at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Posts Tagged ‘Design’

Branding: faking it vs. making it

In Brands, communications, marketing, strategy on November 24, 2008 at 6:58 am

There is a quote that comes to mind that goes something like, “character is who you are when no one is watching.” This seems apt to describe branding at times. There are many brands that put on a good show in communications, packaging, environments only to let consumers down when they least expect it. Some of us have had friends like this in our lives, but how many of those relationships continue to prosper after we’ve been let down?

Brand relationships are about delivering an experience through all of the brand’s touch points. I won’t even go so far as to say that it has to be a consistent experience because I think branding is changing. But it does have to be a unified experience.

I’ve posted the above picture of GHIRADELLI Hot Chocolate as an example of how not to sustain a brand. For those who don’t know, GHIRADELLI is a premium chocolate brand out of San Francisco. As such you would expect brand attributes such as refined, sophisticated, luxurious and crafted to be part of their story. Note, these aren’t differentiated characteristics but rather table-stakes in the premium category.

The external packaging represents these characteristics and helps to validate the price point which you are bound to pay on a supermarket shelf. Once you make the purchase though, you are confronted with a food service, mass market brand on the inside. Why GHIRADELLI decided to pay a design firm for the external packaging and didn’t throw the internal pouch into the brief is beyond me. Did they think that it wasn’t important or that no one would notice?

I would argue that the experience arch for this brand actually peaks when the pouch is torn open and the product is made. By that account the internal packaging is more important to the brand while the external packaging may still be more important to sales. But, to my earlier point, the brand’s character is defined when it doesn’t think anyone is looking. Or perhaps better stated, “a brand’s character is defined when it isn’t selling.”

Can you have a brand resurgence while a business is in decline?

In Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy, trends on October 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm


theapocalypse

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

I bemoaned the passing of Polaroid’s Instant Film a few months back which will cease making it’s namesake product shortly.  I was further saddened when, at a party I hosted a few weeks ago, I pulled out my camera to realize that some of my film had started to turn bad. I felt like it was the end of an era.

The economic model never really made sense (over a buck a photo) in the digital age and of course they were an environmental disaster…but so much fun. And the people having their picture taken always seem to have more fun.

SwissMiss cheered me up today by posting POLADROID. A free app that lets you recreate your favorite images as if they were taken on the spur of the moment, with money to burn and free of life’s cares. Personally, I think all photos should look like that.

As for Polaroid, I hope someone can buy the license and figure out how to bring prices down while keeping the technology around so the brand may continue in its current form.

More Authentic Commentary

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2008 at 10:13 am


Vintage Motel Sign

Originally uploaded by photo316

Steve Portigal has some photos over on his blog from Celebration, FL, the Disney founded community that appears to try to bring back the closeted perfect veneer of the 1950s for the modern world.

Coudal also has a nice link to the Draplin Project which echos what many of us have found to be true when driving America’s lost highways. “What happened to great American roadside signage?” And appropriately making the point that new doesn’t always mean better.

explicative-laced video here:

Fashionable Politics

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 9:07 am

The Washington Post announced that Obama has taken on a Target-like strategy to bring some (more) panache to his campaign. Coordinating with designers to create custom Obama merch that will be available via the web for trend-setters across the land.

“Now it is enthusiastically and abundantly about style. The Barack Obama campaign, which has been actively courting the fashion industry, has coordinated some 20 or so designers who are creating official merchandise for the candidate’s Web site. It is the first time, as far as Seventh Avenue long-timers can recall, that a quorum of the fashion industry has organized its financial resources and creative energy around a single presidential candidate.

The mix, available online next month, ranges from T-shirts to tote bags and will lend a bit of runway panache to the Obama brand. The list of participating designers, which includes Derek Lam, Isaac Mizrahi, Tracy Reese, Charles Nolan and Diane von Furstenberg, covers the full spectrum of the market, from high-end to inexpensive. Other names have been bandied about but not confirmed: Beyoncé, Russell Simmons, Michael Bastian, Vera Wang.”

Poland Spring = Water Park

In Brands, Design, marketing, Packaging on August 12, 2008 at 9:21 am


IMG00196

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

The new Poland Spring design reminds me of when I was a kid and I used to ride the log flume at the amusement park. I also reminds me of my friend who used to laugh really hard when we landed and always pee’ed his pants. Perhaps that makes lemon flavored water apropos…

Someone Needs a Packaging Update…

In Branding, Design, Packaging, Uncategorized on July 7, 2008 at 9:53 am


IMG00150

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

…as seen today at Duane Reade. Remember when VO5 was a cool, upscale product? After seeing this packaging I don’t either…

Death, Now with More Sour-Creamation

In Branding, Brands, marketing on June 2, 2008 at 10:34 am

I love my work but here’s a guy who REALLY loved his work. Fredric J. Baur of Cincinnati and the inventor of the Pringle’s can will be laid to rest this week…in a Pringle’s can. Proving that even after you pop, you still can’t stop.

from CNN:
Baur’s children said they honored his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave in suburban Springfield Township.

The rest of his remains were placed in an urn buried along with the can, with some placed in another urn and given to a grandson, said Baur’s daughter, Linda Baur of Diamondhead, Mississippi.

Baur requested the burial arrangement because he was proud of his design of the Pringles container, a son, Lawrence Baur of Stevensville, Michigan, said Monday.

Automotive Monogamy

In Consumers, trends on May 29, 2008 at 11:10 am

As a firm believer in the anti-trend and a photography lover, I’m drawn to the photographic project of aptly named Matteo Ferrari. In an age when consumer goods are often renewed as frequently as the sweater box is brought out from under the bed, it’s great to see the faces of those drivers who have stuck with their car over the years. What other product categories have fostered such loyalty and become such a definitive and emotional part of the users identity?  Watches, jewelry, furniture perhaps…but the list isn’t long.

hat tip to new favorite CupOfJoe

Illustrations + Posters = Things I like

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2008 at 2:40 pm


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Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

From the top of del.ici.ous to the top of my blog in seconds flat. Design Reviver has posted some great and inspiring poster designs from the ages. I particularly like this one with its curves, muted tones and rhetorical question: “what is graphic design.”

more here.

One Laptop Per Child – V2

In strategy, trends, Uncategorized on May 23, 2008 at 10:33 am

Beautiful new prototype for the OLPC XO-2 was released recently. Designed by Yves Behar, it gets my heart all aflutter with its dual touch screens, vertical, horizontal or dual user options. I fantasize about it being a super cool little notebook, Kindle and PSP all in one. I know, I know, it’s for the kids but…I want one anyway. Buy one, give one to return shortly as well.

hat tip to Contagious and LapTopMag

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