Recently, they’ve produced some polarized opinions.
Miracle Whip has launched a “Love Us or Hate Us” campaign complete with a YouTube channel which has a place for people to take a side and sound off, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. The ads feature people stating how they feel really about Miracle Whip. Reviews range from, “I love it!” to, “it tastes like lotion.” Not one person thinks it’s “just OK.” Spots also include celebrities that elicit strong reactions from people, the love ‘em or hate ‘em: “Pauly D” from MTV’s Jersey Shore and James Carville, democratic strategist. The ads seem scripted, but you get the idea and the feedback on the social network supports the campaign’s theme.
Cate Blanchett boldly stepped out on the red carpet at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday in a Givenchy Haute Couture gown. The internet was abuzz as journalists, bloggers and Twitter users weighed in. Opinions were extreme as people either raved about the dress or declared it awful. In her photos, she appears as a glamorous, fashion-forward woman who is not fazed by negative reviews. She could have easily selected a ho-hum gown thereby avoiding being placed on some worst dressed lists. However, she would have stayed off some best dressed lists, too.
The reactions that these two stirred up is what you want for your brand, company, product, service, book, art, etc. It may be difficult to hear the criticism, but your fans will be as loyal and enthusiastic as your detractors are harsh. When you conjure up these types of reviews, you know that you have clearly defined your brand. There is no question as to what you (or your company, product or service) are all about and you are building your awareness.
The worst thing you can do is to try to be all things to all people. While this strategy may spare you some criticism, it will probably also render you unremarkable and off the radar. A strong brand is authentic, fearless, full of conviction and self-confident.
Need some help differentiating your brand? Our Differentiate your Business Ta-Do List provides you with over 80 ways to be unique and create powerful distinction with products, service and how you market. Or, as always, feel free to email us your questions.
For more on how to define your brand, view:
Can a strong brand make a visit to the dentist less painful?
Blending in is so yesterday: Stand-up, Brand-up!
Standout brands are distinct, memorable and own their turf. Think about Target (hip, cool and great design), Alfec (the duck icon), and Lady GaGa (outrageous style, no borders behavior).
They didn’t copy the pack, they lead it with a set of unique attributes. If you want to break through a clutter of the same old boring stuff that 95% of your competition are doing, then be original, odd and offbeat. And avoid these 5 costly mistakes.
1) Don’t use other people’s quotes in your marketing content and social media. Create your own original quotes, ideas, opinions and and insight.
2) Don’t use the same colors and graphic styles that are everywhere in your industry. Break the rules. And then rule your category.
3) Don’t use the same tired copy points and words that your competition uses. Tell memorable stories and create your own words that are unique and belong to you.
4) Don’t use, over used stock images and photos that everyone and their uncle has used since 1982. Find compelling pics, try adding treatments to them with cropping, borders, colors and filters. Or take your own.
5) Don’t expect everyone to love your distinction. Change or an unusual approached often get resisted early in the game. How may people loved Google when it first launched?
When you find your solid path of brand distinction and stick to it, your marketing dollars will have more power to help build a strong and sustainable brand.
Also check out: The 3 A’s of an awesome brand name.
I hate ugly feet. They really bug me. I do my part with mine aiming to have them look their best. I keep the pedicurers in business, along with the nail polish companies. Always step forward in style with nice toes – is my belief.
OMG, my footers were uglier than some dreadful bad feet. I’m totally ashamed and I am re committed to coiffing them up. That’s right, the last thought on my blogs and websites need to be strategic and thoughtful soon. All my sites are going to get revamps within days. This touch point deserves some brain and should not be a skipped step.
How do your footers look? Seen any really hot toes at the end of blog or website, Do share.
For more on feet, view: Hitting the streets in NYC, flavors, history and tired feet.
It’s freezing in New York, but fun and stimulating!
First thing, check into my hotel. I am staying at a small boutique property on upper West Side (I’ll share the details on this property at the end of my trip). Are you traveling to a big city and want a great deal on cool hotels? I always use Hotwire.com. You can pick the number of stars and which part of the city you want to stay in. You get a choice of many, showing prices and star rankings. I’ve never been disappointed and sometimes save 50% off rack rate.
Worried about bedbugs? Go to Bedbug registry and make sure your chosen hotel won’t have uninvited guests in your bed. My hotel is awesome – it was not listed, WHEW!
Our first adventure: A food tour of the Lower East side via City Food Tours. This is a great way to taste and learn some history about New York’s fabulous food. Most tours are a couple hours long and range from 40-90 bucks per person. They include a knowledgeable guide, outside exercise and samplings of 5-6 culinary bites along the way. We discovered: The Essex Food market, a gem, which houses Roni-Sue chocolates, an artisan spot with truffles and to die for chocolates in every variety. The Pickle Guys, one of the few pickle places around. Economy Candy, a massive store that feels like a mall of a million sweets. The Roasting Plant, a great coffee cafe founded by a former Starbucks staffer who turned a vacuum into a Javabot® coffee roasting system and lastly, one of the best slices of pizza from San Marzano Brick Oven Pizzeria.
A great afternoon! More marketing commentary coming. Packed agenda.
Robert’s at the Museum of Design.
Prohibition a neighborhood spot for live music acts. Rachel Platton performed and was an amazing, fresh and entertaining sound. She’s a New Yorker who is hitting the world tour scene. Check out her schedule, and check her out.
Went to Jimmy Fallon Live with Jack Black, recap coming, was tooooo much fun and got to hang and dance with the Roots. I’m now the proud owner of an official drum stick too.
Got to run, sorry for the short hand, promise to fill in. Headed to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Review coming too with lots more street stuff.
Tuesday I attended a networking event. I met many interesting entrepreneurs and business professionals. I was also blown away by the number of butt-ugly, unprofessional and down right cheesy business cards that were passed out.
If you are seven years old and selling lemonade, OK, I’ll cut you some slack. But if you are or expecting to sell at least $10,000 of good or services in year, you need to invest in an effective business card that best reflects your value, quality and expertise. Business cards are often the first impression a new contact gets and the lasting impression that is filed for future connections.
Buying a preprinted template is a big mistake no matter what industry you are in. It implies you the smallest potato you can be and most buyers will not be turned on by this status as most are looking for experts with a history of success.
Even if this means skipping a meal to pay a professional to help you, your business card is one of the most important branding touch points.
4 must do moves to make sure your business card is working with you, and not against you.
1) Think differently
How can your card stand out from the pack of totally boring ones? Size of card, material that it’s printed on or does it have a scent?
2) Keep copy concise and compelling
A business card is not intended to be a book. In most cases, your company name, your name, a graphic mark, your web site, email and phone is enough. Give them a reason to go to your website to learn more.
3) Use typefaces that are relevant to your brand
Society is conditioned to associate type with many brand attributes. A typeface can communicate innovation, creativity or a blue leisure suit from 1980. Select the one that best articulates your brand.
4) Leverage the white space and the back of the card too.
Sounds conflicting? Don’t fill every inch of the card with stuff. White space is good. This is the most cost effective way to communicate a quality and upscale image. Think of an old yellow pages add vs. a stark Neiman Marcus ad, I rest my case. Use the of back of the card too. Consider a simple image, a provocative question or your web address.
Investing in a memorable, on-brand business card is not an option. If you are a startup and you can only launch with two tools for your new business, make them a killer business card and a website. Then let your product or service carry the load until you can do more.
If you are interested in other ideas, check out an older blog on the subject of business cards and branding.
10 questions to ask yourself to determine whether a brand makeover or change is in your near future.
Before we dive into the “do you need a brand makeover” checklist, let’s all get on the same page with what the brand is and the brand means today.
The definition of a brand has exploded from a very simple concept to an extremely complex and critical part of economies and life. The brand is no longer limited to the mark, tagline or latest marketing campaign. The brand is the spirit, soul, purpose and promise of any entity. Operational or buried on the History Channel®, the brand is, as I called it in my first book, metaphorically a brain tattoo—a mental impression that the buyer allows into their head. The brand is the sum of tangible and intangible assets and liabilities, every touch point, every experience and every memory. It is what the markets, stakeholders, influencers and consumers think and feel, and what they expect when they choose one (brand) offering over another.
By now, most business leaders figured out the basic brand game. We were on our merry way, marketing, advertising, promoting and publicizing and then came the most monumental change to life and business as we all knew it. The Internet entered the planet. Brands and branding morphed from being a pure premium identity choice to an any-price-point offering with a story and a promise. We could now conduct business, building our brand messaging 24/7 and with no limits on geographical boundaries. For many, the Internet represented endless opportunities and reach, efficiencies, low production costs and a new sense of control for their brands. That didn’t last too long.
Then, technology got cheaper; Web engagement and functionality spawned like weeds and open source applications became the new oxygen, welcoming Web 2.0. The branding platform expanded too. We were no longer just buying our way into consumers’ worlds, pushing strategically crafted messages on them with hard selling tactics. We were instead having two-way conversations, listening, helping and educating. A new marketing mindset moved in. Brands everywhere went beyond brick-and-mortar, offline business environments to now earning new relationships and stronger brand loyalty thanks to the new army of digital branding tools at their and the market’s fingertips.
And what a difference five years makes. As the Internet continued to power economies and businesses, a new dimension of activity and media sprouted. It is called social media. Pioneered by companies like Friendster, MySpace and Facebook, user-generated content fueled this technology-driven, but century-old behavior better known as socializing. Blogs, wikis, micro blogging and podcasts are just a few options in the buffet of communication choices and tools. At the start, many skeptics were convinced this was purely a social pastime; a not for business movement and was a trend isolated for teenagers and techno-geeks. Today businesses, governments, religious groups and even grandmothers are active participants in social media. So did branding get a new friend, or is it a loose-cannon foe? It’s all in how you navigate the ever-changing terrain, manage the utilities and stay with or ahead of technology.
If a modern-day brand is the sum of an entity’s actions, a collection of emotions, attributes and delivered promises, then social media seems like a surefire way to provide businesses and organizations with many more branches to grow their brands. That could work in the perfect fantasy, a great dream or candy-land novel, but in our world, it’s not so easy.
And that puts new light on the the question of does your brand need a facelift, makeover or radial change?
My list starts here. I’d love to learn about your thoughts too concerning the question, is it time for change?
If you answer YES to more than 5 of these questions, I’d say its time.
- Does your brand (the look, feel, language, mental image) represent and reflect your current customer base or does it appeal to a dying base of used-to-be buyers?
- Has your core business model changed and does your brand reflect what it was?
- Does your brand blend into the landscape of competitors (a sea of sameness) and if you covered your logo, could your business be mistaken for anyone else?
- Do the graphic elements of your brand’s identity look dated, like a light blue leisure suit?
- Do your brand touch-points tell a story? And is the story compelling and distinct?
- Is your brand just plain, unexciting, boring and unremarkable?
- Is there a disconnect? Does your messaging imply one thing, but you are someone completely different?
- Do your brand identity and graphics work well in the digital communications world?
- Is your brand memorable?
- Do your current brand identity and story have legs to travel in a multitude of touch-points?
Brand makeovers can be scary and expensive. Often change will not be accepted by everyone including your employees and some customers. And there is cost related to the execution of a new brand. But, there is is a lot of upside too. Leadership needs to look forward and understand that the brand is who you are, your voice and connection to the market. A new brand can be momentous and newsworthy. It can also send a strong message to the market that your company is progressive, innovative and relevant. Even the biggest companies like Xerox®, UPS® and WalMart® have had brand makeovers.
If it looks like it might be time for a brand change or makeover for your organization, Oddpodz, my community of creative-minded entrepreneurs, and my team of branding professionals at Brain Tattoo Branding are launching a very cool Win a Brand Makeover contest.
The lucky company or individual will be awarded over $10,000 work of branding services. And every applicant will get a gift just for registering. We hope to make this an annual contest. Contest details just went up. In a few days we will have a voting tool by each post as the winning company scores extra for popularity along with 6 other criteria.
Please help spread the word. We will be chronicling the brand makeover throughout the process too.
Biz cards that rock.
Your business card is your most important branding tool. If you do nothing else to promote yourself, invest in your biz card. Many times, it’s the first impression you give and the last impression you leave. Your calling card is your surrogate-branding machine. It should scream you. Communicate your offering and how to reach you. It should not look like a page out of a cheesy yellow page directory.
Save the earth. Recycle.
Dan Ward used recycled boxes for his biz cards. Each one is a different edition. Speaks to his brand expertise. So what do you have laying around that can be a biz card?
Coin your brand.
OK, so maybe every schmoe doesn’t get a one.
My pal Jeffrey Gitomer, the most amazing sales guy, minted these great coins as calling cards, a pretty wise investment.
Big is not always better.
My cards for my consulting practice, Brain Tattoo Branding are smaller than the average, printed on both sides and sport rounded edges. I get compliments every time I pass one out, and I also get a good share of new business.
Square is very in.
Oddpodz cards were printed at Kinkos. And lucky for us, they screwed on the deliver time and gave them to us for free. Can’t beat that price!
For more cool ideas, check out the site creativebits.org. They showcase some awesome stuff.
Leave something behind.
I received a business card from a graphic designer once that had perforated discs on the card. Over time, the discs would loosen and fall out of the card. I always remembered that card and thought of her whenever I found a piece of ‘business card confetti’ in my bag or on my desk.
Show ‘em what you’re made of.
While not always the most practical, using unique materials for your business cards can show that you are cut from a different cloth. I’ve got a couple that I’ve still held on to – one plastic one with a ruler on one edge from an engineer, a metal one from a metal components shop and one fabric-covered card from a tailor.
Need business cards in a hurry? Vistaprint offers your first 250 for free. They have an abundance of free design templates ready to use. You can even upload your own design for a small fee. Vistaprint also offers many other products like notepads, return address labels, envelopes and more.
“Wanted” the nitwit who created the type justification feature on the Microsoft Word® program, or any word processing program for that matter. And all the nitwit followers who always justify documents (proposals, letters, and even PowerPoint® presentations) and continue to use goofy outdated typefaces; underscore, bold, and capitalize letters in long phrases, and then separate them from the body copy with floating headlines.
This is not cool. I don’t care if your attorney does it, he or she is mislead too. It just makes your document look cheesy and your brand unprofessional.
Just because a computer or word processing application has these type features, does not make them right. Typography was born to help you communicate. Using type correctly can act as a visual tool in conveying your cause, selling your idea, or expressing your message; not to degrade your brand with bad type practices.
Here are five tips to polish up your documents, so they work with you.
1) Justifying type dramatically reduces readability. If you want to make your reader’s experience pleasant and reader-friendly, flush-left your type.
2) If you want to draw attention to a word, select one type style, like bold, not three. Less is more.
3) Designer typefaces are like fashion. They look good when they are in vogue. When they are out of style, they look worse than a light blue leisure suit showing up in a swanky, hip bar.
4) Headlines are meant to guide the reader’s eye to the body copy. Floating headlines with space between them (under the headline) serves no purpose except to make it more work for your reader to get your communication.
5) In most cases, all caps communicates that you are screaming. If that is your intent, go for it. If it’s not, try upper and lower case letters.
Applying these simple guidelines can drastically improve the effectiveness and quality image of your documents. Share these tips with every attorney you know. Who knows: together maybe we can eliminate these goofy, uninformed document producers’ bad type practices.
About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She is has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com, an idea engine for creative professionals and business. Her work has benefited large and small organizations in the United States and around the world.
This question comes to us from our pal, Carrie:
I am a graphic designer and I had to work in a “cross-functional team” at my office. I had to work with people from accounting to develop a new logo. Don’t ask me why. Here’s my question.
Why is it so hard for two intelligent people to communicate and translate a creative idea into words they both understand? Has anyone done so successfully?
(I know we’ve all been there, how do you deal with this?)
You can read the rest of the post and a few good comments here
Update (08.12.08) DARN! The video linked to below is no longer available! We’ll leave the link up in case AgencyLifer reposts it.
Over the weekend, we came across this video that shows why executives shouldn’t tell he creative department how to design. If you’ve been on either side of this “cross-funcitonal team” you will get a chuckle out of this. Enjoy!
Here’s another funny one about everyone’s favorite gigantic company, Microsoft.
Tell us about Chakotaco. What is it going to be about and what do you hope to accomplish? And where did the name come from?
Chakotaco is a multi-disciplinary design and consulting office made up of Takao Umehara and Hisako Ichiki. We have been best friends since age 18 and have been collaborating just as long. Takao trained himself in graphic design and work in the branding field. Hisako (Chako) trained herself in fine art and architecture.
Our focus at Chakotaco will cover three categories:
1. Design consulting: We help clients visualize their brands and express them through graphics, products and space.
2. Self branded products: We will be launching our own projects and product and putting them into the market. These will be small productions. We are planning to produce some clothing and home use product.
3. Creative workshopping: We will be visiting schools, companies and various other institutions to conduct workshops which will focus on design oriented thinking.
Design certainly seems to be figuring more and more into everyday consumerism. This is good thing, right?
The purpose of design is to help humans live. It’s nothing more than that. Design isn’t only about aesthetics. A good functional system itself is a design. How transportation systems work, how our body works. Good design can improve us physically, emotionally, mentally. So, the idea of design being brought into everyday life is a great thing.
You are both big into branding. We love brands and the idea of differentiation. But why do so many brands seem so opposed to embracing strong differentiation?
We believe in the power of branding, but it doesn’t necessary mean we love brands. We like to have a positive impact on life by promoting designs that enhance the value of daily life, whether it is a book or a house. We aim to reach one more person and make his or her life happier and more positive and more creative. That is what we look to accomplish by through the power of design and branding. Branding is a means of communication, not the purpose.
Regarding your book Extra Ordinary: If you had iPod earphones, a Starbucks Straw and an American Apparel headband, could you make me a tie that would get me a date with that hostess at Nobu? In other words, would it be fair to say that you are the MacGyvers of design?
The idea behind Extra Ordinary is to see our everyday environment in a fresh new way. The book project was not purpose or goal driven, but about curiosity and freeing ourselves from what we are supposed to see or think. Earphones, a straw and a headband? We would probably come up with something silly, like a portable peace sign.
You’re Japanese. I see fashion on streets of New York that I remember laughing at in Japan five years ago. Would you say Japan is pushing the fashion envelope more than any other country? And if so, why?
Japanese fashion is very unique and different. Although, we wouldn’t say it’s pushing the envelope more than other countries, but it does push some boundaries. We live in small spaces, culturally we’re predominantly one race and we tend to value groups over individuals. As a result, we learn to be different within cultural limitations. And limitation can be powerful tools for being creative and innovative.
Ok, this is a selfish question. I’m a huge sports fan. Why are so many professional team logos so lame?
People’s perception and expectation in aesthetics vary. As for sports logos, they need to appeal to my 6-year-old niece, as well as my 18-year-old neighbor and 68-year-old father-in-law. This makes design very difficult. In such cases a simple fire or bull logo may work just fine. Although, we are always open to new challenges if any sports team would like a new logo.
Any closing thoughts? Maybe a state-of-the-union on the state of design?
We see design as a tool, branding as communication and the world as a playground for having fun.
Hisako Ichiki + Takao Umehara
For more of Chakotaco’s work, visit them at: