Category Archives: Brand Management

Technology company re-brands with heart

Corporate identity depends heavily on people’s built-in perceptions of established cultural symbols.  These symbols communicate without words, often without even conscious contemplation.  They can communicate instantly and evoke a certain predictable response.  This was the approach used to create a new identity for TLC, a company that humanizes and simplifies technology installations for its clients.  Many people are overwhelmed by by the complexity of operating new technology and are frustrated trying to get, often mismatched, components to work together (how many remote controls do you have?)  TLC, the Technology Lifestyle Company, needed an identity that could communicate solving this puzzle with a positive outcome.  Wouldn’t you like to love your technological environment instead of fight it? That means integrating all of your high-tech electronics into one easy to manage system.  That includes creating a user-friendly interface for your pad or smart phone that integrates your entertainment, security, lighting and environmental controls.


TLC logo designed by R Strategic in 2012

We started with established symbols for love and affection (an easy one…the heart), and married it to the de facto symbol for the contemporary power button.  This little symbol now adorns almost every modern electronic device and portrays: power, technology, command and contemporary.  We opted for green for several reasons, first, as recognition of the LEED recognized energy management aspects of the product, and secondly to lose the “medical” connotations of the red heart. Our finished solution now combines those attributes with the promise that you will love living with the technology solutions of TLC.  We suggested the slogan, “Technology you’ll love to live with.”

The goal of good brand graphics is to establish credibility and recognition for your company’s identity.  A symbol that is unique and easy to recall, but also one that intrinsically MEANS something to the viewer and communicates on many levels.  It must also have a simplicity that rejects faddish styles that will serve to date it and make it anachronistic before its time.  A visual truth striped down to its bare essence.


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Good Design Is Timeless

A good example of an investment in design excellence that has paid off over the years is the iconic logo for Kapalua, the resort on Maui. It represented the metamorphosis of Maui Land and Pineapple Company’s agricultural enterprise into a new resort development venture. The most amazing thing about it is that it looks like it was designed yesterday.  But, it is over 30 years old.

This a very good example of how design fundamentals, exacting process, client rapport and intrinsic talent can create something special, and by all accounts…timeless.

Looking at this bug (literally) brings back a lot of personal memories for me.  I was on the design team at Bruce Hopper Design back in the early 70’s when this was originally conceived. I remember the impassioned arguments over letter spacing, wing shapes and color options. Try matching a specific vintage of Cabernet to a PMS color spec…it’s not easy.  Mostly I remember the professionalism of that shop and its creative driver, Bruce Hopper.  I consider that time in my life to be my apprenticeship and where I formed by core values on design that I have applied to every project since then.

When Web graphics first started they were the realm of code writers and developers; and had a very pedestrian look.  Graphics were along for the ride and corny animated giff’s were the pinnacle of “wow” factor.  Now, design is a driving force and the Website can be a truly visual and auditory experience.  The basic skills of well-trained professional designers, who were always in the visual communication business, are once again a critical component for connecting with your market on the Internet.  Here’s some of what a graphic design foundation brings to Web development:


Most site visitors can decide within a few seconds if your company is professional, knowledgeable and competent by how it looks.  This has been the selling point of corporate identity for a hundred years and it applies to the Internet just as in any other visual presentation.

Colors Set the Mood

Designers know how colors and more precisely color-combinations affect the subconscious.  In Hawaii, they also know how color choices affect your target market and cultural demographics. Let the professionals pick your theme.

It’s Called a GRAPHIC User Interface for a Reason

Getting people to understand how to interact with a computer screen is a science.  But, it is an old science that graphic designers have been wrestling with for years.  The visual and non-verbal cues that tell people what they should do, and how they should navigate are not new to Internet development, but simply a modern application of international symbols, sign systems and non-verbal instructions that graphics professionals have been solving for years.

Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Words

And, although your Web crawler and search engines like words, people like images.  A beautiful photograph or a compelling infographic can hold the attention of the human brain faster and longer that all but the most profound words.

Make sure your Web designer has a thorough background in graphic design theory and target marketing, or he may have no idea what he is trying to accomplish for you.


Filed under Brand Management, Internet Marketing

Beyond Persuasion There Is Enchantment

Guy Kawasaki’s new book Enchantment is his most detailed revelation to date about the art of marketing elevated to spiritual experience. Kawasaki was a lead evangelist with Apple during its break-out years and was one of the main spark plugs that fired up Apple’s legendary brand loyalty.

Kawasaki’s recounts the evolution of persuasion as it applies to his Apple experience. Guy really, really believed Apple was the best computer, and he made a lot of other people really, really believe it too. But, the power of harnessing Enchantment can be applied to any deeply held belief the reader has a burning desire to share.

Kawasaki refined his skills as a post-Apple venture capitalist, and founder of Alltop, the ubiquitous online content directory. His new book is his best because he’s still engaged and learning. And, in our brave new world of the internet, ten second attention spans and social media you either learn or retire.

In Enchantment, Kawasaki takes us into the inner algorithm of his methodology. This is a “how to” book for a subject that is viewed as almost mystical by many. It is not just a compelling read on how to apply good old fashioned enthusiasm and communication skills to create curiosity, buy-in, and loyalty (in that order) for your product or service. It goes well beyond the ordinary. Kawasaki shares his creative insights into how advocacy can transcend its normal boundaries and become an infectious, life-altering intervention.

Enchantment is a primer on how to make any good idea contagious.

Enchantment is the best, and most revealing, book yet by Guy Kawasaki. After a amazingly successful career where he has perfected the art of persuasion and motivation. It is generous of Kawaski to share some of the magical secrets of his unique abilities.


Filed under Brand Management