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Corporate identity

19 Oct

Call it corporate identity, brand identity, or graphical standards. A German site, Corporate Identity Portal, links to a wealth of examples of identity in action. (Via PR meets the WWW).

It’s all in the brand

14 Oct

A US scientific study reported in The Times today proves what I’ve always suspected. There’s little difference in the chemical composition of Coke and Pepsi – but a huge perception difference in the minds of those who know which brand they’re drinking.

It proves the power of branding to add value to me-too products.

Word of warning

5 Oct

Of course, talking about brand differentiators (see below) can lead you into trouble. You might make it into the Pseud’s Corporate column in satirical magazine Private Eye. Or even worse, your words might make it into print in a newspaper.

BL Ochman, the scourge of ‘press releases from hell’, tells a cautionary tale.

Yes, but what’s it for?

4 Oct

I’ve just completed a news release writing workshop, in which I used this from Virgin Money as a (successful) example of writing for press publicity. Note how the story comes first and how the client is only tangential to the story.

A student looked puzzled and asked me to explain its purpose (beyond getting in the press). Good question. I took a deep breath and introduced the concept of brand building as a means of differentiating competing, me-too credit cards. It’s a maintstream concept in the US and is gaining currency in the UK – but evidently puzzled this student from the Far East.

Public relations works best when it’s subtle and indirect – and there will always be people (often they’re clients) who are confused or frustrated by this non-linear approach.

Keeping up with the brands

13 Sep

It used to be so much simpler. There was a successful technology sector PR company, Text 100, that grew with its largest client Microsoft. (I learnt to admire them when I worked for a rival, A Plus Group.)

Now there’s a holding company Next Fifteen Communications containing three autonomous PR consultancies: Text 100, August.One Communications and Bite Communications. We now learn from PR Week that a further consultancy Joe Public Relations is to be merged with August.One Communications.

Here’s the rationale for these multiple PR brands. They allow you to attract clients who may view others (such as Microsoft) as a competitor. Today Sir Martin Sorrell talked up WPP’s acquisiton of Grey in the marketing services sector in terms of the ability to retain both Unilever and P&G as clients.

Time waits for no brand

5 Jul

At least I had my say well before the Borkowski ideas factory got round to processing spicy Beckham sausage meat. But their approach is so much more eloquent. Time waits for no brand…

On brands and Beckham

20 Jun

John Simmons, editor of Great Brand Stories, writes a clear and coherent introduction to brands and branding in the Observer.

Inevitably, business was at the head of this development. Why use branding to sell politicians when it could be a tool of management? Companies knew they could organise the way they marketed products behind the idea of brands. Then they realised that this principle helped them to market the company itself and to build its reputation. Clearly, branding was useful for external communication, not just through traditional advertising channels but through other media. The marketing door was open and branding had rushed through it.

Alongside this, Brand it like Beckham by Andy Milligan is cited. If the advice given is correct, David Beckham has this coming week to reestablish his core ‘product’ as a footballer (his reason, remember, for achieving spin-off success as a celebrity, brand ambassador and pin-up).

Identity crisis

28 Sep

Abbey National is to become abbey. It’s the latest in a line of new corporate identities which are judged on their performance against the stock market average in The Observer:

If a company is clear about where its future lies, and it chooses a new name to fit in with that, the name change should be a success. But if a new name is simply a way of trying to cover up old problems, it is more likely to have the opposite effect.

Beer or brand?

15 Sep

It’s hard to avoid the debate between the anti-globalisation, anti-branding camp (led by Naomi Klein’s No Logo) and the branding-is-everything camp led by Wally Olins (whose new book is out this month).

The small news story that the famous Theakston brewery is being returned to family ownership is turned by The Guardian into a victory for ‘small is beautiful’ against ‘global is everything’. (I confess that I simply saw it as confirmation that moving to Yorkshire was a good thing.)

Take off

4 Sep

Makers of corporate identities have long admired synthetic names that begin and end with the same uncommon consonant. Kodak and Xerox are the two best examples of this much copied phenomenon.

But QinetiQ had until now seemed less resonant, as well as being harder to spell. That is, until the company’s sponsorship of a ballooning world record attempt went wrong – or right, in terms of press coverage. Here’s one of the many news reports, from Reuters, to give the company a name check.

This is QinetiQ, in case you’re still wondering who they are.