I have a ritual where I take a bath Wednesday nights (there may be a glass of wine involved, yes) to ponder what I will write about in the New Brand Post the following day. I have a flexible editorial calendar I work with, but it has holes and can be arranged to my liking or to encompass spontaneous thoughts. Last night I realized how insane and equally wonderful it is to write what hundreds of people expect in their mailboxes every Friday morning (sign up if you haven’t) just the day before. As daring as it may sound, strangely I never encounter “writer’s block.”
If you can not find the soul of your new brand, don’t launch it. [Tweet]
When a dear friend of mine first convinced me to start using Twitter, I told him that I was not sure I had enough brand-related content to share with the world. 3,654 tweets later (follow our new account) I realize I have a lot to share. If you create a brand that has soul, it will have a voice. If you are passionate about the subject, you will always have something to say. If you create a new brand and feel like you might not have enough content, analyze your Brand Platform and go soul searching again. If you can not find the soul of your new brand, don’t launch it. It’s that simple. Today’s consumer listens, absorbs, and responds. You will be part of an open conversation and as a new brand you need to be the one starting it.
Arrogant Bastard Ale found its soul, reflected it in its name and hence has no problem voicing and monetizing on it. The highly controversial cover design of the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine is a timely example of the power of brand and consumer voice. You can sometimes push it and might at times abuse it (as I see it being the case in RS magazine). As a new brand you need to clearly establish what you will focus your conversation on and how you will speak not only to, but more importantly with your audience. Use your Brand Platform as your brand launch manifesto and brand voice guide. Share a synopsis of it with your extended team, and refer back to it religiously. Pin it to your wall and stare at it every time you (or your content manager) start writing content or engaging with your audience. As much as consumers will buy into your new product or service, they will just as much buy into your brand voice. If Arrogant Bastard suddenly writes a cute statement or Rolling Stone Magazine publishes a boring cover, the brand voice fails the brand’s soul and the brand as a whole will subsequently, over time, lose its power. Make sure your new brand’s voice is consistent. Consistent with your brand’s soul, and hopefully consistently engaging.
We get asked this question a lot. The simple answer is: You can’t. Will a strategic and design-driven brand launch generate ROI? Definitely. As you have no before/after metrics and are dealing with a new, often innovative and disruptive brand, this is a tough nut to crack.
Yesterday, FINIEN client Martian Ranch & Vineyard sent us above reprint of a New York Times article that ran a couple of weeks ago, entitled “California Wines Score Style Points.” We were grateful and proud of our collaborative achievements. Their wines are truly other worldly so it comes as no surprise that the winery receives praise on the highest media levels. But as one of ten featured wineries, their product is the one that has been picked by the editors to be featured with a rather large photo of the product packaging, including…the cork.
Now that is true ROI on a strategic and design driven brand launch. Seeing the wine brand rather than just reading about it creates immediate product recognition, leading to impulse buys and elevated brand perception. Most wineries make their branding effort the last agenda item with the smallest piece of the overall budget left over and they wing it days prior to bottling their wines. Martian hired us to create a brand with a focus on product packaging that stands out on the shelves and has a cohesive brand story to tell that is unique and interesting.
It showed…and now it sells.
CATEGORIES: Blog Your Brand Launch: Brand Atmosphere
You call it logo. We call it brand identity. Just sounds so much more important. Why? Because it is darn important. It is the visual platform to all of your new brand’s communications. It is the visual foundation of the house you are about to build; the eye candy and sex appeal; the quick read ‘know it all’ brand identifier. Getting it right is an art. If I can give you only 3 pieces of advice before you dive head first into crafting this – did I say important? – piece of design with your agency or freelance design partner, these are the ones to keep up front and center on your dashboard throughout your journey:
You (will) have many ideas for how your new brand’s logo should look and what it should convey. I am here to tell you, sorry, you can’t fit them all into an identity design. You can try, but you will fail and you will suddenly find yourself not communicating anything at all. Your logo will look more like a painting of sorts and it will confuse rather than educate. Great identities convey one or two messages and they work because they do just that: They have a focus. They focus on the most important message through concept and visual target audience appeal through colors and typography. Ask yourself ‘What is the big idea and who should it cater to?’ A brand identity is a simple mark not a canvas. At times you are able to convey multiple concepts by refining areas of the logotype or mark, but it’s a lengthy and diligent process. When we re-branded Creative Talent Agency Match a few years back, we were able to communicate the symbiotic relationship between client and talent agency as well as talent and talent agency through typography that is co-dependent. We further use the letter A as a stand alone mark that signifies a computer cursor, which describes the online nature of the agency in a subliminal manner. Yet the identity does not look busy or complex. It’s a simple concept that is hiding subliminal messages within.
Don’t think of today. Think of tomorrow. Create an identity that not only will convey who you (company/product/service) will be in a couple years down the line, but also will keep connecting with your audience three to five years down the road. Don’t make it hip. Create something that has the ingredients to be timeless. We created the below identity for Don Joaquin’s line of Guacamole eight years ago and it works just as well in today’s overly crowded marketplace as it did back then because we focused stylistically on tradition while forming timeless emotional connections with the consumer. There was nothing hip about it then and there’s nothing hip about it now, and that is why it works.
Your identity should surprise the segment you are about to disrupt. Show your competitors and consumers alike that there is a new player in the field. That alone is often the key ingredient for the initial purchase, or call – out of intrigue. Just like that funky tasting soft drink you tried out the other day because it looked so different and enticing, you just had to give it a shot. If your product or service is not like all the others, your logo needs to stand tall behind that claim and represent it visually as the key creative element that will be on all your outreach materials. When we crafted the identity for an online music service that promised to shake things up amongst traditional record labels, we decided to return the power of music to the hands of the individual, may that be the artist or the listener. It made a statement and conveyed disruption. Soon after launch the CEO told me that a complete stranger stopped him while wearing a company T-Shirt and said ‘The power of music, that’s a great shirt man.’ Little did he know it was a brand mark.
CATEGORIES: Your Brand Launch: Identity