General branding related blogs

It’s not what it says on the tin

Here’s a bizarre one that I stumbled across the other day.

It’s obviously key for brands to communicate instantly what they are and how they benefit the consumer, so it’s quite confusing to see a brand that’s pushing the opposite and trying to reinforce what it’s not.

They pitch it as ‘The world’s first zero carb, zero alcohol, zero taste… beer.’ but is it trying NOT to be a beer, or trying TO be a credible water?

Interesting proposition, but I wonder if this is a ‘Simpsonesque’ joke that will wear off quite quickly?

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The world of engine oil is a truly bamboozling place.

If, as I did yesterday you’ve ever had to go out and shop the fixture and find the correct oil for your car, finding the correct one is like trying to find a copy of ‘Fly Fishing’ by J.R Hartley – thats one for you 80’s kids out there !

Some brands make it even harder to shop the fixture, take this example from Castrol or is it Land Rover or maybe Jaguar, who knows!

This is a great example of where correct hierarchy can help draw the consumer in and then help them navigate to the right solution.

Too many elements on here are competing for attention and all handled at exactly the same size. The important bit is the code that looks like it’s been programmed in some strange type of JavaScript, is the bit that pertains to the particular engine type.

This is something that should be presented front and centre, so that as you approach the shelf you instantly know that’s the right oil to meet your ailing cars needs.

Successful brands empathise with the consumer and offer the solution quickly and efficiently. This subtle encouragement and nudge in the right direction when navigating the fixture is a great way of brands conveying both expertise and advice.

Fail to use it and your brand will be linked with neither.

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Focus on how it makes you feel rather than how it makes you look

The world of hair colouring can surprisingly, be a pretty drab space.

For years many of the leading brands have taken the same formulaic approach of a large headshot, layered with multiple claims and a tiny brand logo. The ensuing experience is incredibly difficult for the shopper to differentiate one brand to the next.

Therefore, it’s really interesting to see this brand from Bleach London taking its inspiration from style magazines such as Wallpaper or Dansk, in order to create a more of an editorial feel to the packs. It certainly makes them stand out!

The monolithic shots as you’d expect in hairdressers window have been replaced by more fashion orientated art direction.

Taking inspiration from different touchpoints in the same category, as in this instance, can help create differentiation from the competition. Focusing more on how it will make you feel, rather than how it will make you look can create more of an emotional connection with the consumer. It’s something many categories could learn from.

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Say what?

Here’s an interesting pack and I say that for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it’s not immediately evident what it’s for, or how it is used. If you look up in the top right hand corner on the backing card, you can just about see the description.

That said, it did take awhile to find it. I ran it past a couple of other people in the studio who both the same quizzical look that I had.

Secondly, the communication on the front pack uses graphical devices more closely associated with harsh cleaning products, the sort of stuff you’d stick down the loo!

Clearly, that’s not something you want to put on very delicate face!

Brands should always be careful to identify what they are there to solve and in a tone of voice that is more empathetic with the cause.

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Don’t leave them guessing

Great standount and stripped back messaging always works, right?

Take a look at this example from OHMG.

The naming strategy is very clever for a magnesium based drink – once you know that’s what it is…

And that’s the problem. Whilst it may achieve standout, it’s not immediately evident what the product is, what flavour it is or what the benefit is to the consumer.

Now some of you out there may say, but it encourages me to pick it up and have a look at it. But would be you actually want to pick everything up and examine it in the middle of a busy shop?

Being single minded and stripping back clutter is always great for any FMCG brand, but never leave consumers guessing too much.

Otherwise they will quickly find something else that talks to and meets their immediate needs.

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Always be known for something

Now, at first glance this might this looks like one of those thingies that you pop in your toilet cistern in order to get rid of limescale and make the water blue.

It’s actually a gizmo for filtering tap water.

For these types of consumables it’s imperative to communicate the end use and benefit to the consumer. However, the ‘thirst quenching refreshment’ story and how many bottles one filter creates information is pretty much nowhere to be seen.

Sure, consumers no what Britta does as a brand, but lifestyle and end benefit are hugely important to the end of consumer.

In a world where sustainability rules, creating a credible alternative to bottled water is there for any brand to make their own!

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Build equity, not confusion

What do you see first? Is it the Apple, the background texture or the brand logo?

Now, bear in mind this photo is taken fairly close up on the shelf, but take a couple of steps back and the brand name disappears entirely.

The brand name should work effectively from a metre and a half away as your approach shelf and also when you’re right up next to it.

This is even more important if you don’t have an instantly recognisable brand colour or other piece of sign posting to draw the eye.

Build equity, not confusion.

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Is it just me?

Is it just me?

It would appear that the health and safety people have taken over control of SRP creation at the moment.

I’m sure I remember the oxo SRP being a much shallow tray to allow the O and X to rule the shelf.

This slightly overcautious iteration seems to spoil this champion of on shelf presence.

Can anyone else remember a shallower tray, or is this one of those “Mandala effect” things happening?

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Always ensure the story it creates matches what the product offers.

Pet food, as I’ve discussed before is a very confusing area.

Brands have a very small canvas to communicate a lot of information, especially that your four-legged friend is going to love the taste and that it’s packed with stuff that is going do them good!

Because of this challenge, you are relying on the imagery and colour palette to do much of the communication and delivery of this information to the purchaser!

I came across this own brand offering from Sainsbury’s on my first thought was, ‘wow, that’s so bleak!’.

Deconstructing the pack: There is a black tombstone holding all the information in very austere uppercase letterform, a dog that looks like it’s been photographed on a wet Wednesday and a weather worn, barren landscape.

Goodness promises bright and healthy, not an afternoon on a bleak English Moreland!

When space on pack is a premium, your illustration provides a strong visual shortcut to subconsciously cue the product qualities.

Always ensure the story it creates matches what the product offers.

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Oh go on then….

Packaging aimed at specific occasions has a lot of heavy lifting to do.

One of the key needs it has to meet, is to provide a strong visual shortcut to the emotion of that event. Take birthdays and baking specifically.

Who doesn’t like a good birthday cake? How many of us end up uttering ‘Oh go on then, I shouldn’t, but just one more slice!’

The excitement of that yearly ritual of celebration and over indulgence always seems to be missed from these products.

Packaging aimed at specific occasions should always have emotion at the heart of its brand storytelling.

Granted, these are own brand offerings and probably deprioritised but I think they’re missing a trick.

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Oh go on then…. Read More »

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