at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Posts Tagged ‘brand’

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.”

Who Wants A Hug? Get Your Hugs Here!

In advertising, Brands, communications, Consumers, marketing, strategy on June 3, 2008 at 10:24 am

hat tip to the crazy kids of Chicago at Coudal

Victoria’s Secret Has New Strategy to Push Up Sales

In Branding, Brands, communications, marketing, strategy on March 3, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Sexy Lingerie

Originally uploaded by savillon

Facing declining same store sales, the uppity-ups over at Victoria’s Secret (owned by the Limited Group) are vowing to get the brand back to its heritage. Little known to the outside world, the original brand was designed around the persona of “Victoria,” who was manor-born and lived in London according to its chief Sharen Turney.

It’s a timely get-back-to-heritage announcement given sales and the success of PINK, Victoria’s Secret’s college sub-brand which is likely putting pressure on the brand from the bottom…so to speak. So the strategy is sound, but how will they execute it?

Communications and product nomenclature is likely the first step but I doubt it will really sink in until the stores are redesigned to bring a bit of the sensuality back into the brand.

hat tip to Steve Portigal

Commentary on Brand and Design Firms

In advertising, agency, Branding, Brands, strategy on January 24, 2008 at 3:50 pm


“Currently, most practices are either strong on the strategic (business) side of branding or the creative (design) side. Too much strategy makes for an ugly brand and too much creative turns brand development into a ‘look and feel’ exercise.”

Amen. Can’t we just be friends, design and brand folks? Even better—friends with benefits, chief among them better work for our clients? I’m in, who’s with me besides Flipper here?

Red Bull Says Carpe Diem and Enters the Water Fight

In Branding, Brands, communications, Consumers, innovation on January 17, 2008 at 11:02 am

Holy Waters

Originally uploaded by ~FreeBirD~

We were recently doing a competitive audit for a client and came across Carpe Diem waters. The packaging isn’t much to look at (frankly, most of the category isn’t) but it does communicate freshness and enhanced benefits better than most brands in the water-Plus category.

The surprise came when we turned the packaging around and recognized the Santa Monica address as that of Red Bull. The fact that it comes from the adrenaline pumping, fly-off-a-pier-in-homemade-plane place makes it a bit more impressive in my mind.

Most companies work hard to not take any risks and to leverage the heck out of their equity until it is diluted to, well, something not unlike water. I’m impressed with the creativity and the soft brand that they have created here and how it creates a nice contrast within their portfolio. If anyone has more information on Carpe Diem or how it came about, write in and let me know.from the Carpe Diem site:
Carpe Diem is both – philosophy and brand.

Carpe Diem is a philosophy: an appeal to the people of our time – to live consciously and seize the day because today is the first day of the rest of your life. Carpe Diem unites all those who value conscious enjoyment with all their senses. Those who demand authenticity and functionality just as much as modernity and style.

As a brand, Carpe Diem stands for drinking with a purpose – for innovative functional drinks that equally combine drinking pleasure with effectiveness. The beverages of Carpe Diem are based on traditional methods of preparation and knowledge that is thousands of years old.

Carpe Diem has made it its goal to offer this ancient knowledge to the consumer in form of modern drinks. Carpe Diem – drinking with a purpose.