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Verbal Branding: Because Words Matter

Verbal Branding: Because Words Matter

If you were to open up a brand and look inside, beneath the logo and colors and typefaces, the images and illustrations, the interactions and experiences, you’d find language. It’s because the basic building blocks of brands—the ideas, emotions, aspirations, values, and promises that create value and differentiation—emerge from the words we use to express them. And for a brand to truly resonate, it needs to embody a coherent set of language (verbal branding) designed to create meaning. So, what is verbal branding exactly? Verbal Branding is the practice of using language to focus and amplify...
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Designing for Emotion

Designing for Emotion

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou. For many people, brand design is an exercise in choosing a color palette, pictures, shapes, and layouts. Bright colors and aspirational images of people in perfect settings holding beautifully designed products can get people’s attention. They make us want something better, newer, shinier, more beautiful, or more powerful than what we have now. And it works. Until the next bright, shiny thing comes out that diverts people’s...
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A Floor to Ceiling Look at Naming Architecture

A Floor to Ceiling Look at Naming Architecture

The other day I was researching printers. After narrowing my search based on the features that mattered, I landed on the Canon’s LBP623Cdw. I’m familiar with Canon from the cameras, the rest of the name might as well have been written in cuneiform. After some sleuthing, I discovered that LBP stands for Laser Beam Printer, 623 is the model line, C is for color, and dw means duplex wireless. As a brand naming architecture, I’m sure this name makes perfect sense to the product manager who approved it. But for consumers who need a reason to connect with a product as they consider a purchase, the...
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Building Brands with 5 W’s and an H

Building Brands with 5 W’s and an H

The other weekend I went for a walk in Golden Gate Park with a friend and her stroller-bound daughter. It’s been quite a few years since my own kids were young, and while the experience was familiar I could also take it in from a fresh perspective. As we walked along the shores of Stowe Lake, her daughter gave us a lesson in how children take in the world: “Mommy, why is that bird sitting on one foot?” “Where do you think the geese sleep at night?” “How did the big rock get all the way up the hill?” While this form of inquiry is familiar in children, it’s also a big part of how we learn as...
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Not Another Outdoor Brand: The Appeal of Meat Eater

Not Another Outdoor Brand: The Appeal of Meat Eater

In our last blog post, Joanna Schull explored an approach to companies that are creating their own categories. Today, we’ll talk about what happens when a brand takes an existing market category and turns it on its head entirely. When this happens organically, as part of a larger vision, the results can surprise and excite. Sandwiched between the romcoms, reality shows, and “Steamy Thrillers” of Netflix, you can find Meat Eater. In its tenth season, the show centers on hunting and fishing across multiple continents. There’s a clue to Meat Eater’s ambitions in its name: a determination to...
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Category Leadership: Branding at the Edge

Category Leadership: Branding at the Edge

The thrill of discovery One of the more exhilarating aspects of working with emerging technology companies is helping them map new ideas, evolving business models, and innovative technologies onto the existing brandscape. Sometimes there’s a clear way to position their offerings that gives them unique ownership of a positioning territory. But there are many times when a company’s offering is unique, original, or revolutionary to the degree that an existing category doesn’t describe them. We call this “branding at the edge” and it requires reframing the brand landscape in a way that allows...
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Your Verbal Identity Has Never Been More Important

Your Verbal Identity Has Never Been More Important

If I’m doing my job right, this first sentence should jump right out and ring the little bell in your heart. Margaret Atwood once said, “A word after a word after a word is power,” and how brands utilize that power is often the difference between cutting through the clutter or simply adding to it. So, how can you wield communication tools to supercharge your business, crystallize your strategy, and foster conversations that create deeper, more meaningful connections? The answer lies in your verbal identity. Words in a Sea of Pictures Here’s something people love to say: show don’t tell....
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How to Slay a Creative Block Monster

How to Slay a Creative Block Monster

August 16th, 2021. I find myself sitting in front of my oversized monitor, surrounded by the predictable Apple devices. My hand is resting on the mouse, Coldplay sings “Yellow” through my overpriced Air Pro Max headphones, while I stare at the white artboard spread across my screen. My left hand rests on the keyboard, while my index finger taps the “T” key. Tik, tik, tik… is it just me, or is my monitor getting bigger and the artboard getting brighter? Two big sinister eyes appear on my screen and before I know it, the Creative Block Monster grabs a hold of me and sucks me into a bright...
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Blowing Up the Typical 9 to 5

Blowing Up the Typical 9 to 5

Adapt. Modify. Restructure. Sometimes, it feels like these three words are all anyone in the workforce has been doing since the pandemic started. We adapted to working from home, we modified our work schedules to include a hybrid of in-office and at home, and we restructured our workdays to allow all of us some flexibility in the chaos.  As an agency, we’ve gotten pretty good at navigating unknown, potentially convoluted problems and finding actionable, savvy solutions. We’re in the business of turning straw (complexity) into gold (opportunity). At Emotive Brand, one of the good things to...
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Connect the Dots with Alignment: A Designer’s Perspective

Connect the Dots with Alignment: A Designer’s Perspective

There’s a method to the madness when it comes to how we approach brand strategy at Emotive Brand. We look at the bigger picture, get all of the necessary information, and dive headfirst into making something that speaks clearly to what our clients need. We asked our design team to shed some light on what works for them when it comes to alignment and how our clients can best prepare for a new project. Design is a team sport and a new site is often the vehicle through which brands are launched. So, no matter how big, small, long-term, or short-term the project, the success of your end product...
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Excuse Me, But Can I Get A Little Transformation With My Brand Strategy?

Excuse Me, But Can I Get A Little Transformation With My Brand Strategy?

Change. It’s a bitch. It’s also axiomatic in our industry. Whether you’re a startup emerging from stealth mode, an industry disruptor going public, or an enterprise business in the middle of a merger, every organization is learning to succeed amidst exponentially complex, relentlessly rapid change. We get it. These growth moments force business leaders to rethink everything from value chains to backend technologies. They sometimes require reorganization. And they almost always mean revisiting the brand strategy that got you from where you began to today. More importantly, they force a...
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Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

I walked into my favorite hair and body care store last week, looking for my usual hair product — you know, the one that protects hair before you heat-style it. I couldn’t remember the name of the product but I figured I’d easily recognize it once in the store. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As it turns out, the product I use is just one member of a family of products prone to over-branding that all have adjacent but different uses. The family has a common name but each sub-product has a distinct name to indicate its use. Easy, right? No, not easy. A knowledgeable and patient...
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Your Brand’s Competition? The Last Great Brand Experience Your Customer Just Had

Your Brand’s Competition? The Last Great Brand Experience Your Customer Just Had

When creating a brand strategy the competitive landscape audit is an essential part of the process. You must know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and understand consumer perceptions in order to effectively differentiate your brand and create a compelling brand experience. A competitive audit of your immediate competitors only tells half the story. Your Real Competition Is The Last Best Brand Experience Your Customer Had While your customers will always compare your products and services to your direct competitors, they’re also constantly comparing the experience they’re having...
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Is What You Offer In Evolution? Adopt A Progressive Brand Positioning Strategy

Is What You Offer In Evolution? Adopt A Progressive Brand Positioning Strategy

Brand Positioning, While In Evolution Our studio works with a diversity of clients, but most come to us in evolution: at pivotal points in their growth, maturation, and offering. For instance, we’ve worked with Series A companies that want to go to market with a compelling brand but don’t yet have a fully realized product, companies looking to emerge out of stealth who have a big vision for tomorrow but want to focus on their current product to prove results today, and maturing organizations at pivotal points in their trajectory who are facing existential decisions about how to evolve their...
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Need Purposeful Brand Transformation? Let the Data Be Your Guide

Need Purposeful Brand Transformation? Let the Data Be Your Guide

Re-Imagining and Evolving Your Enterprise Brand for Its Next Phase of Growth There comes a time in most companies’ growth cycle when they realize they’ve evolved from a company into an enterprise—and that the brand positioning and messaging that got them to where they are today isn’t going to allow them to make the transformation to where they need to be tomorrow. In some cases, the ‘1.0 brand’ is actually doing the enterprise a disservice by not accurately representing their new or emerging position in the marketplace. The challenge, of course, is that evolving a successful brand can be...
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