Posts in Branding

Posted on September 28, 2016

Small potatoes. Big impact.

Orange Keel brings Carisma™ to life for Earth Fresh Foods.

Now, even folks following a Low Glycemic Index diet can have their potatoes and eat them too!Introducing Carisma from EarthFresh Foods

And that’s no small potatoes to the folks at Earth Fresh Foods and the Canadian Diabetes Association.  Grown and distributed by EarthFresh, Carisma™ potatoes provide a healthy choice with an exceptional rich, melt in the mouth, creamy flavour. Canada’s first low glycemic response all-purpose potato is supported by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

This variety resulted from the potato breeding programs’ focus on lower reducing sugars and high dry matter. These are among the factors that influence Carisma’s nutritional content and GI* characteristics. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommend consumers choose low-GI foods

At Orange Keel we were delighted to bring our talents to the table in designing the brand, packaging and website for this important addition to the Earth Fresh family.

Our challenge with Carisma was to provide it a fresh, distinctive presence while still maintaining continuity with the overall design platform we’ve created for Earth Fresh. We achieved that by maintaining similar design language, elements and architecture throughout the line.

It’s one of the things we do really well at Orange Keel – create a distinctive presence in the market for our clients while establishing emotion-based connections with their clientele.

And that too is no small potatoes!

To bring our powerful design thinking to your brand, contact us here.

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

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.


Posted on October 10, 2014

Anytime Anywhere Anything Critical Path Express Delivers

Moving packages from one point to another seems relatively straightforward.  Not so as we learned in reinventing Critical Path’s complete identity program.  From web design to stationery to vehicle livery, our team of strategists, designers, writers and web developers created a powerful new identity to help Critical Path move to the next stage in their growth.  Watch our blog for the full story soon.Anytime | Anywhere | Anything | Critical Path Express Delivers

Posted on February 24, 2014

Are you making an emotional connection with consumers?

“A critical component of a great brand and the most essential element of its composition is that the experience of the brand must create an emotional connection with the consumer.  Emotion is the one human ability that cannot be automated and companies need to embrace the notion that their stories are perhaps more important than their products.”

Rolf Jensen, Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies

Are you making an emotional connection with consumers?

As products and services become more commoditized failure to establish an emotional connection with your consumers means you risk losing brand loyalty and favourable  buying decisions.  Think about it – how much difference is there really between Toronto Dominion Bank and Royal Bank of Canada?  They offer pretty much identical products, services, personnel, expertise, rates, and locations.  Yet some people loyally stand by one versus the other. Why?  Probably because they have established an emotional connection.

If you’re at all concerned about how your brand stacks up in this type of market you should consider undertaking a Brand Clarity exercise.

What is Brand Clarity™?

Brand Clarity™ is a flexible brand- and brain-storming exercise designed to uncover the most relevant and compelling story for a product, company, or individual.  It is intended to enable you to make a critical emotional connection with your stakeholders.

Using a variety of brainstorming tools and exercises the objective of the session is to bring clarity to confusion, simplicity to complexity, and new thinking to conventional thought.

The outcome is the creation of relevant, actionable ideas which will form a viable, reliable foundation for strategic communications enhancing your ability to create an emotional connection with target consumers.  You will come to understand and bring clarity to your brand and your story.

What is a Brand Clarity™ session?

It is a session where we lead a team in a challenge to ensure that the brand vision has about it three qualities.

  1. Clarity – Is the brand expression clear and relevant?  Is it transparently founded upon organizational realities?  Is it believable to both internal and external stakeholders?  Is it supportable in our storytelling and in our organizational action?
  2. Simplicity – Is the brand expression simply expressed?  Could everyone from the executive suite to the factory floor tell someone what our brand stands for?  Is it sustainable in expression?  Is it unique in its simplicity?
  3. Wit – Is the brand expression engaging – visually, emotionally, practically?  Is it versatile enough to engage stakeholders regardless of medium?  Is it compelling?  Does it effectively enhance our storytelling?

The objective of the Brand Clarity™ session is simple:

To gain a solid foundation of brand principles, attributes and values leading to a clear expression of the essence of the brand.

The strategy of the Brand Clarity™ session is also simple:

Identify relevant and compelling information about the business.

The tactic we employ is conducting exercises which provide words/descriptions/feelings that allow us to build a brand pyramid which is entirely unique to the business.

Contact us today to begin bringing clarity and connection to your brand.

Posted on January 11, 2014

Is your brand expression inert?

Is your brand expression inert?

Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia.

Alexis Carrel
Ah, inertia. That comforting disposition into which we all are tempted to fall.

Can it be a pitfall for the brand manager?

From my experience, it most certainly can. Additionally, I have witnessed in my own work and those of others the achievement of a comfort level, which leads us to rest on our laurels, churning out the same brand expression (or design or package or logo…) just because we can.

While we can sustain business for a while in this fashion, ultimately, we will be found out and what I have been encouraged to do recently is to discover my own inertia and attempt to root it out like a pig sniffing for truffles.

We have a unique opportunity as brand people to reinvent ourselves as often as we want.

Without straying too dramatically from our core competence and interest, we are able to direct our attention and energy in a myriad of ways.

Sitting in a comfortable pew has very real attractions. We feel safe. We feel unthreatened. We cosset ourselves in past victories and just like the sad dude in Springsteen’s ‘Glory Days’ we never give ourselves the chance to burst free and recapture what secured us some degree of success in the past.

So if you’re interested in drilling through the rock of inertia we’re ready to talk.

Are you?