gender) and justify with rational so you need to tap into their emotional needs as much as their rational needs if you want your brand to be successful.


In evaluating these attributes, amongst others, you need to ensure your brand message is clear, authentic, relevant, and unique. We use the Personality Profile Performer™ system to identify, develop and articulate all the key factors mentioned, amongst others.



2. Define Your Brand Vision

How do you want your brand to be seen or perceived? Establishing the distinctive character attributes of your brand, together with how it sees the world and how the world perceives it, will help you launch with a strong consistent brand platform that captures the right audience.


Successful brands have a life of their own in the sense that they’re humanized entities through the personality and characteristics they portray. To be successful you’ll need to develop a clear mental image of what your brand is all about — it’s vision — together with its’ persona or character attributes before your launch.


Whether you’re going for adventurous, reliable, timeless, sophisticated, fun and youthful, or innovative and cutting-edge, create and develop your vision for your brand and incorporate it consistently into all your brand touch points or channels and brand collateral.



3. Get Your Employees Involved

Successful brands start from the inside out. As a well established business, entrepreneur or new startup, you have the opportunity to ensure your entire team is engaged and on board with your brand, prior to the revitalization and re-launch or new introduction to market.


This process is just as important if you are revitalizing an established brand or launching a new brand to market. Your team can provide invaluable insights and the more you involve them in the process the more likely they are to embrace it, take ownership and act as catalysts for change by being early adopters of new cultural behaviours throughout the business. Your brand promise is far more likely to be carried consistently across the customer experience if everyone believes in it and really lives it in everything they do.



4. Research and Develop an Intimate Knowledge of Your Customers

50% plus of marketing spend is misaligned, going to areas that don’t influence the purchasing decisions of top customers (Source: McKinsey&Company). Find out what really matter to your customers.


It’s impossible to target a brand audience if you don’t know who that audience is or what they want. If you want to make your brand compelling you have to know what matters to your customers and the only way to really establish that is to conduct research.


This can include aspects of you customer such as demographics—the age group(s), gender(s), socioeconomics, geographic locations, what they have in common, what motivates them and so forth if preferences are not strictly age related and other relevant categorical factors that help define your ideal customer.


Do some test marketing or research into identifying your target demographics, and then find out what appeals to them—their needs and desires, and the problems your brand can help them solve.


It’s also important to consider developing Buyer Personas or Pen Portraits of your ideal customer to help you shape your branding strategy. The combination of both Buyer Personas and market research or limited test run service or production run (if you’re selling a physical product) can provide you with invaluable insights. These can then help you develop and plan your branding strategy specifically tailored to meet your customers real needs, particularly when you incorporate these customer motivations into your brand collateral and various branding platforms and brand experience.



5. Evaluate, Benchmark and Rate Your Competition

A brand audit or market research prior to re-launching or launching a new brand is critical not just for your target audience, but also for your competitors. You need to know what type of competition you’re facing in your intended market, and find out what they do well and where they may be lacking. Their weaknesses are your opportunities, potentially providing you with gaps in the market that you can leverage to your advantage.


Once you’ve identified your competitors’ weak points or areas of poor customer satisfaction, you may be able to build a brand niche on fulfilling those unmet needs for your customers. The ability to differentiate from the competition, be that perceived or actual, is key to a thriving and successful brand. By carrying out a comprehensive competitive analysis and brand audit of your market sector, you can build differentiation into your brand from the start.






6. Review Your Brand Concept for Usefulness

Some new companies make the mistake of launching a brand based on hype, touting their products as “new and different” or relying on surface factors (such as beautiful packaging or a stunning logo) in order to capitalize on the brand. However, if the actual products or services are not high quality and really enhancing the lives of their customers in a way that tangibly matters to them, the brand will fail.


The best brands fulfill a customer need or desire, or solve problems that other brands don’t. There are many forms this fulfillment can take, whether it’s true innovation, a new twist on an existing line, or even perceived value that is higher than the competition—but the core quality must be there for any of these strategies to succeed. This is where audience targeting can be crucial, as it can take some time to identify the right demographics for your brand to serve.



7. Design a Distinctive Brand Identity

Truthfully, obtaining perfection is an impossible goal—but your brand logo should be as close to perfect as you can get when you launch a new brand. Your brand logo design is the central identifier or visual component of any brand, and a great logo can be a powerful tool for success. Think of iconic brand logos that are instantly recognizable: the Nike swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, the Olympic rings, the Mercedes-Benz three-point star or Virgin. All of these logos help convey the values and qualities of the brands they stand for, and foster brand visibility and loyalty.


   Virgin Logo 600px

Image via www.virgin.com 



Take the time to create a brand logo that is unique, clean and strong, and succinctly expresses your brand, and what it stands for, at a glance. When used consistently, a compelling and recognizable brand logo will support the drive for brand success.



8. Let Your Passions Shine

Whether you’re a long established business launching a new brand, a seasoned entrepreneur or an uninitiated start-up you are uniquely positioned to infuse your new brand with the passion that led to the launch of your business.


All of the enthusiasm and excitement that went into creating your company should be poured into your brand development and messaging with the same passion. This will enable you to build an authentic brand that connects with your customers and evokes emotion—which in turn fosters loyalty, repeat purchase and referral for brand success.



9. Develop and Commit to Your Brand Promise—and Never Break it

Every successful brand comes with a promise to its customers. For example, Johnson & Johnson baby products makes a promise to parents that the brand will care for their baby’s sensitive skin like no other. Domino’s Pizza promises that its customers will have their orders delivered in 30 minutes or less—and reinforces that promise with a money-back guarantee.


What will your brand promise your customers? It is essential to not only define your brand promise, but to keep it every time, with every customer interaction. Brands that break their promises quickly fall out of favour and struggle to stay afloat in the market.





10. Maintain Your Brand Consistency

Finally, successful brands are unfailingly consistent—across every customer channel, every brand touch point, and every piece of brand collateral. Brand consistency means infusing every aspect of your brand, from packaging to marketing to in-store, customer facing staff or online experiences, with the values and promise your brand stands for.


It’s about far more than maintaining your corporate colours in your marketing material (although that aspect is also absolutely essential too and the reason Brand Style Guides are created). Being consistent should extend throughout your brand presentation, communication, and customer service. Creating a single impression for your brand from the beginning enables you to quickly increase visibility and recognition, and develop a loyal customer base who will spread your brand message for you.


Strong, engaging, and consistent branding is the critical foundation that supports all of your marketing activities, and drives the success for your company. Use a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ to get a great started with a well-defined brand that meets the needs of your target audience and outshines your competition, and you’ll enjoy a long and successful branding experience.


You may also like:


Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand


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


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



So, what do you think?


• What excites you about launching a new brand? What are the challenges you believe you’ll face for your new brand?


• How well do you understand the requirements of your new brand messaging?


• Who is your ideal customer? What are the specific demographics of your target audience?


• How will your new brand differentiate from the competition?


• Does your brand offer the right quality and value to your customers for its positioning? How can you tie that offering to your target audience?


• Have you expressed your brands’ passions through your brand strategy? How will you capitalize on this?


• What is your brand promise, and how will you maintain it consistently across all of your brand touch points?


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



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Packaging Design: Top 16 Tips for Great Eye-Catching Packaging Design

Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 23 2015 @ 09:45


Today’s retail environment is highly competitive place.

         • 70% of purchase decisions are made in store

         • 10% of shoppers switch brand inside a store


The most effective and profitable brands are those that stand out distinctively—and packaging design is a critical element for effective brand standout. Whether you're developing a new brand for launch to market or rebranding an existing brand, the right packaging design can give your brand crucial visibility, helping your products stand out on retail shelves in markets where there is more competition than ever before, and attract more customers who will buy and remain loyal to your brand. Make no mistake, great packaging design is a critical part of any successful brand strategy if you want to grow your business and increase your profitability.



Top 16 Brand Packaging Design Tips


Effective and eye-catching pack design is more than simply being different, because poor packaging design can torpedo your branding efforts and sink your profits. These sixteen tips will help keep you on trend and help you develop strong brand packaging design that catches the attention of your customers, so your products can fly off the shelves.





1. Packaging Design is an Investment

Many brands fail to ascribe enough significance to packaging design, and this is a mistake that will ultimately cost you in multiple ways. An investment in high quality package design signifies to customers that your brand has value. When you increase the perceived value of your brand through distinctive, creative, carefully evaluated and well-executed packaging design, you’re able to compete with other products in your range and charge a premium price.



2. Packaging Packed with Personality

Zig when others zag! If you do things differently and develop a really compelling personality for your brand, using a system like our Personality Profile Performer™, and then bring it to life visually through all your brand collateral, in this case your brand packaging, it can have massive shelf impact.


Assuming you’ve thoroughly developed your brand’s personality and what it stands for etc. you should pick out key characteristics of your brand’s character, tone of voice, story, humour, language and leverage them to maximum effect in your packaging design in a way that’s relevant to your primary customer. It’s these kinds of details that capture attention, create distinction, engender engagement, provoke emotional engagement and help build a long term loyal and profitable customer base.



3. Study the Competition

While it’s definitely important for your packaging to stand apart, you also need to consider the known “lingo” of product category packaging—the aspects that signify what the product is, in a way your customers are already familiar with. Look to successful brands in your space and consider what their package design has in common. This does not necessarily refer just to packaging colours, but also the physical or structural design, materials used, on pack messaging and so forth. Your packaging must be distinctively different but your customers must still be able to relate to it in a way that’s relevant to them and their needs within that product category.



4. Opt for Clarity and Simplicity

The most successful brand packaging is iconic and easily recognizable—and when it comes to package design, usually less is more. Your product packaging should convey your brand at a glance, and instantly tell the customer what your product is for. Developing a clear and simple package design will go a long way toward giving your brand increased visibility on store shelves.



5. Keep it Honest

Packaging design should make your product look attractive, but not at the expense of honesty. A misleading package design that promises something not contained in the package will damage your reputation and your brand—for example, depicting a chocolate-drenched dessert on a tin of simple chocolate-flavoured biscuits is not an accurate representation of the product inside!



6. Be Authentic

Authenticity can be a difficult characteristic to define, but your customers know it when they see it. Strive to develop packaging that is authentic to your brand’s values, promise, story, alignments, platforms, and positioning statements etc. A sense of character and originality infused with your pack design can help you build a memorable brand that engages customers while also enhance brand perceptions in terms of being seen as a brand that is real and authentic – true to its purpose.



7. Differentiate Visually

A twist on the standard design styles for your product categories can help your brand enjoy increased visibility, allowing you to stand out from a sea of similar products. For instance, if most of your competitors use a horizontal layout, design along the vertical in your packaging. If the majority of similar items feature product photography, consider type-based designs, icons, or illustrations.


The choice of signature brand colours is another great way to differentiate. One striking example is Rachel’s Organic products, which use primarily black packaging for products such as butter and yogurt to jump out on retail shelves or O’Egg which uses pink on its white egg packaging.



O Egg Pink Ribbon



8. Pay Attention to Typography

The words used on your package design matter—not just what they are, but how they look and what they say. Stunning typography is an eye-catching differentiator for your packaging. Choose distinctive, premium fonts with high readability, and pay attention to spacing (kerning), the size of the text, and the colour in comparison to the rest of the package design.


The naming conventions used, together with language style chosen and messaging conveyed in the creative copywriting on your packaging design can add immensely to enhancing your brand's personality and connecting emotionally with your primary audience. Remember, people buy with emotion and justify with rationale—male or female.



 Hema Tea 600px

Image via www.hema.nl



Dutch private label brand HEMA is a striking example of the effect of great typography. The company’s line of ready-to-eat lunch items features a handwritten-style design of labels with a very distinctive font, and simple colour bands that help to quickly categorize items in a visual nature.



Hema Juice Range 600px 

 Image via www.hema.nl




9. Embrace Green

With more customers increasingly conscious of environmental issues, investing in eco-friendly, sustainable packaging design is a smart move for any brand, not too mention helping improve your brand’s carbon footprint. Whether the packaging is limited to reduce the amount of waste, or made from recycled, biodegradable, or reusable materials, going green with your packaging can make your products more attractive and premium to customers. Sustainability is an increasingly important issue to customers and ‘responsible’ or ‘caring’ brands are seen to be more desirable.



10. Design for Durability

Depending on the supply chain process and the shelf life of your products, your packaging may require extended durability. Long-lasting packaging is especially important for slower moving, high value, consumer goods, but FMCG products will also require a high degree of durability. Damaged packaging at the point of sale or post-sale can have a very negative effect on your brand, as customers will view it as “cheap” or substandard quality.



11. Production and Manufacturing Constraints

It’s important to consider production line requirements, how your product will fill the packaging – is it hand packed or on an automated production line? What are the specific packing needs of both those environments?


When designing a pack, it’s also really important to take into account the final appearance of the product inside the package, to ensure an attractive overall presentation. Make sure the packaging is not too loose or too tight, and that it displays the product in an appealing way and that the colours or textures and so forth of the actual product are enhanced through the design of your packaging.


If something tastes incredible but visually doesn’t look too appealing then maybe you should not make it visible within your packaging design. On the other hand if yours is the kind of product that visually sells very well, particularly when enhanced with great packaging—like a lot of bakery goods or confectionery—or consumers really need to see it to make their purchasing decision such as with certain perishables like meat, fish or vegetables then you need to take this into account within your packaging design.



12. Choose an Unusual Shape

Package design with an unusual shape can be a very challenging process, but very worthwhile for the right idea. A uniquely shaped package truly stands out on retail shelves and can become a trademark protectable and uniquely valuable asset of your brand. Other important design choices here include display considerations, such as allowing the package to stand or stack on shelves appropriately too.


  Gloji Bottle 600px

Image via www.gloji.com



Gloji uses a unique package design to fantastic effect with its light bulb-shaped juice bottles, which are meant to represent the healthy properties of the beverage that “light you up” from the inside.





13. Think Beyond the Shelf

Your package design should continue to work effectively even after purchase. Making a package that’s too difficult to open will turn off customers, making them less likely to stay loyal to your brand. Another consideration is product use. If all of the product won’t be used immediately, you’ll need a way for customers to reclose the package and store unused contents or portions. It also needs to ‘look attractive’ in the home or out of the retail environment so it continues to sell itself and reaffirm important, asset building brand values.



14. Choose Special Materials

Giving your package design a luxurious detail or two can help your brand stand out. Consider invoking the customer’s sense of touch through materials like velvet, wood veneer, or higher quality paper. Embossing, wax seals, hot foil stamping, and letterpress seals can also add a premium touch to your pack design.



15. Add The Personal Touch

Handmade, hand-crafted, or otherwise personal details can deliver a stand-out appearance to your brand packaging. Details that appear handwritten, handcrafted, hand-tied, or individually applied can add to a really premium sense of personalization for your products. You can even create an overall handmade look for your products with creative use of production techniques—UK based organic food company Kallo uses illustrations and traditional lino printing to give their product packaging handmade appeal.



   Kallo Range 600px

Image via www.kallo.com



16. Focus on Shelf Impact

Shelf impact is a retail term that describes the way a product actually looks on store shelves—whether it blends in, or stands out. Even the most unique and distinctive package designs may not be effective if they don’t have shelf impact. This is a really important aspect of your packaging design to test before launching a product or package redesign.


Physically arrange your products on shelves, next to competitors’ items in the same product category—just as they would appear in stores. The more distinctive your product appears from the surrounding items, the better it will sell. Achieving shelf impact can take some experimentation, but it’s critically important and worth all the effort.


In fact you may be surprised to find that often overly elaborate designs tend to vanish or blend in on shelves, while simpler designs “pop” and stand out in amongst the visual barrage.



You may also like:


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


• Packaging Design: How It Can Make or Break Your Brand



 So, what do you think?


• Is your current brand packaging design category appropriate yet distinctive, different and memorable?


• What are the distinctive elements of your packaging designs and are they on trend?


• Is your use of colour similar to, or distinctive from, your direct competitors? Have you developed your own signature brand colour palette?


• How could you use non-traditional shapes or materials in your packaging?


• Does your packaging design integrate appropriate environmental factors? Is it eco friendly?


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

1 comment(s)

Brand Renaming: Name and Tagline Change Considerations

Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 17 2015 @ 09:14

Is your brand struggling to stay relevant, afloat, or sinking in the marketplace? Do you feel that your brand could be capturing more market share—but it just isn’t happening on your current platforms?


Renaming your brand or changing your tagline can be a powerful strategy for brand renewal or revitalisation, but it’s not a process that should be taken lightly. Effectively pushing the reset button on your brand requires careful consideration and planning, and a sound strategy based on the right reasons.


The name of your company, product, service or range etc. is often the first thing anyone will come in contact with. It’s your first impression. The question here is, do you want your first impression with your primary audience to be something that’s interesting and helps tell your story? Or do you want something that sounds like many others, an industry or category norm but consequently has less impact because it blends in with the rest - that might be a strategic choice but often not the one most desired.


A good name is a compact easy-to-communicate piece of information, it can grab peoples attention and makes them want to know more. It can make them stop and think, laugh or smile, or let people know how you feel about the world around you. Ideally a good name should communicate one key objective, which is strongly founded on your brand promise, positioning, brand values and tailored to fit with your core customer mind set.


Google Logo 

Image via google.com 


A great brand name is vital to the success of your business. As an example of the power of a name, look to one of the most recognised and powerful brand names in the world: Google. Would the search engine giant have risen to the same heights the organisation enjoys today if they’d kept the original company name of BackRub? Perhaps unlikely—that particular brand renaming might have been one of the best ideas in history.





When creating compelling brand names for our clients we use our Nail it Naming System™. If you’re considering re-naming with some inhouse brainstorming, then here are some of the key factors that you should consider before changing your brand name or brand tagline in order to optimise the effectiveness of a re-naming brand strategy, and ensure true growth for your brand.



Reasons for Brand Renaming: Good versus Bad

The first thing you should consider with a renaming strategy is why you want to change the name of your brand, and / or use a different tagline. There are many good reasons for brand renaming—and some not-so-good reasons.


Some good reasons for changing your brand name include:

  • Your brand name has damaging associations. Mistakes happen, but a mistake in business can have a substantially negative impact on your brand name. If your sales or market value are suffering because of a past problem, renaming your brand can give you the opportunity to start afresh with a clean slate.


  • Your current brand name is obsolete. Every brand must stay relevant in order to be successful. If your brand name sounds old-fashioned (but not retro), a brand name change may be a good strategic decision.


  • Your brand name doesn’t capture the essence of your offering. Consider the brand name Quantum Computer Services. What does that tell you about the brand? Maybe you’re thinking ‘not much’ or assuming it must be some kind of computer repair company. But when this organisation changed their name to America Online (AOL), the brand became synonymous with their service offerings.


Aol Logo 

 Image via www.aol.com



  • Your business has expanded beyond the original brand. If your company name originally conveyed particular founding offerings, but you’ve outgrown and expanded beyond what the brand name originally referred to, changing your brand name can help you refocus and expand to capture other larger markets further afield.


  • Another brand has a similar name. This type of issue often arises for businesses that are expanding their geographical reach. If there are established businesses in new markets with a brand name that’s similar to yours, renaming your brand can help you compete in these new markets. As an example, 11-year-old Miller Insurance Group based in Florida was looking to expand nationally in the United States, but Millers Mutual already had a strong presence in the Northeast. The company rebranded to Brightway Insurance and successfully grew a national market base.


  • Your company is experiencing a merger or acquisition. When two or more companies come together, there are a few different branding options. In some cases it makes sense to keep the brand name for the strongest brand—but a complete brand renaming may also be a viable option for the newly formed company.


On the other hand, here are some situations where renaming your brand may be the wrong strategy:

  • Change for the sake of change: Renaming your brand because you think another name would sound better is a poor decision for change. Brand renaming should not be done on a whim—you need to invest time and resources in a brand name change in order to ensure the desired commercial returns. Changing your name without a solid strategically driven reason can also confuse or alienate your customers.


  • Destroying brand equity: For brands that are already well established, changing your brand name can be incredibly risky. If your customers already have a strong association and connection with your brand name, renaming it can substantially undermine and negatively impact your business amongst existing loyal customers. Their trust in your brand can become weakened, resulting in market confusion and plummeting sales.





Evaluating Your Existing Brand Equity

Brand equity should also be a top evaluation factor for any brand considering a name change. With brand renaming, you not only risk confusing or alienating your existing customers, you could also end up with high costs for your rebranding efforts that may not deliver the desire return on your investment. For example if you have a large amount of existing brand collateral, changing your brand name can be expensive.


Your customers and transitioning them through a potential brand name change is perhaps the most important factor in your brand re-naming brand strategy. Before deciding to change your brand name, you’ll need to conduct some detailed research or a brand audit of your existing brand equity. Find out how customers really feel about your brand, what qualities do they associate with it, what do they think your brand name stands for and how much influence does your brand name have on their purchasing decisions.


If you have significant valuable brand equity, but still need to rename your brand—for reasons such as your brand name no longer appropriately reflects your offering, your business has expanded beyond your current brand name’s relevance, another brand has a similar name, or you’re being legally compelled to change the name—you should implement a transitioning strategy that will help both existing and new customers associate the new name with your original brand name thereby helping them make the move with you and reducing the potential risk of any loss of business.


As an example, U.S. based company CallCopy was launched in 2004 as a provider of call recording software. The company expanded its market and its product offerings, and recently added a complete suite of tools for workforce optimisation, providing greatly enhanced and expanded functionality beyond merely recording calls. The organisation needed a new name, because existing customers continued to associate their brand with just the original more limited offerings—but they already had strong brand recognition for their founding name in their market.



 Uptivity Logo

Image via www.uptivity.com



After deciding on the brand name Uptivity, the company not only created new brand collateral and physical materials like employee shirts and business cards, but also launched two parallel business websites. One used the original business name, and the other was under the Uptivity name, but branded with “formerly CallCopy.” The company kept both sites running for three months to build SEO before redirecting the CallCopy website entirely to the new Uptivity URL and phasing out the “formerly” rubric.



Choose Your New Brand Name Wisely

Google is synonymous with Internet searches, but that wouldn’t have been the case if the company had remained “BackRub”—primarily because the original name had no association with the company’s offerings and would potentially have triggered the wrong emotional response for customers.

There are many different ways to name a brand. Briefly, a few of them include:

  • Founders’ names, like Cadbury or Disney
  • Geographic names like Patagonia or Cisco (short for San Francisco, the company’s home base)
  • Descriptive names like Whole Foods or Internet Explorer
  • Evocative names that paint a picture of the brand
  • Alliteration or rhyming names
  • Made-up names (neologisms) like Twitter
  • Hybrid names like Microsoft
  • Acronyms (did you know that Yahoo! stands for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle?)


Whatever naming convention or strategy you choose, your brand’s new name should succinctly encapsulate your offerings and capture the emotions you want customers to associate with your brand. It should be memorable, engaging, and differentiated from your competitors. Choose a brand name that is unique to your company and your platform, and your brand renaming efforts will have a much higher chance of success.


So, what do you think?


• Is your brand succeeding as a result of, or in spite of your brand name?


• If your brand is struggling, can it be attributed to your current brand name or tagline?


• Is your brand name outdated, irrelevant, or non-descriptive?


• Can your customers recognize the types of products or services you offer based on your brand name? How can you give it more meaning and relevance?


• How much brand equity do you have built into your current brand name? Does your business situation still demand a renaming?


• What brand collateral or platforms would you have to change when renaming your brand?


• Do you already have a new brand name in mind? Does it successfully communicate your offerings, values, and brand vision?


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

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Brand Stories: Top 7 Tips for Creating a Great Brand Story

Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 09 2015 @ 12:05

Your brand is the most powerful asset your business owns. A compelling brand will drive sustainability and long-term profits, increasing your market share and elevate your business above the competition. In order to develop, maintain, and grow your brand, you need an effective brand strategy that combines several elements—and one of the most crucial of those elements is your brand story. To quote Seth Godin “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.”


What is a brand story? It’s more than a quick background sketch on your About page. A great brand story taps into the emotions of your target audience, tying your company values to your brand promise and conveying the overall brand experience. Effective brand stories are evocative, relevant, and highly memorable, with the power to connect with your primary customer in a way that supports building a strong and loyal customer base. 


 Oegg Family Story



Here are some of the elements we include or consider when creating our clients brand stories using our Brand Story Selling System™. These seven tips will also help you create your brand story so that it engages your customers, encourages brand loyalty, and ultimately helps you boost your bottom line.


Top 7 Tips for Creating a Compelling Brand Story


1. Know Your Brand’s Big “Why”

When creating your brand story, it’s essential to know your brand inside and out. This includes not only your production values and target audiences, but the reasons your brand exists. Many companies make the mistake of focusing a brand story on the what or the how of their products or services—what they do, how they help people or features and benefits—when the focus should really be on why you do what you do.






Emphasising the “big why” of your brand allows you to create an emotionally compelling, human-centric brand story. It’s important here to differentiate a brand story from marketing collateral, the aspects of your brand that convey the benefits of your products and services to your customers. The purpose of your brand story is to bring your brand to life, in a way that people can connect with and actually relate to. When you highlight the big "why" of your brand, it’s easier to create that emotional connection.



2. Set the Right Tone

The tone of your brand story should reflect the values, emotions, and experiences you want people to associate with your brand. Whether your brand is elegant and sophisticated, timeless and traditional, fun and modern, or serious and influential, your brand story needs to capture that tone with appropriate wording and imagery that reinforces your brand values.



 Eric Cope Smile Squared 600

Image via www.smilesquared.com



One effective method of brand storytelling that conveys a relevant tone is a heartfelt message from brands that are committed to making a difference in the world. Toothbrush brand Smile Squared serves as an excellent example of this—their About page tells the story of how a husband-and-wife team founded the company after travelling to disadvantaged countries and witnessing the impact of a lack of basic dental care firsthand. Smile Squared is built on a “buy one, give one” philosophy: for every toothbrush a customer buys, the company donates a toothbrush to a child in need.





Fun and humour can also create a memorable, engaging brand story that sets the tone for the brand experience. For example, DollarShaveClub.com created a fun and unique video that tells the story of their brand, which went viral and currently has more than 18 million views on YouTube.





3. Tie into Your Provenance

Placing a focus on the home location of your brand can make for a powerful and engaging brand story. Provenance is the origin location of your brand, which can mean either the geographic area of your business, or the original country or city of the company’s founders.



Connemara Landscape 600px



Many effective brands have built a brand story around provenance. The story can be general, such as brands that emphasise cultural values and originate from small towns, or region-specific, such as brand values that are tied to the perceptions of their country of origin. L’Oreal is a well-known example of brand provenance. The cosmetics company consistently ties their brand story and platform to Paris, focusing on the chic and stylish reputation of the French city to differentiate the brand.



4. Build a Brand Hero

Brand stories that revolve around a central character can create a powerful connection with your customers and strengthen brand loyalty. There are several different types of brand heroes that can be used to tell a brand story. Some of these include:

  • Fictional characters (Keebler Elves, Tony the Tiger)
  • Brand mascots (Pillsbury Dough Boy, Churchill the Bulldog)
  • Founder characters (Colonel Sanders)
  • Brand personas (Google Chrome)






A well-crafted brand hero allows your customers to connect directly and personally to your brand. The best character brand stories encapsulate your brand values and promise, and personify the aspects of your brand that set you apart from the competition.



5. Keep Your Brand Promise Consistent

Brand storytelling is a concept that should extend beyond the About page of your website. The most effective brand storytelling is woven into multiple aspects of an overall brand strategy, including social media, marketing campaigns, and even your brand tagline and slogans. In order to make your brand story work for you, it’s essential to ensure that your brand promise is presented consistently across all your brand collateral and platforms.


The Red Bull brand is an excellent example of brand story consistency. With brand values that include freedom, adventure, and extreme lifestyles consistent with the company’s energy drink offerings, Red Bull marketing campaigns continually reflect those values and tell the story of the brand. The strong sense of challenge and adventure that pervades the Red Bull story creates an immediate connection with the brand’s target audience that customers can expect from every interaction.





6. Be Authentic

Authenticity is a primary key to an effective brand story. An authentic brand story is true to your company’s values and mission statement, aligning strongly with your products and services while remaining genuine and heartfelt. Brand stories that attempt to sell, or those that are obviously disassociated from the brand, will fail every time with audiences.


Being authentic doesn’t mean there is no room for creativity in your brand story. It simply means that the your core brand values embodied by your brand’s storytelling are a true reflection of what your brand offers, and that every brand touchpoint reinforces the ideals presented by your story.



7. Make Your Brand Story Shareable

Finally, an effective brand story is one that can be easily shared. A great brand story should be a central core of your overall brand strategy—not merely relegated to your About Us page, but highlighted through a variety of media and collateral and displayed in ways that allow your customers to spread the word and get involved.


In addition to telling your brand story through words, you can create videos, post images or quotes, and develop taglines that capture the essence of your brand storytelling to help the message spread. Particularly for modern audiences, a great brand story is the best way to create a connection and make customers want to share your story with the world. Shareable brand stories help you harness word of mouth and elevate your brand to new heights of success.


You may also like:


• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


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


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


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



So, what do you think?


• Is your brand story confined to your About page?


• What is the bit “why” of your brand? How can you articulate it in a compelling brand story?


• Does your existing brand story accurately reflect the tone of your brand?


• How can you effectively tie your brand to provenance?


• What type of brand hero would best represent your brand?


• Is your brand story authentic and honest? Is it consistent?


• How many ways can you share your brand story with your audience?


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

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