Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our new blog

Hello blog readers

After three years of writing for Heywood Innovation's four blogs – branding, employer branding, M&A branding and annual report - I have decided to combine them all into one 'visual' blog that celebrates a new affiliation with our good friends the Taylor & Taylor creative team in Melbourne, and the sensational strategic and creative work that is driving our growth into 2011. The blog features work our teams are producing in the Sydney, Melbourne, London and Birmingham markets. Our new HITT blog can be accessed here.

Best regards

Tony Heywood

Friday, July 09, 2010

Eloquent orators supported by strong branding? Who’d you vote for?

I’d love to wax lyrical on the influence strong branding has on voters but it may just grate with my supporters in the House. I believe it is a very personal and complex psychological process choosing a political party, akin to the decision-making traumas afflicting many people when compatibility checking a future life partner. It’s like the stuff the fairer sex look out for when selecting a partner... colour of hair, bad breath, IQ, yellow teeth, skin condition, colour of skin, bank account, the Marks & Spencer label on his jacket, gym membership, alimony payments, parking offences, record of mental illness in the family, tattoos expressing his admiration for Mum, sexual preferences, size of ego and other stuff, previous conquests, previous convictions. You know the stuff. They ask pertinent questions along the lines of “Will he discuss the attributes of MasterChef whilst devouring one of Ahmed’s finest shish kebabs after the pub closes?”. “Does he have a sustainable and well paying job in the city or a greengrocer’s shop in Hackney?” “Is that his Hyundai parked outside with the go-faster stripes?” “Does he belong to an exclusive club in the city or Rotherham United Supporters Club?” “Does he talk about his Mum all the time?” “Is that tattooed girl in the corner balancing beer bottles on her head his sister by any chance?” Does he read the Beano in bed?” “Does he prefer to holiday in Bognor Regis?” “Does he have a soft spot for repeats of The Benny Hill Show?”

Well we don’t wear a T-shirt emblazoned with our own personal logo when we’re posturing in the pub eyeing up the opposite sex do we?... lager in hand and Brut liberally applied. ‘Metallica’ yes. ‘Harvard 1997’ possibly, depending on the venue.

I guess it’s much the same when choosing the leader of a political party. I suppose the same questions were running through Samantha’s mind when David Cameron proposed to her. Or was it the visionary Conservative Party logo monogrammed on his Hawes & Curtis shirt that grabbed her? Or the logo etched into his gold cufflinks? The discrete logo tattooed on his buttocks? The bumper sticker on the Bentley? The flag waving gnome sitting beside his garden pond? The monogrammed hankie with which he wiped away her tears after jamming her finger in the car door outside No.10? What do you think?

Looking at the random collection of logos on this page, I’d say there’s room for a rethink. Will a rose really do it for you? Will a green pyramid bring a brave new ecologically satisfying and sustainable lifestyle into your world? Will a tree adjust your thinking? Will Labor in Western Australia have voters reaching for the stars? Will the ‘flashback to 70s Australia’ Liberal logo grab their retro vote?

I reckon the yellow bird would look good on a T-shirt while listening to Nick Clegg and the Democrats down the Nags Head in Bromley High Street next Saturday night. Fair go. It gets my vote. It could do with a more stylish font though.

Tony Heywood is a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia, founder of Heywood Innovation in Sydney and London with affiliates in Melbourne, Gold Coast, Singapore and Mumbai.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Social Media consumes our lives

Nielsen’s 2010 Social Media Report has been digging deep inside the minds of Australian internet users and consumers and finding out how aligned they are with social media.

They discovered two important statistics about our online habits:
  • To source opinions and information about products, services and brands, 86% of internet users rely on social media.
  • Nearly two in five are interacting with companies via social media.
  • 14% of consumers followed companies/organisations via Twitter – up from 5% in 2008.
Considering that social media is still in its infancy, this is quite a result. With Twitter’s audience alone growing by more than 400% in 2009, expect big things to happen in this space.
I wonder however how many of these are switched on baby boomers?

Mobile social networking is the domain of the young, with 66% under the age of 35 leading the way. And it’s Facebook the winner with 92% of visits, YouTube and Twittter at 18% and not so MySpace at 9%.

Anyway, what does all this mean for mainstream consumers and the companies who sell to them? It suggests that there are big opportunities for brands and companies to engage consumers online.

Does this suggest many Australian need to get a life? Facebook continues to dominate in the world of social networking – 83% of users have it as their main social networking platform. And guess what – they spend an average of more than eight hours each month on the site! Good for online marketers!

Tony Heywood is an international branding consultant and founder of Heywood Innovation in Sydney Australia with affiliates in Melbourne, Gold Coast, London, Singapore and Mumbai.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Smile on your Facebook

It was reported this week that Facebook has risen to new heights. Evidently in the week ended 13 March more Americans visited Facebook than Google. It achieved 7.07 percent of total web traffic compared to 7.03 percent for Google. This is the first time Facebook has outdone Google in weekly traffic.

The market share of visits to increased 185 percent during this week as compared with the same week in the previous year. What does all this mean? Do people want to be entertained more than just finding information? Are we now a fully electronically and socially networked society?

The growing popularity of Facebook’s online games is being suggested as the explanation for the site’s surge in traffic. Have we become a planet full of gamers? Is life just one big game?

Here are more stats. Facebook now has more than 400 million regular users around the world. It is suggested that half of these visit Facebook daily to post photos, check their friends’ updates and play games. Do they have a life we ask?

Analysts are encouraging businesses to seriously consider Facebook, and leverage a thriving marketing platform to launch a campaign, information network or even shopfront.

Whatever your views however, I guess this represents 400 million reasons why so many companies are keen to establish their presence and bring a smile to client’s faces.

Tony Heywood is an international branding consultant and founder of Heywood Innovation in Sydney Australia with affiliates in Melbourne, Gold Coast, London, Singapore and Mumbai.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroen, the second largest European car maker.Its vehicles are distributed in more than 150 countries and are universally recognised by their lion logo.

Peugeot’s roots go back to 19th-century coffee mill and bicycle manufacturing in France. The company produced its first automobile in 1891. It was on 20 November 1858 that Emile Peugeot first registered the use of a lion as the brand’s emblem. He asked Julien Blazer, a goldsmith and engraver in the Franche-ComtĂ© region of France, to produce the logo for identifying all Peugeot products.

To celebrate its 200th anniversary Peugeot has rebranded courtesy of an in-house design team. The new age lion has apparently got faster and more sensitive with the tagline ‘motion and emotion’. But is it a lion? The reworking or re-interpretation of many high profile corporate logos inevitably prompts often adverse comment from the design community, and this one has not escaped the critical gaze of many outspoken brand experts....

The reworking has been likened to a bear, a wolf, a jaguar on hind legs, a man in a silly rigid bear suit, a man/bear/pig, video game creature or the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz!

One of the more intelligent comments was “the least appealing and emotive rendering they (Peugeot) have ever used”.

I think it is certainly more modern but has strayed from its classical lion heritage. Compare it to the Holden lion and it could be suggested that some unfortunate breeding with other species may have occurred. Naughty lion.

What do you think?

Tony Heywood is an international branding consultant and founder of Heywood Innovation in Sydney Australia with affiliates in Melbourne, Gold Coast, London, Singapore and Mumbai.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

A little inspiration for 2010

Here are a few choice statements that have motivated the team here recently and which seem very pertinent to the challenges and opportunities we perceive for 2010...

“The man who starts out going nowhere generally gets there”.
Dale Carnegie

“If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted”.
F Bacon

“Wherever you see a successful business, someone has made a courageous decision”.
Peter Drucker

“Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right thing”.
Peter Drucker

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.
Charles Darwin

“Imagination rules the world”.
Napoleon Bonaparte

“He who is not courageous to take risks in life will achieve nothing in life”.
Muhammad Ali

“If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough”.
Mario Andretti

Tony Heywood is an international branding consultant and founder of Heywood Innovation in Sydney Australia with affiliates in Melbourne, Gold Coast, London, Singapore and Mumbai.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Why an audit is an essential prelude to a branding review

Prior to undertaking a branding review, you need to gather all applications - tangible and intangible - which contribute to the success of the brand. These range from business cards to mainstream advertising to the way your receptionist is answering the phone to the way your salespeople are dressed to what your employees are saying on Twitter. The objective is to determine how applications are being used, guidelines adhered to, levels of quality and consistency and how these are impacting on the experience your audiences have of the brand and their perception of it.

Putting all of an organisation’s materials side-by-side in the one place can be a sobering experience for many. It inevitably identifies shortcomings such as...
  • quality issues
  • levels of inconsistency
  • relevance to the task
  • whether materials are outdated
  • omissions
  • relevance to the organisation’s short and long term business objectives
A visual audit however, can only achieve so much. The way in which the materials are used is important as this tends to identify whether they remain appropriate for their intended purpose since they were introduced or whether they need to be changed or even deleted. Do employee induction materials reflect the downturn-driven changes the company has made in the last 12 months? Are point-of-sale messages consistent with the organisation’s current advertising? Are machinery operating instructions consistent with workplace safety requirements? Does the organisation’s product packaging suitably reflect its stance on sustainability? Do the messages on motivational posters throughout the organisation truly reflect the culture of the organisation and its attitude to employees? Are customer communications saying the right things for the way in which the organisation wishes to conduct its business moving forward into 2010 and beyond? Is your marketing department disengaged by the events of 2009 and operating with blinkered vision that may just be detrimental to how the business and its products need to be perceived to capture new market opportunities?

Heywood Innovation’s audit reports probe significantly deeper than a simple check on whether the organisation’s logo and colours are correctly reproduced! Key components of the organisation’s brand are its employees and customers. We conduct online surveys and facilitated workshops with employees, key managers, executives and customers to gauge their real perceptions of the brand at this moment in time and collect their ideas. We get to know what employees’ thoughts are on the materials with which they work - whether they are helping them do their job or hindering them, and whether the employees have ideas for improvements or something totally new.

An audit conducted by an external resource like Heywood Innovation will guarantee an objective viewpoint based around questions, comments and recommendations that would challenge most internal resources.

How does your brand stack up with the organisation’s business plans and vision for the future?

Are the materials which represent the organisation’s brand appropriate to support the organisation’s business plans and vision for 2010? Have there been significant changes to the way in which the organisation operates since the upheavals of 2009 to warrant changes to the way the brand is expressed and ultimately perceived both internally and externally?

The answers to these questions can only be answered by a well considered and executed audit. Now would be an ideal time to consider this before the post-Christmas momentum takes hold...

Tony Heywood is an international branding consultant and founder of Heywood Innovation in Sydney Australia with affiliates in Melbourne, Gold Coast, London, Singapore and Mumbai.

View some of Heywood’s work on

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