Warning: This Blog Post May Lead to Cuteness Overload

Prepare for an emotional overload! Work with a brand development company to help craft an ad that pulls at the heartstrings and connects consumers.

Any good brand development company knows that emotional resonance is one of the keys to great advertising. If you can move someone emotionally, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be moving some product soon afterward.
Obviously, not all emotions are created equal in this sense. Brands making a habit of sending audiences into a hot rage probably wouldn’t be beneficial.

But joy? Wonder? Delight?

If you can master those feelings throughout your brand messaging the way Disney has, your brand has unlimited potential.

Disney and the science of “cute overload”

You’ve probably noticed that people are naturally drawn to cute things, with babies, puppies, and kittens serving as exhibits A, B, and C.

But baby ducks might be the cutest of them all. Small, squeaky, and equipped with adorably goofy bills and oversized webbed feet, baby ducks are certainly in the Pantheon of Cuddly Animals.

Disney’s recent ad showcasing its EuroDisney theme park exposed our collective love of baby ducks in brilliant fashion. The story plays out like this: A tiny, lonely baby duck finds an old Donald Duck comic book in a field and is instantly infatuated. The duckling mimics Donald’s poses and seems to spend all his time absorbed in the book’s pages.

Unfortunately, a change of season comes in the form of a nasty thunderstorm and some seasonal migration. The duckling has to leave his beloved comic book behind, as he flies away to parts unknown with the rest of the flock.

In a heartwarming twist, however, the flock’s new home just happens to be on the outskirts of EuroDisney. Who does the duckling see standing in front of the theme park? Donald Duck himself, resplendently clad in his customary three-sizes-too-small sailor suit.

The duckling runs to Donald, hugs him and closes his eyes in sheer bliss — striking the same pose that millions of children visiting Disneyworld have also experienced after meeting Donald, Mickey, Minnie, etc.

It’s a pretty brilliant advertisement — even for a company that specializes in creating this kind of magic. If you’re a brand or a brand development company, it also provides a good opportunity to examine just why this approach is so effective.

As it turns out, it’s all in our DNA.

Why the cuteness sells

It’s not uncommon to see someone pinch a baby’s rosy red cheeks. Or, to hear someone utter the (slightly unnerving) phrase “you’re so cute I could just eat you up” when in the presence of a baby.

So why do humans feel a compulsion to pinch and squeeze babies and puppies?

Science has an answer. According to a 2015 study conducted by Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon, the feelings that adorably cute babies and animals inspire in us are so overwhelming that we instinctively follow them up with feelings of aggression. The general idea is that humans are designed to maintain emotional equilibrium. The presence of a baby (or an adorable duckling) sparks such an emotional reaction within us that we immediately compensate by thinking or acting in a more traditionally aggressive manner.

That’s a fascinating finding — and one with interesting implications for any brand development company, as well as the advertising and marketing industry as a whole. If emotional resonance is the Holy Grail of connecting with audiences, cuteness overload might be the map that helps brands discover it.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we help brands create the kind of advertising and marketing campaigns that inspire and delight audiences. If you’re not getting maximum value from your current marketing approach, please contact us today to learn what we can do for you.

What Struggling Brands Have in Common With Week-Old Croissants

Crack open a nice can of crisp, bubbly, and refreshing value that comes with giving your longstanding brand a makeover or facelift.

Human relationships are fairly predictable. First, we fall in love. We can’t wait to tell everyone, both online and off. After a few years, the magic fades and we start exploring our options. Of course, we’re not talking about relationships between people here, but rather how people treat their relationships with their favorite brands. Consumers fall in and out of love quickly — and companies often need a good brand positioning agency to keep that relationship viable.
Why are brand relationships with consumers often so fleeting? It’s simple: Even the world’s most compelling branding can turn staler than last week’s croissant if it isn’t updated and refreshed regularly.

Why a famous refreshments brand opted for its own refresh

While it might seem foolish to tinker with an icon, even the most beloved brands benefit from an occasional facelift. In fact, longstanding brands often benefit the most from an update. One example is Pepsi, which recently re-positioned its brand around a new tagline: “For the Love of It.”

Pepsi has rolled out its new tagline in more than 100 markets worldwide. Roberto Rios, Pepsi’s SVP for Global  Marketing, said the new jingle is a call to arms or sorts, serving as a “rally cry” for people to “go all in for the things they love.”

The new tagline is also accompanied by a new product jingle performed by singers and dancers from 14 different nations. Pepsi also chose to add new can designs to its brand refresh, with new typography and slogans, including “Max Taste No Regrets” and “With Mischief and Love.”

These changes represented the first significant refresh in seven years for the beverage giant, whose last major brand update was built around the “Live for Now” tagline — the same tagline that featured prominently in Kylie Jenner’s much-discussed (and much-critiqued) 2017 Pepsi ad.

The benefits of a brand makeover

Unlike a rebrand, which is a top to bottom re-imagination, a brand refresh functions more along the lines of a makeover. Even the most popular brands become stale over time. That’s not due to any inherent flaws, but rather, public taste and sentiment is ever changing, and brands need to ensure that their identity remains aligned with these shifts.

Because a brand refresh is less comprehensive, many of the changes come closer to the margins. In the case of Pepsi, these changes meant a new tagline, new can designs, a song, and some other supporting marketing materials. Other typical changes may include new color schemes, new slogans, new product names, and new designs.

By introducing new elements, a brand positioning agency can assist companies in offering audiences a gentle reminder that they are still around and relevant. For legacy brands such as Pepsi, this is a critical strategic objective. The product, is omnipresent and fairly unexciting. For as long as any of us can remember, it’s been in existence. At restaurants, retail stores, stadiums, concert venues etc., cola is part of the landscape. That’s not exactly a recipe for fierce brand loyalty.

This means that it’s incumbent upon Pepsi’s branding to build and sustain consumer relationships. Consumers grow old and change with age. Pepsi doesn’t, so a refresh is necessary every five-to-ten years to help each generation identify (and ideally fall in love) with the brand.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we believe that the right brand positioning agency can make a critical difference in the ultimate success or failure of any small to mid-sized business. If you’re part of an established brand that isn’t gaining enough market traction, it could be time to consider a well-executed refresh.

Contact us today to learn how we combine market research, advanced technology, and creative talent to design brand refreshes that truly move the needle.

The Secret to Brand Placement? Location, Location, Location.

It’s imperative to place your brand in the proper locations to reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time through a media buying agency.

What does selling real estate and using media to sell your brand have in common? It’s all about one thing: Location, location, location. You don’t have to work for a top media buying agency to understand that context is critical when it comes to brand placement.
If you need evidence of the importance of location, look no further than this year’s Super Bowl — where one global beverage giant is preparing to go all in to maximize the effects of its advertising campaign.

Anheuser Busch’s massive Super Bowl bet

The Super Bowl is the most significant betting event of the year. It’s estimated that Americans bet nearly $5 billion on the game annually. Global beer giant Anheuser-Busch is making its own massive wager on this year’s Super Bowl, planning one of the largest ever media buys.

The brewer announced it has purchased five-and-one-half minutes’ worth of airtime, during which it will show commercials for five of its brands and seven of its products. That’s an impressive outlay, given that the average cost of a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl has risen to roughly $5 million. The Super Bowl, in fact, is so important to brands and the advertising industry that it represents 2.5% of all network broadcast advertising for an entire year.

Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl advertising expenditure will be roughly 30% higher in 2019 than in previous years. The company believes the increase is justified due to the extraordinary nature of the event; the Super Bowl regularly draws more than 100 million viewers in the United States.

The Super Bowl…of ads

For advertisers, however, huge viewership is only part of the equation. The Super Bowl, in recent years, has become more than a football championship; it’s also a showcase for the ad industry’s very best work. Super Bowl commercials have become near-compulsory viewing for many Americans, as brands save their most compelling and engaging creative work for Super Bowl Sunday. The high quality of Super Bowl ads has made the event perhaps the only occasion where people are actually eager to watch advertising.

Anheuser-Busch knows this. The company’s U.S. CMO, Marcel Marcondes, recently told Adweek that  “attention is the new currency and (the) Super Bowl is such a unique moment in culture when people are paying attention, watching TV and more than that, they are willing and looking forward to watching TV commercials. So for that reason, we decided to bet big.”

In other words, it’s all about location strategy: Reaching the right people, in the right place, at the right time, and when they are in the right frame of mind — all accomplished through utilizing a smart media buying agency.

Why location is critical for brands

Anheuser-Busch is wisely betting that the benefits of Super Bowl advertising — and the singular nature of the event — will justify their $50 million ad spend. Yet few businesses, of course, have the resources to buy even the shortest Super Bowl ad.

That doesn’t matter, however, as virtually any enterprise can reap the advantages of brand placement in the proper media locations. Even if you scale down from the Super Bowl to advertising on a local network affiliate, the principle remains the same: Find the location, time, and context where viewers or listeners overlap with your customers or audience.

If you don’t have media buying experience, that might seem like a tall order. However, a high-quality media buying agency can partner with businesses to precisely identify and plan the best possible media locations for ad spending.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we specialize in helping businesses connect with audiences through compelling campaigns and finely targeted media buying. If you’d like to derive maximum value from your next media campaign, we urge you to reach out to us today.

How Brand Strategy Firms Respond to People Un-Friending Facebook

Whether you’re a top brand strategy firm — or merely a casual social media user — you’ve probably noticed that young people are un-friending Facebook in droves in favor of Instagram and other platforms.
The statistics are enough to keep Mark Zuckerberg up at night: According to Pew Research, 71% of Americans aged 13 to 17 reported using Facebook in 2015. By 2018, that number had dropped to just 51%. Meanwhile, Instagram’s numbers have reversed among teens, rising to 72% today from 52% in 2015. Snapchat and Youtube have also seen sizable increases.

So what do these platforms possess that Facebook lacks? And how should brands, like yours, respond?

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Facebook has become “platform non grata” among younger users

One of the reasons why Facebook has fallen out of favor with younger users is “context collapse”. This concept describes how the various identities that people possess (the way they choose to present themselves to others) overlap and sometimes conflict across networks.

In the case of Facebook, it works like this: Someone creates an account, and friends a few hundred people. Some are close friends offline, but most are merely acquaintances or friends of friends — people we rarely interact with in person. Over time, Facebook users may grow uncomfortable with the idea of sharing personal stories or information with people they rarely see or don’t know that well. Yet they may still wish to share with people in their network who are closer to them.

Another example: A Facebook user who has friended work colleagues may feel uncomfortable with sharing photos and video of a recent night out celebrating. The context — and the intended audiences — are in conflict.

Facebook has made attempts to remedy this issue (allowing users to designate audiences for posts and create smaller groups that friends can be sorted into). Yet these are hardly the kind of simple, frictionless solutions that appeal to younger users.

This desire to avoid sharing with people on the periphery of one’s social circle is even more pronounced among younger social media users. Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are better suited to this tendency by their very design, which focuses on more narrowly tailored sharing and smaller groups.

Additionally, Facebook’s newsfeed — once an incredible innovation in its own right — has become a source of frustration for many users, stuffed with old or irrelevant content. The innovative features recently developed by Facebook’s rivals (like stories, stickers, lenses etc.) are much more in tune with how younger people wish to consume content.

How brands should respond

The numbers don’t lie: There is a mass movement away from Facebook by young people, and brand strategy firms need to respond accordingly. If a campaign is needed to target a younger demographic, Instagram, not Facebook, should be the primary platform under consideration. All content (and all business accounts) should, therefore, be optimized for Instagram.

Instagram stories, when used properly, is a powerful tool for reaching younger audiences. The feature has been enormously popular since its 2017 rollout (enough to make Facebook commission its own version) and has deepened engagement, especially among young users. Research shows that Instagram users under 25 are now spending 32 minutes per day on the platform.

By adding polls, links and other features to Instagram stories – and brand strategy firms designing all ads and content in a format that’s optimized for younger viewers — brands can ensure they stay on the right side of recent trends.

How BIGEYE helps brands reach young audiences

It is our mission to stay at the vanguard of important trends. Whether it involves social, marketing, advertising or technology, we’re always focused on what’s next.

If your brand could benefit from a truly forward-focused approach, please reach out today.

How a Brand Development Company can Help You with the Impossible

If a brand development company can make voting fashionable, then anything is possible.

It might seem like a stretch, but some of the best minds in branding are on that very mission. Though doing your civic duty is critically important for democracy, the U.S. has historically underperformed in terms of voter turnout, regularly ranking near the bottom of most indexes.

And that’s somewhat understandable — standing in line at a polling station is nobody’s idea of a glamorous way to spend a morning, and once civic apathy sets in, it can be hard to break.

Fortunately, Bumble — and some of the other leading brands in Silicon Valley — are helping increase turnout by giving the voting process some social cachet.

Making voting a social plus

 Until recently, voting was a solitary activity. You lined up, entered a booth, cast your ballot and trudged off to work. Today, however, you’re likely to see people uploading photos and videos of themselves voting to social media and even live streaming the event. Voting has become a public performance — and that may be the key to making it more popular.

Bumble, a dating platform that is one of the most forward-thinking brands in the tech space, understands this and has taken steps to capitalize on it. Bumble teamed up with a public awareness campaign called “I Am a Voter” (admittedly not the best name we’ve ever heard) to increase voter turnout.

To accomplish this, Bumble created a new profile badge that allows users to identify as a voter. It’s the digital version of those omnipresent “I Voted” stickers. The idea is simple: People know that voting is a social good, and that is perceived as a voter is a plus in the eyes of other people. By tapping into this sentiment, Bumble is helping to brand the voting process as something that’s desirable — something that affirms your status as a serious, civic-minded person.

In addition to the new badge, Bumble also added new in-app functionality to assist users with voter registration.

Bumble — a feminist dating app whose team is largely comprised of women — has a long history of using its platform and brand in the service of larger social goods, making the voting campaign a natural extension of both its ethos and brand.

The dating platform wasn’t the only Silicon Valley company working to promote voting. Uber offered discounted rides to polling places on Nov. 6 (Election Day) and integrated directions to users’ local polling places, while Lyft offered free and discounted trips to the polls.

Bumble competitor Tinder worked with voting registration project “Rock the Vote” to maximize turnout by offering swipe-based in-app registrations. Even Dropbox and other firms gave their employees free time off to do their civic duty at the polls.

Is all of this having an appreciable effect? The early returns are overwhelmingly positive. Young adult voting (the demographic most likely to be influenced by these tech-based approaches) saw a staggering 188% increase in turnout during the Nov. 6 midterm election. Whether it’s the result of outreach efforts from companies like Bumble — or Taylor Swift urging her 112 million Instagram followers to vote — it’s clear that tech and social platforms have not only helped increase civic turnout but have also helped rebrand the process of voting for a new age.

Finding the right brand development company

Technology — and clever branding — have helped turn voting from a solitary and somewhat dreary civic duty to a communal experience meant to be celebrated. If your business is in need of working with an innovative brand development company, we know just the firm to provide it.

Design Trends, Friends, Other Creative Odds & Ends

2018 was a year of unique design approaches that will continue into 2019. Bold colors, duotone photo filtering, playful typography layouts, deconstructed and asymmetrical layouts, and rich metallic and holographic foiling techniques are just a few of the visuals that dominated design these last 365 days.
The philosophy of building a complete brand system (not just a singular standing logo) was also something that bubbled over into the mainstream this year, especially for larger brands. These are brand identity systems that are structured for ease of use and at extremely small sizes while also being allowed to flex, expand, and contract with execution. This approach will continue on as the most effective way to create and implement a modern-day brand.

2018 also revealed the growing trend of larger brands beginning to bite the bullet and commission their own typefaces. The point being to avoid hefty licensing fees, and having their own custom-designed typeface is the ideal long-term solution.

Photography also took a hard right turn this year. Compositions that appear more amateur and “Insta-documented” were a noteworthy visual, especially for brands wanting to connect with younger audiences.

Lastly, we have a hunch that the stripped-down-personality of the super sans-serif wordmark-only type treatment trend in logo design may slowly start to fade away as we get further into 2019 and 2020. But of course, that’s yet to be seen!

No matter the trends that come and go, two important things will always remain—using tried-and-true design principles of balance, rhythm, and harmony, paired with telling a brand story that connects with its intended audience. That’s our take on how the best brands (with the best products) of today will truly thrive in tomorrow’s rapidly changing world of tastes, needs, and desires.