Archive for November, 2011

We are looking for a part time studio manager

by Alex Benady

Your first day in the job
Your first day in the job

We’re looking for a buttoned-down but kindly manager to make our studio run like clock work. Reporting to Stephen Bell our creative director you’ll be responsible for ensuring that the work of our 20 or so designers is consistent, timely and profitable.

It’s a demanding role so you’ll have to understand exactly how a design studio works. That means you’ll probably need 2 -5 years experience of studio management elsewhere.

We are a medium-sized company with a mix of massive global clients like Unilever, Nestle and Coca Cola and smaller local clients. Our culture is hard working but friendly -and that is important to us. So while we dont want a bully, you do need to be able to stand your ground.

Although you’ll have to be here every day, you wont need to be here all of every day. So we’ll be open to a conversation about hours.

The job
You’ll help ensure the profitability and timely delivery of creative work through successful management of information, and good communication skills.

You’ll provide operational support to our senior management team by helping to manage the day to day administrative and creative production processes for all our projects.

You’ll take ownership of and responsibility for the creation, co-ordination and maintenance of internal schedules for our creative teams

Interested? Send your cv to For a more detailed job spec, click here (more…)

Why you should never name your boy Sue.

by Alex Benady
Wrong expectations you see

Wrong expectations you see

Remember the Johnny Cash song ‘A boy named Sue’?  As brand designers we’ve always known intuitively that ‘congruence’ is important when it comes to naming and branding new products. It meant that in a perfect world the overall brand should reflect the product and its physcial attributes, and that all the different elements of the branding (name, packaging, livery, packaging design etc) should work together because they also reflect the product. It’s common sense really.

But it’s nice to finally have the theory  confirmed by science -or neuroscience to be more precise. In a paper soon to be published by the Journal of Consumer Pyschology, Professor Charles Spence of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford shows that marketers can markedly  improve consumers’ experience of a product by setting up the right (congruent) sensory expectations.

In particular he is interested in sound symbolism – the association that people experience between specific sounds and particular attributes (e.g., when they associate words containing the ‘i’ sound with smallness). But he also looks at shape symbolism (e.g., between sharp pointy shapes and bitterness or carbonation in foods and beverages).

One of his most important findings is that these cues don’t operate in sensory isolation. They are ‘cross-modal.’ So a stimulus in one sense (say sound) can set up expectations in other senses (say taste or appearance). In keeping with other findings of neuroscience Professor Spence says that these effects appear to operate subconsciously so consumers aren’t necessarily aware of what is going on).

He produces mountains of evidence to back his case. For instance had it occurred to you that the letter K was a predictor of commercial success? Spence points out the disproportionate occurrence of ‘K’ in successful brand and business names. Think Kraft, Kellogg’s, Kodak, KFC, K-Mart, IKEA, TK Maxx to name but a few.

And he shows that people’s impressions of a new food product can be shaped by the vowel sounds contained in the product name. So respondents in one study were more likely to believe that an ice cream would taste creamier, smoother, and richer when it was given the invented brand name ‘Frosch’ than when it was called ‘Frisch.’

In another study respondents thought that a lemonade with a brand name having a higher-frequency vowel sound (such as the ‘i’ in Bilad) was more likely to taste bitter than a fictional brand name containing a lower-frequency vowel (such as the ‘o/’sound in Bolad). In the same research, the invented name Godan (containing an initial back vowel) was associated with a darker beer than the invented name Gidan.

The good news for international naming and design projects is that these responses seem deeply wired. The effects seem to operate subconsciously (so consumers aren’t necessarily aware of what is going on). And  when you concentrate on the sound, (rather than the meaning) many of these responses are universal across cultures.

But this doesn’t mean we can market sewage as perfume or make up for poor quality products simply by setting up the right sensory expectation through branding. Professor Spence warns of the awful consequences of what he calls ‘disconfirmed expectation’ and you and I would call ‘over claim’. “When the product experience does not meet the consumer’s product expectation, it can cause long-lasting negative consequences for product perception and consumption,” he concludes.

So the idea that names and brands should reflect the product is not just a marginal factor. It’s a powerful tool that can make or break new brands. As Sue found to his cost it should be used with great care.

2 Marketing Design Awards make CPB feel fine

by Vicky Bullen


Awards are often derided as a self-indulgent  waste of time. Especially by those who haven’t won anything. But it’s amazing how good for morale (not to mention new business) a good win can be.

So it’s doubles all round here at Coley Porter Bell. The creativity and effectiveness of our work has been recognized not once but twice at the Marketing Design Awards where we won two categories last week.

Our new bottle  for French pastis brand Ricard based on the shape of its long standing cartouche logo won the food & drink packaging category.

It has to be said that the word icon is beginning to lose its meaning through overuse. It is now applied to anyone that has been on TV for two minutes or any design at all. But Ricard really is iconic in France.

But it was starting to look a bit tired and samey. So we were asked to rejuvenate the brand to make it more modern and more international without alienating its traditional consumers.

The results have been hugely impressive in many areas. Not only did overall sales rise by 2.9% in the launch period, there was a deluge of international press coverage and research shows that the shape of the bottle has distanced it from imitators, prompting significant shifts in consumer perception and a discernible boost in the motivation of the sales force.

Meanwhile our new positioning and beautiful brand identity for Museum of London won the leisure and travel category. The new identity portrays a changing thumbprint of London using different coloured layers to represent the ebb and flow of London life and the changes in the shape of London past and future.

Not only is it lovely to behold, it has been amazingly effective. With fantastic new galleries and our new identity, visits to the Museum of London have increased 31% with visits by  Londoners up 73% and vists by families up by 73%.

Obviously the people who worked on the projects are especially proud. But the mood and energy levels of the entire office have been raised by this recognition. We like awards, especially when we win them.

This blog is about all the things that inspire us as we make brands beautiful: insights and ideas, points of view, fabulous work, nascent trends - all the things that excite us and help us to see new possibilities for the brands we work on. So please enjoy, add your comments, forward the link, and come back and see us. We’ll be posting regularly.