Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • 5. Consider the gestalt of your brand, not just the name alone. Is your tagline up to date? Your mission? Your story? If it’s really a fresh start, don’t slap a coat of paint over rotten boards. Rethink logo, tagline, website, brand story, marcomm, signage, all facets of corporate identity. Are you adhering to – or breaking from – tradition? Will the design sensibility of your new identity speak o...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • It’s a joy to name companies. It’s an art, an extreme test of creativity and, when done right, results in a bouncing baby brand with visibility, findability, differentiation, relevance – a name that evokes an appropriate emotional response in the target market: hipness or gravitas or whimsy or dignity or aspiration… It’s the beginning of a compelling brand narrative. But when naming is done badly...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • The Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is A Case In Point Renowned for its leadership in transforming the hospitality industry through its unique focus on offering only experiences of exceptional quality, Four Seasons makes this statement about its service culture on its website: “Our objective is to be recognized as the company that manages the finest hotels, resorts and residence clubs wherever we ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • The future is built on more intelligent connections. “It’s a matter of putting the customer in control,” Ormrod said. “The future is built on more intelligent connections. Mobile is going to play a huge role. It adds value by connecting our virtual experience to our real experience.” What does that mean, exactly? It means that brands like Zappos and Seamless, Airbnb, Kickstarter, and others are ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Intimacy will come in many forms in the future. Not only will objects be connected to each other, but they will be connected to you. Businesses will know more about you, your habits, the bits of data that together compose the very shape and texture of your life. All of this will be connected through objects on us and even in us, as well as in the cloud, that nebulous concept that is becoming more ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Intimacy will come in many forms in the future. Not only will objects be connected to each other, but they will be connected to you. Businesses will know more about you, your habits, the bits of data that together compose the very shape and texture of your life. All of this will be connected through objects on us and even in us, as well as in the cloud, that nebulous concept that is becoming more ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • “There’s this automatic inclination to believe that new technology is creativity's silver bullet. But invention of technology is different than innovative use of existing things. Great TV wasn't born from the new platform from the get go. But the stories got better, the use of bookends in commercial buying was a new variation that came from careful, deeper consideration for what could be done with...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • The perceived need to master emerging technologies and engineer a viral video dominates much of the conversation in the world of branding. Clients want measurable proof of eyeballs on the screen, and creatives struggle with the expectation that they’ll be able to engineer a hit. But what is a hit? The trend toward the mean-spirited shock video filled with actors faking real-time reactions to disgu...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • It's not about selling, it's about giving control to the people. The future of branding belongs to storytellers who understand the hero’s journey in the context of modern, mobile life. The hero’s journey is a storytelling structure pervasive across cultures. It starts with a call to adventure, requires that the hero be connected to others, including a mentor. The hero will face extremely difficul...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • More recently was Intel’s The Beauty Inside, a “social movie” that centered on a guy named Alex who wakes up every day with a new face and body. While there were many reasons to applaud this work, it was the central notion itself that drove its success. As director Drake Doremus says, “The story was exciting to me. The idea of waking up in somebody else’s skin every day but being the same person o...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • What’s your brand’s dictionary? 4. Listen to yourself on a daily basis. "I suck!" "I always screw up this type of thing!" "You idiot! Gosh!" Not so fast, Napoleon Dynamite. Next time you catch yourself talking smack to yourself, ask this simple question: "What is my evidence to support this belief?" Odds are, it’s not as bad as your ego wants you to think it is. Remember: The best way to rest co...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • For those of you trying to take advantage of a rebounding economy, branding matters now more than ever. It's time to rebuild your professional brand to its full strength. Branding doesn’t take money – it takes imagination. Just because a brand doesn’t take millions to create doesn’t mean that a brand can’t create millions. The same goes for your job search: The easier it is for others to imitate...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • For those of you trying to take advantage of a rebounding economy, branding matters now more than ever. It's time to rebuild your professional brand to its full strength. Branding doesn’t take money – it takes imagination. Just because a brand doesn’t take millions to create doesn’t mean that a brand can’t create millions. The same goes for your job search: The easier it is for others to imitate...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Influence By Design, Thoughts and Ideas on Brand Innovation | Continued How to Build Your Emerging Brand Story Platform. To understand why a brand storytelling platform is useful and powerfully effective, it’s first important to understand what it is not. A brand storytelling platform is not a tagline; not an ad campaign; media strategy; not copywriting; not marketing communications; not visual ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Influence By Design, Thoughts and Ideas on Brand Innovation For emerging next generation brands, there’s never been more opportunity to leverage the magnetic power of their brand story–if only they knew how. It seems everyone in the marketing business has locked on to the notion that brand storytelling is the new fangled thing. Of course storytelling is nothing new. What’s new is the dynamic and...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Branded Content is Not The Same Thing | Continued But Why Does It Really Matter? There is little hesitation in knowing we operate in a cultural and technological world where consumers know everything about a brand, from who owns it to where and how products are manufactured and sold. As a result of this, companies are now evaluated by much more than their products. We are in a world where a bran...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Branded Content Is Not The Same Thing. To build on the opportunities that today’s hyper connected and social consumer as well as new distribution platforms offer, agencies and brands need to move away from thinking about branded content and embrace true storytelling. The difference? Stories rely on the intended audience to develop their own imagery and detail to complete and, most importantly, t...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Is your brand-building effort effective? Is the budget spend effective? At Austin West, we identified indicators that brand-building was misdirected, mismanaged, or underfunded--problems that are increasingly relevant today. With a few edits, here is the list. 1. Managers cannot identify with confidence the existing brand image, its strength, and how it differs across segments and over time. ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • TIP No# 5. A Good Tagline Meets Certain Criteria. Only now do we come to evaluation and selection. Let’s say you’ve followed all the steps: You’ve determined that a tagline will improve your verbal identity system, AND that you can successfully deploy it; you’ve identified areas of opportunity and have engaged a copywriter to explore those; and she has returned with a solid list of candidates, ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • TIP No# 4. The Right Tagline is Worth Paying For. Successful copywriting is a skill and an art. Great copywriters traffic in clarity, economy, rhythm, metaphor, and a host of other tools at which they are adept. Most of us mere mortals are not so adept. I write all my own blog posts, and I feel comfortable with my skills in this environment. But I’m a brand and creative director and strategis...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • TIP No# 3. A Tagline Conveys One Idea Well. Consider a few of my all-time favorite (and very successful) taglines: “We try harder.” – Avis “You are now free to move about the country.” – Southwest Airlines “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” – FedEx Each is very different in tone and message. But they each work because they convey a key aspect of the core brand idea ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • TIP No# 2. A Tagline is Part of a System. More specifically, a tagline is part of two systems: Your verbal identity system. These are all the words your brand uses to present itself to the market. These can include, but are not limited to, campaign themes, key messaging, web copy, sales collateral copy and packaging copy. Brand Positioning > Key Messages > Verbal Identity System: > Tagline, ...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • If you’ve ever dealt with matters of brand identity, you’ve probably wrestled with the tagline questions: Do we need one at all? How do we get to the right one? What should a tagline be, say and do? There’s a lot of advice out there regarding taglines, and some of it is crap. (Example: “It needs to be short and memorable.” Wow, it sounds so easy when a professional explains it.) In this post...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • But aha! you say, there are successful Three Letter companies: IBM, ABC, PPG, CDW, and so on. True enough, but all of those examples were famous companies with meaningful names before changing to initials. They were, and remain, household names because of that momentum. Contrast that with these companies, who are also among the largest 500 companies in America. What do they do, and how memorable a...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • What’s so wrong with that? For starters, the CLM name is now guaranteed to mean nothing, to be hard to remember … even hard to hear. (E.g., we got a voice mail the other day but couldn’t make out the the caller’s three-initial firm, since B’s, D’s, T’s, P’s and C’s weren’t precisely enunciated. We called them, got a semi-murky recorded message that we listened to in vain, then gave up.) Next, the...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • Naming a company should never be left to its owners; their lack of objectivity often leads to the dreaded Three Initial Company Name, a mis-branding mistake that puts them at a permanent disadvantage. If that sounds harsh, it’s based on decades of watching firms make the same company naming errors, based on the same bad assumptions, ignoring the imperatives of branding. Sometimes, a few years lat...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • 10. Ending The Verbal Identity Process At A Name. Given all that we’ve covered on the importance of naming, we know that a brand is so much more than just its name. While names are vital, valuable assets, they are only one part of your brand’s identity, particularly its verbal identity, or how we use the power of words and sounds in our brand expression every day. Language is one of the most pow...

Austin West
Austin West
Blog Post
  • 6. Ignoring Global Implications Every company wants to avoid linguistic disasters. We’ve all heard the many stories (or myths) around names that fail the transition across borders—like the Chevy Nova in Latin America or Microsoft Vista in Latvia. Yet it’s surprising how many global brands continue to launch names that are inappropriate in a culture—or even many—by ignoring the rigor of a linguis...

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