Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hornsby Brand Design Launches Energetic New Website!

We're kicking off the fall season with a bang by launching our new website along with our new Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

After months of hard work and preparation, we are proud to announce the release of our newly redesigned, responsive, parallax website. By updating with a stylish new creative look and feel, we’ve improved navigation and provided you with an enhanced user experience for the desktop, tablet, and phone.

The site is filled with important information about how Hornsby Brand Design can serve you and helpful branding tips (through our blog) that will make consumer relationships with your brand more successful. Check it out. We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please contact us at or visit us on our Facebook page or LinkedIn page.

Being Human is a Beautiful Thing: Three Brands that Connect

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg takes on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The right digital branding campaign has the power to extend your reach and engage your customer on a deeper level than traditional advertising outlets. Below are three examples that are doing it right.

The ALS Association: The Ice Bucket Challenge
An extraordinarily successful social campaign gone viral, individuals across the U.S. are dumping buckets of ice on their heads in support of ALS. Participants range from those in grass roots America to top celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Taylor Swift, and Oprah Winfrey. The ALS Association, a national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease, received $31.5 million in donations between July 29 and August 20 compared to $1.9 million during the same period last year!

TD Canada Trust Bank: “TD Thanks You” Campaign
In July, TD Canada Trust Bank surprised more than 20,000 customers as they distributed envelopes containing a $20 bill to every customer in more than 1,100 bank branches. They also surprised some account holders with a twist to a traditional ATM machine by changing it into an Automated “Thanking” Machine. Whether the gift was plane tickets to Trinidad to visit a cancer-stricken daughter, college fund for a young widowed mother’s two sons, or a trip to Disney World, the ATM delivered real dreams to its customers. Captured on video, this campaign has accumulated more than 10 million video views!

Always: "Like A Girl" Campaign
The Always brand launched this campaign to reclaim and redefine what it means to be a girl and do things such as “run like a girl”, “throw like a girl”, or “fight like a girl.” Their goal is to dispel disparaging stereotypes and increase confidence in girls everywhere going through the difficult teenage years. This campaign has had more than 47 million views!

How can you connect? By providing “fans” with genuine, direct, and authentic tokens of appreciation and entertaining engagement, these three brands promote goodwill and positive feelings and mindsets throughout their respective communities. Surprising active and loyal customers with a sign of gratitude when they least expect it will go a long way to securing their loyalty. Get creative. Try direct links to special content, special advertising and PR, access to VIP events, or rewards that cater to specific needs. Even better: mix this all together for a killer campaign. 

Don’t be fooled!

Baby Boomers ARE NOT 

Your Typical Ma and Pa. 

The 77 million people born between 1946 and 1964 are defined as the baby boomer era (U.S. Census) and make up what advertisers call the "Silver Market." The bright side is that the Silver Market is more affluent these days, controlling 70% of the nation’s disposable income and standing to inherit $15 trillion over the next 20 years. So with these numbers, why do so many brands ignore them?

Many advertisers assume if they advertise to the youth, the seniors will come along for the ride. However, that’s a really dangerous assumption to make. Baby boomers are older, but not old. They embrace 55 as the new 35. This presents great marketing opportunities, so seize the day and aim towards them directly.

The not-so-bright flip side of the Silver Market is that those who are old, poor, and sick will likely be in the majority. So businesses need to prepare today for the realities of this market tomorrow, in order to leverage the looming demographic opportunity.

Supporting seniors in their everyday lives and enabling them to grow old in a humane way is a simple way to develop a marketing strategy, not to mention promoting positive public relations. For example, products can have adapted functionalities like foods packaged in smaller servings. The population size ensures that profits can be gained even from sales with narrow margins, because the group’s combined total income is substantial—and growing.

Important facts to know: 

  • The senior age group is now, for the first time, the largest in terms of size and percent of the population in the U.S.
  • Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis (Forrester Research).
  • Americans over 55 spend 50% of all vacation dollars in America (ICSC).
  • 55-64 year olds outspend the average consumer in nearly every category, including: food away from home, household furnishings, entertainment, personal care, and gifts (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • 96% of baby boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).
  • 89% of seniors 65+ have personal email and use it regularly (Nielsen).
  • 72% of baby boomers have broadband Internet in their homes (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).
  • 36% of adults 50+ own a smartphone (Pew).
  • Americans 55+ are the fastest-growing age group among gym members, up more than 266% since 1987 (IBISWorld).

The Drones Are Coming!

Amazon’s “Octocopter” promises to deliver your latest purchase in as little as 30 min. 
Drone aerial devices are poised to become a huge global business and are going to have a significant impact across a wide variety of industries.

Looking beyond military usage, commercial drones are taking off for businesses. BI Intelligence, a research service from Business Insider, estimates that 12% of an estimated $98 billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes. The San Jose Mercury-News reported that in 2013, there were 15 venture investment deals in drones worth about $79 million.

“This technology is an extra tool to help an industry be more effective,” said Gretchen West, executive vice president for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). “With precision agriculture, for example, it can take pictures of fields so farmers can identify problems they wouldn’t necessarily see walking through the woods. In law enforcement, you can find a child lost in the woods more easily than walking through a field, particularly if there’s bad weather or treacherous ground.”

In fact, AUVSI predicts commercial drones could pump almost $14 billion into the U.S. economy between 2015-2018, and over a 10-year period, creating more than 100,000 new jobs, including 34,000 in manufacturing.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hasn’t yet legalized commercial drone usage, although it’s expected this will change sometime next year. But it won’t be easy for the FAA. The issue lies primarily with air traffic congestion. Analyst from Frost & Sullivan market research firm, Michael Blades, who is studying the commercial drone market, says, “The airspaces in Australia and Brazil, for instance, aren’t nearly as crowded as ours. And the first time one of these unmanned vehicles accidentally takes down a plane, the FAA will be torn apart. So the rule-making process is tricky, because in a way, the sky is a political battleground.”

Companies like Google and Amazon aren’t waiting around. Google’s advanced research lab, Google X, announced last week that it’s developing a system of drones to deliver goods. The Wall Street Journal reported that a five-foot wide single-wing prototype from Google’s Project Wing carried supplies including candy bars, dog treats, cattle vaccines, water, and radios to two farmers in Queensland, Australia, earlier this month. Amazon introduced drone prototypes last year and has asked the FAA for permission to test them in open U.S. airspace; a decision is pending.

This exciting technology could dramatically change the landscape of your business, so it’s worth putting on your watch list.

See the related article "Top Nine Commercial Uses for Drones."

Top Nine Commercial Uses for Drones

Drones could very well be the next new technology wave. Already, drone technology is being used by various government entities, but what's interesting are the various businesses interested in harnessing this technology for commercial use. (See related article.) And with drones, just push a button and watch them fly; no remotes are necessary because they are guided by GPS!

So what are some practical commercial uses for drone technology? Here are nine ideas in the works:
  1. Delivery. Drones could allow businesses to deliver products to customers without having to send (or even hire) a driver. From medicine to pizza and beer. 
  2. Internet service. Some were puzzled when Facebook moved to acquire Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones. The potential sale could further Mark Zuckerburg’s initiative, which aims to provide wireless Internet to remote parts of the world. The solar-drones, which can reportedly stay airborne for five years, would act as movable wireless access points. 
  3. News. Drones equipped with cameras can fly lower and into smaller areas than larger manned aircraft. Viewers could one day get a look into the driver’s side window of a speeding car on the local news. 
  4. Photography and film. Commercial photography has a lot to gain from legal unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Real estate agents could contract with a drone-savvy photographer to take aerial shots of a property and festival organizers could conduct accurate head-counts using overhead photos. In addition, ad agencies and film directors could shoot more commercials and feature films using drones, as drones could replace the more expensive helicopter pilots.
  5. Agriculture. Although farming isn’t usually associated with cutting-edge technology, the agricultural industry could reap the benefits of drones. Large-scale farmers might utilize aerial views to monitor crop growth. 
  6. Population growth. Drones could be used to survey and document wildlife such as counting birds, for example. The electric-powered aircraft is so quiet that it can be flown over a bird colony, and the birds won’t even know it’s there. 
  7. Search and rescue. Drone search and rescue missions have already been adopted by some law enforcement groups across the country. Since they operate without pilots, drones can survey and act in dangerous situations without risk to life and limb. Also, by using heat-sensing equipment, victims can be found more quickly. 
  8. Inspection. Since 2003, drones have been patrolling offshore oil fields on a regular basis. Even at night, the drone camera reveals the presence of thieves and potential kidnappers, who often try to reach the rigs using small boats. Oil leaks and slicks also show up clearly in infrared, and by detecting them early, the drone has saved oil companies millions in fines, which are imposed automatically for such leaks. 
  9. 3-D Mapping. Drones can survey landscapes and take thousands of digital images that can be stitched together into 3-D maps. The military produce similar maps, using satellites, but this emerging UAV technology can put that capability in the hands of small companies and individuals, which can then be customized and used for a seemingly endless variety of applications. Pix4D’s software creates 3-D maps from drone images. This technology has already been widely applied—for Haitian relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy, by farmers seeking to manage far-flung crops and fields, and by mining companies monitoring changes to open pit mines.

Corporate Life Cycle

It's helpful to realize where your business stands in its life cycle in order to affect change where needed. So, we've included the following phases:

  • Courtship - The initial development of the business model
  • Infancy - After launch and the beginning of activity 
  • Go-go - Energetic early growth and sometimes chaos 
  • Adolescence - Still developing but more established and defined 
  • Prime - At its healthiest and most competitive, popular, and profitable 
  • Stability - Still effective and profitable, but beginning to lose its leading edge - vulnerable 
  • Aristocracy - Strong because of market presence and successes, but slow and losing market share to competitors, new technologies, trends, etc. 
  • Recrimination - Doubts, problems, threats, and internal issues overshadow its original purposes 
  • Bureaucracy - Inward-focused administration seeking exit or divestment, many operating/marketing challenges 
  • Death - Closure, sell-off, or bankruptcy. 

Things That Make You Say, "Hmm."

An old twist on new technology...

Because saliva is so much more sanitary...

Is it possible that it IS frozen over?

Decisions. Decisions.

Definitely a question of brand integrity.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Emotional X-rays: Leverage “The Big Five”

Reach your target audience by understanding how emotion plays a critical part in purchasing behavior. 

In general, traditional demographics and psychographics give important statistical data like age, gender, income, education, ethnicity, etc., but ignore basic human personality characteristics that crossover the statistical data. These personality traits are not categorized by numbers and stats, but rather by a person's emotional psyche, which in turn helps direct brand plans on how to best reach an audience and guide them to a particular desired response.

In psychology, “The Big Five” are five traits or broad dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality. They are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (OCEAN).
  1. The Open Audience
    Openness is a person’s appreciation for things like emotion, unusual ideas, and experiences. These people tend to be more creative, original, and hold uncommon beliefs. On the contrary, people who are defined as “closed” tend to prefer routine and don’t like change.

  2. The Conscientious Audience
    This audience is made up of high achievers and disciplined people. It has a high level of conscientiousness. These people are self-starters, and are not prone to spontaneous acts. If you have a conscientiousness audience, this group is usually not susceptible to impulsive buying.

  3. The Extroverted Audience
    This audience is social and full of energy. These people are enthusiastic and have a higher than normal need to interact with the outside world. Brands with identities centered around energy need to capture these individuals. They are your most likely bet for creating brand loyalists.

  4. The Agreeable Audience
    These consumers do not like to make waves. They tend to encourage the preservation of social harmony. At their core, agreeable consumers want to get along with everyone. They are not necessarily pushovers but can be persuaded to shift beliefs for the cause of social peace. On the flip side, consumers who are disagreeable put their interests above social harmony.

  5. The Neurotic Audience
    These consumers are emotionally unstable and tend to expect the worst in a situation. If you have a neurotic audience, they probably don’t trust your brand. They harbor feelings of anger, depression, and high levels of anxiety. These consumers are also more mentally stressed out where negative emotions tend to linger for a longer period of time. On the other end of the spectrum, non-neurotic consumers are calmer and less paranoid about an imminent threat.
Improve your brand strategy by gaining a better view and then understanding the mind of your target audience.

Are You a Brand or a Commodity?

The purpose of building your brand is to use that perceived value, through marketing, to sustain sales at a greater level of return than the market is inclined to give a non-branded service or product.

The objective of every brand should be to lift what people are prepared to pay and to motivate them to value you over your competition. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a discount brand, a scale brand, a luxury brand, or a cult brand, that’s the goal. It doesn’t matter whether these are boom or bust times.

If you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity. You are only worth the value that the market assigns you. And in good times, many companies are happy with that. They stop spending on advertising/branding/design, ride the commodity wave, and "bank" the organic growth. They believe the increases are of their own doing.

However, when the wind changes direction, and when things get tough, the temptation is to cut expenditures and ride it out. The myth of cost-cutting is that it makes you a more competitive company. It doesn’t. It does make you a leaner company, a less expensive company, and it does provide you with more cashflow, but it doesn’t generate preference. In fact, it doesn’t generate anything.

If you’re a company in trouble, branding is not the magic bullet. It won’t suddenly save you because it probably won’t lift your perceived value fast enough before you hit the wall. It needs to be used in conjunction with a range of other turnaround initiatives. Without branding you are, quite literally, nothing special, whether your coffers are telling you that or not.

5 Benefits of a Powerful Press Release

No matter what industry you're in and no matter how small or big your company or organization is, you will benefit from press release distribution. You have stories that can get you coverage in trade journals, magazines, blogs, podcasts, and other publications that cover your industry. But of course, you can't get it, if you don't tell it.

  1. Press releases are inexpensive.
    Whether you write your own or hire a professional with a distribution service, it's always less than paid advertising.

  2. Press releases boost your company's visibility. This is especially important for small businesses, but even large corporations need to fight for consumer mind share. By sticking to a long-term press release distribution strategy, you let customers know who you are, what you do, and why they need you. You also gain the attention of journalists, and over time, they start to trust you more and give you more media coverage.

  3. Press releases can establish you as an industry expert.
    Why is it important to be seen as an expert? First, expertise helps you gain the trust of your customers. Once they trust you, they're likelier to buy from you. But being an expert is also good for media relations. Whenever the media needs someone to comment on a story related to your industry, you want to be the first person they call.

  4. Press releases spread your name far and wide.
    However, target smaller local media outlets first. One of the reasons is that most major media outlets receive a significant percentage of their stories from local media outlets throughout the world. That's how the news industry works. One reporter picks up a story, and then it spreads from one publication to the next.

  5. Press releases keep potential customers and investors up-to-date.
    Press releases highlighting the successes and advancements made by your company or organization can be powerful tools for attracting customers, investors, and advocates.

Earworm Branding: "Can't Get It Out of My Head"

“Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” the 1974 ELO song that launched the band into America’s Top Ten, is the dream of every brand marketer for his target regarding his brand’s tagline or jingle. Say, “It’s the real thing,” “Have it your way,” or “Like a good neighbor,” and a phenomenon happens: earworming. An earworm is the psychological nickname for that contagious song or slogan that burrows into someone’s mind and relentlessly takes residence. What better advertising is there than getting a jingle or tagline stuck on “repeat” in a prospect’s mind?

Given that a tagline is a single message that succinctly delivers your organization’s identity into a tasty, bite-sized morsel, how do you turn the innocuous into exhilarating? Below are six earworming guidelines to help in the development of your brand’s tagline or jingle:
  1. Be short and sweet: The rule of thumb is 5 to 10 words, which can be a sentence or a fragment. Use words that target your company’s identity.
  2. Be unique: Imitating popular phrases don't help your brand, it helps the originator’s brand. 
  3. Be pleasing to the ear: Incorporate rhythm, repetition, and/or rhyme. Be a poet and you’ll enhance your chances of being remembered.
  4. Be active and direct: Use active voice (subject does the action) instead of passive voice (action is done to the subject) for a stronger, more succinct delivery. "Bayer works wonders." has more impact than "Wonders are worked by Bayer."
  5. Be benefits oriented: What makes your company appealing? Burger King let’s you “Have it your way.” State Farm is “like a good neighbor.” What can your company do for your customer?
That's the "what." Now for the "how." According to research by Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, led by psychologist, Dr. Victoria Williamson, four key elements invite memorability to take place:  exposure (repetition), memory triggers, affective states (mood or feelings), and low attention states (such as daydreaming). So when and how does a brand manager plan for these opportunities? Consider the following four areas:
  1. Exposure: Research shows that repeating your brand message throughout the day through a variety of outlets facilitates faster branding thereby increasing chances for that memorable affect. 
  2. Memory: The brain has both short- and long-term memory. It’s the long-term memory that solidifies branding because this is where emotions are processed. These memories are especially heightened when the senses--sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste--are involved. 
  3. Mood/Feelings: Emotional tone enhances the consumer’s ability to remember; therefore incorporate positive feelings. Connect with the consumer to increase future associations that potentially will produce positive results. 
  4. Low Attention States: Capitalizing on low attention states will take more deliberate thought, but it’s worth the effort. For example, people play the radio in the background as they work, drive, play, etc. Depending on your product and target, radio may be a great way to attach your brand to your prospect’s memory. Also, consider when and where your customers are when they are about to select a competitor’s product or service and stash your brand message there.
In the branding world, the phenomenon of earworms can happen with careful and purposeful planning.

Williamson, Victoria J.; Jilka, Sagar R.; Joshua, Fry; Finkel, Sebastian; Müllensiefen, Daniel; Stewart, Lauren. (2011). How do ''earworms'' start? Classifying the everyday circumstances of Involuntary Musical Imagery. Psychology of Music. Published online 27 September 2011 
DOI: 10.1177/0305735611418553

Carrabis, Joseph. (2014). “6 steps for getting your brand into their heads”. iMedia Connection. Published online 17 April 2014

10 Reasons for a Brand Makeover

In 2011, Starbucks unveiled their new logo to help celebrate their 40-year anniversary. The new logo removes the word mark: “Starbucks Coffee” and, as they put it, “unleashed the Siren, a mythological figure who represents the romance and creativity that inspired the founders of Starbucks 40 years ago.” 

This change begs the questions: Should you change/update your logo and identity to reflect a renewed and targeted brand passion? Below are ten reasons why you may want to consider it:
  1. Enhance friendliness.
  2. Simplify the message.
  3. Make the message and all visuals cleaner, less cluttered.
  4. Make it more contemporary and relevant.
  5. Better capture and tell your brand story.
  6. Cast a vision of where you want your brand to go.
  7. Highlight positive and needed changes.
  8. Promote hidden advantages and character qualities of the brand.
  9. Embolden your brand and increase its visibility, especially in saturated markets
  10. Erase misconceptions in a new and/or expanding market.

Things that make you say, "Hmm."

We are featuring common communication blunders we call, "Overstatements of the Obvious." Using redundancies as filler copy is rarely a good idea. Take a look at what we mean and enjoy a laugh or two in the learning.

The News Media: Overstating the obvious, Part One....

Safety First!: Overstating the obvious, Part Two....

Miscellaneous: Overstating the obvious, Part Three....

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Letter from the Editor: Brands Don't Rise from Nothing

Dear Friends,

At the 1856 inauguration of the statue of Benjamin Franklin, House Speaker Robert Winthrop spoke, saying,

"Lift up your heads and look at the image of a man who rose from nothing, who owed nothing to parentage or patronage, who enjoyed no advantages of an early education which are not open to yourselves, who performed the most menial services in the businesses in which his early life was employed, but who lived to stand before kings and died to leave a name, which the world will never forget."

Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers:

"People don't rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact, they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages, extraordinary opportunities, and cultural legacies that allow them to learn, work hard, and make sense of the world in ways that others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine."

We believe Mr. Gladwell got it right. No one does it alone. And we believe that building a successful brand works in the same way. Parentage, environment, and culture play a vital part of a brand's opportunity to stand before kings. They are not created in a vacuum. They need hidden advantages to shape the pattern of a brand's achievement.

We embrace this truth and are constantly developing hidden brand advantages for our clients. What we're finding is that with the ever-changing economic, societal, and technologic landscape, great opportunities for effective branding strategies are still available and waiting for implementation.

Here's to an emerging and successful spring for all of us!


Hornsby Brand Design Wins Five Creative Awards

Hornsby Brand Design was awarded five regional Addy awards presented by the Knoxville Chapter of the American Advertising Federation at The Foundry in Knoxville on Sat. night, Feb. 15, 2014. They were given in recognition of Hornsby Brand Design’s creative work for the Knoxville Area Transit, Radian, Arkis BioSciences, the Memphis MPO, and Homes of Love. The Addy Awards ceremony is the premier event held annually by the Knoxville Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (a business organization comprised of leading advertising and marketing professionals), recognizing excellence in creativity in all media. More than 250 people were in attendance with more than 300 entries competing.

The Purpose-Driven Brand

The days of merely “making the grade” and passing the SAT are gone. Colleges are now looking for the excellent high school resume in their quest for the ideal student. In addition to the greater-than-3.2-GPA and minimum-ACT-score-of-21, nowadays extra curricular activities, a good pedigree, and volunteerism is EXPECTED and REWARDED.

Colleges are looking for students who are socially conscience through volunteerism, and this can be done through a number of venues such the Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, the local children’s hospital, environmental activism, or some political affiliation. It’s not as much about WHERE you give your time as it is about THAT you give your time. Social responsibility presents a character trait that is appealing to those who would hold a student’s future in their hands.

Social responsibility is a burgeoning requirement that is certainly a noble trend, and like most trends, its reach extends into businesses.

Any business worth its weight will embrace a sense of responsibility to the community beyond its payroll. Organized employee volunteer days to feed the hungry or visit the elderly has become a value-added character of a company’s brand. Thus, the better brand is one with purpose. Not just a financially responsible brand, but  a socially responsible one as well. Some marketers call it “philanthropic capitalism.”

According to Forbes contributing writer, Simon Mainwaring, in his article “Marketing 3.0 Will Be Won By Purpose-Driven, Social Brands”, “The future of profit is purpose.”:
  • 87% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interest
  • 6% believe the singular purpose of business is to make money for shareholders
  • 76% think it’s ok for brands to support good causes and make money at the same time.
  • 91% of global consumers would switch brands if a different brand of similar price and quality supported a good cause.
  • 53% would not invest in a company that does not actively support a good cause.
  • 68% Do not think businesses do enough to instill a sense of meaningful purpose in their work culture.
  • The meaningful brands index outperforms the stock market by 120%. 

A case in point: U.S. shoe manufacturer Toms created a brand around its “One for One” campaign. What started as a campaign for every pair of shoes sold, a pair was given away to a third-world-child in need, is now an extended campaign that also provides those children with healthcare. Their website claims, “We’re in business to help change lives. It’s a big job, and we don’t do it alone. With our customers and Giving Partners, we’re transforming everyday purchases into a force for good around the world. One for one.” The results? Toms has proven to be recession-proof, has attracted numerous famous business partners, buyers feel they’re giving back, and employee morale is very high. This embraces the idea of a purpose-driven brand.

Social responsibility has become the business of giving. Community efforts give purpose and meaning to a brand and are now important factors in creating a great brand.


Contributing researchers:
2012 Edelman GoodPurpose® Study
Havas Media “Meaningful Brands” Global Report 2013
2013 Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture survey
2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study

Celebrity Status Takes A Hit

According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, Inc., appealing to the human emotions has a more positive affect on a buyer's choice than celebrity endorsement—good news for brand managers on a budget. The key factor is brand identification, which is, in many cases, more effectively accomplished through emotion rather than celebrity.

This is a shift in the paradigm of brand identity. Where celebrities were once looked up to and admired, now, researchers Nicole Verrochi Coleman and Patti Williams—from the University of Pittsburgh and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania respectively— say, a celebrity's personal issues can and have proven to adversely affect the brand they represent. (That may not be a surprise to most of us, but now it's documented proof.)

In the study, Coleman and Williams stated, “Consumers tend to choose products that bolster emotions associated with [their own] particular identity.” In other words, consumers connect better with advertisements and brands that share their feelings and opinions on a given topic more than who's endorsing the product or service. This means, that by incorporating emotions related to the brand’s identity, companies not only increase the number of brand loyalists, but they can also by-pass potential celebrity costs and risks.

An example of this tactic was used by MasterCard in its "priceless campaign". According to MasterCard, their marketing goal was to emphasize that MasterCard was the best way to pay for 'everything that matters.'" Its use of emotional appeal with the slogan "There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard." enables MasterCard to build and maintain strong brand value and trust among consumers.

Source: Nicole Verrochi Coleman and Patti Williams. "Feeling Like My Self: Emotion Profiles and Social Identity." Journal of Consumer Research:August 2013. For more information, visit

“Sole Walking”: Take Your Customer’s Journey

On February 7, 2010, the CBS reality show, "Undercover Boss" debuted, in which a high-ranking corporate officer/owner went undercover as an entry-level employee to get to know their employees, their performances, the day-to-day operations and dynamics, and areas of needed improvement. They essentially took walks in their employees' shoes in order to ultimately take a walk in their customer's shoes. We like this show because it reflects our own business beliefs about always being "client-centric." Entertainment aside and practically speaking, our clients want to know how to do this? Our response? "Sole Walking" of course.

First the hard facts. 

  1. It demands discomfort. In order to avoid discomfort, we tend to filter information and avoid potentially painful truth. However, this leads to our missing key information. If we want to grow and create opportunity, listening to the truth (both good AND bad news), will lead to improved client interactions and thus positively affect your bottomline.
  2. It demands time. "Sole Walking" is an ongoing process, not a one-time endeavor. This, of course, takes precious time, commitment, and practice. You'll have to sacrifice the "good" for the "best" and pull away from certain activities. Ask yourself, "How important is it that I find out how my customers perceive our business?" If your answer is not "extremely important" then... 
  3. It demands strategic interpretation. Your customer will experience many aspects of your company from the initial contact to the follow through and delivery of the finished project. They don't just encounter the sales department or customer service. They interact with accounting, tech support, management, and many other sometimes "hidden" support departments. Delegating interpretation of the data to any one department within your company could incorporate a natural bias inherent within that department. Our best advice is to look for an unbiased (usually third-party) source to interpret your data and develop a strategy based on this accuracy.

Moving forward

  1. Pay close attention to customer feedback. This seems obvious, but it's not always done. Document feedback through online surveys and reviews, and through ALL customer service channels. Development a follow-up system for each customer and look for consistency within the feedback. This is an excellent gauge on how your customers perceive you. 
  2. Develop a behavioral question survey. Instead of asking quantitative and qualitative questions, phrase your queries around experience. Incorporate all aspects of the journey from beginning to end. This emotional approach will gain deeper insight into the mind of your customer.
  3. Hire an outside, unbiased source. Hire your own "secret-shopper" of sorts with targeted discovery goals in mind. Professional branding firms have systems in place to discover detailed and pertinent information about customer perception. This removes the "internal filter" that keeps the truth from surfacing and allows you to see "the real picture."
  4. Incorporate empathy. If you use company personnel to embark on this journey, choose those who have natural tendencies toward empathy and understanding. This will illicit better and more genuine results.
  5. Plan, evaluate, and revise. Define the weakest link and turn it into a strength. Define the strength and turn it into the focus. Then measure your success and turn it into relevance. Remember, this process needs consistent cultivation in order to evolve.
"Sole Walking" will provide you with key information on why your customers buy from you and/or why they don't. So get in their shoes and get walking onto the true road to client-centricity.

Test Yourself: 15 Slogans for 15 Famous Brands

Slogans like "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.", "Breakfast of champions," and "When it rains, it pours.", and "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!" have all stood the test of time and even evoke feelings of nostalgia in some of us, not to mention a longlasting, heightened sense of brand awareness. These examples show that when your brand has a great slogan, good things happen.

For a trip down memory lane and just for kicks, click on the image below and test yourself to see how many slogans you remember. By the way, just in case you didn't know, the slogans above are M&Ms, Wheaties, Morton Salt, and Life Cereal.

Go here to test yourself online.

Download a pdf copy with an answer key attached.

Things that make you say, "Hmm."

This month we’re offering a slight derivation from the norm of commercial miscommunications by featuring interesting (sometimes clever) business names. Take a look and see to which ones you give a thumbs-up…or down.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hornsby Brand Design’s Creativity Recognized with Five Awards

Hornsby Brand Design was awarded five regional Addy awards presented by the Knoxville Chapter of the American Advertising Federation at The Foundry in Knoxville on Sat. night, Feb. 15, 2014. They were given in recognition of Hornsby Brand Design’s creative work for the Knoxville Area Transit, Radian, Arkis BioSciences, the Memphis MPO, and Homes of Love. More than 250 people were in attendance with more than 300 entries competing.

Hornsby Brand Design president, Chris Hornsby, said, “We always strive to offer the very best service and innovative solutions to our clients. The awards are an added bonus to that end. We greatly appreciate the recognition by our peers for our creative efforts.”

The Addy Awards ceremony is the premier event held annually by the Knoxville Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (a business organization comprised of leading advertising and marketing professionals), recognizing excellence in creativity in all media.

Hornsby Brand Design specializes in building charismatic brands by mixing the magic of creativity with the logic of business strategy. Hornsby Brand Design has garnered more than 100 local and international awards for creative/strategic solutions in print, web development and broadcast, along with being published in Print and How magazines' prestigious design annuals. A few of the regional, national and international organizations Hornsby Brand Design has served are the Knoxville Area Transit, American Cancer Society, Regal Entertainment Group, Jewelry Television and the Brunswick Boat Group. Services Hornsby Brand Design offers include brand identity and development, advertising, graphic design, and complete web development and consultation.

Memphis MPO Video Series Launched

Hornsby Brand Design is proud to announce the production and launch of a 3-minute, educational video of Memphis MPO, which offers the why and how the Memphis MPO exists and casts a vision for the region's economic and ecologic growth.

Additionally, Hornsby Brand Design produced three, 3-minute Livability video series, featuring six regional mayors. The mayors include Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Mayor Goldsworthy of Germantown (TN), DeSoto County (MS) Supervisor Mark Gardner, Bartlett (TN) Mayor Keith McDonald, and Fayette County (TN) Mayor Skip Taylor. All four videos were translated for the Hispanic community.

Set to music with panoramic views, the videos tell the story of the Memphis MPO, discussing purpose, vision, ongoing projects, and the partnerships with area officials and other transportation-related government entities.

View the videos here.