What are the chances that a book like this would present with its cover facing me? Synchronicity, serendipity? Who knows — just in the right place at the right time I guess. 

Brandwashed, written by long-time ad guy Martin Lindstrom, is an interesting exposé of how “big brands” use psychological schemes to play upon human fears and desires, manipulating consumers into purchasing their products and services. Martin argues that in a brand saturated world it’s very difficult to avoid being “Brandwashed” by these messages. Martin’s goal is to help the buyer beware by educating them to make smarter, sounder and more informed decisions about how brands confront us everyday.

My philosophy about branding is very simple — just be honest. Brands should emerge out of a company’s core mission. Great brands aren’t based on tricks or manipulation, but rather on innovation, energy and transparency. Great brands are the ones who build long-standing relationships with consumers — they are trusted, respected, and valued for providing products and solutions that make peoples’ lives easier, better. Great brands are secure in who they are and what it is that make them different and relevant.

Steve Jobs the mastermind of Apple, Inc. knew how to build a brand from an authentic and uncompromising vision and mission, focused on making life easier for people. Steve once noted that…“These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs. These things can profoundly influence life…”

So here are some questions to think about. How authentic is your brand? Is your Unique Sales Proposition (USP) real and relevant to your market…how? Do you believe that “Brandwashing” is an effective marketing approach for your business? How do you communicate your brand?

Maybe we could co-author a new book, called BrandWise: An Authentic Approach to Marketing & Attracting Customers. At the very least, we could write a new chapter for your brand. Let’s talk.


I recently visited the toy department at Target. Among the vast array of shelves, loaded with board games of all kinds, I spotted “The Logo Board Game”!! I could not believe my eyes. The game is based on one’s knowledge and recognition of brand logos, but that’s just for starters. You might be tested on any given brand’s product, service, or even tag line. I must admit it made a brand geek like me think twice about spending the $24.99.

I ended up leaving the game on the shelf, but took away some important questions like …If small business owners’ brands were part of a “Logo Board Game” would the players, i.e. the public, recognize them quickly and easily? Would their brand identity stand out over the competition’s? How well would the public know their tag lines and value propositions?

This board game, with its splash of colorful corporate identities, is not too dissimilar from what small business owners are faced with in the real world — Competition for Share of Consumer Mind Space. Small business owners need winning brands in highly competitive environment and challenging economy.

To win in the logo board game, you must be the person who correctly recognizes and identifies the most memorable brands. To win as a small business owner is to have a strong, compelling and memorable brand identity that is the foundation of all your marketing efforts, and that is easily recognized by the public at large.

If you’re a small business owner, maybe now’s the time to assess the status of your branding program and see if you are in it to win it. Let’s talk.

email: eduardo@barriosadvertising.com

I was browsing in a local office supply store when I spotted a software product entitled something like, “Logo Designer”. It stopped me dead in my tracks! My creative competitor…in a box! What is this world coming to? Of course, upon further reflection it wasn’t that surprising. Obviously, there are all kinds of software tools out there. I recently hired a locksmith to add a dead bolt to my door. I wonder, can I buy a “Locksmith 2.0” and install the dead bolt myself from my MAC? I’ve been in the advertising and graphic design field for over 20 years and have been noticing a decline in the understanding and value of professionally crafted communications among small businesses. I think it’s due to a couple of factors — first, the ubiquity of technology and “Desktop Publishing” and second, a depressed economy. Technology is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows for greater flexibility, efficiency and communication — 0n the other hand, it gives the impression that with the “right software”, anyone can become a creative director or graphic design pro. No doubt, there are smart people out there with marketing and aesthetic sense, but when it comes to crafting creative content for your business, seek out  an experienced professional. For example, just because I own the latest, Ryobi 7-1/4″ Circular Saw, with LED worklight and Exactline™ laser alignment system, it doesn’t make me a master carpenter. Then there are budgets. These days every business owner is holding on to their cash. I understand. But making a modest investment in skillfully crafted copywriting and art direction can empower your advertising, maximize your messaging and improve your overall marketing efforts. So next time you’re tempted by an off-the-shelf approach to advertising your business, think outside the box and choose an experienced creative partner who can offer engaging and customized communications.

Visit: barriosadvertising.com
email: eduardo@barriosadvertising.com

A logo by itself is not a Brand. Many business owners think that their brand is their logo, and they are partly right. A brand is your business identity. A brand is made up of several attributes and elements, working together consistently, to deliver a unique value-driven experience for customers. Take the brand Volkswagen for example. The Volkswagen was developed in the 1930′s as a simple and affordable car for the masses. In fact, Volkswagen literally means “peoples’ car”, in German. We’re all familiar with the circular VW icon, but this brand is much more than its logo. Brand takes into account the actual quality and craftsmanship of the car, the unique experience VW brand offers drivers, and the way this experience is communicated. In 1959 Bill Bernbach, one of America’s advertising giants helped create and launch the VW beetle’s famous “Think Small” campaign. “Think Small” used humor to brand this unsuspecting new product to an American market with large families and even larger automobiles. The ads connected with consumers on an emotional level and helped build a brand that was accessible, affordable, sensible and memorable. These fundamental VW brand attributes exist to this day. The same concept is true for small businesses. Yes, your brand includes your logo AND it’s a balance of the quality of your product or service, how well you communicate your brand’s unique benefits to your target audience through well-crafted copy and design.

Visit: barriosadvertising.com
email: eduardo@barriosadvertising.com