Black Rhino Weighs In: Big Brothers' Re-Branding

Black Rhino Weighs In: Big Brothers Big Sisters' Re-Branding

OCTOBER 26, 2018

The Big Brothers Big Sisters program recently issued a press release to roll out their re-branding and volunteer recruitment campaign. Their new website can be found here.

Here's what the Black Rhino Marketing team had to say on the matter...

Andrea, Managing Director

The idea of new branding is a positive step into the future. The Big Brothers Big Sisters brand has been somewhat stale for a while now, and has needed a fresh new look. Considering that they are focused on recruiting more diverse volunteers, the old purple and people logo wasn’t appealing, nor was it assisting them in their goals. However, something still feels off with the new brand. While it is fresh and new and lends itself to an ethnic interpretation, and the logo is “clever”, it doesn’t appear to match the organization’s mission and values. To me, it feels like it’s too blatant and trying to hard to convey it’s “hipness” if hipness is even a thing. It feels like a vast departure from what they do as an organization, as the colors, fonts and overall design are too graphic, too sharp and too boxy. That doesn’t convey the message of being a welcoming, safe haven for youth, and volunteers alike.   It’s a step in the right direction, but there is more work to be done.

Laurie, Communications Director

Exciting, provocative and impactful new branding that says “Now” and represents the diversity of their participants. The logo is outstanding and has meaning. Brilliant way to transition from old site to new site (that’s obviously still in the works)…i.e. they give a taste of the new branding on the old site, which directs you to the new transition site, which is essentially a scrolled landing page…while they complete the new site.

HOWEVER—the copy font is really unfortunate, as it’s virtually impossible to read the copy—it has been far too compressed to be legible, and it’s only worsened by the fact that it’s reverse. Works fine in the big headlines, but not in the small copy. The branding launch video is powerful: simple powerful people images and simple powerful words.  That’s all you need to convey the new image and message (We Defend Potential).

Soulmaz, Graphic Designer

When I checked the website, it did not mention that Big Brother is a “youth mentoring organization” (I’ve never heard of them before). The color-palette, the logo and the website, reminds me of something related to the music industry. The logo is too solid, bulky and very boxy! It is a nice logo, but not for this purpose. It needs to give you a feeling of mentoring, not dictation. It needs to be freer with more room for creativity.

I understand their concept, but it does not tell me what they have mentioned as a concept. And it is about the overall design, logo, color-pallet, and web design. It is good to update the brand, but in my opinion, this new transformation is too modern for this matter.

Jeff, Project Manager

More proof that we’ve entered an era of re-branding. But this is an example of re-branding gone right! I find the logo to be fresh and inspiring. I love logos that subtly, but strongly convey the message of the business, similar to the “secret” FedEx arrow. The “lower b” and “complete the B” aspects tell you exactly what Big Brothers and Big Sisters is all about. This to me, is an improvement from the old logo, less succinct in its message yet, at the same time, too on the nose with the imagery.  The font could use some work, as I had no interest in struggling to read such skinny text, but besides that, I think this will be a very good business move. Especially considering that the Big Brother program has been on the decline in the marketing/awareness department for some time now.

Dane, Strategy Director

Smart that they realize they need to evolve, however they still need a strategy to address the following:

It's not just volunteers that are needed, they also need the young people - and unfortunately they can't sign themselves up, but need their "parents" i.e. mothers to do it. And it will most likely be "mothers" signing up the young people, not "moms" - there's a distinct difference. Or grandparents will be signing up the young people, they made no mention of that. They are going to need an effective message to resonate with these 2 distinct groups, as well as with the young people in order for them to really want to participate - as much they are with the volunteers

Not sure of the average age a little brother/sister comes in (thinking it might be between 10 - 13), but they may also need to consider changing the language from referring to them as "Littles" to Young People, especially if they want them to stay in the program between the ages of 14 - 18, which is age-range where young people if they do drop out are most likely to derail their potential

As far as messaging, I hope they talk to schools and even the police, as both audiences are on the front lines of seeing what happens when unguided youths don't have anyone helping them realize their potential, and likelknow what types of messages a young person who spark to to turn that around.

What are your thoughts on the new look?

America Runs on Donuts!

America Runs on Donuts!

SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

I have been noticing a trend starting, particularly in the service industry.  Businesses are looking to re-brand to generate social buzz and avoid pigeonholing themselves. Sounds like a bold claim, right? Hear me out first, I have three examples for you.

Exhibit A:

Image result for ihob

Now, we've already discussed the IHOb stunt in a previous post, but it is indeed a strong start for my argument.

Did it create buzz? Yes.

Did it sell burgers instead of pancakes? Definitely.

Did it work? Well...

The problem is, now that the campaign has ended and all the IHOb talk is over, I feel I can safely assume that no one is running to IHOP for one of their crazy burgers. That being said, if the objective was just to get the word out, I'd consider this, albeit temporary, re-branding stunt a successful idea. Which brings me to-

Exhibit B:

Logo of Domino's

I'm sure you've already read our article covering Domino's recent marketing antics. Rather than roll out the new brand with one marketing campaign (i.e. IHOb), Domino's ran several campaigns. None of them were very good.

But did it create buzz? Meh.

Did it sell something besides pizza? Possibly.

Did it work? Technically.

Dropping the "Pizza" was kind of a no-brainer because I'm pretty sure everyone was already calling them "Domino's" so there's very little room to backfire.  Moving on to our final example...

Exhibit C:

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for a fresh label on an old business. It's a great way to stay relevant and up to date with a growing industry. This, however, is the first example of a re-brand that I believe will fall flat on its face.

Dunkin' Donuts is considering dropping the "Donuts" and testing it out on about 50 stores across the country. They have yet to make a final decision, but I have a feeling America will be running strictly on Dunkin' come next year.

Now, I understand that Starbucks is a big competitor of theirs and I like that the name "Dunkin'" does better associate with coffee, however, I don't believe any one is going to stop saying "Dunkin' Donuts" simply because everyone appreciates alliteration.

Furthermore, Dunkin' Donuts is the oldest company to use the phrase "donut". How many people don't know how to spell doughnut because of Dunkin'? That's a pretty valuable word to toss away.

I refer to this recent re-branding spree as a trend because I really do think this is only the beginning. Before you know it, we'll be ordering pizza from Hut and eating burgers from King. I suppose only time will tell.

It's Just Domino's

It's Just Domino's

AUGUST 17, 2018

Sometimes I watch television (ok, “sometimes” in this instance is more like “all the time”) and I catch several commercials- intentionally. On occasion, I notice commercials and ads by companies and wonder if there is something else going on behind the scenes that they are trying to fix- and trying to fix it through advertising. In one such case, recently, I can't shake the idea that something is wrong with Domino's Pizza’s advertising campaigns. Let me explain.

I have nothing against the pizza franchise's choice of ad agency, CP+B is one of the best, and they have created several ads I've loved or wished I had created. But, something stands out in the work they are doing for Domino's- it's almost as though they are trying too hard. This isn't a knock against the agency, as I expect they are doing everything they can within their power to create engaging, PR pushing ads, which is technically working- since here I am writing about it. It's more of a sense that something inside Domino's is amiss and they are trying to fix it through advertising. There are several "red flags" as far as I can see- but remember, I'm only looking at this from the outside, only seeing the ads placed in front of me. I do not claim to know anything about the inner workings of the business.

Red flag #1: They changed their name- from Domino's Pizza to just Domino's and they updated their signs.

Image result

Red flag #2: The new (IMHO awful) tagline: Oh,yes we did. Oh yes we did what? It's not clear, and when it's presented at the end of the commercials, it's confusing.

Red flag #3: Ad campaign for Hot spots aka running with scissors

Red flag #4: Paving for Pizza- now they are fixing potholes

None of these red flags are particularly concerning individually, but when you add them all up, it makes one wonder what is going on with the Domino's business. Generally companies change their names for a few reasons, one such reason could be simply refreshing the brand, which is how Domino's expressed the change reason, but it seems that perhaps they are trying to appeal to the audience who is being lured in by other pizza franchise competitors. The new tagline is meant to express that not only have the refreshed their brand but that they are now serving more items than just pizza. And, now they have added new "locations", and an attempt to engage their audience through paving potholes. When a company is in trouble, these are the tell tale signs- they refresh their brand, they add new products/services, they try to show their reach (ie: new "locations") and they try to get their audience to engage them more.

Domino's commercials have done all 4 of these things in short order begging the question- has the pizza giant lost market share or are they simply trying VERY hard to hold on to the number 1 spot? Maybe they are just playing with several ad options, trying to recapture the advertising success they had once upon a time with the "30 minutes or free" campaign. Who knows? All I can say is that these commercials may not be terrible, but they aren't necessarily a good sign either- and maybe the executives of Domino's should take that into consideration.

Guerrilla Marketing: Is the b for bananas?

Guerrilla Marketing: Is the b for bananas?

JUNE 15, 2018

IHOP recently announced that they will be changing their name to IHOb (flipping the P upside down). After leaving everyone to speculate what the "b" would stand for, the International House of Pancakes revealed that they will now be the International House of... Burgers.

A bold, yet brilliant move. Bold, because not a lot of people eat burgers for breakfast. Brilliant, because it is an impressive use of guerrilla marketing.

Guerrilla marketing can be defined as an unconventional ad campaign that generates enormous social buzz for little to no money. Examples range from breaking a world record to creating your own holiday. But how does it work? And does it work?

It is important to note that all guerrilla marketing campaigns, like all marketing strategies, have a risk of failing. What worked for one company, may not work for you. In fact, it could backfire entirely. In 2007, Todd Davis, the co-founder of a fraud protection company called LifeLock, advertised his social security number to prove his company could protect him from identity theft. Todd's identity was promptly stolen thirteen times.

There is a such thing as bad press. This is why primarily bigger businesses find the most success with guerrilla marketing. Successful companies can afford to step out and take that risk. The purpose of IHOb's campaign was to promote their new line of seven Ultimate Steak Burgers which includes: The Mega Monster, The Big Brunch, and The Classic with Bacon.

So, was this publicity stunt a success?

Let's take a look at some of the results thus far. One IHOb customer had only good things to say about his experience.

Reviews like that, are signs of a successful guerrilla marketing campaign because now consumers are praising a product that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Although, there can be some backlash-  people have been suggesting that even the critical acclaim is part of the stunt.

Other companies, such as Burger (formerly Pancake) King, tried to jump on the bandwagon, and IHOP got it right with the response. Their competition is noticing, and other major brands are wondering if they should adopt a similar campaign, or just participate as much as possible through association while this continues to create a viral sensation.

All of this attention only enriches IHOb's campaign, exactly as intended, and we all know that attention is the first stage of a good communication campaign.

But was this media grabbing, re-branding idea worth it in the end?

Simply, it's a gamble. The executives at IHOP knew that, and signed off on this stunt with the hope that it pays off in a big way. Ultimately what matters to IHOP executives is seeing an uptick in sales on burgers and other items, preferably as a long term growth strategy vs. just a short lived spike that eventually falls flat, or worse, drops off completely.  So far, the stunt has been successful at achieving step one: attention/awareness. Will this lead to a strong enough conversion from awareness to adoption to make a big impact for the restaurant chain?  That remains to be seen. And don't forget that depending on the outcome of the next 3, to 6 months, IHOP executives will have to review the data and also ask themselves, "would a simple commercial have accomplished the same results?"

It's difficult to predict the future in marketing, and IHOP took a big chance. So far the awareness stage is paying off and they have gained significant recognition from their customers, competitors, and marketers. Let's hope for their sake that it continues to be a positive move.

One thing's for sure, it did inform people that IHOP sells more than breakfast. Which is exactly what you thought the b stood for- be honest.

Overlook “This” And Your Brand Will Eventually Suffer

Overlook “This” And Your Brand Will Eventually Suffer

Ask any Marketer what it is that they do, and although I can't say what number it would be placed at, you can bet that “Developing Brands” will be somewhere on that list. And if you say to that person, “Hey that's sounds pretty interesting, how do you do that?”, they'll tell you all about the research that they do, the various analysis and studies they conduct, the creative that they test, and the many other processes and steps they take. All very important, all very necessary to developing a company's brand.

The one thing they may or may not say though, is this: “We ensure that every employee in the company and every person who is not an employee, but represents the company and has contact with the company's clients or customers, lives the brand”. Ironically, this living of the brand is probably one of the most important aspects of developing a brand. And it doesn't mean that all a person ever wears is company-branded clothes, or uses the company's jargon and code speak at all times.

It does mean that they realize, as any good Marketer will tell you, that your brand must be consistent across all touch points, at all times. So how does this translate into people living the company brand? Simple, it means that everyone in the company, from the person sweeping the floor to the President, delivers on the company's brand in their own way. That means that when a visitor is seated in the waiting area of the office, it's everyone's job who passes by them to just simply smile or give a hello, a good morning, or a good afternoon. If it's an area where no Receptionist is staffed, it's asking that visitor if they've been taken care of, or if they've been offered water or coffee if that's available. Because no matter what a company's corporate “brand” actually is, I don't know of any company that wants to be known as an unfriendly place with people who are cold and impersonal.

But the fact is, this happens – innocently so, but it happens. In many offices in the haste of doing business, a person will see a seated visitor and say to him or herself that that person isn't here to see me, or that's not my client or customer, and will walk right by. Maybe they give a slight nod. But what does something like that say about or do to the company's brand? Especially if that visitor is seated directly under the company's posted Vision and Mission Statement that talks about how much the company values people and its customers – as many statements oftentimes do. That has actually happened to me...more than once. The thought may be that not giving a visitor a greeting and simply walking by doesn't diminish or tarnish the brand, and maybe it doesn't, but on the other hand, it certainly doesn't enhance or improve the brand either.

Now, ask those same questions about whether giving a greeting to a seated visitor, who is not your client or customer, diminishes or enhances the company's brand. The clear answer without a doubt is that it enhances it. And here's the real kicker, it does so for free, just the cost of a few words!

This “people living the brand” also extends to non-employees who engage with a company's clients and customers on behalf of the company. And because of this client/customer hand-off, having assurance that they are living the company's brand is even more vitally important.

Consider that Company ABC manufactures widgets and uses a 3rd party company to deliver them. That delivery person has direct contact with Company ABC's client, and more importantly, has the last in-person touch with that client. If that delivery person is rude, salty, late or any other such thing, Company ABC's client may not distinguish or even care that that company is a 3rd party vendor, they will simply say that Company ABC's drivers are rude and salty. And that will certainly diminish Company ABC's brand.

So at Black Rhino Marketing Group we realize that for every client we are honored to serve, when it comes to developing their brand, there is an external marketing effort that needs to be achieved, as well as an internal one. And while the external effort we develop will certainly result in increasing Sales and Net Earnings, and in improving Profit Margins and Cash Flow for our clients, not developing the internal one in conjunction would, over time, slowly work to erode those gains – you can bet on that too! Fortunately that scenario is an eventuality that clients of Black Rhino Marketing Group do not have to ever worry about.

Color Matters

Color Matters

Color is powerful marketing tool that helps you send your message and makes your business, service, or product stand out.

When you were first setting your color pallet, you may have asked yourself a few questions. Most importantly, how do you choose the right color palette for your brand?

1 |Did you pick your personal color preferences?

2 |Did you pick colors based on your services or products?

3 |Did you pick colors to send your message to your audience?

Colors carry emotion; each color will send you a different message and will give you a different feeling. Colors can make us feel happy or sad…they can make us feel hungry or relaxed. It is important to understand the psychological effects that colors on your target audience.

For instance, look at nature; each season has their own colors. Spring green is not the same as Summer green. Even the color of sky and earth is different from season to season and climate to climate. Also, look at insects; some are warm and bright, some are natural. Their color is based on their need, used to help them in terms of hunting or hiding.

The same applies to our life. Colors connect to feelings in a unique and memorable way, making them a powerful marketing tool for any design project. You want to discern what message you want to share about your upcoming event, business, or product and make sure your color choices reflect that. It is easy to fall back on your personal color preferences when creating your marketing design, but the most important thing to remember is that your design needs to speak to your prospective audience.

So instead, ask yourself these questions:

1 |What colors will grab your target audience’s attention?

2 |What colors best represent the message you’re trying to share?

3 |What colors consistently represent your business brand?

Color resonates with people in different ways. We all have a favorite color or color that we use more during specific periods of life, but the color you use in a design project can say a lot about the work itself. That’s a scientific fact.

At the end of the day, especially for small businesses, you need to feel comfortable with your color palette. Like the color(s) you choose to wear to go to work, you have to show your confidence, so don’t forget to find a way to find the balance between your personal color preference and the colors that help send a message to your prospective audience!

Pick a College by Its Colors

Pick a College by Its Colors

My oldest son is in the midst of researching and applying to colleges. One thing has become clear: You can’t go to a college whose colors are brown and yellow.

A criteria in choosing a college should be presentable collegiate colors and preferably an adorable animal mascot. I’m just kidding. Kind of. But there are lessons to be learned by the visual first impressions of a university. Or a product. Or a logo. Or any marketing materials for that matter.

I am a label reader, a payer-attention-to of advertising and logos and I’m a sucker for good branding. I think we all are. A well-branded product or business gets an automatic foot-in-the-door with a potential client or customer. Then, it becomes up to the quality of the product or services that secures and retains that customer.

But we all need that creative edge to catch the attention of our target audience. Consider the counter-intuitive-genius of Chipotle’s marketing: they serve one of the most colorful cuisines, but opt for a black and white photo…of a burrito…wrapped in foil. Done. Feed me a fajita.

I once did a market research experiment on myself. Two zero calorie, carbonated, grapefruit flavored beverages. Same shaped bottle and pricing. The brand I usually bought had cool labeling. Refreshing looking ice cubes and bubbles, clean modern font, appealing grapefruity colors. I always picked this brand because I was more drawn to it. (Read up on psychology’s “beautiful is good theory” – it’s a real thing.)

The other bottle had boring labeling. Not sad and pathetic. Just uninspired. Nothing to spark my interest. Nevertheless, I bought one of each brand and performed my own little taste test. You know the outcome, right? The boring bottle contained the much tastier product. But I had never previously given it a chance before. The inferior product was wearing the prettier outfit.

So! Step back and consider whether your logo, branding, marketing materials, packaging, labels could benefit from a little tweak, or even a total overhaul. Are your colors outdated? Is your font run-of-the-mill? Does your marketing still speak to your base?

If not, consider a refresh. You’ll be amazed at the doors that will open and the new audience whose attention you’ll grab. Sign me up! How can I refresh my branding?? (Hint: call Black Rhino Marketing Group. Super cool branding is our favorite!)

Long-Term Audience Development

We can all agree that content marketing is super important, but did you know, developing an audience for that content is just as crucial? The creation and distribution of the content is easy, it’s the audience development, particularly the long-term audience development, that is the true challenge.

What is a long-term audience?

To put it simple, long-term audiences are the people that support your company by continuous engagement. They are the ones that see your ads, read your newsletters and sign up for your emails. This is especially important because by developing this kind of audience, you begin to own a loyal audience who sticks around and supports your business/brand/product well beyond the launch.

Ok so long-term audiences are key. But how exactly do I identify and develop my long-term audience?

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.

After reading a very interesting article by Intel iQ on audience development, we’ve put together a list of “steps” that a person takes before reaching the “long-term” audience stage. Whether you are sending out newsletters, posting ads on social media, or using an email “sign-up” pop up, we’ve got a guide that will help you and your audience struggles out!

Step One | Ad exposure

A person in this stage is someone who happens upon your business/product ad but doesn’t slow down to consume that content. This is typically seen on social media platforms where the audience stumbles upon your ad but does nothing to engage with it.

Step Two | First-time engager

First-time engagers may find you through a native ad, social media ad or a shared social media post. Regardless, they have stopped and engaged with your business/product because they’re interested in the content.

Step Three | Repeat engager

A person in this stage is considered a “repeat engagers” because they visit your business/product more than once and demonstrate an affinity with your content. This means that the audience likes or resonates with your business/product enough to do more exploring on you and your website.

Step Four | Email sign-up

This is probably the most important step for any marketer. The email sign-up refers to readers being converted into subscribers. In other words, the audience gets hooked by your business/product enough to willingly sign-up for more information. This not only gives you assurance of their interest, but it also brings in more of an impact for future newsletters or ads.

Step Five | Recirculation

Last but certainly not least, recirculation: the most valuable group of your audience. These are the people that are loyal to your business/product and care deeply about the content that you are putting out. Recirculation refers to the engagement of your audience in all of the content marketing that you put out. This is the long-term audience.

Being able to initially get your audience’s attention and then actually keep them engaged with your content, thus turning them into a loyal reader, is the real test. Like mentioned, this is super important because by developing a long-term audience, you also develop a sense of security among your audience. These are the people who will stay loyal to your business/product time and time again.

How To Be Seen In The Mess

How To Be Seen In The Mess

Our eyes and ears are filled with pictures, colors, lights, songs, and slogans! Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance, Chinese food cartons promote Continental Airways and US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags. There are TV’s in cabs, lobbies and hospitals as well as ads on socials media that are based on your interests and needs (which let’s be honest, is scary!). For instance, just the other day I was thinking about buying something, and the next day when I opened Facebook there was a small ad on the right side of the page giving me an option to buy what I was thinking about! It was like a scary movie!
Now, imagine yourself as a business owner wanting to sell your product or services in this mess. What makes you stand out? Think about it. You’re walking down an aisle in a supermarket looking for your favorite coffee; there are hundreds of other brands there, what makes you change your mind and try a new brand? A brand your friend suggested? The one you’ve just seen the ad on your way home? The package? It could be one or all of these!
Packaging design is the silent salesman that will grab busy consumers’ attention in-store. It informs consumers about the product’s properties and visually differentiates the brand from the competition on the shelf. There is a lot competition to promote and sell products or services online, so to put it quite frank, you need professional market research and advertising.
Advertising is a powerful tool to create and shape a brand universe as it is very visual in which it tells a story about the product/company. As John McNeil states, “If you do it the right way, you actually win points”. This is why your cousin who knows Photoshop is not enough to help your business succeed (sorry not sorry).
There are lots of questions you need to ask yourself and find answers to even before you run your business…
- Who is my audience?
- What is the age range?
- What are their needs?
- Who are my competitors?
- What is missing?
- What do they do to promote themselves?
- What are the colors, symbols, shapes, and languages they use?
Each of these requires professional research. Behind every successful company is a group of analysts who interact with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts to understand their problems and needs, along with the creative group who visualize and bring everything together.
Black Rhino Marketing Group is capable of delivering the right strategy, effective marketing campaigns, and definitive results. We will help your company grow your revenues and develop a plan for success!