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Apparently, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia has special window washers.
That's an organizational culture that gets your senses tingling.
Every client’s approach and expectation to the branding and design process is unique. In the case of Entegra, they came with very thorough knowledge and understanding of their industry, their members and the marketplace.
Because they were creating a new high-interest online savings option, they needed a name, a brand and a site design.
To begin, we worked with them to define in rich detail what they envisioned for the future of the service in the context of their business goals, their culture and their reputation. During a one day session with the team, we covered a lot of ground, and a collection of statements about the future was defined. Here’s a small sampling of their Forecast:
• We are leading with smarter, simpler technology and a brand and culture that makes customers proud that they have chosen us.
• We earn our customers’ confidence because we are frank, smart and informative and we don’t play games.
• The online support team is a fun and dynamic group. We treat our clients, and each other, consistently well.
Step two was a comprehensive branding session, where (among many other things) Entegra defined the key value statements that would define the new entity. They are:
• We earn our members’ trust.
• We offer top of market rates.
• Our service offerings are consistent and predictable. (Although we are innovative and take managed risks)
• Our service is easy to use and comfortable.
• Investments are safe and secure - 100% guaranteed
Step three, this baby needed a name. For us, creating or selecting a name is a specific process, that includes all the information collected in the previous two sessions and a pre-determined criteria to judge potential names against. Only then do we throw hundreds of names on the wall. Once we’re exhausted, we narrow the list back down based on the criteria. Usually at this point we add a few more, remove a few more and finally, all candidates are eliminated but a few. Five names were provided to Entegra, one was recommended, two more we thought were strong possibilities, the final two, less so. They accepted our recommendation and Implicity was named.
Step four was the development of the logo. Once again, we presented three options, one was recommended, and they agreed. From this point forward, the balance of the brand, the colour palette, the fonts, the tone of voice and the brand patterns and icons were created. It all came together, like this: (click here)
The snark, formally referred to as the point d’ironie, deserves serious consideration for a punctuational revival. Originally used in the 16th century, and more recently in 1899 when French poet Alcanter de Brahm suggested its return, the snark signifies what it’s name suggests - sarcasm.
Come to think of it, there are a lot of punctuation needs that have emerged through our increased use of the written word for day-to-day social and professional interaction. It’s not a need to clarify wording, but the need to convey the intended tone.
I would love a visual cue I could use for the follow up email, something that emits the feeling of being desperate to know when you’ll get what you need, understanding of the difficulties the other person faces, but clearly and politely running out of time.
I don’t know what that would look like, but if it’s anything like those ridiculous sideways winky happy faces, forget it. When I was a six year old girl I didn’t dot my i’s with hearts and I’m not about to start now.
So bravo to Henry Hitchings, who, in the Wall Street Journal, suggested revisiting lost and struggling punctuation candidates from the recent and distant past. We need linguists, graphic designers, bored desk jockeys and keyboard manufacturers to suggest and deliver snarks, interrobangs, their cohorts and their offspring to add depth and contrast to the monotone landscape of texting and email.
:) place snark here.
Jackson Browne played the Concert Hall on Saturday night and reminded us what happens when anyone (musicians included) match their product to their values.
In these days of pre-fab, insert city-name here, concerts that we’ve grown so accustomed to, Browne put on a show that made Winnipeg concert-goers from the day remember what it was like to actually interact with a performer. For those of you who don’t know, bands used to stop in Winnipeg because of the reputation of our crowd - that we knew music and we knew how to make an artist feel appreciated. The challenge was always to get them out for the third encore, and many times, out at the Winnipeg arena, they did.
That doesn’t happen much any more. But on Saturday, we saw a genuine performance. A few songs in, Browne admitted there’s no real set list, because he’s lazy and he likes it that way.
So people started calling out songs to play. Now, I don’t know how, or if, this works in other cities. But as usual, Winnipeg music fans knew what they were talking about - calling for a few hits - but lots of requests for album cuts.
A while later, Browne says he’s hitting a few off notes because he’s distracted - by his shirt. He’s worn it quite a bit, apparently, on this tour, but somehow, tonight, it’s not right (even though, we’re assured, he washes it regularly). So off stage for five minutes, a change of shirt and back to it.
He moves regularly from the keyboard to one of his eighteen guitars, as he plays through almost two dozen songs. Some I haven’t heard and now need to get, and a few that I forgot I knew. Each time, it was like finding $20. that I didn’t know I’d lost.
For those who know, here’s a partial song list: Rosie; the Load Out; Love Needs a Heart; Take it Easy; The Pretender; Peaceful Easy Feeling; Cocaine, the Rehab mix - including Ron and Nancy just say no references; These Days; Doctor my Eyes; Running on Empty; In the Shape of a Heart; I’m Alive and The Naked Ride Home.
Browne looks great without the beard, sounds a little more breathy than he did on vinyl and emits an integrity that reminds us of those days of high ideals, but now includes the wisdom of time.
Somewhere near the end, he says, ”There’s a whole bunch of songs I usually play that I didn’t get to do tonight.” I believe we received a truly unique concert. Like the best brands in the world, this actual experience was in every way consistent with what I had hoped for on the way in.
I think it froze off.
Manitoba Theatre Centre Box Office
Minus 40 in Winnipeg this morning. What a relief to step into the office and get the coffee brewing. Lots of respect and recognition is due for all the people who earn their pay outdoors on a day like today.
Last week, as we were frantically moving toilets around the office, I got an e-mail from Claire Watson at IABC (International Association of Business Communicators). It seems our Folklorama Rebrand won a Silver Leaf award of merit in the 2010 competition, ranking it among the top 20 per cent of all work that was submitted.
This is particularly pleasing because: 1) IABC is a well-respected truly international organization that sets and holds high standards for communication 2) we won the award when they moved it from the original category of Marketing Communication to Brand Communication and 3) we would have scored much higher if we had before and after stats to prove effectiveness—something all communicators would love to do on every campaign, but rarely can because time and money gets in the way.
So, congratulations to our own Kerri Lynn Wilkinson, who created this brand and literally made it dance. The evaluators called it "stunning creative and excellent branding work."
And thanks to the Board, Leadership Team and volunteers at Folklorama, who recognized the need and worked with us to define where they're heading and why.
It's been a great project for a fabulous client—the award just adds to the fun.
Don't get me wrong, anyone who knows me knows I'm a big fan of gurus, sufis and yogis. Great thinking withstands the test of time. But the other day, I was talking with someone about a situation they didn't like, then to wrap things up, they used the most recent new age catch phrase that we hear everywhere these days: 'Oh well, it is what it is.' Clearly this was meant as 'There's nothing I can do.'
But here's the thing: 'It is what it is' means exactly the opposite of 'There's nothing I can do'.
If you're standing on a street and someone is struck by a car, do you say 'It is what it is?' Yes, actually, you do. You don't stand there wishing it didn't happen, getting angry at the world for this series of events, wondering why it had to happen in front of you at this place and time, wishing you had medical training.
You accept the situation - it is what it is. You push past shock, surprise, anger, fear, doubt, usually so fast you don't even notice it.
Then you get busy.
If you have training, you use it. If you have a cell phone, you use it. If you need to run for help, you do.
It is what it is. Accept it. Make a decision. Do something.
There's plenty of time for whining, wishing and finding blame later. Or not.
Next up, why it's not all good.