De-branding is on its way in a small shop in Britain

In a small local shop in Brighton the owner is de-branding her products as a part of an art project. The goal is to replace favorite packaging with locally sourced design efforts from various social groups like: schoolchildren, mental health service users, people with addictions, and so on. The design and the execution is not fancy by any means. Everything is handmade, but it adds a familiar human feel to a “striving-for-perfection” sterile packaging.

sugar-in-disguise
De-branded sugar. (Photo by Hyperallergic.com)

For the shop’s customers, Kathrin Böhm who is the co-author of the project, hopes that It offers “a moment to realize that this is the way we shop and choose, and [that] who we shop with is a conscious decision.” Böhm’s project offers consumers a chance to reconsider their own patterns of behavior and, she adds, to realize that, quite apart from the logos and packaging, “there’s actual value to certain things like a good shopkeeper.”

I’ve reported in previous posts about how our buying decisions can be influenced by packaging and branding, so it is truly fresh to enable consumers to experience the “real” product behind the box, or a different shopping experience when our senses are not hijacked. It makes me go back to basics and think about the “hard” and “tangible” elements that constitute a product or a service, before all of the elaborate design and communication strategies. I firmly believe that a good product will go a long way in winning the customer’s trust and will guarantee his return.

You can read more about the project here:
Taking the Branding Out of Brands in a Small British Town

The most boring ad ever made – The best brand storytelling video of the year

The German camera producer Leica has promoted their newest internet advertising video, titling it “The most boring ad ever made”. I must admit. It IS boring, but captivating at the same time. What’s the best is that it doesn’t fail short to communicate Leica’s brand distinction trough some spectacular copy-writing told by a soothing voice.

The German craftsmanship is at the upfront of this 45min video where are told the story of how a Leica case is made out of a single aluminium block and how a single person spends 45 minutes to polish the entire exterior of the case. The narrator hits all the needed spots in differentiating and adding value to the brand:

“…this is for those made or sterner stuff, like the robust, high-grade aluminium you see here…”

“Of course there are faster and less costly ways to make a camera, but is there a better way? A more fulfilling way? Hardly. Here everything is essential, nothing is extraneous.”

Totally hits the spot! I am totally in with this copy and I am in love with this 45min story of obsessive German craftsmanship. It is quite rare to see such quality in brand storytelling.

Bonuses Should Be Tied to Customer Value, Not Sales Targets

From a brand management point of view this is a focus that every company needs to take. Whilst financial targets worked for a very long time, we are now more sensitive to what it means to “do a job”. It has to have meaning to the employees and it has to have meaning to the customers. Shifting the focus from sales to meaningful relationships would be something we’ll see much more in the comming period.

Тинекс – креативно изложување на производи

Пријатно се изненадив кога влегов во реновираниот Super Tinex маркет кај Драмски. Имено, ја искористиле можноста да изложат некои производи меѓу просторот на нивните ескалатори. Ова одлично функционира, најпрвин бидејќи е нешто неочекувано, а и го збогатува искуството на пазарење со тоа што им дава можност на посетителите да изберат производ во движење.

Погледнете како тоа изгледа на видеoтo подолу:

п.с. Моите познаници од социјалните мрежи ми посочија дека овој начин на изложување веќе се применува подолго време што е одлична вест. Иако не сум имал можност да влезам во некои од овие маркети на две нивоа, мислам дека овој пристап сеуште на потрошувачот му нуди дополнително и збогатено искуство на пазарење.

VIP – Hajde da pričamo druge priče!

Добра реклама е кога уште таа не завршила, а ќе свртиш и ќе му кажеш на тој до тебе: „Wow, ова е добра реклама“. Нам не ни треба многу размилсување да го препознаеме она што е добро, исто како добар автомобил на улица или како добро парче облека на закачалка. Сметам дека оваа реклама ги има тие квалитети.

Сестра ми која е театарски режисер ми кажа дека за една претстава да биде успешна треба да се задоволат само неколку основни елементи од кои ќе парафразирам неколку: претставата треба да одговори на просторот каде се одвива, треба да одговори на времето како даден момент во историјата и треба да одговори на свеста и културата на општеството во кое се прикажува. Сметам дека овие елементи идентично важат и за успехот на една реклама. Текстот, монтажата и камерата уште во првите 3 секунди ја пренесуваат главната порака на рекламата. Таа е слика на денешното општество, нашата загаденост од медиумите, особено интернетот со хејт коментари и пораки кои секојдневно ги консумираме, а ни сметаат. Leo Burnett користејќи го духот на младите успеваат да раскажат приказна за свет кој се гледа со поинакви очи, очи што раскажуваат поинакви приказни. Рекламата е полна со живот и пркоси на сите оние што хејтаат, кукаат и што ќутат. VIP ги повикува луѓето да раскажуваат поинакви приказни.

Оваа реклама за мене е исто и повик за самокорекција затоа што ниту јас не сум имун на создавање на хејт содржина, па морам да признаам дека ми послужи како добар потсетник и огледало 🙂

UTEC – a lesson in brand promise delivery

enviro_drinking-water_minisite_bannerClick on the image above to open the video

I just stumbled upon this phenomenal video which explains how innovation and advertising can go hand in hand with the basic brand promise. In this case the promise is: “We will continue changing the world trough engineering”.

UTEC in this case hit the sport. Trough this campaign they demonstrated what it really means to deliver your brand promise, by reaching out to the community in need and really touching their hearts.

Job well done UTEC!

Why CEOs shouldn’t trust any brand or marketing expert EVER


We, the experts, are not at all interested in your success. We are interested only in our OWN success. We want power, we want fame, we want fat clients and even fatter client lists. It’s our job to persuade you that you are doing things wrong, this is how we create our market. We feed off your fear and off your blind ambition. You created us and now we are your addiction.


So I have been in the brand creating/consulting and marketing business for some time now. Not a long time, but some time now and yesterday I read the most mind-boggling article involving Microsoft, Apple and Samsung. The article is based on a report from Forrester Research stating that Microsoft now has bigger consumer mind share than Apple and Samsung. Looks like what was previously perceived as Microsoft’s Achilles heel is now the main vehicle behind the largest mind share in the tech industry.

Excuse me, but WHAT NOW!?

After years and years listening to marketing and brand experts saying that Microsoft is too heavy, stale and uncool, suddenly it’s at the top of the list! I must tell you, there is a Quasimodo inside of me and he is ringing those bells sounding an urgent alarm. Not that Microsoft should or should not be at the top or at the bottom of any list. Microsoft hasn’t moved a single finger, or rather moved a finger when experts said it should have moved all its body. They basically advised a sex change and yet here we are today with a research saying that Microsoft has the most mind share in the tech industry.

Somebody MUST be wrong here. It might be the experts that did this research or it might be the experts that advised that sex change. Unmistakably, whichever way you turn, the ones who are wrong here are US, the ones who like to call themselves EXPERTS. It is US, the same guys companies go to to get help from. Now, whilst Microsoft has to thank all its “uncool” customers, the ones like your mother who keeps installing IE toolbars on her every other click, I think it’s time for us to reassess our roles. And not just our roles, but our whole existence as such. I seriously start to question the credibility of any marketing and branding expert here in this text, and out there in the world. Turns out you can just chill there for ages, have one of the worst CEOs as your captain (or so he is perceived, don’t trust experts!), being constantly attacked by press and have US tell you that you are grinding against that iceberg sinking, when actually you are good as you are, docked somewhere on an exotic island, having a nice deck waxing. Life can be good indeed.

Now, to really and truly reassess my role and whole existence in this market driven market which seeks other markets to sell untapped markets to markets, I take a deep breath and a need for reality has arisen, clarity if you will. It is time to have a good look at ourselves and recognize our true colors. (hope you don’t sue Cyndi) It’s time to see ourselves as the kind of people we really are. Sitting still, investigating my professional role to play in this market, out from the depths of consciousness I had a realization that we very much resemble other professionals (and things) in everyday life. Allow me to illuminate:

1. THE COOK

We, the self-announced experts are perceived as superb cooks when in fact we can only truly cook one meal well, and that meal is our personal brand. That is the only thing we are actually truly good at, and this is the only product that actually has any value for the market. The rest of what we, the experts do, is handing out recipes. Recipes from other cook books, recipes learnt from other cooks, or what the more successful of us do – create custom-made creative cuisine. The kind for which you pay $500 for a single course only to go to the next fast food joint to satisfy your hunger. Oh là là, for $80 000 zis research of 2 000 pages must saste very good, no? Magnifique!


2. THE PSYCHIATRIST

You can also observe brand and marketing experts as psychiatrists. We are always there to help ease your agoraphobic paranoia of being out there in the open market. (agora – market, get it?) When you feel freaked out, in the middle of the noisy crowd of competitors and when you start loosing some of the marbles you were selling, you call us and we prescribe you a medicine in a form of analysis or a strategy. We explain the good and the side effects of the given remedy. There is an opportunity here, there is a risk there…  and we whisper to your ear:  “I’m beside you. You’re not alone. We’ll go trough this together. Shhhh…” *pets CEOs head


3. THE MIND-CONTROLLING PARASITE

It is also our job to make you feel unwell. In fact, someday we might waltz in your office with our independently ran research and tell you: “Look, we looked at your competitors and things aren’t looking good. You are missing out on opportunities and you might be in trouble. I’m sorry to say this, but you are just… not the best.” This is our job. First we use our fancy research to make you feel weak and then slowly we infiltrate your systems trough your weakened ego. Every step taken from our 100 step strategy is a step closer to full control over your company. Soon you won’t be able to manage it by yourself. We will be with you forever! You are our puppet! Boy does it feel goood! Mmmmwahaha!


4. THE BOUNCER

So, not only do we have mind control abilities, but with the help of our magical methodologies we also create lists of best companies, best brands and best CEOs of the year, decade and even the century. This means that if I don’t see you on my list, I won’t let you brag about it to your friends. Like, if you are not on this list, you don’t even exist, OK!? Oh, what’s that? You want to get in? Then you better hire some good consultants bro. Somebody like us. We got statistics, OK? We know our research. Our stuff is proven and it is scientific you dig? We know our shit. Who better to help you to get in this list then US bro?

And at last, but not at all the least…


5. THE DAIRY FARMER

The dairy farmer is the person who knows all of this, and yet milks you to the last drop. The diary farmer knows it is all about tapping into that fear, uncertainty, weakness and egoic megalomania. He knows which are the things that make your mammary glands going . This makes your udder swell until it starts to hurt. Once he sees you’re in a lot of pain, he quietly approaches you and you can’t wait for his magic relieving touch. First just a small squeeze, and then another, and another until you reach full ecstasy. Oooohh yeeeaah *inserts a smooth soul track

Today the diary farmer has gotten so sophisticated that he doesn’t even bother to milk you himself. He can now milk you with only a few best-selling words printed on a book, or if you really want the taste of the magic experience, you get to go to his travelling roadshow diary farm. There is even this guy who wrote a book “The purple cow”. I haven’t read it, it’s still on my shelf, but man I believe him without even touching the stuff! He’s a genius! He must be! And listen… he not only milks out CEOs, but he also manages to milk out his fellow colleagues. We, the experts, admire these kind of people. They are our idols. Ney! They are our gurus!

———–

Do you see it now? Do you get it? We are not at all interested in your success. We are interested only in our OWN success. We want power, we want fame, we want fat clients and even fatter client lists. It’s our job to persuade you that you are doing things wrong, this is how we create our market. We feed off your fear and off your blind ambition. You created us and now we are your addiction. 

But… (dramatic pause) have you ever met those people that made a miraculous recovery after their substance abuse? When their addiction actually shined a guiding light towards a more wholesome human being? I wonder what will happen if consultants started saying: “You are a capable entrepreneur and leader. You’ve gotten thus far, you have nothing to worry about. Whatever problems you think you have now are actually not that grave. If you let things settle, they might even go away by themselves. If there is a real need to act, trust your gut. If you fail, you will get up again. But, if you don’t get up, remember that all companies have a lifespan.  If the company happens to die, I assure you, you won’t die with it. Accept this and don’t worry about it. Let it go and enjoy this groovy ride of a company you created for yourself.”

I wonder…