2015 Brand Story Award Winners: Luxury is In

What I like to do, is review the year and see what brands are the big winners in the area of “Brand Story” and how it is communicated.  The MESSAGE OF A BRAND and how you bring this to a symphony of channels is truly more than just marketing; its critical that your story be both visual and authentic in its intent. Any number of things can happen to a brand during a year, bringing a brand from High to Low in a matter of hours if a social media channel gets wind of it.

Here are some of the things Brand Curators look a when reviewing a Brand Story:

  • What happened during the year that made the brand especially vulnerable to controversy?
  • Social Media Success story?
  • Gaffe of Message versus Product?
  • Bad News that effected sales?
  • Celebrity endorsement that went flat? (or imploded)
  • Service Screw-Up?  Did the Brand come clean?
  • Viral Endoresments?  Accidental or Created?
  • Pet Video? ANIMAL VIRAL?
  • Launch of new Logo? New Product or campaign?

These and so much more make our year end branding round up so much fun!





Give the Gift of Giving Back: Your brand will Thank You!

Tis the season of giving and the perfect time to launch a benefit campaign that links your brand to a good cause.  Better yet, kick-off a campaign that starts during the holidays that your business can carry on all year as part of your overall marketing plans for your product or service.  How or where do you begin?  What are the unique or time proven ways to launch a benefit campaign that is not only seasonal, but reflects the authentic message of your product or service?   

Here are some easy ways to engage the good feelings of the season while empowering your audiences to gete into the spirit: 

  • “Toys for Tots” perhaps one of the San Francisco Bay Areas most famous toy drives that  worked like a charm because it made the distribution point, a Fire Station.  This was a clever partnership between a media station ( a bit analog, we know) and the handsome Fireman (and women) who engage with the local community each day.  Lesson:  Find a great partner and point of distribution. 
  • Offer a fundraising product or service.  Offer your clients a week of giving back by using a specific product or service that generates funding for your chosen cause. 
  • Purchase fundraising products to distrbute to clients and customers as a feel good reward for their patronage. 
  • Engage clients and customers directly with a challenge to join you in raising money for a cause that is an authentic concern for you and your business.  
  • Partner with a charity directly to promote both fundraising and your business in a seasonal effort that will last all year. 

There are many ways you can use both a benefit company, product or service to jump-in to this season of giving.   We love how Bono has partnered with our favorite notebooks, or  with the wine or bubbles at VIA ONE HOPE winery to support worldwide causes.  We also love the Kaleidoskope website  (full disclosure, we were co-founders) that supports a charity of your choice when you join our travel clubs.   Jewelry designer Kendra Scott has offered a beautiful necklace to support 100 percent of a charity of your choice upon check-out.  Her emphasis on charity partners is an integral part of her business.  She and many other businesses have realized that giving back is good business.

We wish you a merry holiday season of giving back while you gift your clients and customers this year. 

Editor’s note:  The small print:  We represent both Kaleidoskope Travel, and VIA ONE HOPE wines as clients, so we can’t help but brag.  We will be happy to send you a list of our favorite charity products, services and causes by request many of whom we recommend but do not represent. 



How to Create a Memorable Brand: Cult, Legend or Iconic

imageimageWhat Makes a Legend or Creates Icon Status?   How did a simple black dress achieve cult status, or a printed scarf from Paris, or a little jacket with gold buttons and woven trim?

What makes a legend, is the story.  Passion,  creativity and even a bit of drama.

Who creates the legend?  A persona, a character, or a personality.  Just add the drama and stir.

What is it about a particular piece that makes it so unique?  Craftsmanship or its quality combined with the materials can make for pure luxury as an object, as art or as an experience.  A quirky piece that can achieve cult status, has its own atmosphere.  Cult Status, is the first step in becoming an icon, then if you are lucky, you can become a legend.  The order goes a bit something like this:

  • Cult Status  – Viral Social Media
  • Legendary Status – Traditional Media
  • Iconic Status-Word of Mouth &  All Media

A curated combination of  social media, advertising, word of mouth, celebrity endorsements, cult status and good old fashioned fame.  A heady cocktail of almost imperceptible qualities take your brand creation into the stratosphere.  Perfect words.  Ideal images that match the vision for the brand to capture the audience.

Are you committed to the journey? If you are, then your brand can achieve its own cult status and if you are lucky,  it might become legendary.



Invention is the Mother of a Brand: Old School Values Improve New School Ideas

I am going to sing the praises of invention; the creation of anything with traditional values of goodness, quality, beauty or craftsmanship that is built into a new invention of a product, or service. 

It could be luxurious, simple, timeless, efficient, or just a ‘darn good idea’, but chances are, it will be something that is based on an old fashioned idea rooted in the human experience.

“What is so good about the old school stuff, anyway?” said one of the audience members at a recent tech conference I attended. For those of you out there who don’t really remember things like a “record player”  a “dial up phone” or heaven forbid a “date” with that “cute guy in the front row of class”  who asked you out without a phone app to help him, as if you were the only girl on the planet.

But, I digress.

With a mixture of  New-Tech”  and “Old School” to connect humans on a more personal scale, a product or service should breakthrough the ceiling of the usual way of doing things; bringing together community, touching on personal needs or helping people do something in a whole new way without “product speak” or  “tech” jargon to get in the way.  Tell your brand story as if you are sharing around the campfire.  It can be rough around the edges, or soft inside with a chewy center.

Believe in the heart of your audiences, their hopes, aspirations or goals and you will be heard above the noise.


"I Could Crumple the City Into a Ball," Lorna Alkana Art

“Takin’ it to the Streets” – Dr. Marcel Saucet’s TOP 10 STREET MARKETING ™ TIPS

STREET MARKETING:  The Future of Guerrilla Marketing & Buzz

How do brands cut through all the noise and get to the people who will engage with their products or services?  How can a brand be memorable to the audience of socially savvy digital consumers? 

“The Street is the umbilical cord that connects the individual to Society”  


This quote by Victor Hugo predicts a future that he could not have imagined. We are still individuals and part of a greater society but we are not bound by borders, distance or time anymore.  Humanity now exists both “online and offline” and this presents marketers with a number of places to reach their audiences.

Social Media has proven to be the most direct way to get consumers to re-play your messages, but to create a powerful impact on a variety of platforms, there needs to be something more.   STREET MARKETING ™  is designed to make a memorable impression on the consumer by creating an immediate experience about the brand. The consumer is usually completely unaware he or she is part of a marketing operation.  The street, or “offline”  marketing operations are real, human and memorable and very effective in driving the message.  Subtle or direct  STREET MARKETING ™  has taken over where the old school “Guerrilla” marketing  left off by “touching customers as they go about their daily lives”.

Dr. Marcel Saucet is a visiting professor of marketing at University of San Diego, has co-written Harvard Business  School papers and recently published his third book on the subject.   This lively Frenchman has created a variety of unique campaigns that engage and challenge the consumer in new and innovative ways by meeting them as they walk to work, take a bus or sit on a park bench.

Dr. Saucet calls it “High-jacking” the urban world of the streets to implement your  marketing message in an endless number of creative ways. His infectious energy as a public speaker reminds you that marketing is not boring; it’s about innovation, taking calculated risks, running a successful ‘on the ground ‘operation that will guarantee your best results.  

About the Author:  Dr. Saucet  shares his Top 10 Tips” for creating a successful operation to help you with your own small business campaigns.  Of course, these tips apply to any type of campaign, large or small.  

The ‘ Do’s & Don’ts’ of a successful  STREET MARKETING ™ Campaign

  • DO BRAINSTORM about ideas with your team with and consider any and all ideas as you begin.
  • DO USE YOUR CREATIVITY to gather ideas that the competition hasn’t considered.
  • DON’T BE AFRAID OF A NEW IDEA, it will make the most impact on the Consumer.
  • DO KEEP YOUR EYE ON REALITY such as the Budget, Objectives and be sure its FUN!
  • DON’T Set Everything in Stone, be prepared to RESPOND TO CHANGES when they APPEAR.
  • DO HIJACK EXISTING MEDIA Platforms to gain media attention to amplify your campaign using a variety of channels.

ARTIFICE ATELIER:  Join our Blog and Twitter Feed for UP to the Moment Marketing, Brand and Backstage News on the cross-section of Art, Culture, Digital and Branding.

Editor’s Update:  Dr. Marcel’s Book has just received an award as the top Marketing book for 2015 by the USA BOOK AWARDS.  Congratulations ! 

Street Marketing: The Future of Guerrilla Marketing and Buzz suggests novel, unconventional methods of marketing communication to help readers differentiate their offerings and brands and stand out amidst a sea of products and advertisements. Aimed at both companies and marketing students, Street MarketingTM: The Future of Guerrilla Marketing and Buzz includes a thorough analysis of the current crisis of conventional marketing in a brand society, an argument for the need for new approaches to the emerging market, and a discussion of then compelling advantages of Street MarketingTM with regard to cost, impact, and more.

Street Marketing ™: The Future of Guerrilla Marketing and Buzz (hardcover, $37.00) is available on and through Amazon.

About Dr. Marcel:   His new book,  STREET MARKETING ™  “The Future of Guerrilla Marketing and Buzz” is now available on AMAZON. com.*Quotes used by permission from the Introduction of the book.  Publisher:  ABC-CLIO LLC, available as an ebook: