BRANDING TIP: DON’T TRY TO BE SOMETHING YOU AREN’T, TELL THE TRUTH

BRANDING TIP: DON’T TRY TO BE SOMETHING YOU AREN’T, TELL THE TRUTH

Tesco is in trouble again after launching products with fictitious British sounding farm names that sell imported goods. They were names like: Willow Farms (poultry) Woodside Farms (pork, bacon, sausages) Boswell Farms (beef) Rosendene Farms (local and imported fruits) Redmere Farms (vegetables) Suntrail Farms (local and imported fruits) Nightingale Farms (salads) While many of the products under those brand names were from the UK (the Willow Farms name has been around for years and all the chickens come from the UK), others came from Spain, Morocco, Germany, Chile…you get the picture. Yep, the biggest supermarket in the UK has launched a range that is misleading. This isn’t something new. The discounters have been doing the same thing for years. What you think of as an unknown brand from Germany in Lidl is their own brand. M&S has done it too (Lochmuir Salmon and Oakham Chicken aren’t real places either, although M&S have clear links on their website explaining the products ethics and all the salmon is sourced from Scotland). You will find many brands also do it. Häagen-Dazs has a Nordic sounding name, but it isn’t from Denmark. It’s from the USA. But they have a story, a reason for the name. Reuben Mattus invented the “Danish-sounding” “Häagen-Dazs” as a tribute to Denmark’s exemplary treatment of its Jews during the Second World War, and included an outline map of Denmark on early labels. Fosters is marketed in the USA as an Aussie imported lager. But it’s got a brewery (and is made) in the USA for the USA market. Someone in the USA is actually suing them! But it is an Aussie brand in the same way Crocodile Dundee was...
BUSINESS ADVICE FROM EINSTEIN: EXPLAIN IT TO A SIX YEAR OLD

BUSINESS ADVICE FROM EINSTEIN: EXPLAIN IT TO A SIX YEAR OLD

Albert Einstein was born 137 years ago today. He may not have been giving business advice with the quote above, but he makes a strong point. Strong brands have great trust. This trust is won by confidence. Confident brands are very good at articulating and communicating who they are, what they do and what they stand for. The real test of this is the reason for posting Einstein’s quote. You may use lots of technical jargon amongst your colleagues which gives the illusion of knowledge and understanding, but the proof of it is making yourself understood by those unused to the jargon. This fact from the National Literacy Trust might come as a bit of an eye opener (if you didn’t know it already): “Around 16 per cent, or 5.2 million adults in England, can be described as “functionally illiterate”. They would not pass an English GCSE and have literacy levels at or below those expected of an 11-year-old.” One of the best ways to make yourself understood is to tell a story. We remember stories more than any jargon, charts or statistic. The language used in a story may change slightly depending on it’s audience, but the story is essentially the same. We remember stories from our childhood more than what was written on the blackboard. If you have a brand, you need to engage with people. You need a story, a reason for what you are doing so people can believe in you. You may have an excellent product or service that you’ve developed through hard work and a lot of expertise. Expertise often comes with a great deal of jargon attached to it. If you operate in the ...
THE ELECTRIC CAFE

THE ELECTRIC CAFE

Recently we were in Tate Britain and were looking through their bookshop and noticed this book about coffee shops in London. Then we saw their page on the Electric Cafe. We actually designed it as part of the high street regeneration we worked on with L.B. Lambeth and the GLA/Design for London. We got sign maker Butler Dsigns (more images in their link) to recreate the original sign which was badly damaged under the Pepsi plastic sign we had removed. The new sign is a hand painted direct copy of the original and was distressed and aged. The existing sign writing in the window was also retouched to make it more legible without losing what made it special and unique to start with. The New Sign:       This is what it looked like before: It’s been a cafe for years. We had the shop front painted to match the sign and a traditional awning installed by A25 awnings. The old plastic Pepsi sign we had removed was mounted on a wall inside (they are proud of the cafes history and there are vintage framed pictures of the cafe inside). Inside it’s a slice of the past with formica tables and rustic chairs. Nothing is corporate or over designed. Sometimes, a designer’s job is to be subtle and emphasise character and charm. It’s a great cafe, if you are in West Norwood, it’s well worth a visit. Oh, and their poached eggs are great! Say hi to Stavros if you pop in. We work on a lot of high street regeneration schemes and we are advisors to the Mayor of London and GLA on high...
KEEP THE LORAX HAPPY

KEEP THE LORAX HAPPY

Today is Dr. Seuss birthday, a fitting day to share his wise words. Here are a few things any business can do to keep The Lorax happy: Use ‘green’ energy: we (and other 177,114 people when we wrote this post) use Ecotricity, we thoroughly recommend them, renewable energy with great customer service, what else could you ask for? Host your website with a company that uses renewable energy: we use Kualo and have no plans of going elsewhere. Plant trees while you search the web: we love Ecosia, they are the opposite of  ‘can’t find the forest for the trees’. They find everything and plant trees. Get your office supplies from a green stationery company: The Green Office have great choice, FSC? Recycled? They have it. Use a printer that’s working to minimise their impact on the environment: we’ve been using Kopykat for a number of years now, and have always been happy with the results. They hold FSC Chain of Custody, use vegetable based inks and have eliminated alcohol from their printing process among other things. Feel free to share your list below. We’ll add to ours...