I came across this advert and I think it is another great example for using the language of a brand to get across the brand message. It’s simple, it’s not trying too hard and it even reminds of one of those student briefings for coming up with the essence of a brand and using it to create a memorable ad campaign.
Entertaining. And true to itself. I’d never drive one, but if I ever should need a cross country vehicle, I will probably start by looking at their brand.
Just looked at this video about the revival of some old brands in the US – such as Astro Pops, Boast logo shirts, National Premium beer, and the Seafood Shanty restaurant.
Is this the retro movement in the retail industry? Rather than coming up with new concepts, brand owners decide that it’s time to recycle.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N8TCmJah2A&w=640&h=360] Astro Pop Last sold in 2004, this lollipop with a reputation for being ‘the longest lasting sucker’ is making its comeback in the US.
Boast Polo Shirts The Polo shirt brand was first established by a tennis pro in 1973 and has now been revived with updated cuts and colours.
National Premium Beer Last sold in 1996, Tim Miller, whose family sold a string of service stations 10 years ago, has decided to re-introduce this once famous beer brand.
Seafood Shanty (Sadly I can’t find the website for this one)
The chain of restaurants known for their seafood dishes closed in 1996.
Now it’s set for a come-back.
I guess the big challenge all these brands will face is to adapt their products and services to the current market demands, to inspire those not familiar with the brands from the past and to excite those who remember them. It’s a great project, I think, and one where brand strategists, designers and marketeers can be really creative in coming up with innovative brand messaging and advertising.
Linking the old with the new, innovating and reviving are such important factors in brand management, it will be interesting to see how these brands will master the challenges of re-entering the high street and the minds of the consumers.
Actually, I am curious which British brands may follow this trend and give it another go… I can only think of Woolworths‘ online shop right now, not seen Adams anywhere yet!
Some very interesting thoughts on the news of the planned re-brands of Millets and Blacks. It sounds quite plausible in the Design Week article and it will need to be seen if a new strategy and ‘lick of paint’ will overcome the internal cultural and external high street behaviour issues that caused the brands to be in this situation in the first place.
Perhaps they will start the process on the ‘inside’ and it is not just a marketing fix, but the beginning of a new era for both brands.
McDonald’s and Burger King may be the fast food super giants that open new restaurants here, there and everywhere (1,300 McDonald’s restaurants are planned for 2012 – see article in RTT News), but they are brands that are still culturally controversial and their acceptance is debatable.
Here is just one quite refreshing sign that family life and fast food don’t go together – Maxxi is Thuringia’s largest softplay centre with a lot of footfall from toddlers, school kids and their parents. What’s significant is that other food is allowed, so the ‘discrimination’ is clearly brand specific.
It will take more than adding some green and some poignant advertising slogans to change the perception of those businesses and their culinary value.
The Santander brand identity has been a bit of a mystery to me ever since they took over our high streets in personal and business banking. In my mind, Santander are a baker, not a financial institution – mostly because their logo looks like a hot bun fresh out the oven, still steaming.
So imagine my joy when I walked passed one of their offices with posters advertising coffee and snacks. It must be true – they really are a pastry maker in disguise!
They are of course a major brand and their logo, strange as it may be, is well-recognised, but for me personally, the visual identity design of the ‘flame’ logo is weak and I curse it every time it triggers the thought of some lovely home-made bread which it then inevitably doesn’t deliver.
There is a local chippy that has a similar problem – though for a slightly smaller audience… in fact, probably just for me. They use red, black and white for their shop front and signage which has the effect of visually reminding not of the UK coastal fishery towns, but of Japanese restaurant exterior and from a distance the words even read ‘sushi fish bar’ instead.
Being a great fan of sushi and all things non-battered, it has caught me out time and time again, filling me with disappointment that the promise of fresh, unusual, healthy fish dishes is in fact that of deep fried sausages, poultry and haddock with the Nation’s favourite potatoe dish.
And whilst I’ve got absolutely nothing against fish and chips when it’s the right occasion, I feel that they missed a trick in their brand identity design – why try and be something they are not instead of celebrating the British? Until they commission a new lick of paint, I shall continue to drive past and remind myself that it’s really not that important…
Another weekend, another Dragon’s Den. This week saw two rejections due to brand related issues. The blatantly obvious one was that of fashion duo Brat and Suzie. I am still not sure why they arrived with a rail of clothes and not much else. If they did want to use it as a publicity stunt even without getting funding, why not show the label, some of the PR coverage, some models – anything to make them appear as an upcoming brand? As it was, they showed their tops, informed the public that they only pay £20 per illustration and left both the dragons and the audiences thinking ‘why don’t we do this ourselves?!’
The problem? No brand gravitas. As the dragons eagerly pointed out, the designs could easily be replicated by others and there is no real established brand to keep customers loyal to them instead of another high street retailer.
Their website actually gives a better feel of their business than their pitch and their logo is a kind of naive illustration – cute and visual – which makes me even more perplexed as to why they did not play with it in the presentation. Perhaps they could have gotten a few kittens in or something! It worked for Ted Baker with the dogs a few years ago.
Talking of animals, the other pitch that got the no due to danger of ease of copying was that of the fish spa. Again, it is was not enough to have a good and innovative product, they had to be established enough – and different enough – to withstand the dreaded copying factor once a product or service is launched into the market.
Still, we got to see Peter Jones’ feet being nibbled by fish…
I liked them both but wished they’d push their brand image more to get ahead of the competition. Good luck to them all!
These days, brands are constantly exposed to external market forces, consumer opinions, loyalty issues, competition and trends – and most of those household brands have dedicated teams of brand managers, consultants and brand agencies constantly crafting, exploring, analysing and implementing to accommodate all those changes.
Brands can be re-aligned on a variety of levels. It may be purely strategic to start with, getting internal communications up to speed, auditing and understanding stake holder opinions and devising a communications/marketing plan to engage better with the target audience. You may never know from a visual point of view, but rather feel a change in attitude and media exposure resulting in a well-implicated action plan. More likely however, a company will choose to show any internal changes with an updated brand identity design and thus gain the first bit of exposure as part of a new strategy. Usually, it’s either ‘Revolution’ – a complete re-design of the old identity – or ‘Evolution’ – a crafted update that adapts the design to new emerging communication channels, applications and emerging visual trends without completely changing the look and feel and thus potentially alienating customers. Here are some of both from 2010.
Strapline and Sparkles Wembley stadium revealed their new identity middle of last year. It introduced a strapline and a far more ‘flamboyant’ logo design geared to work with the ever increasing opportunities in digital and social media. “The new identity is an important part of our long-term strategy to drive even greater engagement with our Club Wembley members, commercial partners and huge spectator base” says The FA Group Head of Marketing Simon Freedman.
“We are moving into a new stage in our lifecycle and the new identity is more reflective of the dynamic and multi-purpose nature of the stadium” says Wembley Managing Director Roger Maslin
Never mind the Gap US clothing retailer Gap introduced its new brand in October – and it went down like a lead balloon. After more than 2,000 comments were posted on the company’s Facebook page on the issue the new logo was scrapped. Focus group testing gone badly wrong? Misjudgment of the target market’s taste? Or simply a clever marketing plot to get the brand back in the headlines? Anyone got any sales figures following this re-branding exercise?!
GMTV becomes Daybreak and night falls on the ratings Curious. It was hyped up, promoted and prepared with the arrival of new presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley. Yet, just before the end of 2010 the press reports that ratings have plummeted to an all time low. ITV has apparently been left ‘shocked’ by a recent set of ratings. The GMTV brand was launched in 1993. Off air, it has disappeared as a corporate entity, with the company GMTV Limited being renamed ITV Breakfast. One can only guess whether the re-brand itself caused the problems the show is now facing or whether it is a combination of the show’s new setup, the presenters and the loss of trust from the original GMTV audience who may feel sold out for the sake of publicity.
Oil of Olay Not apparent on the UK website, Oil of Olay have had their identity and ‘cameo’ changed last year. The changes are subtle enough to create a fresher visual appearance without changing the general mood of the brand. It seems ‘tidied up’ and more flexible in its use.
Google Maybe it was about time that the brand dropped that drop shadow. Being all about clean, functional and simple design when it comes to their applications, this seems to be a logical visual conclusion to express the brand’s values without rocking any boats.
Dell Dell revisited its brand positioning “while analysing why the brand value had been declining (most notably) in the past five years.” The visual result of the re-positioning is subtle, but as their Creative Director says: “The brand redesign was not intended to be a radical revolution, but rather a practical evolution based on our established equities and alignment to the repositioning of our brand.” Tommy Lynn, Dell CD
MySpace A curious one in my mind as I am not sure what to make of it in terms of progress in style and communicating any brand values. Apparently it is a clever visual aid to reflect the ‘my space’ philosophy but I am not sure about the execution.
Price Waterhouse Coopers It was a bit of a mouthful – and now it’s changed. The emphasis on a new brand reflects PwC’s desire for a more unified representation across its global network. “Our decision to make this change now is because over the last decade PwC has continued to grow and evolve and a concise consistent Brand position makes it easier for people to appreciate who we are, what we do, and how we operate across markets,” said Moira Elms, PwC’s global leader of brand and communications.
There are many more – and uncountable brand identity changes happen on a more local business level.
What I find interesting is the choice of brands to opt for either evolution or revolution and the consumer reaction to the outcomes. Interesting to see what will happen in 2011! Re-brand away…
Whilst we are all familiar with the terms ‘financial audit’ or ‘tax audit’, there is some confusion and mystery surrounding a brand audit. It is quite a simple concept if you accept that your brand has a value that can and should be managed and increased over time – an asset of your business just like your production facilities, finance and human resources.
The trickier bit is the actual execution of a brand audit.
A typical cycle could be described as this:
It may seem a bit daunting how to start the process. I like the analogy my friend Maria Ana uses when she talks about how to start a brand audit, comparing it to planing a trip.
So here is a quick picture journey describing the first step. Once all this information is collected, a brand consultancy will be able to scope the project costs, tools and timelines and get the ball rolling.
There are many components of the actual audit, which brandingstrategyinsider describes as the following: COMMUNICATIONS REVIEW
Advertising and promotion materials
Other brand marketing elements: pricing, packaging, merchandising, distribution, direct marketing, sponsorships, flagship stores, etc.
Sales collateral materials
Business cards, letterheads, etc.
Employee training programs
Sales force training
I would also add (this list is a few years old now) the whole subject of social media and how the brand is exposed via social marketing and even phone apps. EXTERNAL INFORMATION SOURCE REVIEW
Competitors’ press releases, advertising and promotion
Industry analyst reports
Business partner comments
Marketing vendor interviews
HUMAN RESOURCE SYSTEMS REVIEW
Department mission/vision statements
Individual competency dictionary
Succession planning criteria
Planning and resource allocation systems/processes
Brand positioning research (qualitative and quantitative)
PHEW, what a list! It is complex and it quickly shows that a brand audit is a process that will take time – but Rome – and those big brands we all know- were not built in a day and not by one single person either.
A brand consultancy will guide you through a program that is tailored specifically to your objectives and will give you the insights to define and deploy a strategy for change.
So why should you do it?
Typically, a brand audit will:
give an insight into your brand architecture/business structure and portfolio
help to connect your visual communication efforts with financial returns
discover and assess your market positioning
define your brand stakeholders and competition
improve brand management and marketing
assist in securing and enhancing the value of your brand
I think that these days the value of increasing brand equity is much more apparent and thankfully so is the need for keeping track of your brand performance as much as you keep track of all other important aspects of your business.
We looked after our neighbours’ kids’ sunflowers whilst they were on holiday – and as before we managed to actually keep them alive during the absence of their prime carers. They had intact, if perhaps slightly tainted by worry, plants back in their house and so it continues.
It made me think that brand management is perhaps a bit like handing over the carefully nourished sunflower pots when you personally can’t always be around to tend to the needs of the brand. We managed to guess the requirements of a healthy sunflower, but for brands that is most certainly a more complex issue.
It is also one little step to ensuring the success of the continuous nurturing are the brand guidelines. You’ve just been through the process of analysing your brand, establishing the mission, vision, values and associated strategy and have completed a branding design project; out came a new visual identity supported by your organisational brand implementation and methods of internal brand communication. Then there comes the point when you have to delegate the use of the brand, the further shaping of the brand, and brand guidelines simply help to manifest the core of those values and ensure the visual, the language, the brand experience does not get individually (mis)interpreted by stakeholders dealing with it.
I quite like the analogy of a watering guide for your brand. And hopefully, with decent guidelines, you have every chance of returning to visit and finding a blooming brand instead of the results of something that was ‘tinkered with’ with the best intentions but with ill effects. Just a thought…