Guest Post: Tom Crean Lager, Dingle Brewing Company

While I was in Dingle last weekend as part of the Dingle Food Festival I got to visit the newly opened Dingle Brewing Company whose single brew – the Tom Crean lager – is already being brewed at full capacity despite only being launched in July. The brand and its application across a variety of media is really impressive.

What follows is the story of that brand development by MidPoint Creative in Tralee – written by Steven Ruane. It is long and comprehensive so thanks to Steven for taking the time to share it.

History of Client:

As a start-up this company had no history as such

Initial Brand Status:

We met with the owners of the Dingle Brewing Company at the very start of the project. They informed us of their plans regarding the product, the premises for their business and their business plan.

Objectives of the client:
On meeting the directors of the Dingle Brewing Company we soon discovered that they had a very clear vision. They wanted to produce a premium lager that would appeal to a wide market. One product made right. They wanted their product to be truly Irish and for the Irish. The pub trade in Ireland has been suffering for a number of years and they wanted to produce a product that would bring people back to their local pubs, a product that would be enjoyed in good company and in the warm friendly atmosphere of the local.

They made it clear to us that they were going to produce the product naturally, using only the finest ingredients and with the minimum intervention in the brewing process. They had acquired a premises in which to brew, a premises which was full of character and history and which would fit in perfectly with their values and vision.

Scope of Project:

Create and develop brand identities and supporting material for the overall business and related product(s).

Carrying out research into the brewing and craft beer industry was a big challenge but one we were prepared to make the sacrifice for. Purely for research purposes we had to spend a lot of time in bars. We spent a lot of time staring at beer mats, beer taps, different brand marqs and imagery used in other breweries. We also asked the opinion of bar workers. As the product was going to be only available in bars it was vital that we got their insights into independent breweries and how their customers reacted to same.

Brand Marq Design

At our first meeting we had a long discussion with MD of the Dingle Brewing Company, Jerry O’Sullivan. On that first meeting we also got a tour of the site, ‘site’ being the operative word. We were shown around what used to be the Dingle Creamery building by Jerry. During the site visit, Jerry explained to us his plans for the business and the premises. It was very clear from listening to him speak that he had a crystal clear vision for the project. From a brand building point of view this is the best foundation you could hope for – a strong clear vision. On leaving the site that day we had no doubt that if we could express that vision in a creative way that this would be an extremely interesting project.

With this initial stance we prepared a brand platform document outlining the vision for the venture and setting down the foundations for how we were going to portray and develop this, both strategically and creatively.

As well as this we spend time online researching the brands that had been identified by the stake holders as competitors and benchmarks. We also had the very welcome opportunity to spend a lot of time in Dingle, soaking up the atmosphere and environment of where the brewery would be based

Putting together and distilling all of the information we had gathered on the brewery we were left with the following key impressions

Adding this to the other general research we had done on how other brands visually present themselves we got busy sketching. The image of the brewery building, being situated as it is, at the foot of the Conor Pass in Dingle was hard to escape. Other striking aspects of the brewery were the rich, dark wood casks that were part of the brewing kit and the sound of babbling water for the stream which flowed at the side of the brewery building. These images seemed to encapsulated the feel of the brewery.

The brand marq is made up of representative imagery. The client liked this and felt it fit in better with the ethos and feeling of the brewery. We used simple representations of the major features of the brewery, mainly the landscape and the brewing cask. We wanted to give the overall impression that this was Dingle itself being passed through the brewery and brought, via the lager, to the end customer. We kept the imagery simple and uncomplicated to reflect how the Dingle Brewing Company intended brewing. We also had to keep in mind that this brand marq was going to be scaled up and down for use on everything from large outdoor signage to small merchandise items. With one or two small adjustments the client was happy with the brand marq.

Support Material

With the brand marq signed-off we started working on developing he identity. As mentioned one of the memorable images we had of the brewery was the dark wood that the casks were made of and which was accented as part of the brewery building itself. We decided to use an image of this wood as a backdrop for the brand marq and as a background for the associated marketing material. It worked well with the darkness of the wood providing a good contrast against the mainly white brand marq. It also gave a good indication of the atmosphere of the brewery for those who would see the material without having visited the brewery.

We also got to work on other supporting material, from outdoor and ambient signage to flyers and brochures right across the board to t-shirts and other merchandise that would be available in the brewery gift shop.

At the moment we are just finalising the web site design and hope to have this online in a couple of weeks. We, and more importantly, the client, are very happy with how it is shaping up and are looking forward to seeing the reaction it gets from users.

Product Branding

The guys at the brewery had a very simple business plan. Instead of going fo a range of products they were going to produce one product and put all effort and concentration into making that product a premium one. They had decided to brew a lager and they were going to name it after local hero, Tom Crean. We were delighted with this name. Through his many feats of bravery and endurance Tom Crean had reached almost mythical status. The fact that he was from nearby Annascaul, Co. Kerry gave the name all the more relevance and resonance. We felt that there would be great creative scope here to create a really memorable identity for the lager and the supporting material.

Tom Crean’s Premium Irish Lager
The Dingle Brewing Company wanted an image that would reflect the care and effort they were putting into getting the lager just right. They also have a great deal of respect fro Tom Crean, the man, and wanted this respected to shine through in the identity.

We set about researching the man. There was so much to this quiet, stoic, character who went from the village of Annascaul to being a valued member of expedition teams for both Scott and Shakleton and ended up being heralded as having carried out the greatest feat of human endurance. After his naval career he quietly retired to his home village where he owned and ran the South Pole in until his death in 1938.

There was a lot we could have worked with but sticking to the ethos of the brewery and the character of the man himself we wanted to make the identity simple, uncomplicated, understated and interesting.

We had thought about a hexagonal shape for the identity, based on the shape of the Polar Medal, 3 of which were awarded to Tom Crean for his various feats. We had not seen many bar taps or identities of this shape and thought it would be a nice way to honour the hero.

As a second option we thought of an explorers compass. The circular shape of a compass also sat well with the brand marq for the brewery.

After discussions with the client we developed the ‘compass’ option. What could be more evocative of discovery and exploration?. We went through many versions of a compass graphic, some too complicated, some too modern. We eventually settled on a very simple version with only the North and South points showing. We placed the compass slightly off centre in a nod to a ships chronometer and to give the feeling the the needle was moving back and forth.

For the name of the lager we wanted to accentuate ‘Crean’s’ It was the vision of the Dingle Brewing Company that the customer would walk in to the bar, nod a t the barman and ask for ‘a pint of Crean’s’ To this end we made ‘Crean’s’ the focus of the identity, with the first name Tom resting in smaller type on top. For the typeface we wanted to used an old fashioned, classic looking, serif font, as would have been seen in newspapers and posters of the time. we felt that using all uppercase letters spoke to the strength and unwielding nature of Tom Crean.

Once we had the main elements decided on we added some distinctive character elements. On reading accounts of Tom Crean there were many comments on how he never asked for much and how much he would enjoy his pipe. We wanted to incorporate this in some way and after playing around with it for a while we used a pipe graphic as the apostrophe in Crean’s.

Another little fun item we added is the 18/35. This has already proved to be a great conversation starter when people see the identity or as they are holding the glass. Was it the year he was born/died? Was it the year of any of his voyages or the year he retired?. In Antarctic conditions and surviving only on 2 sticks of chocolate Tom Crean set of on a 18 hour trek over 35 km, a feat of incredible endurance and all to save the life of his 2 colleagues. We had to mark this in some way, so without much fuss or fanfare we nestled the numbers under his name. It still gives us a kick to see people noticing the number for the first time a theorising about what they mean.

For the colour palette, with the imagery of medals being in our minds we stuck to silvers and golds. We felt these also added to the premium feel that the client was hoping to achieve.

Support Material

Once we had the 2 identities finished we set to work on all manner of support material. Beer mats, bar taps, exterior signage, flyers, tent cards, posters, t-shirts, merchandise, web and social media, even right down to working with the clients on choosing and branding the glass.

Tagline and ‘Footprint’

For the supporting material we need a strong but engaging tagline. Given the provenance of the name of the lager and all that entailed coupled with the entrepreneurial spirit of the guys in the brewery we settled on ‘Discover Crean’s’. Simple and effective, it evokes the imagery associated with exploration while letting people know that this is a new lager worthy of discovery.

We also need a primary image to accompany this tagline on the marketing material. Given Tom’s amazing trek, we decided on using a footprint in the snow. The client was very happy with the footprint image. in one simple image it evokes the mammoth task which Tom crean undertook. The bleakness of the footprint in the snow contrasts nicely with the warm hue of the lager.

it all came together for us when the lager officially launched. The Dingle Brewing Company were aiming for the first brew to be ready mid July and it was. As if fated, Tom Creans birthday is on the 21st of July so after putting our heads together with the client we decided that the only place in the world that this lager should be launched is in the South Pole Inn Annascaul. So on 21st of July 2011 the first pint of tom Crean’s premium Irish lager was poured from the taps in the South Pole Inn, once owned by the great man himself, and the time of the first pour.. well that was twenty five to seven of course i.e 18.35.

Thanks for that Steven. You can see the other posts in this Food Brand Design Guest Post series here.

Keith

Guest Post – the evolution of Cathy’s Spelt For Health packaging

The 5th in this series is written by Cathy Whitty, one of the 2 owners of this brand. Happily Spelt for Health won a Joint Gold in the Cake & Breads Mix category at the Blas na hEireann awards last night – adding another to their shelf of awards which also contains a two star Gold Great Taste Award.

Here is Cathy’s post:

We are in business just two years and if we are to continue we needed to take it up a notch. Our old bags were brown paper with a label back and front.

The same great graphic designer has been involved with us from day one and designed and manages our website. Catherine Murray is a completing her degree at the moment. The brown bags were great in the beginning as we didn’t have to order in huge volumes and we could order labels in small batches so it was easier to manage cashflow.

However the downside was the labelling by hand very time consuming; it took an hour to label 100 bags so as our orders started to grow it was just impractical. Also as our flapjacks contain coconut it left little oily stains on the bags.

So once we knew there was enough demand the time had come to get new packaging. We were luck to have a mentor, Lisa Cunningham of Vogue Business Development assigned to us by Wicklow County Enterprise Board.

Lisa looked at our products range, five products, five colour ranges. We were so nervous about going so colourful after our brown bags which we felt were earthy and natural looking. Cathy our graphic designer did several mock ups of different colour schemes, different layouts however the most important thing was that  they all had to complement each other on a shelf.

We had one overall colour and then chose a ten per cent gradient of that colour for the panels which contained writing on each bag. The guaranteed Irish logo is on the back of the bag and we put a photo of Cathy also in a circle so people could identify a person with the brand. (note from Keith – will check this with Cathy as that photo is not evident in this shots!)

Photography
Next up was the photograph which is on the front panel of the bag. We are a start up company and on a shoe string budget so we were left to take the photos ourselves. This part was the most frustrating, trying to get the photo just right. We used the surrounding landscape as our backdrop to all the photos. It took many many attempts until eventually we agreed on the photos.

Legislation and food packaging

We though we were ready to print, the design had been finalised, bags proof read and we decided to check that what we were writing on the actual bags complied with the current food safety legislation. The food safety authority were so helpful and read all our labels and it turned out we had to delete so much text from the bags. This could have been a very very costly mistake. A word of warning is get your packaging approved before you print!. Our new bags now comply with EU legislation and we are ready to start exporting in the coming months.

The one day workshop which will be run by Teagasc on October 18th ‘Package your Way to New Markets’ would be well worth attending and could save a lot of headaches if you are redesigning or rebranding your existing packaging!

Thank you for taking the time to share that Cathy – much appreciated.

Her website again: www.cathysspeltforhealth.ie

And on twitter: CathysSpelt

Keith

You can see the other posts in this series here.

Kilbeggan Organic Porridge – packaging update

Pat Lawlor was at the GIY Gathering event I went to yesterday and I took the opportunity to say hello afterwards as a fan of his product.

He had some sample packs with him (I took 4 and gave them out during the Amazing Grazing event on the Quay) and he talked me through the changes in V2.

Based on feedback from retailers HR has stressed his Irishness. So the addition of 2 very visible Irish elements at the top and his address under the Creamy strapline is also in green.

And a more subtle change too. Kilbeggan is now in the font used on the Kilbeggan whisky labeling. Pat asked for and got permission to do so.

Now two consumer facing food products from the same area share a strong common visual feature. You have to love the way this oats farmer thinks, I do 😉

Keith

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Guest Post: The design of the Sarah’s Honey brand for Milleeven Fine Foods

Within this lies another tale – how does a daughter or son establish their own identity on an established brand. It needs to be tackled – otherwise they are just doing what their parent(s) did. I have known Eilis Gough (founder of Milleeven Honey) for many years but have never met Sarah her daughter.

However I was aware of Sarah’s products and brand and so asked Philip Darling from Concept Choice to do a guest post on how the brand and packaging came about.

The design of the Sarah’s Honey brand

“Milleeven Fine Foods, based in Kilkenny, Ireland, decided to launch a range of flavoured honey to the market place. They already produce traditional honey products, so wanted something different for the Irish, UK and international consumer.

Branding and Positioning
Our first stage was to work with Tessa O’Connell of Brand Edge, who hosted a branding and positioning workshop for Mileeven and a selected audience type, from retail buyers to consumers. The day was really useful in identifying the perceived view of honey products, company reputation, qualities and indeed what the ‘modern’ consumer was looking for in honey. We also knew that the UK marketplace was very competitive, with massive marketing budgets to push their products.

We looked at what made Mileeven different, things that the large companies couldn’t claim with any real consumer believability, a love of honey and a hands on involvement from an ‘artisan’ family producer. Once these values and propositions were marked up on the flip chart, coupled with the wonderful mother and daughter story, ‘Sarah’s Honey’ (the daughter’s name) was realised and born. The name and spirit of the brand fitted, was true and gave a real point of difference from their competitors.

Packaging and Labelling practicalities
The next stage, was to look at the packaging practicalities and labeling of the new brand. Mileeven suggested a lovely glass jar that fitted that homemade ‘story’ and we decided to expand the label area to give it more shelf presence. A teardrop shape was conceived which had a secondary subtle effect, of ‘flowing’ honey.

Many typefaces were considered in the logo make-up but we settled on a ‘hand drawn’ effect which fitted well. A series of little watercolour illustrations were commissioned, again as if Sarah herself had created these for her ‘homemade’ production line. Each product also featured a different coloured border to assist content recognition and words such as ‘scrummy’ and ‘passionate’ to enhance the ingredient descriptions within.

Telling the Story – Video

As with any brand, the packaging is just part of the consumer experience, so to really extend the story, we conceived, shot and produced a video entitled ‘Sarah’s World’. Filmed over a couple of days on their farm (and in-between the showers) we created an atmospheric movie that showed Sarah within a rural environment, taking time out, writing, painting and collecting ingredients for her honey recipes. The whole video was then edited to look like a homemade super 8 film and wonderful music score commissioned to complement the visuals.

We also photographed Sarah and the full range of products for use on POS, PR, web and exhibition use. Some shots were taken quickly to capture a spontaneous feel, others took much longer to ensure everything was perfect in presentation. We also sourced vintage props and had lots of help from Eilis with family heirlooms and tablecloths.

The packaging, photography and video was then displayed in the London Food Fair of which they received lots of positive feedback and most importantly, samples requests and advance orders.

Overall, we really enjoyed the project, from brand generation right though to the packaging, photography and video. It was great too, to work with a client prepared to listen, trust and get involved in the marketing of the brand.

Philip Darling, Creative Director of Concept Choice

http://conceptchoice.com/

Great to see the exploration of the positioning using primary and secondary research right at the beginning of this project and also the extension into other media.

You can see the other food packaging guests posts in this series here.

Keith

Artisan food producers, Co-Op Sweden

One of the many decisions to be taken by a food producer as their business grows is whether to supply large food retailers with own brand products.

The elements of this decision involve scale, loss of brand awareness, margins, cashflow and dedication of resources to a part of the business which may not be core to their plans in the future.

Not every large retailer is the same and that is part of the complexity. If the decision involves retaining the producer brand as part of the product packaging then that can mitigate that element of the compromise.

This is 2 product shots from the Co-op chain in Sweden (taken while on holiday recently in Stockholm). In each you can see the consistent way in which the producer is named and credited on the packaging – adding to the authenticity of the range. This is a link to the page (in Swedish) on the Prima range which these are taken from.

From that page “We’ve tasted our way to the very best and will start with 50 carefully selected delicacies. All are original label and produced by suppliers with a passion for really good food. Now it’s your turn to enjoy the Coop Prima.”

Like that a lot.

Keith

 

Take a shedful of oats and a heap of product innovation..

blah, blah, blah “innovation/innovative”. One of the top 10 buzz words bandied around in all business sectors (and by all semi-state support agencies) all of which have ceased to make an impact on me due to overuse.

But instead watching the shelves of small food retailers you can see actual product innovation in action and it is a delight to witness because those new products will drive turnover, profits and survival.

Oats. Porridge. Traditional. Boring. Wholesome.

What a great place to start :-). This crop should be dead in the water, relegated to the breakfast bars of the old, infirm and incarcerated. However take a look at what a variety of producers have been doing with their oats.

Flahavans – www.flahavans.com

6 generations old and still a legend amongst food producers. I met Mary Flahavan at the Waterford Festival of Food in Dungarvan and then with a couple of their marketing team at a Bord Bia event in Cashel. Very impressed with the people I met and it explains why they have been able to move beyond their traditional product.

This is it. The raw material and the product.

And this is the first twist which caught my eye – moving from cereals into the (somewhat) healthy snacks category which targets school snack boxes I assume. Both these and a non-chocolate version are delicious :-). Good packaging design which carries through the original logo and uses bold photography and strong messaging. Inside are 6 individually wrapped bars.

The second shows the power of partnership – with this 6th generation artisan producer working with a global dairy giant to cater for a growth space in cereals – ready to eat. Good article in Shelflife here on this product range.

Kilbeggan Organic Porridge – www.kilbegganorganicfoods.com

Externally this does not look like innovation – its another identical product (even if organic) for consumers to choose from. However the innovation here can be seen from the other side and is directly connected to Flahavans. Pat Lawlor is a supplier of organic oats to Flahavans where his crop gets blended with other oats.

In January this year (2011) he took the bold step of launching his own brand and he has diverted some of his production into the Kilbeggan Organic Porridge bags.

As Oliver Moore says in his blog post on Pat herethe story of Kilbeggen organic porridge oats is exceptionally interesting. It suggests an alternative to much of what goes as standard practice.

(excuse the crumpled look – rest assured I am not trying for a metrosexual vibe here)

Dorset Cereals – www.dorsetcereals.co.uk

Picking up on the Ready to Eat/convenience trend in the cereal space we can find a different approach from this UK based business. Their product range is massive but this one caught my eye. The strong colours, catchy graphics and large fonted simple text worked really well for me. Taking the standard product, reworking it with some added ingredients and doubtless bumping up gross margins.

Nairn’s – www.nairns-oatcakes.com

Another UK based business and a product back on the snack side – but this time a more adult version. Or certainly not a school bag lunch treat. The Nairn’s oat biscuits are a natural extension from Oat Cakes but look at this packaging and design – lifts it straight into a luxury space.

This is a newly emerging redesign of this range for them – there are a mixture of it and the older designs still kicking around.

MacSween – www.macsween.co.uk

Have to include at least one product here which you are mostly likely never to have heard of :-). MacSween have been making Haggis for over 50 years and in 1984 they introduced this Vegetarian Haggis which includes the core ingredient of oats together with a multiplicity of others.

It’s delicious. Not that I have compared it to the original. A more recent development is their 1 minute haggis – two slices of tasty vegetarian haggis in a unique microwavable pack.

Oatly – www.oatly.com

For the last example we are leaving these Islands and moving north to Scandanavia – specifically to Sweden. Another model behind this range of products – a research collaboration with Lund University in Sweden.

I wonder are their research projects in Ireland at present which would lead to such a strong and unique business being launched? We may well have a dairy heritage but there is no reason why Ireland cannot innovate in the same way and tap into strong emerging trends internationally which demand slightly different approaches to consumer products.

This is a full range of foods and drinks which are in the “dairy milk substitute” category. The photo below shows a couple of examples from a Coop store in Stockholm I visited recently while the first product I came across from Oatly was a one litre tetrapak Oat Milk.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it – I have been saving up oat based products for a while to include in this (and because of my artisan leanings I have ignored obvious examples such as the Weetabix Oatabix range).

There is a world of opportunity out there which do not necessarily need farmers to change the crops they are traditionally growing – instead it needs imagination and investment in developing partnerships or new consumer brands from scratch.

That stuff is not easy – in fact it is really difficult to do well. But if the alternative is stagnating markets and declining profit margins (or higher losses) then it is good to see what can be achieved. If your fancy has been tickled then check out the Bord Bia Foresight Program which supports new product devleopment.

Keith

PS – I don’t even want to get started on why porridge (which takes 2 to 3 minutes to cook on a stove) needs to be reworked into a 1 minute microwave version. No thanks 😦

Book Review – “What is Packaging Design?” by Giles Calver

Enjoying a 2 week break in Stockholm and that gave me the opportunity to explore a design and architectural bookshop where I found “What is Packaging Design”. I had been wanting to read something like this for a while – to give my guts feelings on good and bad design a more solid foundation.

This book was a great start – I really enjoyed it and could see so much thought-provoking information in there for local and artisan food producers and the people working in them who have to manage packaging design processes. It is not exclusively about food but that does not matter – every principle in there can be applied to food products and well over half of his case studies are of food.

I have done a very brief summary which contains some of the points which I underlined while reading it. This does not do the book justice – you need to buy it for yourself if you have an interest in this topic!

Keith

Same category, different approaches. Organic childrens yogurt

This fascinates me – the different packaging design approaches to an identically positioned product.

Glenisk – www.glenisk.com

Personally I am finding this kinda messy – but I don’t doubt for a second that it is effective.

Rachel’s – http://www.rachelsorganic.co.uk/

For me much clearer messaging = strong fruit statement, very readable text and parent-appealing shot of baby.

I do wonder which is more effective – or have the two brands differentiated the market by targeting different profiles within the organic food purchasing parent population?

As a by the way check out their respective homepages for a quick comment on brand consistency:

To my untrained eye the Glenisk packaging is very much at variance with the website (which itself could do with a rework and update to make it more consistent) and even the Rachel’s website contains subtle brand design references which are not yet reflected in this packaging.

I guess this is the bane of marketing peoples lives – having a large product portfolio and multiple channels/manifestations of the the brand which all need updating once the core brand design and messaging are changed.

Keith

Killowen Farm packaging and brand redesign

Made for Biabeag – a side by side placing on the fridge shelf of the before and after packaging for Killowen Farm. (I cannot find a website for them, however this link (direct to pdf) gives a little more information)

This redesign was launched in April this year as far as I can tell and seems to have involved:

* Significant work on the main logo to make it much more contemporary in terms of font and colour.

* Addition of the word Farm to the logo to add to the positioning and provenance

* A black and white image of the farm (I assume) to tap into the authenticity message

* Colour ingredient shot to make visual identification clearer

On the back of the pack:

Here we have a update in the story being told to:

* Pick up the name of the family involved (the Dunnes)

* Handcrafted is new, as is the highlighting of no colours, preservatives or additives

* Carried over is the word unique and the phrase smooth, rich milk

Like the new design a lot – much more effective.

Keith

 

Brand consistency across products and ranges

This is a tricky post for a non-designer to write because I do not have the training nor the vocabulary to express some of my thoughts in this area.

However it is an area of great concern for artisan and local foods brands as they start to expand. The voice of the brand needs to be consistent across channels and when expressed by different people and on the shelf-edge products across different categories need to be readily identifible.

Why?

Speaking as a consumer (the hat I wear most easily) I need food brands to help me. While I spend more time than the average person when shopping for food I can still be in a hurry at times. And given that time pressure I need to very quickly be able to visually identify my favorite brands on the shelf-edge almost sub-consciously.

What makes that difficult to achieve?

Lots of stuff. A small brand’s products being scattered across categories (unlike some bigger brands who get to impose merchandising standards and some cohesion in display because of their leverage) and inconsistency of placing in different shops and stores.

And then there is bad design – for example subtle visual aids which work for a designer on their computer but which cannot be picked up in a quick scan in-store.

Implementation case-study – Cooleeney Cheese

The following 9 slides were presented by founder Breda Maher at a recent Bord Bia event in Cashel which I was on the panel for. That link brings you to a page where you can see more details and download the other presentations which were really good. This was the stated objective of the work:

To create a brand identity for Cooleeney that would bring the range together in an impactful way to drive consumer brand awareness

Some background on Breda’s presentation from my notes:
The redesign was prompted by feedback from a new and potentially big continental customer who said that the products were superb but that the branding was a disaster.

Breda used a mentor from Bord Bia and complemented that with their Foresight4food research service. The design work was done by Dynamo and research methods used included focus groups, accompanied trips and online focus groups.

Really interesting point for me which Breda shared quite openly was that Breda had to pause the project for her to catch up with the brand ideas which were being presented. After that pause of 8 weeks, during which time she gave herself the space to rejig her head around the new visual presentation of the brand, she restarted the process and was able to fully commit to it.

To ensure the rebrand did not harm sales a marketing plan was developed because of the dramatic changes to the brand – both in terms of perception and also actual issues around being found on the shelf.

The rebrand has been a tremendous success and was complimented from the floor afterwards.

In contrast, a brand which challenged me on the shelf-edge

This is tricky to write because it challenges an Irish brand’s design but made easier by the fact that the brand concerned (Lakeshore) was a great artisan brand but has since been sucked into the Boyne Valley Group.

This was prompted by a shopping session in my local Supervalu where I noticed that the Lakeshore brand was represented in a number of categories on a single isle – but that I could not spot the brand products in each category without working really hard at it.

So I took some photos to flesh out a future post (this one) and when I looked back at them discovered something interesting. I was apparently wrong…

Absolute consistency. Logo, font, photography. All perfect with the benefit of hindsight, big photos and time to review them in detail.

So I was sitting down to write this post and discovered that I was about to make an ass of myself – my evidence would contradict me 😦

Yet I know that I did have issues in the store. And so got to thinking about an area I know a little more about. The design of websites where individual logical elements work on the web designers screen yet when presented en-mass to end users the overall site doesn’t.

My conclusion

And that is what (I think) is happening here. The logo is consistent – but it is white and gold on a black background, it is small in scale and the graphic is almost invisible on a quick look. So in the absence of a clearly distinguishing logo to anchor my shelf-scanning I am left with consistent font and photography which is very professional but the combination is probably  too bland on the white background.

That’s it – a long post and unhappy that I cannot pin that last piece down. I just don’t know if the issue I identified for me with Lakeshore is shared by others and also don’t know if my observations are actually valid.

Feedback very welcome 🙂

Keith