Ex Cetera

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

7 Steps That Can Turn Your Organization Into A Content Machine


That's the biggest dilemma facing small- to medium-sized businesses when it comes to launching and maintaining an effective inbound marketing campaign. We get it, you need to stay focused on your business. Sure, you want the meaningful blogs and helpful whitepapers, but the reality is, you're lucky if you squeak out a piece once a month or update your social media sites. Well, fear not. Here are 7 practical steps to get your...

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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,...

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Catch these 22 catchy taglines

Trying to distill a company's entire vision, purpose, passion and differentiation into one distinct tagline is a daunting task. Just thinking about it gives me the writing sweats. These 22 companies have done it brilliantly. This great HubSpot blog posting takes you through them.


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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...

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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?...

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Hear that? Sounds like a brand experience.

Recently, we renovated our kitchen, and part of the fun was buying all-new appliances. We chose MAYTAG because of the industrial design and the fact that they’re made in America. But one of the most pleasant discoveries we made when we started using our appliances is how they talk to us...well, sing to us...actually, more like R2D2 to us.

If our refrigerator door is ajar, we get a singsongy reminder to close it. When our food is zapped, the microwave lets us know with a little ditty. And...

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The pharma brand namers must be on drugs.

We all see the drug commercials on TV. It's hard to ignore the onslaught, all trying to convince us to talk to our doctor about them – even after 45 seconds of listing side effects in a 60-second spot. Thank god I'm not pregnant or nursing.

Recently I’ve seen some really bizarre brand names. Granted, this category has always been famous for them. Big pharma and their agencies have many secret formulas for brand name creation that could only appeal to chemists, medical specialists and...

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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...

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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...

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Meet the Kiwi. The poster child of fruit branding.

If you've ever eaten a Kiwi, you know it's a sensory experience: 
Touch. Yikes. Brown and prickly. You'd never know there was a delicious, exotic fruit inside. 
Taste. Amazing. Somewhere between a melon and a strawberry. 
Smell. Nothing unusual. Kind of sweet. 
Sight. Outside, not so great. Inside. Heaven. Bright, green, almost translucent with a halo of small black seeds. 
Sound. I guess it thuds when you drop it. 

But here's what really makes it experiential: Clever product branding.

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