How Ad Imagery Could Translate Into Product Packaging

The stack of magazines was impressive. Elle, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit and People. As a 13-year old, I just wanted to fixate and rip, fixate and rip, fixate and rip. Slowly, I was adding to my expanding wall collection, and I was proud. How were the ‘best’ images selected, and what made them ‘iconic’? What mattered to me at the time—creativity, originality, colour, composition—made it onto my closet doors, locker and school binder clear insert. If I could think of these images in my sleep, they became iconic. I will never forget one in particular. The triangular red and white logo juxtaposed against a black and white photograph of a girl pouting while a man anticipates… 

What intrigues us about this image? Almost instantly, we find ourselves peering in, linked to the experience. We sense she is in the wrong place; however, we do not feel that she does not belong or would rather be elsewhere. Time and space are interrupted. We ask ourselves, “Will it occur?” But the chain of events does not matter. What matters is that we are suspended in a rare and captivating moment. And because the image is black and white, we are transported to the exact scene where the ‘film’ unravels. Then the bold red of the typeface and the logo bring us back to life, and we are suddenly alive; the advertisement has won us over…without a guess!

If we know that people can impact an ad’s efficacy, should we consider using people on food packaging? Could we use the interaction between a man and a woman on a coffee bag, for example? In my opinion, yes. Imagine this. A tired corporate executive finds herself standing in a Whole Foods Market. There is no one around. Soft music flutters in and out of her ears. She is standing in the coffee aisle, looking at bags and bags and bags. There’s so much unique packaging, she’s not sure what to choose. But then she sees it—a couple set in black and white. The photograph is beautiful; the packaging seems bound by eternal love as the image wraps fully around the product. It portrays something the executive longs for on a deeper level. “I’ll go for this,” she thinks, grabbing it to pay.

Using people in ad imagery is not a new concept, but could potentially be an innovative idea in the food and beverage domain. We know that ads are geared to make us think and feel. And there’s a whole range of themes emotional ads can trigger, from love to empathy to excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever spent valuable time and money on a product that didn’t trigger an emotion somehow. Even if it may go unrecognized—the power and influence of an emotional experience are unforgettable.

Should packaging portray a feeling using images of people? And if so, what are the most effective ways this can be executed?

How Art on Food Packaging Affects Decision-Making

Oldhand Coffee

Koichi Kiyono

Process

Luna Coffee

DFS Valentine’s Day Campaign

How to Impress My Valentine

A great campaign is built on a solid concept. It can stir our emotions and set our souls free to dream. Recently, I had the opportunity to put together a Valentine’s Day video campaign for DirectFood.store. It was a fantastic experience, and I am proud of the output. Here is a little bit more about it.

DirectFood.store is a DTC online grocery store delivery platform that sells fresh, local and organic food from local farmers and vendors to the community. As a brand, DirectFood.store aims to inspire and empower consumers to eat healthily, buy local, and learn more about the farm-to-table concept. Priority is placed on ensuring high-quality products, affordable pricing, and easy ordering, plus free delivery direct to the doorstep. 

For this particular campaign, our objectives are:

  • Increase brand awareness 
  • Connect with our target audience (young, millennial couples and families with kids; age 25-34 / baby boomers drawn to compelling video and who will purchase something based on its value; age 45-64)
  • Promote interest in our platform and products
  • Provide entertainment
  • Create a need for buying local, fresh & organic food from local farmers and vendors with free delivery direct to the doorstep

The campaign features BC blogger and influencer Chelsea Helm. We find her wondering how to impress her Valentine. While pondering an answer, she suddenly thinks of DirectFood.store. She decides to put together a thoughtful and delicious dinner for her partner. The campaign follows Chelsea through her decision-making process. She orders the ingredients, and they arrive at her doorstep. We then capture her preparing a steak and salad, setting the table and signing a Valentine’s day card. Will her Valentine make it in time? Will they be surprised? Ultimately, she shares with the audience that through DirectFood.store, you can make something special for that special someone in your life.

I wanted the advertising tone to be fun, happy, thoughtful, romantic, youthful, and vibrant. Our primary message is that consumers identify with our brand, and our products fit their lifestyle and choices. I think we hit the mark, and best of all, the campaign was completed on brand, on time and on budget. Now to see how it performs as a Facebook ad!

I hope you enjoyed the video. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out!

5 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

In life, different is good. 

It’s about who we are and how we showcase ourselves to the world. 

In branding, it’s much the same. 

Although being different can be a challenge. 

Why?

We don’t want to clash with the norm. We want to be unique and memorable.

I came across an excellent article about brand differentiation and put together this quick presentation.

Let me know what you think!

Food for Thought

I wanted to share some recent social media work I developed for DirectFood.store. Check it out and let me know what you think!

A Poem About Differentiation

A differentiator is what sets you apart from the competition.

It’s playing sports vs playing ball.

It’s smiling when life throws you those base curves,

because by the end of the day, everyone will remember.

In marketing, a differentiator makes people revel.

At times in silence, but that silence is awe.

You have differentiated your product when,

people know your name by your vision,

your philosophy, your mission statement.

Your audience begins to recognize your slogan,

they begin to identify with your colours.

You are en route to differentiating when,

you feel nervous and yet grounded.

At the end of the day,

you feel like you’re taking a risk

like you’re in trouble for something because

it pushes boundaries, it causes discussions,

it breaks the rules but never forget,

you are leading the group.

A true differentiator cannot be physically realized, because it has infinite gain at infinite frequency – Wikepedia

Digital reach is UNLIMITED. How does art make a difference? COOL is an UNLIMITED concept. Take that back to the couch when you break. Like someone in sales talking about sales, talking about art takes vision. It takes direction and you must be a leader through and through. I am obviously trying to push myself. Always, always tryin’ ta be that purple cow. Let’s remind the crowd again –

Purple cow:

The concept of the Purple Cow was introduced by Seth Godin in his groundbreaking book by the same title.  Recently I read it again because it is full of ideas and case studies on how to make your business remarkable. When you drive by a heard of cattle they all look like cows and it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.  But if you drive by a heard and standing in the field is a Purple Cow you have to tell someone because it is so different.  When something forces you to remark on it, by definition it is remarkable.  This is what your new business strategy should be focusing on, finding ways to make your customers talk about your products to their friends.

I write about differentiation in light of the launch of DirectFood.store, an online platform that enables local farmers and vendors to sell their products to consumers, restaurants, and care homes. The food is fresh. SO FRESH. The food is local. SO LOCAL. And you get it right away, to your doorstep, the next day. DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR.

I helped to develop the brand identity which you can witness on our recently revamped website. And I run our social media campaign, which is meant to be fresh, in the definition of COOL, like Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel-Air COOL, that shirt is sick COOL, those kicks are dope COOL.

COOL is just one aspect of the brand, obviously my favourite. But DirectFood.store is also about:

  • Supporting local businesses
  • Engaging the community
  • Spreading the good word about fresh, healthy, organic & local food
  • Promoting a good cause for the good of all people

Just wanted to share some graphics I created that are live on the website. And you need to follow us on Instagram, to check out the REAL DEAL grid. 2 posts per day. Slammin’ balls against the ground. ALL BALL SPORTS. It’s bold. It’s cheeky. It’s collage. It promotes our core values + image. It’s inspired by a retro van, who needs a name…any ideas?

I AM STILL AN ART DIRECTOR. PERIOD.

WHY DOES RANTING END BEFORE YOU’RE FINISHED?

Never let anyone sway you otherwise. If you’re capable, you’re capable. You don’t go back in time. You move forward. And forward-thinking people, know the game. But they’ve got their own game going on, and other people play that. That’s it. Goodnight.

PS – Props to Gurwinder!

PPS – A little lightness. I am lovin’ my work, my day, my grind at i-Open Technologies!

Delivering Real & Sustainable Technology Solutions for a Better Planet. Hi Ray!

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The Audience Journey

Hey everyone!

As writers, we encounter roadblocks. For myself, one main challenge is believing that my voice, tone, and style are appropriate for business. Letters are usually a personal message sent to a loved one or friend. They can also be a crucial marketing piece, a clever (business letters should be clever) tactic to generate warmer leads.

So, how then do we craft a letter to a prospective client? And is there a way to write a letter that has the voice, tone, and style of a personal message?

In my mind, I envision a communicative piece that is not only unique (resonates with the world) and relatable but effective in portraying a brand’s core message and purpose. After all, at this stage, we are not trying to sell, we are building momentum to get to the selling point. Through powerful storytelling, our approach should stir emotion, provide vital detail, and promote a new relationship that could ultimately blossom into conversion.

I’ve put together notes based on a course I’m taking about brand strategy and expression. The notes identify our writer, audience and customer along a certain trajectory, starting with an introduction to their wants and needs and ending with a transformed sentiment that ushers the participants toward exploring whatever they have defined it to be, on a deeper level.

Have a read and let me know what you think!

Existing World

Using what we know about our audience, we want to paint a picture of our customer’s backstory. This backstory includes what they are familiar with, and how they see themselves. Our goal is to distinguish what type of information could draw the customer in. By identifying relevant demographics and psychographics, then establishing a matching voice, tone, and style, we can conjure an experience that the customer will be ready to associate with.

Obstacle

Whatever our customers may be struggling with is presented to us as their wants and needs. We must ask ourselves, what is their current conflict, what do they need from us, and what emotions should we spark throughout the entire experience. To capture our audience at this stage, messaging must resonate and provide an opportunity for our customer to feel empathy with the characters (voice, tone, and style) that we have now established.

Call to Action

At this step, our audience carefully embarks on the journey, as they have made the decision to call upon this obstacle in their life. Either through increased stress or via messaging that sparks action, our goal here now is to express in a clear and articulate manner the reasons why we are here for them on the journey, emphasizing benefits, launching a revelation or some educational insight.

Meeting the Guide

Here the customer finally meets the guide, who is us, the brand. After being presented with a call to action, the customer has assessed his situation, wants to be further enlightened, and find this so called trajectory to embark on. We have their hand the entire time, and soon after, they become the ones to guide us.

Challenge

Upon the new journey, the customer must now reveal her vulnerability and innermost fears. This can be accomplished through emotional investment or writing that breaks up the challenge into little pieces, making it easy to consume and digest. Our audience may be struggling, however, their desire for a resolution has been roused, so they will continue to explore the presented avenue, unafraid, because they are one step ahead of us.

Transformation

Once we have piqued our audience’s desire for change, mutual reciprocity can be established. The brand’s efforts are paying off and the audience begins to see the rewards. At this stage, it is important to portray contrast between what once was and what is today. This same contrast can be shifted slightly to represent what is today and what the future holds. The emotion felt now is hope, which leads to trust status between the customer and the beloved brand itself.

The New World

Armed with trust, our writer has a new perspective. The obstacle has been overcome and they are inspired to take new, specific actions toward changing the very framework of their business. At this step, belief is established and can continue to blossom under an established agreement or circumstance. I may not meet you, but you will meet my brand and it will help you to do your work, become a better entrepreneur and commit to a brand new cause, because we are here to create solutions for the betterment of humankind.

Go big, right?

Of course, writing the actual letter would not be so dramatic, and roles so cryptic. But what really works well reading the above, is watching a top-rated advertisement on YouTube (try using Elton John & John Lewis & Partners Piano Christmas Commercial), then immediately after, reading this post. You might find that the storyline makes more sense, and ultimately you should be able to apply it to your business letter sales process. 

Have fun ingenues!

Brand Purpose Presentation

Here is my latest marketing training presentation. Hope you enjoy it, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

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Who Are We Campaign – Identifying Top of Funnel Marketing Strategies

This all began at the end of the day, Friday afternoon.

I was leaving i-Open a little bit late. I was put in charge of sending out a Stablebuzz priority newsletter speaking on frameworks released by leading equestrian organizations ensuring a safe return to work for stable owners. My managers (I pretty much work with only managers) were stuck in meetings all day and I was waiting for one to review the final test newsletter. I couldn’t go without his approval. Anyway, long story short, I was finally finished and hopped into the elevator with another man standing there. I did not know who he was, but he definitely worked in the building. He moved into one corner because of COVID-19. He asked how everything was going in the office with us all being back and followed with a classic job interview question: what do you guys do there? I was quick to respond, we’re a tech company and he laughed saying that’s obvious, but what do you do there?

We are all told to have an elevator pitch prepared, but who else only reserves coming up with one for special presentations and interviews? This campaign is based on that idea. The idea that we assume our audience are experts, primed in communication and language technologies. But the truth is, this may not be the case. I’ve spoken with countless business owners, in one role trying to sell digital marketing services. As touchpoint rules say, it always took 3-5 interactions before they were really willing to talk to me. First interactions were like this –

Hey there!

My name is Chona, I work across the street at a company called VanWhistle Media. Do you have some time to speak?

Business owner: Hi. Not really. I am busy at the moment.

So, as you can imagine, not much more can be said there. I could either say no worries, and leave, or, I could provide a more basic, and general description of my goal.

Ah, no worries! I can imagine you are super busy. I have a one-pager that describes what we do with a little more detail. It’s easy to read and my card is attached, so please reach out to me if you have any questions!

Our immediate messaging must be enthusiastic, and look after our audience’s basic needs. Once a certain level of safety or security is established then perhaps, we are able to provide a little something more. Using a hook, we can then present a very basic/general value proposition. In this case, the hook is the one-pager. (I can never forget and it always works out this way – the medium is the message à la M. McLulan!) The value in that is that yes, perhaps the business owner was truly busy, but this does not mean they are not interested. The one-pager gives just enough information to get them hooked. Then once they realize they have interest the relationship begins.

So, why are we in this relationship? As Ezra Firestone, marketing maven and e-commerce guru would say: this is the game. We are all people and we are essentially communicating through various mediums. What this means is that, we are all on the same level in one way or another, however we must learn how to communicate with each other using said various mediums. As a marketer, this means not making the assumption that my audience is interested in what I have to say, but moreover is interested (subliminally) in HOW I am saying it.

I’m about halfway through a Facebook ads mastery course and in the process I have developed a creative ad campaign strategy that touches on the essence of why our group at i-Open Technologies is doing what we’re doing. I’m excited to present it to my team this Friday! Cheers!

#impromptus no. 3

Hi everyone!

I created a brand strategy presentation with the hopes that it would inspire change. As mostly an introduction, I failed to address several elements, including company (Buyer) positioning, strategic factors and most importantly, key stakeholders (employees). Failures aside, I’m quite confident that I could deconstruct the design and come up with a feasible, long-term plan that would incite metrics for profitability, scalability and an improved customer experience.

The greater joy is the chance to do this work with a team. A fearless leader to look me in the eye and say, “This is amazing. But what are you going to do with it, Chona?”. And then, to be surrounded by other supportive creators; we could sit down together and come up with something rather attesting! Marketing is always about brilliance, because there are a trillion answers and a trillion more ways to approach what we do (thanks to our beautiful digital landscape!).

Enjoy #impromptus no. 3 and take note: having a template works wonders and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to develop their technical writing skills.

Cheers!

_impromptus 3 _ 01.07.20