Archive for category Marketing Strategy

The “Art of Branding”

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Nike, Adidas, Puma. These are all brands that could come into mind when thinking of athletic goods and active lifestyles. But what distinguishes these sports-focused brands? What images come to mind when thinking about them? Do you know what they stand for? Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple, states In the real world, you don’t have infinite resources; you don’t have a perfect product; and you don’t sell to a growing market without competition. You’re also not omnipotent, so you cannot enforce what people think your brand represents. Under these assumptions, most companies need all the help they can get with branding.”

See what Kawasaki, an icon in the advertising industry, has to say here:

OLAA brand developers Sheri Audette, Alyse Stranberg and Micah Panzich agree, and share their viewpoints on Kawasaki’s art of branding:

A mistake a company can make in the branding process is having more than one message in one brand campaign. When it comes to creating a branding statement, make it simple and to the point rather than try to reach multiple markets with different messages.  Sheri Audette, Art Director, Integrated Advertising states, “Less is more when it comes to branding a company statement. Trying to fit everything in one piece/campaign is misguiding and creates confusion in your audience.”

Examine the bounce back. Alyse Stranberg, OLAA Lead Strategist, Integrated Advertising states, “This is critical. What you may believe to be clear and direct, can easily be missed or misunderstood. And because your audience is often made up of a variety of consumers, it’s always a good reminder to ask those around you who relate to the target demographic. This can be a small sampling (you don’t want too many chefs in the kitchen), and the findings can be hugely beneficial. It’s important to step back and look at a message newly, as a potential consumer. Re-review the goals and objectives of the campaign’s message, and then ask yourself, ‘what’s the brand, what’s the call to action, what’s the differentiator, the WHY.’”

Strive for humanness. “This may be something used in marketing, but can also be seen in things as simple as song writing. Take it from the Beatles. Song titles like, I Feel Fine, All MY Loving, From ME To YOU, Drive MY Car, Can’t Buy ME Love, Hide YOUR Love Away, Please Please ME, She Loves YOU, I ME MINE, I Want YOU, I’LL Be Back, Etc… They figured out from the start that the audience really connected with a song when the lyrics became personable. This no doubt led them to some great success, even when the Stones were actually a better band,” states Micah Panzich, OLAA Graphic Designer, Integrated Advertising.

Consumers want to be targeted as an individual, not as an entire market.  A crucial component of developing a personal connection with your target market is creating a personal experience for each consumer. When developing your brand, always envision the consumer’s personal ownership of the product or service and how that will translate into a relationship to a brand as a whole.  For example “My Nikes, My Adidas, My Pumas.”

Although the art of branding is a continually evolving component of marketing, using these fundamentals has proved to be helpful when working with our OLAA clients when developing brands.


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WIIFM: Tapping Into Your Audience

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When was the last time you stopped to ask your customers and prospects…


…what do you want? 
…what do you need?
…how do you get it?
…how does it make you feel?

Whether developing a new product or launching a new integrated advertising campaign, tapping into your audience’s preferences and behavior will ensure a robust ROI – for both short and long-term. Research arms you and your fellow decision makers with qualitative and quantitative data, uncovering areas of misalignment and opportunities for improvement. Close attention and response to your audience also builds loyalty – when customers are heard they feel valued and that value leads to a strengthened emotional brand connection.

Companies both big and small benefit from asking their customers and prospects fundamental questions, and there are many ways to discover the answers.

Striving to tap into its audience for the next big chip idea, Lays asked 15 countries around the world (excluding the United States) what potato chip flavor they would create though a digital contest campaign, “Do Us a Flavor.”

So with over 6 million fans on Facebook, Lay’s created a Facebook app that would allow the consumer to create their own flavor. With this app you could use the “Flavorizer” feature which searches your timeline and suggests flavors and cuisine styles based on restaurants you have attended recently. For instance, if you went to a French restaurant this month, the flavorizer might suggest bouillabaisse; if you’ve indicated that you like steakhouses, the tool might suggest a meat-oriented flavor. Lays has also worked with Facebook to create a modified version of the Like button called the “I’d Eat that” Button.

Winning flavors included: Spicy Crab (produced in Thailand), and Classic Caesar Salad (Produced in Australia). After a huge success overseas, Lays decided to finally bring the “Do Us a Flavor” contest campaign to the United States. Contestants and participants would be able to vote for the flavor they thought was best and the creator of the winning flavor could win $1,000,000 or 1% of the net sales of the chip, whichever is higher.

Through the use of social media, Lays has done a phenomenal job tapping into its audience to reveal the next big chip idea. Allowing their audience to freely express their preference in food, whether it was BBQ Baby Back Ribs that come right of the bone or Filet Mignon seasoned to perfection, they were able to emotionally connect the audience with the Lays brand. By inviting the audience to share their opinions through an online platform, they were able to increase the size and engagement of a large social media fan base by involving them in the decision making process.

Customers are more engaged in providing feedback when they feel like they are a part of a brand and their opinions count. The Lays example shows a great way to gather data AND engage audiences. When was the last time you deepened your knowledge of your audience in a fun way?


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Navigating Social Media Crisis in Healthcare

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When a negative patient experience or an unconfirmed rumor begins to travel across social media channels, does your team know how to respond?



Here’s a “checklist” to prepare for these moments:

  • Designate a social media auditor. Daily, a team member should be responsible for monitoring engagement activity to ensure that when a sensitive post occurs it is identified and addressed in real time.
  • Bring the team together. Once an issue arises, determine who from the team is to be brought in. Legal representation? A patient quality or experience advocate? A Director, CMO or CEO? The communications team and all other necessary influencers should be in the same room.
  • Discuss the facts, and develop a response. Is the post a general complaint? Does it reveal private medical information? Was what was shared true, or is some of the story missing? Whether responded to privately or publicly, and if the response explicitly acknowledges the circumstance or is simply generalities, the designated action should align with the brand’s vision and mission.
  • Debrief. Review the outcomes of the response and discuss how the team can apply best practices going forward as the new standard.

Social Media PR issues are not alleviated with a “one-size-fits-all” approach, yet having a proactive process in place will strengthen your team’s ability to respond with intelligence and compassion.


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Ageless Alliance & Starbucks: A Community Service Project

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Ageless Alliance and Starbucks

A Thriving Brand Leader inspires others to accomplish their goals by acting on their own.  OLAA client Ageless Alliance obtains this quality and then some. Ageless Alliance is a social justice movement whose mission is to connect people of all ages nationwide who stand united for the dignity of older adults and for the elimination of abuse and neglect. They achieve this mission, and move forward in the fight against elder abuse and neglect, through three key objectives:

  1. Build awareness
  2. Provide support
  3. Increase community involvement

Ageless Alliance‘s latest community involvement initiative is an example of their objectives in action – the healthy aging advocate has partnered with Starbucks to collect goods for elders in need across Orange County. During the month of April, those who would like to participate can pick up an Ageless Alliance tote bag at a participating local Starbucks location in Orange County and return the bag with their donations—from supermarket gift cards to newly purchased hygiene and clothing items. On April 25th, Starbucks and Ageless Alliance will gather at the Laguna Village Clubhouse in Laguna Hills, California to organize and package all of the donations collected during the month.  After this all day event, all donations will be distributed to individuals throughout Orange County who are victims of elder abuse, leading up to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in June.

For more details on how to get involved with Starbucks and Ageless Alliance, or to find a participating location near you, download the program flyer here.

This incredible partnership with Starbucks is an extraordinary opportunity to help those in need.  A special thanks is due to an Ageless Alliance member and daily Laguna Woods Starbucks customer, who shared her passion and involvement with the cause with her friend and Starbucks manager.  This discussion sparked conversations that led to the nation’s top coffee company incorporating the cause as part of their Community Service program for the month of April.

Ageless Alliance has spread awareness of a seldom spoken about epidemic, and has become an organization that inspires others to fight against elder abuse and neglect. They keep their own members and the general public informed by sharing information of the latest statistics and facts and arranging various charity programs. Through donations and efforts like the Starbucks partnership, they have made a significant impact on the community, improving the lives of older adults in need – a clear demonstration of why the Ageless Alliance is a Thriving Brand Leader.


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The Power of Word of Mouth

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Leveraging Authentic Language for Branding and Marketing Strategies

OLAA’s integrated advertising team is always keeping up to date with and brainstorming new, innovative and relevant ways to create buzz amongst consumers. Yet, the oldest form of advertising, word of mouth (WOM) communication is still the most powerful tool for influencing brands. This week, we came across an article that describes just how powerful “word of mouth” communication is, and how this ties in with digital marketing. Check it out:

From our perspective, brands can have a brand promise, but how does a guarantee truly work to their advantage? How does this help a brand stand out amongst the competition? The key to success is maintaining consistency. What your customers actually experience with the product, customer service and what your brand stands for should match what is shared in advertising and marketing messages and brand images. That’s what makes a promise deliverable and believable. And when that promise is delivered upon, customers develop trust and loyalty. This is what gets people talking in natural, every day conversations.

From what we’ve seen, heard and read, word of mouth mentions are far more powerful, and occur most often, when consumers are interacting with others offline. “Americans engage in many conversations about brands every day and more than two-thirds of those conversations involve a recommendation to buy, consider or avoid the brand.”

Yet even with the majority of recommendations occurring in person, WOM isn’t only spread through face-to-face testimonials. Today consumers use sites such as Yelp or Trip Advisor to share their experiences and to assist in their own decision making process. The feedback from previous customers is a major determinant in the decision making process for a potential customer. WOM provides a sense of authenticity that future customers trust.

Positive reviews and customer referrals support differentiation and advertising messages. Unfortunately, rule of thumb is that an unsatisfied customer will spread the word of their negative experience to twice as many people as a satisfied customer. Delivery of a brand promise, consistency in brand messaging and appropriate encouragement of positive sharing can help sway this in a brand’s favor.

Social media is another outlet for digital WOM to occur. Yet, if fans aren’t engaging with a brand through sharing and commenting, the outlet becomes one-sided with marketing messages only coming from the brand source. This transforms a digital engagement tool to a traditional advertising medium, and the benefits of social WOM can be lost.

Word of mouth tactics are implemented into OLAA clients’ brand development and marketing strategies. For example, OLAA client, Hawaii Forest & Trail differentiates itself in the market by delivering professional nature adventures that transform visitors and locals through sights, stories, knowledge and experiences. The guides are natural experts of the Big Island’s terrain and are genuinely passionate about what they do. The personnel respect that their customers are on vacation and make it a constant priority to take care of them.

This kind of personal customer service results in positive feedback and translates online when customers use social media sites to share their experience with friends and family. Pictures and tagging locations increase the number of referrals of family and friends when customers enjoy their stay. At Hawaii Forest & Trail, the customer is buying an experience, making memories, and sharing their time with a company who cares.

This sentiment was not only shared with us from the Hawaii Forest & Trail staff. It was reiterated to us from their customers, who OLAA spoke with as part of the View From the Field™ and Orange Label Process™. OLAA is leveraging true WOM, authentic language as part of the rebranding process, to ensure that the brand message and image are aligned with the company’s vision and the customers’ perceptions. This consistency, as mentioned earlier, is what establishes and sustains trust amongst customers and increases WOM communication – both online and offline.

WOM communication plays a major role in supporting a company’s advertising message. Tell us your thoughts on “word of mouth” and how it has worked for you.


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Social Media Advertising is Already on the Move…

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Our integrated advertising team is always reading, learning and growing; keeping up on trends and adapting with the always changing media landscape. This week, we stumbled upon an article that voices exactly what we’ve been experiencing:

The full article and report requires a subscription, but even if you don’t want to sign up, the short version provides valuable social media advertising takeaways, statistics and trends that all brands can learn from.

Mobile Native AdsFrom our perspective, it’s no secret that mobile devices play a big part in our everyday lives. We are always connected in one way or another, especially through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc… Though these social media platforms are also accessible through desktop computers, laptops and tablets, research has shown that most users are connected and engaged through their mobile devices. And while the majority of digital display advertising and digital advertising spending is banner based, the mobile versions of social media networks only show native advertising.

A relatively new form of advertising, native ads are paid media that appear within the natural form of the social media experience. They “look, feel, and function seamlessly across mobile and PC, they seek to build cross-device campaigns” (Cooper Smith). So for Twitter, who was actually the first company to launch social ads, this means sponsored tweets. Instagram’s ad model is similar, with sponsored posts. For Facebook, it means newsfeed posts that look like organic content. And like more “traditional” digital display banners, native ads can be targeted to reach your key audience: by demographics, geographic locations, interest, behavior, etc…

From what we’ve seen, in digital advertising campaigns for medical, retail, educNative Advertisingation and B2B clients, is that native ads are not only more natural in appearance, but they are far more effective in a social setting. There are brand awareness benefits from an impression standpoint. The ad form is in an area users are naturally looking, and even if they don’t interact at first, they really see it. And from a response standpoint, the benefits are huge.

For example, in Saint Louise Regional Hospital’s Facebook advertising, which was part of the integrated medical marketing and advertising strategy shared last week, newsfeed ads have prompted strong response, engagement and conversation between its followers. In only a matter of minutes of launching the latest creative, one targeted native ad received 30 comments and over 150 likes. Comments came from community members, hospital staff and patients, ranging from stories of positive experiences to feedback on services. The more Facebook users comment from an honest, authentic perspective, the more others have engaged – wanting to join in the conversation and share their voice and experiences. And because the setting is social, Saint Louise can respond and be part of the interaction.

Clearly we aren’t the only ones seeing this shift and response. What are you seeing with your own social native advertising campaigns? Tell us your thoughts on native advertising and how it has worked for you.


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Creative Corner: Alyse Stranberg, Lead Strategist

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Alyse Stranberg, A Passion for FashionA Passion for Fashion

In between onboarding new clients with Orange Label’s creative and brand process, and shaping strategic direction for existing clients, Alyse Stranberg, OLAA Lead Strategist, Integrated Advertising, is always keeping up with the fashion trends. And she not only knows the latest styles and what’s next to come, but she’s actually wearing them. For some of us, this is intimidating (how can she look so great every day?!). For others, it’s motivating (yes, I can look that good everyday!). But clearly her natural sense of style and inherent creativity is the driving force of her two favorite things: fashion and advertising. Meet Alyse.

When did you first realize you were a fan of fashion?

I grew up in a fashionable house. My memories as a kid are of my mom making me custom clothes. Ranging from a fringe denim jacket (they are coming back in style!), and of course very elaborate Halloween costumes for my brothers and me. My mom went to fashion school, and for a while did custom clothing design. She also owns a clothing boutique on Balboa Island (has for 27 years!)… so that has fueled my shopping passion (my husband calls it an addiction). So all in all, I guess I was raised as a fashion fan!

How would you describe your fashion and sense of style?

I love high-end fashion. It’s just beautiful to me. As for what I can actually afford to wear and what fits my lifestyle, I would say that my style is simple, classic and fashion-forward (what I can actually pull off). I often joke that I have no color in my closet….I’m a grey, white, black and neutral kind of shopper. AND I love jeans.

Do you shop at any particular stores? What do you like about them?

Yes. Of course my mom’s store, Basics on Balboa Island. I love it because it’s my mom’s store! Ha…and I get to help her buy. She has all of the basics, mixed with the latest trends. I also wouldn’t say I shop so much at certain stores, as I do certain brands. And listing every brand would probably be a bit much for anyone reading this! Some go-to stores that do come to mind are Nordstrom, Saks, Shopbop and Gilt. I always manage to find something at any of those places (my talent in action!)

Who are your fashion inspirations and why?

It’s really a mix of so many people….and not so much celebrities, more so the average person with great fashion sense. Being able to pull off multiple looks and styles is definitely a skill, in my opinion.

Do you read any particular fashion magazines or follow any blogs?

Of course. All of them. And am always online. I also love to browse look books.

Do you feel that your sense of fashion contributes to your work at OLAA? If so, how?

Well my fashion is definitely not very “present” at OLAA …. I often rotate a lot of the same pieces in my work wardrobe. Probably because it’s being selected at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. As for ways it contributes to what I do at OLAA, I’d say that it shows up in how I look at projects or assignments in a very detailed manner. And I love when I get to work with our talented creative department!

What is your favorite part about fashion and shopping?

It’s always changing and I never get sick of it. As for shopping, it just makes me happy. In a very odd and weird way, it’s relaxing and can often calm me down.

What do you love most about advertising?

Similar to fashion, it’s always changing, and it’s fun!

What is your favorite thing about working at OLAA?

The talented team that I get to work with every day….my OLAA family.


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Thriving Brand Leader Spotlight

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Thriving Brand Leader Spotlight: O'Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional HospitalO’Connor Hospital + Saint Louise Regional Hospital

A thriving brand leader understands how to emotionally relate to their audience. They make decisions by thoroughly understanding their desires, and meticulously addressing their needs to establish that essential emotional connection between the brand and the audience.

O’ Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional Hospital, Daughters of Charity Health System’s Santa Clara County full service hospitals, embody this concept perfectly. Their mission is to deliver health care that is attentive to the emotions of their patients, as well as their spiritual needs and physical health. This mission is a key focus of their brand, demonstrated through the With Every integrated advertising campaign theme supporting both entities’ medical marketing objectives. Here’s how:

First, we explore how people choose their health care providers. There are tangible factors such as a referral from a primary or specialty care physician, location and distance from their work and home, and insurance policies. These factors vary from person to person, and it can become challenging to pinpoint one imperative reason. Secondly, and most importantly, there’s the intangible factor: emotion. When one walks into the hospital for any reason – from needing a minor procedure to open-heart surgery, or even just visiting a family member or friend – it is an emotional experience as much as it is a physical one. Essentially, this intangible factor impacts countless circumstances.

Then, as an example, let’s visualize the life of a young and aspiring profIntegrated Marketing Campaignessional dancer. There are three weeks remaining until the dance company makes its first debut at the largest performing arts center in the world, New York City’s Lincoln Center. After countless hours of late night practicing for the big performance, any injury or strain can become devastating. Two weeks before the premiere performance, the dancer has an accident. While practicing her turns, she had strained her knee. Though she was in a lot of pain, what devastated her most was the thought that the countless hours that had been invested into this performance and career had gone to waste. Determined to recover before the debut, she visits various orthopedic doctors in hopes of finding a treatment option that address both her concerns and her medical condition.

Everyone has their own story, but through the differences, we are all human and our emotional health plays a crucial role in our everyday lives – just as our physical health. So, it is essential for health care providers to display how well they can understand patients’ unique circumstances from each perspective, every step of the way.

O’ Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional Hospital’s integrated medical marketing message With Every connects brands founded in quality, comprehensive health care with the audience in a way that establishes that essential emotional connection from the first impression. For our young and aspiring dancer, O’ Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional Hospital are there With Every twist, turn and performance. The hospital understands her story, her injury, and will be there to provide the treatment that gets her where she wants to be – dancing. O’Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional Hospital are committed to this in all aspects of their brand – from health care delivery to all aspects of communication to medical marketing campaigns. This is one of the components that make them a Thriving Brand Leader.


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WIIFM of the Month: Give Your Brand Wings…

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…with risky marketing

WIIFM of the Month: Give Your Brand Wings with Risky MarketingWhen it comes to taking marketing and advertising risks, most people cringe. Nobody wants to become vulnerable to the potential consequences that come with taking a risk. But what about the potential benefits? Calculated creative risks open up new challenges and opportunities, and define new boundaries. Taking risks with unexpected messages and unique execution, with thoughtful and timely implementation, can allow you to break free from the average way of thinking and achieve aggressive goals.

Red Bull is no stranger to risk taking. Twenty five years ago, Red Bull invented an entirely new product category: energy drinks. This created a whole new market, building demand for a different kind of caffeinated beverage. The sense of innovation and excitement didn’t stop there. Rather, it carried through in marketing strategy and advertising efforts, incorporating extreme sports into their brand image.

Do you remember Red Bull’s famous “Stratos” jump from the moon? Austrian skydiver, Felix Baumgartner free fell 39 kilometers over the state of New Mexico in approximately four minutes. Baumgartner set the record for highest ballooned man and broke two world records.  This extreme advertising campaign went viral in a matter of minutes as 8 million people watched the jump live.  This is just one of the many extreme stunts performed by Red Bull and leveraged in advertising. And with every campaign, Red Bull tells a story and sends a message that resonates with an energetic and thrill-seeking lifestyle. Red Bull continues to take risks with their marketing strategy and so far… it has paid off.

When it comes to social media, the company uses Facebook to build a brand around consumer engagement. The page is associated with numerous sporting events, featuring images and videos of athletes performing extreme stunts and living an extreme lifestyle. Red Bull’s Twitter account features current news such as worldwide extreme sporting contests, event appearances and retweets of promotional fan photos.

Red Bull’s risk-taking approach is also seen in its growing business model. The company has expanded into other venues, currently owning an in-house record label by the name of Red Bull Records and publishing a print magazine called The Red Bulletin. The record label works with up-and-coming artists/bands and assists in the recording process as well as advertising for the new artists. The Red Bulletin magazine features lifestyle stories of extreme sport athletes and their everyday routines. When it comes to Red Bull’s brand extensions, the company consistently represents and connects with what is original and different.

So why isn’t everyone being original? Businesses play it safe in the market to ensure survival. The possibility of being unsuccessful is what drives businesses to blend into the market; however, instead of just thinking about “what sells,” think about “what’s different.” What’s special about the product… the audience… the experience… the brand identity… the vision? Then, how can this unique position in the market be communicated in a way that is memorable, builds interest and encourages engagement, ultimately, eliciting response. This mentality gives businesses an edge over their competitors and keeps them relevant with their target market.

As long as strategic thought and strong rationale support the big idea, it is okay to try something new and step out of the box. Every risk does not have to be as big as inventing a new product. Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

For a relatively new company, Red Bull has created an ambiance of risk taking and adventure-seeking business practices. Taking risks with your brand is a key point of consideration in being different and being successful. Originality is what people thrive off of and want to be a part of.

Orange Label has helped many organizations think “outside the box” to improve their business. From clients in healthcare, to higher education, business to business, retail and tourism, OLAA has helped brands step outside their comfort zones and form creative strategies to engage and connect with the world.


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WIIFM of the Month: The Power of Storytelling

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Many may know the story of Blake Mycoskie. He traveled to a tiny village in Argentina where he was astonished to find children who were too impoverished to own shoes. Motivated by his desire to provide social good, he started a shoe company that would donate one pair of shoes for every pair sold. The company, TOMS, was established with a vision to change the world.

By sharing his story, Blake established an emotional connection between his audience, his mission and his product. This story became the foundation of the TOMS brand, which generated awareness of how others could contribute to this social good.

Storytelling is an essential component to establishing and maintaining brand identity. It’s much more than a logo, name or positioning statement. It’s a powerful story that transforms your relationship with consumers – from one that is a transactional experience, to one that is emotional. A story can be your consumer’s entry point to a lasting, personal connection to your brand.

Since the beginning of our existence, humans have used stories to remind us of who we are, where we come from and how we relate to our world. Brands work the exact same way.

Blake’s story made such a powerful impact, that he was able to give away 10 million shoes

to children in over 60 countries. Not only was his brand a success, but he was able to contribute to a global good.

So, how do you tell your brand story?

Storytelling, however, does not end with brand discovery – it is an ongoing, ever evolving process that requires internal investment in story development, buy in from senior leadership, activation through all levels of the organization and continuous reinforcement to internal and external constituencies.First, you must have a strong basis on which to construct yourstoryline. Dig deep into the core purpose of your product, company or service as it exists today. What is your mission? What makes your brand unique? How do you make someone’s life better? At its core, what human need does your brand fulfill?

Orange Label has helped many organizations uncover their story. From clients in healthcare, to higher education, business to business, retail and tourism, we have helped brands define their brand story and designed creative and communication strategies to engage and connect with the outside world.

“Blake Mycoskie’s Bio.”TOMS Shoes.n.p.Web.27 Jan. 2014



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