It’s not a new idea, but lifestyle branding is currently the cat’s meow. Meaning, it’s time to forget the business jargon and corporate lingo and start living alongside your customers—instead of in front of them. And it’s not just for B2C brands anymore. B2B brands are evolving from pragmatic to personable, and expressing something a little less tangible—a feeling that matches how people think and who they aspire to be.
Here’s a quick primer and a few short, sweet examples of brands that have connected with our collective consciousness by using lifestyle marketing principles.
If you happen to be the one at the meeting who suggests a video to support your next marketing or branding effort, there is now a way to prove you are the brightest person in the room. Videos are increasingly becoming the preferred consumer interaction on mobile and desktop at a record setting pace. There’s no question that the moving images and the sights and sounds that take you along for a ride pack more bang for the buck than most other mediums. Hands down, videos convert more prospects and capture more attention. Even the most complex offering can be made simple and engaging through the magic of motion and sound. Whether fast-paced infographic-inspired explanations, or animation and live action, there are plenty of approaches that work. And the results are impressive.
A bright bunch of people with deep pockets, good reasons and a sound methodology took a close look at the breakthrough brands of 2017 and why they are capturing customers at an unprecedented rate. This group interviewed thousands of people, went through a massive list by industry, category, and age to come up with their 10 best based on how they resonate with consumers – and how they sit side-by-side with Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, and other mature brands, despite being mere babes in the woods.
Check out this short video and a few snappy synopses that explain how these brands are hitting a proverbial home run.
The AMA’s (American Marketing Association) most recent event was a winner, thanks to Spyglass’ own Paige DeRoma, an AMA board member, and the rest of the event team. The focus was on Brand Purpose, an important marketing mantra for today’s B2C and B2B companies in search of a more authentic story to tell. Consumers and businesses are increasingly interested in knowing if the brands they choose to support have a larger mission that aligns with their own values, or if these companies are just trying to boost their own bottom line. Not only that, defining brand purpose has become one of most important ways to rally your internal team. The secret, of course, is discovering what is authentic about your brand. It’s something that has to be real and able to be supported and sustained, not contrived. The event featured three speakers of brands that did an excellent job of showcasing how it’s done.
The event was hosted by Nicole Nye, SVP Marketing, ICF Olson and panelists included Amanda Brinkman, Chief Brand & Communications Officer at Deluxe; Kristin Prestegaard, Chief Engagement Officer at the Minneapolis Institute of Art; and Remi Kent, Global Brand and Strategy Leader at 3M.
What we learned and what we liked:
- Deluxe used a contest and reality TV series to build awareness
Only 1% of people knew that Deluxe did more than just make checks. They have an entire suite of small business services—but virtually no one had a clue. To change that misperception, they created their own reality show to increase awareness. They had viewers vote on their favorite small town—the winner received $500,000 to help market their small town and to aid their niche local businesses. Deluxe wanted a non-overt strategy that was authentic and organic and “Didn’t smell like traditional advertising,” and they found it. Their show, “Small Business Revolution” is now the #1 rated lifestyle program on Hulu.
- The Minneapolis Institute of Art didn’t want to be an “Institute”
The Minneapolis Institute of Art has been around for well over one hundred years and is ranked among the most notable and appreciated art galleries in the world. But, as MIA their brand was hesitant, muted and disjointed. After doing their homework and identifying their strengths, they landed on their brand purpose: To be the peoples’ museum. In short, they saw virtue in branding themselves as friendly, inviting and inclusive to all. They evolved to become Mia. Rather than an acronym, they became something infinitely friendlier and even went the distance to show this by making improvements to everything from the museum entrance, to guard uniforms, museum swag, signage and advertising in an effort to appear welcoming. Like their art, they wanted to reflect a culture of diversity and inclusiveness and their new brand does exactly that.
- 3M Post-It Notes are a cultural phenomenon with a very personal story underneath
3M Post-It Notes have become part of our cultural zeitgeist. People use them to do everything from play games to solve business problems to record their hopes and dreams. One study says that people are 42% more likely to complete a task they’ve handwritten down. Knowing this, Post-It launched a very personal campaign based on their brand purpose: To help people put ideas on paper that will change the world. Among their brand purpose-fueled strategy tactics were a SXSW “Idea Station”, a video showing one young women’s journey to success using Post-It Notes, and a complete revamping of their social strategy by sharing user-generated content around the world. They wanted to develop a strategy that harnessed the innate power and ubiquitous nature of their product and they were able to identify several hip, modern ways to do it.
Thanks to all three companies for sharing their authentic brand purpose.
We’ve done more than our fair share of logos over time. The challenge to create something original and eye-catching has only increased with the virtually unlimited number of brands and the constant influx of newcomers. Now there are a whole host of new considerations. It used to be that if you wanted to “look” like a modern, digital company there was a certain feel that you went after (orbits, swirls, digitized type, etc.). But today, every company is a “digital” company. So trying to “look” digital and modern is actually a bit of an old-fashioned notion.
However, most logos are still designed to be static, highly regulated symbols of a company that come with a book of rules and strict dos and don’ts. An approach that came from the days when the use of a logo was mostly print. But the simple truth is, how customers and prospects interact with any given logo is probably 90% electronic i.e. via email, websites, TV and social media. Which begs the question: How can a logo move from “looking” digital to actually “being” digital?
The bottom line is, we are in a design era for logos where anything is possible, and it’s time to rethink the traditional static logo. Logos need to be “living things” that evolve to meet changing brand needs and match the challenges of our digital world.
With that said, here is smart post to give you a quick overview of what to consider in today’s logo landscape. Number 9 may provide a glimpse into the future of branding.
In today’s business world, everyone needs to be a leader in one way or another. Some people call it thinking like an intrepeneur (yes, it’s a term). It roughly equates to making sure you always look at the world like a business owner—no matter where you happen to be in the employee food chain. That means bucking the workday malaise, taking risks, having an opinion, and not being afraid to go out of your way to get things done that benefit your company and its customers. To help you get there, allow us to present a quick primer on the simple habits that effective leaders rely on to stay two steps ahead of the competition.
Enough business stuff for today, eh? It’s viral video time! It’s the one medium that seems to depend more on serendipity, slip-ups and injury than any hard and fast rules. Well, other than the fact that having a cute animal exponentially increases your odds of racking up more views. Take these gems for example. Dog lover? Cat lover? We’ve got you covered. Now finish up, get out there and enjoy the spring weather.
For Dog Lovers (Spyglass’ own power pooch, Paisley Mae)
We believe that anything your brand can do to regularly engage its audience and encourage others to share your content is a good idea. And those good ideas don’t necessarily have to be groundbreaking or expensive. Our newsletter is just one example.
Here’s another one we like:
The New Yorker magazine created a smart way to celebrate their love for the art of poetry. In honor of their 92nd anniversary, they’ve introduced “The New Yorker Poetry Bot” – a new app built to receive, read, listen to and share poetry. As brands look for new ways to stay relevant and connect with customers, this anniversary app is a great example of how using a little technology can keep your brand in front of your fans on a daily basis and give them a reason to share your content. If nothing else, the app can be a nice distraction from today’s ferocious news cycle or, who knows, the beginning of an inspired way to describe your next big idea.
If you do brand marketing, you’re by default in the business of changing minds. From sales teams to CEOs, everyone is looking for the best way to get customers to change brands, change perceptions or change the way they see the competition. It turns out that one of the best ways to do just that comes from a 17th century philosopher who understood that where you start the conversation matters most.
As the DEFCON level for anxiety seems to rise daily, advertisers are embracing some of the larger dystopian themes that seem to come with this level of social upheaval and uncertainty about the future. Here’s one of our favorite new examples from Jose Cuervo. In this cinematic-quality TV spot, Cuervo takes the concept of “the end-of-days” another step further with a song and a dance.