Archive for the Branding Category

Trust Economy

Posted in Branding on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


A lecture this week on ‘Of the People for the People: Rebuilding the Trust Economy’, likened trust in the economy to the trust formed in human relationships and discussed the different forms of trust. Professor Kenneth Costa talked about the ‘human factor’ in industry trust. Trust is a concept that is hard to earn and easy to lose. Humans work on the assumption that we give and receive trust, however, there is ‘asymmetry of trust’, where we expect to gain it but are not so eager to offer it back (i.e. the recent UK government expense scandal). There is also the notion of ‘false trust’, where trustworthy behaviour is just for show. And the concept of the ‘free rider’, where one person shirks their duties and takes advantage of the group’s trust. Read Professor Costa’s 3 steps to rebuilding trust here. </span>

Professor Costa concluded with 3 steps to rebuilding trust. These steps can be applied to business and humans alike.

1. The need to learn important lessons from what has happened.

2. The need to be willing to admit wrong-doing and serious breaches in trust.

3. The need to offer and embrace forgiveness, drawing the line to obtain closure. It is not just about being negative and regretful, but taking positive action towards changes in attitude.

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2009, 62% of people in the world trust businesses less than they did a year ago.


Live Fashion

Posted in Branding on September 25, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

There is a generation of young people whose fashion inspiration is coming entirely from the internet. They see fashion shows and shoots streamed live, read collection reports uploaded moments after the shows have finished, discuss them in web forums, and buy clothes online before they even get to the shops. Their experience of fashion is instant access and live. This is what SHOWstudio has set out to explore with the new Fashion Revolution exhibition, the highlight of the show being a live fashion shoot by Nick Knight. “We are in the midst of a revolution in fashion imagery,” he says. “Moving away from illustration and stills photography, we are now entering the restless world of interactive, self-created, digital-imaging: accessible, downloadable and constantly changing.”

My Wonderful World of Fashion, by illustrator Nina Chakrabarti is a really dear colouring in and activity book for fashionistas. As well as being a lovely book of illustrations in itself. There are pages which show you how to turn a napkin into a headscarf Grey Gardens-style, a game to match pairs of cowboy boots, and how to make a tiara from some twigs. It’s very Katie McKay.


Thanks to Lucy Johnston for this story. Lucy wants a pair of digitally enhanced shoe-boots with in-built camera.


Posted in Branding on September 18, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

Phil and Holly umming and aahhing over cups of Café Direct coffee on This Morning? Topshop sending home deliveries of its latest ranges to the Big Brother house? This week, the government announced plans to lift the ban on TV product placement, meaning new revenue streams for the broadcasting industry and we hope, more entertainment-driven, culturally-sensitive advertising. In the US, product placement is a mature market worth $7bn, and it has already been introduced in most EU countries. Experts believe deals could raise £125m annually for UK broadcasters in the next three years, arriving right at crunch time for a medium in transition. Publicly funded organisations such as the BBC will be excluded, as will kids’ TV. Have a watch of Logorama, the short film created entirely out of logos and brand mascots which premiered this week.

This new source of income for TV companies will mean more funding for good content, for sure, but where does editorial end and advertising begin? This, in a nutshell, is where the creative advertising world will find a new role as the gatekeepers of the hallowed space where cultural content and branded products converge. This convergence can be authentic, or it can be clunky – but in a cynical consumer world, only the first option is worth the investment. What will Mother do? Most likely, draw on a complete portfolio of skills and create the whole TV program.

Thanks to Lucy Johnson for this story. If Lucy was a fruit, she’d be a pomegranate.


Do Lectures

Posted in Branding on September 11, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


What links the mountaineering dustman of Everest base camp, Channel 4’s education commissioner, and a techie who is creating clothing that knows when you are in love? The Howies Do Lectures, a brilliant example of brand philanthropy in action. Every year, Howies volunteers to pay an ‘Earth Tax’ to balance the cost of its impact on the planet’s resources. In 2008, Howies decided to use this money to set up The Do Lectures. Modelled on TED, this 4-day conference brings together some of the world’s most inspiring doers to deliver their manifestos to an audience of business, media, entrepreneurs and the public who all want to make the world a better place. Although only 70 people could attend the live event, it is hoped that the podcasts (on iTunes) of all 20 talks will reach 1million people online.

Thanks to Lucy Johnston for this story. Lucy has a phobia of bananas.

Fantasy Branding

Posted in Branding on September 4, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

robot milk main branding image

We are looking for more magic, mystery and fantasy in our lives and branding is finding its new mission to provide it. Consumers are bored and disillusioned with reality and the rational sell. Function has gone as far as it can. As designer Jaime Hayon says, ‘It’s no longer enough for a product to be of good quality, it must also have a narrative. The narrative takes you to another world.’ In the emerging Fantasy age, storytelling is the new currency and the role of brands and culture will be to make our fantasy worlds a reality.

In his forthcoming book, Next Generation, Rolf Jensen suggests that we are living in an age when dreams themselves become the products consumers most covet. ‘We live in a fantasy world and we need to make products to fill it,’ says Jensen. ‘Fantasy products may never materialise in the real world. It could be robot milk, a computer game or a concept car. The product is a by-product of a fantasy.’

The idea is not to create a fantasy brand, but to invent a fantasy world through which a brand can tell its story. The architects of our imaginations, the Zaha Hadids, Steven Spielbergs and JK Rowlings, will have an integral role to play in this new era of fantasy branding.

bunny building for branding story on blog

Rendering of the Macau Pavilion, Shanghai, by Carlos Marreiros Architects. Whilst rational adult thinking may consider this nonsense, a child-like imagination would find the sense and wonder in a gigantic bunny-shaped building.

Dan Hon, CEO of Six to Start, a cross-platform entertainment and augmented reality game (ARG) company agrees with this theory. ‘Harry Potter is a great example. It’s JK’s [Rowling] story. But in her world there are some amazing sweets and a company out there [Mars] has thought – let’s actually make these sweets. It’s making fantasy a reality.’

Product designer and inventor Freddie Yauner uses play, narrative and nonsense to take everyday objects to another level. His products include the world’s highest-popping toaster, fastest clock and longest lipstick.

‘Product design is becoming more narrative based, more about beautiful nonsense,’ he says. ‘My tutor [at the Royal College of Art] said the toaster was stupid and funny. I said, Isn’t that nice? We have everything we need today. Therefore, you need a reason to make stuff. The narrative is the reason. Fantasy gives added value.’

toaster image branding story on blog

Freddie Yauner is the creator and breaker of the world’s highest-popping toaster.

Yauner says he would hate for his products to be mass-produced because they are a critique on consumer excess. ‘The point of Fantasy branding is breaking the monotony,’ he says. ‘It is a criticism and appreciation of what we have. These products break you from the consumer cycle and take you to an idle space, a fantasy world.’

‘The ability to dream, to spot what might otherwise be hidden, and to innovate to create what previously could only be imagined, will increasingly separate the winners and the losers,’ says Scott Anthony, author of The Silver Lining: An Innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times.

museum in a shoebox branding story on blog

Museum in a Shoebox is a web-based project by a Swedish artist and architect, Kristina Dalberg. It presents real and imaginary works by real and imaginary artists, “blurring the line between fact and fiction.”

Fantasy branding promises to change the way we think about innovation and unleash it throughout a business. ‘Businesses have a very rational, top-down way of thinking that may not understand how wild and unpredictable R&D is,’ says Richard Bronk, author of The Romantic Economist: Imagination in Economics. ‘We need more imaginative leaps from our leaders. Blue-sky thinking shouldn’t be compartmentalised to product development but applied to businesses as a whole.’ Brands should therefore start employing people with the skills for creating new market universes and fantasy worlds.

‘I see it coming from the storytelling industries: books, movies, TV,’ says Jensen. ‘Many reality TV shows already work in this way – they are creating new universes.’

book image for branding story on blog

Artist Scott Musgrove has just published a book about extinct animals that only exist in his imagination.

Weird and wonderful cross-cultural collaboration should therefore be considered, he says. ‘Imagine Kraft employing Steven Spielberg to invent a new universe for macaroni and cheese!’

The commercial age has gone as far as it can. In the Fantasy era, where we trade in stories and dreams, consumers and brands will be defined by their imagination. Consumers are ready for extraordinary, unique, impossible things.

Sarah’s Blog; Dreamtelligence, The Future Laboratory

Brand Philosophers

Posted in Branding on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


Brand ambassador of the week. Heathrow Terminal 5 has hired contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton as a writer-in-residence. De Botton, who has been granted access-all-areas, sits in the departure lounge writing general and passenger observations, which appear on a giant plasma screen behind him. The observations will be turned into free book for T5 customers. “It’s brave of them to have me,” says De Botton, “but it’s better for them to have a book that tells the truth than a glossy brochure that people will just throw away.”

Other interesting brand ambassadors:

Tottenham Hotspur hired poet Sarah Wardle as a poet-in-residence.

The Bluewater Shopping centre has Steve Dearden as a writer-in-residence.

Fay Weldon was a feminist-in-residence at the Savoy Hotel.


Thanks to Sara Tate for this story. Sara can’t spell her own name but she’s a really good strategist.

Shadow-Puppet Bunnies

Posted in Branding on August 21, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

How cute. And slightly creepy. Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind cinematographer) is behind U.S. Cellular’s new spot for the Believe in Something Better campaign. The ad transforms a city into a giant shadow-puppet show featuring smooching rabbits. The cute bit. The crowd is invited to use U.S. Cellular to share images; promoting the fact it is bizarrely, the only US network that doesn’t charge customers for receiving calls and texts. We love the sound of the second spot featuring blow up octopus, whales and jellyfish roaming through the city streets.


Thanks to Ellie Osbourne for this story. Ellie looks a bit like Penny Crayon.