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The Heart of Your Brand

Posted by Walker Brands in Branding, Education, Employment, Hospitality, Identity, Interaction, Uncategorized

Restaurant Photo 3

Have you even been to a restaurant and had such stellar service you left telling others they had to try it? Conversely, we have all been to restaurants where we have been overlooked and treated poorly, and we left feeling underwhelmed.

The defining factor of these two very different experiences is the customer service. Your team has the ability to empower or cripple your company’s brand.

Joy Abdullah, Organizational Advisor in Brand-based Business Sustainability, writes in his article, “Employees are the Heart of a Brand,” “Brand experience has a far greater impact than the advertising the brand does! A key area where such experience, is either strengthening or destroyed, is the way the brand’s eco-system (its consumer, partners, vendors) perceive the employees of the brand they interact with.”

Southwest Happy WorkersThis is why recruiting those who truly share your company’s vision is vital to your brand’s success. Creating an environment where employees are informed and are encouraged to “live the brand” will inspire them to extend greater value to the customer.

Zappos A few brands that currently demonstrate this principle are Southwest Airlines, Loews Hotels & Resorts and Zappos.

Read more about how employees can be the heart of your brand here. However, if you don’t know what your brand stands for or how to educate and engage your team, contact us. With over 20 years of experience in brand strategy and education, we’d welcome an opportunity to help empower your brand.

Welcome Back, Matt!

Posted by Walker Brands in Uncategorized

The roster at Walker Brands just keeps growing. We are beyond thrilled that Matt McEachern has rejoined our team as Creative Director! Matt heads up the agency’s overall creative strategy for all client accounts. This involves develMatt McEachernoping conceptual strategies for brand programs and overseeing consistent execution of integrated branding campaigns, including all offline and online touch points.

Matt has a plethora of past experience from directing branding projects and overseeing rebranding efforts as Creative Director at OttLite Technology. He also was the Senior Art Director for Cryo-Cell International and led rebranding endeavors including new packaging and collateral as well as a Website redesign. Additionally, Matt held posts at Walker previously as Art Director (2000-2005) and Studio Director (2007-2011) and was instrumental in many of the firm’s award-winning brand programs. Experienced in packaging, environmental graphics, social media campaigns, pull-through strategies and cause-related marketing efforts, Matt is our Super-Brand-Man.

In addition to loving his new job at Walker Brands, Matt also enjoys photography, illustrating and spending time with his beautiful wife and three kids. A Tampa native, Matt loves the variety our amazing city offers. His only request would be a couple of new mountain ranges.

Places ThBlue Ridge Mountainsat Connect With Us

Matt’s Favorite Place: Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina

“My favorite place in the world would be the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. There is nothing quite like a cabin in the mountains with just your wife, kids, dog and camera to make you feel off-the-grid. As long as the wifi is strong.”- Matt McEachern; mmceachern@walkerbrands.com

 

“The New Age of Casualism”

Posted by Walker Brands in Branding, Design, Identity, Interaction, Places, Positioning, Real Estate

It’s amazing what you can do with 500 square feet.

This is what many young professionals have to work with in cities such as NYC, Boston and San Francisco. With many students remaining in urban areas after graduation, the opportunity cost is square footage for the central location.Micro-apartment

This growing real estate trend, known as micro-apartments, reflects what Karim Rashid, a brilliant industrial designer and interior architect, said in his interview with Lauren Mang in VMSD:

Karim Rashid

“Contemporary design is shifting into a new language based on comfort that’s an extension of the new age of ‘casualism” and of the digital age, where we have greater experiences with less.”Micro-apartment 2

This quote perfectly encapsulates what we are seeing throughout the country in these matchbox-sized apartments. As consumers, we are choosing location over square footage, minimalism over walk-in closets. Read more about micro-apartments here.

Without an expertly targeted strategy to the demographic, these developments would not be successful. Knowing this information and how to execute it is key to successfully growing your brand. If you just can’t seem to nail down your brand, contact us here.

Merging Brands

Posted by Walker Brands in Beauty, Branding, Food & Beverage, Hospitality, Identity, Luxury, Places, Product, Travel, Uncategorized

In the words of Jack Johnson, “It’s always better when we’re together.” That’s the song that many brands are singing as they team up to reach more consumers: the Sheraton and Starbucks, the Four Seasons and air travel and Coca Cola and OPI. Some of these make sense, and others make you raise your eyebrow along with a “huh.”

Starbucks and SheratonLet’s start with our morning coffee giant Starbucks. Why make your own breakfast at the hotel when the barista at Starbucks can do it for you? The Sheraton in Seattle thought the same thing when they gave loaded Starbucks gift cards out as their room keys. Read more about this merge.

OPI and Coca ColaOPI has dominated the nail polish industry with their nearly 300 polish choices, each as intriguing as the name it is assigned. It’s no wonder they collaborated with soda pop heavyweight Coca Cola to engineer some pretty fizzy colors. With names like “You’re So Vain-illa” and “Today I Accomplished Zero,” your nails just don’t look as good as they did 5 minutes ago. Find more info here.

Four Seasons JetSome people have it good, and others just have it better. They are the ones that will partake in the luxury that is the Four Seasons branded private luxury jet. In 2015, Boeing and the hotelier will be offering trips on this fully branded and designed jet, including 2 “Around the World” adventures that last 24 days. Read more about the good life here.

These brands knew who they were before creating partnerships to reach more consumers. Do you know who you are? Let us help you define and refine your brand. Contact us here.

Hooray, Heather! Welcome, Whitney!

Posted by Walker Brands in Branding, Employment, Identity, Interaction, Places, Promotion, Social, Writing

Please join us in congratulating Heather Hall for her promotion to Senior Brand Coordinator – and giving a big welcome to our new Office Manager, Whitney Owings.

Heather joined us in 2012 and she’s been a multitalented member of our team since day one. As Senior Brand Coordinator, she’ll now be working on many more client accounts with our Brand Service team, in addition to being the “voice” of Walker in our social media. Pre-Walker, Heather worked in the account team with Cotton & Co., an east coast real estate advertising agency. An FSU alum with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Heather grew up in Stuart, Florida before moving to Tampa with her adorable Yorkshire Terrier, Rylie.Whitney and Heather

Whitney began her career in TV in NYC as a production assistant and executive assistant at two stations, WTBY and Fox News Channel. She also worked with a creative production studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She handled billing, scheduling, and marketing assistance, key elements of her new position with our team. A native of Columbus, Indiana, Whitney attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Media. Oh, and you know how we always talk about creating memorable brand experiences to “wow” your customers? You’ll get a kick out of Whitney’s email address: wowings@walkerbrands.com.

Places That Connect With UsNYC

Heather’s Favorite Place: New York City

“Famously recognized as the city that never sleeps, and a distinguishably known advertising hub, there’s an excitement about New York City that just grabs you. Flashing lights of competing advertisements, sounds of impatient taxis and smells of endless dining options come together harmoniously and captivate the senses. It is a place like none other.” – Heather; hhall@walkerbrands.com

Bowen's WharfWhitney’s Favorite Place: Newport, Rhode Island

“With miles of coastline, delicious seafood and adorable boutiques, this waterfront city is a relaxing escape from the city life that dots the East Coast. Newport is known for being a summer haven, however it offers many events throughout the year, including all of the Wharf festivals, the Newport Folk Festival, and Jazz Festival. And I love all the colonial history in this seaside town known as the Sailing Capital of the World.” – Whitney; wowings@walkerbrands.com

The Best of May

Posted by Walker Brands in Branding, Design, Health and Fitness, Healthcare, Interaction, Product, Technology

In his book, “The Art and Science of Creativity,” author G.F. Kneller writes, “It seems, then, to be one of the paradoxes of creativity that in order to think originally, we must familiarize ourselves with the ideas of others.” This is what Friday Idea Lunches at Walker Brands accomplish. We gather and bring the intriguing/innovative/clever ideas of others to lunch in order to spur creativity and new ideas amongst ourselves. Below, we discuss the top 5 ideas discussed in May at our lunches.

Ikea logo for class projectNumber 5. When you think of IKEA, you think of cool, modern furniture that takes about a week to put together, right? However, their logo does not scream cool; it screams boring. Here at Walker we think it’s time they changed that, and so did Joe Ling, a student from Norwich University of the Arts. Check out his logo for the brand, which perfectly incorporates their name with by piecing it together like furniture. Unfortunately, this logo was a class project, and as far as we know, will not be a reality.

 

Number 4. German ad agency Jung von Matt played a brilliant prank on various delivery services while simultaneously giving DHL priceless exposure for free. Wrapping large packages with thermo-active foil, the message “DHL is faster” on bright yellow paper was hidden when the box was cooled. The delivery men picked up the packages, which appeared to be black boxes; as the packages returned to room temperature and were delivered to the hard to find addresses, they inadvertently told everyone around them, “DHL is faster.”

 

Number 3. Does anyone really pay attention to billboards or signs anymore? Nowadays, there are so many advertisements being thrown at consumers, we’ve become numb. However, these interactive billboards are sure to command your attention: Marilyn Monroe in her famous white dress, a showering rugby player and a hairy man with a disco ball? The real question is why wouldn’t you stop?

 

Number 2. Sculpting isn’t just for clay and stone anymore. You can be a modern Michelangelo with the LIX 3D Printing Pen. This tool melts and cools plastic so you can literally draw things in the air. This has the potential to change conceptual thinking into 3D reality.

 

Number 1. Our favorite find goes to Medifast and the ad agency Solve for the series of commercials they created called “Conversations with Yourself.” The idea is so simple, but the execution takes an incredible attention to detail. In these ads, the viewer actually sees the newly slim customer talking to their previous self. The emotion that results from this ad demands a winning status.

 

Have you seen anything that you think needs to be in our monthly top 5 blog? Send it on over to us! Did any of these fantastic finds make you think you need to bump up your brand? Just give us a call or shoot us an email. We would love to meet with you.

Is Your Place On Brand?

Posted by Walker Brands in Branding, Environmental Graphics, Food & Beverage, Identity, Uncategorized

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EVOS restaurants use walls to interact with customers.

Great retailers do it and so can you. Unique environmental graphics can turn ordinary offices and average spaces into immersive experiences that sing your brand’s promise in 360 degrees. Walker Brands recently helped two of our clients reinforce their marketplace distinction by infusing brand into their physical places:

For the newest EVOS restaurant, the all-natural fast-casual restaurant brand, Walker created a mix of graphics and experiential elements designed to express the company’s “Feel Great” philosophy. Educational tent cards, fun illustrations and a central “community table” near a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard invite customers to get inspired as they fuel up on healthy EVOS food.

Radiant Convenience Store Re-brand

Radiant convenience store showcases authentic neighborhood images.

Walker developed a brand strategy for the Radiant Group that guided our creation of a whole new “convenience store” experience for the newest store of this multi-generational, local and family-owned business. Branded graphics and lighthearted historic images of the surrounding Temple Terrace neighborhood reinforce this brand’s commitment to supporting its local communities – and encourage customers to “Have A Bright Day.”

UNTIL NEXT TIME

At Walker, our goal is to help clients bring their brands to life across all touch points, including their physical environments. Melding imagery with messaging and colors that project your brand persona, environmental graphics can create immerse customer experiences. Need help? We can develop a distinctive brand strategy to attract more customers, build loyalty and drive revenue. Contact us today!

Everyone Loves a Love Story

Posted by Walker Brands in Branding, Environmental Graphics, Positioning

American author Augustine “Og” Mandino II said, “Do all things with love.” That’s the way things work here at Walker Brands. We love what we do, and that love spills over into the work we do for our clients. We are passionate about celebrating your passion. So, naturally we enjoy seeing the powerful theme of love in advertising and branding.

At a recent Friday Idea Lunch, love was in the air. It just happened to be a common theme that day, and we wanted to share our favorite two finds with you.

Story: A NYC Pop-Up Shop

Story, a pop-up shop on the west side in NYC, puts a new spin on retail. Every 4 to 8 weeks, they tell a different story in their space, and that story inspires everything inside their walls, from lighting fixtures and décor to their merchandise. They even feature events throughout the month based on the chosen theme. The store’s theme throughout the months of February and March was, appropriately, love. We are pretty sure you will fall in love with this pop-up shop concept; we did!

Honey Maid: This is Wholesome

Everyone’s favorite graham cracker company recently celebrated “all families” in their “This is Wholesome” commercial and received quite the backlash because of it. Their response was so on-point that it makes you think they just might have had it ready in their back pocket beforehand. Regardless, the strategy was genius.

Do you have any on-brand love stories to share? Send us campaigns that you have found with the love theme, and yours just may end up in our Love Stories 2.0 blog. Email blog submissions to wowings@walkerbrands.com.

What about your company’s theme?  Does it coincide with your brand? To ensure unity in the message you are sending consumers and clients, contact us! Branding is our passion and our theme.

 

The Best of April 2014

Posted by Walker Brands in Beauty, Branding, Positioning, Technology, Writing

At Walker Brands, we are all about continuing education and keeping up with the current brand and design trends. We are also all about a delicious Jimmy John’s sandwich. These often collide over our weekly Friday Idea Lunch.

Here are the top 5 ideas that were shared in April. Kudos to the brilliant minds who authored them…and kudos to our staff who found and shared them!

(Cue drumroll and thematic lighting)

Apolosophy AdComing in at number 5 is this digital ad for Apolosophy created by Stockholm-based agency, Akestam Holst. Simplicity in advertising really is one of the most effective tactics. Watch it here.

Feel Flavor - A Sonic PosterNumber 4. Get all touchy-feely with this interactive poster created for Schwartz. See how Print Tech collective, Novalia, and Grey London collaborated for the herb and spice brand here.

BMA BlogNumber 3. Calling all writers, storytellers, and fabricators of the truth. The Baltimore Museum of Art needs you to tell the story of the Renoir while it was missing for over 60 years. Get the details here.

Number 2. J. Crew getJ. Crew Ads personal with customer Jenni Avins. When Avins reached out to Creative Director, Jenna Lyons, she heard back through a full-page ad in New York Magazine.

AWEAR Solutions

 

Now for our favorite idea! Since we can pretty much do everything but cook dinner with our phones, why shouldn’t we be able to find out where that stranger bought her bag? The start-up AWEAR Solutions is fixing this dilemma at this very moment. Learn more here.

There are inspirational ideas around us everyday, but the ones that really matter are those that support their brand’s distinction. Is your brand distinct enough? Send us your best ideas, and it may end up in a top 5 blog post in the coming months!

Chart Your Course

Posted by Walker Brands in Branding, Positioning

Retail shelves are often a sea of sameness – slightly different product, slightly different presentation. That’s why we loved Festina watches – waterproof watches packed in – what else – water! Way to break through and immerse the shopper in the brand experience.

Also wanting to stand out from the crowded shelves and competitive “me-too” marketplace, natural skincare products manufacturer Aubrey asked us to redefine their brand and packaging. We looked to their deep roots and impressive distinction to create a new visual vocabulary with a series of light-infused nature images and bold blocks of color unlike anything in the industry.

With minimal copy and a focus on nature, the new packaging and trade show display convey the company’s reverence for nature and celebrate their founder Aubrey Hampton with memorable quotes from this dynamic industry pioneer.

Instead of swimming along, we focus on standing out by demonstrating a brand’s difference in unique and memorable ways.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

How will you stand out from your industry’s sea of sameness? What is truly authentic to your brand that no one else can claim? We can help you reveal these distinctions and express them in a way that will make your customers want to dive right in. Contact us and let’s head for unchartered – and unclaimed – waters.