Archive for ‘Branding’

September 17, 2013

Case study: Randall’s Décor

Renovating a brand with “distinction” 

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Randall’s is an established paint and home décor retail chain with a long history and an excellent reputable history in the Ottawa and Eastern Ontario regions. However, for the stores to remain viable and able to compete with the many big box home improvement chains now in the area, there was a need to reach a new generation of homeowners, including those who had no renovation skills or lacked confidence to try DIY projects. A brand audit demonstrated that Randall’s most valuable brand attributes were their knowledge, experience and credibility, qualities beginners value most.

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Armed with the need to demonstrate that Randall’s was “not your father’s paint and décor store”—and influenced by the popularity of shelter magazines and various DIY and home improvement TV channels and websites, seed president Joy Parks was tasked by greennmelon design inc, Randall’s communications firm, to build on their valuable knowledge and product authority with a branded content publication. This “magalogue” that would announce the new style and voice of their brand—a breezy, easy voice that invited readers to try their hand at home improvement—knowing they’d have the support of Randall’s experience and know-how behind them.

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The content asked readers to trust in Randall’s traditions and knowledge, but use that information to express their personality using their home as a canvas.  The goal was to deliver in the distinctions publication, a series of branded content articles that would be comparable to newsstand shelter publications—but based on Randall’s products, knowledge and overall offering.

According to greenmelon creative director Robert Smith, “When our client Randall’s, a local home décor chain, approached us to do a magazine, I immediately spoke to Joy. There was no one else that I would trust with such an important branding vehicle. Her talent for understanding an audience, and delivering compelling and pertinent content shone in this piece. The final product is something that I display proudly in the portfolio.”

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The client was extremely happy with the inaugural issue, and threw a launch party that included the mayor of the city of Ottawa as a guest. The publication continues to be available in stores and as an e-publication on the retailer’s website.

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Download the full issue of randalls_webmagazine

Download this case study as a pdf  Randalls Case Study

See more seed case studies.

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September 10, 2013

Case study: Costco Canada Catalogue Content

Smart, targeted content that delivers brand personality

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Dealing with intelligent, savvy clients with a clear vision of the audience they’re trying to reach results in great work. While a stroll through their mega-sized stores gives the impression that there’s something for everyone at Costco, this smart retailer does target several market segments, including secondary and tertiary audiences of newly marrieds, young male technology buffs and small business owners. Still their primary target is she who has the most retail clout, the maturing Gen X or Baby Boom female shopper.

According to experts like Carol Orsborn, co-author of Boom: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer, the Baby Boomer Woman, this group of female consumers controls 80% to 85% of purchases for the home—and is far more likely to own or be involved with a small or home business than other target markets. Reaching the mature female consumer is essential to successful large-scale retail like that of Costco.

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Following the creation of a branding guide to be used by internal marketing staff, seed president Joy Parks was charged with creating the “story” content for the retailer’s annual catalogue. While much of the piece is product driven, a decision had been made to use the front-of-book sections that provide information on membership and overall offerings, as well as department introduction pages, to provide the audience with a taste of the Costco brand personality. The information pages were written in a conversational, welcoming and helpful tone. Out of several options provided, Costco choose the “My Costco” theme for the introduction pages as a means offering shoppers a sense of ownership in the store and to reinforce loyalty. As is the case with effective content, these pages of emotion-driven copy were more about the audience’s needs than Costco’s offering.

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The content provided for the catalogue has been used for several years running, refreshed with new photography. The main client contact, Shannon Ambrose, Director of Marketing at Costco Canada, satisfied with the results, has assigned other work. She also notes that, “After taking the time to get to know our business and our project, Joy crafted texts that not only captured the message we were looking for, but she did so in a timely manner, meeting deadlines, and going over and above to get the tone of the piece perfect. “

To see more of the catalogue content, click on the links below.

http://seedcreativecontent.com/entries/branded-content/2011-costco-catalogue

http://seedcreativecontent.com/entries/consumer/costco-catalogue-pages

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Download a PDF of this case study.

Costco Case Study

September 5, 2013

Case study: greenmelon inc. product site

Fictional storytelling: A “novel” approach to branded content

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When greenmelon inc. was first established, its primary focus was on product design, mainly lighting fixtures, furniture and household hard goods. Thing is, when small firms design products, they seldom have the financial support to actually produce the product—it’s generally easier, less risky and more lucrative to simply sell the design to a manufacturer or large chain, and let them take over the production and distribution.

Greenmelon creative director Robert Smith’s background lay in graphic design—and he had won many packaging gigs—so the company offered a holistic approach to product design—not just the product itself, but also the positioning, communications and packaging that went along with it.

Since the product didn’t exist beyond Robert’s imagination, the wonder of Photoshop and some technical drawings—there was only one way to get the product ideas across. Tell a good story. That’s exactly what Joy Parks, owner, senior writer and creative director of seed, did.

There was a simplicity and great deal of wit to the products developed by greenmelon—and that tone was central to the content on the website. Beginning with the understated “we’re greenmelon and we design things” tagline (which continues to appear on www.greenmeloninc.com, also written in large part by seed president Joy Parks), the site not only featured brief descriptions of the products—but also fictional stories of end-user customers who had bought the product. The short stories explained who the potential customer was, why they bought the product and how they were using it. These fictions not only outlined details about the product but also allowed potential licensees to glimpse their potential market. And they did so with wit, humour and down-to-earth simplicity.

According to President and Creative Director of greenmelon Inc., “I always infuse an element of wit and whimsy into my product design so it was imperative that the website articulate that. I chose to work with Joy from the very beginning of the project because the site required more than just words. It needed personality. It needed to tell a story. There was no one else that I would trust with a project of this scope. The results were simply, poetic. Joy was much more than a writer, she was a collaborator and the site would not have been the overwhelming success it was without her involvement.”

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The site got rave reviews from just about everyone who visited it and was, quite frankly, like catnip for young designers looking for a place to work. While greenmelon later shifted its focus to graphic design, this initial website showcased both the company’s innovative designs and creative approach to marketing them, established their “fresh” brand and proved the power of storytelling.

For more examples of greenmelon’s website, please go to:

http://seedcreativecontent.com/entries/retail/greenmelon-product-website

http://seedcreativecontent.com/entries/corporate-non-profit/greenmelon-inc-website

Download a PDF of this case study Greenmelon Inc

 
July 21, 2013

Five Lions!

Good year for branded content at Cannes. Not only did it get its own category (sign of legitimacy?)–Dumb Ways to Die, one of the best examples of it in years took five lions.

http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/dumb-ways-to-die-the-campaign-case-study-video/

July 21, 2013

This is why

a trip to Walt Disney World should be a legit biz expense for creative communications/content types…because they do what everyone wants to do better than anyone does. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-feinberg/content-marketing-disney_b_3563404.html

May 4, 2013

You go, girl!

Love the infographic, but I wish there were more cities in the list…and I’d really like to see one of these for Canadian cities as well. Also, check out the tips — I’ve used each and every one of them and they work.

void(0)

March 30, 2013

Phasebook?

Been on Facebook lately?

If my own “friends” can be used as an averaging sample, I’d say the answer is no.

I’m not dissing social media—Facebook in particular, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or any of the others—and I won’t because it’s already become an interesting part of my work as a professional communicator. I don’t think we’ve even come close to realizing the business and branding potential of social media. When else in time—aside from when we were still selling bottles of tonic off a horse and buggy to a crowd of settlers—has business had a chance to have a real conversation with the individuals they too often see as a lump of target market? And if they’re being honest, most companies will admit that they’re still sliding around the surface of what is possible, trying to figure out what works for them. They’ll get there. Watch a few early TV commercials and try not to squirm.

Small businesses in particular have so much to gain—social media is relatively cheap compared to other media, it’s doesn’t require a gargantuan effort and fulfils one of the commandments of content marketing—that every company can be a broadcaster or publisher. I don’t understand why every artist, photographer, interior, graphic or fashion designer—anyone who works in a visual medium—doesn’t have a portfolio on Pinterest. And I can’t figure out why businesses are staying away in groves from Google+.

But business uses aside, if my group of friends is typical, then personal use of Facebook is in decline. Sure there are still some diehards on there frequently, but even they’re posting fewer and fewer bits of information about their own experience, and are sharing or liking or otherwise passing on the often colorful postings of others. Outside of new houses, new puppies (ok, guilty), the odd political opinion and a random complaint or announcement of celebration—people just don’t seem to be saying much on Facebook anymore. As a personal branding platform, LinkedIn has it beat in the shade…in fact, as Facebook gets less personal, LinkedIn seems to be getting more so, with colleagues and contacts sharing more about their working lives.

Perhaps the early critics of the “ubiquitous-ization” of Facebook, the ones whose argument usually questioned why they’re want to know what someone on the other side of the country had for lunch, were right. Personal lives just aren’t that interesting—unless you happen to be the person to which that life is happening. Let’s face it, we’ve all at least hid or in a more drastic frame of mind, “unfriended” the constant braggart or bore. Too, some days it’s hard enough to come up with something worthwhile to say to those with whom we share a bed and mortgage—it’s not humanly possibly to constantly communicate your cleverness to your hairdresser’s sister and that guy who sat behind you in grade 10 math.

Or could it be that the novelty has just simply worn off?

It’s not that I regret having a personal Facebook page. Where else would I have put Zoey’s puppy pictures or the video of my renovation or announced my marriage to a captive audience. At least it was captive at the time. What I learned in using the platform has been invaluable in my work life. It was interesting to see how people I knew in my teens turned out. I felt confident and powerful in ignoring the friend requests from those in my past who don’t belong in my real or virtual present. And I was “found” by someone I used to be close to—I’m glad we’re friends again.

I think that social media in one form or another is going to be with us for a very long time—and I’m willing to bet that whatever will captivate our attention after it hasn’t been developed yet. But it will be. So to some extent, Facebook will be a phase for us all.

And while I may check in on my personal page from time to time for old-time sake, it’s time I started seeing other platforms.

I need my space Facebook.

It’s not you, it’s me.

February 24, 2013

Education or entertainment? Telling the brand stories your audience wants

In advance of a Content Marketing World conference to be held soon in Sydney Australia, Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi spoke with Australia’s Marketing magazine and offered what has to be the simplest, clearest definition of content marketing I’ve ever seen.

“The easier way to think about it is instead of telling my customers I’m great, I’m going to show them I’m great because I’m going to teach them or I’m going to entertain them.”

Content marketing/branded content advice always circles back to the idea of storytelling—but doesn’t always approach it from the point of view of the audience. Yes, your company, your brand has a story to tell—but it has to be told in a way that is meaningful, compelling or best of all, useful to the audience you want to reach. That’s essential. And Mr. P. managed to sum it up perfectly

January 3, 2013

Three (more) reasons why I’m feeling good about 2013

 “3 Reasons Why Content Creators Will Thrive in 2013, found on the Atomic Reach blog, is the most recent of several “what’s to come in 2013” articles I’ve read that focuses on how companies will continue to grow in the understanding of the value of using branded content and social media to solidify brand awareness and loyal and put the right message in front of the right audience. This article in particular emphasis the importance of the role of the writer in this movement — and the value effective writing will bring as marketing strategies shiff focus from traditional advertising to a marcom-journalism hybrid.

Like the story so much, I’ll even forgive them beginning a title with a numeral. Shudder.

December 19, 2012

It’s about time!

In this month’s Inc. magazine, one of the 2013 trends stories is titled “Ads Will Be Articles & Vice Versa.” While big business seems to be picking up on the value of branded content, thanks to work by companies like Amex and P&G, it’s good to see advice on content marketing directed at the smaller, entrepreneurial companies Inc. serves.

It’s particularly good news for people with a background in both copywriting and journalism.

People like me.

Here’s the link…http://www.inc.com/magazine/201212/adam-bluestein/ads-will-be-articles.html