Monthly Archives: January 2015

Posted on January 20, 2015

Being mindful about emerging markets

Millennials want to work for organizations with purpose.

Millennials have a generally pro-business outlook. But, overwhelmingly, 75 percent of those surveyed believe business is focused on its own agenda, rather than the helping to improve society. For 60 percent, “a sense of purpose” is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employers. Among those who define themselves as high users of social networking tools, this number increases to 77 percent.*

Some years ago (working in collaboration with another design firm) I was involved in the rebranding of one of Canada’s leading wineries.  During the Brand Clarity exercise we spent some time considering the impact of emerging markets especially including Millennials.  The Millennial Generation (born 1982-2004) today comprises roughly 100 million people mostly in their teens and 20s. What we learned was that both as employers and marketers there were important differences about this cohort that had to be considered to ensure our brand expression was relevant, compelling and assured of making an emotional connection.

More recently, again undertaking a Brand Clarity exercise for our client EarthFresh Foods, we learned that organizations and corporations that genuinely and transparently put their money where their mouth is are at a considerable advantage in the realm of competing for both employee and customer loyalty.

EarthFresh recently moved from a Toronto location to Burlington.  The new plant is vastly more efficient, has a much greater production capacity, and is architecturally and aesthetically relevant to the business.  What is not so visible though are some of the behind-the-scenes initiatives of this forward-thinking company.

The company implemented a shuttle system for many of their employees.  While this would help EarthFresh maintain production efficiency and continuity it was perhaps even more meaningful from the perspective of acknowledging the important role it’s people on the floor played in the company’s success.  There are many corporations that would simply have looked to hire new people in the new location but not EarthFresh.

Additionally, when I first visited the company’s Toronto plant I remarked on how they had carved out a small space for fitness and exercise.  It was impressive to see that in the new plant there is a larger, well-equipped facility and while that alone should earn kudos, it becomes even more impressive to realize that the company also brings in a trainer three times per week to assist in employee fitness.

I am sure there are other examples of EarthFresh Inc’s thoughtful approach to employee engagement but it is heartening to see a company embracing the reality and benefit of doing good.

While initiatives of this sort are of course of benefit to all demographic groups they will have particular resonance with Millennials and position EarthFresh well for future growth and profit.

This thoughtful approach extends to the company’s product development realm as well and in the near future you will see innovative potato products emerging from this firm.

We are lucky to have them as a client and would be delighted to share the Orange Keel approach to creative designed communication and branding with other like-minded organizations.

If you’re interested in learning more about Millennials in particular this link has some top-line insight. 


Posted on January 19, 2015

A mindful approach to retail

There is a clear and growing shift within certain, still fairly narrow, segments of society from rampant consumerism to a more mindful, thoughtful approach to purchasing decisions.

This trend may be hard to see in the dark shadows of the rampant buying of Black Friday and the annual feeding frenzy that Christmas brings, however, my social media monitoring suggests that greed may be coming socially reprehensible.

Perhaps the combined concerns evolving from the environmental movement, the evidence of the harm we’re doing to our world with massive waste, and the emptiness many feel regardless of how many possessions they acquire is generating a movement toward simplicity and a culture of less vs. more.

One such example is Japanese retailer Muji.  In an article published in the Globe & Mail on December 3, 2014 Nathalie Atkinson wrote:

“The orderly shelves of non-brand wares have a certain uniformity… It all combines to imply a counterpoint of consumption that seems less about wants than needs – even a display of wire storage baskets holds a promise of purposefulness.

Though for a retailer built on the philosophy of simplicity, Muji sure sells a lot of stuff. They have tapped something that speaks to the global consumer.”

On the clothing front, it appears the Muji totally embraces the notion of normcore (defined as a bland anti-style) and while that may be so, the overall ethos of the retailer is one of simplicity.

That, I think, has a broad appeal to more people who are coming to accept a more minimalist approach to living and commerce.

Is there a lesson within this for the branding and design community?  If you believe, as we at Orange Keel Brand Strategy and Design do, that the essence of effective designed communications revolves around notions of clarity, simplicity and wit there most certainly is.  Our approach focuses on defining and expressing the most relevant, compelling and emotionally based characteristics of our client’s brand then presenting to their consumers a cohesive design program regardless of media.

Mindful design is powerful and it’s what we do at Orange Keel.

Posted on January 19, 2015

The Celebration of the Potato and more about EarthFresh Foods



When is a potato more than a potato?  When it’s a celebration!  Earth Fresh Foods approached Orange Keel to provide naming and package design for this new prepared meal experience.  We coined the name Celebratoes and since launch Earth Fresh fans have been celebrating the potato!

Celebratoes by Earth Fresh Foods

Corporate Branding


Following on the heels of its successful Celebratoes launch, Earth Fresh asked Orange Keel to apply creative thinking to the company’s brand essence and expression.  Mining the experience and insight of the company’s key employees, Orange Keel created a highly-relevant brand experience enabling the company to establish a solid and sustainable emotional connection with its various stakeholders.

Posted on January 19, 2015

A more complete story of how we delivered for Critical Path

To differentiate your offering in a commoditized market poses a real challenge so when the courier company Critical Path Express found itself struggling it asked Orange Keel to elevate its brand presence.  Through insightful interviews and information gathering, Orange Keel uncovered the stories that genuinely set Critical Path apart and justified its tagline “Anything. Anywhere. Anytime.”   These stories are told visually and verbally through the company’s website, vehicle livery, publications and marketing literature.  All designed by Orange Keel.

Our approach with Critical Path was based upon our insight that in many cases a company’s stories are as, if not more important, that its products.  Where Critical Path genuinely differentiates itself in the courier market is in its willingness to say yes.  They truly believe in their stated vision of Anytime, Anywhere, Anything.

So Orange Keel dug into the archival memories of Critical Path personnel to uncover stories which legitimized the company’s claim.  You can read several on the site but just to entice you here’s just one example that shows how Critical Path can even deliver to No Wher

Pretty much anyone can get a package from point A to point B. Very few can get your shipment from somewhere to no where.


The logistics of no where
An emergency medical helicopter service relies on our ability to deliver no where! On many occasions the service is called to evacuate injured or ill people from extremely remote areas. In the unlikely event that the equipment suffers a mechanical breakdown, the people on the ground know that rapid deployment of mission critical components is essential. So while almost anyone could accomplish this within well defined, easily accessible parameters, the emergency service trusts no one except Critical Path to deliver the goods.