Branding

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Reinventing the supermarket

Mellow jazz played by a live trio wafts from a sunny, flower-filled mezzanine. Relaxing at umbrella-topped picnic tables, customers snack on savoury sushi, crisp salads, prepared-to-order deli sandwiches, just-out-of-the-oven pizza and piping-hot pastries with cappuccino.
Nearby, a garrulous chef conducts a cooking class in a glass-fronted room that will soon be vacated to make way for a community group meeting.

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What do branding firms actually do?

Branding firms are a bit like hookers: the services on offer aren’t always clear. The very word ‘branding’ is probably the most misused term in marketing, and a flurry of jargon (‘consumer-centric,’ ‘multichannel communications,’ ‘experiential influences’) can muddy an already abstract and intangible area.
To help clear the waters, we checked in with two companies near opposite ends of the branding spectrum. Interbrand Tudhope is the Toronto cog in an international branding machine, boasting 26 offices all over the world. Vancouver-based dossiercreative is a home-grown package-design-firm-recently-turned-branding-company (the company’s name was changed from M5 to reflect the new focus).
Both bill themselves as branding experts, but each comes to the table with a very different history, staff and structure. From billing practices, to project management styles, the two case studies below highlight the differences and similarities between the two most common branding agency models.

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Measuring return on brand investment

As the axiom goes, what is not measured is not managed. And so it can go with brand – too many businesses let the value of their brand slip through their fingers by failing to measure its performance.
Especially in a down economy, appropriate standards of measurement, or brand metrics, are not just a good idea – they’re mandatory for companies that intend to succeed.

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From

The Girl Guides, a Canadian institution for more than 90 years, was in trouble. ‘We were the largest invisible girls’ organization in Canada,’ says Georgia Guy, Girl Guides manager, external relations.

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B2B branding insight

Nothing inspires the soul to ennui like the phrase ‘industrial branding.’ But stay with me for a minute, and allow me to throw out a few ideas that may change your thinking.

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When branding runs into pricing

Jim Southcott, chief strategic officer at Vancouver-based Bryant, Fulton & Shee, has been working closely with client BC Gas since 1998 to better develop the brand’s profile.

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Canada Post turns post age

Canada Post is a brand? Very much so, although an oft-under recognized one, with multiple business lines such as EPOST and Purolator Courier that aren’t even linked to the firm in the minds of consumers.
‘Even though people may have heard of some of the services, they didn’t attribute those to Canada Post,’ says Jeannette Hanna, director of strategic communications for Spencer Francey Peters, a Toronto-based design and branding firm that worked with Canada Post. ‘It’s the country’s favourite whipping boy. It’s like ‘But what do I get for my 46 cents?”
With its new rebranding initiative, Canada Post is setting out not only to show its 46 cents’ worth, but also to literally reinvent itself.

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The design evolution

Design firms have always felt the tug to move into new business directions, to evolve into something beyond their core competencies, and these days that generally means getting into branding.
Whether the motivation comes from clients, a simple desire to grow a business, or merely because branding is the latest industry buzzword, simply adding ‘and branding’ to their shingles doesn’t make them branding firms.

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Searching for the elusive brand-o-matic

A few years ago J. Walter Thompson asked a consumer research group to put the Kraft Dinner brand on a psychiatrist’s couch (see ‘Putting KD on the couch’ on page 2). Responses showed that KD had a nasty self-esteem problem: The staple of low-income families and university students around the world was diagnosed as insecure, out-of-date and withdrawn.

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YTV wins kids with beasts, bugs and branding

‘Anyone with half an eye and an arsehole, as the expression goes, should recognize that they’ve done something pretty impressive,’ says president of Toronto-based Youthography, Max Valiquette, about YTV.

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Shoppers branding comes together in 2001

It’s a lucky thing Shoppers Drug Mart has a ready supply of Aspirins on hand, because judging by the flurry of recent activity, the marketing staff were probably popping them daily.

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Vibrant personality helped Post beat the odds

The National Post was hardly launched in response to consumer demand. In fact most people thought there were too many papers in Canada – especially Toronto – before it launched. Yet somehow the paper has carved out a niche for itself, and it’s done it largely by developing a rich, three-dimensional brand personality.

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Colas up the ante with new campaigns

The latest campaigns from cola giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola dig the line in the sand a little deeper by further emphasizing the personality differences the brands have systematically been building. Pepsi’s is living for today and evoking the joy, fun and…

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A brand roadmap

4D Branding, by Thomas Gad, published in February 2001 by Financial Times Prentice Hall; paperback, 256 pages, $40.95 …

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Approach is everything

Building Brandwidth: Closing the Sale Online, by Sergio Zyman and Scott Miller, published in October, 2000, by Harper Business; hardcover, 239 pages, $41.50 …