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Branding

A Blueprint for Keeping Brands Relevant During Renovations

Cooper Hewitt Museum Orange Scaffolding  SignThe holiday season turned brighter on east 91st Street and Fifth Avenue in New York on Friday, when the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum‘s Carnegie mansion reopened to the public after a 3-year hiatus. The goal was to “provide cutting edge digital experiences,” as director Caroline Baumann said at the official ceremony.

To stay competitive, most museums now are redesigning, but renovating isn’t exclusive to the art world. Many companies, like hotels, banks, stores, and other retailers can look to Cooper Hewitt’s approach if they undergo branding, communications and design changes.

The mission of Cooper Hewitt’s multifaceted program was to “renovate and reinvent” the museum, Baumann noted. That entailed coordinating 13 design firms to refresh the landmark mansion and grounds as well as a concerted PR, marketing and merchandising effort.

Keeping various audiences informed was a key part of the plan. Cooper Hewitt did so through media outreach, member e-newsletters and mailings, a blog highlighting daily objects, social media updates, and clever building signage with messages about the redesign progress.

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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

CEO of Uber’s Branding Agency Talks Visual Communications

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In case you missed it, one of the big trends in communications is less talk, more pictures.

“Visual branding” isn’t just a buzzworthy phrase; it’s a crucial part of every big-name business’s marketing strategy.

Today we had the chance to speak with Dava Guthmiller, founder and CEO of San Francisco’s Noise 13. The self-described “brand strategy & design agency” helps create the visual identities of various brands, including one called Uber that you may have seen mentioned in recent posts on this very blog (in addition to every other blog on the planet).

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YouTube Food and Lifestyle Personalities Share Branding Tips

YouTube Truvia Baking Contest Final“Mix, taste, frost, yum and done” – those were among the steps that a contestant used to bake brown sugar cupcakes. She was competing at an event this week to be a baking star sponsored by Truvia, a natural sweetener. Four YouTube food and lifestyle stars judged the desserts and offered insights on how they each rose to video fame.

While the baking techniques were straightforward, the path to becoming a YouTube sensation isn’t as clear cut. As moderator and YouTube beauty channel host Rachel Talbott noted, it takes time. As the judges concurred, it also takes resourcefulness and an ongoing, concerted effort to stand out from the crowd. The panelists included:

Byron Talbott: professionally trained chef, Byron Talbott channel
April Moore: online foodie, mom and lifestyle expert with 3 YouTube channels
Gaby Dalkin: cookbook author, food/lifestyle writer, What’s Gaby Cooking channel
Joanne Ozug: recipe developer behind Fifteen Spatulas channel

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Pizza Hut Is Getting Fancy and Fit for November 19 Rebrand

CherryPepperBombshellPizza Hut has announced the date — November 19 — when they’re going to introduce to the world five new “drizzles” (balsamic vinaigrette among them), 10 new crusts (one with Asiago cheese) and six sauces (including honey sriracha). There’s also going to be a Skinny Slice that has 250 calories. There’s even going to be a new pizza box and logo. So the company is really going all out.

USA Today is calling it the biggest rebrand in Pizza Hut’s 56-year history. The company’s CMO Carrie Walsh tells the newspaper, “We’re redefining the category.”

But when you look at the top comment on the Pizza Hut Facebook page, it’s from a customer asking them to bring back the Bigfoot pizza.

Is the world ready for Pizza Hut with sriracha?

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Can ‘Weird Al’ Save Radio Shack? Can Tim and Eric Save Pizza Rolls?

DISCLAIMER: We still have a huge soft spot for “Weird Al” Yankovic. We lost track of him in the 90s, but your editor is not in any way ashamed to admit that he still knows ALL the words to “Fat” and “Eat It” (and most of “Dare to Be Stupid”). “Word Crimes” was the best thing we’ve seen/heard from him in years.

That said, the question posed by Radio Shack‘s choice of Yankovic as its new spokesman is, “How can a fading brand reassert its own relevance?”

Here’s the new ad, created by our friends at Austin agency GSD&M, that launched this morning:

It’s funny, but the ending joke illustrates the problem: when you think of Radio Shack, what do you think of beyond batteries? Cords? Earbuds? iPhone cases?

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STUDY: The Public Wants Its Brands to Get More Political

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Is Nike a Republican or a Democratic brand? What about Apple?

Given the headaches and ruined family dinners inspired by this week’s midterm elections — along with the general sense that Americans have had it with ugly party politics — this post’s headline may come as a surprise.

Yet a study released by the Global Strategy Group found that Americans do assign political identities to brands, and that the general public wants those brands to be more overtly political, whether that means Chick-Fil-A letting the world know how it feels about same-sex marriage or Chipotle asking gun owners not to bring their firearms inside.

Some key findings:

  • 56 percent of respondents think corporations should “take a stance” on political/cultural issues, even when they’re controversial
  • 89 percent believe that corporations have the power to influence social change
  • 80 percent think that these corporations should take action to address our society’s most pressing challenges

The most interesting part is that these numbers mark a big change from last year, when researchers asked the same questions. We spoke to Tanya Meck, Executive Vice President and Managing Director at GSG, to learn more.

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McDonald’s Not Going with ‘Lovin’ Beats Hatin” After All

So your friendly neighborhood chain restaurant isn’t too happy about its marketing secrets being leaked…especially when they’re not true. Last week we told you that McDonald’s was going to make its “rebrand” public next year with the tagline “Lovin’ Beats Hatin.’”

Now, however, the brand is pushing back. A spokesperson told Businessweek that the phrase wasn’t supposed to leak and that it might never appear anywhere at all — even on social! That said, the company has sought to trademark the remarkably similar phrases “Lovin’ > Hatin’” and “Lovin’ Is Greater Than Hatin’” (in case you needed it spelled out).

We can’t figure out how this sentiment could play into McDonald’s plans to reinvent itself. Does the brand simply want to encourage its customers to be better people, or does it want to ask the world why everyone’s always pickin’ on McD?

Lovin’ may beat hatin’, but do you know what beats both of ‘em? Questions. Questions like, “Why is the McRib seasonal?”

We would tell you that someone wrote an entire Simpsons plotline explaining the strategy, but director of PR Molly McKenna Jandrain already did it for us. SPOILER: people like exclusive stuff.

Why is McDonald’s so cheap?” is another good one if you like one-word answers that begin and end with “bulk.”

The 20 Most ‘Authentic’ Brands in the US (and Why)

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“Transparency” isn’t just a buzzword: as a 2013 survey by Cohn & Wolfe showed us, consumers around the world are demanding more in the way of honest communications from the brands they know and use every day.

The 2014 version of that survey, which the firm released this week, is larger and more all-encompassing. They keyword this time around: “authenticity.”

Here’s the big finding:

  • 87 percent of global consumers say it’s important for brands to “act with integrity at all times” while only 72 percent call innovation essential

Another key finding: product quality and the transparency surrounding it is the largest potential cause of crisis for a brand — and the public in general is NOT happy about data security.

After the jump, we list the 20 “most authentic” brands in the United States and ask Cohn Global Practice Leader of Corporate Affairs Geoff Beattie to tell us a bit more about the “why.”

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19 Brands That Teased Our Tastebuds on #NationalChocolateDay

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In the mood for some (literally) sweet “food porn” today?

This maybe-not-real holiday just happens to occur right before Halloween, and wouldn’t you know that it was also created by The National Confectioners Association?

Still, we are OK with chocolate — so we will share a few brands that managed to get in on the theme on social today.

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Sound Insights on Storytelling and Branding at Communications Week

Telling brand stories may seem simple, but far more goes on behind the scenes than many realize. Creating “aha” moments, integrating messages across platforms and navigating multiple agencies can often seem daunting. Just when you think all is clear, newer tools like Whisper and SoundCloud make both literal and figurative noise.

The complex art of storytelling was the topic at a Communications Week panel Thursday night in New York.

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L to R  – Moderator Patrick Coffee (Senior Editor, Mediabistro), Brendan Murphy (Senior Partner, Design, Lippincott), Tiffany Guarnaccia (Founder, Kite Hill PR), Shoshana Winter (Executive Planning Director, Digital Integration, mcgarrybowen), Pam Workman (CEO, Workman Group Communications), Tyler Gray (Editorial Director, Creative Newsroom, Edelman)Andrew Fingerman (Media Director, MRY)

The event was hosted by Workman Group, creative comms industry group ADC was the venue partner, and the entire undertaking was organized by Communications Week.

PRNewser’s very own editor Patrick Coffee moderated, and panelists represented a mix of PR, digital and brand marketing agencies:

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