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January 20, 2009

Scholz & Friends on Marketing's Shift

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Scholz & Friends, a network of agencies based out of Europe, produced a three and a half minute piece called Dramatic Shift in Marketing Reality. It's a well-told tale of how branding and marketing has shifted over the past 75 years.

This is further evidence of why the personality of your organization matters more than ever before.

(Thanks to Kem Meyer for the link.)

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January 13, 2009

Your Personality Can't Come From the Negative

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

We Are NotDuring a Discovery meeting last month with a Personality Profile client, I was working with a Personality Advisor as we guided the client team through the many steps to identifying their organization's personality. About an hour into the meeting, a reoccurring theme began to emerge. I've seen it before, but never has it been so clear as on this particular day.

One of the driving forces in helping a client to identify their personality is to help them think about what makes them unique. If you offer burgers and fries just like the place next door, why should I come to your place and not theirs? If you sell cars and they sell cars, why should I buy a car from you? If you help feed children and they help feed children, why do I want to help you feed more children?

Your answers to these questions will help identity the unique personality traits that make you, you.

The problem with the client conversation on this particular day was that so many on the team kept answering questions in the negative. Instead of focusing on the positive attributes that made them unique as an organization, they were dwelling on everything they were not.

We're NOT a place for those people.
We're NOT the cheapest place in town.
We're NOT like them.
We're NOT designed like that.

Well if you're NOT any of those things, what are you? When pressed, the conversation seemed to get even more negative. So if you're not a place for these people, how about those people? "No way! We're not for those people either!"

If you want to know who you are as an organization, you've got to take a stand for what you are for. Not what you're not for.

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September 8, 2008

We Lost Our Mojo

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

OpportuityErnie Graham owns a real estate business in Telluride, Colorado. His company is no stranger to a tough economy, but there's one lesson that Ernie has learned along the way that so many businesses are bypassing these days.

Norm Brodsky, in his September 2008 Inc. magazine column, tells the story of Ernie and how easy it is to be distracted and even hijacked by growth and opportunity.

In Ernie's case, it was a move to a new office that would ultimately cause him to realize that they had lost their "mojo." The staff was no longer unified. Walk-ups were higher than ever, but they weren't the right kind of customer. He even described his partner as "ships passing in the night." A far cry from the solid business they had been building together for years.

The lesson in Ernie's story, and in so many businesses today, is that when you loose sight of your roots, success is usually artificial and almost never sustainable. From Starbucks to Ford, businesses are learning—often the hard way—the value of knowing who they are deep down by rediscovering their roots.

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September 2, 2008

Soul Searching Exercise

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Godfather of SoulThere's a lot of talk on this blog about finding your soul and discovering who you are as an organization. We're pretty passionate about it because unless you know who you are, your business and brand will continue to suffer the consequences of an ill-formed, non-existent, or dysfunctional personality.

Finding the soul of your organization is not an easy task, but it's a critical first-step in laying the foundation of your personality.

Often times, the first thing a Personality Advisor does with a client—before guiding them through their Personality Profile (21 business frames and 21 brand frames), starts with a soul searching exercise.

For those of you playing along at home, you can begin with the Building Momentum white paper to get your wheels turning. The four R's you're trying to identify are:

Continue reading "Soul Searching Exercise"

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August 28, 2008

Quiksilver Ad Contradiction

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Flipping through the September/October 2008 issue of GOOD magazine, I came upon this ad from Quiksilver. When you zoom in on the ad copy, you read this:

Just as I was reaching a point in my life where I was beginning to feel part of something, I've become restless for a new me.
When you know who you are, new ideas are icing.

Excuse me Mr. or Mrs. Quiksilver Ad Copywriter, but if I'm always restless for a new me, how will I ever know who I am? And if I don't know who I am, according to your ad copy, I guess new ideas will never come to me.

Therein lies the rub. Too many organizations today are restless and, in the name of innovation, they are continually trying to figure out what it means to be who they are. A restless person without a sense of who they are will always be on the lookout for a new "me." The same goes for companies.

Yes, I realize this is just an ad and its attempting to catch the GOOD hipster's attention by its pithy copy and identity searching vibe. However, it does speak to the continuing unfolding drama of people and companies that lack a true understanding of identity.

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August 7, 2008

Ford is Figuring Out Who They Are

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

James FarleyDavid Kiley wrote a great article for BusinessWeek about James Farley, the new marketing czar for Ford. I zoomed in on this part of the article:

Ford had been through five failed strategies for its cars in as many years because no one could agree on what the brand stood for anymore. At first, [Ford CEO Alan Mulally] flailed, reversing a decision to dump the well-known Taurus name and publicly advocating reviving the "Have You Driven a Ford Lately?" slogan. Then he went looking for a new marketing chief.

That new marketing chief is James Farley, and he's helping Ford figure out who they are. It's going to take a lot of work, but it appears he's already doing a few things right. Two examples cited in the article include:

1. Farley is bringing in local dealers to be a part of the discovery of who Ford is and what they should be doing. Dealers control 75 percent of marketing budgets but until now, they've been absent from the corporate conversation.

2. Farley looked to Usha Raghavachari, a young marketing exec, to create a "brand book—a bible that spells out every attribute of [a new car launch]." Says Raghavachari, "We need the discipline of the brand book to make sure everyone is connected to the same idea."

I look forward to seeing how Ford figures this stuff out. I wish I knew James Farley because this is what Personality is all about—helping organizations figure out who they are and what to do about it!

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July 28, 2008

When You Don't Know Who You Are

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

I bumped into this video several times this past week via Twitter, Google Reader and a couple emails from friends. This is a classic example of what happens when you don't know who you are or what you're about.

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July 14, 2008

37signals' Internal Compass

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

37signals LogoI've been a fan of 37signals for several years. In addition to using Basecamp for managing Personality projects, I also use Backpack for managing personal projects and Highrise for keeping track of relationships. I love the simplicity of 37signals' approach and the guiding philosophy for everything they develop.

When I saw their post today about the early days of 37signals, I was thrilled to see how they stick to their DNA. They know who they are and what they're all about. Peter said:

It’s also worth reemphasizing one thing that’s been there from the beginning: Our philosophy. By knowing what we stood for, we always had an internal compass to guide us. We knew which clients were right/wrong for us. We knew which projects we wanted to spend time on. And we knew what we stood for.

When you know who you are as a company--we call it knowing your personality--you have a guide for the journey ahead. You have something to stand on.

Well done 37signals!

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July 7, 2008

VF's Soul Searching

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

VFThe VF Corporation, owner of fashion brands like 7 For All Mankind, The North Face, Vans and Eastpak, went through some soul searching in its quest to figure out who it was as a company. The 100-year-old VF, formerly Vanity Fair Mills--they changed their name in 1969--has a story not unlike many companies these days who are wrestling with their identity. In a recent Fortune Magazine feature, Suzanne Kapner tells the story of VF's dilemma and determination to figure out who and what they were all about.

One of the temptations for companies like VF who buy and own a variety of different brands is to eliminate overlap for the sake of efficiency and profit. Fortunately, VF is very aware of the individual personality that each of their brands have and they attempt to guard that as much as possible. For example, writes Kapner, "Reef executives typically start the workday catching waves near their Carlsbad, Calif. office. The Vans headquarters in Cypress, Calif., boasts a halfpipe ramp and concrete floor so that employees can skateboard to meetings."

Another reason for VF's success, writes Kapner, is that before they acquire a new brand, they "often spend years examining [it] and developing a relationship with management before signing on the dotted line."

Soul searching... protecting and promoting personality... sounds like a winning combo!

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June 5, 2008

Finding Personality Early On

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Alex BoguskyDanielle Sacks wrote a great article about Alex Bogusky in the June 2008 issue of Fast Company. Alex is the Bogusky in Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the brains behind some of the great ad campaigns in recent years: Mini Cooper, Burger King, the Truth campaign, and starting this summer, Microsoft. That should be interesting.

One of the lines that stood out to me was when Alex talked about how they hope to really figure out the story of Microsoft, beyond it's big profitable corporate machine image.

"A big part of positioning [products] is being there in those early stages, knowing what the engineers think the story is, so the story doesn't get lost." "Apple is probably sharing stuff that maybe it's afraid to share, but that allows the agency [Chiat\Day] to get in at a level where it can produce work like that."

He's right on. In order for great advertising/marketing to work, you gotta know the story. You gotta know the personality. And finding that personality starts at the beginning.

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May 29, 2008

You Don't Need a New Logo

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

No new logoEarlier this week, I reviewed the brilliant work of Hamid Bouchikhi and John R. Kimberly, The Soul of the Corporation. The book definitely deserves more than one blog entry, especially because it is so closely tied to the work we do at Personality™.

When I consult with clients, it's frustrating how often they attempt to manipulate branding and image design to communicate the very essence and soul of their organization. As Bouchikhi and Kimberly rightly observe, "Ask a senior executive what it means to change a firm's identity, and he or she will most likely talk about redesigning the logo and visual materials and, occasionally, changing the company's name."

The logo and imaging stuff is easy when you know who you are. It's much more difficult when you don't. "Corporate identity change or rebranding is analogous to changing an individual's appearance by changing the clothing or makeup the person wears, cosmetic surgery, and, in extreme cases, by changing the individual's name."

In contrast, real identity transformation "reaches much deeper, to the heart and soul of an individual, and does not necessarily require altering the individual's appearance." The authors continue, "Although the two types of change may sometimes support each other," it's important that surface-level change and deeper change are not transposable prescriptions.

It's definitely OK to update the skins (logo, colors, etc.) of the organization, but it can't be done without the deeper soul in full view at all times during change.

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May 13, 2008

Branding Tags

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

I found this cool little social experiment through my Twitter friend, Ryan Moede at Viget Labs.

Brandtags was created by Noah Brier and is a fascinating lesson in branding. This simple site randomly loads a logo in place and asks you to type in the first word or phrase that comes to mind. It's simple word association. You can do that to as many logos as ya like. You can also see what others have said about any of the companies featured on the site.

When you click on it, you'll see all kinds of words pop up. The larger the word or phrase, the more people entered that word or phrase. Take for instance McDonald's, the words most often associated are: mcdonalds, burger, bigmac, fat, fastfood, greasy, grease, junk, unhealthy, food, evil, arches, etc.

These words make up the unspoken definitions in the minds of thousands of people! Those definitions make up the brand, regardless of what McDonald's is saying (looks like most people aren't "Lovin' It").

This is a great lesson in what branding is all about. It's way more than a logo!

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May 6, 2008

Stanley Hainsworth Exits Stage Left

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Stanley HainsworthStanley Hainsworth has left Starbucks. Perhaps many of you don't realize how big a deal that is. Stanley has been the Global Creative Director and creative genius behind the Starbucks brand for the last four years. If you like the brighter colors that greet you at your local Starbucks or if you're a fan of their beautiful Christmas packaging and promotions--thank Stanley.

When he took the creative reigns, Starbucks' image was controlled by all things dark--dark brown, dark blue, dark green and dark rust. The stores felt kind of like a private study. It was still a nice look, but it gave you the feeling that you should be wearing a smoking jacket, or at any moment you might be shhh'd by the librarian.

Enter Mr. Hainsworth ...

Continue reading "Stanley Hainsworth Exits Stage Left"

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May 5, 2008

Your Personality Is There, Deep Down

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

RootsI was on the phone with a potential client two weeks ago and he was trying to make a case for why it would be nearly impossible to identify the personality of their business. After discussing the "trace your roots" approach, he blithely responded that the roots of his particular division--they're part of a $10 billion global healthcare provider--go back to an investment holding firm. In other words, their DNA comes from a long strand of profit mongers.

I didn't buy it and I didn't let him off the hook that easy. "Let's look at the DNA of the particular products you are selling," I suggested. This approach quickly returned results of big-hearted scientists and inventors that wanted to save lives and improve the quality of living. Now we were getting somewhere.

I predict that in the coming years, we're going hear an insurgence of conversations about finding and returning to our roots. I blogged last month about Starbucks' current quest and today I bumped into a comment by Nelson Peltz, CEO of Trian Fund Management, former owner of the Snapple brand before they sold it in 2000 to Cadbury Schweppes. Referencing the success Trian had with increasing Snapple sales, Peltz said, "We returned to our roots by winning back the local delis and pizza parlors that first made the brand a success."

Warren Buffet had a similar thought. In response to a reporter's question about how people can know when it's safe to invest when the big financial institutions don't seem to know what's in their portfolio, Buffet said, "They can't, they can't. They've got to, in effect, try to read the DNA of the people running the companies."

Finding your roots. Tracing your DNA. It's all part of identifying your personality.

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April 8, 2008

Ford's New Logo--Just Kidding!

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

ford.jpgBrand New, a site dedicated to discussions on corporate identity, played a very elaborate and (judging by the comments) very effective April Fool's joke last week with the news that Ford has redesigned their logo. I have to admit, when I saw it, there was a hint of "can this be real?" But after that I bought it. For a day at least.

The next morning I looked it up and sure enough--April Fool's. But it got me thinking, what if it wasn't a joke? What if Ford did this? Would this be a good idea or a bad idea? Here's my thoughts--let's pretend this was a real story and Ford actually did revise their logo.

Continue reading "Ford's New Logo--Just Kidding!"

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April 7, 2008

Don't Pick a Dumb Name

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Marketing guru Seth Godin riffs on dumb, generic brand names like Party Land, Computer World or Toupee Town:

"It's a bad brand name because Central or Land or World are meaningless. They add absolutely no value to your story, they mean nothing and they are interchangeable. ... Not only are they bland, but you can't even remember one over the other. This is the absolute last refuge of a marketer who has absolutely nothing to say and can't even find the guts to stand for what they do. It's just generic."


But he's right. Your organization's name (or the name of your project, book, sub-brand, etc.) is an opportunity to communicate. It's a chance to stand out from the competition. Don't waste it with something like House of Tacos.

But you also have to live up to your name. If you pick a creative, funky, engaging name, what you have to offer better match. But if all you're offering is bland and generic, than you might as well go with the bland and generic name.

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February 11, 2008

What Word Do You Own?

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Al Ries wrote a great piece for Advertising Age (subscription required) last week. Using Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a backdrop, Ries explains that the "race for the Democratic presidential nomination once again demonstrates the power of one of the most fundamental concepts in marketing: owning a word in the mind."

This idea of owning a word in the mind of your customer is really powerful. "If you want to run for office, if you want to launch a new brand, if you want to jump-start your business career, the first question to ask yourself begins: 'What word do I want to own in the minds of my prospects...'"

Ries goes on to give examples of modern-day brands, both winners and losers in the attempt to own a word. He ends with three mistakes marketers often make when it comes to identifying a slogan or owning a word. I've paraphrased them here:

  1. Developing in isolation
  2. Trying to make it too exciting or emotional
  3. Thinking short-term instead of long-term

It's encouraging to know that our 21 frames of the Personality Profile™ answer the need for brands to own a unique word in the minds of their public.

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February 6, 2008

Starbucks, a Step in the Right Direction

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

2008_02_06starbucks.jpgWe first wrote about Starbucks losing their way in May of 2007. We did it again in November when Brad mentioned their undesirable breakfast sandwiches.

We were clueing into the reality that they were losing their "cause." And it seems that the newly reestablished CEO, Howard Schultz, agrees with us. In an article posted the other day on Yahoo news Schultz announced the end of the breakfast sandwich--even though it boosts a store's annual revenue by $35,000.

So what do we mean by "cause"? We've identified 21 personality attributes that we call frames. These 21 frames create a unique Personality Profile™ of the organization.

The fourth frame of the 21 frames is cause--in short it's an organization's role in sustaining the greater good. There are four kinds of cause:

Every organization exhibits to some degree all four of these, but one trait is always primary. Starbucks lost theirs, and it seems they're taking a step back towards it.

Continue reading "Starbucks, a Step in the Right Direction"

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January 28, 2008

Seth Godin Action Figure=Personality

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

2008_01_28godinaction.jpgMarketing guru Seth Godin just became an action figure. The familiar, bald-headed scribe is now available as a six-inch toy, complete with a booklet of pithy marketing phrases and kung-fu action grip. He can be yours for only $8.95.

Aside from being kind of funny, why is this worth noting? Because it fits Godin's personality. He's always trying things that are different and funky (or to use his terminology--remarkable, purple cows)--like a marketer as an action figure. It's something that can get people talking. The purple tie, mismatched socks and bald head are all signature Seth Godin. Plus all the profits go to charity, another signature Seth Godin move.

How many other authors or marketers could get away with an action figure? It works for Godin because it fits who he is. It's part of his personality, part of his identity.

The lesson here isn't to run out and make an action figure out of your CEO. The lesson is to find those unique things that fit your organization, connect with your audience and communicate your message. It all needs to fit into a cohesive package. Simply being funny doesn't cut it.

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January 17, 2008

Fruit of our Labor

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

2008_01_17ICTlogoth.gifIt feels good to see the tangible results start rolling in from the largely unseen ground laying work that we do with our clients in our Personality Profile™ process. And we've recently seen just that. One of our clients, Inspiration Cruises & Tours just recently finished redesigning their logo as the first step in revitalizing their whole brand identity as we plot out a marketing strategy to align with their Personality Profile™.

We helped them select a great design team facilitated by Kyle Chowning at Motiveight in Nashville, Tenn., and then stayed engaged to keep the project moving along and to ensure that everyone stayed true to Inspiration Cruises & Tours' personality, both the designers and even our client.

We think the results speak for themselves. The logo on the top was the original logo, the one on the bottom is their new "personality based" logo.

Just thought we'd share. We kinda feel like new parents that can't help but pull out the wallet and show off the pictures of their kids.

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November 12, 2007

Meaning Before Marketing

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Freelance strategist and creative director Andy Whitlock wrote a great article in the November 5 issue of Adweek entitled "Where's the Meat?". Despite his genuine posture and tone, Whitlock is on a crusade for meaning. "Forget the purple cow," says Whitlock, "It's what's inside the cow that counts. Unless I have a distorted memory of my mother preparing Sunday lunch, you start with the meat and add the glaze, not the other way around."

Andy must be a distant cousin because this is what Personality™ is all about. The meaning must come before the marketing. Unfortunately, too many brands get it wrong.

"Most marketing models, however, are designed to create messages and, more often than not, any potential meaning or substance that shows up in the process is used only to sell the fluffy end product. And because messages are mostly just information, the creative packaging around them often masquerades as the idea upon which a campaign is then built. Even the most "viral" piece of content can lack meaning. Today more than ever before, brands need to offer substance to stand any chance of getting into our hearts--and not just our in-boxes."

Andy calls this opportunity for brands to pursue meaning a "meat market." And I think he's right when he says its underexploited.

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November 8, 2007

Telling Others What You Do

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Blogging buddy Nick Rice has an excellent post this week about how to respond to the common question we get asked all the time: "What do you do?"

Instead of the typical responses that we always give (lawyer, accountant, designer, doctor, etc.), Nick says we should instead respond with a simple statement stated in this formula:

I work with (target audience) who struggle with (issue/challenge).

Nick suggests that "this short and sweet formula is the beginning of revolutionizing your marketing efforts."

I love this simple approach and the potential conversation doors it opens up. It creates a whole new frame for communicating with others.

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October 8, 2007

An Amtrak Experience

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

The commercial above is an Amtrak commercial from this year. I like it. I'm a Coldplay fan, so I like the "Coldplay-ish" music. The whole thing makes Amtrak seem like a friendly, modern, smart way to travel. Perhaps even I should consider it for a relaxing vacation getaway.

The only problem is that's not the experience I have almost every week. I take the train to work every day. Some days, depending on the time, the train I catch is an Amtrak heading south to San Diego instead of the usual commuter train. Last night was one of those nights.

Continue reading "An Amtrak Experience"

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October 1, 2007

People Are More Interesting Than Non-People

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Today's Monday Morning Memo from Roy "the Wizard" Williams is another testimony to the power of personality. Roy says that "few techniques in communication are as powerful–-or as often overlooked-–as personification: ascribing human characteristics to inanimate objects."

It's what we've been saying for years. Your business or nonprofit has a personality--just like people. And your publics interact with you based on that personality.

How's that going for you?

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August 20, 2007

"Wear" Is Your Personality, Pilgrim

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

While in Istanbul a few weeks ago at the end of my Middle East travel adventures, I snapped a few photos while waiting in the mall for my wife who was snagging gifts for friends a few stores down.

The store that caught my attention was called Pilgrim. This Denmark-based retailer was unfamiliar to me until now, but from the look of the store and the merchandise they carried (higher-end jewelry), it seems as though it is one of the more uppity places to shop. The absence of prices on the web site may also be an indication of its clientele. Here's a view from outside of the store:

If you look closely in the middle of the photo, you can see a woman behind the counter:

At first, it looks as if Pilgrim is being robbed, or perhaps just a wandering mall customer looking to dispose of an empty water bottle before the Pilgrim employee comes out from the stock room.

Think again. I stood there for another ten minutes and realized that this woman works for Pilgrim. She is the only employee on duty, and she is there to help with all of your jewelry needs.

Yep, that's her again on the computer:

Continue reading ""Wear" Is Your Personality, Pilgrim"

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May 25, 2007

Designing Brand Experiences

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Designing Brand Experiences by Robin LandaLast week was my turn to lead the team for our Brown Bag Lunch--and my book? Designing Brand Experiences by Robin Landa. If you're looking for a good Branding 101 book, this is a good one. There's a big chunk of the book that many will find to be very elementary, but the discussion on brand strategy, brand essence and brand constructs, in my opinion, is the real value of the book.

Continue reading "Designing Brand Experiences"

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April 17, 2007

The Personality of an Organization

Posted by Brad Abare | Filed under: Brand & Identity

From the way you communicate and what you wear, to the way you live life and make friends, every person is unique. And just like you and I have a unique personality, we believe that every organization also has a unique personality.

From the color of a logo and the retail experience, to its impact on the environment and the way they help humanity, we interact with organizations much the same way we do with people.

Continue reading "The Personality of an Organization"

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December 15, 2005

What's In A Name?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Not as much as you think. This column from Inc magazine explores the importance of a name—or the lack of importance. We know the names General Motors, Apple, McDonald's and the Red Cross not because the names are original, slick and cool, but because the company did something. They gave their name meaning by what they did. Bottom line: Spend more time doing what you do and less time trying to come up with a clever name.

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August 23, 2005

Creating a Catchy Slogan

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Fast Company has a good entry on how to craft a catchy slogan. It includes a link to a PDF worksheet that will help you generate ideas, as well as other tools that can help you hone in on that perfect idea.

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July 27, 2005

The Rise of Yellow

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

You can thank Lance Armstrong and 50 million yellow bracelets, for yellow's rise from nowhere to be one of the most popular colors of choice. Brown and blue are two of the more popular colors lately, but they don't have a trendy athlete tie-in. Check out our recent entry on color and Personality.

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July 14, 2005

Logo Design

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

If every other company jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you? Spiral logos seem to be hot, but it's a sure way to blend in. This onslaught of spiral-inspired logos is amazing—and good motivation to find something more original. Graphic Design USA offers a glimpse of logo trends in 2005, culled from
(link via Seth Godin)

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May 4, 2005

Kentucky Fried Branding

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

After nearly 14 years of hiding the "fried" portion of their moniker, KFC is embracing their southern roots and bringing back the Kentucky Fried Chicken name. It's part of yet another brand makeover for the southern fried fast food after years of trying to adapt to the health food craze.

The new KFC is adding to their menu, including down home favorites like candied yams, collard greens and sweet potato pie. They're also tweaking their image, giving the Colonel a makeover, an apron and a younger look.

It all shows the importance of a company's brand. KFC—Kentucky Fried Chicken or whatever they want to be called—just better hope their constant changing doesn't leave their customers scratching their heads.

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April 27, 2005

Tiger Unleashed.

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Tiger Unleashed.It's no secret that most creatives are sold out Apple fans, at least the smart ones (wink, wink). Something dawned on me this morning about the brilliance of how they position themselves and project their brand agenda. Ken, one of our designers made a comment this morning in reference to Apple's new, and soon to be released, OS X Tiger. He said, "Tiger is unleashed this week." Ken was the second or third person I've heard this week to use the same term, "unleashed".

It makes sense, Apple has been pumping this kind of language for weeks leading up to the release of Tiger. With smart design and expectation Apple has people like Ken, myself and others talking about their product to other people in their own language... a language that has everything they want to say about the product built in: it's powerful, dynamic, big, smart and dominant. Brilliant! Is your business doing that? Do you know how to do that? Think Personality™

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April 20, 2005

What Color is Your Personality?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Color matters. It says a lot about who you are, how you think, what you feel. Many companies use a specific color consistently, to the point that you automatically associate that color with that particular company. Give it a try:

McDonald's. Coke. Target.

Pepsi. IBM. Jetblue. Wal-Mart.


Each color evokes a specific sense and feeling. Red is powerful, fast and decisive. Green is natural. Blue is relaxing.

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April 19, 2005

Car Comics

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

BMW is starring in their very own comic book series. They've moved beyond their much-talked about online film series and are exploring the popular world of comics. It's not your typical marketing route, but it's served BMW well and reinforces their fun to drive brand.

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April 15, 2005

Brand Loyalty

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Diluting a brand is a sure way to drive customers away. To keep customers loyal, the company has to be loyal as well.

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January 25, 2005

Why Personality?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Giving your company a personality can allow you to connect with your customers. If you’re not connecting with your customers, what are you doing?

Apple is probably one of the most well known companies for having a clearly defined personality. There’s a certain techno-geek charm, an underdog mentality, but also a sense of fun, high quality, and a bit of cheekiness. Because all the elements of Apple’s marketing strategy—their slogans, their commercials, their philosophy, their product unveilings (as demonstrated this past month), etc.—work together to present this image, it sticks with people and allows them to connect with Apple. Everybody wins.

High school teacher George Masters connected with Apple. He loved his iPod Mini so much he spent five months creating a commercial. The computer-animated spot hyped the iPod Mini and made a huge splash on the Internet. In mere days the spot had been seen more than 50,000 times and Masters was interviewed on CNBC and articles appeared in Wired and the New York Times.

The cool products and personality of a company prompted a customer to make a commercial, essentially giving Apple tons of free advertising. It’s a form of viral marketing that’s happening more and more often.

Compare Apple’s personality with IBM, which has a much more ‘strictly business’ personality. IBM’s marketing evokes a sense of efficiency and getting a job done. It connects with different people in a different way, but both IBM and Apple are playing to their core audience. It’s not likely IBM will suddenly find customers creating commercials for them, but their personality offers a different connection, the kind that pays dividends in board rooms where high-dollar contracts are awarded.

In both cases IBM and Apple have clearly defined who they are and given their customers something to identify with. That connection results in a stronger customer-client relationship, and not only more sales for the company, but a happier customer as well.

That’s what we’re all about. Personality™ may be a new name, but we’ve been in the marketing game since 1998. We can help give your company a personality and help you connect with your customers.

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January 24, 2005

Brands with Personality

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Branding Diva Karen Post shares her insights on branding.

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January 22, 2005

Branding is Dead?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

Two public relations gurus claim that branding is dead, to be replaced by what they call "sustainable identity."

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February 24, 2004

What's an Identity and Why Should I Care?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

An identity, in graphic design terms, is the collection of stuff your clients see from your organization. It's your logo, your business cards, your envelopes, your letterhead, etc. It's your public face and says a lot about what your organization does. It's a chance to reinforce your brand (see What�'s a Brand and Why Should I Care?) and get free advertising.

You may be approaching your identity casually, making business cards only when you need them and not even having a formal letterhead. If so, you're passing up a major opportunity to make an important statement about your organization. Maybe you already have an identity, but it's not working. It doesn't communicate your brand or it doesn't tie together. Either way, check out these ideas to help you solidify your identity:

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December 18, 2003

What's a Brand and Why Should I Care?

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Brand & Identity

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

You could say that Christmas has its own brand. The season invokes feelings of peace and goodwill. It's the holiday all about giving. Freedom, love, thankfulness and frightfulness all have their own holidays, but Christmas has giving cornered. That's what you want a brand to do for your organization--immediate recognition of who you are and what you do.

A brand isn't just a logo, it's a broader idea of what a company or organization does. You recognize a number of major corporate brands. Fed-Ex is the overnight delivery company. Subway is the sandwich shop. CNN is the news network. Branding helps you differentiate Subway from McDonalds, Fed-Ex from UPS, or CNN from UPN. Branding is about narrowing your focus so you can stand out from the crowd.

Continue reading "What's a Brand and Why Should I Care?"

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