Surely, by now, by 2018, we know what a good brand looks like, right? Right? Well, you’d be surprised how many businesses – who should know better – get it a bit wrong. Whether it’s a wonky rebrand, a logo with an accidental subliminal message or an attempt to be relevant on social media which just clangs, we could point a very judgy marketing finger at quite a few well-established brands.
But, we’re not going to do that today. Sorry. It’s all too easy to pick faults and find negatives. And I don’t feel like being negative today. I’m here today to find some of the best examples of brands who are absolutely smashing it in 2018. And as I say, that’s no mean feat. There are many pitfalls to step around. Big ones.
Now, when I talk about brand, as we’ve mentioned in a few recent posts, I’m not just talking about the logo. Or the colour scheme. It’s everything. To make my list here, they have to be embodying a concept, everything they do should be perfectly pitched, consistent, and you guessed it – on brand.
Without further ado, here is a list of brands I think are leading by example in 2018.
SPOILER ALERT: Apple is not on this list. Come on, I’m not that lazy.
If you are at all interested in marketing or social media, you probably won’t be surprised to see the drinks brand here. As famous today for their irreverent and quirky Twitter posts as they are for their smoothies, these guys are a perfect example of how to create and communicate a modern, friendly and quirky brand. It’s not easy to be quirky in 2018 – things very rarely stay original before they are copied, and it’s easy to forget who did it first. But I can’t honestly think of a brand who are doing what Innocent are doing with the same level of success.
Why it’s good
Everything is cohesive. The logo – a hand-drawn angel emoji type thing – immediately sets a tone of playfulness and informality. This is then backed up the font – a nice chunky rounded sans-serif, and the colour scheme – bright. The colour scheme also has the additional purpose of evoking what Innocent are selling – fruit smoothies. Then we have the tone of voice, and the messaging. It’s relatable, friendly, humorous, self-deprecating and a little bit sarcastic (which must be why it speaks to me so much), and just fits perfectly with the brand. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and it comes across as effortless – but it’s very carefully designed to make you think and feel a particularly way about that brand. Genius!
This may be because I’ve just come back off a 2 week holiday in which I exclusively stayed in Airbnb properties, but I honestly think these guys have got a really cool brand, and I’m going to tell why goddammit! If you are not familiar, Airbnb provides a marketplace where people can search for and rent holiday properties, hosted and advertised by “regular” people. People have been able to use independent websites to book holiday properties for years, but I think the fact that Airbnb are now dominating this market, and have moved into experiences now too, shows how strong their brand is.
Why it’s good
Airbnb’s simple and understated brand enables it to put the most important thing at the forefront – its users and their experiences. And pictures of really cool places. The app, which as I mentioned I have spent a lot of time on over the last month or so – is clean, simple and easy to use. Exactly what you want when you’re trying to drive out of Nice airport whilst simultaneously finding the address of your apartment. I particularly like how they use the word “home” when they refer to the property you’ve booked – it helps consistently and subconsciously drive their core message, and one of their USPs – that booking an Airbnb is like becoming a local for the duration of your stay. I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention their logo – which after a bit of research I have learned has its own name (the Belo) and has a pretty cool concept. I usually bemoan brands trying to pretend that their logo isn’t just a shape they thought looked cool, but I’m on board with this one. They also have a full icon set which is used throughout the site and within the app which perfectly align with the logo.
I wanted to be sure to include a B2B brand here because we primarily work with B2B, and I’ve spent 80% of this blog post banging on about consumer brands. MailChimp – as you may or may not know – is a marketing platform, largely built around email. It’s a more affordable option than your HubSpots or your Marketos, and thus is targeted more towards startups and small businesses.
Why it’s good
Considering it’s pitched at those who are maybe just starting out in the world of business and marketing, the tone is absolutely spot on. It’s just the right blend of professional and friendly that you want for B2B – especially their corner of B2B. Not quite the outright irreverent tone of Innocent, but still enough to make them seem human and a good fit for a young business. Their Twitter bio is “Build your brand. Sell more stuff.” – this puts into really simple terms what the product can help you achieve, in a friendly and informal way. Their social media feed is a good mixture of general “friendly” updates, case studies and software and functionality updates and just the right blend you’d want from a B2B brand. Their logo is quickly and easily recognisable, even when it’s in a smaller format like a favicon.
I know I’ve talked about B2C a lot here, but really, these concepts are universal. Whether you’re selling smoothies or servers, your brand should be clear, consistent, and cohesive. And it should absolutely fit with your product or service. I think that the best brands, B2B or B2C are achieved when you approach your customers as humans.
What makes a good brand – key takeaways
- The best brands make communication and design feel simple and effortless, but are carefully curated and pitched to chime with their target market.
- Your brand and tone of voice should fit perfectly with your product. If the focus is not on you, but the community you’ve created, it should be simple and not too fussy (like Airbnb’s). If you want your product to be known as natural and organic but not boring, your brand should be fun (like Innocent).
- Whether you’re B2C or B2B, you’re still marketing to humans. Approach brand in the same way.
- In 2018, a brand should be easy to get – customers should know who you are, what you do, and what type of company you are pretty much instantly. Don’t over-complicate things.