All posts by Brenda.

Living Consciously.

YOU made the cut!

Do you realize how special YOU are? According to natural selection, YOU are perfect just the way you are, that’s how you’ve made it here! Go forth and live your perfection!

What an amazing thought…

“Every living thing is, from the cosmic perspective, incredibly lucky simply to be alive. Most, 90 percent and more, of all the organisms that have ever lived have died without viable offspring, but not a single one of your ancestors, going back to the dawn of life on Earth, suffered that normal misfortune. You spring from an unbroken line of winners going back millions of generations, and those winners were, in every generation, the luckiest of the lucky, one out of a thousand or even a million. So however unlucky you may be on some occasion today, your presence on the planet testifies to the role luck has played in your past”.

Source: Daniel Dennett.

Telling your brand story.

I’ve written about the evolution and development of Marketing and Communications over time (“Marketing Era’s“, “From-functional-to-aspirational-to-meaningful-economy“). One might argue that such a discussion of trends and cycles is outdated even irrelevant, since the pace of change in society and culture today is so fast, things move on before we can dissect them.

But, I believe it is worthwhile to scope out the landscape we are working in, if for nothing else, just to know its modus operandi. Once we dissect and understand changes in people’s attitude and behavior, we will be better able to respond  – to inform policies, product development and even brand conversations. It is also important to understand the impact of these changes and how to navigate and inspire the future. After all, the intelligent brand | corporation | individual is one who can adapt and be ready for the future.

With that in mind, I believe that the current brand / communication cycle is one of conversation | experiences. It is one where stories shine. If we consider the rise of Micro-blogging sites WordPress, tumblr, Wordpad and even Pinterest and Instagram, I believe one thing they have in common is the idea of sharing our ‘stories’ with people. Even when we tweet we are sharing a ‘story’ of sorts.

Thanks to (as a result of) the digital revolution, people have become accustomed to giving more media more of their time. People spend short – sometimes long – chunks of time engaged in watching videos (Vimeo, youtube), reading (slideshare, blogs, facebook and twitter links), playing games (with all the emotions they involve). Only an interesting ‘story’ makes people do that.

If you look at the print ads below (source: Archive magazine vol.3 2012), you will see that they tell interesting stories. They engage people with an introduction, main plot and conclusion of sorts.

The notion of stories in marketing is not new. But what I believe is important is the way we look at stories from a brand viewpoint.

A brand story is not just a manifesto. Everything the brand does is part of its storyline. Unlike in the past, the ‘storyline’ doesn’t need to continue identically through all communication touchpoints. In fact, we can consider all touchpoints and all aspects of the brand as having unique stories with unique sub-plots, characters and settings across all touchpoints. They don’t all need to look or feel or sound identical. As long as they tell the story in total! At different points in time, one may outweigh the other.

Slide1

So, next time you’re briefing your agency, make sure they understand and have a plan to tell your brand story though various touchpoints. And make sure each touchpoint has its own engaging story. That’s what we do for our brands ☺ It’s what keeps our work fresh, intriguing and interesting.

Designing Experiences that People Interact with.

I love Design for many reasons. And I think it will save the world. One of the great things I love about it, is that the discipline of Design helps us crystallise ideas into a form that people can understand and interact with and ultimately improve our lives – sometimes by  entertainment.

Technology helps us elevate our Designs just like these awesome guys do. Click on the link to see what they do.

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Don’t mistake good writing for talented writing.

Writing and words are so important. They help structure our thoughts and communicate our ideas.

Here’s something that might make better writers out of all of us. It’s from one of my favourite sites https://www.brainpickings.org and it’s from the book  About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews by Samuel Delany.

Though they have things in common, good writing and talented writing are not the same.

If you start with a confused, unclear, and badly written story, and apply the rules of good writing to it, you can probably turn it into a simple, logical, clearly written story. Though it will still not be a good one. The major fault of eighty-five to ninety-five percent of all fiction is that it is banal and dull.

Now old stories can always be told with new language. You can even add new characters to them; you can use them to dramatize new ideas. But eventually even the new language, characters, and ideas lose their ability to invigorate.

Either in content or in style, in subject matter or in rhetorical approach, fiction that is too much like other fiction is bad by definition. However paradoxical it sounds, good writing as a set of strictures (that is, when the writing is good and nothing more) produces most bad fiction. On one level or another, the realization of this is finally what turns most writers away from writing.

Talented writing is, however, something else. You need talent to write fiction.

Good writing is clear. Talented writing is energetic. Good writing avoids errors. Talented writing makes things happen in the reader’s mind — vividly, forcefully — that good writing, which stops with clarity and logic, doesn’t.

Hello Flo

Just when you thought advertising for Feminine Hygiene products couldn’t get any more interesting (Ha!) Hello Flo went out and created a highly entertaining film using a fictional young girl’s first period as inspiration to tell a very amusing story!

And their website http://helloflo.com is a highly engaging site as well focussed on everything to do with Females and Female issues.

Screenshot 2016-02-19 20.52.46

Nice to see a brand breaking free from  the mould of the “happy girl running carefree along the beach” cliche.

Storyline Structures in Advertising – AKA Storytelling in Advertising 101.

Great ads tell great stories. I think most people agree on this. So, the question is, how does one write a great ad with a great storyline?

I think advertising storylines have a few overarching idea ‘Arcs’ in common. Once we recognize them, it might help us generate better ideas.

  1. The first is centered on using an instinctive approach. Here an idea captures a universal or culturally relevant insight or trend, and links it to the brand in a relevant way. Sure, the tone of voice will vary across categories and brands – some might use humor, camaraderie, joy, nostalgia or other emotions – but at their heart, they connect with an underlying ‘truth’ associated with the brand or category.
  2. The second type of story structure is the imaginative approach. This approach builds an intriguing fantasy world that helps demonstrate a brands proposition.
  3. The third approach is using projection to get the audience to transfer or extend  their hopes and desires (ego) onto the product or service being sold. Of course this method can also work in reverse – using fear or threat to warn the viewer of what could potentially go wrong if they make an incorrect decision. Either way, this is about getting the viewer to project their hopes and fears and then tying it up with the product in a relevant way.
  4. In the final category, when we have a stand out or new product feature, we can showcase it with a simple product demonstration done in a beautiful way.

Here are some examples that may make my points clearer.

Instinctive approach: IKEA are experts in simple, lighthearted ads that effortlessly communicate its proposition in witty and insightfully creative ways. The ad below is an example of instinctive / insightful communication built on a modern cultural truth about the way we live in a digital world.

IKEA BookBook

Imaginative approach: On the other hand, this campaign for Georgetown Optician is an imaginative story that tells the fictional story of a family obsessed with eyewear. It effectively communicates the point that Georgetown opticians are experts in glasses.

Georgetown Opticians

Projection: This campaign for NIKE, taps into peoples hopes and aspirations by empowering the audience to dream about the person they could become if they associate with NIKE.

NIKE Last

And finally, in this Product demonstration for Apple Watch, the product does all the talking!

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Hopefully this deconstruction will help in your next brief. Try to see where some of your favorite ads fit into this spectrum. And whatever you do, “keep it real or keep it edgy”.