Ex Cetera

Perspectives on brand identity & design, corporate branding, product branding, personal branding, brand culture, brand storytelling, ex cetera.

5 Things Harry Potter Can Teach Your Brand

It’s estimated that the Harry Potter brand is valued at $15 billion dollars. In fact, the record-breaking series of books and films has made J.K. Rowling the first billionaire from writing.

So what branding lessons can we learn from the young wizard of Hogwarts?

1. Always tell a great story.

Your brand isn’t just a company or product. It’s a story that never ends. Brand storytelling should cast a spell—capturing the hearts and minds of your target audience. Like any great story,...

Read More

If Sales is a sprint and Marketing is a marathon, then Branding is a triathlon.

If you’re responsible for corporate or product branding, you have to be in it for the long run. The very long run. Look at brands that are leaders in their categories [Coca-Cola, FedEx, IBM, GE, McDonald’s, Toyota, Google, Amazon and Apple] and it’s clear they’ve been winning their triathlons for years, decades, even centuries.

The Sales function understands the role of marketing and the value of branding. But it can all go out the window when numbers aren’t being hit. Bringing...

Read More

The Moment of Truth

You’re delicately crafting or recrafting your corporate brand. Or carefully launching or relaunching a product brand. Where do you begin? How do you articulate the USP, the point of distinction, the differentiating factor.

Whether you reside in the old school camp of Al Ries’ and Jack Trout’s classic Positioning; or the new school of story branding, purpose branding or Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, it can leave you staring at a blank sheet of paper.

So where do you really start?...

Read More

6 sure signs that you have a branding problem.

No long-winded listicle here. These 6 signs are short, sweet and to the point.

1. You need to launch a new corporate or product communications program, but you're agonizing over differentiation.

2. You need to overhaul your website, but you're struggling with the "Who We Are" page.

3. All the players in your marketplace seem to be well positioned – expect you.

4. You think a “brand” is just a logo and a tagline.

5. Your people don’t have the same elevator speech.

6. When you...

Read More

Love that new shuttle bus smell!

"Is that a dryer sheet I smell?" That's what I asked myself as I sat on a rental car shuttle bus, going from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to a massive off-site car rental depot. Very interesting, I thought. Fragrance branding. And it worked on me. It made my ride much more pleasant than, say, the odor of gas fumes and sweaty tourists. 

Sensory appeal is human appeal. And it attracts people to your brand. A nice fragrance in the shuttle bus was unexpected. And I'll remember...

Read More