Zombie Brands in the Crosshairs

By | Branding

Zombie CrosshairsOn this Day of the Dead, we examine a foreboding phenomenon among small and medium-sized companies: the rise of the Zombie Brand. That’s a lifeless business brand that lurches along, oblivious to reality. Dead Brand Walking.

A Zombie Brand is not the same as a zombie company, which is the term for a heavily indebted business that can afford to pay only the interest on its debt. In contrast, a Zombie Brand often afflicts a company that is, at least at present, relatively stable financially.

Zombie Brands are often established companies that have developed a false confidence that their marketplace success is somehow guaranteed and not the result of good luck and timing. Other characteristics include a misplaced trust in customer loyalty, a disregard for the passage of time, an aversion to coherent marketing and brand planning, and a lack of urgency to make improvements. Read More

Sticky Branding: Tagline Tips from an Olde Wordsmith

By | Branding, Marketing

Sticky ShakespeareKnock knock!
Who’s there?
Will.
Will Who?
Will you please take taglines seriously!

It was 1606 when Shakespeare wrote “Knock knock! Who’s there?”, and that catchy bit of dialogue from Macbeth has stuck in our collective English-speaking consciousness ever since. Sometime later it was co-opted for humor, and so began the silly “knock knock” joke convention we all know well.

Shakespeare did not write taglines for commerce as we know them today, but employing some of his formidable wordsmithing techniques can boost the fortunes of any brand or business. Read More

Craft Brew Branding for Law Firms

By | Branding, Design, Law, Marketing

Aggressive Bastards LLP

Law firms of all sizes have been confronting a harsh new reality in recent years: fluctuating demand for legal services, fierce competition and diminished profits. If that hasn’t driven your managing partner to the liquor store, maybe it should. But not to escape. Rather to seek inspiration for a bold new brand position that could set your firm apart, make it memorable, and help you win new clients by outshining your rivals. Read More

Panthers Slay Broncos in Brand Super Bowl

By | Branding, Design, Logos

Carolina Panther eats Denver Bronco

The Denver Broncos may have won the football game, but the Carolina Panthers won the battle of the brands at Super Bowl 50 last week. It was a chance to watch superlative branding in action, with the outstanding Panthers image system providing a welcome distraction from all the poor throws and dropped passes.

No disrespect to Broncos MVP Von Miller (who’s both relentless and exceedingly likeable) but for me, the game’s standout performer was the Panther logo. Read More

A Law Firm Name Can Be a Liability

By | Branding, Communication, Law, Logos, Marketing, Naming

name-badge_llp2

Recently we visited the website of a Big Law firm with a great nickname. As we typed in their clever url, we wondered, will the website live up to the promise of their fresh, unconventional moniker? Sadly, no. From the look of their tired logo, which featured the full legal firm name complete with requisite ampersand, it could have been 1955 (had the internet existed). The website verbiage proclaimed the firm to be “creative and innovative”, but the branding blared “traditional and sedate”. Read More

Smart Companies with Stupid Logos

By | Branding, Design, Logos

Stupid Logo

Some companies go boldly about their business despite having an embarrassingly bad logo, like the investment bank that looks like a fast food restaurant or the law firm that looks like a feminine hygiene product. You have to wonder, do they not know how ridiculous they look? Or do they know, but just not care?

Back before business migrated online and our attention spans shrank to nanoseconds, snap judgments based on appearance were perhaps a little less likely. But now, an ugly, outdated or inappropriate company logo makes many people mentally swipe left.

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When Logos Go Bad

By | Branding, Design, Logos

Google Banana Logos

Most mornings I’m reminded that bananas last about as long as a Twitter post. That got me thinking about how quickly logos are starting to look old these days.

The logo lifespan is getting shorter and shorter. We’re now rebranding companies and replacing logos we designed just 10 years ago. Back in the Sixties, logos were designed to last, and they did. Brandmarks by design greats like Paul Rand or Saul Bass were often in use for 30 years or more. But that was back when an apple was just a fruit that thankfully lasted longer than a banana. Read More

Musings Inspired by a Marketing Maven

By | Branding, Communication, Design, Marketing

“The more technologically advanced our society becomes, the more we need to go back to the basic fundamentals of human communication.” Angela Ahrendts

Burberry Apple

Can you compare apples to raincoats? Tim Cook thought so when he hired Angela Ahrendts from Burberry last year to bring some of her marketing mojo to Apple as VP of Retail. While CEO of Burberry, she was renowned for her anticipation of market changes and sharp strategizing, as well as her ability to connect with employees, customers, creative people and the fashion community. Read More