Dublin Sightseeing Rebrand


Dublin Sightseeing has a great product portfolio and a solid reputation for providing tours and travel services in and around Dublin. However, the market has become more competitive, audiences purchasing behaviours are changing, and Dublin Sightseeing’s image had become fragmented and did not reflect either the quality of the product or the level of experience provided. While known and identified as the Green Bus, the brand, its key point of difference and its portfolio of tours and associated services were not well known.


Through a process of staff engagement, competitive benchmarking and customer research, we clearly identified and built on the strengths of the business and established the direction, which would lead to a more competitive and confident positioning and visual expression for the brand and its portfolio of products.


The challenge was to relook at the brand and how it engages with its many audiences, helping to grow market share, and regain its position as the “authentic Dublin” sightseeing company. We also needed to leverage the positive experience of the ‘Green bus city tour’ across the entire portfolio and clearly communicate the different tours and services on offer. An essential part of the process was ensuring that the brand and products were future proofed and could adapt to accommodate changes in technology, visitor expectations and possible category extensions, highlighting the need to challenge the naming and presentation of the brand.


Aligning with Destination Brand Dublin, the two key audience segments for Dublin Sightseeing are the Social Energisers and Culturally Curious, who are seeking experiences that provide a real sense of place, along with an insightful and entertaining experience. It was important for us to show that Dublin Sightseeing is not a faceless multinational, but a team passionate and proud of their city and eager to share that with the world. Building on the company’s core USP – the best and most knowledgable drivers and guides in the city, and the inimitable Dublin personality, combined with our audience’s desire for fun, authentic experiences, we defined the positioning as “the Dubliners Guide to Dublin”.


The name of the brand needed to change to become more active, iconic and memorable – less about a generic sightseeing service, and more about what it can enable travellers to do. The name DoDublin emerged as a clear favourite from the naming process, and resonated well with local and international audiences when tested.



Our opportunity lay in creating a brand that could house a wide portfolio of distinct but related products that would be the authority on all transport and guided tours for national and international visitors alike. A confident masterbrand approach provides credibility, confidence and makes the most of all cross-selling opportunities, enabling the brand to maximise marketing efficiencies. It also establishes a brand architecture that is simple and strong, delivering impact and establishing a family style for all products.


The new identity created with Dublin, travel and sightseeing at its core – is visually represented by a ‘D’ with the symbol of an eye and a travel route combined.

Our tagline, ‘Don’t just sightsee, explore’ repositions DoDublin versus their competitors and speaks directly to visitors’ desire to get under the skin of the city they are visiting. The visual expression and messaging provides a distinct insight into the city, the culture and the people providing an experience that is real, unique and never scripted.


Destination Dublin One

As part of a strategy to engage Dublin County Council to improve the experience and increase footfall and dwell time around Henry Street and the surrounding area, Dublin Town together with retailers and business owners, wanted to embark on a journey to create destination value for the area. The first part of the journey was to create an identity, which would resonate with local, national and international audiences alike, and enable the area to come together under the same banner providing a holistic experience that together was greater than the sum of its parts.

The area in question spans the streets of O’Connell Street to Capel Street and Parnell Street to the end of Liffey Street and the vision is to transform what is today one of the busiest shopping hubs in the country, and create a diverse area where people can live, work, shop, eat, stay, relax and be entertained.

We started by developing the brand positioning – “heart and soul”, which celebrates not only the area’s physical location at the heart of the city, but also the individual characters that make up the area. Heart and soul speaks to the blend of old and new, of heritage and living culture and the authentic and diverse experience on offer, not found elsewhere in Dublin or in the sterile out of town shopping centres.

A naming exploratory followed, in which over 100 names spanning the 8 different naming typologies were created. Dublin One proved to be a clear winner with the project team and research validated the name choice in supporting the positive vision and future potential for the area.  The name Dublin One is both descriptive, anchoring it in a sense of place but it also has scope to be imbued with deeper meaning and capture the imagination of current and future visitors alike.

The Dublin One visual identity has been designed to represent the contrasting neighbourhoods and experiences that make this area such a unique space in Dublin city. The brandmark combines typography that represents both tradition and modernity, with the Dublin blues providing inspiration for the primary colour palette.

A pattern created from the shapes of Dublin One’s streets acts as the main brand graphic, which highlights the vibrant and dynamic neighbourhoods this brand covers and is used to call out the different experiences on offer, from food to retail, when extended into iconography. Another key aspect of this identity is the tone of voice. A distinct local tone is adopted in headlines to reinforce the authenticity of the area.

To celebrate the launch, Dublin One has teamed up with photographer Peter Varga of Humans of Dublin to create an exhibition showcasing individuals from Dublin One, living, working and enjoying all that the area has to offer. The photography exhibition ‘Humans of Dublin One’ is free to the public and will be housed in the Jervis Shopping Centre from now until Christmas.

Why a strong brand matters in B2B markets

The idea of a company’s brand being a key motivator for customers and employees is much talked about in the B2C space, but this has often been overlooked or even dismissed in B2B circles in the past.  However, the landscape is changing, with more and more CEOs from B2B businesses of all sizes seeing the value in investing in their company’s brand and reaping the rewards as a result.

A recent study by Google revealed that most business buyers do not perceive enough meaningful difference between competing brands to be willing to pay a premium for one over the other1. How then, can B2B brands stand out among a sea of similar offerings, and what prompts today’s buyer to make a choice of one partner or provider over another? Your brand is the answer.

Your brand is your company’s face, reputation and identity. It is how you are recognised by your current customers and what creates that all important first impression for new and potential customers too. Crucially in the B2B channel, the way your audience perceives your brand plays a central role in purchasing decisions, so managing consistency across all outlets and channels is essential if you want to stand out and accelerate brand growth. After all, decision makers think long-term, with purchases acting more as partnerships. They want to make decisions that will still hold true as the right choice 10 years from now. To that end, your logo, corporate website, social campaigns, sales communications, media coverage, and even the office culture all contribute to creating your brand. The story you tell is just as important as the way you tell it.


For Print & Display, Ireland’s largest and longest established printers, their brand expression was at odds with the visually impactful world they create for their clients on a daily basis. Some of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Print & Display to ensure that their customers sit up and take notice of them, yet their own identity had been neglected and didn’t represent either the company they had become or the vision they had for themselves. So, we were tasked with repositioning the business and creating an identity that reflects the colourful and vibrant business today and would enable them to capitalise on growth opportunities in the future. To read the full case study click here

Your brand also sets up customer expectations: so it is of paramount importance that you set the right expectations from the outset. For rising e-commerce player Luzern, their identity made them blend in rather than stand out and didn’t communicate either their point of difference or their advanced technical abilities. Our brief was to provide clarity of purpose so they could clearly communciate their USP and compete with the larger, more established players. Our propositon ‘accelerating eCommerce for ambitious brands’ was a statement of intent and mirrored their ambition as a company and the clients they wanted to acquire. This provided the lens through which their refreshed identity was crafted. Aligning their identity and critically, their online experience to the new positioning enabled them to present the company as both an authority and the ones to watch in this space. To see how we helped them bring their propostion to life click here


Having set those expectations, you then need to deliver on them consistently across every channel at every opportunity. In the absence of significant advertising budgets, your employees are often the face of your brand, so as a company, you need to ensure that they understand what is expected of them and have the tools at their disposal to deliver the optimal brand experience at all times. When we refreshed the 4site brand, employee engagement was a key part of the process from the outset and we used the rebrand as an opportunity to celebrate their world class team; the innovative thinking they brought to their clients’ challenges and the trust and dependability to deliver effective and timely solutions. 4site’s new identity and creative expression has allowed them to broaden the conversations they can have with their target audience and is providing the perfect platform for growth at home and abroad. To find out more click here


But don’t just take our word for it, research from McKinsey & Company confirms that companies with strong and consistent branding are 20 percent more successful than those that are weak or inconsistent2. So, how does your B2B brand stack up?

At RichardsDee, we have successfully executed brand refresh programmes for many B2B businesses across diverse sectors from IT and Professional Services to Semi-State organisations and we can do the same for you. Get in touch today and see how we can help maximise your brand’s potential.

1 https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/the-changing-face-b2b-marketing.html
2 http://www.forbes.com/sites/mckinsey/2013/06/24/why-b-to-b-branding-matters-more-than-you-think/#1e2b29c49165

Great companies think internally as well as externally – Why your employees are your most important audience in any re-brand

Every year, brands spend billions on communicating their brand message and values to customers. The value of selling this brand promise to consumers has long been understood. But the idea of ‘internal marketing’ – communicating a company’s purpose and brand values to employees can sometimes be overlooked.

Employees, like customers are drawn to what that brand stands for. And whilst a company may have ambitious plans to be no. 1 in their chosen field, people don’t bounce out of bed in the mornings, fired up by the thought of making profits for their company. Feeling that they can contribute to something meaningful is much more motivating. Innocent’s ‘Tastes good, does good’ means a lot more to employees than ‘having the most market share’ for example.

But purpose and commercials are not mutually exclusive. According to Havas Media’s 2015 Meaningful Brands Survey, the brands that have the strongest sense of purpose are also the most profitable. One argument is that if you have a strong sense of purpose it actually makes it much easier for companies to make the right decisions as an organisation.

Given the importance of people to any business, getting the employee engagement right is a significant win: a genuine brand ambassador who continues to be so outside of the work place is a powerful advocate for any organisation. But that only works when the company’s purpose is clear and is something that people are able to engage with at an emotional level – employees need to understand what your purpose means and how it translates into actions.

In the case of the rebrand of Bord na Móna, the employee engagement was an integral part of the whole rebrand process and it started at the very beginning – when we set about defining what the brand stands for. Getting your purpose right is crucial as it is the foundations upon which the brand and organisation is built. It has to be authentic too – what we call a ‘brand truth’ because when you agree your purpose everything the organisation does has to deliver on that.

To get to the core of what drives Bord na Móna we sought out input from a wide variety of stakeholders involving the company as a whole through a series of interviews and workshops, knowing that their employees would engage far better with something they feel they have had some involvement in creating.

Through this process, we defined Bord na Móna’s purpose as ‘Naturally Driven’.


Naturally Driven is rooted in the DNA of the company. It speaks not only to the expertise and the innate ability of Bord na Móna employees to take something ordinary and make it better and more useful, but to their drive to unlock the true potential of our natural resources and use them to provide a sustainable future for us all.

In order for a brand’s purpose and values to be lived in an organisation, they have to be owned by the leadership team, so through a series of stakeholder presentations, we gained buy-in from the top down. Employees from each of the key sites were the stars of the brand photo-shoot too; celebrating the role they play across the organisation and involving them in the creative part of the process.


So having defined the core brand truth that was relevant and compelling for the group as a whole, and the diverse business sectors that Bord na Móna operate in, we needed to make it real and relevant for every single person in the organisation and everything that they do.

For Bord na Móna this meant getting all 1200 employees together at 9 different events at 3 locations over 3 days. This exclusive pre-launch enabled the leadership team to share their vision for the company, introduce the new brand and showcase what that would mean for each of the business units. It was also an opportunity to tell the Bord na Móna story and highlight the importance of the employees in bringing the new vision to life.


A new employee recognition programme was launched – the Naturally Driven awards to reward employees who live the company’s values in their day-to-day. New ways to share projects and achievements between divisions were also unveiled.


Feedback from the sessions was extremely positive with everyone knowing where the company is going and the role they have to play in making this vision a reality.

Animals and Tech Brands – a match made in heaven for your startups

Need an identity for your new tech start-up? Look to the animal kingdom for inspiration…

You have your killer idea; tested and refined to within an inch of its life, your business plan has been honed to perfection, but have you defined how you are going present yourself in an engaging and compelling way to your future customers? Have you considered your brand identity? Whilst startups face some unique challenges, the task of winning customers is still a process that starts with creating a compelling brand.

In start-up mode, your brand identity needs to work hard; it needs to capture attention, resonate with key stakeholders and communicate what makes you different. Not an easy task in a crowded marketplace. But here’s where looking to the animal kingdom for inspiration could help.

Consider some of the (now) biggest players in the digital space; from Firefox and Twitter to MailChimp and TripAdvisor, all hi-tech brands who exist only in an online environment and who all rely on animal symbolism to define their brand identity.



Or grounded in a deeper truth, that as humans, we are hard-wired to respond to animals – whether that response is flight, fight or just “aww, how cute”.

One of the challenges with technology branding is that the brands operate in a space that is removed and impersonal. It can therefore be difficult for them to form a connection with their audience and make that all-important impression, which is essential to driving preference and fueling buying decisions.

Animals in tech add warmth and personality to an otherwise sterile brand – they allow the brand to add a human element and create an emotional connection that could otherwise be difficult to forge.

Animals are also associated with certain traits such as knowledge, speed and loyalty. In this respect, choosing the right animal can help the brand magnify that trait without investing heavily in above the line communications to get the same message across.

Of course, this is nothing new in the design world; many of the world’s top brands have been using animal symbolism to give consumers an idea about the product or company for decades. Car companies frequently use animals such as horses and fast cats, symbolising speed and agility. But what seems to be new is the way in which the booming tech industry is embracing animals to counteract the perception of an industry often defined by zeros and ones.

But let’s face it; given the choice between an abstract shape and a fluffy puppy, which one would grab your attention? Done correctly puppies are hard to ignore!

At RichardsDee we have a wealth of experience in creating brand identities for tech companies large and small. Click here for more information

Ice Bucket Challenge & the power of belonging

Image via Good News Network

What the #icebucketchallenge can teach us about the power of belonging

Greta Garbo may have famously said “I want to be alone” but in the human psyche nothing could be further from the truth. We all want to belong – to our families, our group of friends, our teams, society at large.

The ALS/ MND campaign is a perfect illustration of this. I have watched with interest over the last few weeks, as the campaign continues to snowball, to a point where people are now starting to criticise the campaign’s high profile takeover of their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Whilst no-one is denying how great the ice bucket challenge has been to raise awareness of a lesser known disease area, it seems there are now calls for people to donate in humility without the accompanied social media post.

But cynicism aside, these people are overlooking the fundamental reality that we humans are social animals. In the hierarchy of needs, we search for community; we need to fulfil our urge to belong, so to donate without pouring the obligatory bucket of water over our heads and recording the jest for all to see disconnects us from the cause. It’s about being part of something.

So, what lessons from the ice bucket challenge can be applied to branding?

Wise brands tap into that universal desire for community by inviting people to participate in a larger story that in turn gives them a sense of shared identity. Feelings are the catalyst for action, and storytelling is the perfect vehicle to engage people’s emotions. Wise brands use the power of storytelling to make their customers care about them – give them a reason to want them, love them and champion their cause – something we’ve discussed before in relation to creating compelling fundraising campaigns and not for profit digital communications.

Apple is often held up as the gold standard in branding for many reasons, but which other phone manufacturer has people queuing around the block, in multiple countries, even camping out the night before to get their hands on the latest handset? The desire to be part of the Apple community is a strong one.

P&G’s “Thank You Mom” 2012 Olympic campaign was a defining moment in emotional connection. From the early morning wake-up calls to the training sessions in subzero temperatures, years of steadfast devotion 
were jam-packed into 30 seconds. In that half-minute, P&G went from being a faceless multinational to winning the hearts of countless parents across the globe, turning them into customers for life.

From advertising campaigns that demonstrate that nobody understands you better, to NikeiD putting you in the driving seat of product design and Coca-Cola’s product-led ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, the ways in which you can involve your target audience with your brand are many and varied. They all have one thing in common though: they celebrate individuality as part of a wider community.

To find out how RichardsDee can help you build a deep connection with your target audience, click here…

Brandjacking or Official Sponsors – who comes out on top?

Unless you are living in a vacuum, you will be more than aware that football’s biggest event, the World Cup is now in full swing and as such the world’s “greatest sporting spectacle” will be filling media channels and social platforms for days on end …the irony of that statement and this blog post is not lost on me! So, quick question – can you name the official sponsors?

The Beautiful Game’s flagship platform attracts huge audiences across the globe and big brands pay handsomely for exclusive association. But inevitably there will be some brands that don’t want to pay the millions of euros for sponsorship rights and will nonetheless seek to benefit from the associated publicity. These brand owners will have spent months furiously devising guerilla marketing and advertising campaigns to cash in on the buzz and hype in the hope of riding along on the brand equity of the event. Welcome to brandjacking.

Brandjacking, as it has been coined (a combination of brand and hi-jacking), can take many different forms.

One of the highest profile cases comes from the last World Cup in 2010 where Nike managed to ambush close competitor and official sponsor, Adidas. Nike’s World Cup campaign was composed of a suite of three-minute sporting biographies of football’s superstars, highlighting their triumphs as well as their failures. And what a triumph it was for Nike. In a matter of days the global football community was convinced that Nike was the official sponsor of the tournament and without having to pay a single dollar to the World Cup’s governing body, FIFA.

More recently in the London Olympics in 2012, Nike were at it again. On this occasion, they launched a global TV campaign tied to the Olympics opening ceremony, in which amateur athletes competed in places around the world called London. There were runners in London, Ontario, cyclists in London, Nigeria and shots from London, Ohio and Little London in Jamaica. Just none from “the” London.

Another example from the London Games is the headphone brand Beats by Dr Dre, who again didn’t advertise through the official channels but instead gave out free headphones to the athletes in the hope they would wear them track side and be seen on camera doing so.

brandjacking-strongbowUK cider brand, Strongbow focused their efforts on one high-profile event, the 100-metre race, and celebrated Usain Bolt’s victory with an unbranded tribute to the Olympic sprinter. Instant copy changed from Earn It before the race, to Earn(ed) It after the race accompanied by their trademark archer symbol taking up a pose not too dissimilar to the world-recognised lightening bolt pose. A clever, recognisable and timely tribute that allowed Strongbow to punch above its weight.


Google is another brand that has mastered the art of association. To the best of my knowledge the brand wasn’t an official partner of London 2012, but that didn’t stop them doing a series of sport related doodles and games, a theme they are continuing for this year’s World Cup.

But brandjacking isn’t exclusive to high profile, global events and neither does it require big budgets. One of the most memorable cases for me was by Shelter, a charity campaigning to end bad housing and homelessness across England and Scotland. Back in 1994 and with a limited budget, Shelter block booked all the outdoor media at Earls Court tube station for the duration of the Ideal Home Show. In an attempt to highlight the disparity between the insatiable appetite (at the time) for DIY and home improvement and the plight of children affected by bad housing, Shelter hi-jacked the aspirational nature of the Ideal Home Show brand to create the Un-ideal Home Show with posters of squalid living conditions. The organisers of the event were far from pleased, but the “stunt” was a huge success, and achieved national PR coverage elevating the charity’s work to new audiences.

So if hijacking the news can be so very powerful, how come hundreds of great opportunities consistently pass brands by? It obviously has little to do with the cost factor, given the fact the evidence that assertive actions by brands such as Nike have paid off handsomely. Mostly it comes down to time and having a set-up that allows the brand to be react and respond to real time events, as they are fresh in people’s minds. A brand that surpasses itself in this sphere is Paddy Power. They have an ‘always on’ approach when it comes to opportunities, big and small, local and national, to getting their brand talked about – with both positive and negative results.


So what can brands do to protect themselves, or alternatively position themselves to steal someone else’s thunder?

Enter the web

In today’s world, the Internet and social media are rewriting the rules of marketing. With these tools, people have more outlets to talk about big events in advance. As a result the opportunities to associate your brand from an early stage are limitless.

Plan early

Whilst you might not be able to own the conversation, you can at least start it. Starting the conversation allows you to insert yourself into it.

Be clear

Subtlety does no one any favours in guerilla marketing. Your audience has to understand the association straight away.

The ‘wow’ factor

Producing high quality content with a compelling story and a strong creative idea will gain impact and encourage people to talk about it and share.

On a final note, whilst brands clearly benefit from association with such high-profile events, there are questions to be asked around the wider impact going forward. High profile sponsors suffered a backlash from the Sochi Winter Olympics; as aligning themselves to the event was seen by some to be condoning certain views or actions expressed by the host nation. Even now looking to the next world cup questions are being asked about working conditions in Qatar.

Perhaps going forward, brands will need to evaluate sponsorship opportunities not only in terms of exposure but also in terms of aligned brand values and behaviours to ensure the true value of the association is maximised.

To learn more about your brand positioning when it comes to events and sponsorship, feel free to contact us: amanda@richardsdee.com / +353 1 662 4472


5 steps to developing a compelling fundraising campaign

We live in challenging economic times. Everyone is having to tighten their belts, from corporate organisations to the general public. There is increasing competition and pressure to capture the public’s attention, not just from other charities but also from an increasing number of commercial brands behaving like charities (e.g. TOMs). So how do you make sure your fundraising campaign gains cut-through and motivates audiences to donate?

Here are 5 simple steps to help frame your fundraising campaign and maximise your results:

1. When developing a fundraising campaign, think like your audience

Don’t think from the organisation out – think from the general public in.

Think like your target audience and you’ll raise more money by creating a message that appeals to their interests, not just those of your organisation. Here are three simple tips for thinking more like your target audience:

 1. Talk to them.

You should be talking with your audience frequently. Survey them once a year to find out what interests them most. Engage with them on Facebook and Twitter. Ask them more about why they support your organisation. What they tell you will give you a good idea of which messages resonate the most with them. Use this to inform your fundraising campaigns.

2. Be informed by their online behaviour.

Find out which messages resonate best by monitoring which emails and web content generate the most interaction. If your audience is clicking on content and responding by taking action or donating, that message is engaging them.

3. Remember the iceberg metaphor.

Whilst every activity and programme you undertake is important, not all of them will help get money in. Your current and potential supporters are usually inspired and interested in only a small portion of the work your organisation actually does. Make that the focal point of your campaigns. What topic is at the top of the iceberg for your cause? Make sure you use that front and centre in your messaging.

2. Tell a story

Now that you know which messages are resonating most with your audience, tell them a story that helps make those messages come alive. Create an emotional connection and share stories that illustrate your impact within the community. If your reader or listener is not emotionally engaged in your story, you don’t have a story.

Personal connections and stories have a big effect on giving. If you’ve got them, share them.

Also tap into human psychology. People are conformists by nature, and we take cues about how to think and what to do from those around us. Social norms fuel entire industries. Would the fashion world be able to motivate us to buy a narrower tie or a longer skirt this year if we didn’t care what people think? A coordinated campaign can help supporters feel like they’re tapping into something bigger.

Count your community: Show how many people have taken action to create a sense of a growing community of like-minded people.

Use testimonials: Quotes from people talking about why they support you are powerful. Other people are often your best messengers.

3. Answer the “what & how” questions

Given the sheer scale of what needs to be achieved and the costs involved, people can often think that the little they could contribute would be a drop in the ocean and wouldn’t make an impact, resulting in them not giving at all.

Research has shown that the evidence of the impact donations make, along with a personal connection to a cause, is the biggest influence in giving to charity. Donors now want more evidence of the impact a charity is having on the communities they serve. It’s also important that they are told how their donation contributes to the charity’s on-going work.

Key questions to answer:

  • What are you campaigning for?
  • What makes you different from the other organisations?
  • What will my donation be spent on?
  • How will my donation make a difference?
  • How can I get involved?
  • How do I donate time and/or money?

Ensure you have a clear and concise call to action. Remember the act of giving is immediate. Give your supporters the opportunity to act here and now.

4.  Be credible

A case for giving must be credible. When an organisation is small and funding efforts are grassroots based — asking 1,000 people for donations of €10 — your communications can be less sophisticated. But if you want to target the big hitters and corporate sponsors for substantial donations and support, you have to demonstrate that you are reliable, credible and astute enough to trust.

Present yourself consistently. It is vital for charities to harness the power of brand and the growing number of communications channels to provide existing and potential supporters with tangible benefits of what you are achieving. A consistent approach maximises your organisation’s impact and makes the most of limited resources.

5. Make it channel appropriate

Now that you have framed your case for giving, be sure to compile these elements in the appropriate format for the different marketing channels. The following can provide you with a rough guide: –

1,000+ Words: Direct Mail Piece

Include all of the elements we’ve covered so far.

300 Words: Website article

Take your direct mail piece and apply some basic webpage rules. For Search Engine Optimisation, your article should be more than 300 words. The title of the article should contain the keyword for the campaign and be used throughout the article. For further search engine visibility, include sub-heading labels (h2 & h3) and add a meta description to the article and any images you use in it.

250 to 300 Words: Email Appeal

Include all of the elements above, but make them shorter and punchier. Remember: People don’t read emails – they skim them. Increase open-rates with a snappy subject line and improve click-through-rates with a simple and clear call to action in the email itself.

50 Words: Home Page Feature

Include a great photo, what for, how, why now and credibility graphics.

15 Words: Facebook Post

Include a great photo, what for, how, why now. Focus on getting your Facebook audience to take the next step with a clear call to action and/or close with a leading question to encourage discussion.

10 Words: Twitter Post

Include why now and what for. Your aim is to inspire your Twitter followers to share and click through or post a reply, so again consider the use of a question.

It is only by “making real” your organisation’s mission and results that you will be able to retain supporters as well as acquiring new ones.

At RichardsDee we understand the many and varied challenges faced by Not for Profits, both big and small. With specialist experience in this sector, we can help your organisation gain recognition in a crowded space, stay relevant with internal and external audiences and build long-lasting relationships with your supporters. View our work in the not for profit sector to see how we could help you.

Apple doesn’t miss a beat!

So it’s official, Apple is now the proud owner of Beats, the premium headphone and music streaming specialist, which leaves the company with an interesting challenge – how to integrate this high-profile consumer brand into their own very high profile portfolio.

Apple is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions, having made more than 50 major acquisitions over the years, but they’ve all been technology companies with little or no consumer profile. Beats is another animal altogether. Apple have indicated that they will continue selling Beats products under the Beats brand, but what are the long-term brand architecture options?

Apple who?

Often when a bigger brand takes another big brand over, it keeps the new affiliation under the radar. For example, if you go to Skype’s website and look for the Microsoft brand name, it is there, but you have to actively scroll to find it. It features at the very bottom of the page, along with reference to some of Microsoft’s other products, but if you never go below the fold on the website, you wouldn’t be any the wiser. With Microsoft, you could argue that the company’s image in the tech community would alienate those with a natural affinity to the challenger status of a company like Sykpe and impact user numbers. For Apple, taking a similar approach with Beats could also make sense. Until now, Beats has been neutral, not choosing to align itself to one side or the other of the tech divide. As a newly established member of the Apple Empire however, android fans or those who have taken an active dislike to anything and everything Apple, may choose to boycott the Beats brand too.

A hint of Apple

One of the most famous technology campaigns of all time is Intel’s “Intel Inside” proposition, which pioneered the ingredient branding movement. With Beats, Apple could choose to take a similar approach, to both their headphones and music streaming business. Interestingly when Yahoo acquired Flickr back in 2005, the affiliation between the two brands only became obvious when you were invited to “login with Yahoo.” Fast-forward to today and not only do you have to set up an Yahoo account now to ensure continued access to Flickr but the Yahoo tool bar is also a permanent feature at the top of the site, reinforcing the link yet further. This also goes to show that brand architecture can be flexible to reflect the business strategy over time, in this case moving from a subtle association to a more obvious endorsement.

Remember Beats?

A third, albeit unlikely option is that Apple will eventually make the Beats brand completely redundant. From a financial standpoint, this makes some sense – supporting just one brand in the market, as Apple has always done, is generally cheaper than supporting two. This is a common route after acquisitions and in time most people forget the founding brand that preceded it. There is however a strong case to keep Apple and Beats separate – Beats has carved out a niche in a market that Apple doesn’t own or have any legitimacy in currently; the delivery of high-quality sound and music. As with many things, the answer may be a hybrid of the above: marketing some products such as the headphones and speakers under the Beats brand and bringing others into the fold where there is more synergy and natural crossover, for example integrating Beats Music into an enhanced iTunes offer. Only time will tell. Official press release on beatsbydre.com

The importance of defining the problem

The sheer focus that is put on the big idea is often the reason people struggle with the notion of creativity. Creativity has to have a purpose. It has to be useful and most of all it has to have a point of difference. People often think they want an idea – a really big idea, but what they want is a solution and they are not always the same thing.

Last week I hotfooted it across to London town for a one-day training course focusing on creative thinking and how to approach pitch presentations differently. As both are hugely important in agency life, I was eager to see how the day would pan out.

Both speakers, Gordon Brown of Brain Juice Training & Tessa Morton of The Tessa Morton Partnership, were excellent and inspiring in their own ways, but the one thing that resonated with me the most was the area of creativity and how, in our day-to-day lives, creativity seems to be focused on idea generation.

That’s normal you may say, after all, every agency and his dog claim to be all about the big idea. And yes, it is an important part of the process, but that’s just it. Creativity is a process, not a thing or an innate trait of the gifted few. And idea generation is, and should be treated as, one part of that process, not the be all and end all of it.

The ideal process according to Gordon Brown can be broken down into 3 steps: definition, generation and implementation.

The sheer focus that is put on the big idea is often the reason people struggle with the notion of creativity. Creativity has to have a purpose. It has to be useful and most of all it has to have a point of difference. Ideas that don’t deliver a benefit, inventions that fail to address a need, innovation that leads to a poor result are all too common. It can be an idea, but it often isn’t. Is can be invention or innovation, but again it often isn’t.

People often think they want an idea – a really big idea, but what they want is a solution and they are not always the same thing.

Ask yourself this question: what’s easier to answer – ‘what is 5 x 5?’ or ‘what is the answer to life, the universe and everything?’

In agency life, we often get asked ‘life, the universe and everything’ questions – ‘How can our brand become a global leader?’ ‘How can our business be more profitable?’ ‘How can we obtain more loyal customers?’ For each of these questions there are a multitude of answers. The secret is to turn the ‘life, universe and everything’ questions into a ‘5 x 5’ questions – or at least get as close as you can i.e. define it tightly enough and the answers become easier.

Let’s try a little exercise…relax, I won’t be asking for any volunteers through this medium! But I do want you to be honest with yourself at the end.
You have 10 minutes to build a free-standing tower, made from 3 pieces of paper and which at its highest point, is the furthest from the floor as possible. Off you go now…

…Finished? Great, well done. Now tell me this, how many of you reached for the paper straight away (even virtually?) and were rolling and folding the paper to within an inch of its life to explore the options? And how many took time to re-read the exercise and plan how best to approach it? I would suggest that it was the former. It certainly was in the room in London.

And therein lies the point. We are all guilty of not spending enough time defining the problem or the market need, instead we dive straight into idea generation. You may argue, that that’s the fun bit, that’s what the client is most interested in. Both true, and yet the more focus we can put on each step, the more chance we have of successful creative thought and action.

The moral of the story is: no matter how much time you are currently spending defining the problem or need, it’s not enough. If you can crack the definition stage, your chances of hitting the jackpot on the subsequent stages are so much greater.

Define the problem, identify the best idea and implement it well.

I’ll leave you with a little anecdote you are probably already familiar with but one that illustrates the importance of definition. In the 1960s, the Americans had been tasked with putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth. When they got into space, they found that their pens didn’t work. The ink simply floated around and refused to come out. To address this issue, it is said that a considerable amount of time and dollars were invested into a project that produced the ‘Space Pen’ – a pen that had a small gas canister to push the ink out – clever idea. On the other side of the iron curtain the USSR had the same problem. Their answer, a pencil, cost zero days and zero dollars of investment.

What was the question the Americans asked themselves? – “How can we make a pen write in space?” And the Russians? – “How can we write in space?” Just three words of difference in defining the problem…and thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars in creating the wrong solution.

So to summarise what I learnt:

  • Beware ‘life the universe and everything’ questions, try and make them ‘5 x 5’ questions.
  • How long did you spend defining the issue? If you think you spent too little time, you’re probably right.
  • Is the issue explained in clear and simple language? Clear and simple takes time.
  • Can you sum up the issue in one sentence? If you can’t then you haven’t defined it tightly enough.