5 Brands That Keep It Fresh While Staying On Brand

Keeping a company “on brand” and “on season” can be deceptively hard. A well-functioning brand relies heavily on consistency in its design choices to create cohesion and establish a sense of trust and familiarity with the consumer.  The customer however, carries a certain expectation that a brand keep up with trends and the changing times.  Here are 5 brands that creatively solve the problem “How to keep it fresh while staying the same.”

1. Copic Marker

Copic Marker is a brand that really knows who it is and more importantly, who their customer is.They have created the perfect solution to this challenge by utilizing their social media audience and consumer base into their seasonal marketing strategy. Every month, Copic employees put together the campaign: #ColorsoftheMonth. Which is a three-color set of markers that embody the seasonal mood of the upcoming month. They release the colors via a short gif on their Instagram, along with the HEX codes for digital designers under the hashtag #ColorsoftheMonth. The selected markers are always offered at a discounted rate for the month, along with additional bundle items to encourage additional purchasing. They then ask artists to post and tag their #ColorsoftheMonth creations for a chance to have their piece shared on the official Copic social feeds. The result is a beautiful, color coordinated grid that engages users, encourages buying, and expertly plays to both the strength and creativity of their brand.

2. Oreo

“Milk’s Favorite Cookie” takes the cake (or cookie in this case) as far as adapting to each season while staying on brand. Everything about their branding design is simple, clear and consistent throughout the year. From the classic Oreo Blue and Black to the playful Sans Serif fonts, they’ve expertly created a social media presence that’s instantly recognizable, before you ever see a cookie. The one area in which the brand provides change is with their animations.  By adapting a vectorized cookie into a seasonally specific animation, Oreo creates the idea of fresh and fun design while keeping their core aesthetic consistent. 

3. Swatch

Swatch is no stranger to using creative design to sell a product. In fact, that’s kind of Swatch’s thing.Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Swiss watch and accessory brand is an expert at melding recognizability with new ideas to ensure their feeds are eye-catching all year round. Swatch understands that the most recognizable aspect of their brand is the shape of the watch itself. As far as creative content, they capitalize on the fact that they aren’t afraid to switch it up and make bold design choices. When you think of Swatch, you think of bright colors, bold patterns, but most importantly, you think of change. By keeping only the image of a watch consistent and pulling from their ever-evolving designs, they have put together a branding style that seamlessly provides their consumer with freshness and familiarity from season to season.

4. Lush Cosmetics

Just like their ingredients, Lush keeps it simple and clean when it comes to their social media. The all-natural health and beauty brand applies the same philosophy that makes their products so appealing to their seasonal social media design. Lush customers feel a sense of pride in buying from them and the company has built a loyal empire based on transparency and celebrating ingredients in their truest, raw form. This same celebration of natural beauty is expertly on display as you scroll through the company’s Instagram. Season to season, they choose a color story that reflects both the time of year and the products that are currently “in season”. From face masks to soaps to photos of flowers, Lush has designed a beautifully curated color story that lets their ingredients shine.

5. OPI

OPI is masterful when it comes to using color to design new and playful ways to engage with consumers. Each week they highlight different nail polishes by showcasing a color family worn in a variety of ways and designs. They then use those colors as a common thread throughout the posts for that week. Sometimes it’s as a simple background, other times they’ll stage a whimsical flat lay or photo. The end result is a cheeky and enticing social media presence that perfectly highlights the products and the season. 

Source: https://www.elysiummg.com/blog/5-brands-th...

Why Your Business Needs Brand Guidelines

So what exactly are brand guidelines? Essentially, they are a set of rules that explain how your brand looks and feels at every touch point. They are a roadmap of information surrounding the personality and values of the brand. Brand guidelines incorporate the colors & fonts, logos, and other brand essentials that help define the brand’s identity. Now let’s dive into the importance of these bad boys!

Differentiation

To be successful, your brand needs to build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. The best way to do this is to ensure that all creative pieces are cohesive. Nowadays, consumers are constantly being exposed to competing brands so now more than ever, these guidelines are crucial to help your business stand out amongst all of the noise.

The two best ways to differentiate your brand from competitors are by: 1) maintaining consistency within your own brand identity and 2) using a unique voice and look. The process of creating brand guidelines helps to bring up pivotal questions about the essence of your business.

Consistency

Consistency is key with anything, but especially with your brand identity - it should never be left up to interpretation. If something you put out doesn’t look like the rest of your brand, people WILL notice. These guidelines aren’t set up to stifle creativity and make everything look starkly similar, but to ensure that all creative is sending the proper messaging and is effective in achieving the goals that are set in place for the business.

Standards & Rules

Brand guidelines establish rules that ensure all elements of the brand are used consistently throughout all creative pieces. They support marketing strategies by ensuring that all messaging is relevant and related to brand goals. This creates a strong brand identity that resonates with consumers, which helps increase overall awareness. Take Coca-Cola for example - they’re a brand that focuses on building happiness. Everything about their brand evokes positive emotion  from their bright red cans to their classic font and personalized products. Consumers know who Coke is can clearly differentiate a marketing campaign for their brand versus another soft drink brand. This kind of consistency and recognition is exactly what brand guidelines are for.

Brand guidelines are also extremely helpful for designers. They allow them to understand what and how to use specific elements such as logos, colors & fonts, spacing, and imagery. Setting these rules also help new employees who don’t yet know the true identity of your brand and what all it encompasses. Obviously it’s helpful for them to look through previous pieces, but giving them a guide that explains how to properly use the elements of your brand will help stave off any issues and set them (and your brand) up for success!

Voice

Brand guidelines give your brand a voice and point of view. A great way to help distinguish this is to play a game we like to call “This or That.” We’ll suggest different describing words and our clients will tell us where on the spectrum they believe their brand lies.

Is your brand funny or serious?

Is your brand soft or bold?

Is your brand modern or classic?

Is your brand demure or edgy?

Now think about this: if you think your brand is funny, what kind of funny is it? Do you want a corny joke or pun involved in every creative piece or do you want your brand to focus on more intelligent humor? This might sound funny, but it really helps to distinguish the heart and soul of a brand. You’d be surprised how often we ask clients to name 5 adjectives about their brand and they can’t! Even when they can, the question is would your employees and customers name the same adjectives? This is a crucial step, so make sure to really think about the true essence of your brand!

Creating Brand Guidelines

Creating brand guidelines can be a massive undertaking. Besides establishing a voice for your business you need to consider a color palette, fonts, imagery, logo, and several other elements to create a truly useful set of guidelines for an impactful brand. It’s not impossible, but it is time consuming. Elysium Marketing Group has created several brand guidelines for various clients in very different fields, and each time it’s a journey deep into the heart of the brand to ensure the final product clearly defines the voice, essence, and identity of each brand. Whether you’re creating a new brand or re-branding an already established brand, we’ll ensure you have the tools you need for a strong brand that meets its business goals.

Contact us to see how we can help move the process along!

The Art of the Burn: Incorporating Twitter into Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Welcome to 2018 - where social media is full of fun, outrageous takes and opinions and a whole lot of trolls. Trolling on Twitter has become such an epidemic that it’s made headline news a few times over the past few years (cough cough Kevin Durant…and do I dare say Bryan Colangelo?) However, I’d argue that when brands and organizations throw shade at one another it’s beneficial to their brands and, quite honestly, the engagement of their social media profiles. Here I’ll go into a few brands that are known for their “troll-game” and why exactly this became the way it is: 

Wendy’s

Okay, so is anyone surprised that they’re first on my list? Wendy’s has been trolling other fast food companies for a while now and no other restaurant is safe…. Let’s take a look at a few examples: 

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As you can see, no other restaurants are safe – and not even their own customers can escape the wrath and playfulness of Wendy’s. Now from a strictly marketing perspective, these are the types of the tweets that go viral. Don’t believe me? That burn targeted at McDonald’s had 12k retweets and 28k likes, the average on their four previous tweets that included messaging on their own branding and promotions, was only 1,692 retweets and 11,467 likes. You may not realize exactly what these numbers imply but here’s an easy breakdown. The more a tweet is retweeted and liked, the more it shows up in other people’s timelines. This means there are more people who are seeing Wendy’s logo, messaging and therefore subconsciously begin to crave their food. Wendy’s strategy is simple, go viral and get in front of as many people as possible. In my opinion their “burn” strategy is most definitely paying off!

Burn level = 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 

The NBA

The NBA as a league does such an incredible job interacting with one another that I couldn’t bring myself to highlight just one team (and maybe partially because I’m a die-hard Sixers fan). But in all seriousness, NBA Twitter is the best example of an organization truly embracing what Twitter was created for: engagement & interaction. They utilize their team accounts, their players, highlights from the games and even their mascots to poke fun at other teams. The NBA season is long and now the off-season has become as integral to their social media strategies as their in-season. The individuals who run these accounts have a ton of time to push creative, unique content. All 30 NBA teams often “troll” other teams but here are a few of my favorites from recent history:

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Professional sports are a unique platform to market because not only does each team want to grow and engage their fan base, but the NBA benefits from people being engaged with teams outside of their “home team”. Therefore, when teams interact with one another they’re encouraging their fans to essentially get in on the action. The tweet above from the Raptors was not only retweeted and favorited more than their typical post, but had fans of both teams replying to the tweet “burning” each other. These rivalries lead to storylines, which leads to increased viewership on TV, ticket sales, etc. The NBA has captivated on social media and each team interacting with one another (often in burns) more than any other professional sports organization and it shows by looking at their official account. The NBA leads all other professional sports organization in followers with 27.9 MILLION! With the closest organization having 3 million less…let’s hope  they keep it up!

Burn Level = 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Hot Pockets

Hot Pockets does a phenomenal job utilizing their Twitter account to get in on breaking news, viral topics, and hashtags all while engaging their followers in a fun, “troll-y” type of way. They engage with polls, quote and retweet followers, they even poke fun at themselves and how petty their tone often is. Let’s take a look at a couple of our favorite examples:

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Hot Pocket’s strategy is to engage their current clientele, more so than it is to go viral. They have a smaller following than the previous accounts featured with 37k but every tweet they post is incredibly engaging. They talk to their fan base in the same ways in which you would communicate with a friend on social media. Here’s why this is so important – when a brand successfully makes their consumers feel important they become another asset to utilize in their marketing strategy. As Jay Baer said, “the goal of social media is to turn customers into a volunteer marketing army,” and in this regard, Hot Pocket’s has truly hit it out of the park.

Burn level = 🔥🔥🔥

We live in a society where it is almost impossible for businesses and organizations to not utilize, or even have a social media presence. It is called social media because at its core it is social and without the social aspect, it’s just noise to your consumers. So if your brand allows - make it fun! Social media cannot only impact the perception of your business but also help enhance overall growth and revenue. Don’t have the time that’s necessary for creating fun and captivating content that will continue to move your business forward? That’s what we’re here for! Contact us today for a free consultation.
 

4 Reasons Why We're Crushing on the Sugarwish Brand

1.     Creative

Sugarwish’s logo is clean, whimsical, and locked up with a solid tagline, “sweet happiness.delivered.” Their brand colors are a combination of Tiffany’s blue (for a little luxury) and red (for a little love), plus gray as a secondary color. It’s nice to see two colors not usually paired together being used, and used in such a complimentary way.  

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 Their website design is clean and shows beautiful, playful pictures of their candy offerings. The tone of the Sugarwish brand is fun (as it should be… it’s CANDY) and they use language like “Lickety Split” and “Wish Granted,” which just makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

When the Sugarwish arrives, it comes in the cutest packaging – a Tiffany's blue box, with a red ribbon around it. The inside showcases the candy and has red and white stripes that are reminiscent of the old-school candy striper days.

Sugarwish box

2.     Website’s Ease of Use  -

Sugarwish has been implementing a new concept – sending a candy gram online to a recipient who selects his/her own gift. Instead of complicating the messaging, once you arrive on their site, it clearly shows you where to click if you are the sender or the recipient. It incorporates a video if you need further explanation, but it doesn’t cram it down your throat. Most of the content on each page is above the fold, so there’s not a lot of scrolling needed to get the information you want. The website does a great job of making navigating the site a cinch!

 

3.     Email/Ecommerce Best Practices –

So far, we’ve touched on the cute concept and exceptional branding, but Sugarwish wouldn’t be as successful as it currently is without using best practices in ecommerce. Once you order, you get an email confirmation. If it’s your first time ordering, you get a thank you from the founders with an offer to purchase again. Both pretty standard, but necessary steps.

At each turn, they both subtly and not so subtly try to persuade you to purchase another Sugarwish. But even when it’s not so subtle, it’s still on-brand and it’s not bothersome at all. They track when your wish has been sent and when it’s been seen, so if for some reason the recipient doesn’t pick it up, you can either send it again or say something to your chosen recipient to make sure they select their candy.

Their emails are visually appealing with minimal copy. As you can see from the email below, it’s easily digestible and definitely makes you want to click through to their site.

Sugarwish email

Not only is their onsite presence and email marketing strong, but they are also implementing the next step and using a remarketing campaign. As soon as I left their page, a cute little reminder popped up on another site that I should send that deserving someone some candy. “Sugarwish Em’”

Sugarwish banner ad

4.     Social Media  -

Some of the most fun we have when we manage our clients’ social media accounts is when we’re working with food brands. There’s so much you can do and so much fun to be had. People want to see puppies and babies on social media, but I’d say good looking food/candy would definitely be next in line.

If you look at Sugarwish’s Instagram feed, it contains beautiful pictures of colors through candy. They do a wonderful job of incorporating their logo and some of their brand lingo like “Work Fuel” and “Sweet Appreciation.” The entire feed uses a consistent look n’ feel and exudes their brand essence. We see so many Instagram accounts that are all over the place and really don’t tell the brand’s story, so this is a breath of fresh candy air.

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I would suggest that Sugarwish post more often on Facebook; however, I have found that when they do post, it is relevant and on-point. You can see below that for Valentine’s Day (a holiday they should definitely be capitalizing on) they posted a charming picture of one of their boxes with a message about how they are the ultimate Valentine. 

Sugarwish Facebook Page

At the bottom of their emails, they entice you to follow them on social media with clever copy that fits their brand and actually does make you want to join.

Sugarwish email bottom

For a brand that isn’t well known to the masses yet (every time I send one, the recipient says “What a cute idea!,”) Elysium is very impressed with what we’ve seen from Sugarwish so far. They seem to really know who they are, what their brand stands for, and how to incorporate best practices in ecommerce.

Lastly - maybe most important - If you have two email addresses, there’s no shame in ordering one for yourself. ;) 

5 Brands Who Nail Tangible Marketing

Two buzzwords in the marketing world today are DIGITAL and CONTENT. And while I whole-heartedly agree they are essential to a good marketing strategy, there’s still power and importance in tangible marketing.

Much to my husband’s dismay, I tend to keep creative direct mail pieces that stand out. I also keep catalogues, promo items, or anything else that’s branded and does a good job of relaying an important company message.

For the past couple of months, I kept 5 tangible marketing materials from companies that really understood the power of their brand being held in consumers' hands. 

 

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5 Ways Bette Midler's Concert Was Like A Good Brand

I went to the Bette Midler concert with my aunt last week. And I.loved.it.  I’ll even admit that I’ve seen her before, and this time was even better. She’s the original triple threat who can STILL sing, dance, and act (and curse;). After the concert, my aunt went on and on about how she still “has it!”

My marketing brain thought, yeah Bette’s like a good brand (we’re not on a first name basis, but one can pretend). Stay with me here. She’s been in the industry for a long time, yet she had a pretty packed house at the Wells Fargo Center last Tuesday. Here’s my reasoning:

 

1.     Bette Understood Anticipation – The concert was scheduled to start at 8pm with no opening act. The Divine Miss M didn’t grace us with her presence until 8:30. Like a good brand (Apple anyone?) Bette knew we’d want her even more if we had to wait, and then she delivered on all the hopes and desires we had for her show.

Apple is the master at this anticipation marketing principle. They leek information about their latest product and its features, and then they only make a certain amount of product available so consumers go crazy in anticipation and desire. Apple knows they can do this because their products payoff in the end. If people had to wait for a product that disappointed, that allure would fade quickly.

 

2.     Bette Stayed Consistent and True to Herself – Bette’s known for her humor, (sometimes raunchy) and for not just singing, but PERFORMING. She doesn’t stand on stage with a microphone and sway back and forth. She struts her stuff, dances, and paces back and forth quickly. She showcased the quick wit and perfect timing she’s known for. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s seen her in concert before, and I’m also sure that if she decided to stand there and sing without all the fanfare, I would not be the only one disappointed.

Businesses have branding and logos to signal to customers that it’s them and not a competitor. The logo is a sign to trust that brand that you are familiar with. When you go to Disney World, you know that you are getting - family, fun, & entertainment. There are vibrant colors and happy people and little Micky ears everywhere ensuring you that you are at the happiest place on earth.

 

3.     Bette Showed Relevance – Yes, Bette was consistent, but that doesn’t mean she was boring and stale. She showed relevance and modernized herself by doing an entire bit on social media (complete with background stage set-up of all social media logos) and a hilarious bit on the Kardashians (complete with pictures of Bette in bed with random famous men…Dick Chaney, Richard Nixon, Vladimir Putin -to name a few) It was very entertaining and a play on the Kim Kardashian sex tape.

 Good brands know people like consistency in their products and services, but this doesn’t mean they don’t want them modernized or updated. When you buy that New Balance sneaker, you know you’re getting a shoe that will help you run, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want their new shoe with the latest technology to help you run even better.

 

4.      Bette Looked Like Bette – There were feathers, sequins, and costumes because it was a Bette Midler concert! Come on, we expect feathers, and we expect costumes and impersonations. Relating to the consistency in performance, Bette was consistent in appearance. If she came out on stage in a goth frock, there would be a good shock factor, but it just wouldn’t feel right. Instead she came out in a chicken costume, her Hocus Pocus witch outfit, and a pink sequined dress, amongst others. If you know Bette’s shtick, none of this should shock you.

People freak when their orange juice brand identity changes (Tropicana anyone?), so it’s a good thing that she’s still the same old Bette. (Not old old, you know what I mean). Just like when you walk into an Olive Garden, you know you’re getting Italian food, you want to go to a concert and know you’re seeing the performer you want to see.

 

5.     Bette Gave the Crowd What They Wanted – At the end of the night, when you thought Bette just couldn’t perform another dance routine or beautiful song, she sang her two most well-known songs and the crowd was loving every bit of it -Wind Beneath My Wings, and Buggy Woogy Bugle Boy. This falls under the “give them what they want” principle. At one point, Bette looked up in the stands and talked about the “main-liners” sitting in the boxes. And Philadelphians went wild because they LOVE references to their city.

Ecommerce brands should pay close attention to what’s selling and ensure the most popular items are in stock. GAP may have a huge initiative to sell the latest pair of skinny jeans, but if people are on their site to buy a white t-shirt, they better have the white t-shirt stocked, and stocked in all sizes. Brands want to keep evolving and acquiring new clients, but they should also put some effort into keeping their loyal base happy.  This will help retention rates and satisfied customers. (Like this concert go-er who plans to see Bette again and again while she’s still going strong!)

 

Re-brand: 4 Reasons Why OpenTable Got It Right

Deciding to change your logo and brand identity is often a big decision. Questions arise: Will we lose all brand history that accompanies our logo? Will we maintain customer recognition or will confusion arise? Will we be able to create an even better image than the one we already have? All of these concerns should be factored in if you’re considering making a change.  But when done well, a re-brand can re-energize your brand and your customers.

OpenTable just announced their new logo and brand identity and here’s why they did it well:

1. They took the time to re-evaluate the entire brand.

It wasn’t just about logo and color, although they are an important pieces. They took the time to figure out their tone, their history, and what they mean to customers.

 

2.     They made their brand about valuable experiences, not simply about making reservations.

When they discuss who they are, they never say, “We’re the company who helps you make reservations.” They said, “We’re the company who gives you amazing experiences with your loved ones, friends, and co-workers.” Open Table brings people together; they don’t just reserve your spot at the table.

 

3.     They were totally transparent.

Not only did they discuss why they changed their logo, but they also offered all of their brand assets to the general public - with full explanations. If you want to see their typography or understand their rationale behind their logo lockups, white space or color choices, it’s all on their site for you to enjoy. http://brand.opentable.com/brand-story

 

4.     They were excited about communicating their re-brand.

If you’re going to do a re-brand, you need to make a splash because it shouldn’t happen again for years. OpenTable’s announcement email used a clear subject line, “We’ve Got a Brand New Brand,” and this statement pays off as soon as you open the email and see their imbedded video driving to YouTube. While the video could have been a little stronger, it does re-enforce their message of offering people experiences and bringing people together to celebrate good times. They included the hashtag #brandnewbrand with all of their creative to continue the conversation and excitement online.