Brand Archive

Three Olympic Ad Campaigns to Take Inspiration From

The Summer Olympics are in full swing. For the next 6 days, the world is captivated by these elite athletes. But Olympians aren’t the only ones with high stakes and the world watching. Some elite brands are also striving to inspire millions around the world.

We’ve pulled together three of our favorite ads to explore how these world class brands are able to tap into the powerful emotions of the Olympics. Only a small number of brands can be Official Sponsors but the ability for brands to connect on an emotional level with their consumers is always relevant.

Chobani connects to the good in us

When a 10th of a second can be the difference between achieving your dream and not, every detail matters. Chobani taps into the desire to be your best. That includes eliminating the bad stuff.

Chobani’s ad campaign highlights how Olympians have to eliminate all of the bad stuff from their lives in order to be great and ultimately, win the Olympics. This bad stuff includes crappy food, unhealthy habits, and also negativity, hatred, and jealousy. It shows this to highlight that Olympians should be putting good stuff in their bodies like Chobani. Which is where their slogan “You can only be great if you’re full of goodness” came from.

Chobani created a few advertisements featuring different Olympians who had to overcome adversity to get where they are today. This also sparked the social media campaign with the hashtag #NoBadStuff. Chobani also created a few different athlete spotlight stories which are videos of about 2 minutes that share how the athletes have overcome bad stuff in their lives to achieve greatness.

How are you helping your audience achieve their goals? Connect to their potential and share how you can help. Do you have exceptionally good ingredients in your food? Highlight how your ingredients help achieve a healthier lifestyle. Are you a clothing company that uses sustainable practices? Highlight the impact your audiences’ clothing choices have on the world around them. People want to be doing good things and no one really wants bad stuff in their lives.

Three Olympic Ad Campaigns to take inspiration from

Source: Chobani

Reese’s makes us laugh

Now to go on the completely other side of the spectrum, with a candy that might not be so good for you…. We move on to Reese’s. Reese’s recent commercial shows Winter Olympian Lindsey Vonn completely failing at all of the Summer Olympic Games. So, instead of succeeding in her off season, she enjoys a Reese’s. This is funny because it’s relatable — there’s plenty of us that aren’t good at sports and plenty more of us that will be watching the Olympics while eating less-than-healthy foods.

It’s interesting that a sugar-snack was able to connect their product to the olympics. They did this by being appealing to our imperfections and using humor. People can relate to trying something for the first time and not being the best at it. Or people can relate to thinking something is going to be easy, like getting on a horse, but having it be beyond difficult. So you know what, instead of failing at every Winter sport why don’t you just eat a tasty Reese’s snack (something we’re all good at)?

People enjoy when advertisements are real and speak to our human side. It makes them feel like the advertisement really understands the real them and not some artificial person they are trying to sell to. When consumers see this commercial, they think “That’s totally me, I can’t ride a horse either! But I sure do like Reese’s…”

So the next time you’re trying to relate to your audience, think about moments where you’re just what your customer needs.

Three Olympic Ad Campaigns to take inspiration from

Source: Reese’s

Gatorade connects to our inner-child

In Gatorade’s recent commercial the brand shows four different olympians and how they are still young at heart. It shows them with child-versions of themselves pushing them to be their greatest. Their children selves are egging them on to be faster, stronger and better. The commercial is called “Never Lose the Love” and it plays off of how the greatest at their craft never lose the love for what they do. It’s all a part of a bigger ad campaign by Gatorade that is called “For the Love of Sports”. It follows these same four athletes and tells the stories of their childhoods and how they became who they are today.

This is great because everyone can remember being a kid and it creates a good feeling inside when you see this commercial. Who doesn’t want to be a kid again? Almost everyone can relate to reminiscing on their childhood and how it made them who they are today. Gatorade connects to the inner child in all of us by reminding us that we’re all still kids.

Next time you’re struggling to connect with your audience, think about what their passion is and how you help them live it.

Love the sweat. Love the journey. Love the game. Fuel your love forward:

A photo posted by Gatorade (@gatorade) on


All of these ad campaigns were inspiring in their own way. Whether they used positivity, humor or nostalgia. Next time you see an ad during the Olympics, think about how they’re able to connect to you emotionally and how you can use that for your own brand.

Taking sustainability past brand buzzword | An interview with Factory45 Founder, Shannon Whitehead

Factory45 Founder, Shannon WhiteheadSustainability is a hot topic for many companies and consumers. It can leave brands wondering where’s the balance between sustainability as a business model and as a marketing tactic. To learn more about what sustainability means for brands, we interviewed Shannon Whitehead, founder of Factory45, an accelerator program that takes sustainable apparel companies from idea to launch.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Factory45?

I started out in the fashion industry about six years ago when I was starting a sustainable clothing company. My co-founder and I came together without really knowing how much was involved in creating a physical product. We were outsiders in a historically closed off industry and to top it off, we wanted our clothing company to be produced sustainably and ethically — something very rare in the fashion industry.

It ended up taking a year and a half for us to get off the ground because of so many challenges and issues that we never expected to come up. We were trying to source sustainable fabric, find a manufacturer in the U.S. and raise money to fund our first production run, but the questions we had couldn’t really be “googled.”

In 2011, we did eventually launch with the highest-funded fashion project in Kickstarter history at the time.

After going through that three-year saga of hitting dead-ends, I realized it should be easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to start clothing companies in the USA. I finally had the resources and education to know how to do it myself while also realizing that there was so little infrastructure set up for fashion companies to succeed. In tech, there are incubators and accelerators all over the place but nothing really existed for fashion.

After taking on a few consulting projects for several startups and seeing a need in the market, I launched Factory45, an online accelerator program that takes sustainable apparel companies from idea to launch.

What does sustainability mean to you?

If you’re making something new, there is no such thing as “perfectly sustainable.” Everything we make requires energy and thus, has an environmental impact.

The goal is to ultimately create a product that does as little harm to the environment as possible. The product has to sell first — I don’t believe that sustainability should ever be used as a primary marketing tactic — so when it comes to fabric and manufacturing, you do the best you can.

That can mean different things to different businesses: maybe your entire supply chain is within a 50 mile radius, maybe you only use recycled fabric, maybe you have a “zero” waste design philosophy.

Choose the sustainability practices that make the most sense for your product and for your business model, and as you grow, aim to improve your company’s footprint with each decision you make.

How did sustainability become such a driving force in your story?

Sustainability has always been a non-negotiable for me. That’s not to say I always knew what it meant. It took years of education, research and conversation with people who knew more than I did.Shannon Whitehead

I’d like to think the majority of entrepreneurs don’t start a business, knowing that their supply chain or business practices are destructive or unethical. In most cases, they don’t know any better because they haven’t taken the time to educate themselves.

That education was at the forefront of my entrepreneurial career from day one. Sustainability became a driving force for my story because it was so important to me from the beginning. If starting a business meant harming the planet or the people in it, then I wasn’t going to start one at all.

As part of the Factory45 program, you assist entrepreneurs with creating their brand identity. What are some of the biggest lessons about branding you’ve learned from this process?

  1. When you get to the point where you’re sick of saying, hearing and marketing your message, your customers are only just beginning to pay attention.
  2. From a design perspective, if you’re branding a sustainable business avoid using the color green, as well as any leaf, tree, earth symbolism. It’s dated and is an immediate turn-off for most consumers.
  3. If you’re not a graphic designer or don’t have an eye for design, then hire someone. With hiring sites like Upwork, this can be done very affordably now and it pays off dividends. I’m all for bootstrapping and doing as much you can yourself, but brand identity isn’t one of those things that can be butchered together or faked.

What do brands that are effectively telling a sustainability story have in common?

The brands that are doing a good job of telling the sustainability story are the ones that aren’t pushing it as a marketing tactic outright. As I’ve said, the product has to sell first. Consumers aren’t at a point yet that they’ll necessarily pay more for something just because it’s deemed “sustainable” by the people selling it.

As I tell the entrepreneurs I work with: The ethics and sustainability of a company should be embedded into the business model as a non-negotiable, not as a strategy for saying: “Aren’t we so great?”

What’s the most common mistake brands make when it comes to telling a sustainability story? And how can they avoid it?

  1. Using the word “eco-friendly.” The credibility of that word was pretty much destroyed by all of the greenwashing that happened in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Instead of using a “buzzword label,” go into more detail about why your brand is eco-friendly. Is it because of the materials? Is it because of your packaging? Is it because of a localized supply chain?
  2. Relying on sustainability as a marketing tactic. I know I sound like a broken record, but this has become my mantra. If sustainability wasn’t part of your business values, would the design and functionality of the product be able to stand alone?
  3. Overestimating the value of the sustainability story. Buying behavior has not advanced enough for this to make a significant difference to the majority of consumers. If that’s the only thing you’re messaging to your customers, then you need to rethink your strategy.

Measurement and KPIs are critical to marketing. Should the brand’s sustainability efforts be measured? Are there ways to measure it?

Sure. If sustainability is one of your core business values, then measuring your impact is important to your morale, as well as your employees.’ There are certainly ways to measure it, but I don’t think there’s a general formula that applies to every business.

I’ll give you an example of one way: Project Repat is an eCommerce business that turns people’s memorable t-shirts into t-shirt quilts. The company measures their environmental impact by the number of t-shirts they’ve kept out of landfills. On the marketing front, they let their customers know that, to date, they’ve saved 2 million t-shirts from ending up in the trash.

Applications to join the 2016 program of Factory45 open on May 18th. Until then, get free weekly advice on starting a sustainable apparel company here.

How amazing adventure photos can inspire your brand

Rock climbers clinging to a vertical wall hundreds of feet up, skiers leaving a trail of fresh mountain powder behind and beautiful landscape photography: outdoor apparel brands are lucky to have a variety of stunning visuals available. At first glance their imagery might not seem applicable to your brand, but these outdoor apparel brands provide inspiration for pushing your brand’s visual presence further to capture and inspire your followers. Here’s how.

Lead your emails with an image that has stopping power

How many emails do you receive each day? It’s probably around 100. What makes you open an email? Or read an email? These outdoor apparel brands use images that have the power to stop you from moving onto the next email, even for a moment, to consider reading on.
The second role of the leading image is to set up the rest of the email content — give the reader a preview of what to expect when they read on.
In the examples laid out below, you can see how a powerful image is used to stop the reader from moving on to the next email and starts the narrative of the content to follow. It goes from bigger picture to more specific product information and calls to action to shop.
Outdoor Apparel Brand Emails

Share visual inspiration on Instagram

People come to Instagram for visual inspiration. Start by understanding what inspires your audience. Then find the overlap between your brand’s story and what inspires your audience. This doesn’t have to be photographs of your branded products. It can be inspiring images that represent your brand, the stories that show who you and your community are.
Brands like Patagonia and The North Face share beautiful imagery of outdoor adventures. The North Face brand is about exploration and relentless pursuit of the things people love. You can see this by looking at The North Face Instagram and the images they share. The account highlights those pursuing the things they love like snowboarding, ice climbing, hiking, and camping. If you’re passionate about those kinds of activities, The North Face account provides a great community of stunning photography to inspire you.
The North Face Instagram
We all don’t have pro athletes or celebrities knocking on our door to represent our brands. So if you’re looking to build an Instagram presence, it’s okay to start small. Once you have a direction for your Instagram content, identify those who can help you populate it – whether it be internal or external resources.

Create a consistent image across channels

Consistency is important for brand building brand awareness and recognition. Social media channels alone add a variety of places to build a consistent brand look and tone. Sticking to your brand guidelines and repurposing content is a good way of saving you time and create a consistent presence.
Patagonia has a consistent look and message across their digital channels. The GO campaign promotes their Black Hole™ Bags on their website, emails, and social media. The simple theme – you can fit what you need in this bag – was emphasized with videos and photographs of all the things you can fill in a bag. Because when’s the last time you measured the stuff you were packing into a bag in liters? The repetition, visuals and consistency make this a powerful campaign.
Patagonia Twitter - Go Visuals
Patagonia Website - Go Visuals
Patagonia uses visuals to illustrate how much their bags fit

Enough space for a funhog weekend or a well-organized extended trip. The Black Hole bag. #PackedToGo.

A video posted by Patagonia (@patagonia) on

Visuals, visuals, visuals

Wherever you’re experiencing one of these outdoor apparel brands, you’ll find stunning visuals. For some, the extreme sport images are relatable and to others aspirational. Either way, these brands provide great examples of how visuals can grab attention, inspire community, and build your brand.

Visual storytelling for your brand

No Facebook likes. No retweets. A high landing page bounce rate. These can all be symptoms of a low audience attention span and a message that’s not pulling them in. Fortunately, there’s a one-two punch of visuals and storytelling to grab your audience’s attention and to keep it. The latest infographic from Widen explains the value of visual storytelling and how you can start thinking about integrating it into your marketing.
visual storytelling infographic

Visual Storytelling Examples

National Geographic Visual Storytelling Example
We’ve gathered a few examples to illustrate some of the “14 practical tactics you can implement today” mentioned in the infographic.

Keep it simple

Decide what story you want to tell with your images and discern which facts are most important. Few are better at this than National Geographic. While the quality of their photographs is unmatchable by most, their quality of visual storytelling is a goal we can all strive for. Their Instagram account features perfect examples of a powerful image paired with some facts to tell a captivating story.

Show your product in a live setting

Photographs of your product in a live setting alongside related objects helps communicate real-life applications. Nest Thermostat does a great job of walking you through life with their product. The image and copy tell the story of how easy it is to make Nest Thermostat part of your home. Visit to get the full story.Nest Thermostat Visual Storytelling

Find ways to involve fans

Showcase photos and videos your fans create of them using your product. GoPro does a great job of highlighting user-generated content on their website. They feature a video and photo of the day, keeping user engagement active. Winners are rewarded with a discount off their products. Who wouldn’t want to be featured in this awesome user community?Go Pro User Generated Content

You got this!

Use the tips from the infographic and these examples as inspiration for your visual storytelling. Start small and experiment. You’ll figure out what works for your brand and your audience.

The Path of a Small Business Rebrand [8 Steps]

Path in forestThe power of a brand isn’t limited to large companies like Apple or Google. Small businesses can utilize branding to differentiate themselves from the competition, build loyalty, and expand their market reach. If your brand is stale, outdated, or out of touch with your audience, it might be time for a rebrand. Other reasons for a rebrand include change, evolution, or growth for your company. If it’s time for your small business to rebrand, use these steps as a guide down the rebrand path.

Step 1. Identify the problem.

For a small business, rebranding can be a big risk. Branding can be expensive and time consuming. You also risk losing brand equity that’s already been built. Before you commit to a rebrand, make sure you’re addressing a problem and not just a symptom. For example, a logo and typeface update won’t address the fact that people think you have terrible service. You’ll just have a nicer looking logo people share while they bash your customer service.

Step 2. Commit to the rebrand and go.

Your team has identified that there is a problem with your current brand and what needs to be changed, e.g. your brand promise, visual identity, brand differentiation. Now fully commit to the rebrand and move ahead. Too many projects fail because they stall before they get started. Rebranding can be exciting. It’s an opportunity to better connect and serve your customers. Use that momentum to carry you forward.

Step 3. Get all the stakeholders on board.

A rebrand is no light undertaking. You don’t want to get to the point of launching your rebrand and having it stopped by a key decision maker. Make sure you’ve got all the right people on board to make it happen. On the flip side, you don’t need everyone and their mother involved with the rebrand. Too many people, opinions, schedules, etc. can slow things down.

Step 4. Keep things moving by showing something early.

Keep the energy and excitement about your rebrand going by showing something early. Help the team and stakeholders visualize the change. It’s exciting to see original ideas start to take form. Be sure to capture the initial reactions to the first sight of your new branding concepts.

Step 5. Deliberate honestly.

Rebranding doesn’t stop at the first iteration. When the first round of branding is shared, it will likely inspire a variety of reactions, opinions, and ideas. It’s good to gather this feedback to help create something better. It also helps your business better anticipate questions and reactions from a larger group later. Even if you like the first draft, it’s good to have two or more rounds of design and feedback to really fine tune. Once you finalize the branding, you should commit to it long term.

Step 6. Plan the transition.

Even once you’ve finalized your new brand, you’re just getting started. You need a plan to implement your new brand. Help your organization understand and live the new brand promise. Plan who changes what and when for your new visual identity.

Step 7. Execute everywhere.

You’ve finalized the new branding. It’s time to update your small business’s new brand to all forms of communication. Updating your website, email templates, and social media is just the start. Update print materials, corporate swag, signage, brand identity materials, and partner materials. There also might be intangible changes like how you talk about your company and it’s offerings. It’s important to make the update swiftly so you aren’t communicating conflicting branding at the same time.

Step 8. Communicate the new branding internally and externally.

It’s important to communicate the new branding internally and externally. For branding to be successful, everyone in your company needs know how to properly represent the brand. It’s also important to show off your new brand to the world, or your surrounding community if you’re a local operation.