Do you have Branding on the Brain?

Apparently, Yes, according to this recently released study.

It really shouldn’t be a surprise that something embedded in memory, particularly if it has positive associations, should show up in a functional MRI scan. But is there a bizarre business opportunity here – running people through fMRIs to validate branding effectiveness??

Equal: Packets of sweet fun

Scott Ginsberg writes about his discovery of some great design on Equal packets – here’s a way to take something forgettably mundane and make it stand out! It’s a shame that more companies don’t come up with creative ways to grab attention and make themselves memorable. These small packets are billboard space, and this is a great way to use it…unlike our friends at UPS, and many others.

Copywriter for 141 Worldwide in Chicago (that came up with this campaign): Alma (a.k.a. Marketing Mommy).

Personal Branding

Time magazine recently ran an article on the topic of “Personal Branding”. I’m a major believer in this idea. Actually, we all have a “brand” image that we project, and that others hold in their minds about us. The only question is, are deliberate about it, or not? Identifying the core traits, perspectives, and capabilities that make us who we are is critical if we are to be rightly “positioned” in the minds of our audience. One of the things I enjoy most is sitting down with people, rapidly distilling down what their strengths and desires are, and then brainstorming what directions to take based on their core identity.

I’ve subscribed to William Arruda‘s newsletter on Personal Branding for quite a while (he is featured in the Time article). Despite the less-than-optimal design of his website, he’s apparently doing quite well. Good for him – as long as personal branding exercises are based on authenticity and transparency, this approach can only do good.

The three-cent bill

We all know not to expect to see a legitimate three-dollar bill. Last week, however, I was amused and amazed to receive a three-cent bill.

My former long-distance provider, recently replaced by a more comprehensive phone plan from a local provider, decided, as a final act of goodwill and corporate wisdom, to send along an afterthought last bill for…3 cents. That’s $0.03. And that’s really cheesy. Just call it “brand stupid”.

This bill, likely to have a major impact on quarterly earnings reports for Wall Street, was for one day’s worth of “Interstate Services Fee”, apparently incurred during the window of time of my cancellation. Now, I know they have to charge these fees. But can’t someone with just a touch of common sense develop an algorithm that says, essentially, that any charge like this of under (let’s say) $10.00 really costs more to bill and collect than the amount itself? Let alone the lost good will?

For years, I had no problem with this provider. I was happy with the service and the billing. But what will be my final memory of them? That’s right – a 3 cent bill. All brand equity lost, for 3 cents. Who knows what it cost them internally to generate and process this invoice – AND, I’m also being asked to spend 13 times the amount of the bill for the postage to send it in!

So, in response, I am sending along 3 pennies taped to a 3×5 card. And if I somehow fail to remember to put postage on the envelope, so that it arrives postage due, that would certainly be poetic justice.

That’s my 3 cents worth…


Looks like I’m going to have to buy this book, based on the Table of Contents, and this post about brand names. Marty Neumeier is definitely on the same wavelength!

Hat Tip: Brand Autopsy

Mr. Happy Crack

What in the world could be more uninteresting, more pedestrian, more BORING than, say, cracks in a foundation?

So how do you market crack repair services? Mr. Happy Crack.

Naming and creating this mascot was a stroke of genius. Nobody is going to mistake Mr. Happy Crack for an undiscovered work of Monet, but as far as taking a completely “who cares?” type of business and turning into an unforgettable brand, this is marketing artwork. If I found a major crack in my house’s foundation, I cannot imagine where else I would turn.

Plus, the website is full of fun stuff, including My. Happy Crack swag, turning a ho-hum business into something worth remembering.

Company name: The Crack Team. Mascot development: Nehmen-Kodner.

Impactiviti scale:

Update: The Crack Team enjoyed the mention, I guess, since they forwarded some Mr. Happy Crag swag – a T-shirt for me, and one item (which won’t be described!) for my wife!


Impactiviti provides strategic consulting services to increase brand impact.

Windy City Olympic logo deserves a gold

Unlike Seattle‘s misguided attempt at branding itself, Chicago has unveiled a great looking logo as part of its effort to land the 2016 Olympics. Apparently, the firm that came up with this design only had a few months to pull it off, unlike the 16 months wasted by Seattle.

One test I use for good logo design is the 2-second reaction – if it grabs my attention and makes me say “Yes!” in the first 2 seconds, then it’s likely a winner. If I have to think about it too long, or need an explanation, then it’s going to be a loser.

This design requires no explanation. Great use of color, and brilliant depiction of the skyline at the top. Sweet.

Here’s a news article about the unveiling.

Hat tip: Brand New

Impactiviti scale:


Impactiviti provides strategic consulting services to increase brand impact.

Pleasant diversion

In my daily travels through the series of tubes that make up the Internet, one of my favorite stops has become Book of Joe. From a branding perspective, the value proposition is simple – Joe the blogging anesthesiologist consistently finds and consolidates an eclectic array of stuff on his site for the rest of us to enjoy. Everything from leading-edge medical articles to strange new appliances to who-knows-what-else, part of the appeal is…well, you just don’t know what is happening over at BoJ today.

JoeJoe keeps the brand image very minimalistic – a tiny, grainy picture on the upper right hand corner that could be him or just might be his second cousin, and then the daily diet of articles and links. No Google sponsored links. No blinking banners. Just a fresh jolt of Joe, delivered daily, nicely flavored with a dash of self-deprecating personality.

So, after you pour your cup of joe today, check out what’s brewing at Book of Joe as you sip!

Sweet logo

I confess, I don’t usually like logos with this format. But the colors and shapes just work right on this one…the logo “feels” professional, modern, and friendly all at once.

Update: AIMA Atlanta recently changed the logo (I like the old one better), but the new website has one of the best implementations of a “talking head” avatar that I’ve seen!

Some brand stories

Newsweek has a nice little slideshow on successful (smaller) brands that have quickly become household names. Of these, I use LinkedIn and Firefox (and very happy with both of those), and occasionally Craigslist…but I love the imagery shown for POM Wonderful juice.

While we’re looking at billboards…

Hysterical. Done for the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Taboo no more?

Todd Wasserman over at Brandweek talks about efforts to “loosen up” use of the formerly sacred logo. I think this can be effective in time-limited, narrow circumstances – otherwise, brand chaos can ensue.