September 30, 2006

Reasons To Be Cheerless

Read a piece just now from the always-thought provoking Whisper branding agency that really hits home as I prepare to do some work with a client on the branding of a town.

The people at Whisper caution against the dangers of cheerleading rather than branding, something to which tourist authorities are particularly prone. Beating our chests always plays to our audience as self-serving, yet most destination taglines make this their first resort. Something for me to bear in mind as I ask my client the all-important question: "Why will people come?"

September 19, 2006

Worth Its Wait In Gold?

I've just signed up to what its promoters insist will be this year's most exclusive and unique reading experience (mind you, you could argue that every reading experience is both exclusive and unique, apart perhaps from read-aloud, but I nitpick...).

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters is a "sumptuous Victorian adventure fit for our digital age" which is to be published in ten installments and posted directly to me over ten weeks. Subscription is limited to 5,000 worldwide and I'm guessing that Penguin hope this exclusivity will prompt a frenzy of interest amongst readers across the world.

My own interest is mostly in getting to read a story in serial form, much as the readers of Dickens & other Victorian writers first read some of the great novels of the day. We are promised an 'utterly compelling gothic adventure story'. Will it deliver? Check in with me sometime after October 16th when the first installment is issued and I'll have one great wait lifted off my shoulders.

September 13, 2006

London Bridge

Am delighted to be in London which I always find to be a curious mix of the foreign and the familiar. I especially enjoy riding the Underground and the mix of great names on the various stations: Moorgate, Seven Sisters, Chalk Farm and Pudding Mill Lane. Not to mention the world-familiar Greenwich, Marble Arch, the two Circuses Oxford and Picadilly, Hyde Park Corner, Baker Street and others. These make every journey something of an adventure.

It reminds me of something I read when researching a name for our own company (Islandbridge), how Churchill said: “Broadly speaking, the short words are the best and the old ones best of all”. I took that to suggest the old Norse and Saxon words in particular that litter the English language, many of them to be found in the station-names of London’s Underground.

Apple, Virgin and Riverdeep follow this line and rumble underground in the same way. There are worse places to start when naming a company or putting words on an idea.

September 07, 2006

Honey, I Shrunk The...

Heard Seth Godin discussing his latest book a couple of days ago where he talks about how 'Small Is The New Big'.

Here in Ireland, we've traditionally been small to the global big but I wondered if we had somewhat recklessly discarded some of that smallness in the frenzy of the last ten years, much as Irish pubs ripped out their traditional interiors in the '70's and '80's only to scramble (and pay through the nose) to recreate them when trends turned full circle.

Mind you, Seth talks too of the importance of big companies acting small so perhaps we can perform a 'diminutive but big-thinking, small-acting' balancing act?

This world is growing more and more like the one that Alice found down the rabbit-hole. 'Drink me' and we're done!

September 01, 2006

Ten Green Bottles

Matt Haig in the first few pages of his Brand Failures: The Truth About The 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes Of All Time (gasp!) tells me that nine out of ten brands fail.

Well, not around here they don’t. Nine out of ten of our client’s brands succeed and that yawning gap in statistics is less to do with our approach (although I’m always happy to bask in reflected glory from any direction) and much more to do with the fact that Haig writes about what I call ‘celebrity’ brands, often operating in categories where the customer really doesn’t need a new cola flavour or technical feature or variation on a variation on a theme.

We don’t take a lead on how to live their lives from celebrities (mind you, I would love to learn to pout like Kylie) so why should we take a leaf out of the books of celebrity brands? Most big brands fail because they live in a world so far removed from their customers that they lose touch with what those customers really want. Our clients are typically more inclined to get close to their customers and offer something that they really want and need. It follows that their brands stand a much greater chance of success than one in ten.

And I suspect that’s probably true of most brands that operate in the real world.

Technorati Tag: Matt Haig, Brand Failures, Celebrity Brands