Top 7 Branding Trends in 2017

With each December comes the inevitable look back at what we’ve learned in the year that was, as well as a look forward with predictions of trends aplenty. The business of branding is no different, although there is a constant in branding that we draw your attention to, namely: brand identity, including packaging, design, and naming — in amongst all the other rapidly evolving branding trends.



Does Branding Defy Fads?


Branding is different to other businesses in one very important way. That is, brands are everything and everything is a brand. A brand is alive and must be fed and nurtured to stay healthy and grow.


“A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.”

– Michael Eisner, Disney CEO, 1984-2005




Therefore, a professional brand audit, occasionally leading to a brand refresh encompasses essential elements such as brand identity, packaging, design, and naming. Such is the tender loving care that must take place regularly and diligently throughout a brand’s lifetime.






A popular blog post: Brand Audits — How to Use One to Grow Your Profits


That being said, let’s look at a curated collection of where branding trends are heading in 2017, at smaller trends within the bigger branding picture that apply to SMEs / SMBs as well as to larger companies and services.




7 Branding Trends for 2017


  1. Brands Focus on Building Connections, Not Sales


Over the past five years or so, the meteoric rise in social media has taught us that all media is social. All the one-way streets leading from healthy brands to their audiences have been resurfaced and re-routed to accommodate two-way traffic. Your brand has a story to be told…and sharing it is all about the customer journey: building connections, not hard selling.






Two-way communications, humanizing the brand, authenticity, and personalization are the buzzwords that are absolutely here to stay as the customer experience is firmly the heart of the brand in 2017.


Read more in this blog: Brand Stories: Critical to Brand Growth Strategy



  1. Employees Gain Clout as Brand Ambassadors


Forget the ivory tower. In 2017, more and more brands of all sizes will invest and train to inspire, empower, and develop employees as the outstanding front-facing line of brand ambassadors. Frankly, no one is more invested in seeing the company successful and the brand be well-liked than the people who work in its name. And, no one is better at circulating good news, cementing relationships, and drumming up loyalty.



Image via Linkedin Talent Blog



“Customers are really interested in connecting with empowered employees who are the subject matter experts, not brand spokespeople or brand marketeers.”

Eric Nystrom, Director of Social Media and Community at Dell



Check out: The Best Brand Ambassadors Are Already on Your Payroll



  1. Brand Messaging and Storytelling is Increasingly via Video


Video will be all the rage in 2017, as smaller brands play catch up by learning that it’s entirely possible to produce short videos with a smartphone on a shoestring budget.





Did you know? Publishers report that 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound.[1]


Over the past year, we’ve watched video become an important, powerful medium for businesses, with the introduction of Facebook Live mushrooming views from 1 billion to 8 billion year-on-year.




In mid-2016, Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn, VP for EMEA, predicted the platform will be “all video” in less than five years, with plenty of immersive 360-degree and virtual reality experiences going forward.


See the Fortune interview on the future of video here.



  1. In an Omni-Channel World, Brands Leverage Mobile-First Communications


With smartphones in their pockets, your customers are always on. Therefore you want to be where they are. After all, Google has a mobile-first strategy and so should every brand, even if their bricks-and-mortar premises closes for the day…or there’s a blackout?




Image via Flickr 2.0, Marcin Wichary


Case Study in Real Time: It was 2013 — such a long time ago in “high tech years.” You’re watching the SuperBowl on TV while simultaneously tweeting conversations about its highlights. Suddenly, inside the New Orleans Super Bowl dome, they experience a blackout that ends up lasting for 34 minutes. Here’s how one brand famously jumped into the real-time, multi-channel, mobile-first arena with lightning fast and ultra-clever messaging:




Image via Oreo on Twitter


The ad world reckons the Oreo brand got more oomph from this one tweet than from their multi-million dollar Super Bowl television commercial.


Today, thanks to algorithms, machine learning, data collection and analysis, real-time brand messaging evolves into right-time / right-place / right-person / right-interests brand messaging, as personalization is the overarching trend.



  1. Brands Use Data to Increasingly Personalize Customer Experiences


If you’re still asking whether localized branding is frightful or insightful, 2017 will surely settle the score in favour of the latter.


Your phone will vibrate as you walk close to a coffee shop selling your favourite roast. And, why not? If you’ve shopped there before, the push notification with a special offer for a hyper-personalized outreach by the brand (the coffee roast, or the coffee shop, or even the brand of doughnuts they sell) is easily done. Local marketing, re-targeting, and “near me” moments are being leveraged by SME brands and hundreds of mobile apps.






According to eMarketer, the majority of U.S. marketers intend to allocate more of their budgets to customer loyalty in 2017, and about 13 percent said they anticipate significant increases in spending on such programmes.[2]

(Survey: CrowdTwist in partnership with Brand Innovators)



  1. Brands Focus on Sustainability and Going Green


Three big name fashion brands: H&M, Zara, and Benetton “have worked hard over the past few years, banning hazardous chemicals from their production,” reports Greenpeace International[3] in their latest Detox Catwalk index.



Image via Greenpeace International, Detox Catwalk



Consumers are being heard loud and clear on performance with a conscience. Sustainability matters. Supply chains matter. Food and material sources matter. Energy savings matter. Eco packaging matters. CSR matters.


Find out more: Brand CSR – The Business Case for Successful Branding and Social Good


Brand pioneers paving a path to an environmentally-friendly, greener future will be joined by many more in 2017.



Sixty-eight percent of online shoppers say purchasing eco friendly products is important to them.

– Consumer Behavior Report by PriceGrabber.[4]


Learn more: Eco Packaging: Essential for Your Profitability and the Environment



  1. Brands Develop a Gen Z Voice




The demographic cohort following Millennials, tagged Generation Z, are “the next big retail disruptor,”[5] catching the attention of consumer brands beginning in 2017. As the oldest of America’s 75 million Millennials reach their mid-30s, the oldest Gen Z-ers are graduating from college. This expanding cadre of teen digital natives who cannot remember a time before social media and smartphones are being called “Millennials on steroids”[6] and 2017 is the year when brands will be figuring out how to communicate and what resonates with this cohort.


Keep on top of the disruptor factor in your sector: The Power of Disruptor Brands and Challenger Brands


“A good brand-advocacy strategy is a must-have when it comes to dealing with Gen Z.” – Forbes[7]



In Summary: The 2017 Branding Trends Landscape


It may seem like a tall order, but hey…2016 was no bed of roses, either. Stuart Sproule, Landor’s president of North America, sums it up in the branding agency trends watch, “Digital, Physical, And Everything In-Between.






Sproule says, “We are seeing the most complex brand landscape ever. Consumers want the latest in technology, more personalized experiences, more opportunities to interact – all in a more simple, streamlined process. Brands will need to be agile and adapt to changing demands, but they will also have to go a step further. These trends signal greater consumer involvement in how products and services engage them. Brand managers will have to be less rigid and more open to input from both internal and external audiences.”[8]


And the good news…we’re here to help!

If you want direction and support transforming your brand so it fully embraces changing trends then the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is the perfect fit for you.





This is a two-day brand building intensive shared with a small group of like-minded peers where you work on your brand with our leadership. In fact over the two days you re-evaluate your brand and create your brand strategy from the ground up whether you’re revitalising an existing brand or creating a new one.


At the end of the two-day Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind you leave with your fully documented brand strategy ready for development and implementation in your business or organisation. If your team is larger and you’d like to include everyones participation in the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind then we also run in-house private client brand building intensive programmes too. Just drop us a line or give us a call to discuss your preferences and we’ll develop your brand building intensive bespoke to your particular brand requirements.



Questions Brand Owners and Managers Might Ask About 2017 and Branding Trends:















Brand Innovation – How to Identify New Growth Opportunities

Every day, your brand has opportunities to positively or negatively impact both current and potential customers. Ultimately, high-quality brand interactions are the difference between people who make purchases and those who take their patronage elsewhere. Brand innovation is a key factor in harnessing customer attention, purchase and ongoing loyalty to ensure growth.


The positive and memorable impact your brand makes on existing or potential customers is critical, because statistics indicate two thirds of people feel conflicted and need to be reassured on multiple occasions and through numerous touch-points before they trust a brand and make a purchase. [1]


In past decades brands were able to generate consumer confidence directly with mass communication strategies such as TV advertising. Now that essential trust factor needs to be developed, nurtured and reinforced through multiple direct and indirect communication routes such as fans, friends, direct marketing and social interaction online. It’s more important than ever for your brand to innovate and leverage new lucrative opportunities that make it, not only highly visible, but known, liked and trusted by your primary audience.


If you’re struggling to make your brand standout and be trusted, liked and referred by your ideal customer then the Personality Profile Performer™ is the online brand building programme you need right now.

Factors That Indicate You’re Missing Lucrative New Growth Opportunities


There are many factors that may indicate your brand is missing lucrative opportunities, and subsequently losing momentum [2]:


  • Loss of Profits or Declining Sales: This is one of the most obvious signs that you’re not identifying and capitalizing on new development opportunities, and are losing momentum. You may not realize how severe the problem is until you look at how each quarter stacks up compared to previous years, and the numbers reveal how sales have plummeted. Earlier this year, Dunkin’ Donuts experienced falling profits, and analysts proposed one of the reasons was due to large burger chains, such as Burger King, offering unbeatable breakfast deals to lure loyal Dunkin’ Donuts customers elsewhere.



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  • Poor Customer Feedback: Are you systematically tracking customer feedback? Maybe you’ve asked for customer feedback through surveys and aren’t happy with the responses you’ve received. Perhaps client feedback has been benign — your brand’s simply not doing enough for them, which has motivated previously loyal customers look elsewhere. JetBlue, an American low-cost airline, hired a team of over two-dozen people to handle social media with the primary objective of responding fast to customer feedback across social media — the target being a response within 10 minutes. That’s one example of a brand that’s implemented a proactive brand strategy to mitigate and limit poor customer feedback by handling problems quickly and efficiently.



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  • You’re Not Consistently Looking for New Customers or Growth Opportunities: If you’re not actively seeking out new customers or ways to grow, you’ll almost certainly miss new openings right in front of you.


  • A Decline in Social Media Traffic/Less Engagement With Your Posts: In addition to keeping an eye on overall social media traffic levels, you should also be concerned if there is less engagement with posts or poorer conversions, depending on your overall brand strategy.


  • Your Social Strategies Don’t Ultimately Convert Into Sales: Perhaps your marketing team has spent months developing a social strategy with the objective of translating heightened activity into increased sales. If you have one or more campaigns falling short, that’s a strong indicator that your brand is losing momentum and not on top of changing trends. In an effort to combat the negative press generated by the documentary film Blackfish, the SeaWorld brand of amusement parks spent millions to rehabilitate its image, including running an “Ask SeaWorld” campaign where social media users could pose questions to park representatives. Reportedly these efforts didn’t achieve the desired objectives — to stop the brand’s declining attendance numbers. However, the effects of the film could have been even more severe if the park chose not to respond at all.



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  • Your Products or Services Don’t Perform as Expected in the Marketplace: When new products don’t have the impact you’d hoped for, or older products that had performed well over time no longer compete as well in the marketplace, its probably time to audit your offering thoroughly. A brand audit is effectively a health check of your brand to evaluate areas of weakness and strength. It’s also used to identify new innovation opportunities too.


If you need to evaluate your brand’s vulnerabilities, weak points and areas in need of innovation and change then now is the time to use the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™. It’s an online programme that walks you through, step-by-step, the process of giving your brand a health check. In fact the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™ is a critical brand management tool essential in every brand owner’s arsenal.






Brand Strategies for Growth


Having considered some of the under performance indicators, corrective action is urgently needed:


• Solicit Customer Feedback in Conventional and Non-Conventional Ways:

We’ve already talked about how customer comments could reveal your brand isn’t doing as well as it should in the marketplace because it’s not adequately meeting customer needs. Such feedback could also be useful in shining a light on areas for innovation. In order to be maximally effective, consider methods of getting feedback that are often overlooked.[3]


For example, if you use cancellation tickets or opt-out methods, follow up with customers and find out why they decided to leave. Also, if your brand has an app, have a section where customers can go to give insight on how the company is doing in meeting their needs.


• Ask Employees for Their Views of the Company:

Employees are often your brand’s best brand ambassadors. Take time to understand how they feel about your brand and your company, and find out how you could improve. It’s also useful to ask employees if their friends have expressed opinions about your company, service or product, and if so, what they are. One of your primary objectives should be to ensure you have all your team onboard, behind your brand and motivated because every member of your team can make an important contribution to help it grow. Internal and external alignment is a critical part of your brand success.


• Take a Look at What Competitors Are Doing Well:

It’s also useful to examine the habits and trends of competitors in your sector and evaluate how they’re succeeding. This is a reference but should not become a source for emulation. You need to be different and distinctive which means you have to forge your own path.


You can acquire valuable insights by observing how successful competitors or high performing brands behave online. Sector relevance does have some bearing though when evaluating their strategies.[4] What do they do to find out what customers are thinking and feeling, and how do they capitalize on those opportunities?


• Seek Out Underserved Sectors or Customers:

There’s usually a lot of focus on the top performers in the market, but it’s worthwhile to take a dramatically different approach and view the market from the bottom up. By doing that, you may discover what’s sometimes called a disruptive opportunity. [5] You might decide to offer a product or service that’s more affordable to the bottom part of the market, thereby making it more accessible to everyone.


• Study Societal Trends:

By becoming more aware of trends throughout society, you’ll learn more about the amount of disposable income people have, what they tend to buy, and why. That insight could help you discover where your brand could pivot into an alternative market, reposition, rebrand and dominate. A key question to consider, have you thoroughly mapped out your different customer profiles or buyer personas? You can’t truly meet your customers’ needs if you don’t know their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations. Purchaser Personas or Buyer Personas are a critical brand development tool and a core part of the Personality Profile Performer™ online brand building course.



Image via Pixabay


• Highlight Seasonal Opportunities:

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is a perfect example of a product that highlighted a seasonal opportunity.





Furthermore, the product encouraged countless other companies to come up with pumpkin products of their own. You may even want to release products that make it easier for people to keep New Year’s resolutions. [6]


A couple of years ago, the Walgreen’s drug store chain did that by creating a special landing page to highlight six of the most common health-related New Year’s resolutions. Then, they offered associated products to help shoppers get off to a good start with their New Years goals.



Image via Rohit Bhargava





Branding Building Opportunities to Consider and What to Keep in Mind While Doing So


Here we’ll look at ways you can build your brand after you’ve identified your areas of weakness using a brand audit health check so you can harness and convert potential misses into winning opportunities. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you proceed [7]:


Offer Promotional Giveaways:

Freebies may help you enter a new market by giving potential customers a taste of your brand through your product or service so they can experience how good it really is. When deciding what to give complimentary or offer a limited time use, focus on products or services that are the best representations or experiences of your brand.


The Republic of Tea, a specialty beverage company, does that well by including free samples of its tea within catalogues, and also packaged with every order a customer places. This approach is a great way to get people acquainted with the taste and quality of this upscale tea and its comprehensive range, thereby helping customers discover that this is a brand worth the indulgence.



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The brand also regularly offers limited-time-only products, including teas based on series of popular books. Free samples arguably encourage people to try teas they might not taste otherwise.



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Position Your Company as an Expert on a Subject:

What can your company explain better than any other, or what need does your product fill? Once you can answer those questions, you’re in a good place to generate content that showcases your company as one worth listening to, but make sure such content is intriguing and creative.


E-mail Customers After Receipt:

Once customers receive your products, e-mail them to ask whether there are things your brand could have done better. To encourage participation, give customers something in exchange such as a discount off a future purchase.




Three Brand Innovation Case Studies

Let’s look at three case studies of companies that harnessed new opportunities in the marketplace and capitalized on them to grow their brands:


1. Toyota/VH1 Save The Music:

Marketing analysts suggest that marketing at music festivals is of growing importance, especially when reaching Millennials. [8] These two well-known brands teamed up in celebration of Lollapalooza, a huge music festival.


They invited people to answer the question “What Does Music Mean to You” on globed ornaments, and broadcast the results on social media. To tie in with this campaign, both companies will present $30,000 worth of music equipment to three Chicago-area schools. This campaign harnessed a missed opportunity because it boosted brand visibility, highlighted CSR [9], and used the power of social media through a special hash tag.




2. Club Mexicana:

This is a London-based SME / SMB vegan Mexican pop-up restaurant [10] that has found success with recipes that both vegans and meat eaters love. The goal is to not only to cater to a growing number of people on a vegan diet, but defy misconceptions that vegan food is bland and not meant for a broader audience. Club Mexicana entered the marketplace at an opportune time, when vegan preferences were becoming more popular.



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3. MVMT:

24-year-old college dropouts started a massively popular watch brand by offering cool timepieces at reasonable prices. They adopted a direct-to-consumer model, used crowd-funding and financial contributions from friends and relatives to kick-start the company, and recruited professionals to handle things they couldn’t do independently. This three-pronged plan helped them conquer the Millennial market. [12]





As you can see, once you’ve identified signs that indicate your brand is losing momentum in the marketplace, there are multiple ways to get it back on track — a brand audit is definitely required to ensure you achieve the best results. Pay attention to what customers are saying, and evaluate how you can better meet their needs, thereby finding lucrative opportunities you may have previously missed.



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Key Takeaways:

  • Numerous signs indicate lost momentum, from faltering profits to poorly performing products or services
  • Seasonal opportunities, employee insight, customer feedback and societal trends are some things that can help you identify missing opportunities
  • Follow up with customers to learn what you could have done better
  • Lucrative opportunities are often found when companies proactively respond to signals from their customers and engage with them regularly


Questions to Consider:

  • Have you identified signs that your brand has lost momentum? Would a brand audit be in order?
  • How might you reach out to employees to get their thoughts on your brand? Have you considered brand induction and training to make them into powerful brand ambassadors?
  • In what ways could you capitalize on seasons, events or holidays to harness new opportunities?
  • Have you considered giving your customers product samples, discounted access, bundled packages or freebies so they can sample or experience your brand first hand to understand or appreciate its’ superb merits?
  • Have you investigated ways you could tie Corporate Social Responsibility brand strategies into a new growth opportunity, as Toyota and VH1 did?







[1] Michelle Hutton,, “I Talk About Your Brand Because I Like My Friends,” September 2015.

[2] Kimanzi Constable,, “5 Signs That You’ve Lost Momentum in Your Business,” March 2016.

[3] Heather McCloskey,, “5 Overlooked Customer Feedback Opportunities That Are Product Insight Goldmines.”

[4] Jim Belosic, “10 Big Brand Facebook Tactics Any Business Can Use,” March 2014.

[5] Ronell Smith,, “How to Find Your Brand’s Disruptive Opportunity,” February 2016.

[6] Rodolfo Rinaldi Rincon and Hannah Lamb,, “How Brands Can Seize Opportunities Around New Year Resolutions, ” December 2015.

[7] Amanda Stillwagon,, “9 Ways You May Be Missing Opportunities To Build Your Brand,” May 2016.

[8] Jeff Fromm,, “Marketing at Music Festivals: Playing to the Millennial Crowd, ” January 2014.

[9] Jordan Simon, “Toyota and VH1 Save the Music Partner Up for Lollapalooza and Chicago School Grants,” July 2016.


[11] Damien Clarkson,, “Businesses and Entrepreneurs Seize Opportunities in Rise of Veganism, November 2014.

[12] Aimee Millwood,, “These 2 Young Entrepreneurs Seized the Time — and Success,” March 2016.


The Power of Disruptor Brands and Challenger Brands

These days, it’s all about disruption. In tiny Davos, Switzerland, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” was the central theme of the 2016 World Economic Forum, designed to engage thought leaders to prepare us for the “next big thing.”

The proposition is that we are on the cusp of a new era fundamentally changing the way we work and live. Vast technological changes brought on by digitalization are disrupting conventional business practices and social norms, states the economic forum founder, Professor Klaus Schwab, in his essay published by the Council on Foreign Affairs.[1]

      Quotes From World Economic Forum 2016

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Enter Innovator Brands

A 2015 survey by Brand Keys on behalf of Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network indicates that household brand names are being replaced by innovative game changers, and they’re gaining respect with mainstream consumers. “Nimble startups compete with legacy enterprises,” say 98 percent of those asked and “the disruption is severe,” indicate 37 percent. Furthermore, there is a “distinct correlation” between perceived innovation and a company’s bottom line results, according to the study.[2]

Start Up Innovation Infographic 600px

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Challenger Versus Disruptor Brands

The terms challenger brand and disruptor brand are not interchangeable. Challenger brands bring innovation, enhancements, new pricing, or other tweaks (diet soda, dishwasher tablets, boy and girl nappies) to an existing marketplace.

Disruptors enter a marketplace and completely set heads spinning. When eBay appeared, for example, it was difficult for many people to accept paying online in advance for an item from a stranger and simply trusting it would arrive in the post. When email gained traction, traditional mail service was rattled and companies were required to re-define legalities in their terms and conditions. And when Airbnb was introduced, the hotel industry was more than mildly shocked; cities are still attempting to define tax issues.

  Deliveroo Airbnb 600px

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A Shift to the Customer Interface

The battle for today’s customer is occurring in the digital interface between product and consumer. As Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media, explains, “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”[3]

 Tech Company Hierarchy

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These companies fill a connector space between product and people. These brands are the jam in the sandwich between the customer and the business. Furthermore, Goodwin points out that this new breed of interface companies (Uber, YouTube, Airbnb, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google) are the fastest-growing in history. All of them began as challenger brands.


What is a Challenger Brand?

From the original biblical tale, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell borrows a title, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,” reminding us that compelling storytelling has long been at the heart of a challenge. In brand marketing today, some famous challenges fall into the hero/underdog sort (Coke vs. Pepsi, Avis vs. Hertz; McDonalds vs. Burger King); others make into it a three-way contest, or even a Big Four fight (Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury, Morrison’s).

Still other challenger brands enter a crowded category or endeavour to maintain challenger momentum once it starts to fade. Enter the game changers, disrupting the status quo by creating altogether new categories (, Uber, Airbnb), thus far a hallmark of 21st century disruptor brands.

In discussing the rise of the challenger brand, CMO of Adobe points out, “Essentially, the heart of a challenger brand is the passion, process, and tools they use to create and magnify customer advocacy.” Reflect on those overnight queues snaking around the Apple Store in anticipation of new product releases. “The heart of challenger brands’ success is their ability to turn emotion and affinity into a customer acquisition machine.”[4]

Purpose = Purchase = Profitability

    Apple Store Lines 600px

Image via Rob DiCaterino, Flickr CC2.0

Challenger brand experts Adam Morgan and Mark Holden wrote a book on the subject, “Overthrow: Ten Ways to Tell a Challenger Story,” (with all profits going to UNICEF). In it, they list 10 types that represent the challenger brand state-of-mind. These brief descriptions may help you evaluate and identify your own brand’s personality, purpose and positioning.

  • The Irreverent Maverick

Shock and awe counts more than playing by the rules. This challenger type is big on attitude and best have a big budget for flashy PR, interactive sales tactics and legal advisors. Think Red Bull.

  • The Missionary

The core message is critical for this brand which identifies a need to do something better. The authors suggest. “Think of Al-Jazeera looking to ‘redress the balance’ in media coverage of the Middle East.

  • The Next Generation

Daring to call out the market leader as being old fashioned, this challenger seeks to position itself as very much here and now, totally relevant to today’s cultural trends. Emirates Airline, Euro Star and GoPro are examples.

  • The Democratiser

Sharing great design, catwalk looks and labels is the function of this challenger brand. Often seen in retailing, the purpose is to challenge elitist brands. The right influencers are often part of the equation to deliver street cred. Think H&M.

  • The Real and Human Challenger

Using people as a company resource, this brand breathes life into a dead category, fires up consumers’ imaginations. In the UK, Innocent (little tasty drinks), are those guys who drive around in those cow camouflage vehicles or Hungry Grassy Vans.

  • The Enlightened Zagger

Less fashionable is fine for brands that swim against the tide and challenge conventional wisdom. A brand challenge from Camper shoes mixed it up by suggesting that we walk, rather than run.

  • The Visionary

Big, bold and beautiful is the vision — but never boring. A visionary challenge brings a higher purpose and an emotional connection to the brand, Lady Gaga comes to mind.

  • The Game Changer

An entry into a category that’s unlike anything consumers have seen before is a game changer. The designers think outside the box. Steve Jobs brought game changers to categories from personal computing to phones, cameras and music.

  • The People’s Champion

This brand’s founder/CEO may act as the people’s champion, suggesting the public suffers an inferior service or product from everyone else in a category. The people’s champion puts a friendly face to the shakeup, using humour like Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson.

  • The Feisty Underdog

Here’s the David versus Goliath story in all its storytelling glory. It’s us versus them in the style of Avis Car Rental which adopted the slogan “We try harder. We’re #2,” a unique tagline that garnered empathy during its 50-year run.




Examples of Successful Challenger Brands

What do eggless mayonnaise, furniture in a box, bagless vacuum cleaners and fashionable spectacles have in common with driverless electric cars and return rockets for colonizing Mars? From aspirational to mainstream and from ideation to manufacture, challenger brands can change the world. Once a brand does achieve commercial success, a new set of opportunities comes into play in order to stay fresh edgy, and relevant, maintaining a challenger brand mentality as a bigger brand player.

1. Hampton Creek

Josh Tetrick, founder of this plant-based food maker, believes that industrialized egg and meat production is unsustainable. Hamptons Creek’s leading product, Just Mayo, is an egg-free spread that’s about making foods with less water, land, and carbon emissions. This is a brand that proves the business case for CSR and social responsibility.

   Hampton Creek Just Mayo 600px

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Since 2011, Tetrick has attracted funding from 12 billionaire investors, including Bill Gates, and shot to the top of several lists of innovative companies shaping the future of food.[5] The Guardian reports that Silicon Valley investors are pouring “serious cash into ersatz animal products. Their goal is to transform the food system the same way Apple changed how we use phones, or Google changed the way we find information.”[6]


With 373 stores in 47 countries, no one would call Ikea a small company. Yet, it was born as a challenger concept in the back woods of Sweden in the 1940s: inexpensive flat-packed furniture for self-assembly, sold via a catalogue and warehouse showroom.[7] By remaining functional, simple, and design-led, Ikea has managed a harmonious marriage built on durable pillars of inexpensive, yet decent quality. Partnering with UNICEF among three dozen other NGOs and IGOs, IKEA Foundation[8] is considered the world’s largest charitable foundation, with an estimated net worth of $36 billion.

 Ikea Unicef Soft Toy Thank You

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3. Warby Parker

Four business school grads asked: Why is eyewear so costly? With US $2,500 in seed money from their university, they founded Warby Parker[9] in 2010, shaking up the supply chain dominated by one company. The challenger brand designs and manufactures fashionable spectacles in-house and provides eyewear via its innovative e-commerce site. The Home Try-On program comes with a free no-questions-asked return policy at a fraction of the price. For every pair of eyeglasses that’s sold, Warby Parker donates the funds to donate one pair to charity, currently over one million pairs of glasses.[10] CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility sits at the heart of this very compelling brand. The company is currently valued at US $1.2 billion.

4. Dyson

A few years ago, nobody (except James Dyson) imagined a vacuum cleaner without a vacuum cleaner bag that could operate by centrifugal force. Dyson worked for five years experimenting on 5,179 prototypes before taking a product to the marketplace. With research and design at its core, Dyson machines now include hand dryers, lighting and air treatments that are available in 65 countries. More than 1,000 engineers continually work on inventions.[11] The James Dyson Foundation sponsors design engineering students with scholarships and awards in the UK, USA and Japan.[12]

 James Dyson Dyson School Of Design Engineering

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5. Tesla Motors

Inventor, engineer and investor, self-made billionaire Elon Musk has a stable of disruptive products across multiple industries. From artificial intelligence to solar power to reusable rockets for space exploration, Tesla Motors electric cars are Musk’s best-known challenger brand. His entire stable of companies exist to contribute to Musk’s overarching vision: protecting Earth and humankind via sustainable energy sources and reducing the risk of human extinction by becoming a multi-planetary species. “Really pay attention to negative feedback,” is one of this entrepreneur’s top tips. Next up? “I really want to go to Mars,” says Musk, “It’s a fixer-upper of a planet.”[13]

A View from the Challenger Brand Grave

No stranger to failure, Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech, “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”[14]

And for challenger brands which do reach their goal, they must innovate, innovate, innovate. Success has a great way of dulling the keen edge of ambition; challenger brands can reach a comfort zone of complacency and constant change is the only answer.

Questions to consider

• Are you clear on the differences between a challenger brand and the need for a rebranding?


• Is your brand focused on a well-defined purpose?


• Have you figured out what you’re challenging and crafted a story that explains why?


• Do you have a fresh, imaginative, and stimulating idea, product or service, that you’re now ready to develop using brand profiling which provides your roadmap for bringing it life — making it distinctive, different and memorable so your primary audience can’t resist it?


• Do you have the ambitious challenger brand mentality? Are you a risk-taker at heart?


• Does your challenger brand represent a positive value for consumers?


• Do you have the conviction that your brand is something that will leave the world better off? Are you ready to leave an amazing legacy that changes peoples’ lives, and makes them better forever?



You may also like:


Brand Profiling: How Brand Performance and Purpose are Inextricably Linked


Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling  


The Profit Power of Cult Brands, Why and How to Create One


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


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


Brand Revitalisation and Relaunch: The do’s and don’ts of doing it successfully!


Brand CSR: The Business Case for Successful Branding and Social Good


Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships



















Top 10 Branding Articles in 2015

Are you curious which Persona Branding and Design articles have been the most popular over the past year?


We’re always interested to see which of our posts resonate most with you, our reader. Even though we do lots of research and planning, there are no guarantees which topics will trigger the most interest.


Here you’ll find an insider’s peek into our top ten most popular branding articles of 2015, some of which you might have missed.


I’m sure you’ll find at least one that will be very useful to your business in the year ahead.

Wishing you growing success in 2016!



Top 10 Branding Articles In 2015 600px



1. Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling


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


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


The Top 5 Components of a Great Brand Story are as follows…



 Open Book 600px



2. Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success


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 start-up 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.


The question here is, do you know the key ingredients required for building a new brand?


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 which you should reference and evaluate before you launch your new brand, product or service, to market.



 Top 10 Branding Tips For Success 600px



3. What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016


More than a half century ago, the customer-centric branding pioneer Walter Landor said, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” [1] In 2016, the path to that consumer experience is a two-way street, and guess who’s in the driver’s seat? Brands with strong personality are the winners, because consumers equate experiences with brands.


Branding keywords for 2016 include: personalized, authentic, humanized, interactive, engaging, and mobile.


We take a closer look at some outstanding examples from brands that illustrate key 2016 on-trend pointers to successfully target today’s customers.



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


Your brand is much more than merely a product or service, or a logo. Brands are an experience—the relationship between your business and your customers—and to create an exceptional customer experience, your brand must have an irresistible personality.


To quote Martyn Newman PhD “In the information age and globalised economy where values and meaning matter more in the market place, the value of emotional capital increases. This creates brand value and goodwill and results in repeat sales through customer loyalty, lifetime relationships and referrals. In other words, the brand is more than a name or a logo; it creates trust and recognition and is a promise and an emotional contract with each customer.”


Brand profiling is the systematic process of creating, developing and implementing your brand character and personality through shaping its brand promise, values, the do’s and don’ts of its behaviours, story, emotional benefits, its culture and what it stands for and so forth.


It’s this humanized entity that gets your brand message out into the market, cuts through the noise and gets the attention of your primary customers in a way that matters to them.


When creating and developing the profiles for our clients’ brands we use our bespoke Personality Profile Performer™, a systematic approach which underpins the commercial, rational, and holistic aspects of successful brand profile building.


The following six key elements are representative of some of the core ingredients included within this branding process, used to create and deploy a compelling personality for your brand.



 Martyn Newman Brands And Emotion

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5. Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships 


Co-branding is defined as a partnership between brands. It typically works best when Brand A partners with Brand B, each with a different set of customers and brand associations of their own.


As in the expression, “the whole is bigger than the parts,” co-branding can add value when synergy exists between the brands; it creates an emotional energy, starts conversations and creates buzz around both partners and can delivery significantly increased financial returns for all involved when done right.


In addition to brand revitalization, co-branding objectives may include getting more bang for your buck, growing market share, building audience reach and altering perceived positioning. Co-branding is primarily used an alliance of two brand partners, although there’s no rule against bringing three or more to the party.


Checkout here:

• The Top 7 Benefits of Co-Branding

• 5 Co-Branding Risk Management Guidelines

• The Top 6 Tips for Co-Branding Success

with case studies and examples of who’s done it really well.



 Co Branding Multiple Examples 600px

Infographic via



6. Colour Psychology: Cracking the Colour Code for Profitable Branding


Colour increases brand recognition by 80%. 93% of shoppers consider visual appearance over all other factors while shopping. It adds huge power to communications, opinions, recall and emotive influence. In fact when used correctly, colour is a pivotal tool to substantially influence purchasing decisions, service or product.


Since colour choices impact every aspect of a commercial enterprise, brand owners should aggressively re-evaluate that choice throughout their brand strategy.


The question is, has your brand’s colour palette been selected with the right intent and applied to best possible effect throughout all your brand communications and touch points to ensure your brand grow and increased profitability?


Find out more about why colour matters and how you can use it more effectively within your business.



 Colour Infographic Cropped 600px

Infographic via Blueberry Labs



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


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.


When presented with an assortment of packaging 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?


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.


Here’s how…



 Marmite Limited Editions 600px

Image via ©



8. Luxury Branding: How to Establish or Re-Position Your High-End Brand   


The combined value of the various luxury goods markets in 2014 was an estimated 865 billion euros, with luxury cars, personal luxury goods and luxury hospitality taking the top three places, with values of 351 billion, 223 billion and 150 billion respectively.


You might think those statistics make luxury branding a very interesting sector, however if you want to reposition or establish your brand targeted at a high-end customer then there are six keys factors you need to consider within your brand strategy.


Firstly there are four main characteristics by which the luxury customer defines a luxury brand. However the way in which someone perceives luxury will depend on factors ranging from their socio-economic status to their geographical location.


Here are the four main characteristics by which luxury brands are defined together with the six key brand strategies for building a winning luxury brand. 



Super Rich Shopping Habits Infographic 600px

Infographic via



9. Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers


Millennials, the newest generation of influential consumers (also known as Generation Y or Gen Y), spend more than $600 billion dollars annually with spending power expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, (or 30% of US sales) according to Accenture 2013 research.


While these statistics sounds like ‘gold bullion’ for many brands, in our experience often smaller companies and organisations struggle to develop their brand strategy in a way that relates relevantly to this fast changing group of buyers.


Millennial consumers are a very fluid constantly moving target with multiple devices overflowing with content clamouring for their attention 24/7. However once you really understand this discerning consumer properly and tailor your brand to really meet their needs, you can, like many others tap into this incredibly lucrative market.


Here are our top 6 key brand attributes you need to consider when developing your brand strategy to attract your Millennial customer.



 Millennial Entrepreneur 600px



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


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


If you ever thought using video to promote your brand was too difficult or beyond your reach these statistics might make you think again.


Find out exactly how you can use video to grow your brand here.


You can even find out how one small start up brand used video to achieve worldwide distribution and now has more online viewers than its competing massive global brands combined!



 You Tube 360 600px

Image via Google / YouTube



Did your favourite post feature in one these top 10 branding articles of 2015? If there was an alternative that was your first preference, drop us a line and let us know.


Meantime I’d love to keep you up to date with what’s happening in the world of branding and make this blog really useful to you. If there’s anything branding related you would like to read about in this blog or if you have any questions or comments, suggestions for a blog post, feedback or even just to say Hi, just send me a short note, I’m here to help!

E: [email protected]

or give me a call at Tel: +353 1 8322724


Wishing you increasing success in the year ahead!




Brand Resurgence: 4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Comebacks

Brands fizzle out all the time. From historic flops like the Ford Edsel to problematic launches from established brands, such as Crystal Pepsi and the disastrous introduction of Apple Maps, brand disintegration can hit any company for any number of reasons. But some brands are agile enough to adapt, adjust their strategies, learn from their mistakes, and re-emerge stronger than ever.


Brand revitalization can generate a powerful response for any business, whether your brand is guttering out completely or simply losing steam. Here are some lessons to learn from amazing brand comebacks that have revitalized some of the most successful brands in the world.



4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Revitalizations


1. Apple: An Unconventional Partnership

Despite the company’s problem with its map application, Apple is among the most powerful and well-known global brands today—but they weren’t always. It’s a well know story, the company started out strong in the 1980s with a decisive and profitable position in the computer industry. But following Steve Jobs’ resignation in 1985, performance dwindled, and by the mid-1990s the organization faced imminent bankruptcy.


Apple Newton Messagepad

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Jobs returned as CEO in 1997 to face the daunting task of restructuring the company and salvaging the brand. After scrapping the expensive Newton, Jobs took a bold and controversial step by entering into a partnership with Apple’s biggest competitor, Microsoft.



Apple’s customers weren’t thrilled with the idea of sleeping with the perceived enemy. But the $150 million investment from Microsoft not only allowed for the development of popular Microsoft programs like Office for the iOS system, but also paved the way for the iMac—Apple’s sleek, innovative all-in-one PC that represented the new brand positioning and served as a landmark for the company’s signature products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.


Jobs’ risk-taking may have met with initial resistance from his primary audience, but the partnership paid off and ultimately helped Apple claim the dominant position in the mobile device market.



2. Old Spice: Shifting the Target Market

Classic American brand Old Spice introduced its grooming products for men in 1938. The brand experienced steady growth, and by the 1970s was the top brand in its product class. However, the Old Spice brand aged along with its customer base, and by 1990 it had lost its appeal—Old Spice was an old man’s staple, and brand loyalty was at an all-time low.


 Old Spice Classic

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At this point, Procter & Gamble purchased the Old Spice brand from parent company the Shultan Co., and launched a brand retargeting campaign aimed at capturing the younger generation. A new deodorant line called Old Spice High Endurance was marketed to teens, and the brand’s performance slowly ascended. Then in 2010, the company released the first of a series of quirky online commercials featuring the “Old Spice Man,” aimed at the younger generation.



The video quickly went viral, and propelled the Old Spice brand to the top spot in the body wash market. Sales of Old Spice increased by 107 percent in June 2010, shortly after the video’s release.


Old Spice Boat Man 

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With a package redesign, new product releases aimed at a new demographic, and a video campaign that targeted younger markets by appearing in the channels they frequent, Old Spice created a brand resurgence that is still going strong today.



3. Dr. Martens: Banking on Nostalgia

Footwear brand Dr. Martens, known for patented air-cushioned soles and trademark yellow stitching, was a UK favorite for years. Dr. Martens boots saw peak success in the 1970s, when British punk rockers adopted the brand and created a craze. But when grunge moved in during the 1990s, Dr. Martens moved out—in a big way.


 Dr Martins Patent

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The brand fell out of favour in the fashion industry, forcing the company to downsize together with production stopping in the UK. In 2003, Dr. Martens’ production facilities relocated to more economically favorable China, leaving just a handful of design and office staff behind.


 Dr Martens Metallic

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But in 2007, the company took advantage of a growing retro movement to relaunch the brand—and pulled off a successful brand resurgence simply by changing the name of its product. The original Dr. Martens shoe was introduced as the Dr. Martens “Vintage” line, with campaigns appealing to their customers’ sense of nostalgia. By 2010, the brand appeared in multiple designer collections on fashion show runways, and in 2012 Dr. Martens was assessed as the eighth fastest-growing company in Great Britain.



4. Nintendo: Pushing Brand Innovation

The Nintendo Co. has existed for longer than most people realize. The Japanese company was founded as a playing card manufacturer more than 120 years ago, but is better known as one of the first video game companies in the world. Nintendo entered the video game market in 1974, and found incredible success in the 1980s with enduring classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.


By the 1990s, the company dominated the home gaming console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo, and handheld Gameboy system. But competition from Sony and Microsoft heated quickly, and sales of the Nintendo 64 system launched in 1996 lost out to Sony’s PlayStation. The next iteration from Nintendo, the GameCube, performed dismally against both PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.


Wii Console 

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Following the GameCube, Nintendo stopped focusing on improving its existing design, and moved into a new more innovative direction. In 2006, the company released the Wii—an entirely new design that resembled no other system. It was easy to use, highly interactive, and marketed not just to video game players, but to families with children. In addition, it was no coincidence that the name of the product is pronounced “whee,” which strongly associated it with fun. The Wii sent Nintendo surging back to the top, far outselling both of its main competitors’ same-year system releases, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.


 Wii Family 

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A focus on brand innovation and a redirected marketing campaign allowed Nintendo’s fizzling brand to come back stronger than ever. To date, the company has sold more than 86 million Wii units and continues to outperform its competitors.


There are many ways to revitalize your brand with a brand resurgence or rebranding strategy, from a simple product name change to an extensive overhaul of brand packaging, brand positioning, and strategic brand partnerships. Regardless of the size of your business, these brand comeback lessons can help you revive a flagging brand and experience greater customer engagement, higher brand recognition, and increased profitability.


What do you think?

• Would a strategic partnership with a competitor help you leverage your brand? How about partnering with a complementary business?


• What kind of strategic risks have you considered taking with your brand?


• Is there a new market demographic you could reach by refining your positioning or brand strategy?


• Would you consider relaunching your products under new names to spark a brand resurgence?


• What innovations can you implement in your products or promote in your marketing to strengthen your brand?


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

De-Branding to Differentiate; Is Your Brand Strong Enough?

Selfridges department store in London made waves recently with consumers and marketers alike with the launch of their “No Noise” branding project.




In an aim to address the increasingly cluttered world of 21st century marketing, Selfridges opened the Quite Shop in-store. Minimalist art and music, and a ban on mobiles and shoes set the scene for a tranquil consumer experience, but bucking the very core of consumerism, the store went beyond by launching brand-free retail.


 Selfridges Launches No Noise


Global brands such as Levi’s, Heinz, and Dr Dre Beats all produced products that were void of logo or product information for the project, leaving customers to experience the products without the usual assault of marketing design.


 Selfridges No Noise Project Quiet Store Products


Arguably a campaign for media publicity the project did highlight two important branding issues:

1.  How Strong Is Your Brand Without Its Logo? 

A truly strong brand transcends its logo, as was evident from the No Noise project. Not only were the brands instantly recognizable when void of logos but critically, consumers had developed such an affinity with the brand through the intangible intrinsic values that even the un-branded product still offered value.

 Levis Jeans Debranded


2.  With the Prevalence of Brand Clutter, Can De-Branding be a Valuable Differentiator in the Market? 

The de-branded products of the No Noise project also created exclusivity out of normal brands. Void of logos and product information suddenly made Heinz baked beans tins a desirable limited edition unique offering. In a world where branding information is bombarding the consumer, could the simple brand-free product be the one that makes the biggest impact?


 Starbucks Debranded


Starbucks might be one of the most recognizable brands in the world but it too has started to explore reducing its brand imagery in an effort to differentiate its business and extend its market catchment.


 Starbucks Cups


Starbucks global reach meant that the visibility of the brand worldwide was almost having a negative effect with consumers. Over saturation of the corporate logo was almost making it uncool with consumers, with a trend towards local coffee houses emerging.


 Starbucks Localised


Starbucks began removing their name from their cups, and even redesigned their newer stores to fit into the local environment. In the UK no two stores are the same and the brand is focusing on less corporate branding and offering a more personalized experience to their customer. In a high street with Costco chains blatantly visible, would the de-branded Starbucks coffee house offer a more welcoming personable experience to the consumer?


De-branding to gain attention was a strategy adopted by VO5 last year in an effort to target the teenage boy market. The brand’s strategy focused on building brand equity through a meaningful narrative in their advertising.  They wanted to be less pushy with their products and thought that un-branded advertising adds to their credibility with their target market.



An unbranded 30-second teaser on YouTube spearheaded its new integrated campaign ’Pageant’. The short trailer achieved 180,000 views in two weeks after its launch in October and was also voted one of the most popular videos on YouTube’s comedy channel. The trailer was followed by an online film and a TV spot as well as a YouTube channel and Facebook page.


The viral success of the campaign means that there might be credence to the claim that de-branding might just be the key to breaking through brand clutter and gaining the attention of the audience.


 Gucci Bag Debranded


Branding and logo saturation is something that is having an impact in the luxury brand industry, an industry that once thrived on the power of their logos. Recent years have seen brands like Gucci experimenting with logo-free products where they have achieved success targeting a more sophisticated customer.


The customer’s affinity with the product was defined by their interest in the quality of the product materials and design rather than perceived status attained from the visibility of the logo. 


With a logo-free product the brand has achieved enhanced positioning and exclusivity with their target consumer. By recapturing a more knowledgeable customer and developing an aspirational product, the brand was rewarded with a 25% increase in annual profit last year.


 Coutts Debranded


Eliminating the brand name from marketing activity is also evident in the professional services industry. While many brands strive to develop brand awareness in the market, sometimes negative brand connotations make it necessary to de-brand. Coutts private bank recently did just that, dropping the well known but unpopular RBS parent brand from their name in an effort to extend business. 


The common thread in the examples above it that, before the de-branding took place, each company had developed an offering that presented value to their customers that extended beyond that tangible product itself. The strength of customer’s brand loyalty enabled the brands to experiment with the de-branding process. For obvious reasons de-branding won’t work in every case.


Tesco explored removing their brand name from some products but research has shown that the products were more popular with the Tesco name included as the customer has a better understanding of perceived quality that the brand represented.


De-branding certainly is not for every company, but it does force you to think about what elements of your brand make the biggest impact with your customer. Could de-branding be part of your brand strategy?


• Does your brand offer value to your customers that extends beyond the tangibles of the product or service?


• Do your customers have a clear understanding of your brand and its story, what it stands for?


• If you de-branded your product, what are the remaining elements that would have the biggest impact with your customers?



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?


O’Egg Packaging – A Winning Exhibit with ICOGRADA Galleria International !

Great News !

The new O’Egg Free Range White Egg packaging is a Winning Exhibit with ICOGRADA Galleria International, the world body for professional design founded in 1963.

Officially launched at Bloom in Dublin this month, these delicious large white eggs are only available from O’Egg, straight from the family farm.

Look out for the distinctive pink packs in your nearest supermarket and independent stores.


O Egg White Eggs Icograda

Top 4 Brand Design Trends for Profitable Success

1. Brand Design Trends

Consumers have higher expectations and are much more demanding in their need for brand authenticity and integrity. Their trust must earned and sustained on a daily basis. Brands must engage emotionally with their customers if they really want to connect with nurtured longevity because consumers feel they own and have rights to freely offer opinions on the brands in their world. Never before has business collaborated so openly with their customers and the internet has provided an explosive platform on which to do it in a heart beat with heartfelt meaning!


This open platform of communication is also changing the parameters of brand design. Awareness of design among the general population has never been higher and will continue to grow. Remember the GAP fiasco in 2010. Success depends on a much broader range of criteria including flexibility, transparency, innovation, engagement and ethical design that cohesively supports communication and sharing across multiple channels and marketplaces. 


Online design must delivery as much on functionality as it does on brand aesthetics. Splash, flash and animation don’t necessarily deliver as effectively across all channels and increasing mobile connectivity requires functional, fluid, light interface designs with optimized content and clear navigation.


New Old Gap Logo


2. Brand Social Media Trends 

The most volatile, fast paced and ever changing of arenas. Social users are increasingly bombarded with content across multiple channels which means consequently they will become progressively more discriminate about the content they allow into their streams. Relentless promotions and excessive activity from brands can become overwhelming and irritating which in turn causes users to hide, filter or unsubscribe from brand updates as they endeavour to prioritise what’s really meaningful to them and who they want to hear from.


Brands will have to earn the right with quality content and/or rewards to be allowed or accepted into consumer’s streams. Truly compelling content will get noticed, “liked” and redistributed generating additional ripples into the marketplace. Shrewd brand managers will need to focus on engaging their market with relevant interchange and conversation together with supporting platforms in which their customers can express their opinions.


Also as increasing volumes of interaction take place on mobile devices, brand design interfaces will need to integrate this requirement seamlessly and congruently into all their platforms or channels of engagement.


Iphone4 2up Angle


3. Brand Packaging Design Trends

Packaging will increasingly need to deliver and exceed expectations in terms of functionality coupled with effective and aesthetically appropriate brand design. Todays consumers are shopping experts both on and offline. They share and make buying decisions based on other consumers opinions and ratings too. 


In retail supermarkets, brand designers have mere seconds to grab the attention of their target market and tempt them into trying or buying new products. New technologies can have even greater impact on the initial buying decision and ongoing repeat purchase e.g. where the packaging enhances the user experience or product longevity.


Reusable and sustainable packaging are increasingly important to environmentally conscious consumers and both issues can be an integral part of the brand message and indeed extend the brand message beyond the life of the product. Consumers are more thoughtful in their buying habits, considering not just the immediate product benefits but where and how the products are created and how they impact on the environment long term.


Country Crest Farming Pics 


4. Brand Authenticity & Purpose

Social purpose as a personal and business value is an integral part of society today and brands will need to work harder to make it central to how they do business and as part of their brand activity and brand story. Consumers don’t just buy products on face value, they look at how companies operate. 


Genuine validity is critical as brand custodians look to see how they can support society with true commitment. Brands must stand for something and engage emotionally with their target audiences which means brand design must also be beneficial in multiple ways including a expressing a real social conscience for true success.



Is your brand authentically engaging with it target audience ?


Does your brand have an opinion which connects with real emotion to its target market ?


Does your brand have an integrated policy for sustainability ?


Are you aware of how social media can and does impact your brand ?


Are you engaging strategically and thoughtfully for long term success ?


Drop us a line, we’d love to hear your feedback, opinion and thoughts !