May 2009
05
Refreshing Brands

Coke AdCompanies are shaking in their boots right now. Between the unstable economy and the rapidly evolving advertising industry they aren't quite sure what to do. One thing is for certain in this age of tech, companies want to seem current. What better way to say "hey, we are changing with the times" than to refresh your company image. Not a full rebrand. Just a refresh. But when a brand is refreshed too often does it start to become desperate like a clingy girlfriend (or boyfriend) who can't take the hint that no matter what they do you still just want to be friends?

 

Revitalizing a brand is nothing new. Brands have been doing it for years in an effort to keep their image in line with current trends. But I think the rate of refreshing a brand has grown exponentially in recent years. This is especially true of new brands. Take a look at this collection showing the evolution of various logos. Firefox has gone through three versions in it's short 7 year life. Even old brands like Pepsi have decreased the time between refreshes. Pepsi and Coke are two great examples of brands that have managed to remain current while going through quite a few refreshes over the years.

 

I was watching the Celebrity Apprentice the other night with my wife and we were discussing why Clint Black's jingle for "Chicken of the Sea" didn't win against Annie Duke's jingle. She agreed with Donald Trump and the Tuna executives that Country music just didn't appeal to everyone. But I didn't really think his song was that "Country". I think it almost had a goofy Randy Newman aloofness to it. That clunky, bluesy, hard to pin down style with a bit of country. If I really had to call it anything I would call it "old". That's why I think their decision (conscious or not) was more about the fact that today's brands don't want to be thought of as old and nostalgic. Which was kind of the tone of his jingle. Annie's jingle was much more fun and modern albeit cheesy. But it positioned the brand in a fresh new light and hit the demographic dead on.

 

I think today's brands are becoming like everything else in our lives, disposable. "Out with the old, in with the new" every couple years. Companies are no longer thinking long-term as far as branding. They are worrying about "right now". And for good reason. Even advertising is proving to be disposable as it shifts to new types of media. There is no real clear definition of what newer media the future holds. The "next big thing" in advertising is probably right around the corner. Unfortunately nobody knows what that is yet. My money is on interactive product placement in TV and video. You are watching a show, you see a cool jacket on the lead character so you click on it with your remote and search results are returned showing you the designer as well as the best prices.

 


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May 2009
10
We got another order of business cards last week. This one is from Moo.com and the cards are full sized. We got these for beta testing their new U.S. operations in Rhode Island. I have to say the quality blows Zazzle.com away. The cards are super slick and silky to the touch. The stock is very thick. Also, the cards truly feel indestructible unlike the Zazzle cards. The Zazzle cards seem to scratch and the stock is somewhat flimsy. The other great thing about Moo is the cards are made from sustainable forests and even the included case is made from recycled pulp. The inks used are soy based. You can bet that our next order of cards will be from Moo. Thanks Moo!
Apr 2009
29

This is a design I did for a series of modular iPhone and iPod Touch accessories. I posted this on ipodtouchfans.com and got a lot of interest. Soon after I removed the images and began seeking a patent. Unfortunately I ran out of funds and time to finish it.  The German version of Mac|Life published the images in their February, 2008 issue. I never got around to doing illustrations to show all the modules. But they would have included speakers, a keyboard, gaming controls and a higher quality camera among other things. Check out the gallery below to see the progression of the product. Or view the entire set on Flickr here.

Apr 2009
26

The iPhone is undoubtedly a revolutionary device. It has changed the way we interface with hand held computers. It's faster than the mac I used in college. Oh, and it's also a phone. I think it is safe to say that when the iPhone was announced there was an audible gasp heard around the world. While gesture-based touch-screens are nothing new, (See the Bill Buxton videos from Alias | Wavefront in the mid 90's. He also specifically addresses the iPhone here.) it was the first time anyone has seen this sort of UI on a handheld device. At least something as elegantly designed. This is the type of gadget you would expect to see in a SciFi movie. You couldn't carry that many albums, movies, etc in your pocket just a few years ago.

 

Apr 2009
20

Well we got our order of business cards today and they look great! Aside from some minor trim issues I'm pretty pleased. They are made of a synthetic recyclable material, that is water-resistant and virtually tear-proof. We ordered the profile-cards from Zazzle.com because they were based in the U.S. and had similar mini-cards to Moo.com. Of course, the day after I ordered these I get an email from Moo asking if we want to beta test the new U.S. store. Well, we will certainly give them a try on our next order of cards.

 

Apr 2009
20
When I tell someone the name of our company I either get a blank stare or silence on the other end of the phone. It's almost always followed by the other person asking, "Heavy Giant?". You see, I have this theory about company names. If the name forces the viewer to visualize it then they will remember it. I used to have a company named whiteOrangedesign. I also came up with the name for PinkKoiFish.com. With HEAVYGIANT, someone might visualize a giant on a scale or maybe a giant crushing cars. So why "HEAVYGIANT"? It works on many levels.

 

Apr 2009
11
Not too long ago I read a great book called “Punk Marketing” by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons. It’s a refreshing perspective on the constantly changing face of marketing. The main thrust of the book is that the traditional methods of marketing are becoming less and less effective as consumers are bombarded with more and more daily advertising. With the explosion of online advertising, viral marketing, cell phone and video game marketing, those who don’t adapt are quickly left behind. The solution is multi-faceted but the short answer is to be different and adapt to these changes. Always let the solution drive the media. We are hired to solve problems, not to buy media. Come up with the best solution, then decide what media best represents that solution. Another thing to remember is that in this day and age consumers drive brands. As such, we as marketers need to look through the eyes of the consumers as well as listen to their feedback. “Punk Marketing” offers a mantra to live by and challenges the reader to develop their own. I’ve done just that. I’ve made a top-ten list of things that will not only help you be a better “Punk Marketer” but be a better person in general.
Apr 2009
09

HEAVYGIANT.com is alive! In the middle of one of the worst economic recessions this country has seen we thought it would be a good idea to launch a new company. HEAVYGIANT is the result of having too much time on our hands. Well that was a short lived problem! Shortly after forming, we are already pulling in business.  As a result, we haven't slept much in the past few weeks. It's hard to balance building our own site when we have paying clients to take care of. Hopefully you can see the result of all that hard work here on our brand spankin' new site! It's not quite where we want it yet. But we have had so many requests to see our work that we had to get something up right away.

heavygiant: @paypal Spending limits are a big fail. Can't link my corporate card to a bank account. Canceling PayPal instead. #fail #getwiththeprogram