Archive for November, 2009

A Brand Gesture to Write Home About

Recently the Sydney Harbor Foreshore Authority created a remarkably clever sculpture at the Rocks to raise the profile of the precinct. More than 4000 cups of coffee were used to recreate the Mona Lisa, with milk added in varying amounts to the cups to create the lighter and darker tones that made-up the famous face. It was a great idea with a reasonably active viral campaign utilising email and YouTube. But I was left with question so itchy it has to be scratched…

If this gesture worked well for SHFA – how much better would it have worked for a coffee brand?

Looking closely at the pics it appears Grinders Coffee and the Dairy Farmers are involved. But ownership of the event and viral confusingly seems to be with SHFA. Starbucks recently launched their new (if not particularly successful) Via instant coffee. Just imagine a giant piece of replica artwork in each major Starbucks hub around the world – now that would have been a Bold Brand Gesture of the highest order. They could have been giving away product tastings as quickly as they could pour them, but most importantly, the gesture has a direct and memorable relevance to the product, it’s take-away, drink anywhere, anytime proposition and the spirit of the Starbucks brand. That would have been a memorable and remarkable brand experience.

As clever as the SHFA brand gesture was, its lack of strategic relevance will mean it becomes filed in the ‘clever stunt’ folder in our brain, which in turn gets soon filed on the ‘do not remember’ server. Every great idea requires relevance as a vital ingredient.

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BRWcoverBRW’s Annual Top 50 Entertainers
The most recent issue of BRW in Australia features the top 50 local entertainers listed by earnings for the year. Quoted throughout the feature was our Talent Inc! personal brand report, with our very own Mark Richards (sic) providing the rich commentary.

“The concept of marketing stars as brands has taken some entertainers’ popularity to new levels. Entertainers are increasing their earning power by creating their own personal brands. While the notion of people as brands has existed for years, it now focuses on celebrities’ entire lives – from who they sleep with, to who they vote for – rather than just their professional achievements. For instance, the earning potential of a sports star is now impacted by their sporting ability and performance as well as their public persona. For film stars, you’re no longer dealing with just a person’s screen presence, as was the case with old movie stars.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Blank Canvases
Recently we wrote about the power of blank canvases to provide businesses of all sizes with a marketing advantage. We used the example of retailers, who religiously cover the windows of their newly-leased stores with newspaper rather than recognising the potential of that property as a powerful brand canvas.

On the weekend I passed a local retailer-to-be who had possibly read our article, but definitely seen the opportunity. I snapped a pic of their windows which show that whilst doing something is better than doing nothing with your marketing – sometimes it isn’t a whole lot better.

‘Who? What? Who?’ the windows shout out to the passing traffic. ‘Very good questions’ shout back the traffic to the vacant store, ‘but we were hoping you could tell us.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Over the years every time we have researched the brand value associated with organic labeling, or some other form of environmental positioning, the feedback from consumers has always been the same, ‘…give me some form of independent/third party accreditation to support the claim, doubly so if I am paying a premium for the product.’ What is interesting in Australia is that farmers wishing to export organic food must be certified, but domestically there are no laws governing certification – consumers are fair game!

But it is worse than that, it is more than consumers being fair game. Without a well administered accreditation system the efforts of authentic organic food producers are devalued and undermined. If, as a producer you go to the effort of producing organic food, in the process perhaps foregoing higher yields, and then see competitor brands on the market claiming organic status, when they are in fact not organic – extreme frustration must be the outcome!

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I got home one evening recently and I had 4 envelopes in the post box. They were all pretty much the same size, but there the similarities ended.

The first envelope was plain, brown and unaddressed, except for the ominous warning ‘To the Home Owner’. The second was a plain white window envelope addressed to me. The third had the brand mark of my mobile phone provider and the fourth the logo of the travel agent we went on holiday with six months ago and carried a message ‘Exclusive offers and packages for our VIP customers’.

So I took out my ‘stethoscope’ and  listened for a brand heart beat from each envelope.

Brand in the hand

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A Week of Learning
Recently I spent an amazing four days in Barcelona with 300 of the worlds leading entrepreneurs attending a learning university. The learning events were fascinating, and the company stimulating to say the least. A quick Google of the speakers and fellow business owners will provide you a sense of the colour and calibre of the alumni, including; Nando Parrado, Dr. Mario Alonso Puig, Joe Duran, Morten Lund, Alan Miltz, Carlos Muñoz, Conor Neill, and home grown entrepreneurs; Naomi Simson, Donna & Danny Guest, Chris Jacka, Melissa Bridge and Gary Rose.

A week of Inspiration
Following the University I spent a few days in Paris, soaking-up the local colour and admiring the elegance and energy of this amazing city. As with my pics from Barcelona, my holiday snaps are a little unusual, tending to focus on a more obscure perspective. For that reason I’ve collectively titled them ‘A Different View of Paris’. There’s something about Paris that combines the history, elegance and sophisticated European culture with a brooding and artistic underbelly. These pics capture for me the other side to the postcard shots usually associated with the city of Paris.

David Ansett, Brandamentalist.
If you’d like daily updates of our brand thinking, you can follow me on Twitter here.

Paris1 Read the rest of this entry »