Archives for posts with tag: branding

In a world of commodities, there’s a sea of brands. How are you supposed to remember all of them? How are you supposed to process which appeals to you? It’s got to be Heinz but it’s always Coca Cola – that’s enough to confuse anyone!

You will naturally find yourself drawn to certain brands. This is through recognition. You see a brand, either consciously or subconsciously, and if you acknowledge it, you remember it.

I have seen Derren Brown lead peoples’ thought trails through pattern recognition. It works in a similar way with brands. You see them, you acknowledge them, you remember them.

But which brands are top of mind and why?

It’s different for all of us. Try this question and see what brands are your top of mind…

In 30 seconds (no cheating) name as many Cereal brands as you can….

3…2…1…So, what did you come up with?

You’ll find that the brand that come top of mind are with you for a reason. You’ve seen them, your brain has registered them, and you’ve remembered them.

The brands that reside with you, more likely that not will mean something to you- good or bad. It could be preference, prestige or pizzazz – there’s a reason you’ve remembered that brand.

There’s lots of ways that marketeers tempt us to remember brands – be it catchy slogans, jingles, iconic imagery, or conceptual style. Try these out and see how much you know about brands…


Washing machines live longer with….

If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit…

Now hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face…

For bonzer car insurance deals, girls get onto…

Kids and grownups love it so….


Vorsprung durch Technik

No nonesence

I’m lovin‘ it

Every little helps

It’s a bit gorgeous

Iconic images

An orange box

A yellow m

A panda

3 lions

A man with a moustache

A tick

A swan

A lime green circle 😉

Colour – what brands to you relate to these colours?




Yellow and Black

Red and Blue

It’s all about creating ‘stick’. Something that makes you consciously take note of it. It’s remarkable how much we don’t realise that we remember. And if you don’t keep an ear out later and see if you’re singing about mild, green Fairy Liquid as you’re washing up. That sea just got a whole lot smaller…

(by the way, send us your guesses via comments or social media!)

Emma Dobson is a branding expert and Touch Point guru at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to

Purely in a visual sense of course. We have all read with great interest the new design shift that has taken place at Apple with its new iOS. There is an interesting dynamic to this shift in design philosophy as Apple moves from “skeuomorphic” design to a ‘new modern swiss’ design style favoured by its competitors such as Microsoft’s Windows 8.
Skeuomorphic design mimics real world objects. The phone icon on an iphone has an image of a phone that none of us have in our houses today. It reflects the ear and mouth piece of a dial phone.

Steve Jobs believed that computers should be so simple that anyone could use them. He felt that this would be achieved by an interface design where digital elements resemble real world objects. When you analyse familiar digital objects, you see that this philosophy is embedded at many levels in how we access our digital content. The envelope is the first choice for email and SMS messages. Opened and unopened envelopes create a neat distinction between opened and unopened envelopes. On an Android Samsung phone the email icons is even more archaic. It uses an envelope with a red wax seal, an 18th Century prop but with a modern @ pressed into it. It’s not just the appearance of apps and icons, some of them also behave like their old-world equivalents, the note app having a page curl…

This design philosophy is familiar and quickly accessible to everyone. Steve Jobs would approve.

The design style that Apple is now following has another interesting angle, it is the result of a seismic shift within the company, which saw the previous head of iOS, Scott Forstall, outed in favour of British born-designer Sir Jonathan Ive, who oversaw the new software.

Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, said it ‘represents a massive overhaul of the look and feel of the operating system, which has remained largely unchanged visually since the original version.’ However, he said the changes could be too much, by stating: ‘The new version is almost unrecognisable, which will make it polarizing. Some people will love that their phone feels new and different, while others will be disoriented by the newness.’

Apple has an amazing history of making objects that look and feel like nothing else. They didn’t invent the mp3 player, but what they did with it was amazing. Every product, from its packaging to other digital touch-points look like the pinnacle of design. I’m an Apple fan and I think that it’s taken them too long to realise the UI world has changed… and it wasn’t them that did it. The new Windows UI did that. Its minimal layout, flat colouring, strict typography and no unnecessary ornamentation was a complete paradigm shift for the market and makes Windows clearly distinguishable from its competitors.

Apple is now playing catch-up with its rivals. What looks like Helvetica Ultralight is an obvious choice rather than an innovative one that Microsoft achieved with Segoe. Helvetica Ultralight is generic modernist design; not Apple’s Myriad Pro, not built on Apple’s iOS past, and obviously not the herald of a new way at looking at user experiences.

It doesn’t create that distinction and have that incredible Apple touch that we all appreciate. It feels like everything else. Rather than being Apple. Has Apple lost its shine? Well, in a design sense it has. Any shines have been replaced by flat colours and opaque layers and as a trail blazer in design and innovation – I think it’s lost a little shine also. I wanted to see something different, something that made me think differently and from the screen grabs I’ve seen, I’m a little disappointed.

James Chantler is Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to

I was recently browsing the internet and came across a site highlighting the “Top 100 Adverts of All Time” as voted for by viewers of Channel 4 and Sunday Times Readers (

A quick look through and many were familiar but what struck me was that a large majority (and many of the top ads) featured music. This got me wondering; along with imagery and subliminal messaging, how does music actually function in advertisements? It is obviously a powerful aid as many top brands use well known musicians and artists as well as top film directors to produce their prestigious adverts.

Historically, music has been an important component in advertising. Jingles, background music, popular tunes, and classical arrangements have always been used to convey selling points, set an emotional tone for an advertisement, and to influence listener’s moods.

Many advertising practitioners and experts in the field think that music performs a variety of useful communication functions. These include attracting attention, putting the viewer in a positive mood, making them more receptive to message arguments, and even communicating meanings about advertised products.

One of the main functions of music in adverts is to make them memorable by using a really catchy melody. Early advertising in particular, used music as a sort of mnemonic device with rhyme and repetition enlisted to keep a brand name in mind. But music can also be used to entertain making an advert more appealing and attractive to the viewer. It can have several other important functions: it can emhasise dramatic moments within the advert, create coherence and support an advert’s structure and continuity (David Huron 1989).

Interestingly, music doesn’t particularly need to have a special affinity with the product or service it is being allied with, to play an effective and useful part in it’s success. The best advertising campaigns always communicate a message that is effortlessly remembered though. That tune that gets stuck in your head and will not budge is a testament to the power of music when used as a tool to enhance the spoken word.

Music can help set the mood, inspiring human emotion, thought and act. Even if you watch a foreign film (or even a partially silent movie like “The Artist”) and don’t understand what the actors are saying, through the music chosen, you can usually make out what the sentiment of the scene is.

Music has the power to evoke desirable triggers of brand recognition, for example: trust, reliability, great service, friendliness…all these can be represented by a carefully chosen piece of music that fits the emotion the advertiser wants the viewer to feel about them.
So, music can be extremely powerful when used in advertising even when we are not aware of all the hard work it’s doing. But I guess that’s the whole point isn’t it?

A couple of my favourite adverts which use music effectively are: John Lewis, Never Knowingly Undersold who used “She’s always a woman to me” by Billy Joel and Twinings Tea advert.

Twinings produced both a visually stunning advert and married this with haunting, ethereal music by Charlene Soraia, “Wherever you will go” to promote the brand.

What are your favourites?

Debbie Lewis is a Customer Support Executive at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to

Oh how times have changed. Over the years advertising has gone through some drastic changes. What once was perfectly acceptable before the 1960’s is now seen as socially or personally demeaning. The proof comes when you search through advertising archives, and find yourself stunned and shocked at what we used to ‘get away with’.

Society has worked hard to achieve equality, with the fight for women’s rights and the plea to banish racism amongst other issues. It is sometimes forgotten just how far we have come until you take a step back in time.

Today, we are generally extremely politically correct, some say perhaps too much so, however society has reached new heights in equality and protection against minority groups or individuals. Something that is strongly referenced through our advertising.

Since 1962, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s self-regulatory organisation, have been responsible for ensuring that no ads are released that may cause offence or misdemeanour. Something that was not apparent before the 1960’s judging by the below examples.

controversial ads


The last one (‘Men are better than women’!) is particularly straight to the point! As you can see, some statements that would not be tolerated in this era, and they’re not the worst of them!

On the other hand there are many examples of recent ads that have been banned by the ASA for being demeaning or unrealistic, and perhaps would be seen by most as quite acceptable. There are a lot of examples to be found on the internet- these are some of my favourites.

  • Phones4U, ‘Upgrades 4 U and U and U’ – 2 ads were recently banned by the ASA for misleading customers into thinking that anyone could upgrade, whereas it was not clear enough that customers on networks such as Three and Tesco Mobile were not eligible to upgrade.
  • Special K – an ad was banned where a woman pours milk over her Special K cereal. The ad claims that the bowl contained 114 calories, but failed to account for the milk. This was deemed as misleading to customers.
  • Snickers, ‘Get some nuts’ – the popular Mr T ad where a truck pulls up to a man exercising in yellow shorts and shouts “Speed walking. I pity you fool. You are a disgrace to the man race. It’s time to run like a real man….Snickers. Get some nuts” The ad was taken off air after being deemed as homophobic.
  • Big Fat Gypsy Weddings – A billboard ad featured the words ‘Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier’ across an image of 3 young gypsy girls. It was accepted until complaints from the Irish Travellers Movement in Britain (ITMB) made complaints that the ads were racially demeaning and exposed their children to bullying and abuse.
  • Toyota GT86 ad – the ad featured a Grand Theft Auto style film before bursting through glass into ‘the real world’ – the ad was said to be encouraging dangerous driving and was taken off air.

When you see the difference between those that were once allowed and those of current times that are banned, you’ll see that there is quite a difference in tolerance, despite the odd crazy cats pushing the boundaries. Some say that the regulations in current times are far too strong – but based on the above, would we want to ever get back to where we were in the 1960’s? Let us know what you think.

Emma Dobson is a branding expert and Touch Point guru at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to

Do you have a nagging feeling that your brand no longer translates what you are all about? Do you feel that what you do has evolved but your brand has stayed in the dark ages? It may be time for a brand refresh.

A brand refresh starts with a good and comprehensive brand audit. This will provide a detailed overview of the health of a given brand. It is based on the point of view that successful brands are built from the inside out. While conventional branding research look mostly at consumers, a complete brand audit assesses relationships with all of the important stakeholders of the brand, including both internal and external audiences.

So here we are with the key elements of a thorough brand audit:

1.      Audiences

Be sure to explore all your audiences, internal (management, employee, sales channels, etc) and external (customers, prospects, lapsed clients, influencers, etc).

2.      Method

Your audit should involve the use of both secondary and primary research and use both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, including interviews and online surveys.

3.      Secondary Research

The first step is collecting all available information, research and intelligence from existing secondary sources. These will be: press releases, annual reports, sales literature, marketing plans, business plans and any other communication. You should also look at all your brands (and sub-brands, if applicable), competitors, market share, strengths and weaknesses, financial performance.

4.      View from the inside out

Many brands fail to reach their full potential because they are not fully understood or supported by important internal audiences. So before undertaking any outside marketing research with consumers, it’s critical to first look at the brand from the inside out. This investigation should include the following areas:

  • Company: this includes your values and mission, customer perception, customer service, sales history, your unique selling points, your objectives, your opportunities and threats.
  • Products/Services: what makes your product/service special, key benefits to your audience (rational, sensorial, and emotional), price and future plans.
  • Brand Identity: this include making sure your company personnel understands the concept of branding, identifying all your touch points and having a clear brand identity.
  • Customers: this is all about understanding your customers’ attitudes in relation to what you offer, key demographics and preferences. One important question to ask here is ‘how much does the brand inspire loyalty and drive repeat purchase?’.
  • Competition: this is about finding out as much as possible about direct and indirect competitors, their marketing strategies and about yours and their positioning and market share.
  • Marketing: your marketing objectives, your challenges, your market segments, marketing strategies and one very important question: Does your internal team understand their respective roles in accomplishing the brand’s marketing objectives?

5.      View from outside in

Getting the view from the outside in requires surveying current and prospective customers on the following topics:

  • Brand Awareness: unaided and aided awareness of the brand.
  • Brand Benefits: perceived functional attributes of the brand, perceived rational benefits of the brand, perceived emotional benefits of the brand, how the brand compares to the “ideal” attributes in the category.
  • Brand Positioning: how customers see the brand as different from other brands, what is your position in the market.
  • Brand Loyalty: do customers exclusively use your brand (vs. other brands)? Do they recommend it to others?
  • Brand Touch Points: what is extent to which the brand is perceived consistently in advertising and other marketing communications? Is the brand message consistent?

6.      Written Brand Analysis

The brand audit process concludes with the development of a written summary of the findings, including an overview of the environment, the category, the company, the brand, and the competition.

Every company should benefit from taking a close look at the health and strength of their brand – from the inside and the outside – including:

  • Clearer focus and vision: Clarify the focus and vision of the brand from both internal and external perspective.
  • Stronger competitive advantage: Better define the brand’s competitive advantages.
  • Deeper customer understanding: Improve the organisations understanding of awareness, attitudes, and behavior of current and prospective customers.
  • Communication with all audiences: Develop programs and approaches to communicate effectively with all important audiences of the brand, not just customers.
  • More consistent messaging: Send a consistent message about the brand in all forms of marketing communications.
  • Improved internal alignment: Provide training and encourage internal behaviours that are consistent with what the brand is trying to accomplish.

So there you have it, the benefits of a brand audit! Now the question is… Is your brand in need of it? (if you are, you know where we are!)

Marilia Spindler is an Account Executive at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to

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