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Meet MsMeet Miss Kō, an original restaurant identity

Posted on February 25, 2013
Filed Under: Advertising, Brands, Corporate identity, Creative ideas, Get inspired
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We love Gregory Bonner Hale’s new graphic identity for Miss Kō, a new Asian fusion restaurant in Paris that sports a Phillipe Starck interior which GBH describe as “a place where cultures collide, fantasy rules and nothing is what it seems”…

The restaurant’s name and identity are based around the fictitious Miss Kō, “a young, sexy but eternally mysterious symbol of Asia, and the embodiment of its traditions and its strangeness”.

Miss Kō herself appears in the brand identity as a naked woman, her face in shadow, showing off her full body suit tattoo, a sign in some Asian cultures, apparently, of ties to the underworld.

Click here to view the full brand components including an interesting exterior signage.

Creative Review February 22nd, 2013

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Brand consistency is dead, long live the brand

Posted on February 15, 2013
Filed Under: Brands, Creative ideas, Get inspired
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We couldn’t agree more with Harley Augustine, Brand Director, Elmwood Asia, when he said this week that the old chestnut of ‘brand consistency’ has slipped quietly into extinction. He goes on to say that any branding professional still telling their clients or colleagues that ‘brand consistency is everything’ might as well enlighten them about the world being flat and who shot JFK while you’re at it. Why? Because brands aren’t admired by consumers/customers for being visually steadfast and regimented anymore. Instead, they’re applauded for their fluidity, flexibility and ability to move quickly with both the times and the global population’s lightning fast shifts in expectation, need and desire.

Great brands morph magnificently like chameleons today, leaving the rest looking like tired, lazy wizened old lizards. Coke. Google. AOL. DC Comics. These guys, and others, understand that flexibility is the new consistency and that looking the same every day isn’t the public drawcard it used to be. They also understand that the only consistency they need to focus on is that of the commendably patient new hero of modern branding, their story. Get that right and they can, and should, look however they please to suit the two most important things: the narrative at hand and their audience.

Yeah, yeah… bold claims, I know. But Coke proved this with their Australian ‘share a Coke with’ execution, which saw the logo removed from its packaging and replaced with people’s names. Consumers know that their consistent story is ‘happiness’, so it made perfect sense.

Google proves it every time their homepage logo changes to highlight and share a milestone or erstwhile historical nugget. Users know that their consistent story is one of ‘effortless information’, so their ‘doodles’ are bang on.

In January SAAB released their new global brand identity (it’s first change in 11 years) and, you guessed it, it’s a word-mark that acts as a window to all manner of visual expressions… a la AOL… so they can share their “move your mind” story in fresh, never-ending ways.

So this is all very nice, but what’s driving it? Why is brand consistency going the way of the dinosaur? Why is it no longer okay to look and feel the same every day? Because we the consumer want to be entertained more than ever before – and our idea of entertainment these days is rooted in surprise, fluidity and randomness. ‘Same, same’ simply won’t be tolerated, but ‘same, same but different’ will be celebrated. It’s by no means rocket science. Our collective attention span is shorter than ever before. We want it now, not then. We live for the moment, not the memories. There’s always something better on another channel (and if not the there’s always something to watch in the 72 hrs of footage that’s uploaded to YouTube every minute). There’s always something fresh in the Twitter feed. We’re inundated with empowering choice and control, so things that stay the same are both easy to reject and dismiss. We want to be entertained, not enlightened.

Think about it. How many times have you changed your Facebook profile picture, Twitter avatar or Linkedin mugshot in the last 12 months? At least once or twice, I’m sure. And why do you do it? To show the world what’s happening in your worldIf you change your profile pic on Facebook your friends don’t freak out, do they? No. They know who you are and what you’re about – how you look at any given point in time is irrelevant, if not that it further expresses your personality and builds upon your own personal story. Brands with strong stories are no different. They’re not tied down to a 100% consistent brand identity… instead they use their identities to project new, surprising narratives, attitudes and character traits that amp up their stories.

All hail MTV, I say… talk about being ahead of the curve, eh? Consistency is dead. Long live brand anarchy

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Google Analytics showing online stores’ missteps in real life

Posted on January 18, 2013
Filed Under: Digital, Ecommerce
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Google Analytics has released three humorous videos, which revolve around the theme of bad online shopping experience. Recognizing the importance of proper digital marketing and web-stores’ functioning during the holiday shopping season, Google’s division demonstrates “how missteps on the digital shelf play out in real life.” While these problems don’t seem that big online, they would drive us mad if we have experienced them in brick-and-mortar stores.

Watch them here:


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What’s an average ecommerce conversion rate?

Posted on January 3, 2013
Filed Under: Digital, Ecommerce
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We are often asked what a typical conversion rate is on an ecommerce site. Website owners are keen to understand revenue potential as well as benchmark current performance.

The answer is often ‘it depends’ although no one wants to hear such a flaky response.

First off, it’s really important to understand what you are each defining as conversion.

Conversion is most commonly referred to as the number of successful purchases divided by the traffic to the site. However, it worth knowing that there are two different figures that analytics packages give for those visiting eyeballs:

(Unique) Visitors – The number of people who come to your site, counting each person only once for the period you’re measuring.

Visits – The number of times the site was accessed in a given time, regardless of whether visitors came once, twice or loads.

Usually the number of site visits you get will be greater than the number of visitors; this is because visitors (hopefully) come back once in a while.

But sometimes these two figures can be considerably different, particularly if you have a popular site where content changes frequently and people return time and again. This obviously means that any conversion metric calculated from ‘visits’ will be lower (e.g. worse) than those derived from visitors. However to get consistency across the e-commerce industry, it is this lower figure of visits/goals that is typically used.

So now we all have the same definition, can we now give a specific figure? No!

Put quite simply, there really is no such thing as an ‘average’ conversion rate for all e-commerce sites. Furthermore, although there may be the temptation to quote average rates across specific vertical markets, in my opinion these figures are pretty meaningless too.

To see what we mean, take a look at This is a site that compiles anonymous analytics information from participating sites. This data is even broken down by sectors, so you can compare yours (although some obvious and closely guarded ones are missing, such as Travel and Luxury Goods). This is probably one of the most useful conversion resources on the web, but what does it actually tell you about your own site?

Not a lot… as conversion rates depend upon a number of different factors, including:

• Product (what you sell and the stock you actually have)
• Price (what you sell your products for and what your discounting strategy is)
• Promotion (how well you merchandise your products)
• Usability (how easy your site is to search, navigate and ultimately transact with)
• Imagery (how well your site conveys your brand and displays the products you sell)
• Security (how well you convey and actually take steps to ensure the safety of customer data)
• Content (how well the site text and imagery acquires customers and then informs & supports the sales process)
• Optimisation (how effective you are at changing some or all of the above to improve your conversion metrics over time)

So before asking your agency or consultant to give you a predicted rate of conversion for that new e-commerce site they’re building for you consider first of all how they can make it anything but average.

Article written by Hayden Sutherland.

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Success is determined more by what you do with your mind than with your body

Posted on November 5, 2012
Filed Under: Creative ideas, Get inspired, Work life
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Over the years 
we’ve helped our clients implement some huge projects, sometimes transformational.

At times, as we’ve been about to launch a new campaign, brand, ecommerce platform, or other project and we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with our clients at the edge of a cliff, it’s been terrifying! Yet when the time came to jump, it was liberating, joyful and fulfilling for all concerned. 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over time it’s this. Sometimes, when you’re mid way through a project it’s easy to focus on the obstacles and become disheartened or down when things don’t go to plan. But searching out and acknowledging the obstacles you may meet along the way before you do is useful, necessary even, as it helps you to prepare, to make decisions in advance from a calm, non-reactive state.

But what happens when the obstacles or barriers become all you can see? You know, because I’m sure you’ve been there at some time, they become huge and dominating. And what happens if you continue to focus solely on them? They can stop you in your tracks.

This thought struck me one time, as I woke up early in the morning in a mild panic, mid way through a project with a tight deadline and seeing nothing but challenges ahead.

Just because we’re an agency, and we know ’stuff’, it doesn’t mean to say we’re superhumans who never let things get the better of us. (Although there are people out there who think some of us are closely related to Yoda!)

One of my earliest challenges as a young Marketing Director was to pitch a digital proposal to a room of 25 senior managers. I didn’t eat or sleep in the days preceding and I was barely in the right physical state to withstand the nerves of such a big occasion. But I did it and we won the business. How come?

As with all these things, success is determined more by what you do with your mind than with your body. Firstly, you must be in a great state, standing strong, grounded, well hydrated, oxygenated and focussed. 

But focussed on what? The minutae of the presentation? No no no!

 What do you think would happen if you focused too much on the detail of the presentation? Probably fear, nervousness, possible failure? And you would probably appear tense and unnatural. The presentation becomes an ogre, an event you have to ‘get through and survive’ rather than enjoy and relish. 
So where to focus? You focus BEYOND the presentation! On your desired outcome, imagining how great it would be to work with this client. Yes, the presentation may still be touch and you will have prepared the contents thoroughly but with your focus on the end goal you will smash through, hardly noticing your nerves and the faces staring at you.

So next time you wake up in a cold sweat take our advice and focus on the exciting adventure beyond the obstacles and know for sure that NOTHING can block your way!

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Ikea gets volunteers to help with new store opening

Posted on October 22, 2012
Filed Under: Brands, Creative ideas, Get inspired, Social media
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IKEA moved its store location in Bergen, Norway, and they decided to ask for volunteers to help with the opening to engage with the community. They used press, outdoor, banner ads, and social media to call them to action. Volunteers could sign up on its website to do favours such as making a speech during the opening, assisting the mayor at the ceremony, planting the first tree outside the entrance, hosting the customer radio, etc.

There was a great response, and people started volunteering for tasks IKEA hadn’t even advertised. Norway’s best-selling hip-hop artist, Lars Vaular, volunteered to do a live concert. The store opening ceremony was entirely conducted by volunteering locals, with 20% of the town’s population attending. IKEA broke all previous sales records and it was the retailer’s most successful opening ever.

Imagine if a company did this in the UK as part of a school project.

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Newcastle mocks Stella Artois and its Chalice in new campaign

Posted on September 14, 2012
Filed Under: Advertising, Creative ideas
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Newcastle Brown Ale is a no nonsense brand —or as its new ad campaign puts it, “no bollocks.” The British beer also has little time for rivals who it believes are all bollocks—chief among them, Stella Artois. The new campaign from Droga5, breaking today, announces itself in part with a cheeky outdoor ambush of Stella’s “Chalice” ads. Next to Stella billboards that proclaim, “It’s not a glass, it’s a Chalice,” Newcastle has placed boards that ask, “Who uses the word Chalice?” That sets the tone for the campaign, which is meant to be aggressively yet humorously anti-bollocks, with the hoary clichés of the entire beer category as its target. We love it.

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Love the iPhone 5 launch logo

Posted on September 6, 2012
Filed Under: Corporate identity, Creative ideas
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We love the subtlety and craftsmanship of the new iPhone 5 launch logo. A clever piece of design that exploits the incidental. (Or the intentional !!)

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Chocoholics, the answer to your prayers may be here

Posted on September 6, 2012
Filed Under: Creative ideas, Product design
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We loved this product innovation for dieters.

A lipstick-shaped aerosol that sprays particles of dark chocolate into the mouth is being hailed as providing all the pleasure of the real thing but with no need to feel guilty.

Dieters may also find that the mere taste of one of their favourite treats curbs their appetite.

Le Whif inhalers are £1.99 each and are supposed to curb cravings

David Edwards, a Harvard professor who invented the spray called Le Whif, says that it only takes a touch of chocolate to satisfy our tastebuds.

He said: ‘When you breathe the chocolate into your mouth, it dissolves immediately and coats the tongue and taste buds. Le Whif is a new approach to eating, by breathing.”

Read more here. Daily Mail

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Chuck out the negative instruction

Posted on August 14, 2012
Filed Under: Creative ideas, Get inspired
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Did you know that our subconscious mind doesn’t recognise negative instructions?
So when I just read a website by a US marketing guru (who I do respect), giving tips on how to be a marketing super hero I couldn’t help but notice that much of the advice given was negative instructions or ‘don’ts’!

Now the advice itself was all good. But the challenge is that our subconscious minds work in pictures, they don’t hear the negative words. So when we’re told ‘don’t beat yourself up’ all we hear is ‘beat yourself up’. That’s not helpful, is it?

As marketers we all know about the power of the image but maybe we forget sometimes about the power of the positive written word.

How often do you give instructions that begin with ‘don’t’? To your staff, to your colleagues, to your customers (written and spoken), even to your children and significant others.

Don’t be late for the meeting
Don’t miss the deadline
Don’t forget the point we discuss about . .
Don’t do this

And on it goes

So our challenge is to turn our language around into something our customers’ subconscious minds would love to hear so that ultimately, you are the one they remember.

How instead of saying to your busy B2B customer ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’ how about ‘go easy on yourself’, or instead of ‘don’t worry’ you could say ‘let your concerns go’. Sounds lovely doesn’t it. How much easier an instruction would that be to follow?

Knowing this simple fact, that your subconscious only hears the instruction not the do’s or don’ts, can change your communication! Try it.

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