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Breakthrough brands! See who’s winning the battle of 2017 (and how)

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.

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Spyglass takeaways from the AMA’s recent “Finding Your Brand’s Purpose” event

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.

Deluxe: The Show

  • 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.

Mia: The New Brand

  • 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.

Post-Its: The Phenomenon

Thanks to all three companies for sharing their authentic brand purpose.

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New school rules: Key considerations when designing a modern logo

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.

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Why success is habit forming: 9 tips for outperforming the also-rans

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.

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You need a super cute pet video, am I right?

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 Cat Lovers

For Dog Lovers (Spyglass’ own power pooch, Paisley Mae)

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Poetry in motion: The simple, social way The New Yorker is making new connections

New Yorker app

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.

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You’re absolutely right! The art of changing minds

Changing Minds

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.


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Tomorrow is overrated: How Jose Cuervo will help you embrace the apocalypse


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.

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Advertising MVPs: Spyglass shares in the fun of the AMA’s 5th Annual Ad Bowl

The Ad Bowl is one of the most popular events of the year for the American Marketing Association. This year’s star panelists delivered insights on what they thought were the best and worst ads and were split on what worked and what didn’t.

Rave review.
The panel overwhelmingly voted that 84 Lumber’s “The Entire Journey” featuring a mother/daughter trek from Mexico to America worked because it was beautifully filmed, emotionally evocative, and it pushed viewers online to see the finale. And since 84 Lumber isn’t a well-known brand, their ad successfully inserted them into the national conversation, where, until now, they never had a seat at the table.

Mixed review. The other big winner for creativity in the eyes of the panel was Audi’s “Daughter”, which addressed issues of feminism and sexism through the story of a young girl’s soapbox derby win. But social media erupted after the ad aired claiming Audi was being disingenuous with their message because of their own lackluster record of equal pay. So, if you’re going to spend millions of dollars to tackle a big issue in front of 110 million people, be sure you are walking the walk.

Bad review. The most prominent example of a fail was the live Snickers ad featuring Adam Driver, one of the stars from the show Girls. All five panel members felt like it was a great concept but poorly executed. It didn’t live up to its hype and didn’t use the live broadcast to its fullest advantage.

In general, the panelists thought the sheer quality of ads once again raised the bar, and agreed that the Super Bowl offers a unique context for ad viewing which allows more latitude for emotional appeals and humor than any other medium. Another important consideration; where your ad ends up in the broadcast and which ad you follow matters. An example? The heart-strings-tugging Audi ad followed by the sexy new Mr. Clean was a jolt for some.

The panel and the moderator were terrific and it was a thoroughly thoughtful exploration of what worked for brands during the big game. Thanks AMA, Well, done!

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Super Bowl Ad challenge: See what you remember from the last 40 years

One the most successful tools in the social marketing arsenal is the quiz. At worst, it’s a brief escape, at best it’s a little brain-teasing fun that might inspire creative thinking and you get to share socially. We give this one high marks for keeping it brief, using a novel “reveal” idea, and, well, for being on topic. Give it a try.

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