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Branding and Personality

Maximise your efforts for best effect

Maximise your efforts for best effect

Have you been on a British Airways plane recently? They have managed to transform the humble safety video with a star studded cast and a refreshing approach. The video with a difference was created in conjunction with Comic Relief and launched in September.

I first saw it on a weekend trip and giggled along as they went through the various safety elements with different actors (Rob Brydon demonstrating the jacket was my favourite …) I thought it was a great way to refresh an important series of messages and re-engage jaded frequent flyers. On the return trip 2 days later, they showed the same video which lost some of its impact as I had already seen it.

As it happens I had a work trip the following weekend, and yes, the same video. And again on the return trip. My colleague and I ended up predicting and joining in with the lines.

It strikes me that gathering all those celebrities and actors together must have been an enormous feat – and surely they were hanging around with potential to say more than one or two lines. Why not make the most of it?

Frequent flyers are notoriously the hardest to communicate with when it comes to safety advice, and it’s most likely to be seen week in, week out by them.

If they had mixed it up and swapped people around, they could have created 4 or 5 versions of essentially the same video but with different characters playing different parts each time.

Having said that, it’s had more than 7 million views on YouTube so perhaps it’s doing what it’s supposed to do! You can see it here if you haven’t already.

 

 

 

How far should you take the humour?

October 31, 2017  |   Branding and Personality  

How far should you take the humour?

If you ever travel by train you may have come across a quirky coffee shop called Puccino’s. In fact, they have high street café’s too. I love the fact that they aim to brighten up a commuters’ journey with a fun and informal approach.

Waiting for a train into London one evening, I noticed the sandwich and cake display was pretty sparse, but had a sign up saying “This item has disappeared. It will re-appear soon”

The font they use is casual and friendly. Every item has a cheeky message instead of a brand message. For instance, brightly coloured coffee cups feature the message ‘can I get a receipt with that’ and sugar packets say ‘use as small pillow’

Silly stuff that can put a smile on your face when you’re least expecting it.

Facebook done military style – with a twist!

Facebook done military style – with a twist!

I’m always a bit dubious about facebook for business, as it’s a bit of a hit and miss environment. Most people are on facebook for a bit of light entertainment, and don’t really want to see work-related stuff. 

But where facebook comes into its own is when it involves a group or community, so it’s perfect for a business that relies on a group of people interacting. 

One in particular stands out for me as actively engaging everybody, being genuinely informative and most of all fun. 

It’s for a military fitness club and it manages to do all of the following: 

  • Provide information 
  • Provide entertainment 
  • Impart a sense of fun and belonging 
  • Encourage members to turn up to the classes and participate 

The pitfalls of writing a sales letter

The pitfalls of writing a sales letter

It’s no easy task, putting together a letter to a prospect. You don’t know their personality or their current situation so you are making a lot of assumptions. But if you make assumptions about people and get it wrong, it can backfire. 

There are always several schools of thought on the ‘right’ approach, but in my view you should imagine yourself receiving that email and how you would respond to it.  

This was forwarded to me recently  

“Joe Bloggs our CEO asked me to introduce myself should you require any assistance with *our service* in the future. I have also signed you up for our alert service to assist with any needs you have in the future. You will not receive any junk mail or sales calls on the back of this, it is just a service offering which Joe thought you might find useful. Please do let me know if there is anything I can help with in the future.  

Have a great week,  

Fred Smith, Head of Sales” 

… which prompted the response below  

What’s the magic ingredient for this successful café?

What’s the magic ingredient for this successful café?

Whilst travelling to the Cotswolds on business recently, I drove past a café on the side of the road – it was set off the road, perpendicular to it but it had a large ‘headerboard’ sign in nice grey and lilac colours with an attractive typeface. There were chairs and tables outside, and potted plants around a nicely tended patio. It looked like somewhere worth going back to. So I did! When I got inside, I found reserved signs on most of the tables – unusual for a café, but a good sign that it was a popular spot. The WiFi code was clearly displayed on the blackboard along with the specials. A waitress found me a table with a plug so I could charge my phone and laptop, and I spent a happy couple of hours watching the comings and goings, fuelled by their delicious cake and coffee. 

Every company needs a boiler plate. But do you know what it is?

Every company needs a boiler plate. But do you know what it is?

It’s essentially the written equivalent of your ‘elevator pitch’ – the one minute summary of your business that helps people understand what you do.

It lives on your website and the bottom of your press releases to provide an ‘at a glance’ explanation of what you do, who you do it for and how you do it.

Although it may seem obvious to you, anyone arriving at your website can easily see whether the service you provide is relevant to them or not.

For instance, imagine you run a website selling chocolate. It’s pretty obvious right?

A smart start

A smart start

Breakfast cereals go in and out of fashion don’t they? There are the old favourites like cornflakes and Weetabix, and I distinctly remember muesli becoming very fashionable for a while. Then it kind of turned into granola (basically toasted muesli).

But what about all the other variations on wheat, oats, corn, rice, honey, sugar, chocolate, dried fruit. At the end of the day, breakfast cereals are essentially created out of the same basic ingredients. But it’s the packaging and the way that they are presented that dictates who they appeal to.

Staying in a business hotel for the weekend?

March 27, 2017  |   Branding and Personality  

Staying in a business hotel for the weekend?

No, we didn’t think so. Not many would specifically choose a business hotel for a weekend away. But why not? Well, let’s see. They conjure up images of being functional, sparse, clinical, businesslike. They certainly don’t make us think of luxury, indulgence, fun or quirkiness.

Until now!

My husband recently went on a business trip to Derby and was booked into a hotel near the industrial estate where he was due to have his meeting (is your heart already sinking, just thinking about this?)

Simple but consistent styling ensures widespread recognition

Simple but consistent styling ensures widespread recognition

There is a cleaning company near where I live that appears to be everywhere. It seems that every time I go out, I see one of their cars buzzing around, or parked outside a house where they are cleaning.

The cars are all red, with the company logo on the back and sides – very simple, not too obtrusive, in white only. They are also always clean and shiny.

It’s a consistent, instantly recognisable look, and as a result, whenever I ask anybody if they have seen or heard of this company, the response is always positive. They apparently don’t do any other advertising, but have built their business based on word of mouth. I am not connected to this company in any way, but admire their effective approach.

They chose a very straightforward name ‘Husband and wife cleaning services’ which conjures up a friendly, reliable team, and it seems from their website that this is an authentic and professional business.

If your audience is bored they’ll move on!

If your audience is bored they’ll move on!

While videos can be a great tool for communicating a message, they can also be a disaster.

I recently watched one (when I say ‘watched’ I mean ‘skipped through’) that was 4 and a half minutes long, giving safety tips on driving in winter. It was a single camera shot of a gentleman talking very calmly to camera with the following advice:

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