The point is, NOBODY in Canada is happy to receive their monthly shakedown from the Big Three. So when I got my ROGERS bill in the email box this month, something in me snapped.
“YOUR ONLINE BILL IS READY” it screams, in all-caps-text-shout. And look – here is a happy photo of a girl demonstrating your proper response as a consumer of our Most Magnificent Services. Open your computer! Sigh with contentment! Click the ‘Pay Now’ button! OH JOY!!!
Really, ROGERS? Do you think your customers are all drooling idiots?
The way I see it, there are two reasons for this waste of my criminally overpriced bandwidth:
A) This the result of some thoroughly-researched and tested ROGERS Evil Customer Subordination Plan™ that has found corporate male customers over the age of 50 will be so enchanted by a young professional female with intelligent-looking glasses, we won’t even feel ROGERS reaching for our wallets. (Presumably women, and men who identify as gay, will receive a square-jawed male version of the image, with just enough smoulder in his gaze to let them know he could be a bad boy in the right circumstances)
B) Image selection for customer e-mails has been handed off to a design division that has neither the time nor the initiative to go beyond the first page of stock photo results for “happy technology consumer”
Frankly, I’m not sure which is more insulting.
But, as we here at Green Briefs and Unicycle Creative are all about solutions, let’s look at the 90% of this glass that is not full yet. What could ROGERS do with this opportunity?
How about helping some people out with this valuable space? Scrolling down to the very bottom of my ‘MyROGERS’ page, I found a musty, cobweb-encrusted link for The ROGERS Youth Fund. It’s a worthy-looking initiative that helps support a wide variety of groups across the country.
What if this valuable space were offered to groups within the program to help profile their initiatives and share some of their stories? Would this be too confusing for bill-payers? Would it look too much like a calculated corporate softening of the wireless payment pain? I don’t know. Perhaps some Evil marketing Bot™ could make that prediction.
But for my money, it would be a whole lot better than a corporate photo model smirking at my stupidity for being just another helpless Canadian wireless consumer.
What do you think?
PS. No offense intended to the woman who innocently posed for the original ROGERS photo, stock or otherwise. You are, in all likelihood, a very nice person. The stupidity originates with the network.
You know electric power has hit the mainstream when legendary motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson builds an electron-powered bike. That’s right, Project LiveWire is the latest prototype badass e-bike to hit the road, on a promo tour in select iconic locations. It’s got I’m-the-meanest-electric-bike-on-the-road styling and if anyone can build a cool, battery heavy ride it’s got to be Harley.
Some are saying this will be the ‘halo’ bike that will bring rebel legitimacy to the charge-up category. But without the tooth-rattling car-alarm-triggering iconic V-twin sound, I think we need more. Some cult-building grandma-scaring brand art that will make people think twice as they don’t hear you rattling down their dusty main street.
I give you the e-bike tattoo sketch gallery V1.0
Now you’ll only need to stop at the gas station for smokes. And you’ll have more money to buy ‘em, too.
Go ahead. Sell all our tar sands bitumen to China. We don’t need it. The US don’t need no Keystone XL either. And while we’re at it, screw you, OPEC.
Not all tattoos have to have such attitude. Lots of moms, dads and grandparents can ride with e-pride, too. How about a having happy hog on your shoulder? It’s brand-ready for a Disney cross-promo.
For anyone who has been jarred awake in the middle of the night with the jumbo-jet flatulence of a Harley with straight pipe exhausts, this will be a welcome brand update. Thunder is like, a state of mind, baby. Ride softly but carry a big charger.
This is actually a Harley-Davidson slogan from 2008. It was supposed to be their flip-of-the-bird to all the economic crisis woes. But it kind of works for Big Oil, too.
Of course, tattoos don’t have to be limited to Harley e-Bike owners. As a species we can all get behind the idea. So put a little Brando in your Brammo. Add a little zip to your Zero. Or even put some muscle in your Motorino.
But this is just a start. I officially throw down the gauntlet to REAL tattoo artists out there. Let’s give all e-motorcycles a bit more street cred.
Here are three examples of personal branding projects with different approaches to making their mark.
Appeal to Your Target Market’s Values.
As a Vancouver-based consultant with global experience in public health and environmental conservation, James Boothroyd has too many credentials to list in a tagline. But one thing he shares with his prospects is a strong belief and dedication to making things better. “I am a Boy Scout at heart, and an intellectual” says Jim. Both of these qualities are evident in his clean, bespectacled logo, and Boothroyd Consulting tagline – “Let’s change the world.”
If you have a strong set of values, and they help to tell your story and sell your services, don’t be afraid to put them right on your brand sleeve. A personal brand can be just that – highly personal. (Any prospects you turn off are likely to be a poor fit for your practice anyway) Just remember to prioritize your values and key messages with your customers’ needs in mind.
Use a Sense of Humor, But Keep Your Brand Solid.
Anybody who has worked with Chris Malthaner in his Sea-to-Sky trade area knows he can be a pretty funny guy. But there’s no joking when it comes to the quality of his craftsmanship. So on his trucks, and at the work site, Malthaner Custom Construction delivers its message with a smile. But the logo and brand clearly communicate strength, precision and good taste. “When I am taking down a 100-foot tree, or planning the construction of a Whistler home, there’s no joking around,” says Malthaner, “But in the Sea-to-Sky corridor, life and work are closely linked, and it’s important to have fun at both.”
If you prefer to sell with a smile, choose the right communication tools for that job. Where will people appreciate some humour? Where is a straight message more appropriate? Make sure your overall brand identity reflects the tone that is most relevant to your central market advantage.
Build a Brand That Goes Beyond Your Name.
When personal coach Mark Cannon decided to ramp up his practice, he ended up moving to a name that has individual appeal, but a lot of potential for brand expansion. “Unicycle Creative guided me through the Brand Centering process, allowing me to identify what I really wanted for the business,” says Mark, “The outcome was LifeBlend Coaching. A name that helps differentiate me from other coaching businesses, and has a brand persona with potential to go further.”
Do you want to build a business that will go beyond your personal brand? Consider finding a company name that sets you up for success and can be passed on to other operators, franchisees or even owners. Look for a name that will let you start a conversation. (With LifeBlend, it’s an easy opener to ask people how their life blend is these days) Just know that in a world of over a half-a-billion websites, a unique name can be hard to come by. Best to get professional help with that.
Whatever goals you have for your personal brand, take the time to engage in a branding process and develop a good design platform. You’re worth it.
The brand examples above are from the Unicycle Creative portfolio. If you want to know more about personal or corporate brand development, visit the Unicycle Creative website.
Over the past few months in Vancouver, an intriguing idea was spelled out at the North end of the Granville Street Bridge. The word Gesamtkunstwerk was emblazoned in tasteful neon, atop a copper-clad building easily visible to all southbound traffic. So what was the meaning of this 15-letter German Scrabble masterstroke?
Gesamtkunstwerk is defined as ‘Life as a Total Work of Art’. To their credit, the developer, Westbank, and the architect, New York based BIG, actually created an engaging, intelligent space that merged architecture salon and sales center. Upon entering the museum-like hall, visitors (after registering of course) were welcome to browse a free exhibition of ‘Vancouverism’ featuring a genuine 1955 Arthur Erickson sketch. Through a complimentary audio tour, visitors also experienced firsthand the challenges and dedication involved in bringing a residential tower to life on a unique building site.
One event featured the new BMW electric i8 – who says green can’t be sexy?
A series of events was held in the space, featuring visionaries such as James K. M. Cheng, Larry Beasley and Mike Harcourt. Almost 20,000 people attended the exhibit and events, becoming immersed in the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, and in its expression as Vancouver House – a gravity-defying 52-storey tower that rises from a triangular footprint to form a curtain-like gateway to the downtown peninsula.
Vancouver House is also one of the first developments to feature an innovative social housing model that buys a home in a third-world country for every home purchased here. World Housing, the brainchild of real estate marketing gentleman Peter Dupuis, gifts a micro-home to a worthy family living in a dump community through an amazing group of dedicated partnerships and people.
Yes, the end result is indeed, another tower. But by offering a free, inclusive look at a larger architectural vision that also celebrates Vancouver’s origins, a greater sense of grandeur, presence and even social license has been created. The exhibition has now evolved into a display of the fine detail and finish of Vancouver House, and no doubt a fair number of the almost 20,000 prospects will be interested in investing.
The true market for Vancouver House is global, but by offering to educate, illuminate and include Vancouver citizens, Westbank and Vancouver House have also paved the way for success right here at home.
I have always wondered about the secret lives of beautiful miniature architectural model people.
Beyond lettuce, vermillion paint and stuffed frogs, defining ‘green’ for products can be difficult. First of all, the word itself has no agreed-upon definition. Should it refer to recycled, local, energy-saving, or involve a complete life cycle assessment to the molecular level? Perhaps the solution is not to judge.
What’s the Green Deal?, the sustainability brand for London Drugs, developed and guided by Unicycle Creative , has never proposed to be a certification system. Maintaining the brand itself as a question means the team should always be looking to find out more, and share knowledge with customers.
Developing a Responsible Purchasing Program
As What’s the Green Deal? has evolved, it became evident that it would naturally move further up the supply chain. Working with Reeve Consulting, a purchasing policy specialist, London Drugs recently formalized the product attributes and qualities it expects from vendors. Unicycle Creative is involved in naming and communicating the program, as well as developing the vendor document system for collecting product information.
From Certifications to Common Sense
The What’s the Green Deal? Responsible Purchasing evaluation process works on several levels:
Third Party Certifications – Recognized standards like Canada Organic, FairTrade Certified, Energy Star and EcoLogo let the team know that other organizations have done their homework.
Self-Declared Environmental Claims – London Drugs will recognize vendor claims if the documentation and website evidence appears to back them up. Recycled content, biodegradability and natural ingredients are examples of such claims.
Transparency – Can all ingredients and materials (including categories like colour and fragrance) be sourced on the packaging or the company website? Transparency is one of the key factors in engaging genuine green trust. Especially on any products that go in, on, or around our families.
Corporate Responsibility – It’s hard to buy green products from a brown company. Social and environmental programs at the corporate level, company vision and other policies play a part. CSR reports and certifications such as B-Corporation are designed to formalize these policies.
It’s just greener. Duh. – Sometimes green just makes sense. Rechargeable batteries, compost containers and other products that help people live a little greener are worth pointing out.
Here’s where we spout the obligatory ‘sustainability is a journey, not a destination’ line. Trite, but true. As standards evolve, What’s the Green Deal? will evolve with them. Hopefully helping create so many green products we won’t be able to feature them all.
It’s about time recyclers got the hero status they deserve. So when London Drugs needed to spread the word about recycling for Earth Day 2014, we decided to get social with a heroic campaign.
We began with online video. Leaping out with balloons, confetti and an obnoxious bull-horn, we surprised shoppers using the London Drugs free in-store recycling service. We then festooned them with a stylish handmade medal and gave them $100 gift cards. (This settled their nerves appreciably) Check out some of the fun:
Everyday #GreenHeroes We Salute You! For shoppers not ‘lucky’ enough to get ambushed, we created an multi-pronged contest offering a $250 gift card, a Microsoft tablet and a 46″ Samsung TV.Customers can enter at the store (when they recycle), through Facebook or Twitter or by sending a ‘recycling selfie‘. This helps drive more contest entries and sharing from several vectors.
Setting a PR Challenge for the media. Our target is to double the recycling London Drugs usually handles in April, and spread the word about all of the things shoppers can take back totally free of charge. This creates a strong, measurable result that increases the newsworthiness of our campaign.
Getting the #GreenHeroes hashtag to take off takes a dedicated team. Having one dedicated main web landing page and a consistent hashtag is key to consistency and uptake.Unicycle Creative handled theming, video direction and obnoxious bullhorn duties, Wishpond handled the online contest strategy and integration, Wasserman & Partners took care of online media, PR was handled by Hartley PR. The concept was brainstormed by the entire team, including the London Drugs Marketing Department. Special thanks to the video team: Angela, Britta, Samantha and Shawn.
And of course, London Drugs customers, who are great sports and keep the whole Green Deal rolling with their sustainability efforts.
Back Story: The Forging of the #GreenHeroes Medallions We wanted these medals to represent the values of London Drugs’ What’s the Green Deal Program, so we made them out of 100% recycled circuit boards, reclaimed from SIMS – LD’s responsible recycler for electronics, styrofoam and appliances. They were assembled by hand and cut using a solar-powered jigsaw. (Really!)
On April 16, 2014 I was honoured to be asked to present at the University of The Fraser Valley’s inaugural Graphic and Digital Design Portfolio Show. For those that attended, here are links to some of the resources I mentioned in my talk. For the other 6,999,999,850 or so of you who missed it, the approximate text of the speech follows. (Minus my ukulele version of Monty Python’s The Universe Song. Instead I leave you with a link to the real thing)
You Are Here – The Talk: April 14, 2014 – Heritage Park Center, Mission, BC
Welcome. Thank you for having me, here, and congratulations to the University of The Fraser Valley Graphic & Digital Design Class of 2014.
You are here. And you are, indeed, green. But that’s not a bad thing.
I was once green, too. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Thirty years ago, in Calgary. I rummaged through old boxes of photos and found my original promo shot. I think I saw too many Tom Cruise movies… Yeah, I was green all right. Green as grass.
I graduated from the Alberta College of Art in 1984. George Orwell had predicted constant surveillance, a perpetual and undefined state of war, doublespeak and fascism dressed as strong government. (That wouldn’t really come until 30 years later)
Michael Jackson gave us Thriller, Eddie Van Halen told us to Jump. Prince sang about Purple Rain and acid rain was the environmental scare of the day.
The Macintosh launched. With a Superbowl TV ad that made history. When I graduated, we still pasted our layouts on to boards with beeswax. Auto correct was done with an exacto knife. But through it all, there was always someone we could call. The Ghostbusters. (RIP Harold Ramis)
But in 1984 another team of people was setting out to save the world. The United Nations asked the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, to create an independent organization, to focus on environmental and developmental problems and solutions. Three years later, this Brundtland Commission published a report called “Our Common Future”, giving us one of the key definitions of sustainable development, still being used and abused today.
“Sustainable development is the kind of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
At the time, when I graduated, I had no clue about any of it.
So now I have to make an environmental confession, if you will permit. Forgive me David Suzuki, for I have sinned.
What’s the worst environmentally damaging thing you have done? For me, it was this. A 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88 i bought for $100. It had a 455 cubic inch V-8 engine. It moved me from Calgary to Vancouver in 1985, probably emitting as much carbon as a loaded 747 at take-off.
But the car itself was not my worst crime.
You see I used to change the oil in that car… And what do you think I did with the old stuff? Take it to the garage for recycling? Nope. I dumped it right in the alley. At our house, a block from the Bow River. I’d call a cop if I saw someone doing that today.
Somewhere out there is a 2-headed trout calling me ‘grandpa’.
I share this story not merely to cleanse my soul, but to illustrate why It’s so important that as designers and businesses we embrace the concept of Sustainability Literacy.
Even if you don’t think we’re all going to hell on a hockey stick graph, these days you need to understand the concepts of sustainability. Not knowing enough about sustainability can put your design practice your clients or your business at risk. And when we are ignorant, we are dangerous.
Sustainability is a technology. You can think of it as an upgraded operating system for the economy. And like any technological innovation, its adoption can be graphed. The standard technology adoption curve is basically the same for any new idea or invention. From the leading edge early adopters to the laggards. It can also be illustrated with cartoons. (A picture tells a thousand words)
So even if that is you, at the far end of the curve, driving your Hummer, and you don’t care about sustainability, the people on the other end of the scale do. These are the letter writers. The protesters. The leaders of shareholder activism.
And besides the pressure from these groups, there is increased scrutiny on environmental regulation and claims. Are you a label reader? Do you look at ingredients? How about where a product is made? What about certifications?
All certifications are not created equal.
For businesses selling packaged goods, or designers out there wanting to do packaging design work, theres a riveting document out there called Environmental Claims: A Guide for Industry and Advertisers. This is a treatise put out by the good people at the Office of Consumer Affairs Canada. Among other things, it outlines three basic levels of certification.
Type I Eco Labels – are Independently verified by a third party through a testing process, usually around components of a life cycle
Examples: Canada Ecologo, USDA Organic, Canada Organic, Energy Star
Type II Eco Labels – are self-declared claims made by manufacturers, distributors or others who stand to gain by an improved environmental perception of the brand. Usually on a single product attribute. Credibility of these claims can be strengthened if manufacturers provide the supporting information in a clear, accurate and easily accessible way.
Examples include ‘Biodegradable’, ‘Non Toxic’ and ‘Recycled’
Type III Eco Labels – A comprehensive Data list based on performance of a product throughout its life cycle. Similar to nutritional labeling.
So what about a label promoting a CFC Free product? It’s none of the above. Because CFCs have been banned for over 10 years, this is a completely irrelevant claim. This is what we call Greenwashing:
Green-wash (green’wash’, -wôsh’) – verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
It’s one of the biggest risks to a company or brand. As designers, you’ll have to really watch out for this.
The Sin of the Hidden Trade Off
A claim suggesting that a product is ‘green’ based on a narrow set of attributes without attention to other important environmental issues.
An example of this would be a Japanese whaling company that proudly boasts about their recycled photocopy paper.
The Sin of No Proof
An environmental claim that cannot be substantiated by easily accessible supporting information or by a reliable third-party certification.
One example would be the term ‘Recycled’. Is it 50% recycled? What is the percentage? Is it per-consumer waste, or post consumer?
Just saying ‘recycled’ is like going to an online dating site and not posting a photo. Danger!!
The Sin of Vagueness
A claim that is so poorly defined or broad that its real meaning is likely to be misunderstood by the consumer. ‘All-natural’ is an example. Arsenic, uranium, mercury, and formaldehyde are all naturally occurring, and poisonous. ‘All natural’ isn’t necessarily ‘green’.
The Sin of Irrelevance
An environmental claim that may be truthful but is unimportant or unhelpful for consumers seeking environmentally preferable products. ‘CFC-free’ is a common example, since it is a frequent claim despite the fact that CFCs are banned by law.
The Sin of Worshipping False Labels
A product that, through either words or images, gives the impression of third-party endorsement where no such endorsement exists; fake labels, in other words. Designers have to be really careful about this, because it looks like fun to design these! You get to use little leaves and planets and stuff… Maybe an earthworm… But if a client asks you to do this, they are leading you down the path of sin!
The Sin of Lesser of Two Evils
A claim that may be true within the product category, but that risks distracting the consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the category as a whole. Biodegradable single serving coffee brewer cups is one example.
The Sin of Fibbing
Environmental claims that are simply false. The most common examples were products falsely claiming to be Energy Star certified or registered. But here’s a more relevant one.
The image on the left is part of a promotional video that Enbridge produced in 2012 to help encourage British Columbians to support the shipping of bitumen through Douglas Channel from Kitimat. Unfortunately they missed a few things. like about 1000 square kilometers of islands. Whether you support Northern Gateway or not, its obvious that blatant Greenwash is not the way to convince people you can be trusted.
Oh, and who first spotted these missing islands? A Vancouver Islander named Lori Walters, Graphic Designer.
So with all these rules and regulations and potential pitfalls of green marketing, is it even possible to do good design and, God forbid, maybe even have a little fun?? Sure!
In 2008, London Drugs asked me what they should do to brand their sustainability initiatives. After looking at their business, their programs and their customers, we came up with one big question: What’s the Green Deal? This program does not preach. It does not judge. It simply offers credible information for shoppers looking to live and buy a little greener.
So is What’s the Green Deal a type I II or III label? It has elements of all three. In describing products, we refer to certifications whenever we can and we tell people the difference. We also do research on self declared product claims and share them. And, with our recycling programs, we track and share our waste diversion rates with the detail of a type III label.
Part of the London Drugs strategy is not to blow our own horn, but rather thank the customers who helps recycle over 11 million lbs of packaging, electronics, batteries, cell phones and more every year.
For our Earth Month 2014 campaign, we went into stores, surprising customers who were recycling or buying green products and giving them a $100 gift card. We also have an online contest, where people who bring recycling to their local stores can enter to win an energy efficient electronics bundle worth $1500. Customers can also enter on Facebook and Twitter.
More importantly, What’s the Green Deal tells the world that London Drugs will always be asking the question, and moving forward.
Because sustainability is a journey, not a destination.
And, as with any journey, the best part is the stories you gather along the way.
Here is a fun web video I produced for Left Coast Naturals. It does a really good job of describing the basics of sustainability, but also reveals a surprising discovery about their supply chain.
After all that organic love, would it surprise you to know I did work for a coal fired power plant?
Drax, one of Britain’s largest coal power facilities, was working on a plan to commingle biomass with the coal. I was asked to design a report to help explain why that might be a good idea. Working with Terrachoice, we branded it Field to Furnace .
Right up front we transparently addressed the challenges of coal, even clearly stating its impact on climate change. Then we explained where biomass comes from and what sources might be available. Finally, the key point was explained in this info graphic. Showing that biomass is part of our current C02 cycle, while fossil fuels like coal are adding carbon dioxide from our planets past.
So where is it all going? Like coal and biomass, How can sustainability coexist with the current world we live in? Here’s a look at how traditional economists see environmental sustainability…
The economy must grow, more sales, more profits, more GDP. And within all that is e public sector, government programs and the like, some of which are supposed to be in charge of protecting the environment. If the economy keeps growing, so the current thinking goes, we can grow our support for public and natural systems.
BUT there is a growing school of thought that says is is actually inside out.
It’s a field called Ecological Economics, and it was actually started in the 1920′s. In the briefest terms, the idea is that nature is a closed system, with hard limits. Within this system the market economy must exist. And coexist with public services, each providing to their strengths.
As you will quickly surmise, this implies a net zero growth state. Is it possible to provide for human welfare with an economy that does not grow?
More importantly, is it possible to exist on the planet with an economy that does not stop growing?
Obviously worthy of more debate than we can give it here. Look up a book called The End of Growth, by Richard Heinberg, or The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.
So by now your minds are melting… You just wanted to get a job doing something creative and now you have to save the whole frickin’ world??
Well maybe it’s time to get a little perspective.
Let’s go back to the 80′s, where a little movie from Britain promised to give us all The Meaning of Life
An open letter to BC Premier Christy Clark – April 7, 2014
May I call you Christy? It seems appropriate, given your warm, woman-of-the-people style of governing. I’m a soccer parent too, so that puts us on the same sidelines, wouldn’t you say?
Anyhow, it’s about this Bill 4 thing. You know, the amendment to the BC Parks act brought in by your government on March 24th, 2014. The one that now allows industrial activities within BC’s Provincial Parks.
I would understand if you missed it. After all, the legislation was rapidly passed without any meaningful consultation or dialogue. Maybe you were at a game with young Hamish at the time.
On behalf of my young family, I am very concerned about the provisions within this new bill, especially as it now appears to “allow the Minister to grant an industrial activity ‘research’ permit if it is determined that “… the research relates to “an environmental assessment or a feasibility study,” or is “necessary to inform decision making around changing the boundaries.” Which wouldn’t be so bad, if Bill 4 didn’t also specifically mention transmission lines, telecommunications projects and pipelines.
Pipelines?? Really? In our BC Parks?
Maybe you don’t have the time to follow Hamish’s private school lessons on earth science, so I’ll sum it up for you: They aren’t making any more intact natural ecosystems. To use terms perhaps more familiar to you, that factory has been shuttered – replaced with an offshore production line making Doritos and flat screen TV’s. And as most qualified biologists will tell you, an ecosystem cut in half, by say, a road, does NOT create two smaller ecosystems.
So that means the 14% of our province that is ‘protected’ is one of the world’s last chances to set aside wilderness for our future. If you think I exaggerate, just look at what is happening to the once vast tracts of undisturbed wilderness in the Amazon and Africa.
Of course, the Minister for Environment, Mary Polak, assures us all that we have naught to fear. Any of those fine upstanding global corporations who might dare to stretch the definition of ‘research’ will have to have her personal approval first. So we have at least one unimpeachable line of defense for BC’s pristine ecosystems.
But the Vancouver Sun reported last December that the Ministry of Environment is anticipating applications for boundary adjustments to at least 35 parks and other protected areas to accommodate industrial pipelines, transmission lines and resource roads. So Mary’s desk might get a little swamped.
Personally I would rest much easier if you scrapped Bill 4 and left BC’s world-class park system as protected as possible within our legal framework. The corporations will work around it. They always do.
When most companies think of marketing, it’s all about simplifying and wrapping up their advantages in a few carefully-chosen words and images. But sometimes showing customers and prospects the bigger picture can make a greater impact.
Click for a larger view
Hemlock Printers recently hosted a booth at the Globe 2014 Exposition, part of the world-famous summit on business and the environment held every two years in Vancouver. They challenged Unicycle Creative to design a booth that would tell the story of their significant environmental advantages, that would still be approachable enough for general trade show use in the future.
The team decided to bring their printing supply chain right out into the open, giving sales representatives a tool to engage customers with a story at whatever point interested them most. It also let Hemlock showcase the depth of their signature ZERO program for helping individual projects offset their carbon footprint. All done with a warm, inviting illustrative style.
What stories lie waiting in your supply chain? Do you have special relationships with suppliers? Have you moved to improve your transparency, oversight or certifications recently?
Consider bringing your supply chain to the marketing party. Done right, it can open a window to your brand that educates, entertains and demonstrates authentic brand advantage.
And if your President rides his bike to work, as Hemlock’s Richard Kouwenhoven does, put him in there, too.
The Silent Gardener is ready to hit the road this spring with a new logo, fresh trailer wraps and electric rider mowers that leave their noisy competitors in the green dust.
Ahhh, spring. That season of blossoms and birdsong… the roar of gasoline mowers and the stench of blue smoke in the air. Unless you are a customer of The Silent Gardener Ltd, who for years quietly grew their business using only electric equipment, organic fertilizers and biological pest controls. But as this company’s capacity increased, they suspected their image was not living up to their brand promise.
How do you know when this may be happening to you?
1. You no longer really use your marketing material. Old business cards sit unused in a box. Presentation folders gather dust under a desk. You don’t even have a branded email signature. Proposals are created from scratch, as you try to communicate to prospects who you are today. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if your marketing material made a bold promise that you were enthusiastic to live up to? It would certainly be more refreshing for whomever is on the receiving end.
2. You make apologies for your website. It hasn’t been updated in a while. You aren’t that excited to add to it. Or maybe you don’t even have the ability to easily manage your content. It seems like so much has happened since you last told your story, you aren’t even sure where to start.
3. Competitors are getting work you know your firm is more qualified for. It’s frustrating to see business going elsewhere, just because they have a flashier website, slick marketing material or shinier proposals. But can you really blame the client? Who among us hasn’t chosen a product based on its package? Sure, we would like to think our prospects will dig below the superficial to see the real ‘us’ underneath. But why make them go through all that effort? Can’t they expect style AND substance?
What is a brand to do?
Let’s get back to The Silent Gardener Ltd as one example. Their old logo featured a friendly ladybug and a warm serif font. It looked professional, but appeared tailored to a smaller-scale residential service.
Unicycle Creative took The Silent Gardener Ltd through a Brand Centering process. This led to the insight that they needed to address the (incorrect) perception that they didn’t have the size or horsepower to handle bigger jobs. That called for a bigger, bolder, high-performance look, that still retains a focus on their key benefits of quiet, sustainable, organic service. Their technical green roof expertise also needed to be reflected in this new image.
A fresh brand identity was developed, with a more architectural and technical feel. Trailer designs were updated with bold, clean graphics. At the heart of it all, their wit and personality bloomed, in the waveform/grass trimming logo and the writing of the headlines for the trailer and the website. An e-brochure put The Silent Gardener’s larger projects and green roof experience front and center.
So now it’s on to bigger, bolder projects for The Silent Gardener, energized with a fresh brand outlook.
Is it time to take your promise to the next level?