Spinach Branding on how to create successful brand advertising

Barking Riverside Creative Campaign by Spinach Branding

Earlier this month we launched a new campaign for Barking Riverside. “Think differently. Live differently.” is the second brand advertising for the London development, and it takes the original proposition to its next stage.

Barking Riverside is further evolving a London neighbourhood, providing a platform where residents can build an authentic and inclusive place to live and work. Developed by Spinach Branding alongside Barking Riverside Ltd, our brand proposition “A place to be, become and belong” has firmly set the foundation for one of Europe’s most ambitious and exciting urban development projects anchored on the principles of placemaking.

Our initial ad campaign “Hello River. River Life.” introduced Londoners to project, highlighting the site’s position within the context of the city and on the banks of the river Thames. Running across all media, the award-winning campaign was extremely successful in helping demonstrate that, due to Barking Riverside’s placemaking approach, the development is fundamentally different from other similar large-scale projects, offering real and meaningful benefits to people.

Then came the pandemic. The global lockdown that followed saw many of re-evaluate how we choose to live our lives. Family, friends, community, environment, a healthier work/life balance – they took centre stage. Living through a pandemic demonstrated that change is not only possible, but by embracing change we can live differently, live better.  And so the latest advertising campaign “Think differently. Live differently.” was born.

As a branding agency, we’re often tasked to create brand advertising campaigns for our clients including Campari, Knight Frank and Unilode. It is a rewarding part of our branding work that we don’t take lightly. A great campaign will elevate a project, and add so much value in the short and long term. But it has to be genuine and true to the overall brand proposition.

So how do you create a brand advertising campaign that is effective now, and will withstand the test of time?

We asked Spinach branding director, Leigh Banks, to share his top five rules for creating an enduring campaign.

Knight Frank's advertising by Spinach

Knowledge is always key
Do your homework, become intimate with the brand and the industry in which it operates. There are no shortcuts. The more knowledge you have, the better chance of creating an effective and enduring campaign. At our agency, we begin all our projects by getting to know the industry intimately. Be it architecture, hospitality, retail, technology… our team will thoroughly research the subject and its space. Spinach will then run extensive workshops with our client to see how they operate within this context. The more you know about the industry, its strength and its weaknesses (and from a global perspective), the better chance you have of creating something unique and powerful. As David Ogilvy, the ultimate ad man, would say: never underestimate the power of knowledge.

Position the brand effectively
Brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of advertising. It isn’t always obvious either – sometimes a brand may be targeted at a certain audience, but to get their attention it needs to be positioned at a different level. This increasingly extends to the choice of influencers or bloggers brought on-board to promote the brand. A relatively new concept in brand positioning, we often see companies work with influencers who do not necessarily share the same brand values. The game may have altered, but Ogilvy’s classic rules still apply. Work only with those who share your values. Don’t get greedy.

Reflect the brand identity
An ad is essentially selling the image of a brand: how it looks, talks, feels must all reflect the overall brand positioning. Since it’s a public-facing image, everything has to work in harmony from the typeface, to images, illustration, and the model or celebrity involved. Every little detail counts. To add to the complexity, today’s message must be understood globally, not be culturally exclusive or offensive. At Spinach we work with companies from around the world and it’s therefore instrumental to use words and image that resonate on an international level. For instance, tasked to create a new brand for an international aviation firm, since the logo appears on airport runways, our brand name, Unilode, works effectively on a global scale.

Always message wisely
Messaging is an extremely subtle art form. It involves short sharp text, or long factual copy, depending on where the ad sits and its target audience. For example, our campaign for the Knight Frank saw the brand messaging take pole position. We wanted the customer to be placed at the centre of the ad, so our ‘Move/Found’ campaign introduced the human factor to an otherwise cold industry. We followed the main poster ads with text-heavy campaigns placed in key positions on the London Underground.

We took a very different approach when working with Campari on its on-going brand ad campaigns “Ready For Bitter?” and “Invigorate Your G&T”. The Italian drinks giant wanted to raise brand awareness in the UK, so we created a series of highly visual and memorable ads with an intriguing message. The campaigns successfully define Campari as an embodiment of aperitivo culture, a symbol of Milan and of la dolce vita.

Big ideas sell
The world may have evolved greatly since ad man Ogilvy’s heyday, but one essence remains the same: A Big Idea almost always works. This is the hardest part of brand advertising as there are no rules here: it is down to the creative capabilities of the agency. Everyone can design a simple ad, yet coming up with one that will stand the test of time, one that becomes an icon in itself, is an entirely different proposition. Composing a big idea is an artistic process anchored in deep knowledge, background information and a touch of courage. It really is down to the skills and creative powers of the ad agency.

Finally, to quote Ogilvy himself, ask yourself five questions:

‘Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
Do I wish I had thought of this myself?
Is it unique?
Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
Could it be used for 30 years?’

Images: Spinach Branding’s ad campaigns for Barking Riverside London, Knight Frank and Campari © Spinach Branding.

Spinach Branding is a specialist independent branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

'Invigorate Your G&T' ad campaign by Spinach Branding (spinachbranding.com) for Campari UK
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