Branding

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Hired guns and other brand escalation tactics

During the ’90s, the importance of branding took hold like never before and marketers espoused brand strategy as the key to winning consumer loyalty. But if the ’90s built the path for strategic planning, the new millennium is set to position tactics as the key to successful brand building.

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Corus research into what women want sparks younger, bolder WTN

It turns out that what women don’t want, after all, is a serious TV channel that talks about issues 24/7. As Toronto-based Corus Entertainment recently discovered through extensive research, women actually go to the small screen for the same reason men do – to be entertained. This epiphany has culminated into a bolder look for WTN, now called simply W, as well as a clever ad campaign encompassing TV, radio and print that will introduce the revamped network beginning April 15.

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How can the struggling Canadian film industry build momentum?

Chances are, you will opt for the former – not necessarily because it’s a better movie but because this is the film that’s a sure bet. The trailers looked good, the media reviews were promising and most importantly, everyone’s talking about it.

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Yes, but is it art?

Branding is a bit like one of those big, colourful rectangle paintings by Rothko. An expert on the New York School of abstract painting could write a 400-page treatise on how it came about and what it means, but when you step up to the picture, what you see is just a big colourful rectangle.
In the same way, the best brands have hours of strategizing behind them, result from reams of research, and the brand architects could write a book on what they mean, but they look pretty simple to the consumer.

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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.