In a desperate attempt to find a snack to enliven the miserable dark days of February, I stumbled across a potential 'Lovemark'.
If you read this post, you'll probably recall that 'Lovemarks' are the brainchild of Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi and Saatchi. In Lovemarks - the future beyond brands, he states his belief that brands have become tired and need to evolve. Although charities are not a major feature of the book, the values he ascribes to 'Lovemarks' are exactly what good causes need to aim for if they are to hold a special place in people's hearts.
Here's a quick reminder of some of the ways 'Lovemarks' rise above traditional brands.
BRAND v LOVEMARK
Recognised by consumers Loved by people
And now let's road-test a product which takes us a step closer to our sector – it's Tropical Wholefoods.
Their dried banana pieces caught my eye in a shop which is a lunchtime stroll away from Bluefrog offices. The packaging is fabulous. Subsequent googling revealed it to have been designed by a company called Shimmer.
Here's the front.
It can be a punishing job researching material for this blog, but in this case I can report that the dried banana pieces are pleasingly sweet and chewy. And when I turned to the back of the packaging, I discovered the product's extra goodness.
Hopefully, it's shown big enough (below) for you to see that the illustrations bring to life the benefits of trade to the whole community, with children in school and more food being cultivated.
The copy gives a taste of some interesting sounding work, very much like what we'd share with donors to an international development organisation. It mentions, for example, that the ripe bananas are picked, hand-sliced and dried in specially designed solar driers.
I also bought the dried oyster mushrooms in the same range. They're cultivated by coffee growers in Colombia, using another innovative technique – sowing seed in biomass that is a by-product of coffee cultivation and usually discarded.
So far, so good. Great product, attractive packaging, innovative work – but does Tropical Wholefoods qualify as a 'Lovemark'? I followed the link to the website to find out whether the values displayed in the packaging are reflected ('infused') online. Would I find the makings of a 'lasting relationship'?
I'd like to say otherwise, but I was a bit disappointed. The promise made on the packaging wasn't entirely fulfilled. As you may be able to see from the extract below, the information on the website is decidedly flat – especially when you consider how interesting it could have been. The 'story' aspect of a 'Lovemark' is missing.
The blog, which you can click on from the home page, is slightly better and there are nice features, like an open invitation to visit the company. So a 'Lovemark'? Perhaps not quite yet.
As charities, all we have to offer donors is the experience of giving - hopefully, a fulfilling and life enhancing one. We don't have any banana chips to hide behind, tasty or otherwise.
So I'm reminded how important it is to convey innovation, good ideas and intelligent work. Donors, even more than consumers, want to align themselves with an inspiring and innovative brand.
And so onto another example, where the brand promise is fulfilled by the experience.
Over 43,000 people have watched this clip of MSF's inflatable hospital going up in Haiti. If you haven't seen it already, there's no fancy editing or commentary. There's even a section in French without translation. You just see the hospital going up. The last person I showed it to watched the full six minutes in silence, then turned to me and said "That's so incredibly neat".
To finish, one last link to a post by Jeff Brooks. If you haven't read it yet, it shares the best starting point when thinking about brand: 'Your 'look' is not your brand: What you do and who you are is your brand'.