Brand positioning, brand story, tone of voice, key messaging and copy for the website and packaging of a new-to-market chai brand in collaboration with Bloom London.
Indian food is typically stereotyped into the “traditional” and “ethnic” brand archetypes, which is something the founders wanted to avoid. They wanted to challenge the British concept of chai, and on an even bigger scale, our concept of the right cup of tea. Their overarching goal was to make chai a modern product that you’d drink anytime, anywhere, the same way most British people would drink English Breakfast tea. The first challenge we addressed with the branding was setting Tuk Tuk Chai apart as a modern Indian brand in a compelling, energetic way, avoiding cultural stereotypes.
Firstly, I had to tackle the tone of voice and overarching brand story. Tuk Tuk Chai’s co-founders had a international love affair and through that, discovered chai. It was an engaging and authentic way to introduce the story and the range.
To set the product apart from the Starbucks “chai lattes”, we decided to put together a video of chaiwallahs making chai on the streets. My thinking was that this would contextualise the product and show how different it is from the standard British brew.
Finally, many consumers will not be familiar with how to drink real chai – it’s a different drink to British tea. So we created a page to encourage people to try it different ways; hot, cold etc. This gave rise to the strapline: chai it your way.
For the product range, the client created a range of three flavours which loosely correlated to different geographical regions in India – masala chai is predominantly drunk in the North, cardamom chai is a speciality of the South, and ginger chai is drunk across the country. For this reason, we decided to match up each product with an adventure in that region, to give a taste of India without going down the heritage route.
How this helped them
By contextualising the product for a British audience, I helped the founders of Tuk Tuk Chai to communicate about their product in a way that was relatable for the customers they wanted to reach. From educating the audience about the ways they could make it their own, to bringing in a modern love story, Tuk Tuk Chai became a brand that was about more than just tea. It’s about fusion, East meets West and a celebration of multiculturalism. It has a point of view, and that’s what makes them stand out in a big way within the tea industry.
Consult on creative strategy and messaging for the website and packaging of a new-to-market nut snack brand.
A quirky start-up selling Japanese-inspired spiced roasted nuts needed support with characterful copy, product naming and creative strategy. In collaboration with Studio More design agency, we set Kinomi on a spicier path.
Kinomi is the brainchild of Japanese-American entrepreneur Hiromi Stone, a brilliant Japanese chef with a knack for creating complex spice blends. She wanted to infuse her brand with her playful personality and a nod to her Japanese heritage, without playing on lazy Orientalist stereotypes.
Starting with Japanese language, we came upon the idea of using Japanese ideophones, the group bank of ‘sound’ words collectively known as giseigo, as the basis for brand product naming. Due to their simple vowel sounds and repetitive nature, they’re easy for English speakers to pronounce and remember. From there, we also leveraged the concept of kodawari, the Japanese term for the mindful pursuit of perfection through craftsmanship, to express the values of her brand.
The Pished Fish
Naming, tone of voice, key messages and copy for the launch website and packaging of a new-to-market brand of alcohol-infused smoked salmon.
The smoked salmon niche is a crowded market, particularly for start up smoked salmon brands aiming to sell to well-heeled Londoners. The owners wanted to stand apart as an ultra-premium product; so when I suggested a Victorian London-inspired concept they were willing to take a risk.
Effusive and enigmatic, the Pished Fish engages customers through tall tales of revelry, madcap experimentation and the finer things in life... all with a devilish twist. With nods to Victorian gothic horror, alchemy and high society, the Pished Fish is positioned as a uniquely quirky brand that distils the soul of Victorian dilettantism into fish form.
The process of curing and smoking each side of salmon is told through the alchemist's diary, to turn a standard 'process' webpage into a more intriguing read, which is explored further through social media content.
Tone of Voice
I took references from gothic horror classic 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', particularly from the tone of 'Lord Henry Wotton', and added a liberal smattering of Wodehousian interjections to create the narrative tone of voice for the brand story across web and marketing collateral.
Each flavour is cured in a unique blend of booze and botanicals, before a final smoke over complementary wood chips. To present this information as simply as possible, we decided to divide each recipe up into its component parts and explain with a very short story, rather than a long product description.
Since the brand relaunch, the Pished Fish have been able to get into desirable stockists including Selfridges, Harrods, Ocado and Waitrose. While the product is fantastic, the buyers have fallen in love with the branding and it has allowed them to have higher quality conversations quicker and with greater ease than their previous branding had allowed.
Oakam is a high street lender changing what it means to borrow money. In collaboration with Labworks, they commissioned us to refresh the brand tone of voice and key messaging as part of a huge digital rebrand.
They don’t just provide a service, they champion those who have been financially excluded by other banks by providing access to emergency finance and the opportunity to build up a credit rating.
Throughout 2016, Oakam have undergone a digital rebrand and as part of that, they chose to collaborate together to revamp their tone of voice and key messaging across their website and marketing collateral.
Tone of Voice
Together, first we tackled the tone of voice for the brand.
Going from a foundation of “trustworthy, reliable and friendly”, after a couple of brand value proposition and tone of voice workshops, we moved on to the more emotive “empowering, caring and bold.”
From a customer perspective, we really wanted to communicate through every channel that Oakam is far more than a high street lender. Unlike most financial institutitions, Oakam staff are heavily invested in the success of their customers, and develop very strong relationships that last even after the loan has been paid back.
From an investor perspective, we wanted to show that Oakam is a real thought leader in ethical lending practices, ahead of the curve with their use of integrated technology in-store and community-building across the country.
When researching Oakam, one thing immediately jumped out: for the vast majority of first time customers, English is not their first language. This has a huge impact on writing copy for marketing channels.
First, all financial jargon had to be stripped out so that every loan package was simple to understand for someone with an average knowledge of banking and finance.
Second, all copy would have to be simplified and shortened so that it delivered they key bits of information in simple language, while still retaining a spark of personality.
In short, it was a big editing job.
We decided to have slow sliders of micro-copy on the site, to give each ‘sound bite’ room to breathe on the page, with enough time between each slide for non-native English speakers to understand the content.
Mei & Taccalitti
In collaboration with brand consultancy Bold Wise, we created a conceptual brand identity for an Italian shirtmaker, for their future revamp of their online retail offering.
A traditional Italian shirtmaker with a small online retail offering were considering revamping their brand identity including name, design assets and tone of voice, in order to break into the EU and US market. They came to my design partner and I in order to discuss the different brand positions that might work for them, and how an identity could be structured to flex for their future approach.
Below are a trio of concepts that were presented as part of this branding exercise.