WHAT BRANDS CAN LEARN FROM HANS ROSLING

WHAT BRANDS CAN LEARN FROM HANS ROSLING

We heard yesterday (7th February) that Hans Rosling has passed away. Hans was a brilliant statistician and public speaker and we always enjoyed his Ted talks. But after participating in #ethicalhour on Monday on the subject of #ethicalbranding,  it suddenly dawned on us that Hans embodied what we were talking about. 1. He communicated facts. He didn’t lie or exaggerate. 2. Because what he did was based in fact, he believed in what he was talking about. He was extremely passionate about what he did. 3. Because he believed in what he did, he communicated with clarity, confidence, passion, and emotion. He made you FEEL the stats. 4. Because he was such a good communicator, he made you feel good and you believed him. All brands can learn a lot by being more like Hans. RIP Hans. May the facts live on: THE BEST STATS YOU WILL EVER SEE HOW NOT TO BE IGNORANT RELIGION & BIRTH RATES HANS ROSLING’S TED...
WORKING WITH DESIGNERS: MAKE SURE YOU GET THE BRIEF RIGHT

WORKING WITH DESIGNERS: MAKE SURE YOU GET THE BRIEF RIGHT

We are big fans of Malcolm Gladwell. So we thought we would share one of this stories to illustrate a point. Howard Moskowitz is a market researcher and was briefed by Pepsi to help them create ‘the perfect cola’. Howard failed. He never found the perfect cola. He thought he had failed. He hadn’t. He hadn’t been given the correct brief.  He realized that he should have been finding the perfect colas. He applied the same thinking to Spaghetti sauce and created brand leaders and a way of thinking that revolutionized the food industry (you can watch the TED talk at the bottom of this post). That’s why when you go into a supermarket, you now have endless variations on products. How many different flavors of hummus can you buy these days? The point is that sometimes the brief is wrong. Pepsi wanted to change their product to increase sales. They were asking for a solution to the wrong problem. If you commission a designer, you will get the best out of them if you if you treat them like a creative partner rather than a supplier. Sometimes they may come at a problem from a different angle, sometimes the wrong problem has been defined in a brief. • Good design is an answer to a problem. One of the main things we’re asked to do is to make a product or service stand out. But what if the main problem isn’t looking different from your competition? What if potential customer’s perception of your product doesn’t match what you’re actually offering? What if the proposition, positioning or even name is wrong?...
WHAT DO ROOF TILES & CARS HAVE IN COMMON?

WHAT DO ROOF TILES & CARS HAVE IN COMMON?

  If you haven’t heard the news already your answer might be nothing. That certainly would have been the case less than 15 years ago. On Friday, Elon Musk unveiled the new solar roof tiles that Tesla and Solar City are bringing to the market (Tesla is due to take over Solar City). Why will you buy a car and roof tiles from the same company? Once it’s clear that we’re talking about electric cars and solar roof tiles from Tesla, the answer seems obvious, but that wouldn’t have been the case just a couple of decades ago. After all, it was just 2001 when a computer company successfully launched and started selling what’s become the most successful mp3 music player, 2 products that on paper, you wouldn’t buy from the same company. The real questions should perhaps be, what do Tesla and Apple have in common? The answer is they both know their why. Apple believes in thinking differently, in designing products that aren’t just beautiful but also easy to use. That’s why they can be a computer shop, a music shop, a phone company and a watch company at the same time. Tesla also knows its why, they want “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”. What they believe in determines and inspires what they do, that’s why buying a car, a home battery and solar roof tiles from them presents no contradiction. Don’t get us wrong, brands are not the latest church, with followers that congregate around a shared belief blinding following their leader. Noble principles are not enough, ultimately, if your product and/or service isn’t as good or better than the...
BRANDING ADVICE: DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS.

BRANDING ADVICE: DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS.

You have a brand,  you want to be up to date, do you follow the latest trends for how your brand looks? No. And this is why. Trends are new or rediscovered things that people follow until it reaches a tipping point and people get bored of it. Then something new comes along, a new  trend starts and what was trendy yesterday is now old hat. For that simple reason, we would recommend that you ignore any trends when branding your business. Branding should be bespoke to you. There should be a reason for it. Do something because it’s right for you. Don’t follow others, you want people to follow you. Not vice versa. Be yourself. Be unique. Wear the hat that suits you… and...
AN OPEN LETTER TO COCA COLA

AN OPEN LETTER TO COCA COLA

Dear Coca Cola, Congratulations on your PlantBottle™. You developed it in 2009, and it’s a fantastic step forward. We applaud the fact that it substitutes 30% of its fossil-based resources with sugarcane. We also applaud that you have licensed the technology to Ford for their interiors their Ford Fusion and Heinz for their ketchup bottles. PlantBottle™ now accounts for 7% of your global packaging volume (30% in the USA). You have made 35 billion of them. By 2020 you want to convert all your PET bottles to PlantBottle™. It’s great news that you are developing a 100% plant-based bottle for the future. It seems like a genuine move by you to a more sustainable future. It’s good business too, as you say yourselves: “The innovative PlantBottle Technology™ has resonated with consumers, helped boost sales, generated headlines, and earned sustainable and innovation awards.” But we have one problem with all of this. And it’s the little ™ on the end of PlantBottle™. Why do we have a problem with this? After all, you developed it, it’s your intellectual property and you have every right to be in control of who uses it. You are sharing it with other non-competitive companies. It’s your asset. It’s your brand. Fleming famously didn’t patent Penicillin and others progressed the medicine for the benefit of all. What would the world be like if he’s kept hold of the patents? Elon Musk made Tesla’s technology open source. He wrote in 2014 “patents… stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors.” So Coke, it’s really great that you are developing...
DESIGNING A BETTER FUTURE: Shouldn’t green & ethical design try harder?

DESIGNING A BETTER FUTURE: Shouldn’t green & ethical design try harder?

Everything we see around us is designed. Good design influences change. MP3 players existed before Apple’s iPod. Apple made them desirable and incredibly easy to use. They changed the way we used music forever. Electric cars existed before Tesla. Tesla made them beautiful, desirable, and a credible alternative to petrol-driven cars. Now there are lots of brands making electric cars. Search engines existed before Google. Google made them fun, simple and elegant. Their logo changed to celebrate events, people and places. You could even play Pac-man on it. Small cars existed before the Mini. The Mini made small cars desirable, cool and classless. It was driven by students and Hollywood stars. Cleaning products existed before Method. Method made them desirable, cool and fun. Vacuum cleaners existed before Dyson. Dyson made them desirable, aspirational and cool. All of the above changed the way we thought about things. They looked and felt different to what had gone before, but more importantly, they made you desire them. This is a power station in Norway: It powers 1600 homes. Beautiful isn’t it? It doesn’t look green. It just looks fantastic. It looks like the future. What if green energy choices, such as solar panels, wind turbines etc were really beautiful? Would so many people object to their presence? What if the best advertising was for healthier food? What if the most talked about marketing was for sustainably sourced clothing? When we designed Fairtrade brand Liberation Nuts, we didn’t try to make them look worthy. We tried to make them look fun, friendly and tasty with branding they they could use in all their marketing to tie...