As part of our New Year resolution we wanted to work with more charities, and we have done just that.
First up was Woodview Community Centre. We were contacted to create a branding package for them, developing a new logo which had to reach across their whole brand and the larger community.
Next we worked closely with Craftspace to create a new brand identity and web presence for Shelanu, a craft social enterprise for refugee and migrant women.
We greatly enjoyed working on both these projects, and wish both of them the very best of luck in the future.
For Shelanu we created their logo and branding and website design which can be viewed here: http://www.shelanucollective.co.uk/
Take one young mother struggling to pay her son’s school fees, a lucrative casino (is there any other kind?) and a tattoo parlour. The result: ‘GoldenPalace.com’ tattooed across said mum’s forehead for the princely sum of $15,000 (roughly £9244.50). Check it out here: http://j.mp/maGWOG
GoldenPalace.com undoubtedly gained some global attention from this stunt: some might argue that the tattooed woman was mad to agree to it; others would argue she was manipulated by a global brand. Either way, it seems a tad unethical. A bit like a US confectionary brand we’ve been reading a lot about over the last year or so…
We love chocolate. But it’s fair to say that the actions of Kraft’s Irene Rosenfeld have made us think twice about where we want our Stripey pound to end up.
Rosenfeld, who Forbes names as the second most powerful woman in the world, led the hostile takeover of Cadburys in 2010. Since then, and despite promises to the contrary, hundreds of Cadburys workers have been made redundant, with talk of manufacturing plants moving abroad.
Rosenfeld has repeatedly snubbed requests to appear before British MP’s to answer questions about why she backtracked on her assurances. Now, those MP’s are pushing through legislation to prevent similar takeovers happening again.
Perhaps the saddest part of the Kraft debacle is that Cadburys, a unique piece of British history, is systemically being dismantled by a superbrand with little regard to its historical and cultural significance. Not only that but rumour has it Kraft also aims to tamper with the sacred recipes of our beloved Cadbury’s chocolate! Thanks to Rosenfeld, the Kraft brand is certainly leaving a bad taste in a few mouths, and they’re not the only ones.
Take the fashion industry for example. In particular Nike, which certainly hasn’t escaped the spotlight in previous years. Having admitted to using child labour in the past, Nike has, according to The Global Alliance ‘acted in good faith, and developed a serious and reasonable remediation plan’. Although not every quarter is convinced, it’s clear to see they’ve made an effort to change.
WWF however, were so disturbed by the unethical activities of other fashion brands that they came up with a novel idea to counteract it.
In 2007, WWF undertook a study of businesses and their ethics, with some shocking results. Right at the bottom of the list was Tod’s, a luxury Italian leather company, who scored the lowest marks across every aspect of the survey. Another surprising report arose from Garnier, who were found guilty of racial discrimination after attempting to ban non-white women from promoting its shampoo in French stores.
WWF, after realising the power of celebrity endorsement behind these big brands, came up with the great idea of a ‘star charter’. The charter encourages celebrities to consider the ethics of the firms they endorse. And if the success of PETA is anything to go by, then the ‘star charter’ for big brands could be the one to watch. That’s assuming that the stars endorsing the brands are ethical themselves…
Maybe the real question is not how good or bad brands are, but whether their ethics make any difference whatsoever to their popularity. And if it doesn’t, what does that say about us as consumers?
Interested in reading more? Take a look at these articles:
Thanks to the Birmingham based charity Craftspace, we’ve spent the last five weeks working with a brand new social enterprise called Shelanu. Designing their branding package with a logo, website and marketing materials meant we were lucky enough to watch their delicately handmade jewellery take shape, which is special in itself. But what makes this group really important is the people who belong to it.
The enterprise is made up of migrant and refugee women. Together, they’re a diverse cultural collective, creating intricate, ornate jewellery inspired by their experiences in Birmingham. To celebrate and share that creativity, Shelanu is exhibiting at the prestigious Bovey Tracy Craft Fair at the end of this week. And with these guys, Bovey Tracy better watch out! Not only are they a talented group, they’re also vibrant, energetic and fun loving – all the qualities apparent in their sparkling jewellery design.
We think you’ll be seeing a lot more from Shelanu – check out their website for more information at www.shelanucollective.co.uk. And if you’re interested in learning about more up and coming craft projects take a look at www.craftspace.co.uk. They’re one of the few charities that have succeeded in winning Arts Council funding and they’re not wasting time in putting it to good use.
Lately, we seem to be hearing a lot about brands being a bit like religions: Apple store openings have been likened to evangelical prayer meetings. And only recently we learnt that our brains recognise our favourite brands the same way we recognise close friends and relatives.
So if brands are becoming such an integral part of how we function as human beings, what exactly are these superbrands doing to achieve this? Alex Riley is the man with the answers, as he goes on the trail of the world’s biggest brands and comes up with some fascinating insights.
Perhaps most obviously, the one thing superbrands seem to have in common is longevity. But that aside, the forefathers of these global brands display a startling ability to market their businesses at a time when even the term ‘marketing’ had yet to be coined. Their brand strategies were way ahead and whether you’re a big fan of fast food and soft drinks or a fully fledged fruitarian – 1.5billion servings of Coke a day can’t be wrong.
Riley’s documentary also surprisingly illustrates what a pivotal time for developing brand loyalty World War II was: Heinz became known as an affordable and nutritious staple food during rationing while Coke shipped its bottles to troops overseas for a dime a bottle.
Then there’s Red Bull, which is one of the most unique branding models around. Forget sponsorship – Red Bull weren’t playing second fiddle to anyone. They own their own sporting teams for Formula 1, they also own Salzburg football team and even invented the now famous Red Bull Air Races.
They’re all impressive examples. But ethical? That’s for you to decide. With Coke aiming to double their marketing share by targeting teenagers, and Red Bull erasing the historical culture of their football team, some might argue that they’re ruthless industry machines. But then business ethics are a whole different blog post…
If you didn’t catch it the first time, check out Alex Riley’s ‘Secrets of the Superbrands’ here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011fjbp
You’d be forgiven for not knowing firsthand who Dieter Rams is. But with Apple about to make an announcement on its latest designs, it’s clear he has a very important fan: someone who put the queues outside Apple stores and created the kind of brand loyalty that makes their openings seem like evangelical congregations.
Who is this fan? Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design.
For Ive, Rams is a huge inspiration, remaining “utterly alone in producing a body of work so consistently beautiful, so right and so accessible”. Coming from the heady pantheons of Apple’s elite, that’s praise indeed. But what exactly did Dieter Rams do to deserve such praise?
Best known for his range of Braun gadgets, Rams creates “bold, pure, perfectly-proportioned, coherent and effortless” product design, according to Jony Ives. Product design that is “perfectly considered and completely appropriate”. Now, as the subject of a new book, Rams writes for the first time about Apple – one of the few companies that, in his words, understands ‘the power of good design’.
Interestingly, Rams believes that such success is borne out of a close relationship between entrepreneur and head of design – something he experienced at Braun and that Jony Ive has with Steve Jobs. For the creative industries, this is a valuable insight – the best projects are always the ones that grow from long term relationships, with mutual respect and understanding of long term goals.
A lone voice with its unique product design, Apple’s success is likened by Rams to the ration queues experienced during World War II. And with new products on the way, we’d better prepare for the peal of those sirens.
Check out this link for the original article: http://j.mp/mSrp4d
The power of language – brilliantly used by political protestors in Egypt. Also an interesting point raised by Neil Taylor of The Writer.
Neil reckons ‘business ideas live in words as well as images’ – a view we’d support as branding experts.
From Aborigines to the Ten Commandments, he illustrates how the right brand language can influence, direct, encourage and get results – both negative and positive! (For an example of how not to use brand language, watch a few episodes of The Office…)
Neil also raises some interesting differences between the brand language of Microsoft and Apple that are worth a look, courtesy of Wordle.
It’s an interesting topic, showing that branding isn’t just about visual identity. It’s about culture, character, personality and talking to your target market in the best possible way.
Check out his fascinating talk at http://www.economistconferences.co.uk/video/big-rethink-2011/5491