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Inspirational Branding

An open Letter to: Wholesome Brands

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Visiting the newly opened New York City Whole Foods and walking every geometrically-perfect and structurally curated aisles had me over-thinking once more.

It might be this new location’s beautiful Bryant Park views that gave me a different set of strategy perceptions.

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Couldn’t help to wonder, for all this wholesome, healthy, free-from brands and products; how many clients/buyers truly read and trust their labels?

After seeing healthy claim after healthy claim, in every style of copywriting…  I can only ask…a

Are all this health conscious consumers around me, seduced and triggered to buy by each Brand’s claims of all natural, no preservatives, no-GMOs, bio, bio-friendly, gluten-free, no sugar… etc?

That said, I’ve even been noticing with some of my client packaging stating very liberally the All Natural claim.

So…

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DEAR WHOLESOME BRANDS, 

I know the market growth for “natural” products is no close to slowing down, in fact, the last 2016 Natural Products Industry forecast predicts a worth of $2552 B by 2019 (64% growth from 2013).
Yet there is a growing concern within the Brand Strategy community regarding the claim All Natural.

So far the FDA has not engaged in any rulemaking or formal definition for the term “natural” but is do to review and make a decision on the multiple public comments they’ve received this year.

I strongly believe, that as Brand Strategist, we must advise you and your wholesome Brands.

We believe that to have all natural claim included in your packaging might be a risk (unless you can transparently prove it). This is not a cause for alarm, but with more consumers seeking the true meaning of this claims, it is safer to re-word or re-phrase the claim.

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It is dangerous to believe that our consumer, (but more important, lawsuits groups) will never ask questions about your Brand’s packaging claims.

Consumer groups have already created education content on the matter, calling some of this claims “useless”.

If you agree, let’s open up a conversation with your and your Brands.

A re-wording branding project must be enacted soon. Each of this claims most be reformulated into words that work with both the FDA and the Brand’s needs.

This way your Brand’s reputation and statements stay intact and your consumer’s trust will stay long after the FDA finalizes their rulemaking on these claims.

Sincerely, 
The DBC 

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Other Facts:
 – The FDA was pressured to open an investigation on the term due to continuing consumer concerns and lawsuits regarding All Natural. This happened after the controversial legal action against 5 personal-care products.

– FDA opened the investigation in April 2016.

– This investigation followed a review of “misleading claim” cases from 2015 with Kind Bar and sparked the biggest food-related lawsuit yet, against Quaker Oats in May 2016 for their “100% Natural”.

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Brand Journey

THE AMERICAN HOPE #stillwithher

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The first Monday after the unthinkable result of the 2016 presidential campaign.

At first glance, it seemed to all of us,  American born and American at heart, that our people turned its back on all the reasons why we love this beautiful Country.

AND IT HURT.
It felt like someone and something so dear to us passed away.

We all mourned for days and feared the uncertainty of the imminent future.
Thinking of what will come next… fearing what the politics of TRUMP HATE will created.

YES. THE FEAR IS REAL.
But nothing has compared to the power of LOVE & UNITY that has awaken inside the hearts of millions of Americans and communities.

The American Dream has become THE AMERICAN HOPE.

And nothing puts our hearts at rest than the power of the Media, Artists and Brands we love. All whom keep joining this NEW campaign of unity.

  • SNL emotional “Hallelujah” powerful message: “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”
  • Airbnb Community Commitment Brand Video
  • Fergie’s new single “Life Goes On”
  • Emma Watson’s promise to “Fight even harder for all the things I believe in.”
  • ACLU promise to take action against TRUMP

 

America still believes in the opportunity to LIVE unlike any other country.

To LIVE as we truly are.
To LIVE as newcomers.
To LIVE at our passions.
To LIVE for others.

I am STILL with HER. Hillary Clinton  has awaken a movement of LOVE.
We will fight for the rights that she defended in her campaign and we will stand together.

 

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Inspirational Branding

Color Branding

Color Branding

It seams that this year is the year of COLOR, we see Branding exploring deep color insights to express and differentiate their Brand Identity.

I personally blame (or thank) the, lets call it, “Instagram Revolution”. Its filters, brightness, saturation, and the rest of its many tools; have lead to a color conscious customer. This tools where known and used primarily by designers, granted they are a very rudimentary versions of the real thing, but still none can deny that now, this words are in our everyday language.

Consumers are putting extra value on color-design, they care and link color with sentiments towards their favorite Brand.  Lets Brand-Spin and use the color wheel, the color theory, the color coding, and even (why not) the color psychology.

We are not far from seeing such trends in food like “Eat the Rainbow” migrating slowly to Branding Strategies, that will provably be the main concept behind an entire Brand Creating project.

We are becoming more color smart, its up to Brand Managers to learn and require more concept ideas based on color-theory.

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Inspirational Branding

Brand Perfect Pair

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We all know about the great and eternal quarrels in Branding, Donkin’ Donuts vs Krispy Kreme, Canon vs Nikon and the OH so legendary Coca Cola vs Pepsi Cola.

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Yet Brands do not fight in our daily lives, we enjoy Brands together, they balance each others mood and their personalities blend. Brands need to embrace and act on these Brand Pairs (Dashing Brand Term) that go perfectly together.

Ok I’m not saying that a bit of fighting is wrong, as a matter of fact it is even a Branding Strategy, to choose ones Brand Enemy in order to create a healthy competition and internal team spirit.

Still, Brands should not just embrace on corporate and boring co-branding actions, they should create partnership with their own Brand Pair. We do not costume or use one and only one Brand at a time, I mean common even if you tell me that you like your coffee at one specific place and that you are bound to consume only their branded caffein, you are likely to find even at that purple-sofa-grande-cup place other complementary Brands.

Brands should pay attention to our everyday Brand Pairs, they probably hold the key to the target-insight they are looking for.

Here is a couple of my personal Brand Pairs (don’t judge):

Jack Daniel’s and Coca Cola : When I’m feeling Rebellious

Moët & Chandon and Laduree : When I’m feeling Spoiled

Starbucks and Apple : When I’m feeling Inspired

Herballife and Nike : When I’m feeling Healthy

Nutella and Anything : When I’m feeling Melancholic

Next time you are wondering what your Brand’s Personality IS, think about the Brand you would Pair it to and in what situation you would do it.

What are your daily Brand Pairs?

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Inspirational Branding

The Brand Duel

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Private Label vs Premium Price

Blame it on the crisis or the changing market, today less consumers are willing to pay for the premium price of products.  Quite often we are somewhat forced to make a choice, between our usual Brand and the fairly-well-made duplicate.

It is clear that the one demanding this duel is the Private Label for it started this quarrel and since there are no codes of chivalry, it even mimics the premium-price design, answering not only to the costumers budget needs but is intrinsic as well.

Still, the obvious question is, who can defend its honor and claim once and for all, our loyalty? Let the 

The Brand Duel

Duel Begin!

By Price : The Private Label strikes with almost 50% less of a difference

By Personality: Premium Price hits with charming traits

By Story: Premium Price smashes again with compelling storytelling

By Budget: Private Label pounds back by aiding our daily expenses

By Experience: Premium Price slaps with a captivating customer journey

By Presence: Private Label slams with entire shopping-list choices

Our favorite Brand is still our favorite Brand, but should we dare to change?

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Inspirational Branding

The Brand Wonderland

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Fashion Victims have 5th avenue,  Book Worms have Barnes & Noble, what do Brand Specialists have?

The Supermarket, the one-and-only place where we find Brands all lined up neatly in place and divided by market sectors. Just like falling into a rabbit hole, a wonderland of brands that interact with us on our daily-basis. The place where true marketing battles are won and lostBrandland

Think about the moment you walk into the store … you are immediately bombarded by thousands of Brand Messages all at once, but its the truly unique Brand that catches your attention: That one Brand will allure you with enough curiosity that you end up buying it (outside your list, of course).

The Supermarket is a branding paradise and every time we go in, we must be observant. There are three key elements that tend to catch my eye and in which I tend to base a new client’s research.

  1. Definitely keep the lookout for the NEW sticker on packages, this new products tell a lot about which Trends companies are basing their pack-design, color palette choices and personality.
  2. Pay attention to seasonal product, they usually hint on new costumer temporary-needs. The passing fad of the moment they just cant live without.
  3. Notice for the latest private label product, to see if the supermarket did a good job mimicking the Premium-Brand packaging  and design. Most importantly in whom they choose to copy their identity.

Next time you are in a Supermarket, take a moment to remember that every single Brand you are looking at, has had its own study, analysis, research and concept, developed specially for you.

 

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Inspirational Branding

Can a symbol become a Brand?

Mustache Brand

We give common symbols inner values, making them as important as the Brands that interact with us on daily basis, the love for your favorite [insert brand] sunglasses equals the love for your favorite mustache [insert accessory].

In the same way the Brand Manager determines a Brand’s Core Value, society gives this symbol a new importance, a new reason to be. We strip the symbol of its basic characteristics and we give it a true Brand Benefit, making it an Icon to cherish, admire and hold dear.

In the past we had the Peace Sign and the Flower, today we see this phenomena with the never-ending use of The Mustache or the Social Hashtag.

Mustache Symbol

This symbols represent something that we strongly believe at the moment, something that we want to endorse and wear or use proudly. Be it in a t-shirt or phone-cover, it becomes an accessory that represents who we are, and states our personality.

We must get in the title-wave fast and use the symbol to our Brand’s advantage. Beware thou, anything that becomes this popular or iconic so fast, is provably just a passing trend.

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Brand JourneyInspirational Branding

Brand Guilty Pleasure

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That Tiffany BlueQuestion … Do you use terms like “Tiffany blue”, “Instagram style” or “Oreo flavored” when describing something?

If you do, those Brands are provably your guilty pleasures. I can bet you anything, you feel a tingling sensation at the mention of your favorite Brand and you have the immediate urge of making a comment. Use this (awkward) love to your benefit. 

Call them guilty-pleasures, since you no-doubt are embarrassed to accept that you feel part of a love-hate relationship (you know its true). When the Brand comes-up with something you like, you adore her, if it produces something you don’t like, then you-don’t-get why she doesn’t-get-you. That Brand is part of your everyday life, it can make you feel better or worse.

The first step is to accept it, then what? right … well since you are a consumer and most definitely a Brand Evangelist, try defining the reasons why you seem to adore that Brand to the point of craziness. Maybe its sleek design? Does it make the best guerrila mrkt? Always organizes the event of the year? Does it make you feel part of its family?

Its almost the same reason why you never-ever will eat that sinful vanilla ice-cream without your beloved chocolate syrup. The list of things that you would never replace from that Brand, identify the specific elements of a well planed Brand-Relationship and this knowledge is the key to every awareness, communication and marketing campaign. Brands kill to have this customer-insight apply it to very research you need to do.

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Case StudiesInspirational Branding

Brand Trenders

Trender

Proud to be a TrenderDo Marketing-men categorize and dictate the type of group in which you belong to?

We hear labels like Preppy, fashion-victim, Indie, shabby-chic or Swag to describe certain types of lifestyle. The latest being,  the well known “Hipster”, that vintage-addict, vegan-eating, retro-wearing subculture.

Well I don’t know about you but lately I don’t feel I quite fit in with most consumer-groups, meaning that I like bits and pieces of every lifestyle; I’ve got my (preppy) Lacoste polo, my (hipster) Vespa iPhone-cover, I go to work with my (retro) Pan Am bag and my (now mainstream) Macbook. Crazy-right?

That’s why via wordpress I here by submit the name of “Trenders” to that cluster-target who certainly are early adopters of fads of the moment. We like to continuously change style (disposable-fashion) and look for those cheap but trendy products. We look for Brands that makes us look up-to-date on fashion, technology and lifestyle. Brands most make us feel part of their lifestyle and world, it takes much to gain our loyalty, even if we an easily change, when you do win our trust, we are the best Brand Evangelists you will have. Our socials constantly change style, we carefully choose our profile-pic and header picture, they most be in sync with the moment trends.

If you can’t find where you belong, then you belong to everyone and to every Brand.

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Inspirational Branding

New York’s Brand HUB

The Brand Hub

tumblr_mpvzni92T31rl4bxjo1_500The ways of Times Square are the ways of the Brand World.  

If your are one of those fortunate (or less) individuals tangled up in the world of Branding, you most-certainly have notice that every time you do a research online, NYC Times Square seams to keep popping-up.

I’m starting to wonder here, is Times Square the center of the Brand Universe? Did i miss the memo? or just somehow google associates Brands to the most visited site in the world.Is it because of the -I’m comfortable enough to say- hundreds of billboards and digital screens that showcase the latest fads and trends are squished into one place. Are consumers seduced by the city’s charm and american-dream aroma that they actually change shopping behavior. Can a Brand’s reputation be dictated by its precense in TS?

If this is all an actual fact, then the power-suits of the Times Square Alliance most certainly know they hall the key to (pass me this term) the world’s BRAND HUB.

Best to stay alert on mktg tactics, viral actions and good old-fashioned adv on this NYC landmark … Chances are this are the Brands of the moment.

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