I’ve been on so many couch conferences , webinars , presentations and hangouts lately and I saw how people in these events take an inordinate amount of time to look at the good work of others. Although good examples are useful to take note of, you will never achieve greatness this way. Things won’t magically start happening for your business by osmosis. What the presenters in these online events won’t tell you is that ingenuity takes work and it takes guts to stand out. And you can stand out only if you dig within yourself and bring forward your unique core.
There are no blueprints to your own uniqueness. The blueprint is YOU. Cancel all of your webinars and dedicate that time to discover who you are and what your business is instead. This is what makes a leader. Leaders are the ones paving paths to new, risky uncharted territories. All of the businesses you see in those presentations paved their own way, that is why they stand out. But their success is not yours. It’s time to start paving your own way in your own way.
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I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts.You can connect with me here:
In these unprecedented times of uncertainty and hyper-capitalism brands are mass-producing emotions of closeness, relatability, connection, trust, and hope. By hiring people like me, brands craft and tone a message to suit what “the audience” wants to hear. I would agree that we live in times in need of solidarity, but not fakeness.
This is pointing back to the fact that most businesses have a hidden value that states that they are “in the business of doing business”. Organizations are not prepared to own up to such a blatant (and core) value thus resulting in moves that are not really moves. Why did all of these corporations produce such ads? What were they trying to tell us? Aren’t they secretly communicating: “Hey, we’re here, don’t forget us!”. How much are companies afraid of becoming irrelevant in the COVID crisis?
Instead of reacting to fear, organizations should examine their brands, services offers and resources and step up with a meaningful way to connect and make a difference in communities. Don’t preach it, do it.
I am a brand consultant leading organizations and individuals to their hearts.You can connect with me here:
The Olympics serve as the greatest sports event and as one of the most important conferences in the world at the same time. Over the history, they have been subject to controversy, boycotts and served as squabbling grounds between countries and political blocks. Yet somehow, they managed to survive and not only survive, but thrive. The Olympic institution and brand are stronger today than ever. On the other hand, it’s extremely difficult (impossible even) to single out a company which enjoys a similar amount goodwill today or throughout any point in history for that matter.
In this regard, there is one question worth examining: What are institutions, organizations, and companies but a group of people working united under a common idea? If this were true, then what makes the Olympics brand and ideals so true, grand and worthy of pursuing? On the other hand, what makes companies and organizations struggle, stray away from themselves and even stray from goodness itself?
As any other organization, the Olympic Games have seen their fair share of struggles. First and foremost they exist within the confines of our civilization which is susceptible to misunderstandings, conflicts, and of course war. They survived our two World Wars, all kinds of regimes, terrorist attacks, all sorts of political disputes and boycotts. For example, at the 1980 Moscow games, 62 countries didn’t participate as a result of the Cold War, and this didn’t even put a dent in the Olympic spirit.
The Olympics do not only show extreme resilience in the eyes of serious adversity but as a body, they continuously act accordingly to their established values. South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games from 1964 to 1988, as a part of the sporting boycott during the apartheid era. Saudi Arabia was threatened with a ban in 2012 unless it sends women athletes to compete and this year Russia was banned to participate in the winter games due to a state-run doping program. The International Olympic Committee didn’t ban all the athletes from Russia though. It united them under its flag, as It did for the refugee team in 2016 in Rio. This shows true value-driven integrity: not to discriminate against anyone no matter the circumstances. This value is further strengthened by the existence of the Paralympic Games.
The Olympic Committee is not afraid to make tough decisions and run the risk of being perceived as the “bad guy” in certain countries. The same can’t be readily said for businesses.
Business and states nowadays have almost a symbiotic relationship too. Rightfully so, since it’s in the businesses’ interest to lobby for less regulation, tax, and other breaks. We are well aware that this relationship can get out of hand though. There is daily news of big political corruption scandals involving financial “favors” from a big business. Yet, this is only one sphere where businesses can stray away from the good.
Let’s take Volkswagen as our latest example, which is an appropriate one as well. They are a well-known brand globally and have a long tradition to boot. Although Volkswagen is loved and revered all over the world for their craftsmanship and build quality, recently it was discovered that they cheated their emissions tests on a big scale. More recently even, they were condemned for testing diesel fumes on humans and monkeys!
For me, it is inconceivable that an organization can be true to their values and still manage to act in a vile way. A company that pollutes can’t say they respect women’s rights and if a company has appalling work conditions, it doesn’t get to say they value good design. What’s the use anyway?
We have to keep in mind that the values both organizations and businesses respect are first and foremost human values. As such, they are complementary and interdependent. One can’t choose to have tunnel vision, to respect one and ignore all of the rest.
What gives the Olympics a starting advantage in brand integrity over today’s businesses then? If they were still under Zeus’s patronage, he would have stated something like the following:
1. Know thyself
I remember the shock of discovering that the company I worked for, for my first rebranding project, had no idea who they were and what was their business about. I thought that this would be a no-brainer for bigger companies, but it turned out to be a very big brainer indeed. Luckily dusting off only one core value ( customer service ) was enough to give the company new life and direction. The same goes for any other business whether it’s a startup or 100 years old. They must be aware of who they are and what they are about.
2. Nothing is more important than human decency
These three words are enough to guide you through all of your business decisions, especially the ones which are on the moral fence. Nothing is more important than valuing a person’s wellbeing. But this commandment deserves attention when making simple and apparently harmless decisions too. We often don’t examine our decisions form a broader perspective and we don’t fully consider all of their possible implications.
3. Include, don’t discriminate
It is well known that companies that encourage employee participation in decision-making report having staff who has greater ownership of their workplace and brand. Especially if you include your staff in brand creation, you will get dedicated life-long brand ambassadors which will disseminate your business’s goal, idea, and spirit. Otherwise, you might end up with uninspired employees which feel left out and forgotten.
4. Have a simple, fair and transparent rulebook
Sports are very simple to follow. That’s one of the reasons why everybody can follow them. By nature, they are open and accessible for everybody. This transparency allows anybody to witness what’s going on on the field or the track. Anybody can be a direct judge and this, in turn, creates the need for fairness.
A business is made of many individuals with varied backgrounds and capabilities. Having simple rules makes the system accessible and understandable for everybody. Fairness and transparency in employee treatment are key for achieving trust, confidence and long-term stability of your business.
5. Be larger than the sum of your parts
The Olympics aren’t organized in a traditional sense. Although they have their Committee and headquarters they appear and disappear into thin air every 4 years. They are more of an idea than a tangible “thing”. Same goes for any business that strives to be written in history and make a difference. Trough your business you realize the idea you have for the world so, to have a chance at greatness, your idea has to be attractive and universal enough to outlast you and your direct successors.
I am a brand strategist, designer, and content manager. My philosophy is that brands are intrinsically human, and can’t ultimately be treated with classic business and marketing strategies. To have truly successful brands we need to know our human selves and listen to our human hearts.
After reading trough FastCocreate’s article on National Geographic’s brand revamp I was left with mixed feelings. Following are the goods, the bads and the middles of their latest move.
The brand is re-discovering its core. They already updated their programming by including more of what the National Geographic Partners CEO Declan Moore says is “smart content”. This decision follows the increase of 21st Century Fox’s holdings in the company and after the management team recognized the growing thirst of millennials and gen Z for programs which are “more on the intellectual side.” The new and improved NatGeo channel includes programs like the newest Leo DiCaprio documentary: Before the Flood, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, Years of Living Dangerously, StarTalk with DeGrasse Tyson, Origins etc.
Moreover, the brand aims to introduce cohesion across all of their platforms. Moore sees this trough the lens of teams taking proud ownership of the content that is being produced at the level of the whole company.
Reading trough how Moore approaches his brand was a personal shock, to say the least. He said that the management team has just discovered that millennials like “smart programming.” Now, whilst people chased UFOs on NatGeo, people were tuning into YouTube channels like ASAP Science, Veritasium, One minute physics and to science blogs like IFLScience, Science alert, iO9. In fact, people have been doing this for more than a decade now and to share such a statement in 2016 shows that people at NatGeo are seriously out of touch.
There is a reason why these channels and blogs are so popular, and that is in part because of the lack of quality programs on dedicated science channels like NatGeo. I can safely say that the sphere of specialty science entertainment was destroyed in the last decade with the introduction of reality TV which increasingly got out of hand and out-of-brand. Animal Planet anyone?
Moore is quite happy to recognize and capitalize on the thirst for “smarter programming”, but is not aware that he and his team is responsible for creating this kind of thirst in the first place. All this comes from a business ethic which ultimately doesn’t show passion for its own brand. It’s opportunistic in nature and leaves a dry taste of old-school marketing where only graphs and numbers are considered.
One other thing. Declan Moore practically says that teams from different platforms were not comfortable taking ownership (responsibility) to what was happening over next door. For example, the magazine team was not comfortable with decisions made by the guys over at the TV channel. If this doesn’t illustrate a brand in cohesive shambles, I don’t know what does.
The middle ground
I am glad they are taking very positive steps towards more quality programming and more brand cohesion despite what factors influence those decisions. Should they have done it sooner – yes. Has 21st Century Fox got something to do with the new programming direction? Maybe.
If they keep up with the production of quality content and if they don’t stray off-brand again, National Geographic Channel could soon be well ahead of their colleges over at Discovery & Co and can reclaim their spot as the primary authority on exciting science and discovery.
The main mistake dedicated science channels do nowadays is serving what people want instead of what they actually need. I know this sounds unintuitive, but let me illustrate. Let’s say I had a choice between a doughnut and an apple. An apple is what I need because of the fiber and vitamins, and the doughnut is something that I want because it is tastier. I would almost always choose a doughnut over an apple , but when I eat it, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t feel terrible (and less healthy) afterward.
The same goes with television channels. They make people feel terrible about themselves. They make people feel like brainless, lazy slobs and this is not something any self-aware human being would ever need nor want to feel. This lesson can be applied to any brand. Each has the power to use its position for the greater good and make the world a better place.
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.
I highly recommend reading this article which discusses the redesign of the Yahoo! logo. It hits all the marks, and it is very well supported by reasonable and professional arguments. It uncovers a serious weakness of the business, which is a weak brand and thus, the CEO’s inability and lack of capacity to adequately handle a seemingly simple process as logo design.
The hard part is defining what your brand is and what it aims to become. Your brand strategy follows your brand ambition, and your visual identity mirrors your overall brand ambition. Identity is not just how you look, it is what you say, what you do, what you are. What is Yahoo? What is at Yahoo’s core? What does the company stand for? We don’t really know…
This post is not about the technical quality of the logo. I am not writing about brand design, but about brand management. This is about a simple rule: Brand design follows brand management, not the other way around
For a brand like Yahoo there is something more important than spacing, kerning, colors, serifs, or making designers angry at this point. No, it’s not getting attention. It’s gaining trust. Ironically, for that you need a reflective, clear, and consistent brand identity. A different logo powered by bullshit doesn’t convey identity and trustworthiness. It conveys desperation.
The new BMW sound logo does not only inherit the paralyzing sound symmetry of its predecessor, it very unskillfully tries to add an additional layer of dynamism which goes in the totally wrong direction – BACKWARDS!
Sound branding is something that lies on the ‘more obscure’ side of the branding discipline, so I am not surprised why I haven’t found any commentary and/or reactions to the latest sound logo rebranding of the BMW brand so far. Apparently the old BMW sound signature (logo) existed for 14 years. This is something I was NOT aware of, and I would have to point fingers at the non-existent advertising budget the dealers of this brand in my country had trough the years. But luckily, this tragedy turned out quite well since I got to experience both sound logos today, playing them one right after the other.
Thanks to professional web journalism, thinking that I was hearing the new version, firstly I turned all ears for what apparently was the old existing logo >>>
If we analyze this old logo which people like to call a ‘double gong’ (which is very far from it), we would see (hear) that it is composed of two identical sounds which are probably produced by blowing into large pipes (or a bottle, or an instrument in which air circulates in the same way…. you get the picture). Tone it down an octave maybe, add some cool echo effects and voila – it spells BMW – NOT! After hearing it my thoughts were something like… “Well, this sounds like banging on plastic pipes” and it left me with an image of a shallow and abandoned (probably rusty) BMW car engine. Though I haven’t read about the significance and/or the background story this logo has to offer, it misses the mark so badly I don’t even feel like I want to do the research. Although it appears to have stuck with listeners (let’s be honest, after 14 years, what wouldn’t?) I don’t think it produces the adequate images to BMW in one’s mind. All I can hear is emptiness and a void. This is very far from the BMW brand which is encapsulated in their slogan – The ultimate driving machine.
Onwards to the new and allegedly improved version >>>
If BMW is the ultimate driving machine, instead of a void, there has to be an excitement, power and adrenaline added to the new sound logo, right?
That is all there, but it is backwards!
If you tune in to the new sound logo carefully, you can hear two deep beats (again, why two!?) playing forward and what appears to be a formula sounding Doppler Effect made by few brass instruments played in reverse. Don’t get me wrong, sounds in reverse are not a foreign thing when it comes to designing sound logos. They are unexpected to the ear and as such stand out from everyday sounds making them ideal for such a task. In this case though you can still recognize an actual orchestra playing . The sound is not processed (masked) enough, so it sounds like a broken record playing backwards…
Masking/manipulating the sound so one would not recognize it right away is crucial. Firstly, it sounds more professional and secondly, it is because you buy cars to propel you forward! Reverse sounding effects should not be a part of any automotive brand, let alone BMW which should be the symbol of acceleration and power. When I hear this logo, a part of me says “Oh my God! This engine is going to break down at any moment!”
Unfortunately, there is another issue I would like to address, and that is the issue of the “double repetitive sound” whitch is present in both of the logos. My opinion is that any symmetric symbol should not have a place in an identity used by the automotive industry. Symmetry means balancing between equal parts and it stands for equilibrium, stability and the static. Need I remind you that this industry is an industry that aims at the opposite principles: luxury, power, speed and motion. Having that in mind, both of the logos play sounds which are repeated exactly two times in both cases. As you know, the number two is an even number and in its nature is symmetric. This doesn’t need to be that bad, but In our particular case the sounds are not only at the same pitch, they are with the same length as well (the second logo has a shorter second beat, but still…). This symmetry brings the whole identity to a halt and I don’t have to say that in this case, this is really really bad.
To put it in short words, the new BMW sound logo does not only inherit the paralyzing sound symmetry of it’s predecessor, it very unskillfully tries to add an additional layer of dynamism going in the totally wrong direction – and that is backwards.
Надворешното брендирање (визуелниот идентитет) иако е важен за општиот впечаток и пораките кои ги комуницира компанијата кон надворешноста не може да биде целосен доколку истите вредности успешно не се имплементираат и меѓу персоналот на компанијата. Ова особено важи за бизнисите кои фигурираат во услужните дејности каде човечкиот контакт е клучен за опстанокот и успешноста на бизнисот.
Рептил маркетите имаат четири главни компаниски вредности кои се практивкуваат секојдневно од страна на нивните вработени:
Целта на внатрешното бренидрање во случајот на Рептил маркетите е да се разбуди свеста за овие вредности кои иако секојдневно се практикуваат, за нив ретко се размислува, дискутира и ретко се земаат предвид кога се носат менаџерските одлуки.
Имајќи ја предвид услугата како главна карактеристика според која овие маркети се издвојуваат од својата конкуренција, неизбежно е компанијата да го вреднува трудот на своите вработени. Затоа компанијата реши транспарентно и јавно да го оценува нивниот труд (услуга). Оцената на трудот се верифицира на секои 4 месеци, па компанијата се реши да организира 3 вакви настани на годишно ниво.
На овие манифестации, покрај наградите ќе биде доделен беџ кој вработениот ќе има обврска да го носи се до следната манифестација. На овој начин тој ќе служи како пример за своите колеги а воедно компанијата ќе покаже пред своите потрошувачи дека услугата и нивното задоволство се нешто што во компанијата сериозно се сфаќа. На овој начин Рептил маркетите земаат еден попозитивен став кон развивање на услугата преку начинот „водство по пример“ наместо досегашното „дисциплинирање по пат на казни“.
Проблематиката на внатрешното брендирање е комплексна работа и неговото успешно спроведување е долгогодишен процес кој бара имплементација на низа различни активности. Треба да имаме на ум дека станува збор за реформа или надополнување на компаниската култура (начинот на кој работите се прават) која во овој случај вработените ја имаат градено долж 17 години.
Едукацијата на вработените за нивниот бренд, воведување на нови алатки при нивното работење, подобрување на протокот на корпоративните пораки (од горе – надолу), посочување на позитивниот пример во работењето и постојаната работа со персоналот се сериозни чекори за кои раководството треба да има зрел и сериозен пристап доколку сака својот бизнис да го доведе до точка кога тој ќе биде препознаван во околината по квалитетот на својот персонал и уникатноста на искуството што го нуди. Уникатноста подразбира искуство кое може да се најде само во една компанија и тоа искуство, потрошувачот не може да го искуси на ниедно друго место. Во оваа насока, исклучително важно е раководството да е на страната на оној чија одговорност е да го спроведе овој процес (обично некој од секторот за марктинг и секторот за човечки ресурси) бидејќи овој тим во текот на својата работа ќе се соочува со сериозен отпор од страна на вработените кои се навикнати на одреден начин на функционирање долг временски приод.
Позитивниот ефект од уникатноста на долг рок е што таа неизбежно ќе придонесе до зголемување на подготвеноста на потрошувачите да дојдат да пазарат во овие маркети, а тоа се преведува како зголемена вредност на брендот. Вредноста на брендот пак е реален економски показател кој особено доаѓа до израз при аквизицијата на еден одреден бизнис. Што поголема е вредноста на брендот – толку поголема е вредноста на бизнисот кој го поседува, преведена во пари.