Branding is a Matter of Public Opinion

Remember this logo?

The colorful depiction of the 2012 Summer Olympics logo depicted above was infamously met with confusion and controversy and for most, will go down as a major branding mistake.

What was supposed to look like a stylized version of the numbers 2012 turned into a media circus from how people “didn’t get it” to flat out laughter and even a petition of over 48,000 citizens to get rid of the design.

What was the big deal?

Despite the internal support for the design, the masses agreed with Jonathan Glancey of the Guardian art blog, who wrote “The logo fails the Olympics spirit completely. Its component parts are broken apart, while the Olympics are all about athletes, spectators and nations joining together.”

Whether you are a fan of the logo or not, it’s not what we think of our brand that matters but what others believe our brand to be that matters.

Because of all the brand damage and bad press, the Olympic committee started to require Olympic logo designs to follow stricter brand guidelines.

The result has been a more cohesive visual language as illustrated by Rio2016, PyeongChang2018, and Tokyo 2020.

Design is a matter of taste but Branding is a matter of public opinion. What’s your take on this? Leave a comment below.

The Head Down Revolution

Woman on city street looking at smartphone

If you live in a major metro market, then you know what it’s like to walk down the street and see 90% of the people with their heads down buried in their phone. I was one of those people, until I found myself standing in the middle of the street in Manhattan writing a text and nearly getting hit by a taxi. From that point on, I made sure that I was always looking up. But I am definitely in the minority. And this post is not about the safety, or lack thereof, when it comes to texting. It’s about how marketers can capitalize on this Head Down Revolution.

According to Statista, the U.S. mobile phone penetration has reached 81%, representing 223 million consumers. And those consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours per day glued to their smartphones. More importantly, is the role that texting now plays in our everyday lives, especially when it comes to marketing. For an eye-opening example, texts have a 99% open rate compared to 20% for email*. Pretty amazing, huh? Now I imagine that smartphones are currently in the midst of fine tuning their hardware to introduce features that can block such correspondence. But who knows when that will come?

So until that day, marketers have a humongous opportunity to take advantage and focus their outbound efforts on the behaviors of the smartphone user. A behavior that is now second nature, and while receiving a text from a brand may seem like a nuisance at first, it is certainly less of one than an email. Also, if you’re sending info or content that isn’t selling, but more serving them something of value, then you’re more likely to be able to maintain that dialogue.

And isn’t a dialogue what we want? It opens the door, and leads to traffic. And when you have enough traffic, ultimately it will lead to transactions. It’s this approach to marketing, partnered with the aforementioned tactics, that can build the awareness and engagement you’re looking for.

Now how about a little “social experiment”: The next time you’re walking down the street, take note of how many people’s’ heads are down. It truly is a sight to see. Just think, those eyes could be engaged in your brands message. And if the message is “timed” to when your customer is in the market for a new product, it becomes relevant and timely — a very powerful combination.

*Credits: Jack Loechner — Editor of The Center for Media Research; SinglePoint; Statista

Creatures of Habit

Brands and marketers spend a lot of time and money with “new and exciting” initiatives based purely on trends that are influencing their consumers. But what they should be doing is improving their existing products and marketing efforts based on consumer habits.

As consumers, we are programmed to intuitively select the products and brands we need based on what looks familiar (e.g., the easiest decision to make). And as marketers, “the goal is to make consumers repeat their purchases by matching the value proposition to their needs.” Consumers don’t want to spend the mental energy when shopping (online or in-store for that matter), so why make them?

Branding, Design, Advertising, MarketingThe solution for brands lies within understanding the habits of their consumers, and evolving or improving upon them based on what their brains are programmed to be looking for. And unless consumers are absolutely screaming for a change, and the return is solid for your business, then making a dramatic change is no bueno.

Brands like Coke, Tropicana, GAP, and many more have undergone redesigns in some capacity over the years. Consumers didn’t demand it. They weren’t educated on the change, nor provided a real rationale. The result was backlash, and even a decline in sales, which pushed the brands to quickly go back to the original. A lot of time and money lost. However, sometimes it pays off (only if the demand is there), but often times it doesn’t.

There are more examples and insights we could share, but we simply don’t have the time, nor blog post space to do so. That said, we want to leave you with this very simple message: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if you decide to fix it, make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the habits of your consumers.

Coffee As Unique As Your Handprint

Memory-by-Wenyao-Cai-Electrolux-Design-Lab-2012-finalistA small but important part of many people’s lives is the intimacy of having a barista who remembers who you are and more importantly how you have your coffee. Memory is a coffee maker that uses hand print recognition to act as your personal barista and make the right cup of coffee for the right person. Set it to your preference of weak, medium or strong coffee or even an espresso to a ristretto. When you’re ready for your perfect cup of coffee, Memory will scan your hand and get it right every time. The machine was designed by WenYao Cai from China, an Electrolux Design Lab 2012 finalist.

No matter how hard we wished it wasn’t, Memory is still in the concept phase and isn’t ready to be on the market just yet.

What Sparks Our Fire: An innovative gadget that allows you to get your perfect cup of coffee with a simple scan of the hand.

Do you wish Memory was out on the market? Let us know your thoughts.

Food Without The Fuss

photo-main (1)Our kitchen has drastically changed over the last 30 years to make our lives easier when preparing meals. Now, there could be a new addition to our existing high tech equipment: a smart microwave/oven that can learn your habits and help you stay fit. It’s called the MAID oven (that stands for Make All Incredible Dishes), and it learns your tastes and habits.

MAID Oven is a Kickstarter project that met its $50,000 goal in just five days. The advanced oven has a list of recipes, and users can upload their own into the database. Once you’re ready to bake, the oven has settings to automatically set the temperature and cooking time for whatever dish you might be whipping up. The coolest feature the device offers is that MAID Oven can act as a pseudo health-conscious dietitian. Depending on your eating and fitness habits (it can sync with your smartphone or smart watch), the oven will make suggestions for meals that factor in your calorie intake and taste preferences. It has access to an unlimited number of recipes from the web so you don’t have to worry.

Another feature of the sophisticated oven is you can control it with your voice. You can actually tell the oven what’s for dinner — it’s got built-in voice recognition. It doesn’t end here. MAID Oven also comes with an accompanying smartphone app. This means you can get push alerts when your food is done cooking, adjust cook time and temperature settings from afar, or remotely activate/deactivate the oven while you’re away from home. Isn’t it magical? Feel free to check out MAID Oven baking pizza, pasta, and even cake in the Kickstarter’s demo video below.

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MAID should be ready to go to market by Thanksgiving 2015. Hopefully you can deactivate the dietary suggestions for the holidays!

What Sparks Our Fire: A useful device with smart features and functionality that could truly make cooking easier, healthier, and more fun.

Will you be making some space in your kitchen for the MAID Oven?