Emotionally-engaging commercials

Last week, I listened to Dan Hill, expert on facial coding, speak on engaging radio commercials. The concept is fascinating.

Hill refers to a study which shows that emotionally-engaging commercials deliver 8 times the ROI than non-engaging commercials. Hill’s firm, Sensory Logic, utilizes facial coding research to prove that successful advertising (engaging) is driven by emotion. And being on-emotion is more important than being on-message. What a powerful concept.

Human beings are sensory emotional decision makers. The emotional response comes in 1/5th of the time the rational response does. Our job is to engage our target audience with positive emotion. We have the power to evoke emotion by triggering something in the brain that allows our audience to say “yes” or “no”.

The power of the visual to quickly communicate and create a mental picture is key. Hill reminds us that an emotional response is elicited within 3 seconds or less. This is no surprise since 1/2 of our brain is devoted to creating visuals for us.

Most of what Hill talks about is geared to radio advertising but I think the leap can easily be made to print, online communications and tv. Communication is the same, the media just differs. Color, visuals, photography, and copy all work in tandem to connect with that part of the brain that says, “Yes! This is about me. They understand me. I like it!” And a key point Hill makes is, our message should convey and build value. We should never lead with price.

This is timely as I will be watching Super Bowl commercials today. If you like them too, as you watch keep the following in mind:

Is the message geared to your target audiences level?

Is the message in its simplest form?

Is a branded solution used? Is the corporate and/or product name mentioned repeatedly?

Is it memorable?

Save your logo

What do we have to look forward to in this new decade?

Brands are now moving on from being ‘green’ to being ‘do-gooders’.

lacosteSportswear maker Lacoste will spend $500,0000 over the next three years to help preserve the endangered Gange gharial crocodile – the same crocodile branded on its shirts. They are the first company to support ‘Save Your Logo’,  which is an initiative that helps brands protect the species represented in their logos by facilitating conservation efforts. The Global Environment Facility (GEF), together with the World Bank and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced this new partnership to protect globally threatened species at the World Conservation Congress of IUCN in Barcelona, in cooperation with the Belgian NGO Noe Institute.

The “Save Your Logo Initiative,” proclaims that more than 300 large global brands including Puma, Peugeot, Jaguar, Maaf, and Esso, incorporate plants or animals threatened by extinction in company emblems.

Also, The Coca-Cola Company is doing good by saving the polar bear.

Does this look like the beginning of the “Doing Good” Decade?

Source: brandchannel

Color the new year

Pantone, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, proclaims the color of the year for 2010.

Drumroll please….

PANTONE® 15-5519 Turquoise

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The company says that Pantone 15-5519, which is turquoise, conjures thoughts of a tropical paradise “while offering a sense of protection and healing.”

Happy New Year!

Looking Back

As we near the end of the year and look back, here is the longer view.

I admit, I have a fascination with vintage advertising and find it very entertaining. A friend of mine stumbled upon this website while whittling away at the web. (I am convinced, she is single-handedly going to see everything there is to see on the internet before she passes on.)

It appears someone has researched old magazines and created a database of ads and taglines.  …And the best part is, you can look at all the old ads!

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Since we did a post on the Hertz rebranding recently, shown above is a picture of the Life Magazine, March 11, 1966 Hertz ad. What a difference 43 years makes.

The list of taglines from Life magazine ads lends insight into the mindset of the past eras.

Find a sampling of taglines such as these….

Mum Deodorant: “I sense you played tennis today”

or

Western Electric: “She must have good telephone apparatus to give you good service”

Is it any wonder these businesses no longer exist?

Read their blog, The Retro Press, All the Retro That’s Fit to Post

Here is where you will find their Gallery of Graphic Design

Enjoy looking back!

Aol. revisited….

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The “new” Aol. has shared their brand strategy with Fast Company in an article that includes an interview with the Wolff Olins creative team as well as new iterations of the logo.

Read the Fast Company article here.

Today’s press release states, the new brand is “deliberately disruptive and deliberately unlike what is being done by other online media businesses, it is designed for an environment where media is no longer broadcast, but rather is discovered through fragmented, non-linear conversations.”

I now understand more on the brand strategy. Mind you, this does require a brain shift for me. And I am not sure I am totally convinced that it “works”.

The use of the logotype in the videos explains alot. We should not have taken these logotypes and showcased them as static images, as we did in our November 24th post. They are meant to be viewed “in motion”. This means that at some point during its time in motion, you will see the logotype in its entirety. A very playful way to showcase the logo.

Here’s where you can view the full suite of motion clips.

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As stated in the press release, “Wolff Olins threw out traditional ideas of identity as Aol. moves from an access provider to a standalone content company.”

Wolff Olins creative director, Jordan Crane, says in the Fast Company article, “The handbooks that have been written in the past are changing. With this direction, it suited the whole experience to have something very contemporary.” He goes on to say, “Maybe in the future all logos will be in motion.”

“It’s not about it being 1000 logos, it’s that it’s a consistent wordmark that’s consistent and clean,” says Maureen Sullivan, Aol.’s chief-of-staff. Apparently, Aol. has no signage in their own office. As they say, “It’s all video screens.”

Sam Wilson, Wolff Olins managing director, says “Brand identity is changing. It’s not a sign outside the door, or the corner of a business card, our idea of brand is a deeper vision than that.”

I find it hard to believe that the “wordmark” will not be used as a static image anywhere. No business cards? No signs? A first… an Annual Report in video?

I believe we still need to pay attention to traditional media, no matter what it is we do as a business. No ads, no print? I fear not. There must be one signature brand image for motionless content. I, for one, am not ready for an entire world in motion.

I am intrigued by this idea and can’t wait to see if it stands the test of time. Is this literally, an “evolving brand”?

It’s easy being green…for some

Owning the color green today means environmentally-friendly.

And the latest to hop on the green bandwagon is McDonald’s. In Europe only, they are changing their traditional red backdrop for a deep hunter green — a more eco-friendly image.

About 100 German McDonald’s restaurants will use the green backdrop by the end of 2009. Some franchises in Great Britain and France have already started using the new color scheme behind their Golden Arches.

Red is a strong color – an attention getter that pops out when used in visual icons almost anywhere. When used outdoors, vibrant red lends so much contrast to the blues, greens, and browns of nature, it easily grabs visual attention.

globalbestofgreenEffective marketing tools are being used to help drive the perception of being environmentally “unfriendly”. The company states on their website how they now use “greener” practices, such as lower levels of energy and water consumption, environmentally friendly refrigeration and converting used oil into biodiesel fuel. Their public image efforts can be seen on the corporate responsibility area which showcases the McDonald’s 2009 Global Best of Green theme.

We will see if the iconic red backdrop is slowly replaced globally by green. Today, it’s good to be green but can McDonald’s take on green successfully?

Surprise! A new logo for AOL… ahh, Aol.

AOL is breaking away from Time Warner next month, and leaving their old look behind as well. They are replacing AOL with Aol. and making an undistinguishable statement with this period after the Aol. The new brand identity print, video and online versions launch Dec. 10.

The Aol. logotype sits on different backgrounds of any kind ranging from moving objects, photos, funky drawings, people and whatever is desired or the flavor of the moment.

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This rings a bit of googleness to me. Google uses different images to “play with” its logotype letterforms. They have been very successful with it. The reason? We still see the Google logotype in its iconic colors across all media the same way wherever it appears. The letterforms are “played with” on their search website. Somehow you always know it is Google.

Allen P. Adamson, Landor Associates (brand and corporate identity consultancy), states in the N.Y. Times, AOL “signals your father’s Internet”. This explains the switch to the Aol. “playful” look and feel – it’s an attempt to shed the old perception of AOL.

Let’s see if they can pull it off.

The constantly changing images behind the logotype are intended to elicit surprise, says Sam Wilson and Jordan Crane, of Wolff Olins New York, the creators of the new brand identity. The period in the logo was added to suggest “confidence, completeness,” Ms. Wilson said, by declaring that “AOL is the place to go for the best content online, period.” I guess branding is all about surprises!

I might warm up to this premise, if the Aol. logotype was not “strategically placed” on objects where parts of it blend into and disappear on its setting. Call me a purist. This changes the positive-negative space relationship of the Aol. visual icon. So whenever you see Aol., it visually never looks the same. I can see changing the backgrounds, although this is a stretch for me, but changing the icon as well? There needs to be some constant repetition of consistency across all media to build a visual brand.

In this example, the period is not even there!

aolmissing

And in this one, the look is entirely different than any of the others. It actually looks like the logotype is set in a gray morphic bar. Historically, under normal circumstances this would be considered a breach of the logotype.

aol-gray

So here is where I draw the line. Times change. Logos evolve. But change and surprises everywhere a logotype appears? Are we in a new paradigm and I am just not there? I just do not believe a company can be successful in building a strong brand this way.

Help me out with this one. What do you think?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hertz – a rebranding journey

Hertz launched their first re-branding effort in 20 years last week on the web.

hertz_logo1

What does this mean? A new logo, uniforms, signage, ads, marketing materials and much more. The rental-car company is trying to convey that they are “more friendly.” They are replacing their old tagline, “Let Hertz Put You in the Driver’s Seat,” with “Journey On.”

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hertzsign1

Hertz will attempt to own yellow across all of its communications. Whether it is its buses, locations or uniforms, “we have a great opportunity to paint the world yellow,” says Mike Senackerib, CMO, Hertz.

They can change their font and as long as they stay with their yellow they can maintain their recognizable identity within the car rental industry. Other brands that own yellow? Sprint, DHL, Stanley, DeWalt, Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong and McDonald’s have all built their brands around the color yellow.

Here’s what I see.

The rounder letterforms indicate soft, friendly and clean. As stated in Brandweek, Hertz wants to make the brand more contemporary and approachable. I think they have achieved this.

The original logo with its big blocky letters displayed strength and depicted Hertz as a heavyweight. Not at all the same feeling the new brand displays. So, times change and logos evolve. Sometimes for good, sometimes not but when a total rebranding takes place you can be sure to see change in everything Hertz.

Visual branding guidelines

Every impression of your visual brand has value. Viewing it with consistency builds memorablity and brand recognition allowing you to get the most value from your advertising and promotional dollars.

How is this done?

Guidelines for visual styles can be developed. Essentially, these are the rules for ”here is what you can and cannot do visually”. Often ”do’s and don’ts” of copy elements and editorial style are included as well.

The elements of a corporate identity guidelines (or sometimes referred to as a visual branding guide) include…

Contents

Introduction

Company Values or Spirit

Visual Identity – Logo and hierarchy, size and relationships

Copywriting and Tone of Voice

Color Palettes for web and print-primary and secondary

Typography – Specific Type Usage and Styles

Photographic and/or Illustrative Style-Any detailed or unusual shooting angles and/or perspectives to increase impact.

Paper & Ink Print Specifications

Graphic Devices

Layout and Grids

Visual Applications

Digital and Web

Contacts

More detailed brand guidelines may include…

Signage, Trade Show Graphics

Advertising – web and print

Stationery

Merchandise – apparel, giveaways

Co-Branding

For clarity…

It is best to have only one or two key messages per page.

Show clear examples of how the brand should look across an appropriate range and a variety of media with a few examples of ”what not to do” as well.

The results…

A working pdf file that can viewed online, emailed or downloaded and printed. The standards can eventually be established as an online identity resource.

Flexibility…

It’s a fine line. The rules should be flexible enough for designers to be creative but rigid enough to for the brand to be easily recognizable. Occasionally, situations will call for rules to be bent, but they should not be broken. Continuity is key so the brand can successfully display across all media. Keep in mind, with all this said, the rules of branding should remain somewhat ”fluid” and ”evolving” as new scenarios present themselves.

Examples…

Shown here is the exclusion zone and clearances on the corporate logo without tagline. In the guidelines, this is also illustrated with the tagline.

axela-exczone

The print (pantone and cmyk values) and web (hexadecimel) color palette for primary and secondary colors.

axela-colors2

Visually communicating with color

Your brand colors allow instant recognition and distinction for your company. Staying within a custom color palette used repeatedly and consistently will help instill your brand.

colorpalette

Above, example of a color palette designed for Axela’s brand identity.

Good use of color is very powerful and has many functions in the world of visual communications. Although color is subjective and people will always have their likes/dislikes in relation to it, here’s what is important.

Color helps….

viewers filter out what is extraneous so they can get to the relevant information they need.

attract attention and is a way to direct the eye.

rouqbnr

make the information you are trying to convey, memorable.

represent different types of data. The color-coding of elements and data facilitates information retrieval.

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Make communications more effective. Good use of color will guide viewers and help convey your message, easily and efficiently.