Monday, July 8, 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013

First get quieter, then get smarter

A very clever design company in Istanbul has deconstructed packaging in a group of exercises to show how little conventional branding is needed to be effective.
The first 3 images above at the left are their work. I've expanded on the process in the right 3 manipulations to explore some additional ideas. Jar #4 shows quieter branding with the legacy signature. Jar #5 shows no branding at all and forces a meditation on the wasteful economics of FMCG packages in general. Jar #6 shows a more sustainable reusable and functional redevelopment with a tiny brand signature.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brand irony and brain candy

A free (my italics) no-wi-fi zone which blocks signals so people can sit and have a real uninterrupted conversation, free of personal communication devices. But not free of Kit Kat. So not really free. You can't use it unless you avail yourself of the brand messaging. 

Creating quieter brands

One of my students asked last week how to create a Quiet Brand.

Within days my colleague Jack Yan posted these photos of a new Absolut packaging.

The bottle shape, cap and molded seal are all iconic, so the visual branding is intact. Absolut has built market recognition on the silhouette of their packaging. The removal of the large and bold brand name doesn't detract from the profile.

The other great aspect of this limited edition is that it is cause-related. The quieter brand ironically calls attention to itself since it stands in opposition to the traditional packaging. You ask, "Why did they do it?" and the light shines on the cause.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Brand Ambivalence

How conflicted is Coke?

They make a huge deal about their "plant bottle" which is supposed to save the planet because it is made from all sustainable materials.

But they put flip-flops on their Summer packaging. Marketing wins, Mother Earth loses. Discarded flip-flops are one of the greatest marine pollutants. Do the research, Coke.

The missed opportunity: a simple message in tiny typography, to wit, "Have a great Summer. When you're choosing this year's footwear, make sure it's biodegradable."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Au revoir PPR, salut Kering

Applause for the decision to rename the respected French holding company, but let's hope it is the ultimate rebranding, after 5 name changes since 1988. That's a lot of focus-shift for less than three decades.The logic is sound: signaling the migration from retail to luxury and lifestyle emphasis.

The new visual branding blows hot and cold. I like the grotesque letterforms which have enough individuality and personality to express customization. The stylized "owl in flight" signet doesn't do it for me, though. It's rather dispersed and hard to recognize, and I am not sure it adds anything other than distraction from the new brand name. I would have been happy with the heart-shaped owl face by itself. But let's not overemphasize visual branding, which is nowhere as important as graphic designers want you to believe. The proving ground will be the way the company conducts itself and lives out its vision and values.

Let me repeat the classic scenarios for rebranding: new ownership, acquisition or merger; following bad news; at a time of radical change in competency or category; coincidental to a significant product launch; to gain greater differentiation from competitors, especially in new markets.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How vulnerable does social media make your brand?

I grabbed this picture from Facebook recently to illustrate the transformation of brand relationships in the face of social media- whether you like the brand or not, and no matter what they do to improve your customer experience, you're at the mercy of other people's opinions.
  • Does this express true sentiments or is someone simply being cute or clever? 
  • How much does it devalue the brand? 
  • Should a brand even respond to this kind of post?