Video Brand Strategy: Top 11 Tips for How and Why You Need to Use Video

The Romans said, “Veni, vidi, vici,” meaning “to come”, “to see”, and “to conquer”. Two millenia later we say, “Video, video, video” in conquering digital marketing frontiers. Your brand’s one, three and five year brand strategy plans should reflect the fact that video content is an increasingly a powerful, indeed essential tool for both small and larger businesses.



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Image via Google / YouTube

Orabrush is a great example of how a small start up brand can capitalize on video to achieve outstanding results. They’ve built a small brand from humble beginnings to worldwide distribution using YouTube videos exclusively. In fact they’ve had more online viewers then P&G Crest and every other brand in the oral healthcare sector combined!

If that’s peaked your curiosity then you might want to checkout some more of our key insider tips and brand strategies below for promoting and growing your brand using video.

Top 11 Video Tips: How to Use Video to Promote Your Brand


1. Video is Increasingly Essential for Search Rankings

Remember, Google owns YouTube, so YouTube videos rank high in Google search results and help your brand’s authority for better positioning in internet searches. Smaller brands and newer websites can rank higher on YouTube than on Google, which is no small thing, since YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine, above Bing and Yahoo.

At the same time, YouTube is the world’s third largest social network, behind Facebook and Twitter. Bottom line, YouTube is an awesome boost for your brand’s profile on the web and an essential part of your brand strategy.[1]

The icing on the cake? Seven in 10 people said they view brands in a more positive light after seeing interesting video content.[2]


2. Long Live Video!


Among the knock-your-socks-off statistics in circulation, research from Salesforce[3] indicates that:


  • The average consumer spends 88% more time on content with video


  • People are five times more likely to click on content that contains video


  • Video is shared 1200% more times than links and text combined


  •  A landing page with video gets 800% more conversion than the same page without video


  • Video will be 74% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017, up from 59% in 2012


  • The average lifespan of a video is four years


  • More than 50% of smartphone video viewers use video to help them make product decisions[4]

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3. Social Media Platforms Support Video

Done right, video can be accessible, fun, fast, distinctive, different, memorable… and affordable… as a way to reach new and existing customers. In short, the research indicates that video drives engagement, and we already know that engagement drives sales.

A proliferation of startup platforms dedicated to video have sprung up: Snapchat, Vimeo, Vine, Meerkat and Periscope. Older platforms once devoted to photos have now enhanced with video capability; Instagram and Pinterest make it easy to post and share, allowing smartphone users to record video, upload it or stream it live. Other established platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have introduced video content to their publishing capabilities.

The video leader is indisputedly YouTube. As of 2014, 900-plus YouTube channels had at least a million subscribers each. While the video sharing giant has already turned 10, there’s no question it will be a sensation in its second decade.

4. Yes, Video is ‘Affordable’

The key ingredient of great video content is authenticity, not expensive production techniques. When business owners and their enthusiastic customers speak directly to audiences, the personal authentic connection a brand makes outranks flashy filming, casting and costly voiceovers.[5]

5. Best Practices for Small Budgets

We collected 5 top video tips from a few experts:


  • Timing is critical and 60-120 seconds is ideal. – Filmmaker Peter Bragiel, In Transit, Los Angeles


  • Create a bank of photos and videos — they don’t evaporate as quickly as some content does. – Andrew Smith, Chief Funster for Tourism Australia


  • Don’t be intimidated by the process; you don’t have to be an expert. – Susan Wilson Solovic, best-selling author of “It’s Your Biz”.


  • For inspiration, look at your top 10 Google searches and answer those questions with your video.  – Shaun Aukland, Google, San Francisco


  • Too much to cover? Break it up into several bitesize videos. – “It’s So Miami” by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau


6. “How To” Videos are the Most Popular

Perhaps you recall the old jokes about pitches and promises made by used car salesmen. Now, the rules of the game have changed and hard selling is a car crash waiting to happen. Today’s best practice in content marketing is to bring your brand to life, be authentic, tell a story and share inside tips. Avoid a sales pitch. Explain how to do something.


Searches for ‘How to’ videos went up 70 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to Google.[6] They’re the best way to share useful information with viewers, which they will be more likely to share with others. Imagine if the used car salesman were to create a video explaining the best way to wash a car or to maintain interior leather seating…that’s the kind of video that will attract views, interest followers, build your reputation and increase customers.

Case Study: How To Tie a Bowtie

When Columbia, South Carolina wanted to promote to holidaymakers, they targeted the destination wedding market. Instead of featuring brides and grooms in wedding venues, the visitors bureau created a how-to video on bow tie instructions that has attracted more than 3.1 million views on YouTube. As the number one instructional video on the subject, they have produced an evergreen video with an astronomical return on investment, and never ending shelf life.

7. Aim for Shareable Videos


You want people to share your video for the widest possible reach, so knowing what to put in and leave out is important.

What are the top three factors that make a video shareable?

Creative directors say:


1) The Unexpected – Show the audience something they didn’t fully plan to see. ‘Surprise and delight’ isn’t new, but it is golden. 


2) The Cool Factor – What does sharing this video say about the person who shares it? Does it make them feel like an insider, does it make them come off as a boring professor or does it show them off as the life of the party?


3) The Emotional Quotient – Pulling at the heart strings works, but funny is far more shareable.


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Image via Google / YouTube, Think with Google

Case Study: Volkswagen Passat Old Wives’ Tales

When Vokswagen wanted to overcome objections to diesel vehicles, they came up with this brilliant campaign of six falsehoods shot down by three octagenarians. Here’s one:

8. Bring Testimonials to Life


Those written testimonials on your website are great. Turn them into a video by inviting customers to upload videos of themselves using your product or services. Alternatively, interview people at your place of business. There are lots of directions you can take this idea for brand evangelists-in-the-making, which has the built-in benefit of shareability by all those you feature.

9. Take Viewers Behind the Scenes


Film ‘A Day in the Life’ or introduce staff members or take a sneak peek into your  warehouse. If you serve coffee, have the barista demonstrate making a cup. If you operate a nursery, make a video about propagation or seasonal window boxes. If you sell furniture, explain how to spot quality construction. Add the personal touch and help potential customers decide they’d love to do business with people like yourselves.

Case Study: It’s So Miami – South Beach

When the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau wanted to show off their city, they decided on locals for a look around. You won’t find a hotel lobby featured in this series covering real people in real neighborhoods. Take a moment to watch and listen to Morgan to experience what a day in the life of a South Beach local feels like. A caution to viewing audiences: it will make you jealous.

10. Position Yourself as an Expert


Use video to provide commentary on news or information about your industry to build your reputation as a thought leader in the space. Are you an estate agency? Talk about tips for selling a home. Are you a grocer or a restaurant? Demonstrate some great-tasting, nutritional recipes. Are you a fashion boutique? Illustrate the hottest trends for next season or how to update looks in your current wardrobe.

 Your Brand Is The Star Google

Image via Google / YouTube

11. Incorporate Music

Audio is 50 percent of your presentation, so use music to convey the mood you want your audience to feel so you sound as good as you look. We’ll help you with obtaining royalty-free music clips ready for use by small businesses. There’s no need to spend a bundle.

Case Study: Volvo Trucks Epic Split Feat by Jean-Claude Van Damme

As much as we admire this video, and with the deepest respect for both the feat and the 80 million views since 2013, this is precisely what your small to medium-sized company does NOT have to achieve. Watch it and marvel.

“Within five years, YouTube will be the biggest media platform of any, by far, in the entire world.” – Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation at VidCon in December 2014.[7]

We’re here to help you with your video branding strategy and content creation.

• Is video a part of your short-term and long-term content brand strategy?
• Have you already created a YouTube channel for your brand?
• If so, does it need additional content and better attention for search engine optimization?
• Does your website have a video on the landing page, or one that needs a refresh?
• Would your staff love to get involved in a brand video and become one of your brand champions?
• Would you like us to show you how to create affordable video?


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


[1] Juan Jose Mendez, “How to Make Your Video Rank Number One on YouTube (Case Study)” on

[2] Axonn Media (London), “Video in Content Marketing”,

[3] Salesforce, “7 Ways to Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing Campaign”, June 2015

[4] Google/IPSOS MediaCT, “Brand Building on Mobile” study February, 2015

[5] Chris Trimble, Axonn Media, The Guardian, July 30, 2015

[6] “I Want-To-Do Moments: From Home to Beauty”, Think With Google, May 2015

[7] The New Yorker, “Hollywood and Vine”, Dec. 15, 2014

FMCG Branding: Going for Gold with Fast Moving Consumer Goods

The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is one of the most volatile and toughest categories in which to succeed and sometimes considered the birthplace of modern branding. The competition has always been fierce and the fight for wallet share never more challenging then it is now.


Today’s FMCG industry is a multi-billion dollar sector that’s typically dominated by well-established household brands around the globe, from Coca-Cola to Kraft to Henkel. Breaking into that market as a new brand can be a serious challenge, particularly when you’re up against global powerhouses that have ruled their respective niches for decades with deep pockets. Having said that though, smaller brands have more opportunities to make their impact with limited resources than they ever had before, which helps level the playing field a little!


 Kraft Logo

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The question is how do you move from a ‘C’ or ‘D’ tier, largely unknown, consumer product to become a recognized household brand? Success in the FMCG sector is no longer epitomized by just ‘nice’ logos and good packaging alone—modern consumers expect far more.


The most successful brands are consistently creating an authentic customer experience around their consumable products, one that is worthwhile and personally engaging. These brands give their core target audience a more compelling reason to buy and create brand perceptions through their brands personality, promise, values, story and total brand world per se, which their customers find irresistible.


The following is an insight into what some of the most successful FMCG companies are doing to maintain consistently captivating brands. What keeps them front of mind in terms of customer preferences, and how you can incorporate these strategies into your own brand building efforts.



Aligning With And Focusing on Your Core Target Audience

While it may seem counterintuitive, the key to becoming a household brand is not to try appealing to a broader audience—it is to be desirable to the right core target audience. You need to know your market, your competitors, and your sector’s environment intimately, so you can focus on developing your branding strategy specifically tailored towards your primary customers – those who are most likely to buy fully into your brand and what it stands for.


Understanding not only what your ideal customers wants, but also how your offering can enhance their lives is hugely important. It’s only when you truly understand their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations that you can really craft a concise and focused brand message that cuts through the noise.


Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages from multiple channels 24/7. Your challenge is to deliver the right message, on target to catch their much sought after attention, at the right time and then, most importantly, to hold their attention. You need to develop a customer avatar which you then use to underpin your brand proposition and profile.


 Johnsons Baby Logo

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Your brand should clearly indicate why and how you’ll meet your customers needs and that you understand what really matters to them. If yours is a family orientated brand then broadly speaking it might be important to communicate reliability, safety, and trust. However you need to dig deeper beyond just the general to the specific and identify more detailed characteristics to bring your brand alive in a way that’s meaningful, distinctive and different to your audience.


Millennials might enjoy quirky humor that helps mark your offerings as innovative but you still need to add something more unique to your brand story to help it standout and stick. Overall luxury brands focus on quality and prestige but they still need to develop other attributes, messages and stories that make their brand experience exclusive to them alone.



Developing Brand Loyalty

Returning customers are the heart of every successful company—and this is especially true in the FMCG sector where products are typically consumed quickly and frequently. Brand loyalty is critical to your long term success and you need to develop a brand strategy that helps ensure your customers become tunnel visioned with regard to your brand when they go shopping.


You want them to become blinkered to see only your brand offering so they buy it automatically because they aren’t even open to considering others. When you continue to meet their needs your loyal customers will not only continue to purchase your brand, they’ll become brand advocates encouraging family and friends to switch to your brand too.


How do you create brand loyalty? Many businesses make the mistake of trying to compete on price alone where only those with the deepest pockets can win. Customers aren’t necessarily looking for just the cheapest product. Cheap rarely engenders ongoing brand loyalty. Customers typically look for the right blend of quality and value, and many are willing to pay more for a brand they can trust and meets their needs on multiple other levels too. It’s also important to note that value doesn’t mean just price, it’s the complete mix of what the brand has to offer – your brand promise, brand values, brand culture, corporate social responsibility, customer experience, your way of doing things in your brand world etc. that collectively all add up to enhance perceived brand value.



One strong example of this is Johnson & Johnson, the global leader in baby care products. Johnson’s Baby has been helping parents and doctors give babies a healthy, happy start in life for more than 100 years – what a brand legacy. This company understands what its primary customers want – to give their babies a healthy, happy start in life because ‘every moment with your little one is precious’. 




Saving money might feature somewhere in the mix with parents but babies health and happiness is the primary focus, and not at the expense of their child’s care. They are looking for products with safe, gentle ingredients, backed by a company that genuinely cares about the well-being of babies. Everything Johnson & Johnson does is done to reinforce that message, be it through the products themselves, its CSR strategy or advocacy in baby skin care or baby sleeping advice etc. This is an ethical, quality-focused ‘caring’ brand, successfully engaging its audience by pulling at the heart strings through all its communications strategies – which all but the cynical and hard nosed would find hard to resist. 



Telling Your Brand Story in a Way That’s Relevant

Storytelling is more than just a buzzword. Creating authenticity with an emotional connection and an element of curiosity is very important to help distinguish your brand from the barrage of the external market. When you communicate your own brand journey, your growth and your message to potential customers, you’re able to connect with them on a more meaningful level.




The Askinosie chocolate brand story shows how its really important and worked for this relatively new confectionary company. Their target market consists of environmentally aware customers who typically shop in organic health food stores. Askinosie sets their brand apart through their packaging and their brand story which really resonates with their customers. Each of their chocolate bar wrappers relates personal stories about the cocoa farmers that supply the company with raw ingredients. The focus is on their relationship with Askinosie as business partners who are well compensated with prices that are higher than Fair Trade.


 Askinosie Chocolate Packaging

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Great brand stories can help you elevate your products into the top tier and are a critical part of the successful brand mix and keep your customers coming back for more. A note of warning though – the brand values from your story and the promise it articulates must be consistently lived and demonstrated throughout the business at every level of interaction internally and externally every day.


Changing With The Times

The market is constantly evolving, and your brand must be flexible enough to keep up with the changing times. Successful FMCG brands understand how to recognize trends and implement shifts in strategy that will help them continue to stay relevant and meet market requirements over the years and decades.


 Starbucks Logo

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Starbucks in spite of all its ups and downs has largely maintained a strong grasp of its market combined with a willingness to change, and has managed to remain one of the most recognized global brands. The Seattle-based company began as a local retail coffee store, and grew into a worldwide chain that caters to customers looking for an upscale coffee experience. By combining quality coffee with a diverse range of related products, a pleasant relaxing environment in which to enjoy their coffee and engaging with their customers more personally—and treating their employees better than other coffee chains—Starbucks has dominated its niche. 




However, there is a fine line between staying relevant and incorporating new trends versus losing sight of what your brand really stands for by inadvertently ‘muddying the waters’ so to speak with an excessive plethora of confusing brand messages. You must always remain true to the core of what you stand for, whether yours is a well established brand or more recent launch to market.


Hershey Logo 

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Hershey’s has seen a decline in recent times compounded by overenthusiastic trend-chasing activities. In recent years, the company’s brand promise of simple, tasty chocolate has been lagging behind in their efforts to anticipate changing tastes. Extreme diversification has resulted in a confusing tangle of confectionery varieties: milk, dark, and white chocolate with a variety of fillings, coatings and new flavours—all of which is somewhat confusing in its marketing to customers who just want an original Hershey bar.



Developing Your Brand Message

Strong branding is a vital factor for long term success in the ultra-competitive FMCG industry. In order to create a strong and compelling brand message, you need to fully understand your target customers, including:

  • Who they are: Demographics, motivations, trends, and demands
  • Why they buy: Specific needs and wants (rational and emotional)
  • What they buy: The look and feel of the products they prefer
  • Where / how they buy: Channel preferences, point of sale activities
  • How they consume: Key usage situations for your products


Pinpoint your target audience, and develop your brand strategy to focus on the things that matter most to them. Transform your offerings into an experience that will keep your customers returning, and create brand ambassadors who will recommend you to like-minded customers. Focus on what helps elevate and grow your brand and your customer base will expand with you.


What do you think?

 • How does your FMCG brand differentiate from your competitors?


• What message are you conveying with your brand? What should you convey?


• How can you tell the story of your brand more effectively?


• What steps are you taking to create brand loyalty?


• Has your brand evolved to stay relevant with the changing market—without losing sight of your core?

Brand Promises: Are You Consistently Delivering Yours?

A brand promise is what your company or brand commits to delivering for everyone who interacts with you. Your brand promise is a pledge, an assurance, or a guarantee that identifies what your customers can expect each and every time they connect with your company—whether it’s through your people, your marketing materials, or your products or services.


What makes a brand promise compelling? An effective brand promise must create distinction for your company’s offerings, and connect your purpose, positioning, and strategy. It must describe what customers can expect to receive beyond your product or service. It is more than a purchase—it is an experience, engaging your customers emotionally and allowing you to differentiate from your competitors. When working with our clients to help them develop their brand promise successfully we use our ‘Personality Profile Performer System™’.


Your brand promise presents a compelling reason for customers to buy from you, to return for repeat business—and most importantly, to become brand ambassadors, spreading the word about your company organically and enthusiastically. 


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What Your Brand Promise Should (and Should Not) Be

Organizations often make the mistake of conflating brand promise with marketing. At one end, they may trot out clinically dry descriptions of products or services, on the premise that a brand “speaks for itself.” And on the other, they might make grand and ultimately meaningless statements, replete with abused superlatives such as “best practice”, “world class”, and “market leader.”


However, what truly works as a brand promise is not something in the middle, but rather a presentation that takes an entirely different approach to your offerings. A strong brand promise describes how people should feel when they interact with your brand, how your company delivers its products or services, and what sort of character your company embodies.

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To illustrate this idea in action, here are some powerful brand promises from highly successful brands:

  • The NFL: ‘To be the premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together, connecting them socially and emotionally like no other’


  • Virgin: ‘To be the consumer champion while being genuine, fun, contemporary and different in everything we do at a reasonable price’


  • Apple: ‘To make insanely great, imaginative, cool, easy-to-use, cutting edge products that enrich peoples lives’


  • Coca-Cola: ‘To inspire moments of optimism and happiness’





Typically, a strong brand promise will achieve three key objectives:

  • It must convey a compelling benefit and emotionally resonate
  • It must be authentic and credible
  • The promise must be kept…every time


Any brand can create a compelling brand promise. However, the best and most successful brands will also demonstrate a proven track record of delivering on those promises. A powerful brand does not simply “talk the talk” — it “walks the walk,” consistently and reliably.



The Brand Promise At Work

McDonalds is the brand heard ’round the world. With over 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries, the company has to be doing something right—and the core of their success is their brand promise. They are the first job for many, involved with local communities and always seeking new ways to improve what they do best. When customers see the Golden Arches, they know what they can expect: simple, easy enjoyment with great service, cleanliness and value.


This is the brand promise McDonalds stands behind. Their more recent slogan, “I’m lovin’ it,” is a simple phrase in itself, one that can be translated easily within every international market the company serves. The McDonalds brand promise is effective, because the company consistently delivers uncomplicated fun with value and service to customer after customer.


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Effective brand promises aren’t limited to the inexpensive and widely available, either. Successful luxury brands are also making a promise—that customers are paying a higher price, and in return receiving exceptional quality, value, and prestige.


European hotelier Kempinski has a stated purpose of “serving guests who expect excellence and value individuality.” As Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group and a five star prestigious brand, Kempinski promises more than lodgings—the company delivers an unforgettable experience for each and every customer by providing “luxurious hospitality in the grand European style.” They believe life should be lived with style!




Start Where You Want To End Up, and Watch Your Brand Take Off

If your brand is already successful, chances are you’re already clear on what you promise your customers—and you’ve managed to consistently keep your brand promise.

On the other hand, if…

…then its time to conduct a brand audit, do a little research, and or re-evaluate your branding strategy.


It’s essential to define exactly what your brand promises to your customers. This process begins with research into your market, your target audience, competitors, and business environment. What do your customers really want? How are they getting it now—and how can your offering add even more value to those desires?


Your brand promise should deliver something your target audience really wants, but can’t get elsewhere. Remember, you’re creating an experience for your customers. When you define a unique brand promise first, and then consistently deliver, you’re making it easier for your business to keep that promise and realize branding success.


Earning Your Brand Promise

Once you’ve defined your brand promise, you need to focus on ensuring that you’re delivering on that promise—every time. Every aspect of your business should reflect what you stand for in your brand, from marketing to employee-customer interaction.


A brand that keeps its promises is virtually unbreakable. This is what kept Microsoft from knocking Google off the search engine throne with its “Bing It On” campaign, which attempted to convince consumers that real people choose Bing’s search results over Google.




The campaign failed to make a dent in the search engine giant’s market share—because Google’s brand promise is too strong. Their search engine consistently delivers what people want.



You Don’t Have to be Huge

Many smaller businesses make the mistake of thinking that only large corporations have the resources to consistently keep brand promises. The truth is, great branding is powerful enough to carry any business model successfully—when it’s done right.


Take, for example, The Ginger Pig. This London artisan butchery uses the brand promise of quality meats that taste great due to the care and effort they put forth in raising farm animals. The company emphasizes this brand promise through The Ginger Pig website, which opens with a brief and intriguing story about how they came to be—and their philosophy that well looked-after livestock simply tastes better.


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Is your company still looking for that perfect branding strategy? Prepare for success by taking the time to really think about your brand promise—and to ensure that you can, and do, deliver. Whether you’re a brand new start-up, a local supplier, or a national or global business, decide what will make your brand distinctive and memorable—something that’s worth talking about—and focus on delivering every time.


When you deliver on your brand promise, you build customer trust. This translates into brand loyalty that markets itself. Word-of-mouth, particularly through social media, will carry your brand promise to an ever-widening audience. As new customers realize they’re actually getting what they were promised, you’ll find more brand ambassadors out there recommending your offerings, all of which will help increase your profitability.


The earlier you establish and maintain your brand promise,

the more successful your branding will be.


What do you think?

How is your brand walking the talk?

Can a brand exist without brand promise?

Is your brand promising something you can’t deliver?

How can you communicate your brand promise to your customers?


Share your thoughts in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.


Brand Story : The Key Ingredients to What Makes It Compelling

If you were asked to sum up your brand story in a valuable two minute radio sound bite or TV interview could you do it? If the answer is “NO” or you hesitate over your reply, then maybe its time to re-evaluate what your brand story is all about.


Is Your Brand Story

Worth Listening to?


Being able to succinctly articulate a compelling story around your brand, how it came in to being, what its all about, why it matters to your primary customers and where it’s heading into the future is crucial to your success. Stories connect people and your brand story is what gives it meaning and solidity, helps define its values, shapes its destiny and captures your customer’s imaginations, thereby attracting and engaging their ongoing interest.


A brand’s story isn’t a nice ‘add on’ for marketing purposes either. Rather it’s the foundations and inspiration for your marketing strategy – supporting the way you drive awareness and sales for your product or services and ultimately increase your business’s profitability and growth. The more compelling your story, the more powerful your brand.


A great brand story can be unifying (for both customers and stakeholders), motivating and inspiring for your teams internally and give the work they do more direction and meaning, thereby enriching the environment in which they work, all of which filters through to the experience your customers have with your brand through your front line staff – your brand ambassadors.


Brand stories are never static either, they continue to develop over time in order to stay relevant and respond to customer demands and ever changing market dynamics.


 Ben And Jerrys Ice Cream

Image via Ben&Jerry’s


A great example, amongst many, of a brand with a very powerful story is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The tale of two young men who were determined to set up a company which would embrace sustainability and share prosperity (with employees and stakeholders alike) and, incidentally at the same time produce amazing ice cream, all of which hooked the imagination of the US public. Their story then went global and the rest is history.


Ben and Jerry’s aim today, they declare, continues to centre around finding interesting and unusual ways to improve the quality of life for individuals, produce top quality all-natural, wholesome ice cream and respect the environment at the same time…




Back in the UK, the well-known healthy fruit drink brand Innocent had a great story which, crucially, captured not only the imagination of consumers but journalists everywhere. Three Oxford educated students who wanted to produce drinks which would boost the nation’s health using only natural ingredients went on to succeed where many others had failed.



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Their commitment to their cause and brand ethos couldn’t be faulted. Their packaging was simple and amusing yet full of character – and their social media channels (they were early adopters) reflected the same brand story and personality traits too. They had energy, enthusiasm and innovative marketing techniques to capture their core audiences attention.




Interestingly their brand has been bought over by global giant Coca Cola yet that move hasn’t dented the brand’s success. Innocent still continues to sell under the ‘wholesome goodness banner’ brand story and to this day it still continues to resonate with their customers. The brand was powerful enough in itself that it didn’t matter who owned the company. Their brand ethos and customer base had already been established to such an extent that the smooth take-over was hardly noticed. The brand has become a living entity in its own right.


Historically Innocent’s engagement with consumers began even before they’d launched. Following a busy day selling fruit drinks at a festival, the three owners asked their customers there whether they thought they should start up in business. The rest is history and a very successful and profitable one at that.


Lego Logo 


Lego, another long established and much loved Danish brand, with a compelling brand story too used a series of amusing YouTube vignettes in their video The Lego Story which they used to re-tell their brand story when they celebrated their 80th anniversary last year. It tells of their inventor, the company’s values and the commitment to their product both in terms of quality and the education of children around the globe.



The story of women’s underwear brand SPANX is very much connected with its founder and owner, the former sales trainer and stand up comedienne Sara Blakely. Her story of being unable to find tights she liked, then inventing her own, resonates with every woman who has a bulge or two to hide (at least the first part does!). This ‘everywoman’ even had her mum draw the design for the original prototype.


 Spanx Leggings Packaging

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Today, proceeds from every pair of SPANX sold go towards the Sara Blakely Foundation which helps women in underprivileged parts of the world start up their own businesses through education and entrepreneurship.



Some re-occurring themes, worth reflecting on when reviewing elements of your own brand story, have appeared in each of the powerful brand stories mentioned above – however they must be authentic and real!

  • Share what you care about to engage your audience emotionally
  • Localize wherever possible in order to speak directly to local communities and create engaging connections
  • Encourage individuals to make your brand their own and become your brand champions


When creating your own brand story, be absolutely clear on what you want to communicate and why it’s important to both you and your core target audience. This should centre on who you are, why you’re doing it, why it’s important – so customers care, and what differentiates your brand from your competitors. To be truly engaging it must evoke strong emotions in your audience and ooze personality!


Your brand story must consistently underpin everything you do within your business, be the filter through which all your communications and brand strategy flows, influence the way in which you interact with your customers and shape the experiences they have through every touch point of your brand.


  • What’s the ‘truth’ or ‘inspiration’ behind your brand story?


  • What’s significant about your brand story compared to your competitors?


  • Have you considered how to consistently communicate your brand story and brand values through your fully integrated brand strategy?



Brand Heart: Are You Bringing Your Brand To Life In Your Work Space?

Hearing someone say they work at Google seems to have the same effect on every listener regardless of their industry background…Wow!


Google Green Dublin


It’s a true testament to the Google leaders that they have created a reputation of being such a desirable place to work, but lets face it, it’s not just because of the type of work carried out there. With unique, fun, quirky, often bizarre office interiors, which include slides, video games and ski-gondolas, Google lead the way in a trend to change the traditional view of what a corporate office should look and feel like. There is method to the supposed madness.


 Google Office Slide


Google, Facebook, Airbnb and so many of the newer global companies, along with a few of the longer established, understand that the culture and physical experience of your company is a huge part of your company brand. They understand that it is the people and living experience internally behind the brands that help to dictate how the brand is perceived externally.


 Google Ski Lifts


An office is far more than walls, desks and computers. It’s a recruitment tool, a second home and a place to inspire those who work within. If a leader’s job is to get the best from their employees then part of that responsibility is creating a space that motivates people to make the most of shaping and growing their brand.


 Facebook Office Pan


If you care about company culture and authentic brand experience then the office space matters. It is an important part of how the employee views their work. But flashy spaces, open plan offices and bean bags are not for everyone. A place without quite spaces can be just as ineffective as grey cardboard cubicles. There are certain elements however that will provide triggers to employees and customers alike about the company culture that may need to be addressed.


 Facebook Office Photo


• Collaborative Space

You don’t have to be a creative company to have a need for a collaborative space. If people arrive into the office, go to their desk and stay there until the end of the day then the company is not maximizing the benefits that come from employee interactions between the company thinkers and innovators. A dedicated collaborative space that can be used for informal interactions can make employees more comfortable to contribute, to share opinions and develop new ideas.


 Google Hq Zurich


• Brand Ambassadors

Employees are your brand ambassadors. Creating an office space that reminds them each day of what they and the brand are trying to achieve can be a powerful motivator.


Mindvalley Kuala Lumpur Malaysia


• Reflect Your Core Brand Values

If sustainability is an important ‘value’ underpinning your brand, then this should be communicated using internal triggers as well as external communication. Using and promoting recyclable materials within the office for example ensures that those working to build the brand understand that the company genuinely believes and lives by the values they promote. You are authentically living that brand value and reinforcing it everyday in what you do.


Education First Lucerne Switzerland


• Recruit The Best

Google and Facebook offices are designed not only to serve current employees, but to attract the best talent. They use their office space to communicate the type of culture they promote internally and to attract ‘like minded’ people who can fit within that culture and become part of the brand family. Both understand the needs of the people that work for them and have been hugely beneficial to the organisation, as employees reciprocate with high levels or productivity and efficiency.


 Vocus Beltsville Maryland


• Create Customer Cues

PR and advertising can support a strategy that communicates a brand’s vision and values, but that can be destroyed at the workplace if the office space doesn’t align with the promise of your brand message. If your brand communicates a sense of community or creativity, but your offices are comprised of people working separately behind closed doors what kind of message does this send to your customers? Internal triggers and experiences can make a significant external impact. Even reception rooms and meeting room names can tell a story that reflects the brand. Think about your customer’s brand journey. How would your offices influence the customer’s perspective and experience of your brand?


 Airbnb Conference Room Mushroom Cabin In Aptos California


Company culture is not something that can be created from blueprints. It is something that is shaped by the people working within. Leaders can influence it, they can coax and enable the desired type of brand culture but even the well intentioned leader can inadvertently establish dysfunctional workplaces by creating a workspace that is at odds with the brand values and messages the employees are working to shape.


Google may have developed a reputation of a fun, goofy place to work, but what it really signifies is a deep understanding by its leaders, that the environment can play a significant role in creating the balance needed to promote problem solving and creativity in an industry that demands both.


If you can’t glean clues about the brand or the people behind it from walking in the door of the office you could be in trouble. Get your office ‘on brand’, and it could play a valuable part in supporting your innovation, productivity levels, marketing mix and consequently profitability coupled with long term success.

• What do you think of some of the world’s ‘coolest’ offices?


• How does yours compare? Is it ‘on brand’ or congruent with what your brand stands for?


• Does your office space encourage collaboration, innovation and creativity?


• Does your office space reflect your brand culture?



The Secret Way to Boost Brand Loyalty and Increase Your Profitability

Here is a question for you: how many loyalty cards do you carry with you in your wallet? If you are like us your wallet will claim loyalty to supermarkets, pharmacies, service stations, the local coffee chain…to name a few. The list of businesses offering loyalty schemes to customers seems to grow year on year, with brands working to increase repeat purchases and enhance customer brand loyalty. 


Loyalty Cards  


As most of you are well aware, the cost of maintaining a customer is far less than the investment required acquiring a new one. The most valuable customers are not the ones that make the most expensive purchases but rather those that come back again and again over their lifetime. Loyal customers not only drive profitable returns, they are more likely to come to you, buy more often, try new products, recommend you to others, and become brand champions for your business. 



Loyalty Schemes

When first introduced, loyalty schemes were intended to inspire customers to become truly loyal to a brand. It was presumed that rewards of discount, bonus points and special offers were enough to encourage repeat purchases from customers. It quickly became apparent however that customers carry multiple loyalty cards and simply collect rewards wherever they shop.


The true benefit of loyalty scheme cards lies in the valuable customer insights they offer businesses: who are the most profitable and least profitable customers, what do they most want and what changes or offerings would be most likely to make them truly loyal. However while the customer benefits from small discounts, traditional loyalty schemes on the most part fail to achieve their intended purpose of enhancing the customer lifetime value by creating a truly loyal customer.



The Secret Society

Cue the emergence of the ‘secret society’ customer loyalty schemes. How would you feel if you were one of the select few who knew about a secret pop-up-shop sale in a retail store? What if you were given access to stock that wasn’t available to the ‘average customer’ off the street?


 Whisper Secret


Giving loyal customer’s exclusive access to items, menus, locations, particularly when they are not advertised to the general public not only develops fierce brand loyalty but also delivers a unique enhanced brand experience, at little extra cost.


Fast Food restaurants and coffee chains have long prospered by making their service a scripted experience, managing costs by offering customers a restricted menu option. Now what if we told you that McDonalds, Burger King, Subway and Starbucks were some of the many brands who have a secret menu known to only fraction of their customers?


Secret Menus 


These are not simply made-to-order items for the picky customer, these are a list of options known to staff which have been allocated valuable prep time, inventory management, and storage space to make sure they can serve the item. These secret items are based on loyal relationships between the brands and their regular customers.


In–N–Out Burger in the US is the most famous ‘outed’ secret menu story. The company always had a ‘desire to please its guests’ as a core value of the brand. When regular customers began ordering variations of the standard menu with such frequency that they were given names by the staff, the ‘secret menu’ was born.



The Secret Strategy of Special Treatment

The essence of the “secret” strategy is the word-of-mouth by regular customers.  The item can’t be marketed through other means or it quickly looses its appeal. Customers like to feel that they have almost VIP access to things their peers cant get. They develop an affinity for the brand and are often willing to share their ‘insider’ information with a select friend who too will be eager to claim access to this secret society of special customers. Nothing boosts loyalty like a little special treatment.


Big brands such as Starbucks can handle when their secret menus are shared publically. Once the item is not on the menu and the majority of customers are not aware, loyal customers still gain a sense of exclusive treatment. The brand benefits from greater customer awareness of the ‘secret’ menu because it lends a fun or intriguing element to the brand image. For smaller brands, having a more tightly guarded secret offering could inspire prolonged loyalty from valuable customers in the know.


 Secret Club Bag


Reward your loyal customers with access to special offerings. Make the offering worthwhile; something they want based on their purchase history. Remember, it should be a bonus not a burden for the customer; do not require them to fill in forms etc to gain access. Knowing what to ask for should be enough.


 Secret Pop Up Shop


When you let your loyal customers in on the secret make sure they know its not for everyone, but not so much of a secret that nobody knows; while keeping the secret offering to a select few is necessary for its success, the more people in the select group the more loyal customers you develop for your brand. 


• Could a secret offering boost brand loyalty with your customers?


• Could a little mystery enhance your customer’s brand experience?


• How could you introduce ‘secret’ rewards for your ‘loyal’ customers as party of your brand strategy in the year ahead?


Celebrity Brand Endorsement: 7 Tips to Getting it Right

Michael Jordan and Nike, Michael Jackson and Pepsi, Jennifer Lopez and Venus. For decades now branding giants have paid big bucks to get celebrities to endorse their brand and it’s not hard to see why. It can be a critical and very profitable part of your brand strategy.


 Jennifer Lopez Venus


From winning athletes to global superstars of the entertainment industry, the use of celebrities as brand ambassadors offers significant advantages to a company.


Celebrity endorsement is concerned with the strategic alignment of the celebrity brand and the marketing brand. A celebrity brand spoksperson can attract attention and generate emotional affinity with the brand in a way that may not be possible with traditional advertising.


 Michel Jordan Nike


A well-matched celebrity endorsement partnership can benefit the brand when the target audience transfers their admiration for the celebrity onto the brand, thereby allowing it influence their purchase decision making process.


As well as influncing the bottom line, aligning the brand with celebrity gives the brand greater access to more fans. The wider the fan base the larger the spread of the marketing message and the increased profitability of the brand.



7 Essential Tips to Getting the Right Celebrity Brand Match


Celebrity Brand Mismatch

In the same way brands develop a perceived brand image within their market, celebrities develop a public persona based on their professional achievements and public behavior. The closer aligned the brand image and celebrity image the better the return on investment of the celebrity endorsement.


Using a celebrity who’s public image, or what they stand for, which is incongruent or does not align with your brand’s message/image and what it stands for, will cause confusion and largely do more harm than good.



Damage to Reputation

The danger of using celebrities to endorse your brand is that any discrepancies in their personal life can damage the reputation of the brand. Celebrities as brand ambassadors should be looked upon as role models or inspirational people for your customers.


 Tiger Woods Tag Heuer


In associating your brand to the celebrity it is intended that their positive public image is reflected on to your brand. An athlete who tarnishes their reputation by using drugs instantly strips value from any brand they were endorsing. Tiger Woods lost millions in sponsorship deals when brands were quick to disassociate with him after his marital indiscretions.


 Tiger Woods Carlos Papi Baez 33778 Tiger Woods Sponsors



Brands Like Winners

Sporting heroes are admired because of their talent and performance. They are desirable brand ambassadors as they inspire audiences and positively influence purchase decisions, as long as they are winning…


There is a risk to brands when investing in a sporting partnership in case the athlete is ‘off form’ or performs poorly. The value of the sports celebrity to the brand is only as valuable as his or her performance in the field. The ROI often lies in the amount of media coverage they receive. A player who is not getting the pitch time offers little value to the brand.


Personality is also a factor. If the athelete is lacking in the personality stakes then they are of little value as a brand representative at consumer-facing events or brand-focused media activity.


 Brian Gillette Endorsement


According to a national survey, Brian O’Driscol is Ireland’s most admired sports personality, favoured by one in four irish adults. It is a combination of his performance on the field with his personality off the field that makes him appeal to consumers and the brand alike.


While the use of celebrity endorsers has been shown to improve brand recall, increase brand awareness and help develop brand image, the cost of signing up strong celebritiy role models as brand endorsers is often prohibitively expensive to small business.


Even by Irish standards, IRU players can command €10,000. for a single corporate appearance, never mind the cost of exclusive brand partnership deals. There are however a number of ways to align your brand with a celebritiy ambassador without bursting your budget




If you have identified a celebrity that fits with your brand identity and can increase your market penetration or reach with your target audience then gifting your product to that celebrity may be a way of gaining greater exposure for your brand.


Neff Headware is now popular street wear among snowboarders, surfers and other boarding customrs. Unable to pay for celebrity endorsement in their early days the company sent their merchandise to up and coming influencers in the sport. When the audience began seeing the brand being worn by their sporting idols the demand for the brand sky-rocketed with the company enjoying a 300% increase in revenue over the last 3 years.




There is a growing trend of getting aspirational celebrities on board as brand ambassadors by offering them an equity stake in the company. This allows the company to land high profile endorsement while maintaining cash flow. Furthermore, the celebrity has an incentive to continue their association with the brand and continue to offer promotional support.




Traditional celebrity endorsers were those that had wide audince recognition and influence. Some of the biggest influencers of the 21st centuary come not from entertainers and athletes but from those with a large online following.


 Fashion Bloggers 600px


Frequently bloggers have as wide and significant a reach as traditional celebrities and demand fees of far less to promote a brand. By redefining ‘celebrity’, brands can harness these people with an engaged internet following and use their online voice to fuel marketing campaigns for the brand.



Charitable Causes

Many celebrities rely on sponsorship to suplement their salary. Therefore remaining relevant and maintaing a positive public perception is equally important for their earning potential.


Celebrities that have had their reputations tarnished in some way often look to improve their public image by being associated with charities and non profits. Small companies can use cause marketing to find common ground with potential customers. For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, the company gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. This makes the brand attractive to celebrities in public disrepute.


Celebrity endorsement is not for every brand but it certainly broadens the potential customer reach for those that find a suitable celebrity match.



• Have you considered if your brand is suitable for celebrity endorsement?


• Does your brand strategy include elements that would be attractive to a potential celebrity ambassador?


• What do you think of celebrity brand endorsement?



Drop us a line we’d love to hear your thoughts.