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I love the 90s – so what can brands learn from the decade of champions?

90s mega mix fashion TV music

From Hooch to Hanson, Pot noodles to Pogs, Britpop to Beanie Babies. The 90s was an incredible mash-up of questionable style, musical genius and some brave and bonkers brand activity. But as the dayglo lights fade and the tech boom reveals our state of hyper connectivity, what can brands learn from the old-world order? What were those highlights and lowlights that we can never forget?

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How challenging should a challenger brand be?



Challenger branding isn’t new. But when has it gone too far? With First Direct adopting an unexpected and challenging ‘bank that doesn’t talk like a bank’ approach to the category, is that the best foot forward for the brand and the banking sector at large?

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It’s all in the name – what makes a brand name brilliant?

During a recent trip on the tube, an ad for ‘Inhibitif’ caught my eye. Sounds like a great product, but what about that name? Sure enough, when I got home, I remembered the product, but not the name. It got me thinking about what makes a brilliant brand name?

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Reinventing the category – why Nurofen’s new direction works

It’s been around for a month or so now, but Nurofen’s new emotional positioning of the lifestyle benefits of pain relief breathes new life in to a category driven by function. So how can other categories take note?

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Brand characters – signpost or gimmick?

Surf’s recent introduction of a foam-like brand character ‘Surfy’ raises the question of whether brand characters are an important signpost for a brand’s identity or a juvenile gimmick that lacks longevity?

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Everyone’s talking about HMV – the demise of the high street giant

I can’t say I’m surprised, but I can say that I’m saddened. Not even a week after Virgin Megastores’ ‘funeral march’ in France, the UK sees the once epic music retail giant poised to give up the ghost. So where did it all go wrong and what does this say about the future of the once buoyant British high street?

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The top ten principles of sustainable branding

I recently attended the Sustainable Brands Conference in London at the end of November as The Futures Company where I work were media partners at the event. It was a really great forum for brand managers, strategists and sustainability leaders to talk all things sustainable and what this means for brands and businesses. I’ve summarised the key findings from the 2 days into 10 principles that brands need to think about in order to drive a sustainable future.

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Shaping sustainable brands

As populations grow and resource availability shrinks,  sustainability is a rising concern. Smarter companies are starting to build a new generation of sustainable brands that can shape and own a sustainable future. But there’s still much to learn on how best to do this.

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The branding of counties – awful or awesome?


An interesting BBC article yesterday unveiled a plan for Suffolk, a county made famous for market towns, frosty beaches and Benjamin Britten, to rebrand itself as the ‘curious county’ – raising that age old question of whether places can be branded.

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What do ‘one hit wonder’ ads mean to brands?

Advertising is great, don’t get me wrong. It grab peoples’ attention, it connects, it helps brands to stick in peoples’ heads so that they’re more likely to choose them. More often these days we’re seeing ads with talking meerkats, drumming monkeys, bears eating biscuits, polar bears in freezers (that one creeps me out!) which get people talking – but what are these ads doing for their brands? Read More »

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