Lovebrand / HatebrandWe love it / We hate it
May 23, 2005
Sitting in the garden on a very warm Sunday afternoon I became aware of the little noises around me like the flip-flop of my daughter's feet across the decking, the buzz of a hopeful bee and the tiny tweating of the blue tits in their nest box.
What particularly delighted me, rather bizarrely, was the satisfying nature of onomatopoeia. Filp-flop is such a wonderfully simple descriptive name that has all the relaxed warmth of summer embedded into it. Some brand names have also managed to exploit the nature of a sound that imitates an experience.
Crunchie springs to mind. The great honeycomb centre that crunches and crumbles as you bite into it lives up to its name. The Crunchie bar was originally launched in 1929 by Fry's, later to merge with Cadbury. 'Thank Crunchie it's Friday' was part of the 'Friday Feeling' concept that's been running since the mid-80's.
Buzz was never really quite the right sound for an airline. Bees buzz, and tend to flit from flower to flower, do circular, repetitive dances and sometimes dive-bomb into windows - not quite the associations I want for a safe, fast flight. Buzz has now buzzed off to be part of Ryanair.
Talking of buzzing, here's a product that makes a feature of not making a sound. Whisper, the world's first completely silent vibrator has incorporated Whisperpower to illiminate that oh so embarassing buzz.
Mr Schweppes probably didn't realise how onomatoepiaic his name was. In 1783 he invented an efficient system for the manufacture of carbonated water. No doubt even then each bottle opened with a distinctive 'schhh' sound. The famous 'Schhh....you know who' campaign wasn't launched until the 1960's - and is still going.
Names always work harder the more relevant, positive and emotive associations they have. Onomatopoeia is a gift - if you can get it right.
May 20, 2005
Just a bit manky
Sitting on the tube trundling towards Covent Garden the other afternoon I looked up to view the ads overhead alongside the 'just a bit too small to read' tube map. Amongst the usual cheaper travel insurance and well-woman pills was a name that I felt just didn't communicate the trust and quality it was supposed to - Euromanx.
The thinking is clear, I think - an Isle of Man airway that flies to Europe, but unfortunately it doesn't add up to a good result. I have no idea what the airline is like, probably brilliant (www.euromanx.com) - but the name doesn't really add much.
Rather like Aeroflot, which sounds like aeroflop, the name sounds like a negative expression. The name conjures up the word 'manky' which has a dictionary definition of inferior and worthless. Whilst the name can be rationalised - it's always worth taking a quick reality test before investing in a full blown brand development programme.
April 29, 2005
Romance behind dark glasses
Contrary to popular belief romantic novels have not gone out of fashion. I knew that there was an annual literary prize for a romantic novel. I’ve only recently found out that this is the 'FosterGrant Reading Glasses Romantic Novel of the Year'. Now there’s a title that requires a deep breath to say.
This year the award received plenty of press attention. The prize went to Katharine Davies for her book ‘A Good Voyage’ which is loosely based on Twelfth Night. I may well buy the book, as ‘Twelfth Night’ is a play that I like. Well-done and good luck to Katharine! I hope the book is worthy of my financial investment.
The announcement of the award kindled thoughts of FosterGrant glasses. I must admit I’d not given the brand much thought for a long time. I’m aware of FosterGrant ready-made magnifying spectacles purchased in chemists and supermarkets. This is because I’ve bought three pairs in the last five years on occasions when I’ve forgotten my spectacles and had to buy some in order to be able to read anything for the rest of the day. It’s a grudge purchase, even though it won’t break the bank. Needless to say they don’t quite work as my eyes have different prescriptions, but at least I can read with them. I counted a total of five pairs of these ‘ready made’ specs in my bits-and-bobs draw in the office and these specs have only ever been worn for one day! A trip to the charity shop beckons. I wonder whether I am excessively forgetful.
I think of FosterGrant as a brand of the 70s when it had a higher profile as one of the fashion brands for sunglasses. The 70s was a great period for the rise of designer eyewear and there was a big increase in the sales of sunglasses. They became an essential part of the wardrobe, elevated from a purely functional product. You had to have a pair, preferably a good pair. ‘Good’ being funky and preferably with a name on them, Polaroid lenses etc. Choosing them was a matter of great consideration.
An established US brand FosterGrant launched in the UK in the 1970s with a celebrity-endorsed campaign “Who’s that behind those FosterGrants?”. These ads starred a variety of famous people such as Woody Allen, Peter Sellers, Mia Farrow, Raquel Welch and even Vanessa Redgrave (not someone I associate with celebrity endorsement of products). Elvis was also a FosterGrant wearer Ah ha...
More recently the celebrities they’ve used are model Cindy Crawford and Honor Blackman, who has been promoting the reading glass collection as part of the celebration of 75 years in the sunglasses business.
The FosterGrant name does suggest its origins lie in the name of a small business, and opticians. Many opticians have the proprietors name over the door. One around the corner from me was called Rind & Abrahams, which I rather liked for sheer eccentricity.
The rise of sunglasses went hand-in-hand with increased foreign travel – the package holiday to Spain came into its own. The Polaroid lens had given rise to better and cheaper sunglasses and they became essential for protecting the eyes. You needed them in order to enjoy your holiday and the sunny weather to the full; you couldn’t lie on the beach all day without them!
For decades celebrities have worn dark glasses as protection from the light of flash bulbs and as a means of disguise (oh really!). Think urban Cary Grant, luscious Sophia Loren, and elfin Audrey Hepburn all in their dark specs. Glamorous and wonderfully untouchable people, very ‘don’t touch me I’m in dark glasses!’ Sunglasses were essential kit for strutting your celebrity stuff and relaxing in Monticarlo. Celebrity association and the rise of designer brands go hand-in-hand. Just like handbags and clothing brands your sunglasses say a lot about you and go to forming a statement about who and what you are. Brands like FosterGrant and Ray-Bans have always used this as part of their promotional activity.
I delight in seeing David Beckham’s face emblazoned on posters and in ads for the premier eyewear Police specs brand. He photographs so well and the camera certainly loves him. When his playing career is over a modelling career could beckon Beckham. He’s got the body, the attitude and the profile. If he’s well managed and chooses his work well he could do very nicely.
De Rigo’s POLICE brand has been a tremendous success in over 80 countries. The Police name is clever in its simplicity. The word ‘Police’ is so well recognised across so many languages. It’s highly recognisable and understood. As a single word it is eye-catching and memorable and distinctive within the marketplace. The fact that these specs are not specifically for police officers doesn’t matter. The name also fits with the positioning of ‘Aggressive Urban’ with an American lifestyle. Beckham is the ‘spokesman’ for the brand in Europe and George Clooney in the US.
De Rigo’s stable of brands is impressive including Etro, Loewe, La Perla, and Givenchy. Furla, Lozza and a recent collection for Mini. The STING brand is promoted by Michael Schumacher and is aimed at the contemporary European market. It’s less extreme but still modern. Endorsement by celebrities remains key for the premium eyewear sector and De Rigo completely understand this.
FosterGrant occupy a different space within the market, but also aspire to many of the same qualities and propositions as the other brand. FosterGrant may not be a premium brand but it has its place. It’s a pity it doesn’t have a ‘Police’ type name, but it does have longevity and provenance and some nice products. The parent company site fostergrant.com is in the process of being updated. I did note that they still use the strapline “Who’s that behind those FosterGrants?”. The UK site uses “Whoever you want to be”.
Romantic Novelists’ Association
March 18, 2005
What's a good idea worth?
Most communication agencies say their job is to understand and express ‘the’ brand, but do clients really want to buy ideas anymore? Are ideas still valuable?
What's a good idea worth, if it can't be realized?
Most communication agencies say their job is to understand and express ‘the’ brand. Their websites purport to develop strategic and creative communication ideas. But do clients really want to buy ideas anymore? Are ideas still valuable?
People are sick of fluff. We want real things. We want tangibleness, things we can touch, items to hold, products to devour. It’s why there’s currently a greater focus on product design (witness recent events at the Design Museum). It’s frightening to read companies like Nestle say that marketing is the heart and soul of the company, rather than their products. It’s products that need to be at the heart, not the spin.
Nike’s latest product line ‘Nike Considered’ unites innovation with its commitment to the environment. Nike, through its products, is actually doing something about sustainability, not just talking about it. As Nike says on its website, “it combines the coolest athletic products and, well, the green stuff.” Do you want to be told that corporate social responsibility is important to a brand, or do you want to see a brand actually do something about it?
Agencies need to help brands invent products and services rather than just sell the ideas around them. Clever communication agencies are slowly beginning to work with brands on service and product innovation, not just the identity of the brand. There is a growing trend for clients to focus less of their marketing budget on the consumer insight strategy piece, and more on implementing the consumer insight into future product and service offerings.
Agencies have to move beyond being seen solely as communicators, but also as having tinkering hands that can help invent brand’s futures. They have to stop creating ideas for ideas sake. What’s a good idea worth if it can’t be realized?
Think when Richard Gere’s character in the film Pretty Woman decides to build ships instead of tearing a business apart. We want to make things with our hands, build things. Talk is hot air. Ideas on their own no longer have any currency.
© Kristina Dryza 2005
Kristina Dryza is a consumer trends expert and a LingoLAB associate and can be reached on mobile 07812 352 088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 17, 2005
A Splenda Addition
Does combining two high profile brands equal something bigger than the two parts? That’s the question as news reaches us that Diet Coke is planning to expand their product repertoire yet further.
In the third quarter of 2005 we will see another Diet Coke product on the shelves and in the chiller cabinet ‘Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda’ (Splenda being the sweetener ingredient). The Splenda trade mark will also appear on the drink, so the endorsement will be highly visible. “Does what it says on the tin” a straightforward and direct message. Consumers are likely to be very aware of Splenda as the brand has been heavily advertised on TV and in the press in the last year.
The Splenda ads have reinforced the message of a product for all of us, whether we’re Grandma with a healthy appetite who can still manage three lemon pancakes, or the kids who are able to enjoy their cookies blissfully unaware that they are sweetened with a magical calorie free ingredient.
Many consumers may have experience of Splenda as a table and cooking product. Splenda has become increasingly popular, indeed it’s rise has verged on the meteoric, spurred on by the popularity of the Atkins and South Beach diet programmes. In the US, sales have increased from $65 million in 2001 to $346 million last year. It now has 50% of the market share of sugar substitutes.
The main ingredient Sucralose starts off life as cane sugar. By changing the molecular structure the end product is 600 times sweeter than standard table sugar and has zero calories. Consumers may see it as more authentic than aspartame based sweeteners such as Nutrasweet.
Not all the news is good for Splenda as questions have been raised regarding product safety and whether it can be advertised as a sugar-based product. Splenda themselves cite competitor fear and fury for aspersions against the product, aka if you can’t beat it then discredit it.
From Coca Cola’s point of view it’s a good marriage. We know that Diet Coke is the mainstay of the Coke brand these days, particularly in the major markets, so it’s no surprise that teaming up with another brand is seen as attractive. It’s not a new brand model, just look at brands like competitor NutraSweet, Lycra and Nylon for similar scenarios.
The key to this alliance is good old-fashioned taste. Many consumers dislike, even hate the taste of aspartame and NutraSweet which Diet Coke is sweetened with. Coke has to maintain and try to strengthen its position in the diet/sugar free soft drinks market. It’s a major challenge in a marketplace where adults increasingly switch to non-carbonated drinks. There are millions of savvy consumers out there all looking to cut down on sugary carbonated soft drinks. Non carbonated drinks go from strength to strength. Consumers have more choice of these by the week. Coca Cola feels the heat.
The Coke equivalent of semi-skimmed milk, its mid calorie Coca-Cola C2 drink launched in the US last year and was not a success. It was found to take Diet Coke customers rather than dramatically increase market share and build a new customer base in its own right.
For Diet Coke the repertoire of products has recently increased to include flavoured Diet Coke’s – lime, lemon, cherry and vanilla. By the time the Splenda variety appears it will comprise a range of seven products.
So will there be confusion amongst consumers with a mixed message? A flavour offer is one thing, different artificial sweeteners is another. Will they be fighting head to head and stealing market share from each other, or will the Splenda variety draw new customers or those who’ve not adopted traditional Diet Coke? Getting the product mix right to ensure it’s what people want to buy is crucial to a business that’s stagnated in recent years and is under pressure from disgruntled shareholders who’ve seen the share price drop dramatically from $70 to $40.
Practical issues include how to get outlets to take on and display yet another Diet Coke product. Re-invigorating the advertising has been taken in hand in an attempt to ensure wide appeal in ads that talks to customers across the generations. In my view this is a major challenge as the heady days of the 1970s when Coke “taught the world to sing” have gone. Consumers, markets and channels of communications have changed irrevocably, although it would be a triumph to see it work.
In the West the carbonated drinks market is tremendously competitive and in decline, but there are opportunities in emerging markets. Ironically Coca-Cola is the world’s biggest non-carbonated drinks company and should be well placed to leverage this position.
I for one will wait with anticipation to see how ‘Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda’ is received. Whether one partner gains more from the alliance than the other remains to be seen. If it works this time will Coca-Cola embark on more brand partnering?
Oh yes, news is that Pepsi too will launch a reformulated PepsiOne drink that will be sweetened with Splenda. They too have decided not to tamper with the standard Diet Pepsi brand. So who’s following who? I’m expecting this Splenda thing to be really good then.
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 11:22 AM | Single Article
January 31, 2005
Love or hate this brand, you cannot deny their approach and vision is 'genius'. So which brand are we talking about....?
Our recent visit to the Apple Store on Regent Street was an inspiration and delight. Apple, love 'em or hate 'em, (and yes it is true that we do love them), have delivered a masterstroke in beautiful retailing. The temptation is to compare it with GAP, Armani and The Conran Shop. But hey, no, we're talking about a computer shop. Think PC World or Dixons. That's when the genius of Apple really strikes you.
The space and height are uplifting. The whiteness is white, and oh so on brand. The graphics on the walls are the same as the images on their newsletters. The stairs are glass - just like Cinderella's slippers. You are completely immersed in a warm feeling about Apple. And Apple is probably the only computer brand that anyone has ever had warm feelings about.
Up the fairy tale stairs is the Theatre, the Studio, lots more merchandise and even a kids area (and toilets by the way - v.white). But most groundbreaking of all, and such an Apple signature, is the Genius Bar. Here you queue to see or make an appointment with an Apple Genius. Each one is a Mac super-god and has drunk the waters of the Apple mothership in California. They'll solve your problems, listen to your woes and put you back on track. If you have a problem with your iPod they just give you a new one. And they all wear black. And look really cool.
But Apple's beauty hasn't arrived overnight - and isn't just at surface level. It's been growing and improving ever since its foundation. Design has always been at the top of their agenda, and their image has been managed consistently, with a clear adherence to their core beliefs and goals.
Apple's product names have consistently been simple, strong, easy to use and distinctive. Macintosh was named after a variety of apple, originally just as a code name for the development project. They started off with a simple strapline, "Insanely great". After a bit of a lull as they found their feet, the PowerBook came along. Then there was their fantastic ad campaign, a re-affirmation that you were right to stick with Apple, "Think Different." Through stunning imagery you could associate yourself with the likes of Einstein, Picasso and Amy Johnson.
Very soon after that, Apple's fortunes were turned around by the introduction of the iMac. Lifesaving for them, but highly influential in naming and product design across a spectrum of markets. You couldn't move for iType stuff, in fruit gum colours.
Perhaps the rest is iHistory. But they just keep getting better at it. The iBook came along. It's not just the primary name that's clear and simple. The iBook comes in two primary variants - 12" and 14". That's quite easy to understand.
The iPod has revolutionised Apple's life even more. The point at which you knew things were really different, and that Apple were a company without an inflexible ego, was when the new (and really quite stunning) iMac was launched as 'from the makers of iPod'. Such very great humble confidence, the mark of true leadership.
The latest iPod baby, the Shuffle, is a masterly piece of marketing and naming. It was developed to take the lower end of the MP3 player market, the only bit that the iPod wasn't leading in. So it's tiny, stripped down, much cheaper and, yes, rather beautiful. Its name is clever on two levels. Firstly it's rooted in real customer experience. Apple found that most people enjoyed listening to their iPods on shuffle-mode. Secondly, and how they must have loved this, it conjures up dance and music - wow!
There are many great things about Apple's approach and vision. Their resistance to over-proliferation, their revolutionary software and operating systems, their adherence to usability and customer clarity. But I must just mention one more aspect that I love. It's their understanding of the total customer experience. And the bit of that I want to focus on is the packaging.
Just opening an Apple box is such a pleasurable experience. The colour, the texture, the seamlessness of the vacuum packed headphones, the die-cut presentation of the product. It both rewards you for your choice of purchase and whets your appetite for getting the much prized product up and running. Just have a look at this review of the iPod Shuffle www.engadget.com.
Well, there are no prizes for guessing what I'm writing this on. Or what our music is on. Or what my kids are getting for their next birthdays. I can't wait to visit the store again. Pure Genius.
Posted by kate.fishenden at 11:34 AM | Single Article
January 19, 2005
'A Case of the Tai£ Wagging the Kat'
What can happen when you really want to 'dollarize' your core brand equity?
My little gripes about KitKat damaging their brand integrity by using plastic flo-wrap packaging instead of the delightful paper and foil combo (see a lovely piece on this at www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com - what a great site) pale into insignificance with their new sales-promo pack. You can hardly have failed to miss it, the packs are outrageously 'violated' and the TV ads of bin-men raiding our rubbish are currently horrifying us on screen.
When I asked my in-house research team (aka my 17-year old) what he thought of it, his reply was, "A bit shit." And then he added rather plaintively, "That's not the new name , is it? It's just a short term thing....yeah?"
The perpetrator of this angst? KitKash. Yes, that is what it says on the pack. And yes, they did just get rid of their strapline, "Have a break have a KitKat," and replaced it with something equally memorable - can you remember it? Presumably as a preliminary move to allow this idea to have breathing space.
The icing on the cake of this criminal act is that the 's' in Kash has been made into a dollar sign. Have I missed something? Has monetary unification meant that we have adopted the dollar as our standard financial unit? I'm afraid it reaks of money before brand. It reminds me of those cartoon characters who blink and dollar signs appear instead of eyes as a metaphor for financial greed.
Now, if you type www.kitkat.co.uk into your browser you don't go to the KitKat Cafe, with delightful, if slightly unbelievable, anecdotes about how this brand was named after the KitKat Club in the 1930's. No. You are instantly redirected to www.kitkash.co.uk. An auction site. Here you use your KitKash to bid for, or buy, 'thousands of great auctions and offers.' You earn your KitKash by buying KitKash products, the chocolate bars formerly known as KitKat, and typing in your unique code found on the inside of the wrapper.
A rough guide research conducted today, 19th January, showed that you could have got a Sony Digital Camera for 57900 kitKash, earned by eating 579 KitKats and a Philips 26" LCD TV by munching through 1,294 KitKats. Actually this works out as quite good value. The same product on Amazon was going for £1,049.99 including delivery and £899.00 on Sound and Vision. 1,294 KitKats at, say, 40p each would cost £517.60. So a saving of around £381.40 minus delivery costs, but plus a lot of unwrapped KitKats. I won't mention Hoover and Air Miles or Tesco and bananas.
I don't know if it comes out of a piece of research that lots of people bid on e-bay while they are 'taking a break' and presumably eating a KitKat - sorry KitKash product. It certainly smacks of dollarization, as in "we can help you quantify the ROI of your brand-building efforts and express it in dollarized terms" promised by Brand Link. Yeah.
Toying with brand names is always dangerous. At the most basic level you are jeopardising your Intellectual Property Rights by opening your trade mark up to variation. The damage goes far beyond that though. It's a deepset emotional thing, it erodes the relationship your customer has with your brand. It erodes the whole integrity of your brand. The one thing that you have spent 70 years making clear in people's mind is now muddied. It's short term gains over long-term pre-eminence.
To sum up my feelings about this? It's KitKrap.
Rather spookily as I am writing this, York City Football Club have just announced a deal with Nestle with an injection of money to allow them to keep their Bootham Crescent ground. The deal includes naming rights for the stadium for two years, 2005 and 2006. The new name? KitKat Crescent. At least it's not KitKash Crescent. (see more at www.yorkcityfc.com )
Posted by kate.fishenden at 12:08 PM | Single Article
January 14, 2005
‘Dust – high fat, low fat – anybody?’
I just simply adore Marjorie Dawes the upfront, rude, hypocritical fictional character who runs ‘Fat Fighters’ in the series Little Britain. It sums up everything I feel about January and how we are bombarded with detox this, fitness that, lose that fat! Exactly how much did everyone eat and drink over Christmas to gain so much weight that we all need to go on a mass diet in January? Then most of us, if we are honest, buy the fitness videos – which sit and gather dust, or join a leisure club for 12 months, and it all lasts….. well possibly four weeks at the most!
I love the names of some of the latest fitness videos to hit our screens, from ‘Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease’ – (and this is only Volume 1, so many more to come - hooray!), to ‘Slim 'N' Salsacise’ with Rosemary Conley, to ‘Tone and Tease’ with Abi Titmuss and ‘Phat Moves’. You can now even get all your favourite soap-stars joining in with ‘Coronation Street: Funk fit’ and 'Hollyoaks Fitness'. I think it would be more realistic if they called these videos ‘Dream on’ with Claudia Schiffer or ‘Get Real’ with Caprice.
So you've bought your video and there you are standing in your lounge trying to carry out dance and yoga moves that haven't been possible for years. You just don’t have enough space in your lounge - so you end up having to move all your furniture in order to do an hours work out, but by this time you’re knackered anyway and let’s not even go into what your neighbours think when they look through the window!
And then there’s all those supermarkets advertising their low-fat, low-carb, low salt, food ranges. Marks and Spencers with ‘Count on Us’, Sainsbury’s – ‘Be good to yourself’, and now there is even ‘edietsuk’ in association with Tesco’s (www.edietsuk.co.uk) which lets you put in your profile, find the right diet for you and you have many to choose from whether it be the cholesterol-lowering diet, heart-smart diet, high-fibre, lactose-free or wheat-free diet. I prefer the 'Seafood diet' – you see food and eat it!
I think ‘Count on us’ and ‘Be good to yourself’ are great product range names and were innovative and unusual names when they were first introduced. ‘Count on us’ conveys a message that you can put your trust in Marks and Spencers who have counted the calories for you and they won’t let you down. ‘Be good to yourself’ is similar to that great strapline ‘Because you’re worth it’. It’s all about you treating your body right – you owe it to yourself and Sainsbury’s will hold your hand. They give you the sense that when you put the food in your trolley you should feel good about it (as long as they aren’t next to a couple of fresh cream cakes!)
Well as Marjorie Dawes would say – ‘Fruit, fruit, what do you mean eaten fruit – more like a chocolate orange’.
Just some of the videos available this January include something out there for everyone:
Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease - Vol. 1
You Are What You Eat
Barbara Currie - Power Packed Yoga
Pump It Up! The Ultimate Dance Workout
Nell McAndrew's Ultimate Challenge - Ultimate Results
Angela Griffin Dance Mix Workout
Walk Off The Pounds with Lorraine Kelly
Billy Blanks' Tae Bo: The Ultimate Collection
Fit For All Seasons
Davina: Power of 3
Beverley Callard - Lasting Results
Slim 'N' Salsacise With Rosemary Conley
Barbara Windsor - Windsor Workout
The Body Training Collection - Step: Beginners / Intermediate Level
Hi Lo Latino
Pilates Body with Lynne Robinson
Joanna Hall - 28 Day Total Body Plan
Carol Vorderman: Kick Start Detox and Exercise Plan
Coronation Street: Funk Fit
Personal Trainer - Interactive
Barbara Currie - Power Packed Yoga
Posted by louise.tomkinson at 05:01 PM | Single Article
December 10, 2004
Christmas Smells - a case of mis-odourstanding
Through the sparkle, glitter and tingling of Christmas TV advertising currently festooning the screen two perfume names struck me as rather off-beam. They're both from fashion houses, but both conjured up a quite different odour in my smell-imagination than I think was intended.
Ghost, I realise now, is a well-known fashion line, but that wasn't what I thought when I caught the ad. My first thought was, "Why would you want to smell like a ghost?" And what does a ghost smell like anyway?
Ghost hunter, Neil Fellowes says, "It is possible to experience any type of smell where ghosts and hauntings are concerned. I have experienced the smell of tobacco in one venue and in another, the smell of oranges. It is believed that 'paranormal' odours are a sign of ghost/spirit presence."
This actually fits quite well the description of the male perfume,"‘Ghost Man’ combines notes of bergamot, clove buds, orange blossom and amber to create a unique and irresistible scent for men."
The description of Ghost Deep Night for women doesn't sound particularly paranormal, but is just a tad schizophrenic. "Ghost Deep Night takes its wearer into the world of feelings between day and night. Created for the woman who is not only strong, self-confident, and clever, but also sentimental and romantic as well. A freshly oriental composition. A fragrance made for love – and loving."
The other was a word I usually associate with the smell of popcorn, very sweet sweets, hot dogs, slightly musty velvet and occasionally smelly feet. 'Cinema'. I'm not sure these were the scents Yves had in mind.
Indeed the description sounds like a really good idea, "Reveal your inner star—a sensual fragrance for the woman who lives for the spotlight. Fresh, luminous top notes of almond tree blossom. Floral, sophisticated middle notes of amaryllis. Sensual base notes of amber." A perfume that makes you feel like a filmstar is a really good proposition. However it's the suspension of disbelief that creates the glamour and seduction of the movies and their stars - the cinema experience itself is not usually one that I would describe as glamorous. 15ml of pure bottled Cinema costs around £111. My local UGC is about £6.00 for a ticket and popcorn.
The reality is that names often become more associated with the new product, and the literal meaning can fade when in context. It's this contextuality that makes naming work. What's appropriate in one place may not work in another. Orange is easily understood as a telecom brand. Next and Gap usually conjure up popular retailers. To the right audience, Ghost probably conjures up elegant female fashion before eery crypt-dwelling spectres.
Posted by kate.fishenden at 05:18 PM | Single Article
December 01, 2004
Jeremy Clarkson is someone that people tend to either love or hate, and I'll admit I'm rather a fan.
He has just written a book called 'I Know You Got Soul - Machines with that certain something', about machines he believes have a soul (and he readily admits it is largely an excuse to write about machines he likes).
The book is £18.99 from all good bookshops - and at significant discount in Waterstones where I got my copy (makes a good present for the man who has everything - I guarantee a positive response).
His definition is interesting:
"Some machines have it and others don't: soul. They take your breath away, and your heart beats a little faster just knowing they exist. They may not be the fastest, most efficient or even the best in their class - but they were designed and built by people who loved them, and we can't help but love them back".
Now I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty close to my definition of a brand.
He goes on "Sometimes, as is the case with Concorde and the AK47, it's because they possess that most human of qualities, a flaw, and sometimes it's because they were born carrying the genetic fingerprint of a foolish and misguided inventor."
The examples Jeremy writes about are products like Concorde, Rolls Royce, the Millennium Falcon, B-52, basically lots of machines that appeal to young boys, or those men (and lets face it, its generally a bloke thing) that spent their youth building Airfix kits and pouring over books about tanks and cars and stuff.. no? Just me then.
What I like about Jeremy is his enthusiasm, he really is passionate about what interests him, and whether you agree or not with his choice of what is a cool car, or a travesty of automotive engineering, he has an opinion. He is also extremely clear in his judgments - black and white, and is able to bring to life the relative merits of anything he is pontificating about, and does it with insight and humour.
The book is more than a simple product love-in, he has done his research, and makes the whole thing very entertaining. But it is his definition that particularly interested me. What he is often talking about is branding, that synthesis of product and personality, that is really intriguing.
I have long espoused the notion of flaw, which reflects how we see people. 'Perfect' people are a little nauseating, a little scary, and are in reality too good to be true. I think powerful brands are the same. They attract and repel - think of the Marmite campaign, in branding it's as important to consider who you don't want as customers as who you do.
Brands that are bland, that notionally appeal to everyone, tend not to be strong. Strong brands need grit, flaws, fallibility's - to bring them to life. Strong brands need controversy, they need to demand strong opinions. remember when Marathon changed to Snicker, and when Opal Fruits changed to Startbursts? Or the possible withdrawal of Heinz salad cream, or the change of formulation for Coca Cola? Thats passion. People cared, or at least the fans and strong brands need fans - evangelists who keep the fire burning. Apple was apparently a basket case in the mid nineties - missed me mind you, I was stalwart, I was constant, I didn't waver, Apple could do no wrong as far as I was concerned, I was oblivious to it's problems, it still had a soul in the bad times - just.
I don't agree with all Jeremy's selections in his book, but I know what he means - we love products with soul, we put up with or ignore the rest.
Incidentally Jeremy believes most machines are just a collection of wires, and the computer he wrote the book on has no more soul than a Corby trouser press. I suspect he has never used a Mac, and I have to admit to personally having a soft spot for the Corby trouser press - for some bizarre reason whenever I am in some god-forsaken business hotel somewhere, my heart beats just that little bit faster when I find the Corby hidden in the wardrobe - ah, pressed trousers! Now what is that all about?
I have a similar fixation about the need for biscuits with the in-room coffee maker, but that's another story...
Posted by jonathan.mercer at 04:01 PM | Single Article
November 02, 2004
Brand name howlers
Do you know what these products are: Plopp, Loozer, Hardon, or Basterd? This month we look at product names that are fine for a local market but NOT in the English language.
Whether it's Aass Beer, Plopp chocolate, Loozer orange drink, Hardon tea or Basterd sugar all washed down with Slag Lager Beer, every branding agency has a cupboard containing products with that don't travel well. Product names that are fine for a local market but not in the English language. No doubt foreign branding agencies have their own cupboard of brand name howlers.
Imagine my delight on descending into the bowels of the Selfridges store on London's Oxford Street at stumbling upon a brand delight, a small but rich exhibition SHELF LIFE that accompanies the book launch of 'Shelf Life a celebration of the world's quirkiest brands' by Rosie Walford. It's a colourful treasure trove of brand names with a very local feel. It's a tribute to Rosie's and collaborators Paula Benson and Paul West's eagle-eyed shopping in the small supermarkets at the nether regions of the globe. Rosie was hooked after finding 'Puke' playing cards in a small shop in Turkey, bringing them home for what has become her trophy cupboard and no doubt whipping them out at presentations for the likes of Unilever and Mercedes, some of the clients she's worked with.
It's a great little book, my only wish is that there were even more products shown. The exhibition was a delight as the whole collection was there in its shrink-wrapped and printed package glory. The book with limitations of space also encountered the limitations of brand owners - those who were reluctant to have their products featured. Since the time they were gathered some of these products have since moved off the shelf and into brand heaven, another reason to celebrate them and capture their likeness.
It's important to see this book on context, celebrating diversity and 'quirkiness' giving the local view. 'Local brands for local people' is how it used to be and while it's the larger international brands that sit at the forefront of our consciousness, local brands continue to exist and add to the variety of life. What has changed in recent years is the awareness from brand owners that there is a potential international marketplace for their brands and access to information about it via the Internet. Now naming products and services is a serious business.
My two particular favourites in the book are not the obvious 'this is a rude word in English' brands, but two that are thought provoking. In the case of Prison a body spray from Uganda I'm intrigued to know where the name came from and why it was deemed appropriate. And as for a Japanese cigarette brand Hope; well the name says it all.
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 10:27 AM | Single Article
October 26, 2004
Naming a new perfume is a challenge, particularly if the marketplace for that fragrance is international. With so many fragrance names registered, the creative juices really have to flow in order to create one that expresses the essence of the perfume and is available for use.
I followed the launch of the new fragrance launched by Sir Cliff Richard last week with great interest. He’s timed it right for the Christmas market, maybe if he doesn’t enter the Christmas single race this year he’ll score a number one in the fragrance sales – could be a top five given his extensive and ultra loyal fan base. Maybe he will toast the success of the perfume and his new album ‘Something Goin’ On’ (launched 25th October) with his Vida Nova wine.
The fragrance is called ‘Miss you Nights’ taken from the title of his 1975 hit single. It’s a great name for scoring an immediate hit with his fan base as one of his most well-known and successful singles and a standard of his repertoire. It also capitalises on the special relationship he has with his fans – they miss him, he misses them. Romantic, certainly and very much in step with Sir Cliff and his personality.
Sir Cliff says "I chose a romantic, warm, oriental scent, just right for winter evenings and those special moments."
"The heart of the perfume is intensely floral. The first time I smelled it, the scent of the jasmine immediately transported me to my home in Barbados, where I have spent so many happy holidays,"
He decided to get into the fragrance game having seen how much pleasure his Mom and sister got from receiving perfume gifts. Having grown-up in India he had vivid memories of fragrance. “One of my earliest memories is of my mother fanning herself in the tropical heat with a sandalwood fan. To recapture this memory I have included some beautiful sandalwood in the formula and you can smell the sweet woody notes lingering long after the floral and spicy notes have faded.”
There are other potential names in his discography should he consider more ranges One wonders whether he’ll set a trend for other performers to launch fragrances and adopt a track or album name for them.
Flicking through his discography there are other potential names:
If he wants to move into men’s fragrances then there’s ‘Bachelor Boy’ and how about Mistletoe and Wine for a room fragrance?
If you applied the same process to Madonna there are a few possibilites:
Ray of Light
Candy Perfume Girl
With J Lo you come out with:
Her JLO and Glow perfumes are already launched and Lopez is regarded as having broken the mould as previously celebrity fragrances did not work with the exception of Liz Taylor’s ‘White Diamonds’ (which followed on from her previous success ‘Passion’ in the 1980s). ‘White Diamonds’ is a perfect name that absolutely fitted with the Liz Taylor and her love of the jems. No doubt it’s success has enabled her to acquire more ‘girl’s best friends’!
Names associated with celebrities have to have resonance with the fans and with international stars looking for opportunities through which to capitalise I expect to see more celebrity fragrances on the shelves in the next couple of years. Britney Spear’s has launched ‘Curious’ and Beyonce Knowles ‘True Star’. There are rumours that there will be a Sarah Jessica Parker will be launching a perfume along with a number of other international celebrities. One can see a scenario where for a celebrity with a high enough profile a fragrance will be a ‘must’. That you can’t be a superstar without one. This doesn’t mean that they’ll all be a success or be around for that long. It’s a sophisticated and highly competitive market and launch costs are high. A key factor will be the celebrity having a desirable and motivating lifestyle positioning that purchasers (presumably fans) buy into.
For the established perfume brands they will continue to use celebrities in their campaigns. Nicole Kidman for Chanel No 5 and Catherine Zeta Jones for Elizabeth Arden. The intention is re-invigorate these brands and bring them to a younger audience. All of this when the global perfume market has been flat and it’s harder than ever to launch a fragrance. For the customer there will be more choice, though if you’re a serious Cliff Richard fan then there’s rally only one.
For comments on Miss You Nights:
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 12:09 PM | Single Article
October 14, 2004
How a mushroom becomes a mountain
A name that intrigued me was Iron Mountain the US based record and data storage business. I always thought it was a wonderfully appropriate name for this type of business and wondered where it came from. It suggested either an actual place or a man-made mountain cast in iron – solid, immovable and robust and just about as heavy and heavy as could be.
The name has been in existence for over 50 years, having been created in 1951, by Herman Knaust. He was a successful mushroom farmer who acquired a depleted iron ore mine 125 miles north of New York. As the previously highly profitable mushroom market changed and took a down-turn he needed a new use for the mountain and surrounding land.
From his work in helping many Jewish immigrants move to the US after WW II, he was all too aware of the problems caused as a result of them losing their documentation and records. His idea turned into a business he founded Iron Mountain Atomic Storage Inc. in 1951 – this soon became Iron Mountain Inc. The storage vaults were housed in the mountain and the sales office located in the Empire State Building. It was a business founded in the right place at the right time. Iron Mountain accumulated an impressive list of clients all of whom had recognised the necessity of protecting their data and records.
It’s a name that’s right for the business and conjures-up an image of a place of security – perfect for the target market for the business. In reality there are several underground facilities in addition to the original mountain. Advances in technology and a company with an entrepreneurial ability to acquire other leading data management and storage businesses has resulted in Iron Mountain becoming familiar internationally. The business is now a Fortune 1000 company. It’s a business and a brand that’s unlikely to diminish as businesses and organisations become ever more diligent about protecting their information and assets.
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 12:51 PM | Single Article
October 02, 2004
Mary, Mary quite contrary…
On holiday in Pembrokeshire this summer I regularly passed a sign to “Pardon my Garden and tearoom”. Intriguing though it was I never actually turned right to offer my forgiveness to this apologetic plot – but it did get me thinking about the power of garden names.
Last summer we visited the most successful new visitor attraction in Cornwall – The Eden Project. Its success on its own merit – well over a million visitors a year – and its success at enriching the Cornish economy are well reported. The site is magical with its huge biomes sunken into a hidden crater, www.edenproject.com.
But it seems to me it’s the name that has really captured the imagination of the public. Eden is a word loaded with visual and symbolic richness. The original Garden of Eden is a symbol of Paradise – and the subsequent rejection of mankind. The word ‘project’ adds a certain progressiveness and enhances its participative nature. A name that so fully expresses and evokes a brand is a real gem. And yes it is a brand. It defines a whole attitude and experience that is more than scientific and ecological.
By contrast the National Botanic Garden of Wales sounds dull. I love botanical gardens. The Garden of Wales (as the website calls it - is that to sound a bit more like The Garden of Eden? www.gardenofwales.org.uk/), is the first national botanic garden to be created in the United Kingdom for over 200 years. It boasts the Great Glasshouse, designed by Norman Foster and Partners, the world's largest single-span Glasshouse. It’s full of intriguing things like the Welsh Water Discovery Centre, Theatre Botanica, the Willow Wood Play Area.
Have I visited? No. In fact I knew none of this until I started writing this article. I’ve seen the sign to it – on my way to Pembrokeshire, but never stopped or planned a visit. Our Cornwall holiday was organised with a visit to Eden as one of the key targets.
You might say this is all down to a better PR engine (and new brands are all about PR – see The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al and Laura Ries), but even PR needs to be fuelled with something genuinely exciting and interesting. I think it’s all about the name. As Lexicon Branding Inc say on their website, “A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation.”
Posted by kate.fishenden at 10:02 AM | Single Article
October 01, 2004
How is Pot Noodle like a Cappuccino?
It’s one of those brands that are brimming with “does what it says on the tin”. It’s a pot full of noodles. A wonderfully simple proposition, clear and understandable. It’s hard to imagine it being called anything else other than Pot Noodle. For a product so new in the market it justifies its descriptive name.
I keep one in my kitchen cupboard ready for the arrival of my close friend’s son Anthony. It’s all he ever asks for and she gave-up trying to wean him of it long ago. He’s 14 now and as keen as ever. Never tires of it, insists on making it himself, because if his Mom or I make it, it just doesn’t taste the same and fails to meet his expectations and requirements. Bella and I sigh when he retreats to watch the TV and eat his meal in peace. Of course it’s the same. It certainly smells and looks the same. It’s a predictable ritual and rather reassuring. We just wonder when his Pot Noodle will be ‘so yesterday’ and un-cool.
I find it hard to think of it as ‘the slag of all snacks’, but I’m not target market, although I do go and buy them. Intended to make a big splash the campaigns aim has been to reinforce the product truth that Pot Noodle is “enjoyed as a guilty, solitary pastime by young men” (see Greg Rowland’s website below for a semiotic analysis - www.semiotic.co.uk). Well, with complaints about the ads in both the UK and Ireland. The ads certainly haven’t turned Anthony off. If anything it fits rather well with his progression to maturity, it’s become ‘cooler’. Consuming Pot Noodle is rather like a rite of passage.
With half the purchases being impulse purchases (presumably the other half are people like me stocking-up for their own juveniles who must be satisfied). Well the ads have stirred up a storm in recent months and as a result this week Pot Noodle was announced as “Britain’s most hated brand” (www.news.scotsman.com) following a survey of 11,000 consumers by Marketing magazine. They serve to exemplify the difficulty of targeting the 16-24 year old young male audience. They’re the lads least likely to be watching the ads and the most cynical. Pot noodle has gained attitude and an edge, albeit seedy one.
Like many a poll, this tells only part of the story. It’s claim of having 95% of the instant hot snack market valued at £105 million means it’s loved as well as hated. Teenagers are fuelled by it, staff rooms populated by it. A rather wonderful innovation when launched in 1979 (we’re talking pre noodle bar days here). I remember buying some when doing my industrial design degree and we sat around and watched one perculating just to really see if the plastic container would actually melt when the boiled water was poured in. We just couldn’t quite believe it without seeing it for ourselves.
So how is a Pot Noodle like a cappuccino? Answer - Ritual
It’s a great example of a brand steeped in ritual. Rituals mean a lot to us. They’re pleasant and reassuring and whether Pot Noodle does or doesn’t do it for you, it’s going to stay around for a while. It still ‘does what it says on the tin’, but with an edge and more variety and working on the premise that all publicity is good publicity things appear to be going well.
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 09:40 PM | Single Article
September 30, 2004
So how cool are you?
So how cool are you? A new survey by Superbrands, the independent arbiter on branding, teamed up with Urban Life to get the nation's views on who, what and where is cool.
I drive home in my Audi, listening to The Streets, Once at home I look out at the London Eye, then sit back and relax with my cold bottle of Stella Artois and watch Pirates with Johnny Depp on my Bose Digital Home Entertainment System. Yeah right, in my dreams!
So how cool am I? Well I do like the occasional bottle of Stella, have been on the London Eye which I very much enjoyed and always dream that one day Johnny Depp will knock on my door and ask me to marry him – move over Vanessa!
So how cool are you? A new survey by Superbrands, the independent arbiter on branding, teamed up with Urban Life to get the nation's views on who, what and where is cool.
In the end 63 products were chosen from a list of more than 1,300 "cool brand leaders". The survey attempts to award brands that, while not necessarily market leaders, present an image of cool that everyone wants a part of. While the shortlist of 63 brands was selected by a panel of 19 stylish individuals, including the designer Cozmo Jenks, opinion was then sought from 3,000 urbanites from across Britain to find out how each of the brands was perceived.
Stephen Cheliotis, Chairman of the Cool Brandleaders Council, said:
"Over 3,000 urbanites have given us their views on the currency of cool, and whilst cool is very subjective we have gained a great snapshot of who, what and where has that x factor right now.
According to the urbanites the five rules of cool are to be stylish, innovative, original, authentic and unique - which is no easy task, so all the winners deserve their moment of glory."
Among brands that topped their individual categories were Diesel, Stella Artois, Audi, Virgin Atlantic, Bose, BA's London Eye, The Streets, JK Rowling and Quentin Tarantino. On the celebrity front, Johnny Depp was voted as the coolest A-list star and cool cities were perceived to be, and found New York, London and Barcelona were leading the way worldwide. Only surprise was not to see 'Apple' mentioned.
Selfridges also came out as the height of cool, having used an ‘innovative approach to capture the imagination of its cool clientèle’. The others in the top five were the lifestyle and entertainments magazine Dazed & Confused, the lingerie and accessories firm Agent Provocateur, the stylish London restaurant The Hakkasan and the UK’s leading creative university, Goldsmith’s College in London.
Mr Cheliotis said: "The product has to be of a high quality, but the brand also needs to have an X-factor - something distinctive that other brands don’t have. Some brands, such as Guinness, are only now being seen as cool, whereas others, like Diesel, have made the list in each of the three years the survey has taken place.
"The difficulty after making the list is managing to keep your cool. The way we perceive things changes constantly, and this changes what is seen as cool. Staying cool is all about movement, change and being able to predict the future trends of the market."
I found this research really interesting and recommend a visit to their site www.superbrands.org
However, Leslie De Chernatony, the professor of brand marketing at Birmingham University, states that integrative advertising, packaging and distribution was also essential if a company was to brand its product as cool. I agree, but what about the name? It astounds me that the naming of the brand is never mentioned. What about cool ‘names’? Surely the name of a product or company plays some part in how a brand is remembered or portrayed. In order for ‘word of mouth’ to occur (which they do say is the best form of marketing), people are most likely to tell their friends, colleagues, family by saying the ‘name’, not by inviting them to their house to show them an advert or some packaging. I find it amazing how whenever I read these studies; advertising, packaging, PR, design etc are always mentioned but the name is just taken for granted. I am not belittling any of these mediums but lets just give naming some of the credit.
It takes a great name to make a brand cool too. If you don’t believe me that names don’t play a big part in how we perceive someone / something, why is it that actors / actresses change their names e.g. Archibald Leach became the epitome of cool when he changed his name to Cary Grant. Allen Konigsberg changed to Woody Allen, Anna Bullock became Tina Turner and Gordon Sumner became better know as Sting.
At LingoLAB we believe that powerful names are based on powerful positionings and that naming needs to be given the importance it deserves and that’s why we create the language that makes brands successful.
Posted by louise.tomkinson at 06:31 PM | Single Article
September 29, 2004
Not a blackberry anymore?
When the Blackberry was launched, the name was hailed as great success in the naming world. Witty, rich, juicy, memorable – and with a rather lovely rationale.
Sharon Begley tells the story in the Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2002
“As soon as the naming gurus at Lexicon Branding Inc. saw the hand-held wireless prototype that Research In Motion Ltd. had produced, they were struck by the little keyboard buttons, which resembled nothing so much as seeds.
"Strawberry!" suggested one.
No, "straw-" is a slowwwww syllable, said Stanford University linguist Will Leben, who also is director of linguistics at Lexicon, based in Palo Alto, Calif. That's just the opposite of the zippy connotation Research In Motion wanted. But "-berry" was good: Lexicon's research had shown that people associate the b sound with reliability, said David Placek, who founded the Palo Alto, Calif., firm and is its president, while the short e evokes speed. Another syllable with a b and a short vowel would nail it ... and within seconds the Lexicon team had its fruit: BlackBerry.”
But what have those clever designers done now? Redesigned the lovely ‘office in your pocket’ to look just like almost another mobile phone. Not some tactile fruity desirable. Have a look at the new design at www.vodafone.com
The name is undeniably strong, and may be unaffected by this change in product appearance. However, I just feel slightly let down that what seemed such a beautiful product/name/brand fit isn’t quite so neat anymore. What do you think?
Posted by kate.fishenden at 10:54 AM | Single Article
September 22, 2004
Euron your way to a good buy
‘Euronics’ is a name I see virtually every day and it always makes me think of something medical or scientific. I imagine a professor of Euronics, or a school for the study of it. It could be to do with something electrical or electronic. It could be medical as the ‘Eur’ has unfortunate phonetic associations with ‘urinary’!
It could suggest the study of European economics. My local Euronics Centre certainly has strong associations with money, the spending of it as I fairly regularly hand over some of my hard earned cash.
Euronics offer superstore prices through your local retailer ‘get the best of both worlds’ when you buy your white goods and home electronics from a local independent retailer.
The brand is used across Europe – Euronics is the largest electrical buying chain across Europe with 8,500 stores as ‘members’. The benefit to retailers is clear in enabling them to compete with the larger chains and superstores. Euronics purchasing power.
It’s interesting that they have used the same colours as the EU circle of stars flag, blue and yellow. Retailers are actively encouraged to brand the shops. I’ve not surveyed many, but I have seen several whose entire frontage and identity use the colours.
Having grown from members in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium in 1990 there are now 23 national sales organisations. They have an estimated 451 million customers and perceive that they have a ‘strong brand name’ across Europe.
My awareness was very much at a local level with my local, well established electrical consumer goods retailer adopting the brand and promoting membership. I associate Euronics with good value and some good bargains, a reasonable choice of goods with the option of ordering from a wider pool of brands/products if the goods aren’t in the shop. I get a local service – a good service and you’re always welcomed. So my Euronics experience has been very positive, to the point where I always start there first and rarely buy at the superstores, although I may go to them to look. Several times I have gone to them to see if they can get a product I’ve seen elsewhere at a comparable/cheaper price, or just not bothering with the superstore – placed I find useful but demoralising, especially if you have to shop on a weekend.
The challenge for all retailers increasingly is online shopping. As there can be significant difference in price. The mini hi-fi I wanted was 40% cheaper online than at another local retailer where I’d seen it in the window! Euronics is attractive to retailers in at least enabling them to stay in the game. I don’t think it’s a great name (but it does work) and the visual identity is rather un-special. It does have something of that ‘local’ trying to be international feel, but in reality that’s at the heart of the offer as small retailers try to compete with larger ones.
Quite how the Euronics brand will sit in the Australian market they have recently entered will be interesting to see.
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 11:18 AM | Single Article
September 07, 2004
'Face facts, it’s a good day to be ‘fat’!
Every day, I hear the latest news on ‘obesity’. ‘Did you know that two-thirds of us are either overweight or obese, or that one in four of our children are classified as obese?' However, there is one example of where the word ‘fat’ has become a success story - ‘Fat Face’.
On 9th September we have ‘Fat Nation’ - The Big Challenge aims to help you take small steps to a healthier lifestyle. And now the film; ‘Super Size Me’"Would you like fries with that?" will never sound the same!
However, there is one example of where the word ‘fat’ has become a success story. In 1988, Jules Leaver and Tim Slade, two ski fanatics, started a company, which they named ‘Fat Face’.
‘Sixteen years on and from its modest beginnings, Fat Face, is now a highly successful outdoor clothing brand with 87 outlets in Britain, three in France, and sales of £45m. Mr Slade and Mr Leaver still own more than 50 per cent of the company and early estimates suggest this would value their shareholding at between £25million and £35million. A flotation is expected by 2006’.
Evening Standard - 2 September 2004
Like most young people in their early 20’s, Jules and Tim were desperately short of cash, so tried their hand at bar work to subsidise their love of winter sports. Once it was decided that bar work was too tiring, they hit upon the idea of buying up small consignments of T-shirts and selling them on to their fellow skiers for a modest profit.
They ordered a small batch of shirts printed with the words "Meribel 88" across the back, which they carried around the slopes in their rucksacks.
Mr Leaver recalled: "We printed some T-shirts and sweatshirts with messages pertinent to certain resorts and sports and it took off. We didn't have any grand plan that in a few years' time we would be running a hugely successful company."
But the popularity of the T-shirts was such that the pair decided to expand the venture. While business graduate Mr Leaver stayed in the resort to sell the clothes, Mr Slade, a former policeman, travelled to and from England transporting the merchandise.
“It wasn't until we got back to the UK in 1993 that we realised what a good business idea it was," explained Leaver. "So I sold my VW Combi van and Tim cashed in some shares, and with £12k we opened our first shop in Fulham."
Leaver and Slade knew that by appealing predominantly to the skiing and snowboarding market they would only be in business for half of every year - not a viable option. So the pair built on the success of their T-shirts and fleeces by developing a range based on another interest of theirs - sailing and windsurfing. It proved to be a successful formula. "Having a mixture of High Street and activity-based portfolio has worked very well for us, yet it isn't something that would fit most brands," said Leaver.
I remember first seeing a ‘Fat Face’ shop in Hampstead and thinking, what a great name. It’s fun, memorable, distinctive and denotes a small hint of sarcasm as most surfers and snowboarder pictures/ photos I have seen, do not show anyone overweight or vaguely fat faced!
I am not a surfing or snowboarding girl, (although I did go through a phase after watching ‘Point Break’ with Keanu Reaves, that I should just leave my job, move abroad or at least to Cornwall and become a beach bum!) but I do love this brand and what it stands for, their company motto ‘Life is out there..’
No one ever said on their death bed, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office’.
I also like the fact that all that I have read about Leaver and Slade stays true to their brand values and beliefs.
"Do they wear suits? No way, you'd be lucky to see them in shoes," said Chief Executive, Louise Barnes. "They are proud of the fact that you will never see a Fat Face tie. I love it when they go to the City - they turn up in shorts and flip-flops. They still look sporty and athletic. Tim could be a surfer just off the beach."
This is most definitely one time it’s ok to be cool and fat!
Posted by louise.tomkinson at 11:38 AM | Single Article
September 03, 2004
Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide is the originator of ‘Lovemark thinking’, as it says on his website, brands that inspire loyalty beyond reason.
Reading Kevin’s thoughts is a breath of fresh air, even though the whole concept feels rather alien to us cynical Brits (apparently he hates the word ‘but’).
I would love to really believe his thesis; it actually makes a lot of sense. And when I look at brands I really ‘love’, I can see that there really is a certain rational blind spot about them.
For instance, I have a pathological hatred of most things PC (not as in political correctness I hasten to add). I am happy to admit to being an Apple aficionado, and won’t touch a PC – whichever brand.
Now to be truthful, Apple doesn’t get it right all the time, but I find myself becoming an apologist for Apple, persuading myself and anyone who will listen that whatever IT problem we are presently having is actually nothing to do with Apple – it’s somehow someone else’s fault.
We are presently having problems with Apple ARD (Apple Remote Desktop), and our IT chap is getting fed up with me suggesting that the problem is the router, or our ISP, or some such non-Apple gremlin. The fact is ARD isn’t working correctly for us, and I simply can’t bring myself to blame Apple.
It brings to mind a brand anecdote I regularly use in brand workshops. Why is that whenever you go into a bread shop, at say 3.00 o’clock in the afternoon they have no bread? Your natural inclination is to blame the shop, and leave muttering.
Whereas, if you go into say Marks & Spencer, at 3.00 o’clock, and there is no bread, you think – ‘Damm, got here too late’. See what I mean? This shows that we tend to forgive certain brands, perhaps a symptom of brand love.
Now, if we can love brands, we must be able to hate brands.
www.hateorange.com is still up, although I am not sure it is now strictly active. Orange is a brand that does very well on most independent customer satisfaction polls, and has always been a brand I have felt warm about – never actually used it mind you.
It’s always interesting when people are driven to do more than simply ignore, or even complain about a brand. Life is generally too short to do more than hold an unresolved, undirected grudge. But the whole No Logo, globalisation debate has shown people are willing to do something, whether it is against Nike, Gap, Starbucks or any other brand target.
Now my ‘favourite’ hatebrand at the moment is F.C.U.K. (and has been I’ll admit for sometime).
Not because of the clothes, or the retail outlets. No – it’s the name…. F.C.U.K.
Not the actual corporate name (French Connection). No, it’s the brand name. F.C.U.K.
I hate it because they have ‘cleverly’ got us to think FUCK every time we think or use the name.
Our high street now has signs that say FUCK. Advertising hoardings shout out at us FUCK.
Now I have nothing against the word FUCK. It is a word I use at certain times, freely even – hitting my thumb when hammering a nail, when I hear we have lost a pitch, when finding out my train has been cancelled – lets face it, there are lots of times when FUCK seems to be the perfect word to use.
F.C.U.K has very cleverly subverted a piece of our language in order to build it’s own awareness.
All brands seek to do this. Straplines, jingles, brand names all come loaded with ‘hooks’ to lodge in our brain. My mind is littered with straplines stretching back years, and they all part of my unique internal brand landscape.
I don’t think I am professionally jealous – i.e. “I wish I had thought of that!”
I just hate that the brand has laid claim to a very special part of our language. I don’t mind about the colour orange, I don’t mind about Virgin (well, not much anyway, although come to think of it….)
I don’t like the fact that my young son has FUCK written on the back of his jeans (I didn’t pay for them – I won’t go in the shop… blame TK Max)
I just don’t like that word IN MY FACE.
But it works doesn’t it? Is it because I am too puritan? Hypocritical?
I suppose for me it has just crossed THAT line. Now what is THAT line?
For me, it’s the line that brands cross at their peril. It’s the line that says I haven’t given you permission to get THAT close, to be THAT familiar.
It’s the brand that wants to be your mate, but actually is rather overbearing. It’s that pub bore, the brand that shouts too loud, the brand that says ‘notice me’ too much. It’s that brand that thinks it’s smart.
Or is it that it’s the brand that doesn’t need me. That is too young for me? Is it, in fact that brand that views me as nearer to Jeremy Clarkson that Jude Law. Am I simply not hip enough for it?
Ah…… brand rejection.
Anyhow, I have thought of this great idea – for CNN, a new news service for the Under Thirties. It’s called CNNU….. Nah, maybe not.
Posted by jonathan.mercer at 12:30 PM | Single Article
August 20, 2004
Favourite name of the moment
All this Olympic activity has left me quite breathless. The record deals for sponsorship and strict security to avoid ‘guerilla’ marketing have been impressive. Strict regulations published by Athens 2004 dictate that spectators may be refused admission to events if they are carrying food or drinks made by companies that did not see fit to sponsor the games.
Of all the sports brands, one name really has captured the essence of what it’s all about – Speedo, www.speedo.com Can there be a better name?
The company was founded in Australia in 1914 by a 22-year-old Scottish immigrant, Alexander MacRae, originally MacRae Hosiery. The development and acceptance of swimwear and the introduction the ‘Racerback’ costume meant it was time for the company to have a new name. A staff competition was won by a Captain Parsonson, who coined the slogan, ‘Speed on in your Speedos,’ in 1928.
The impressively sheer suits worn by the athletes in Athens today continue Speedo’s relationship with great names. Their suits are made from Fastskin – a fabric they developed from studying shark skin. They even have an Aqualab on the website, that you can explore to find out more about the development of their products.
Now, Michael Phelps may not have outdone that great seventies hero, Mark Spitz, in numbers of gold medals, but he has chosen a great swimwear sponsor.
Posted by kate.fishenden at 01:30 PM | Single Article
August 14, 2004
Fruit for thought
I was chomping away at nature’s best and thought of how fruit names have become brands in recent years. I was one of the purchasers of an Apricot computer, which was very exciting at the time.
In an attempt to improve my health and wellbeing and ensure a long healthy life I’ve adopted the government’s sound advice of eating least ‘5 A DAY’ portions of fruit and veg. Not hard. It requires a large fruit bowl (preferably one in the office and one at home) and a trip to the supermarket or local street market. A tin of breakfast prunes helps too. Add some steamed veg., crispy salad or even a tin of tomato soup (classed as two portions) and you’re well away and the target. It seems no big thing with a little effort.
I was chomping away at nature’s best and thought of how fruit names have become brands in recent years. I was one of the purchasers of an Apricot computer, which was very exciting at the time.
It doesn’t seem so now, but naming a record label Apple was quite an innovation in 1968. How different a label named Apple was. Even the label on the product was distinctive with the inside and outside of the apple on both sides of the record. The music was innovative, coinciding with the Beatles post Sgt Pepper output. It was certainly different to Polydor, United Artists, Decca, Capital, Parlophone, Reprise, PolyGram, RCA, Atlantic and the like. It smacked of newness in the brand identity and also in a new way of working and starting something different and fresh. Decidedly crunchy just picked from the tree and very green.
APPLE is now used on a wide variety of goods and services from waste disposal units, furniture, stationary and the computer products and related services we all know and love. Amongst younger consumers the computer brand is the dominant one.
Sitting on top of the fruit bowl aside from Apple the highest profile fruit of recent years has to be the Personal Communications brand ORANGE. Communicating an idea and attitude rather than a fruit and therein lies much of its magic connoting brightness, light, a new way of communicating. An illuminating brand supported and enriched through wonderful brand communications consistently applied and very well advertised. There are other owners of the names, but not so widely known. The world’s on grinding wheels and cutlery, pharmaceutical testing and internal combustion engines is far removed from the high consumer profile of communications services. We don’t confuse them.
I don’t feel that I can miss out the country’s biggest selling item in the supermarket – bananas. The oldest trade mark I’ve found is for rust protection coating dating from 1948. There’s also a TOP BANANA music co. I do wonder what the Banana brand for medical and surgical apparatus and patient transfer boards was like! A banana dinghy or canoe sounds good, all the more so if it was banana shaped and coloured. There are lots of banana brands around, friendly and yellow and bringing a smile to the face.
At my intellectual property seminars approximately 50% of people thought PEARS soap was the first UK trade mark – it’s not, but the brand of such longevity and with so distinctive an image as the little boy blowing bubbles dating from the 1800’s is part of our brand consciousness even though bars of soap are going out of fashion. The brand was named after the founding company A&F Pears Ltd and not from a fanciful notion of naming it after the fruit.
With a few grapes to round lunch off I think that if I moved to Japan I’d be very tempted to open an account with TOMATO BANK an identity that’s intrigued me for years.
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 01:40 PM | Single Article
August 04, 2004
Tony the closet alcohol fuelled hooligan
Should we regard Tony Blair as being in step with brand chic or as a closet alcohol fuelled football hooligan?
Should we regard Tony Blair as being in step with brand chic or as a closet alcohol fuelled football hooligan? Probably the former given that it would be unlikely that he’d get away with the latter. Not unless he set off for the terraces in heavy disguise having managed to give his diligent minders the slip.
So we see images of Tony relaxing on holiday (well as relaxed as anyone surrounded by unexploded terrorist bombs can be). Lounging and smiling in his Burberry. I’m glad to see he’s British brand loyal. It wouldn’t do to be in D&G or Armani, although could be excused on the grounds of complimenting his Italian hosts.
At home the press is full of the usual gritty, depressing Iraq news. Then there’s the Olympics and the weather and not much else. The start of the football season brings a brand related news story, not entirely new, but one that highlights a cultural phenomenon that of the monied, premium branded football hooligan.
For years there have been designer label clad thugs. Affluent young men (or maybe not so young) clad in designer kit, strutting their stuff and spoiling for a fight or ten. The label becomes the uniform. You don’t even have to wear club colours – too obvious and not elitist. So now the hard crew will be kitted out in brands such as Burberry, Henri Lloyd and Lacoste
In simple terms this highlights the importance of shared understanding and experience, the love of belonging to a tribe and the desire to be seen as having superior taste and money. You certainly need money to follow a Premier League club and the ‘clothes maketh the man’. We know that young men are brand conscious and wearing the right label seems to confirm the level of testosterone and position in the pecking order. But it’s not just thugs who like designer gear. Most of us love it, aspire to it and buy it, but more of that later.
So, I have visions of young men dashing to the designer shops on Saturday morning in order to get their kit ready for Saturday afternoon. Designer togs for a designer scrap and a bit of agro. Very ‘up for it!’ Does one fight better in Burberry? Do you lash out more vigorously, with more aplomb – it’s a tempting thought!
But all may not be as it seems. With a new survey revealing that at least 50% of young people own counterfeit goods it stands to reason that rather than dashing off to Piccadilly they could well be dashing to Roman Road, Portabello or Romford Market to buy the look-a-like versions – considerably cheaper and less precious. You just have to be careful to try and buy a version that has good detail.
Counterfeiting is nothing new and the research reinforces what brand owners already know – the problem is getting worse rather than better. At one extreme it’s a small workshop with people knocking-out T-shirts to sell in markets. At the other it’s large scale organised crime, funded by criminal gangs forming part of a portfolio of criminal activity. In some cases the goods come from the same factory as the original goods. It costs jobs, funds other crime and means that millions of pounds of potential tax revenue by-passes the government coffers. Ultimately we all pay more.
The brand comes with a promise, but if it’s counterfeit goods you have no recourse. So if the imitation perfume burns your skin, the vodka makes you ill, or may even kill you (as in a recent case). There’s nothing you can do other than try to track down the perpetrators through the police and the local trading standards officer.
So just imagine how the brand owner feels! You build a brand only to have it imitated, copied, falsely represented and ultimately undermined. Then there’s the financial cost in trying to track the criminals down and trying to put a stop to it.
We have a brand dilemma in that we create desirable brand, ‘must have’ items and a pretty universal desire to own these goods and appear to have bought into the lifestyle and the brand promise. Yet hand-in-hand with this goes the reality of wanting to get it on the cheap and being prepared to play along with not having the real thing from a legitimate source. The Louis Vuitton look-alike bag from Romford Market doesn’t pass muster. As Mies van der Rohe famously said “God is in the detail”. He’s certainly not in the detail of the handbag with the plastic handles I saw wending its way towards the West End this morning on the Tube. Personally I don’t understand it. I’d rather do without that go around with fakery. Louis Vuitton would certainly agree with me!
However, I wonder if all of our leading politicians start wearing their labels then the alcohol fuelled hooligans may not. Over to you Tony to lead by example.
Attack on £10bn fake goods industry
The Independent Monday 23rd August 2004
The Patent Office
The British Brands Group
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 11:20 AM | Single Article
July 02, 2004
On July 15 at the annual branding ‘Oscars’, Marks & Spencer, Gillette, BT, Duracell, Heinz and Jaguar cars were unveiled as the nation’s six favourite brands. These six were the most highly rated brands in consumer research conducted by TNS on behalf of the Superbrands Organisation.
275 consumers were contacted using the TNS interactive panel and asked to evaluate the Superbrands on the criteria of quality, affinity and advertising. TNS’s research showed that price and availability are the most obvious factors affecting what product or service a consumer buys, but that the quality of the brand, its heritage and advertising also influence the purchasing decision.
Looking at TNS’s analysis of these three criteria, how can brands build on these concepts and become truly super?
Quality – “The perceived quality of a brand has the strongest positive impact upon whether a brand is purchased or would be purchased in the future. Consumers feel that brands indicate the level of quality of a product. They will purchase a product they perceive to be a higher quality even at premium price.” (TNS)
Brands are viewed as signifiers of quality and some have been particularly savvy at marketing that. I have no idea what an Intel processor does, but I sure do want my computer to say ‘Intel Inside’.
Quality though needs to come back to focus on the value proposition. Quality is an entry to market, consistency and reliability a way of delivering it, but creating value, well, that’s what brands really should be doing. Whether it’s Tesco and every little helps, Debenham’s making inspirational design accessible to all, or DHL moving the world, the value (in all senses of the word) that the brands deliver to the consumer, should be the focal point of their brand being.
Affinity – “The affinity that consumers have towards a brand has a positive impact upon the purchasing decision which is nearly as strong as quality. This emotional advantage is gained through a strong heritage and is not easily or quickly won.” (TNS)
Heritage is the new celebrity. Brands like Jack Daniels (to some, our past is as rich and colourful as our whisky), Dr Pepper (the oldest soft drink in America) and Cartier (150 years of artistry) make much of their history and heritage. Why? Because stories create connections for people. Stories create the emotional context for people to place themselves within a larger experience.
If you and I were going to enter into a relationship (business, personal or otherwise), we’d share our life histories, our current situation and our future plans. We’d involve each other in our lives.
Kleenex is a good example of a brand communicating the sharing role it can play in the everyday lives of people through its ‘Thank goodness for Kleenex’ advertising campaign. It conveys the message that Kleenex can be relied upon not only when suffering from colds and flu, but on many other – often unexpected – occasions. Those other ‘occasions’ being the ‘stuff’ of life. HP is another company wanting you to share. It asks consumers to share their stories with them (and others) through capturing a moment. Their website currently features music inspired photo essays and consumers’ favourite music moments.
The below is taken from Audi’s website: “Our memories are one of our greatest treasures. They document our life and are an eternal record of people and moments. Audi’s activities in an extremely wide variety of fields help to turn events and dates into a stage for extraordinary experiences. And give you the opportunity for particularly remarkable experiences, encounters and – ultimately – memories.”
Brands being involved with consumer’s memories, how powerful is that?
Advertising – “A consumer perception that a brand has good advertising has limited positive impact upon the purchasing decision. Advertising, however, is instrumental in building a brand’s perception of quality and affinity with the consumer.” (TNS)
Perception is one thing, reality another. Brands need to live in the real world. Brands also need to recognise that consumers live in an emotional world. Emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions. Advertising needs to move away from being about perceptions of quality and affinity, to genuinely binding consumers’ emotions to the quality and heritage of the brand.
Brands that will succeed in the future will combine the quality and affinity of the brand, and create an associated lifestyle around the brand’s being. For example, owning an Aga is more than just owning a range, it’s living a way of life. Just witness how coffee has woven itself into the fabric of people's lives thanks to Starbucks.
Brands have an opportunity to create a frame of mind that's unique. I find it bizarre that so much of our personality is tied up in the car we choose to drive, yet cars are almost impossible to individually customise. But observe the ‘iPod your BMW’ initiative. As both companies say, it’s the pleasure of experiencing the perfect marriage of design and technology. But more than that, the brands have merged driving and listening pleasures into one seamless sonic experience. iPod and BMW have constructed an emotional connection point that transcends either of their brands. Compelling stuff.
So, firstly find the ways in which you deliver value to your consumers. Secondly, understand the story of your brand’s life, and examine how you can share moments in the lives of your consumers. And finally, create a greater sense of purpose to the experience of your product or service. Take these recommendations on board, and soon your brand will be just super.
To see which brands were voted Superbrands please click here:
© Kristina Dryza 2004
Kristina Dryza is a consumer trends expert and a LingoLAB associate and can be reached on mobile 07812 352 088 or email: email@example.com
Posted by kristina.dryza at 04:35 PM | Single Article
June 05, 2004
Being at the customer coalface
Todays almost universally-accepted definition of a brand is that its a bundle of audience perceptions about a product or service. This means that a brand exists in the minds of its audience, while the corresponding product exists in the physical world.
We are repeatedly reminded that brands are in the minds of our customers. Todays almost universally-accepted definition of a brand is that its a bundle of audience perceptions about a product or service. This means that a brand exists in the minds of its audience, while the corresponding product exists in the physical world, writes Chris Grannell on brandchannel.com last month. He talked of the Epistemic Veil as a way of beginning to understand how we can influence our customers perceptions.
But we mustnt forget how real that physical world is that the product exists in and what an overwhelming effect that can have on customers. Sometimes it feels as though the brand strategy and all that goes with it, like visual identity, brand values, advertising, packaging, website et al, has become disconnected from the human experience.
A few weeks ago I ventured into the scary world of buying from e-bay, as with most purchases these days under pressure from one of my many off-spring. He wished to purchase an electric scooter and had saved up his money. He just needed me to sort out the order. Although I was slightly reluctant, we checked out all the feedback and everything we could to see that it sounded ok and subsequently won our super turbo scooter.
The brand soup story starts after weve waited in all day for the delivery. Our seller sent us a consignment number to check what had happened which informed us that the parcel was delivered three days earlier and signed for by CARDED. The interesting bit is the name of the courier company. The seller referred to them as Securicor. When I went through to the link to check the parcel status the web address is www.securicor-omega.com, but the biggest logo on the page is DHL, right next to Securicor Omega Express. Then at the bottom left it says Deutsche Post World Net. In order to speak to someone I had to ring the Signline helpline and was called back by people saying they were from Securicor and DHL. I felt uneasy. And there was no sign of my scooter.
When the scooter finally arrived it was heaved in by a reasonably grumpy man driving an unbranded white van. Im just an agency driver, he gruffed, when I tried to engage him in conversation about the length of time my parcel had taken (now 14 days after dispatch). The branding on the outside of the box, however, included sticky taped adorned with The Big Yellow Box Storage Company".
When my delighted 13 year old unpacked the gleaming scooter he was utterly shattered when he found that it, too, was shattered. When he rang his friend who had experienced exactly the same delivery problems, his scooter was broken as well. So this isnt just the ranting of one disconsolate individual - theres at least two!
Since then I have discovered that this service was brought to me by the new look DHL. A company so great that it was elected a Business Superbrand last year, with the special accolade of Brand that keeps its promises. The website tells me, It may be a new look company with a new look web site, but there is no need for you to do anything new. .. The only change you are assured of is: better service than ever before! (their exclamation mark). And even better New DHL - relax, its business as usual.
Now my mind is put at ease, I can feel reassured that the new visual identity will solve everything. The perceptions in my mind will be subtly massaged into positive feelings by a bright yellow screen, some new ads and.. or not.
One thing we can take out of this. The small things are so important. Before you embark on dramatic name changes or identity implementation make sure you know how to run your service. Mergers are never easy, but clarity of communication with your customer is crucial. Trust is so easily lost. A courier company that loses and damages a parcel is not really being a courier company or a brand that keeps its promises.
Footnote: when they came to pick up the scooter the driver moaned it was too heavy and said, I dont usually do these, but took it with help. They refused to take our friends scooter at all.
Posted by kate.fishenden at 10:00 AM | Single Article
June 03, 2004
'Sweets - A History of Temptation' by Tim Richardson
'My taste buds have tingled, my cheeks chortled and I've emitted several "well fancy that's, while reading Tim Richardson's enlightening, wonderfully fact-filled book. Our emotional bonds with both brands and products are formed early and while we are unlikely to eat those Chocolate Buttons, Milky Bars and Milky Way's in our adulthood, they are brands with associations and experiences attached....
Along with solving the mystery of how one of my most hated sweets marshmallow is made and putting in context the rise of chewing gum in the twentieth century (also much hated, not least for those ugly black spots peppering our pavements nationwide) it charts the emergence and development of sweet delights into industrially produced temptations. It is a universal truth that just about every culture likes sweet delicacies. It is also true that while most sweets are seen as non-serious food the business of sweets is very serious indeed.
Tim Richardson’s dedication and joy of the subject cannot be in doubt. He’s travelled the world to visit trade fairs and taken on the task of visiting manufacturers. The disappointment he experienced in not being able to visit the Swizzles factory to see the Love Hearts production line made me reach for another rhubarb and custard, for I too wanted to know about this iconic British brand.
This book provides a rich history and context of sweet development. Far from being fixated with major brands and modern business it provides key historical background and the social and cultural context, liberally sprinkled with anecdotes and plenty of humour.
A key element in the development of confectionary has been the desire to produce cheaper, good quality sweets. As early as the late eighteenth century cheaper sweets reached an emerging middle class market. While the availability of large quantities of the main commodities sugar and cocoa supported this, the other driver was the development of machines to transform these into high volume, uniform product. Sweet manufacturers protect their technological innovation and it’s no accident that visiting factories is discouraged and machines are often shrouded to discourage curious eyes. Innovation has been rewarded in giving an edge in the marketplace. Samuel Born inventor of the Born Sucker Machine in 1910, which put the sticks into lollipops was rewarded with financial success and the Keys of San Francisco.
The geographic divide in the development of sweets places the UK in a interesting position as we love both the chocolate tradition that emerged in Europe and the sugar based confectionary from the USA. We love our sweets, counters bulge with all manner of delights and while happy with the mass brands we have developed a taste for the more sophisticated, specialized and luxury products where chocolate is concerned.
Our emotional bonds with both brands and products are formed early and while we are unlikely to eat those Chocolate Buttons, Milky Bars and Milky Way’s in our adulthood they are brands with associations and experiences attached. Equally the products we hate tend to retain those strong associations (in my case Cadbury’s Cream Eggs – only ever tried one and hated it, can’t bear to watch people eat them let alone touch one). The “What is it with chocolate?” section sets out what it is with chocolate and Richardson identifies what in fact it is with chocolate while feeling uneasy at the way it is promoted to women as a foodstuff we’re pretty much emotionally dependent upon if not addicted too. The Aztecs issued chocolate tablets to warriors as an aphrodisiac – so they obviously new what was what!
Richardson’s book leaves a sweet taste and was a real revelation. There is plenty to chew on and his dedication to the subject is without question. Packing a bag and travelling to Morecambe, Lancashire to ascertain whether Dynamite Dick (fresh from prospecting in the Klondike) was the inventor of rock, least of all when it’s a sweet not really meant to be eaten, confirms his dedication. His research uncovers an unusual message set into a stick of rock on London in the 1850s ‘Do you love sparts?’. So what was that about?
A sweet read…
Pub. Bantam Books £7.99 (paperback)
Posted by pauline.amphlett at 03:45 PM | Single Article
May 09, 2004
'One' that got away
The adoption of everyday words as a brand name is fraught with such dangers. 'One' is the sort of word that is so commonly used it is hard to imagine how it convinced anyone it was distinctive, memorable and evocative. Naming commentators have had a field day.
This month saw the unusual reporting of a brand name being silenced – the East Anglian Daily Times announced:
“Train operator One is to stop using its name in station announcements - because they have been leaving passengers confused.
A spokeswoman said: “Our customers have told us that they think some of our services are leaving or arriving a minute later than they actually are.
“They think, for example, that the Tannoy is saying 'The 7.21 service is leaving', when in fact it is saying 'The 7.20 One service is leaving'.
“To prevent any further confusion we have decided to drop the company name from station announcements.”
The adoption of everyday words as a brand name is fraught with such dangers. One is the sort of word that is so commonly used it is hard to imagine how it convinced anyone it was distinctive, memorable and evocative. Naming commentators have had a field day.
Snark Hunting’s article is entitled “One Big Cock up” and Tony Spaeth of Identityworks says, “Too clever by half. No one private entity can own "one;" it is too important, in everyday speech, to the rest of us. 'one' is learning quickly that 'one' is difficult, and ultimately impossible, to work with; unless one can wholly control every context in which the name is used, one can never be sure what one means.”
Monday was another too-familiar word that had a run at being a brand name, Three is having trouble, and I’m not sure Five should have lost “channel”.
One’s rationale doesn’t really help either. On their website (www.onerailway.com) they say. “Although we will be ‘one’ business we will build on the best practice of each of the previous operators, transferring knowledge and expertise across ‘one’. Therefore we have not discarded the existing names, we are retaining them to denote recognized services in the region. Anglia, West Anglia, Great Eastern and Stansted Express will all be “operated by ’one’”.
All the navigation buttons are pre-fixed ‘one’ – when you click on ‘one contact’ you get a list of four operating companies. There are dark forces at work here.
We know it’s getting harder and harder to find names, but a key lesson here is to make sure your thinking is clear – and try saying it out loud a few times!
Posted by kate.fishenden at 07:25 PM | Single Article
LingoLAB is a creative naming agency,
creating the language that makes brands successful.