Branding Buzz

Wearable Tech & the Changing Narrative of your Brand

10.07.2014 Better Marketing
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Wearable tech is here and it’s not going anywhere. From Apple’s recently announced iWatch, to wearable fitness bands like Garmin’s vívofit® and UP by Jawbone™ to “reality enhancing” eyewear like Google Glass—the world (and the way we see and experience it) are changing quite rapidly.

…and we’re about to experience a huge culture shift in how we engage with brands, inspired by this disruptive technology.

From Staged to Sincere

Just as royalty used to pose for hours so an artist could capture their essence in paint, the same frame of reference carried forward in our shift to photography. From paint to film to print to digital and everything in between, we’ve been capturing everything from personal to professional moments in a “say cheese” manner.

That is to say, we’re big on staging the scene.

SELFIES. Need we say more?

But our most beautiful, honest moments as humans aren’t staged at all. That’s why we gaze in awe at the candid brilliance of a professionally taken photograph. The average person isn’t able to capture that kind of intimacy.

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Top 10 Sneaky Brand Parodies in Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” Video

07.29.2014 Branding Buzz
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Just when we thought we finally got Robin Thicke’s borderline awful tune out of our heads, the melody is back with a vengeance in Weird Al Yankovic’s new tune “Word Crimes”—and we couldn’t be happier! Not only does this catchy parody reiterate one of our favorite topics (the importance of good grammar, yes, even in the age of the Internet), but it literally illustrates each grammatical issue with brilliance, beauty and a special kind of satirical attention to detail that is impossible to resist.

Al Nails Modern Marketing

This impeccably exact parody of the original song Blurred Lines was released as part of the effective and appropriately named #8videos8days hashtag series. Those following #8videos8days were treated to a new Weird Al video release every day for—you guessed it—8 days in a row. While Weird Al himself was a little worried the marketing ploy wouldn’t go over as well he he’d hoped, he was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming show of support.

And boy did it pay off: Weird Al’s new album Mandatory Fun debuted on July 15th at # 1 on the Billboard charts—his 14th studio album was the first comedy chart topper in 50 years.

We just can’t get enough of the graphics, the vocab, the messaging, the schooling, and the smashingly punny insults. Too freakin’ funny and overwhelmingly clever. We congratulate Weird Al on this much deserved honor.

Big Brand Parodies & Sneaky Subtext

Besides the seamless videography and the typography masterwork, our favorite part of Word Crimes was, of course, all the big brand parodies and the awesome hidden tidbits. See if YOU can find them all!

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Are Your Customers Hatin’ On Your Brand Online?

06.17.2014 Better Branding
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There’s a new restaurant down the street. Great! It’s been open a few months and you have yet to try it, so you go online and look up the menu, then probably pop over to Yelp to get some first-hand customer reviews. Sound familiar? If you don’t have a close friend who’s raving about the restaurant to you in person, you know that you’d better do your homework or you might be in for a disappointing evening. Hey, you’re tired of learning the hard way.

…and you’re not alone.

Almost 80% of American consumers say online reviews influence their purchases. A whopping 93% say they look at online reviews before shopping or dining. NINETY-THREE PERCENT.

That’s no small potatoes, people! If you’re not paying attention to what your customers are saying about your business online, you might be in need of some major brand damage control. Yelp is about to launch a new tool to upload short video reviews, and we’re only going to see more cool tools like this one in the next few years!

Clearly, if you’re not managing your brand’s online presence—the time is NOW. So what’s your company doing to monitor and manage your brand’s online presence?

Creating a Positive Online Brand Presence

If your business or your brand is totally new, you’re in luck: You might be able to fight the customer crowds and establish yourself online before someone beats you to it. If you’re already knee deep in customer reviews, you can follow these steps to boost your brand’s reach and inspire positive customer relationships with your brand…

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Brand Trust is a Must: Brand Relationships are HUMAN Relationships

02.25.2014 Better Branding

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” –Shakespeare

When was the last time someone broke your trust? When was the last time you broke someone else’s trust? I’m willing to bet it was a pretty big deal. Maybe your relationship recovered. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe you’re on the fence about the person now, unsure whether or not you can trust him or her again.

It’s happened to everyone; relationships (whether romantic, friendly, or otherwise) aren’t always easy. But all great relationships have one thing in common: TRUST.

Same goes for any relationship between a consumer and a brand. Trust is a must! Brand loyalty is built on trust. When your customers trust your brand, they trust your business, your products and services, and your ability to meet their unique needs. Brand trust is what gives consumers the confidence they need to advocate for your brand.

What is your brand doing to cultivate trust among your potential and current customers? Are you guilty of any of these Brand Trust Fails? How can you regain that precious customer trust and brand confidence once it has faltered?

Brand Trust Fail # 1: Bad Customer Service

“Friendship—my definition—is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the friendship will crumble.” –Stieg Larsson

Just like You Are Your Brand, every person your customer touches, from your creative team members to your in-house employees is a brand representative and a brand advocate. If your team constantly fails to put on a smile and treat each customer with respect, they’re stifling your business and damaging your brand with each interaction.

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Can’t Miss Brands: The 4 Most Influential Brands of 2013

12.10.2013 Better Marketing

Whether completely over-the-top, controversial or just plain marketing genius, we’ve seen a lot of brands creating a lot of buzz over the last year. Brand advertising now comes at us from every possible angle: online, on TV and in print. Because of that fact, if you set out to advertise your brand in this day and age, you’d better have something pretty incredible to offer, lest be left in the marketing dust.

Truth is, properly branded products most often make it to the shelves of our local stores and become household names. But influential branding isn’t always about big names and corporate money. Sometimes, even little brands can make a BIG impact in the marketplace.

Today we’re going to take a look at the brands of 2013 that stood out as most memorable, despite all obstacles.

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This Year’s Most Controversial Ads

12.03.2013 Brand Mistakes
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Advertising your brand can be tricky sometimes. When it comes to big brands with hefty bank accounts whose main goal is to grab people’s attention at any cost, advertising has become downright silly and even offensive. From prankvertising to catvertising (using cats to advertise your brand—trust me, it’s a thing) to print ads you simply can’t believe someone had the guts to think up, brands are certainly getting more and more risqué with advertising.

Today we’re going to take a look at (arguably) some of the most disturbing and controversial ads of 2012-2013.

DISCLAIMER: Linked content may be too disturbing for some viewers. Please proceed to linked content with caution.

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Tongue in Cheek: Holiday Commercials We Just Can’t Forget

11.26.2013 Better Marketing

For decades now, big brands have spent big bucks to deliver some unique (and sometimes cheeky) advertising content to our TV screens in hopes we’ll return the favor by shopping at their stores or buying their products during the busiest shopping season of the year.

But, in today’s day and age, when 86% of the general public skips TV advertisements, brands have become much more hard-pressed to capture the attention of their audiences as their commercials zoom by at triple speed. Read: if you’re not memorable, your holiday advertisement may never be seen at all. On that note, let’s get into the holiday spirit and take a look at some of the most memorable holiday commercials we’ve seen—and let’s see if we can’t learn a thing or two from those brands about smart advertising.

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Prankvertising: Worth the Risk for Your Brand? (Part 2)

11.19.2013 Better Branding
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By now, you should know what prankvertising is and why big brands use it to garner attention. Yes, it’s true that prankvertising really gets people’s attention. After all, if you were (unknowingly) part of a prank that involved a violent scene of two men fighting each other in an elevator and subsequently watched one of those men slip a noose around the other’s neck, pulling it tight, you’d probably remember that pretty well, wouldn’t you?

That’s exactly what the marketing firm Thinkmodo was banking on when they orchestrated this stunt to promote the 2013 movie “Dead Man Down.” But, when we consider the outlandish nature of a prank such as this, the real question becomes, how far is too far when it comes to scaring the daylights out of people in the name of advertising?

Are the costs really worth the potential negative effects of prankvertising? Big brands with big bank accounts might have the flexibility to hire a team of lawyers, should a lawsuit pop up as the result of a misguided prank, but what about a small business?

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Howdy, Partner! Top Co-Branding Partnerships That Work

10.01.2013 Better Branding
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Co-branding might seem like an industry buzzword for new marketers, but tried and true professionals know that partnerships can be a great opportunity for both companies to boost brand recognition, inspire consumer confidence and increase overall sales. Yes, we’ve talked co-branding before—but hey, there’s more! Co-branding isn’t just for the big boys (corporations and big businesses)—and it’s not only useful for brands with similar product lines. Almost any and every company you can think of, from large to small and across a variety of industries, could potentially benefit from a co-branding partnership with a like-minded business.

So let’s delve into the world of co-branding partnerships and take a peek at some of the most unique, fascinating and downright memorable brand partnerships out there today.

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Nix the Negativity!

09.24.2013 Better Business
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How do you make your clients feel?

Do your clients look forward to your correspondence? Or do they dread hearing your latest sob story?

Even if your head is spinning from an already-busy workweek, or your Monday didn’t run as well as you’d hoped, when it comes to your relationships with your clients, you best keep your negative business to yourself.


I’ve noticed a serious increase in negative attitudes in the professional world over the last few years. Maybe too many people became too friendly and forgot the importance of professionalism. Perhaps it’s this new culture of over-sharing. (If you’re posting to Facebook on the hour and Instagramming your breakfast every day, it might be time to step away from the computer for a week…or a month.)

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