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Abeego battles for $100,000 prize

4 Jun BDC Toni Desroisiers

BDC Toni Desroisiers

Toni Desrosiers, founder of innovative Victoria BC-based Abeego,  is a finalist in the BDC’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Abeego (also a Brand Intervention client) is the maker of the original beeswax food wrap.

One finalist was selected from each province. The winner of a public vote, which is on now until June 12, will be awarded $100,000 towards the business!

Check out the finalists and cast your vote for Toni here.

That kind of money would seriously influence her goal to wean humans off plastic cling. You can vote once a day until June 12th and follow her progress on Facebook.

Good luck Toni! And thanks for helping her.

 

Introducing blended

28 May website for blended agency inc

blended is a new Victoria-based BC company that comprises me, my partner Russ Mounsey, and a cast of strategic and creative superstars.

We’ve come together as a team to work with BC wineries; to help them with operations, distribution, sales and marketing.

Our website went live today – click on the image and check it out!

website for blended agency inc

So does this mean the end of Brand Intervention? No! It means I go from being busy to being really busy.

Some quick facts about blended:

> The name. We got lucky. Seemed like the right name, given the way our distinct skills come together…in the manner of a blended wine.

> The office. We don’t have one. We have a beautiful boardroom in Vic Quay where we meet in Victoria.

> The salaried staff. There aren’t any. We will eat (and drink) what we grow. Our team members have their own healthy businesses and come into play when their brains and heart are needed.

Russ and I do the upfront strategic planning and outline growth strategies in 3 key areas: profitability, audience and brand awareness. Then we bring in the team to work with us as we flesh out the strategies and execute the tactics. We committed early on to holding out for the best people to work with, both in terms of talent and spirit. Hence the extended blended team:

  • Sara Park – social media strategy
  • Neil Tran of Leap Web Solutions – packaging and web design/development. (Leap did our gorgeous logo and website.)
  • Derek Ford – photography
  • Treve Ring of Cru Consultancy – sommelier, wine listings, tasting notes.
  • Jodie Carlisle – marketing strategy
  • Steve Hutchison of Treehouse Media – media strategy
  • Trisha Lees of Rep Lab – media training, reputation strategy
  • Rod Philips – retail strategy
  • Christine Gleed of Circle Communications – public and media relations
  • Adem Tepedelen – copywriting
  • Gord Carson of Planet Pictures – film and video director

This is a team of rock stars! We can’t wait to unleash their talents to the benefit of BC wineries.

I understand we may have to participate in regular product evaluation along the way, but we’ll work with that.

Cheers from the team at blended!

champagne glasses clinking

Duracell warms up ice cold Canadians

10 Mar

It’s not really hard to get people to like your advertising and, by extension, your brand.

You just have to be useful.

Duracell figured this one out in spades during our Winter of Discontent.

Problem? Freezing cold, grumbling Canadians.

Solution? Check this beauty out:

 

It’s only a major drag if you’re at the stop by yourself!

 

 

 

A good brand specialist is part snoop, part janitor

19 Feb

silhouette window cleaner

Your brand is not a logo or a look that you toss out into the market with fingers crossed. It’s your company’s promise.  It tells the world what it can expect from you on a consistent basis.

Your brand promise might be experiential. You might promise “innovation” or “simplicity” or “to treat your customers like family”. (Hopefully that doesn’t mean shouting matches at the table!)

It could be functional. You might promise to “save time” or “use less energy”.

Whatever your brand promise might be, it has to be authentic to your business offering and relevant to your customers.

Even more importantly, it has to be achievable.

Part snoop. Part janitor.

Because of that last requirement, the first place I look, when helping a business uncover its brand promise, is not at the product or service itself, but within the company. That’s where the promise lies.

It’s there in the messy desk drawers. It’s hiding under the unpaid invoices and in the smell that greets visitors to your premises. It’s in the sound of your voice when you pick up the phone and the turnaround time for managing a customer’s complaint. It’s in the clarity of your sales pitch, and in the structure and frequency of your staff meetings.

All those things tell a story about the business’s ability to deliver against its promise to the world.

There is a closet detective in every good branding specialist. And a cleaner!

In order to ensure you live up to your promise, your company needs to have its house in order, and that usually means some things have to improve.

To figure that part out, I use a process I call the Brand Evaluation, where I analyze a business against the promise it should be making to its customers. This involves asking a cross section of staff a variety of questions that challenge them to think about their business and their brand in new ways.

I ask the tough questions during these sessions and dig hard for the dirt.

I learn what sorts of promises a company can support currently, what it’s getting hung up on, and what needs to change in order to offer a different level of promise to the customer.

The DNA for the look of your brand

Once the workshop is complete, I have the groundwork for an achievable brand promise – and the DNA for the physical look and feel of your brand.

But your brand promise is not just for your customers. It should also drive internal behaviour and give a company something to measure their operations against: their internal processes and communications, their customer touch-points and the business culture.

Then you’ve got yourself an authentic, consistent and achievable brand to unleash on the world.

Christmas card wars: Bell versus Dominos

12 Dec

corporate Christmas cards

Last Christmas Bell sent me an e-card to say Seasons Greetings. This year they put one in the post instead. (That’s a strange reversal of environmental culture from an industry that pushes hard for electronic billing, but that’s another story.)

The Bell card arrived the same time as a card from Dominos Pizza.

Guess which one I liked better?

Christmas card from BellDominos Pizza Christmas card and couponMy average monthly business to Dominos is about $25, so $300 a year. It’s easy to be disloyal and use another pizza delivery service, so the $5 gift card is smart. It will ensure my next order anyway.

I use Bell to the tune of about $150 a month. I have contracts so I don’t have much discretionary choice. If I want to switch to another telecom, it will cost me a bundle.

Bell knows this and didn’t reward my $1,800 a year business with anything beyond a “Thanks”.

Now in your mind, “Thanks” might be enough. But an unsigned card isn’t doing anything to earn my gratitude or keep my business. It’s just a corporate card, a cost to the company that goes straight into recycling. It has no value-add, nor even a rewarding idea. It wasted resources, and my time to open it and recycle it.

Don’t say it. Show it.

The Dominos card, while not going on my mantle, delivered something in the way of a message. “We are eager to keep your business”. They didn’t say it – they showed it with the coupon, which will hang around, an ongoing branding reminder, long after the recycled card has made its way back into paper mulch.

Of course you can argue there is a significantly greater cost to Dominos for the gesture for considerably less business potential. But my guess is it will pay off.

You must get corporate Christmas cards. Do you think they have value?

Abeego is out to change the way you keep food fresh

27 Nov

Abeego flats

Toni Desrosiers is a woman with a global mission. She wants you to stop using plastic cling to preserve your food and switch to Abeego.

Abeego is a fabric of hemp and organic cotton infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. These natural ingredients have each been used for centuries for their preservative qualities. The result is a slightly tacky, moldable fabric that warms up in your hands and easily wraps around the food you want to store. In the fridge, Abeego becomes stiffer, adhering to the shape.

Unlike plastic cling, which leads to condensation build-up and therefore quicker decomposition, Abeego lets your food breath while preserving it.

Abeego flats keeping food freshAbeego keeps blueberries fresh

Abeego preserves cheese

I have been using Abeego for 6 months now and I hardly ever throw rotting vegetables out anymore. They stay fresh in Abeego much longer. It’s phenomenal for preserving cheese, breads, fruits, veggies…there’s an endless list. These shiitake mushroom spent 7 days wrapped in Abeego and emerged as fresh as when I bought them.

how to keep shiitake mushrooms fresh

I love it so much I bought the company.

Well no I didn’t, but I did the rebranding and helped with their new website, which is live as of today. Click on the image and check it out!

Abeego beeswax food wrap

The site was designed and built by Neil Tran and his team at Leap Web Solutions using Shopify, which Neil reports is THE BOMB.

Abeego is already being sold in several hundred retails stores around the world.  A few imitators have popped up, boldly stealing the Abeego language and imagery. But this is the original, folks, made right here in Victoria, BC.

Abeego Toni Desrosiers

The brains and the muscle behind Abeego. Toni Desrosiers and Colin Johnston.

Toni is a nutritionist by training. She knows fresher food is healthier food. The idea for Abeego emerged from this thinking and she and her husband Colin have spent the past 5 years turning her idea into a business bent on changing the world.  Interest in their creation is taking off, with orders coming in from Australia, the UK, Asia and of course Canada and the US.

SPOILER ALERT: I just figured out that Abeego would make a great gift to give at Christmas!

What’s this? A decent political ad?

14 Nov

Yesterday I was hanging with one of my favourite bloggers, Amanda Wilson, when the subject of political branding and advertising came up.

I confessed that I think political ads do the worst job of staying in brand.

They lie. They don’t know how to connect with their audience. They’re grossly inconsistent. Amateur production. Nasty undertones.

They make you sick of the process of public elections, surely not the objective.

As if in response, the universe put this deft and beautifully executed spot for Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne in my path.

Kathleen Wynne ad running

This is political branding in good hands. Believable, straightforward, human, decent.

Wrapping it in the metaphor of running uphill manages to just catch the bleeding edge of any public discontent with her tenure thus far.

This isn’t meant to sway the head, but the heart.  She’s inviting you to get to know her outside of politics to understand her strengths within it.

Enjoy this positive interlude. We all know the Liberal Party machine will take over come election time and it won’t be pretty.

 

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