Category - Leadership

The Easter Bunny: A Brand Mystery

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With Easter upon us and many of us Boxer’s scrambling to build baskets and colour eggs in anticipation of the Easter Bunny, it occurred to us that Mr. Bunny’s origins are quite vague.

As a brand, of course, bunnies in general have come to be emblematic of Easter but what lore exists for the Easter Bunny? Santa or Father Christmas or however he’s referred to in various places around the world all share the same brand associations of good will and giving spirit hearkening from St. Nicholas.

But was the Easter Bunny just an iteration of the same, a lesser sequel to Santa? And really, what do eggs have to do with bunnies? The brand story didn’t add up.

Even go-to sources like Time magazine admitted, “The exact origins of the Easter bunny are clouded in mystery.” They suggest the bunny came from the pagan fertility celebration of Eostre. The eggs, they posit, were a vestige of a13th century Lenten tradition of abstinence and their colouring to mark Easter as the occasion for celebratory consumption. Eggs also symbolised the new life of Easter.

But what about the Easter Bunny itself?

History.com suggests that at least in America, German immigrants settling in Pennsylvania in the 1700s brought their tradition of “Osterhase,” an egg-laying bunny, to their new country. As this brand story goes, kids would build nests for this character that evolved into baskets.

So, brand story mystery solved. We’re just glad we’ve got an Easter Bunny – and not an Easter cuckoo bird or fox, as some other countries do.

And as a holiday that’s brand has come to be associated with sweets as much as bunnies, Boxer wishes you heaps of jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and (tipping our hat to another great brand story) marshmallow Peeps this Easter.

Courtesy of Washington Post Top 50 Peeps Dioramas for 2015

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Some light refreshment…

As our grand finale in the ‘Global Design Frameworks’ series we’re looking at worldwide trends in soft drink consumption. As a taster…

Did you know in Spain 60% of beer purchasers actually bought non-alcoholic beer in 2013? And that in India soft drinks are generally sold for their effects rather than for hydration, touting claims of increased brain power and immunity?

RefreshmentInfographic_2

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A toast to everyone!

Hopefully you saw our previous infographic from our ‘Global Design Frameworks’ series; this week’s instalment is more liquid lunch than dinner, and deals with different cultural attitudes towards drink.
In Hungary your host will be rather offended if you clink their glass after a toast, and do you know where the UK sits in the table of top worldwide drinkers? You might be surprised at the answer!

Alcohol-infographic

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Holistic Packaging by Design

At Boxer, we’re big believers in what we call Holistic Packaging by Design, and when we’re working with our clients it’s always on our minds. Heres our examples of three of our all-time favourite brands that we believe represent true HPD, which from experience we know comes from breaking down siloed thinking, in order to maximise a brand and packaging’s chances of success.  http://bit.ly/1BVCd4z

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Opinion: What is ‘good’ packaging?

We’re often asked what ‘good’ packaging is, but ‘good’ can mean many different things. Here Boxer’s very own Brian Wagner talks to us about what ‘good’ packaging looks like to him.

Click here to view the free opinion piece:   http://bit.ly/1vtWgWs

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Rise of the Singletons: interesting fact day.

Some of you may have seen our recent ‘Rise of the Singletons’ white paper in which, we reported IGD’s prediction that the value of the UK convenience sector will grow from £35.6 billion in 2013 to £46.2 billion by 2018.

That’s an undeniable commercial gain for the convenience store. Couple that with figures being reported by ‘Fast Casual’ out of the US, which state that the ‘dine-out’ trade has seen a 20% drop in trade from millennial’s since 2007 and there appears to be quite a significant return to the refrigerator across both sides of the Atlantic.

Given millennial’s have a combined annual spending power of $400 billion in the US and that data within our singleton report shows an increasing desire for this group to buy little and often, there are many opportunities out there for both the convenience and dine-out sectors.

How these sectors plan to respond will be an interesting case of seeing who best uses insights to provide solutions that create customer desire, trust and love as well as real business results.

 

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Rise of the Singleton: Insight Driven Design – download our free whitepaper & infographic

ServingSingles-Infographic_R03

35% of under 35’s said the best thing about being single was having less responsibility, with 40% of our sample telling us being single was more expensive…Many singles also say it’s a challenge to shop and cook for one. http://bit.ly/1pQ58Vm

By 2026, 38% of all households will be single-person occupied; it’s easy to assume that old clichés and single-serve portions are the best way to tap into this market, but what you should really be tapping into is what ‘singledom’ is all about. We call this ‘insight driven design’.

Research undertaken by the Boxer team shows how different demographics have differing attitudes to being single, and how their motivations don’t just concern smaller pack sizes! To find out what other insights we’ve discovered, including factors like convenience and the value of ‘experiences’, have a look at our free infographic. – http://bit.ly/1pkYJS2

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Annual BIAD School of Visual Communication Awards show.

Our very own Paul Castledine was sponsor and judge for the Brand Design category at this years BIAD School of Visual Communication Awards show.
The competition was strong but two young talented designers ( Olly Sorsby & Daniel Cooper ) walked away with the top prize after a few wise words from Mr C.

This year the awards were named after Vaughan Oliver who also gave a very inspiring speech to all the young talent about to embark on their journey into the ‘real world’ of industry.

An interesting evening of awards. Having seen some of the talent picking up awards it bodes well for the future of our creative industry.

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Taking things into their own hands!

Check out this article about an interesting new website. Neighborland is a neighbourhood networking site in New Orleans and allows people to build crowd power around ideas to improve their local area.  To build a rallying call for improvements to their immediate environment and services. In an era when we no longer know all our neighbours – how they think and feel – this seems like a great way to prompt local authorities and other bodies to make the changes that their local populous really values.  I’m not sure which is the tail and which is the dog – but there seems to be a good bit of happy wagging going on here!

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Should you judge a book by it’s cover?

“The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920’s and 30’s in the United States is one of the most famous, or infamous, times in recent American history. The intention was to reduce the consumption of alcohol by eliminating businesses that manufactured, distributed and sold it. Considered by many as a failed social and political experiment, the era changed the way many Americans view alcoholic beverages, enhancing the realization that federal government control cannot always take the place of personal responsibility.” Source: About.com

This description jumped into my mind recently, upon reading that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said that the government wants tobacco companies to have “no business” in Britain and will launch a consultation into stripping cigarette packets of all branding, according to an interview in the Times.

The similarity is stark.

There are many arguments, from many quarters, for and against the de-branding of cigarette packaging, that are well documented; perhaps, as designers, we should be flattered that branding is seen as being key to this whole debate?

This raises interesting issues about intellectual property rights for brand owners and design agencies alike. As John Noble, Director, British Brands Group has said “Branding also involves intellectual property rights that have been granted by the state and which companies have invested in over many decades to make extremely valuable so if the state effectively requisitions those intellectual property rights there is a question over the legitimacy of that and there is also a case for recompense and compensation.” This view is already playing out in Australia, where Philip Morris is suing the Australian government over a new law making plain packaging mandatory for cigarettes from December 2012.

Nobody can deny the amount of money that the NHS spends each year providing medical support to smokers; but where next? And is destroying brands the answer, with all its accompanying concerns regarding quality and counterfeiting? We all know and recognise that a brand is so much more than a “pretty pack” it is also a badge of authenticity and quality (amongst many other things). I’m not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last to wonder if this approach will be mirrored in other categories . . . Alcohol? Confectionery?

The question that needs to be carefully considered is whether it is actually the de-branding of the packs – or a change in consumer attitudes – that will result in the behaviour changes that our government seeks.

However you define the issue at hand and whatever your stance on it – surely the best course of action is to make the right changes for the right people in the right way.

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Prohibition is making a comeback …

…and igniting the creativity in all of us. Things we like this week – Noble – looks like it came straight out of Boardwalk Empire. Delightfully classic and a thing of nostalgic beauty – if this is what underground looks like I think I’ll start collecting.

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The Shape of Branding

Brand strategist Andrew Miller is on a mission: “Every day for 100 days, I will paint one branded object white, removing all visual branding, reducing the object to its purest form.” Each object may be purchased for less than $10. His first post? SPOILER ALERT:

A Heinz Ketchup Pack. It looks like soft, flexible packaging that probably contains a condiment. It definitely looks like I’d have to open it with my teeth. And that I’d likely be experiencing the inevitable condiment spluge as a result. The only question I’d have is what color I’d be scraping off my shirt: red? yellow? or mayo? Is mayo even a color? If so, I wonder what pantone would say…

All kidding “a-side”. We’re big believers in Holistic Packaging Design.  Design that synthesizes brand ambition, design disciplines and technological possibilities to create brand and business value through packaging. Andrew Miller’s mission is a great case study in branded packaging communication.  Sure, graphic design has a huge role to play in communication.  But is it the only design discipline at play? And has Miller achieved his goal of “removing all visual branding”?

For example, in the Day 2 post (answers at bottom). Can you recognize the brand by shape alone? Do graphics really do much heavy lifting in communicating this brand’s promise?

In the Day 10 post, do you recognize it in an instant? What do you imagine you’d find inside? What does the size and shape convey about the product promise inside?

In the Day 9 post (which granted is not a packaging example) is there any level of doubt as to what the object is? How does the shape communicate so much sense in such a small cent?

Which makes it a great example for us in branded packaging communication.  As more and more regulations and restrictions come into play regarding- who? can say what? and in what ways? We are likely seeing here the early beginnings of the shape of things to come in branding.

Day 2: Zippo

Day 10: Tabasco

Day 9: Lincoln Memorial Cent

Picture Credits: Andrew Miller “Brand Spirit”

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Trend Twitching for 2012 – Spotting the high flyers, their habits and how to follow them.

The Boxer binoculars have been out again – searching the tree tops and beyond for those high flying consumer trends! And here is our first “trend twitching” publication of 2012. Our little feathered friends below are not just beautiful, they bring to life some key consumer behaviours too.

Pluma Connecticus
This community focused bird is a great role model for being true to your values – could your brand be doing more to live all its values in all that it says and does to build a deeper consumer connections?

Accipter Experius
Always grabbing the next new experience, this party bird is always searching for new ways to wring great new adventures from life – what’s the next adventure you are going to create to turn your consumers into brand fans in the analog world?

Domesticus Heritigus
A bird with a huge respect for its past and its heritage – he always retains the best of his family history. What is in your history that could inform your future as consumers crave the comfort of simpler times?

Stepera Storyus
Always telling stories, this little chap understands the power of telling the story consistently and continuously whether in person or by pigeon post! And he tells it so well, you’ll want to stop and listen! What’s your brand story . . . is it clear and consistent and reflected in all media?

If you’d like to hear more about these key trends or think you’d like us to inject a bit of feather power into your brand – give us a chirrup!

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Does Time Pressure= Creativity?

While time is a four-letter word. Creativity is not. Some are convinced that time pressure stimulates creativity. Others believe it stifles. For these creatives, the answer is entertaining and inspiring:

Makes me want to get my crayons out… and creates a strange craving for paste!

Harvard Business School article says there’s some sort of a time pressure “sweet spot”. Too much pressure, lowers creativity. Too little pressure, lowers creativity. According to the “Ivy Leaguers” things that help to get the balance right are:

Spend focussed time
Limit distractions
Work with a purpose
Fight the status quo
Avoid harsh criticism
Set goals

Makes sense. But I suppose I’d add “take a trip to the Boxer beer fridge” to the list!

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Packaging Gamification

In pursuit of improved consumer engagement, brands are gamifying their businesses, creating playful products and campaigns that change the relationship with the consumer.

Case in point…this year’s Starbucks Red Cup comes with a Christmas-themed smartphone app that creates augmented reality (AR) animations around the festive cups. Great way to fuse packaging and technology together, rewarding customers who engage and share the spirit of the season with family and friends.

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“So…what’s hot right now?”

Through the always informative threebillion.com I found this article on a programme called ‘Frontline’ made by the US TV station PBS all the way back in 2001. The particular episode was titled, ‘The Merchants of Cool’. You can watch the 6 part episode here.

Over the 40 minute programme it goes on to discuss how corporate America go about finding “cool” and how they pay big bucks in order to find it. The fact that 5 companies pretty much run the distribution of “cool” in the US is somewhat scary. And although it’s not a surprise how corporate America go after finding “cool”, it’s still endlessly entertaining to watch the “suits” trying to do some street talk to the kids and how a seemingly average kid ends up shaping “cool.” I promise that is the last time I will use that word in this blog.

Potentially the most amusing part of the show comes within the first 2 minutes when a focus group facilitator asks, “so…what’s hot right now? Just shout it out.” There’s no warm up for the teenage lads in attendance or prompts or anything, just an unashamed desperation to find out what makes teenagers tick. He could have at least touched knuckles with them all first. I will let you discover what the reaction of 5 teenage boys, each getting paid $125 for their time was. I also suggest you read this article from the Ruby Pseudo blog on “Things you’ll never hear us say in a focus group.”

Many of the trends are still valid for today and you wonder whether advertising and brands have really moved on that much in the last 10 years? Or another way of posing that question, have brands become lazy in being creative and genuinely original in how they communicate and interact with this generation (insert latest letter with which the youth of today are being titled)? Or, has “cool” (Sorry, I broke a promise, I do apologise) not become that much “cooler”? Is it easier to find “cool” these days thanks to the super internet highway? Perhaps “cool” has become more democratic, rather than being reserved for the minority?

The answer to all these questions I do not know. What I do know though,  is that I was a teenager in 2001. I bought the Limp Bizkit album. I drooled over Britney. I most definitely did watch MTV. And I did used to think that if my parents decided to move to America I would be able to dominate at football and be the coolest kid in the class. Alas, that didn’t happen and I am no longer a teenager, but the affect the ‘Coolhunters’ of corporate America had on my life is probably greater than I would like to give them credit.

I have hope that the teenagers of today are somewhat wiser than me and my friends, challenging brands to work harder and be more creative in order to be a part of their lives in constantly surprising, interesting and relevant ways. It’ll certainly keep our jobs more entertaining.

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101 Reasons to Value Design- Reason No. 1

Defining the value of sustainable packaging design sometimes raises more questions than answers. Governments are legislating reductions, but will they invest in the materials innovation required to achieve it? Special interest groups focused on reducing the negative environmental impact of packaging are demanding the elimination of packaging waste, but will consumers actually change the behaviour required to make this possible? Will they really purchase products that offer better environmental benefit? Launched on Earth Day 2010, the newly compostable Sun Chips bag will be an interesting case to follow.

Sun Chips Compostable Chip Bag Earth Day 2010

They’ve got the consumer communication right, and the materials right, (it would seem). But only time will tell if this strategy actually inspires consumers to do their part in the overall packaging reduction by actually composting the bags.

If changing consumer behavior seems too great a challenge, then perhaps we should take a more radical approach and simply eliminate packaging completely. This entertaining video reminds us that the value of packaging plays a more practical role in our every day lives by creating a convenient, safe and hygienic way to carry food.

Packaging is not JUST about having too much!

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Nutrition and Politicians

The words trust and food go hand in hand these days as consumers demand to know more about the things they put in their mouth. This has resulted in a constant flow of regulations being placed upon brands to divulge how they source their products and what they put it in them. So it comes as no surprise that yesterday saw the launch of the government’s new food strategy, Food 2030, which calls for a review of nutritional labelling on-pack. Packaging News asked us to comment on the news today and you can read our lovely Liz’s comments here.

The consequences of this review will be felt far and wide by brand owners as the government looks to bring clarity across the board to food labelling. The past few years have seen this get off to a stuttering start but maybe now is the time to solve this problem, as I think we all have a right to know what is in our food and where it comes from.

It definitely brings another challenge to packaging designers as nutrition labelling becomes more important. It’s something we are familiar with as we had to create the nutrition labelling for McDonald’s back in 2006, which is now across all of it’s packaging and has its own dedicated website, also designed by us. This level of transparency is a must for brands these days as they look to build trust with their consumers in order to have as open and honest coversation with them as possible.

This topic reminds me of a good print ad by Whole Foods Market from last year which has the right sentiment towards how to approach food labelling, unless of course you’re producing Barry’s Bangers with 12% “meat” and 88% other stuff in it, then these new guidelines might scare you.

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Defining the noughties

As we are drawing to the close, not only of the year, but the also the decade, there are inevitably more and more articles being written about what and who have defined the noughties. One that caught my eye in particular was on the BBC website. In a week where they are choosing a different subject before compiling the final 100 things that define the 2000s, the article on objects made me realise that in this decade the brand really has become king. Whether it’s an actual brand product like the apple iphone or the type of clothing which brands you to be a certain type of person, ie. the skinny jeans, we live in age of materialism. And all that has happened in a decade which has ended in one of the worst global recessions in recent times. Is there any link I wonder?

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The Egg chair which as the BBC article says “It began the decade as a cutting edge Mid-Century Modern revival design before becoming one of the supporting stars of Big Brother. And finally, it ended up in the newest generation of McDonald’s restaurants.” is just one of the objects which have become iconic of the noughties decade.

to read the full article click here

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Brand Identity Crisis

I’d heard a lot about it, but I hadn’t seen it for the first time until this past weekend. It is a new work from Grayson Perry, The Walthamstow Tapestry, that according to the Victoria Miro gallery “explores the emotional resonance of brand names in our lives and our quasi-religious relationship to consumerism. Charting man’s passage from birth to death, the tapestry is peppered with leading brands encountered along the way.” Inspired by antique batik fabrics from Malaysia as well as eastern European folk art, it shows colourful modern life stories of people going about their everyday lives: walking the dog, nursing children, skateboarding, hoovering (for my yank compatriots reading: vacuuming), and, of course, shopping.

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What’s interesting is that these brand names run alongside these every day stories. The brands stripped of their logos and identity; go almost unnoticed as written stories present throughout the mural.  Essentially, it’s a virtual who’s who list of the world’s leading names, from luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany to ever day brands like McDonald’s and Marks and Spencer.

Viewing the piece felt like the start of an interesting conversation about the importance of identity in our lives. Conversations that will have a wide and lasting impact on a variety of dimensions. Personal identity. Brand identity. Social identity. What role does brand identity play in our own identities today? What role will it play in future?

The art commentators say “Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, in whose work sentiment and nostalgia sit subversively alongside fear and anger.”

I say, it’s certainly an opportunity for brands to engage in the bigger conversation and shape a future that is more relevant and meaningful than ever.

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Go local or global – Levitt steps into the debate

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I’m looking forward to this book by Levitt and Dubner, especially to read about the contrasting standpoints of the locavore movement and global food brands. Brands are often beaten up for the very fact that they are global. This book may present the simple economic fact that scale of production directly relates to efficiency, which in turn relates to use of resources per unit of food produced. Locally produced food production will have to get more efficient anyway given that demand seems to be growing for it so an equilibrium will be reached at some point. Fascinating to see who will come out on top of this brewing debate now Levitt and chum have stepped in. … I’ll order it and let you know!

“There’s an artful takedown of the fashionable “locavore” movement: transportation, Levitt and Dubner argue, accounts for such a small part of food’s carbon footprint that buying all-local can make matters worse, because small farms use energy less efficiently than big ones.”

Quote from The Guardian, click here to read more…

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Challenge Convention

Thinking outside of the box… maybe the box is the problem?

camera

All of a sudden our digital cameras have no film. So why on earth do we have the same shape we have?

Why do we feel like we need to keep revisiting the archetype over and over and over again? Digital cameras for example, in which their format, proportion, the fact that they’re horizontal rectangles,  are modeled off the original silver film camera. So, in turn it’s the film that defines the shape of the camera.

- Karim Rashid from Objectified

Found at…

dish_soap__full

dirt_devil

radiator

watch

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Re-birth or Slow-death?

“The Woolworths brand has begun trading as an online business, more than six months after the ex-High Street giant went into administration. Shop Direct Home Shopping reportedly paid administrators between £5m ($8.24m) and £10m for the brand name. Goods on woolworths.co.uk include toys, Ladybird clothing and the firms iconic pick n’ mix confectionery. In December, Woolworths’ 807 stores and distribution arm, EUK, went into administration, with £385m of debt.”

I hope this works out for them, however I do feel that this is about five years too late. Why didn’t Woolworths embrace the Internet and online music / video  earlier to take on the likes of Amazon, iTunes, play.com, e-buyer etc. Does this point to under educated leadership within an establishment on new technology and media channels? Are they too late again (regarding CD / DVD sales) with the increasing selection of free music streaming sites, on-demand TV shows and movie rentals etc?

Pick and Mix is very nice, but I cannot see it paying the bills. Only time will tell I guess, but I think they are going to struggle against the well established and more boutique / quirky online stores. (And even more so against the people who embrace technology, offer it to a worldwide audience and do it quickly.)

wollies

Woolworths.co.uk

Heard on BBC Radio 1 and Found at BBC News…

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Vats of personality

A cure for our UK recession blues?

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro, as Hunter S Thompson said. Times don’t get much weirder than these, so, just who are the real professionals, and what kind of weirdness are they up to?

The left coast US state of California isn’t a surprising place to find an outrageous outlaw brimming with weirdness, but finding him in the relaxing, rolling hills of the Sonoma Wine Country, tucked alongside the hallowed vines of new world wine growers, certainly surprised this San Francisco-born wine drinker.

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I was drawn to Kaz winery by name alone (that’s what we affectionately call “Chairman Castledine” here in the Boxer studio… “Cas”).  The winery, the wine, and the winemaker himself, called “Kaz”, were one big surprise indeed!

We arrived at Kaz (the winery) after a long morning of tasting “oaky, blackberry, cedar and eucalyptus tannins with a Scooby-Doo finish.”  We found Kaz’s  approach simple, uncomplicated, and thankfully abundant. “What you taste, is what you taste” Kaz reminded us. No fuss, no frills. The Kaz approach definitely stands out from the crowd in a very big way.

The real special sauce in the wine, however, is Kaz’s personality.  He believes there is “no harm in experimenting”, and his quirky, nutty, playful personality comes to life in every experiment he touches: table wine, jug wine, vinegar…the light-sabre fight in the wine tasting room.  Where there’s a brand story to tell, Kaz is telling it.  With vats of personality.

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Way before this recession thing started, Kaz was a commercial photographer.  Now “president-for-life” of the two-acre commonwealth of Kazzystan, Richard Kasmier operates the smallest family winery open to the public in Sonoma Valley.  Kaz said he left the rat race because he wanted to do something on his own, something he could run out of a garage.  It started as a passion, and now it’s a mission.  Kaz has built a brand, in an established market place, fuelled by imagination, independent thinking and good wine.

Somewhat depressed by the current state of retail on the high street here in the UK, and spurred by watching “Mary Portas: Save Our Shops” on BBC last night, I wondered (inspired by a glass of wine of course) if Kaz could help us here in the UK.

Why does every high street look the same? Why have the chains taken over? Why is the independent spirit of Columbia Road, Borough Market and Camden restricted to certain days of the week and specific streets?  How much of our waning spend is based not on less pocket money, but waning interest driven by a sea of sameness.

I wonder what lessons we could learn from light-sabre wielding Kaz?  What harm is there in experimenting?  What could independent, creative people do if they left the rat race for their garages, followed their passions and battled the evil empire?

Retail is a pillar of the UK economy that generates almost £900 billion a year, and employs one in six workers.  I don’t mean to over simplify a very complex issue, but given its importance, shouldn’t we start to experiment just a little?

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Happy Anniversary. Everyone.

It seems that some of Britain’s Best Loved Retail Brands are all celebrating momentus Anniversaries/Birthdays at once. Is this coincidence or is there, in this time of recession and erosion of brand trust, a deeper meaning to this?

Thanks to Helen for sharing what Sainsbury’s are up to, celebrating a staggering 140 years in business. Looking around you see two other Kings of British Retail celebrating in very different styles:

Selfridges… a mere 100 years!

selfridges-1

I never thought that I would love the colour YELLOW! When has it ever been fashionable? Isn’t it a tacky promotional colour? Yellow cars, what’s all that about? Custard? Yellow Fever! Thanks to Selfridges I now see yellow in this way…
YELLOW: symbolic of Renewal, Hope, and Happiness… a colour of urgency… it’s even the easiest colour to see. How appropriate then to use it for the Re-birth, Re-branding and
Re-invigoration of department store Selfridges. The bold move by Selfridges several years ago has now seen them own the colour yellow in the emotional world of retail branding. How appropriate then that they should use their biggest visual asset to celebrate their centenary in the form of the ‘BIG YELLOW’ Festival. The colour of sunshine punctuates the store
environment with visually witty merchandising and bespoke PANTONE 109 products that celebrate all that is yellow…

yellow-festival-32

product-13

…(a question to the creators of the brand, was 109 selected because the origins of the brand were in 1909, or is this post rationalism?… Love it anyway). The Modern, Kitsch and irreverent style is in sharp contrast to the anniversary celebrations of the behemoth of British Retail… Marks & Spencer

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Marks & Spencer, a very considerable 125 years

marksspencer

From the Penny Bazaar in Leeds to one of our most trusted brands, the historic path of M&S is one all Britons should be proud of, it is indeed a major part of our retail heritage.
Executive Chairman Sir Stuart Rose said M&S has been at the heart of Britain for 125 years and we think this is something worth celebrating… and what a way to celebrate with 2 million products on sale for just 1p each. But of course in the true tradition of retail this offer is for a few days only… so hurry I’m sure this time the offer won’t be extended! Check out M&S anniversary products, they are very much in sharp contrast to the Selfridges products, I know which ones I would rather buy, even if M&S products are a penny.

ms-2

Brand Thinking

All of this leads me to believe that in a world and at a time when BRAND TRUST is so important, going back to your roots is a trend we’re going to see a lot of.
It seems such a shame that the financial services world with all of its mergers, takeovers and re-branding hasn’t learnt a trick or two about brand trust from the Retail Establishment.

For more on Selfridges anniversary celebrations see their website here… and M&S here…

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Celebrate Good Times, Come on! Sainsbury’s 140 Years

In an economic time of doom and gloom, it’s refreshing that Sainsbury’s have taken the step to communicate and celebrate their 140 years of trading.

sainsburys_140_years

And they have good cause to celebrate for today they have just announced their 2008/2009 preliminary results showing an increase in sales growth of 5.7% and profit growth of 11.3% on their previous trading year.

Many large organisations have come from humble beginnings and in a time of economic uncertainty, Sainsbury’s have cleverly harnessed the power of brand storytelling via TV ads, trade press as well as extensive instore communication to reassure their customers that despite economic and political upheaval, they are here to stay.

For this anniversary year Sainsbury’s have changed their current strapline from ‘Trying something new today’ to ‘Trying Something new for 140 years’, from their previous strapline ‘Good food costs less’. They have continually strived to provide quality food at affordable prices without compromising their integrity and their high street credibility and consequently repositioning themselves as a family supermarket first and foremost, via some of the following initiatives:

1) Feed your family for a fiver.
2) Recipes for leftovers.
3) Active kids scheme.

These initiatives show that they are not scared of ‘trying something new’ and encouraging their family customer base to do the same in a fun way, further supported by the use of non corporate fonts and graphics. They are also the only supermarket sponsor of National Family Week which takes place at the end of the month. This week sees family events taking place up and down the country with the express purpose of celebrating all that’s good about the family.

I’m really impressed with the way their initiatives are in tune with today’s consumer and today’s lifestyles while responding to current market conditions and maintaining brand integrity. For the future, Sainsbury’s is concentrating even further on the quality and integrity of their product offering. I still don’t think they’ve quite hit the mark as far as their clothing line is concerned, but I guess you can’t be good at everything.

Keep it up Sainsbury’s!

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Boxer Thought Leadership…

Very soon this will be the place to see our thoughts on all sorts of things. Keep an eye open for when things go live in this category, hopefully you will read them, even make some personal comments and get debating with us!

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