Pinterest – A Brand Builder

B2C and B2B marketers are quickly seeing the potential of what a brand builder Pinterest can be. Many businesses have asked me, should we add Pinterest to our social marketing strategy?

Here is where I see the value in using Pinterest for business.

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Apple’s Brand Experience

Apple does it again. The best brand experience can be found everywhere at Apple.

The largest (23,000 square feet) Apple retail store opened Friday, April 6, at New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

If you are not a New Yorker or you don’t appreciate the overwhelming crowds of people, this is the answer for you Apple enthusiasts.

Apple has given the ability of iPhone 4 and 4S, iPad 2 and 4th-gen iPod Touch owners to take a virtual tour of it.
> Go to Apple’s Grand Central Terminal retail store website using Mobile Safari
> Choose “View More Photos”
> Choose the last photo

By just holding the device and moving around with it, it is almost as if you are standing in the store itself. If you don’t have an Apple device, why not find a friend who does.

Everything from their packaging multi-layered reveals to their store experience speaks the brand. Apple is, as Steve Jobs said he wanted to do,  “making a dent in the universe”.

Read more about Apple’s brand experience >

Cotter Visual Synergist

Brand Blunder … Not Brand Builder

Total Rewards, Caesars Entertainment’s casino loyalty program has got a new logo.

To kick off their new look and benefits of Total Rewards, Caesars Entertainment launched a promotional giveaway called “Escape to Total Rewards” with, they say, upwards of 90,000 in prizes including two-night trips to Las Vegas.

Total Rewards, the country’s leading entertainment loyalty program, is the incentive program for players at casinos owned by the 52 worldwide Caesars Entertainments. The more you play, the more complimentary rooms, meals, etc. you receive. Caesars Entertainment says they are “focused on building loyalty and value with their guests through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership”.

To play, you enter a code online and “spin.” An array of images passes before your eyes and where it stops determines what you win. When it stops on the new logo, all you get is an entry into the sweepstakes drawing at the end of the contest. So essentially … you lose.

You get up to 11 spins a day. This was actually brought to my attention by a friend who uses it. She tells me that she and her friends who have been playing to win since its inception (March 1), all have several dozen entries into the sweepstakes.
So now, when they see the “coveted logo” (that’s how it’s described when it comes up!), they feel a terrible letdown. Who needs another sweepstakes entry?

Is this very good brand building to have players associate the new logo with losing? For those who recognize the Total Rewards logo and are forming impressions of what it stands for . . . this is, indeed, a misstep!

As far as the logo visual, their statement is as follows: It is intended to “capture the energy and excitement of the Total Rewards program, and to illustrate the global network of experiences to which guests have access just by virtue of being a Total Rewards member”.

My thought is … this logo is analogous to someone who got out of bed and forgot to comb their hair before they went out. A tangled web, which is meant to represent their “global network of experiences”, with an angry “TR” inside it. Not much positive going on with this branding.

Longwood Gardens New Logo

Is Longwood Gardens just plants, flowers and gardens? Is that their brand? This is one my favorite places to visit anytime of year and I see so much more each time I go. Who they are, is definately much more than that.

The new logo, a series of interlocking script letter “L”s is very pretty with its floral and trellis influences. It is an excellent literal translation and clearly says “flower”. But … is this logo a good representation of their brand? Does it begin to tell what Longwood Gardens is really all about and who they are?

What is a logo? Let’s get back to basics and review a list of what a logo should be.

Is the logo…


Simple shapes are easily identified.


Simplicity builds recognition.


When a visual is too detailed it becomes less recognizable.


The more easily identified, the more memorable.


The vision behind the logo speaks volumes about the company.


The visual should be easily recognizable at all sizes – small and large.

A visual representation of a concept?

Does your logo’s visual representation have meaning and significance to your company?


Does it use the positive and negative space effectively and meaningfully?

This logo can easily be helped by these visual brand rules.

It can be simpler. It could make better use of the positive-negative space. It could display a more contemporary and friendlier look and feel with the use of a sans serif font and upper and lower-case or just lower-case letters.

Here’s some basics to keep in mind….

In developing a visual brand we are creating a visual concept of your company. Behind your company there is a concept of who you are and what your objectives and goals are. Convey that clarity and the better your visual translation can be.

Put yourselves in your customers shoes for a good perspective. If you know your customer, then you know that they are visually and culturally evolving. Their visual sensibilities have been elevated by vastly improved visual effects in all media. So, help your brand evolve. Stay current and relevant to your customers visual world.

Speak to the Brand.

At face value Longwood Gardens is flowers but the brand is more than what you see when you go to Longwood Gardens. It’s what you don’t see that is equally as important.

See the new Longwood Gardens logo video here. It is terrific!

Aetna’s New Trendy Logo

Aetna has a new logo – the 12th logo in the company’s 157-year history. This is part of their new brand’s “passion for helping people make confident choices and celebrate the equity and tradition of the Aetna name.”

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Logos and brands

Our good friend (and former client, now retired) Anne Ritchey, gave us a very appropriate holiday gift – The Logo Board Game. Thanks Anne, for thinking of us in a big way!

The game is like a trivial pursuit. There are cards that ask questions in relation to brands we are often familiar with.

Although it is a board game, we had much fun with answering questions. Some relate to visuals and logos, some to taglines and branding. But mostly, it got us thinking and helped us build on our brand vocabulary.

We share some of the fun here with questions for you:

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The Power of Infographics

Knowledge is power. Conveying that knowledge with infographics (or “data viz” for data visualization) is a new way of seeing. An infographic neatly combines statistics and design to communicate multiple layers of information. Great for your presentations when a graphic can speak volumes. Highly effective when it’s important to illustrate information clearly and quickly. Ideal for communicating with your online audience. A visually pleasing and compelling infographic is likely to be shared on potentially buzz-generating social networks – expanding your reach.

Studies have proven that people retain about 10% of information conveyed orally. Since the majority of people are visual learners, it stands to reason that when information is also visually presented, retention rate increases to 50%. Infographics can help validate your argument.

For infographic success you need:

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