April Retail Advertising – Falling Flat

April Retail Advertising – Falling Flat

Retail Advertising Meets an Economic Downturn

Retail advertising bounces with the seasons, the regionality, and of course, the economy. The article below on retail advertising represents a broad range of alternatives that we can all learn from and some tactics for initiating responsive rather than reactionary changes. This is the time (while people are nervous) to try and institute some new changes to your marketing that you know you’ve needed for along time. It might be an opportunity for rebranding, new creative concepts, rethinking digital marketing, or even redesign your website. We think it’s a good read and we’re thankful to A.B. Stephens for his insights.

Retail advertising took a turn for the worse in April. The numbers below paint a bleak picture, leaving many brands with lost profits and bigger markdowns. The key to surviving the current economic climate is take a close look at upcoming trends and how brands can leverage these changes in consumer behavior. It’s also an opportunity to implement A/B testing for retail advertising on ecommerce websites. Take a look at the numbers below and then take a deep dive into how to revitalize your brand’s messaging. Many of us follow the latest trends. It could be clothes, autos, electronic gadgets, or even home ownership. We like trends. They tell others about our status at work, home, and play. But…what about those trends that don’t give us that great comfy feeling?…


Real Internet Marketing Examples That Teach Us Something

Real Internet Marketing Examples That Teach Us Something

Real Internet Marketing Examples That Teach Us Something Important

Advanced internet marketing is often imitative. The idea of Best Practices follows the premise that what one company did successfully, another company can copy. In reality, it doesn’t work that way. The most that you can copy is the premise or concept behind the Best Practice. Some of our own real creative internet marketing samples are a good place to start. But you can also learn from the real internet marketing examples shared by Techmagnate (below).

It’s increasingly common for people to thirst after real internet marketing examples. They don’t want to be drowned out by ‘expert opinions’ and book mumbo-jumbo. It’s human, I guess, to identify with people who have done seemingly ordinary things but with…


Branded Emojis The Final Frontier

Branded Emojis The Final Frontier

Branded Emojis Have Become a Big Part Of Digital Communications

You don’t have to embark on a full website rebranding to start enjoying the benefits of using branded emojis

If you’re a frequent SMS-er, chances are you’ve embraced the world of emoticons. (You know, those smiley faces, angry faces, characters and tiny pictures that convey tone and feeling?) As someone who lived through the days of deciphering pager code, I can appreciate how far the technology has evolved since then. While I was reluctant to use them at first, emoticons have become second nature to me in much the same way as hashtags have become a regular part of my vocabulary and everyday conversations.

If your brand has embraced hashtags as a form of social messaging, you’re doing well. But what about emoticons? Clorox Bleach’s disastrous emoticon blunder not withstanding, branded emojis may be the next frontier of social messaging. While there is an ever widening array of emoticons that you can download, we haven’t seen any brands release their own versions. While Apple has updated its standard emoji keyboard to with a more ethnically diverse set of people, we haven’t seen their logo make an appearance. Creative brand agencies are embracing emojis as the final frontier and finding it very effective.

In the same way that a logo or trademark becomes synonymous with a brand story or legacy branded emojis are another form of brand expression. If a picture is worth a thousand words, emojis might be worth a thousand characters. Emojis use less characters to communicate more complex digital brand ideas and are more visually interesting. Branded emojis I’d like to see hit the Apple store? Chanel, Apple, Nike, Google and Dior all come to mind.

7 Top Reasons for Using Emojis in Ad Marketing

1. They convey relevancy

2. Emojis are an interesting means of communication

3. They help get marketing messages in a clear manner

4. It empowers personal opinions in a fun way

5. Emojis make an Ads message more believable

6. It makes a message stand out in the sea of digital marketing communications

7. Millennials get the message of an emoji

Top Brands Using Emojis in Marketing

A couple of brands ahead of the curve? Mentos, Coca Cola and IKEA. Cute-Crazed. Selfie-Obsessed. Bad Happy. These are just three of the names of Mentos’ new branded emoticons, or “ementicons,” which will soon be available for the mint brand’s socially savvy fans to use. “In general you could say emoticons offer a great way for brands to—potentially on a global scale—become part of the everyday conversations of people,” said Mark Ogertschnig, an Ikea spokesman. A recent article on AdWeek revealed that, according to Swyft Media:

41.5 billion messages and 6 billion emoticons or stickers are sent around the world every day on mobile messaging apps. When we offer mobile app users the imagery of their favorite brands, they don’t see it as advertising, noted Evan Wray, co-founder of Swyft Media. “They see it as self-expression.” Brands looking to take advantage of this trend need to understand the difference between emojis and emoticons or stickers. The emoji keyboard, which now comes standard on many smartphones, is comprised of various emojis approved by the Unicode Consortium. Brands looking to create their own emoticons and stickers have to make their own apps or partner with messaging apps like Kik, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to have their branded emoticons available for consumer use.

As emojis grow in popularity with consumers, marketers are catching up on the trend. From IHOP’s recent change to a friendly emoji-esque logo to Domino’s Grand Prix win at Cannes for its emoji ordering system, there’s no denying that the playful icons have assumed a place in the cultural zeitgeist. – AdWeek

Do you think branded emojis are the next frontier? Is it only a matter of time before our keyboards come standard with smiley faces? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Sound off below!

The use of emoji yields fascinating results that may help brands better relate with a vast number of consumers. We encourage you to test if you have the best timing and the right messaging. We would love to help. Call us if you are looking for a Creative Branding Agency That Uses Emojis.

Illustration: Matthew Billington



Branded Emojis The Final Frontier

Branded Emojis The Final Frontier

7 Top Reasons for Using Emojis in Ad Marketing

Author: Tom Lauck,
Hivemind Studios
April 20, 2015
December 10, 2015

If your brand has embraced hashtags as a form of social messaging, you’re doing well. But what about emoticons? Branded Emojis Have become a big part of digital communications. There is an ever widening array of emoticons that you can download. The use of emoji yields fascinating results that may help brands better relate with a vast number of consumers.


Rebranding Strategy Resembles a Camel

Rebranding Strategy Resembles a Camel

Does Your Rebranding Strategy Resemble a Camel?

Tips on how your creative rebranding strategy can increase your online lead generation

You’ve seen it before. Some companies are successful when acquiring or merging and rebranding with other companies. But for some, it becomes part of a painful legacy. Remember when Hewlett-Packard merged with Compaq?  Or when Borland bought Ashton-Tate? Or when Oracle bought PeopleSoft? Or when 3Com bought Palm, and later HP bought Palm OS?

If you were in charge of marketing and maintaining lead generation gains during one of these mergers, you experienced first-hand what worked and what didn’t work. The business challenge of developing a rebranding strategy after a merger requires melding assets and liabilities. From boardroom to branch offices, “who we are, what we do and why it matters” is richer, more complex than ever before.

Flexibly and Successful Rebranding Strategy

It’s at this type of flex-point, that the opportunities for success are greatest. But only if companies seriously rethink their offering, audiences, and go-to-market strategy. They can be exhilarating, stressful, celebratory and transformative. But, if you approach it by committee, you risk creating a camel instead of a horse with no unifying plan or vision.

To make certain your rebranding strategy creates a horse, you need to:

  • Get help from a creative branding agency
  • Develop a fresh, creative approach for differentiating your company
  • Improve your market presence and increases sales
  • Dress up your customer-facing materials with new branding, positioning, and messaging.
  • Reassure customers of the value-add

Not the time for shortcuts

For major corporate rebranding strategy projects, you need to use qualitative research to uncover current perceptions and impressions of your company or individually of the companies that merged.

Armed with fresh information, you have the opportunity to revitalize your brand and close the gap between existing marketplace perceptions and where your company wants to be.

Key Rebranding Strategy Focus Areas

The new, combined company will be successful if you concentrate on the following 5 areas:

  1. Visibility and effectiveness of your website
  2. Credibility of your relationships with key media and analysts
  3. Strength and awareness of your brand
  4. Performance of your lead generation programs
  5. Effectiveness of technology solutions to support lead nurturing tactics, and critical KPIs


Creative Business Rebranding Services
Hivemind Studios Branding service experts design business brands from the ground up, from product naming, marketing messages, and unique logos to ongoing brand monitoring to post-launch and more.

If you’re not ready to settle for a horse, see how creative branding can be used develop something totally unique, like unicorn branding.

If you are seeking a creative branding agency, we’d love to share our ideas with you. Call 408-266-3162.


Re-branding Strategies that Work



Rebranding strategy implementation San Jose, CA digital agency

Does Your Rebranding Strategy Resemble a Camel?

Creative rebranding strategy to increase lead generation

Author: Tom Lauck,
Owner of Hivemind Studios
June 29, 2015
Updated:December 23, 2015
Guidance for the business challenge of developing a rebranding strategy after a merger requires melding assets and liabilities. HiveMind Studios helps clients create a flexibly and successful rebranding strategy


H&M’s New Branding Ideas Go After Luxury Marketshare

H&M’s New Branding Ideas Go After Luxury Marketshare

H&M uses creative re-branding marketing messages for stronger appeal to the luxury market.

Eager to crack the fast-fashion, low-prices glass-ceiling, H&M’s new brand positioning is changing the game. They’ve established themselves as an inexpensive shopping destination with fabulous designer collaborations, but they’re ready to grow their brand, their experience and their market share.

A recent (and excellent) blog postfrom the data-driven trend service, Editd, revealed that as H&M  “grows their pricing, they’re employing better storytelling to portray their brand.” Their creative brand ideas are putting them ahead of their competition and where consumers can easily find them. Somne reports state that this move is directly related to their pricing structure. For H&M, this branding change has appeared in their customer emails. They’ve “adopted a much more editorial style of email newsletter than they have formerly used. Instead of featuring flat, clickable product images, with a price point and “shop now” link, they’re using a magazine format of stylized imagery with mood-setting text.”

New Branding Ideas Gain New Positioning

To attract a customer with deeper pockets, H&M knows that they need to rethink their messaging and brand positioning as a fast-fashion chain. In fashion, as in most industries, higher price points demand some form of explanation. Customers want to know why they should pay more; what’s different about a product; and what they’re getting in return. Without context, without a story, customers have a harder time understanding why they should pay more.

Madewell, another up-and-comer and sister to industry favorite, J.Crew, actually bought their own real-life story 17 years after the last Madewell factory shut down. They paid $125,000 for the logo and trademark, and have since posted $180 million in the fiscal year 2013. (Not too shabby. Read the full story here.)

Improved Storytelling Builds Brand Trust

H&M’s new branding ideas includes better storytelling. Better storytelling builds more brand trust, and more brand trust builds a more loyal customer base with deeper pockets. In short, consumer trust = consumer dollars. How we spend our dollars speaks volumes about what brands we believe in.

H&M’s Brand Value Recognized by Forbes Magazine

Forbes has placed H&M #33 in its brand value Top 100- right up there with Apple and Coca-Cola. Hennes & Mauritz was founded by Erling Persson in the year 1947 and its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Today many regard the brand as a leader in design for providing fashion for the home, garments, shoes, belts, and jewelry fashioned for men, women, and children. The extent of their international brand strategy and recognition have prompted many studies to copy their creative branding success.

Don’t be Daunted by Brand Storytelling

The skill brand storytelling can be a daunting task, but is very powerful when performed well. Readers respond to emotional storytelling so and brands that know how to both entertain and intrigue the listener. That is a good reason to put this brand building technique in the forefront of your marketing initiatives.

As your competition jumps on the platform of organic web optimization, utilizing AdWords campaigns, and push out messages on social media, consumers in a specific niche may feel blinded by advertising over-saturation. H&M is capturing news headlines for sending messages that capture buy-in lead generation and push past the purely “commercial” feel.

5 Successful Brand Building Techniques you can Trust

1. Delineate Your Brand’s Purpose and Signature Statements

For buy-in it takes more than great products or services. You have to perfect how to articulate just how grand they are. Everyone loves a good story, so try communicating just WHY your company makes these great products. Become an artful storyteller to help the consumer identify with your brand, and why they would opt to buy form your company in the first place.

H&M tells story behind their brand. As a company that produces a successful line of clothing for women, they not only explain the product, they additionally focus on what it ACHIEVES for customers. You’re not in the business of selling a product as much as you are in the business of building consumer’s self-confidence by buying it!

2. Hear What Your Audience Wants from a Brand

Some “guess” fairly accurately at what interests their customers and prospects, but why take such a chance? Listen to them to the voice of the consumer to learn what drives their loyalties. Clue in through their interactions on social networks to assess what their everyday conversations are about, and then offer solutions to those topics in your brand storytelling.

Create digital marketing messages that connect with your brand with content they will connect with. Tell them the benefits of using your product or services for what they’re looking for. Based on their interactions with your brand and others, relate to the lifestyle they are searching for.

3. Explain the Differentiators That Set Your Brand Above Competition

It’s not all about preparing a story to counter your competitors, rather, simply clarify why your brand is uniquely different. Tell the story of how your brand does things above of the norm. Use the words of your current client that state just why you stand out. Let client review stat the problems can you solve that your competitors may miss. Don’t focus in an altruistic manner on comparisons that convey a keeping score posture; instead, make sure that your brand story is about differentiating yourself in your niche.

4. Formulate Marketing Messages that State a Brand Personality

Your brand needs a voice that connects with hearts! Tell your brand’s story from a people perspective versus a “dollar” message. Articulate the driving forces and your passion behind what your company does best. Convey what you what to do. Be more real than just a “product pusher”. Rather be about enriching your customers’ life, and they need to know that’s what makes your day.

Make sure your brand tone matches your positive intent that benefits “them”. Your brand storytelling efforts may be perceived as quirky, fun-loving, or problem solving. Know what aspect of your brand personality moves a consumer to choose you over your competition.

5. Craft Your Brand Story to Live Beyond You

Planning longevity for your business expressed that you not only care about who you are, but that you anticipate their needs and how your brand came fulfill them. A marketing secret that will allow your brand’s story to continue and iteration which involves telling that story through customer reviews and testimonials that highlight how your business has made a difference. Take the above example of H&M’s marketing success as an inspiration to entice your prospective buyer pool with strong brand storytelling.

Tell exactly how your brand had helped your customers achieve their goals and resolve their difficulties. Show how your business’s products have evolved over time in direct response to consumer feedback. Don’t just advertise a product as new and improved; craft brand storytelling messages that roll out just WHY you made these changes.

Fast-fashion retailer H&M’s collection with French luxury brand Balmain has led to a ruckus at retail stores, a crashed website, and price gouging on eBay’s website—all in the first day of the line’s launch. – Fortune Magazine

Hivemind Studios continues to find new branding ideas. We can help you improve your brand storytelling in a manner that increases the number of loyal customers.

With a bevy of designer collaborations under their belts, H&M is on the right track. They’ve even added an H&M Life section to their website menu. This new story is off to a great start. Real or embellished – HiveMind’s Branding Team is eagerly anticipating a happily ever after.

Call HiveMind Studio at 408-266-3162. We’d love to help you brain storm some unique creative branding ideas.



H&M's New Branding Ideas Go After Luxury Marketshare

H&M Uses Creative Re-branding Marketing Messages

H&M’s New Branding Ideas Go After Luxury Marketshare



Author: Tom Lauck
Owner of Hivemind Studios
May 21, 2014
Updated:August 7, 2016

New branding ideas at H&M engage the luxury market. H&M’s new brand positioning is changing the. They’ve established themselves as an inexpensive shopping destination with fabulous designer collaborations, but they’re ready to grow their brand, their experience and their market share.



Tips for Building Killer Content Around Targeted SEO Keywords

Tips for Building Killer Content Around Targeted SEO Keywords

Targeted SEO Keywords are driving today’s era of two-way communications. An email marketing message is an invitation to begin or continue a conversation, and a vital tool for building lasting and profitable customer relationships. By choosing the right keywords, savvy email marketers – like yourself – recognize exciting opportunities in implementing sophisticated campaigns that incorporate Web analytics, dynamic content or survey data. In the post below, you’ll learn how to use these keywords to create emails that get opened and read.

Using Targeted SEO Keywords

In a mad scramble for accurate info, a search engine crawls the web for valuable answers. How does it find what you’re selling? Targeted SEO keywords. And while the way in which you incorporate keywords in your content may change over…