January 2008


As I was saying, there’s something to be said for the smoke-free environment of Starbucks in Germany, despite Janice Turner’s rather fun-to-read post. While she does have a point about great German coffee, it comes at the price of service without a smile and a fog of cloud and none of those comfy seats.

What I can’t believe about Starbucks is that they’re turning the whole experiential thing into a cheap commodity to vie for some of the lower-end market space. Is there nothing sacred? If I wanted a swig of black I could try any one of a thousand outlets and regret the $1 option.

On the subject of price, it is true that Caffé Nero in the UK offers a stronger brew for less dough, but I’d argue that was to compensate for its nicotine environment, at least until the smoking ban came into effect last year. That’s the real difference between Brits and Germans – never mind that it’s law, a ban on smoking in public places just isn’t taken seriously in Germany, where not even the police are enforcing a penalty if they catch you smoking.

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Whenever I rave about the green mermaid and receive a blank raised eyebrow in return, I remind myself I live on planet logo and the person before me does not. Do they even see the double-tailed (a rarity in itself) maiden of some nobility, beautifully perched inside the magic mirror of your cravings…? Has anyone ever considered the fate of her rope-jumping voluptuous predecessor of a bygone age? Did the Buck give rise to the greening of her frame? Did the world demand a more politically correct hair length? Is our Star this generation’s Mona Lisa?   

original logo

You don’t have to hail from a parallel universe to enjoy analysing the swoosh on a fabric canvas, interpreting the colour medley of a radio commercial, deciphering the hidden meanings of “Because you’re worth it”, but it helps. Especially when it comes to considering your own style of branding, because sometimes you have to step outside of yourself to critically ask: what is the personality I wish to portray, what is my unique brand?
 

Are you thinking serious or cute? Intricate or simple? A plethora of colours or a stylish monotone? A word or two, a visual depiction, both, or none of the above? Whatever you do will require careful consideration. What do you need to communicate and why? How are the others in your field putting their best side forward? And how can you be sure that what is unique about you, is best reflected in your branding?
It’s probably a good idea not to work in isolation on this one. It’s also a time when you might not wholeheartedly want to trust your best friend’s eager affirmation that every one of the 53 scribbles is “spot on”. It took several attempts for the mermaid to look as she does today, so take your time and get your tonality right, too.

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