Coffee

Original outdoor advertising

My previous post about innovative advertising spaces featured paper hangers, rental bikes and even human bodies as carriers of advertising messages. Here is an example of a very original outdoor advertising solution that was used to promote new hot breakfast sandwiches by Caribou Coffee in the US.

caribou-coffee-bus-shelter

The ad was placed inside of bus shelters in cold Minneapolis. I bet that standing in an imaginary stove made people waiting for the bus feel warmer -- and make a mental note about the buns. Very creative and memorable!

Read the original post about the ad here.

Need rebranding? Don't just change your logo, think brand strategy

Old Apple logoI am often asked to explain what brand strategy stands for. In my experience, many people still associate branding, and brand strategy, with graphic design -- logos, web sites and other elements of visual identity. Whereas visual identity is absolutely essential in branding (and SCHMOOZY FOX works with a great team of designers to take care of it!), it's just one step in a broader activity which is brand strategy.

Brand strategy is your overall business strategy that has an objective of building a  S T R O N G  B R A N D.

This may sound rather simple, but in reality, a good brand strategy is a very complex exercise.  A good brand strategy can determine your success, and no brand strategy is often a recipe for a failure (see my previous blog post Brands do not take care of themselves).

Rebranding is a good chance to sort out your overall brand strategy. Often, companies feel like getting away from a tired image, and creating something more consistent with market needs.  This "something" is often, in their view, a change of look and feel. Often, their rebranding efforts are only about changing a logo.

But the reality is, even after improving their logos, many companies don't sort out their bad customer service, or improve product functionality. It's astonishing that many companies simply do not think that these strategic elements have anything to do with their brand!

Today, I want to share with you a story  published on Inc.com, How to rebrand your business successfully. It summarizes a rebranding project that was done by Seattle's Coffee Company (part of the Starbucks group). See how the company measured the size of their market, did competitor research, re-thought their customer base, and improved distribution channels.

All of these activities are characteristic of brand strategy and should be considered within any rebranding project.

Funky brands need funky spaces

Where do good ideas come from? Is it possible to create the right environment that triggers creativity? In what kinds of spaces do we need to be in order to think creatively? These are the questions that Stephen Johnson, a writer and speaker, raised in his presentation Where good ideas come from, published on TED:

These are also the kinds of questions that went through my head this morning, when I detached myself from the computer and decided to go jogging in the park.  Just 15 minutes into my brisk jogging, I had a couple of fantastic ideas.  After 30 minutes, I felt like a creativity machine in action.

Funky Brands are often born from a combination of business strategy and creativity.  To ensure the first, you ought to have the right education, experience and skills. To address the latter, you can seek environments that can boost your creativity.

In this video, Stephen Johnson gives an example of a coffee house as an environment that sparks ideas. It's an informal space where people can connect. For me it's both schmoozing at a coffee house and running in the park that unlock my creative potential.

For you, these spaces and environments may be totally different. The key is to understand what works best for you, and explore different environments and activities that allow you to think creately.

Google is famous for encouraging its employees to spend 20% of their time exploring new ideas within its Innovation Time Off approach, and creating informal office spaces at Googleplex that boost new ideas.

If you want to build a Funky Brand, it's crucial that you explore and embrace all those funky spaces that fuel creativity.

Funky brands from around the world: Italy

Time has come for yet another country-specific list of funky brands. This time around, let's look at what's going on in terms of innovative, desirable and funky brands in Italy. Italians are famous for their sense of style, and innovating through design. ((Roberto Verganti, Innovating Through Design, Harvard Business Review, Dec 01, 2006)) This is why almost all of the brands you'll see here have incorporated superior design as core of their brand strategies.

As in the case of two previous blog posts related to country-specific brands, Spain and Germany, the Italian list is far from being exhaustive.  It's just a beginning, and if you have some more funky brands to add to the Italian list, feel free to do so.

To get a better idea for what criteria to look for, check out what makes a brand funky, and based on that, continue adding more brands in your comments on this blog or SCHMOOZY FOX's Facebook page. Have fun discovering funky brands from Italy!

1) ALESSI

Alessi

I've already written a post about this funky brand, Keeping brands alive through product innovation: Alessi. Alessi specializes in design objects for home interiors.

2) KARTELL

kartell

This brand makes and sells contemporary furniture made of plastic.

3) GAGGIA

gaggiared

Also featured previously on this blog, Gaggia is a brand of espresso coffee machines. Read more about it on Funky brand pick of the week: Gaggia coffee machines.

4) SMEG

smeg

Here comes the brand of kitchen appliances, especially funky retro-looking iconic fridges.

Vespa

5) Vespa a totally funky brand of scooters  manufactured by Piaggio.

Brand partnerships

Photo by Nelson Cheen on Flickr

Funky brands evolve, they are not static.  In spite of being able to stay true to its authentic values and brand vision, a funky brand is nevertheless able to keep its finger on the pulse of consumers, experiment and surprise them.

BRAND RE-VITALISATION TECHNIQUES

I have already discussed several techniques that brands use in order to stay contemporary and fun.

Line extensions occur when a company “introduces additional items in a given product category under the same brand name, such as new flavours, forms, colours, ingredients or package sizes.” 1.

Example is Starbucks introducing a line of instant coffee, Starbucks Via.

Brand extensions are more radical ways of either capitalizing on the success of your already popular brand, or bringing some fresh air into the otherwise old and tired brand image. A brand extension is “using a successful brand name to launch a new or modified product in a new category.”2

Example: a brand of bananas Chiquita and its new line of fruit juice bars.

BRAND PARTNERSHIPS, OR CO-BRANDING

True to its "schmoozy spirit" (schmoozing is the term I discussed before), SCHMOOZY FOX is fond of brand partnerships.

They can be particularly interesting for you if your brand does not yet plan to launch a whole new product line, or extend into a totally unexplored area.  Then perhaps a brand partnership is something to keep in mind while you are searching for a strategic direction. Brand partnerships are also referred to as co-branding.

A brand partnership is usually a short or medium-term collaboration between two or more brands in order to enhance each other's positioning vis-a-vis the target market.

FASHION AND HOME ACCESSORIES

A recent trend that I've been noticing in the mass luxury (also called new luxury) market is this: fashion brands partner with artists and designers to create home accessories.

Here is a recent example of this trend that I came across in a Dutch magazine (forgot its name :( )

Diesel lamp

This is a lamp that is a result of a brand partnership between Diesel, Foscarini and Moroso.

Another example is a recent partnership between Levis and fashion designer Veronique Branquinho. The suprising result of this partnership is not actually related to fashion at all.   It's .... wall paint that is sold under a slogan Fashion for Walls.

levis_ambiance_1

Watch this space for more examples of brand partnerships.

1) Principles of Marketing, P. Kotler, 2002, p. 478

2) Kotler, Principles of Marketing, 2002, p. 479

Revitalizing tired brands: Chiquita's Fruit Bars

What comes to mind when you think, "Chiquita?" Is this, "bananas?" Lately, Chiquita has extended its brand into fruit bars, based on a franchise model. This short post talks about a Chiquita Fruit Bar spotted in Brussels.

On line extensions and Starbucks Via

Massively criticized, the launch of its first instant coffee by Starbucks might be successful long-term, provided the company chooses its target markets well, and pursues the right pricing strategy in relation to its freshly brewed coffee.

Funky brand pick of the week: Gaggia coffee machines

gaggiaredI heard about Gaggia espresso coffee machines for the first time about three years ago, when I was sipping my morning coffee in Florence and thinking how beautiful  Cupola del Brunelleschi looked in the sun. The sunshine and smiles of people passing by created a wonderful spring atmosphere in Florence. On top of that, the coffee I was drinking was superb. I had a chat with the owner of the coffee shop, telling him how much I'd like to have the same coffee at home, and he revealed his big secret to me: apart from buying the best coffee beans, you gotta make your coffee in Gaggia machines. Naturally, he had one of those in his pasticceria as well.

Although I do try to buy best quality coffee, I never bought myself a Gaggia. The question is not really the price – although automatic machines can cost up to 1000 Euros, you can get a traditional one for around 200 Euros. The thing is, I simply forgot about Gaggia, and nobody had reminded me about it after that trip to Florence, until a friend of mine proudly demonstrated a new shiny Gaggia in her kitchen the other day. She bought it following her friend's recommendation.

With little cash spent on advertising, Gaggia relies mainly on word-of-mouth marketing to support sales of its coffee machines. This includes word-of-mouth on the web: Gaggia is recommended and reviewed on a large number of coffee-related Internet forums. Consumer-generated Gaggia YouTube videos and related blog posts are abundant. A social media paradise for a marketer!

The question is, of course, whether Gaggia is doing anything with this buzz. If the company wants to stay on top of competition and sustain the strong brand, it should consider capturing value. Luckily, there are definitely many ways to do this.