4 things we do at Little Buddha Brand Design to take care of our planet

Nowadays it is clear that if we don’t change our methods, customs, and consumption behaviour we won’t have a Planet to live in sooner than we could expect. As the oceans choke on plastic, and pollution has grown worse in most European cities, the red flag in front of all of us is clear. As individuals and companies, meeting the environmental responsibility could be challenging because of all the waste we can produce on our daily duties. But, there are several simple ways and rules we’ve decided to follow at Little Buddha Brand Design in order to do our little bit to take care of our Planet. 

1. We recycle…
When we say we recycle, we mean it. Recycling is part of our organizational culture. All organic waste, all plastics, papers, and cans have their own separate recycling bins, and we get organized and share the wisdom on how to toss garbage properly. For this purpose, We’ve designed educational signs for this tiny & easy but important internal initiative.

Recycling Signs at Little Buddha Brand Design's Kitchen Recycling Signs found at Little Buddha Brand Design's Kitchen

 

2. …and we keep recycling. 

We recycle all the paper we use in our daily duties. From briefings to sketches, we reuse all paper we can and we recycle the rest that doesn’t need any special treatment related to data protection. 

We ensure that the toner we use in our printers is disposed of properly, as well, working directly with a recycling company specialized in this type of products. 

 

3. We walk, skate and bike our way to work each and every day.

More than 65% of our team rides their way to work on a bike, a skateboard or roller-skates and/or public transportation. This is the reason we have spaces to park our bikes inside our agency for security reasons and to motivate the team to go greener. 

 

4. We are in for designing solutions that respect the planet. 

We’re not just business oriented: we are business believers, as our manifesto reads. Following this philosophy, we put in our talent, our know-how and our culture to strengthen brands, design a packaging, or build a corporate identity that conveys with an eco or environment-friendly business. 

There are even more ways in which we as companies can help the environment. This year’s UN initiative for the World Environment Day is to raise awareness about plastic pollution and several companies have joined the challenge. Besides this initiative, several Spanish-speaking countries are holding the #GreenFriday  Check out these two initiatives and join them. 

How do you go green at your company and beat plastic pollution? Share it on Twitter or Instagram using the global hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution.

 

9 reasons to update the corporate identity of your brand

A full rebranding is always a challenging, dizzying task to consider. But it doesn’t matter how much work, time, effort and money it implies, sometimes this daunting process cannot be put off any longer. Let’s highlight what are the situations that might trigger your company’s next corporate identity make-up.

 

1.     Your brand image needs refreshing

A plain need for novelty or for a more modern image is often the main drive behind a corporate identity upgrade. But what timeframe are we looking at with which frequency should a company look at revamping its image? On average, companies update their branding identity every seven to ten years. You want to look at your own timeline and if you haven’t performed any identity upgrade in that many years, chances are you need to get moving. Note: this seven-to-ten year window varies depending on your sector and competition. Be aware of what’s going in your sector and be quick to react if needed.

 

 

2.     Undergoing corporate acquisitions

That is also one of the main causes of rebranding, and also one of the most obvious. A union between two entities brings naturally and almost 100% of the times a change in image and identity. Under these particular situations, not only the company as a whole gets an opportunity to upgrade in brand images, but it is also more often than not an absolute must, if not a legal requirement. Same thing applies in the case of a schism between two corporate entities.

 

 

3.     Leadership shifts

Also a common root cause for corporate identity upgrade, the introduction of a new CEO, directors or high-end executives is often a period of deep reorganization and a great opportunity for companies to refresh their legacy and cornerstones, including their identity attributes.

 

 

4.     Milestones. Anniversaries.

Let’s take an example here, with German suitcase manufacturer RIMOWA, a company that just celebrated its 120th year of existence with a complete and profound makeover. Learn more here.

This is not uncommon for companies to take advantage of a new milestone to look into potential image upgrades. Why not do the same and use your next round-number anniversary to look into upgrade possibilities?

 

 

5.     Winds of change

If you monitor closely your sector (you definitely should), you know how swift your competition and/or target audience tends to adopt new standards. If you get the feeling you are entering a period of cultural change within your industry, smartly get a corporate identity committee up and running within your marketing department and empower it to report opportunities to adapt your image to the current shifts within the market. Here are a few examples of fast image changing sectors and categories where this tactic pay big dividends: food delivery, consumer electronics (especially computers), printing, cosmetics.

Like it or not, times change, and markets change with them. Adapting your logo, corporate identity visuals or retail environment will help to give your brand a boost, and can help propel your company into the changing future of your industry.

 

 

6.     Bad Reputation

Everybody knows the time-old adage ‘No one is perfect’. But as much as we cling to it as a life saving device through troubled times as individuals, it, unfortunately, doesn’t work with a business. When a company’s reputation is bad or drama hits your brand name, don’t expect anyone to forgive and forget. In these settings, you need to quickly move on and go for a complete rebirth. Following a time of crisis, internal changes are usually the first to be implemented: new product range, new strategy and even new personnel or leaders. But that is not enough unfortunately. You also want to look at shedding your company’s old, tainted skin in order to signal to the public that you have pleaded guilty to your past flaws but that a new dawn has come for you.

Famous and successful post crisis face-lifts: McDonalds, Nike, Kobe Bryant.

 

 

7.      Boring image

This might be subjective but it is actually the prime reason why a company should need to update its corporate identity. Sometimes there’s just no getting away from the fact that your branding has become boring and forgettable. Out with the old and in with the new as the saying goes. A rebrand can put a new spring in your company’s step, and helps to retain existing customers as well as gaining new ones. Not sure how you fare in your consumer’s eyes? Then don’t waste any more time and get in touch with a rebranding specialist to get a full image assessment and action plan.

 

 

8.      Adapting to emerging demographics

 

The older a company is, the greater the chance of its being perceived as “stale.” It’s a generational thing and sometimes, a brand simply needs to adapt to shifts in demographics. That starts with identifying and profiling the new target and adapting yourself to its standard and habits. In the US, Target is a perfect example of that type of move. The superstore chain was thought to be a low-end, outdated discount store and, seeing the emergence of rival Walmart, went into a full rebranding frenzy. They started by launching partnerships with millennial influencers, signed exclusive deals with designers such as Isaac Mizrahi, Mossimo Giannulli and Michael Graves and restyled their logos and corporate communication material. Now guess where the newer generation prefers to shop in the US?

 

 

9.     Expanding out of your domestic market

Depending on the industry, a company can be associated with a specific geographical region and that might be beneficial for the brand. Think about Belgian beers or French red wines for example, no need for them to adapt their styles and communication to their export markets : it is precisely that which makes them in-demand, a much as the product itself. With that being said, that local traditionalist approach to product identity doesn’t work in many sectors other than food. For instance, a European clothes retailer better adapts its visual language and identity before starting to enter, say, the Japanese market.

 

 

There are obviously more turning points in a company or a product’s life span when corporate identity can be revisited. As a rule a thumb, just keep one thing in mind: as far as corporate identity is concerned, the only constant is change. And you must keep an eye open at all times, continuously spot opportunities to improve your image and never be afraid to pull the trigger on a full corporate make-up should you hit one of those turning points.

The face of retail is changing

The face of retail is changing and it’s about time that we all started accepting this change.

Yes, in the past a company may have just needed to stock their shelves and open their doors in order to have customers flock inside and make purchases. Now, however, this simply is no longer the case. Why is this happening? Well, the word internet serves as a substantial explanation. However, deeper explanations can be found. Technology is rapidly advancing, changing the game and of course this is changing the way that we shop.

Modern-day retailers have to make sure that everything that they sell inside their brick-and-mortar stores are also available for purchase both online and inside mobile apps. Not only this, but they have to make sure that they are also running effective eCommerce options alongside, or in many cases instead of, the marketing of physical stores. This means that stores have to have options available to deliver the goods that we buy directly to our front doors and also be prepared to manage negative feedback when things go wrong on social media.

This is because, as customers, we are getting more and more demanding while our tolerance for failure is getting to the point where it’s virtually non-existent. We’ve seen the birth of customers who expect a seamless shopping experience whether we decide to buy on or offline. As customers now want the ability to do shopping online pretty much anywhere, for example while we’re on the train home, tapping on our smartphones or tablets. Likewise we also want to be able to do our shopping during our lunch breaks at work using our computers.

This explosion in different technologies is transforming the our shopping behaviour as a whole as well. We no longer find a product inside a shop and then buy it, instead we’re happy to spend more time online tapping away on our keyboards searching for the lowest possible price for the same product. We’ll spend more time online reading product and company reviews on websites such as Trustpilot ad and of course, we’ll demand that we have free options to return products if they’re not up to our expectations. If we do experience a problem, the first place we tend to voice our anger is social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

This also means that retailers now need to think about ways in which they can satisfy our demanding nature and please us unforgiving shoppers. This has led to an increase in companies who are struggling to ensure that they continually deliver a high level of customer service with customers, no matter how the customers try to interact with the company.

One example of the effects that this is having is the changes that are currently happening over in the United States. Just take a look at the sales figures across February and March and you’ll see that they’ve suffered the biggest slump for more than two years according to data that has recently been released by the US Government.

In this report, the US Census Bureau said that, overall, sales had declined staggeringly, by more than to two-tenths of a percent in March alone. Although this downturn had been expected, the sales figures were worse than predicted and this is believed to be a huge reflection of the changing landscape that’s currently happening within the States.

Business Insider recently commented that the changes reflect a retail apocalypse and it has led to a slew of bankruptcies and store closures up and down the country. In total, some 3,500 stores are expected to shut their doors for good in the next few years and these stores include some of the US’s major retail outlets including Macy’s, Sears and Kmart.

The changes are believed to be a result of the changing technology and the demographic shifts that are changing the way we do our shopping. At the heart of this change is millennials, those people who reached adulthood at the turn of the century, who are now more comfortable with using technology than they are in entering physical outlets.

Jack Kleinhenz, NRF Chief Economist said: “They’re more comfortable with new technology. They’re not buying stuff like we (Baby Boomers) did when we were in their age group. They’re on a different pathway in terms of their careers and their spending. And that’s changing how retailers are responding.”

This biggest change to affect retail shopping in the past ten years is the rise of eCommerce and, more recently, a rapid rise in the popularity of mCommerce (purchasing goods on your mobile phone). These two combined make it easier for us consumers to buy what we want when we have the urge to buy it. We no longer have to wait until the weekend where we have free time to head down to the nearest shopping centre, instead we simply pull out our smartphone, shop around for the best price and then buy online.

This is also combined with faster and cheaper delivery rates whereby we can buy something online and receive it the next working day for the same price as fuel.

These changes have led to many people believing that the coming years will see more brick-and-mortar stores clothing down across the United States. Not only that, but this has led to fears that we could also see the same happening soon in Europe. Huge, American-based stores such as Amazon are making it easier for us in Europe to buy anything online and receive our goods with minimal delay. This means that we no longer need to visit high street stores and therefore we’re beginning to see more physical stores closing and eCommerce and buying online becoming more and more popular.

The rise of the responsible consumer

You can’t have missed it, consuming responsably has become, more than just a mere trend, a real way of life for a growing number of people. After a series of revelations, scandals and accusations towards the food industry and with the rise of environmental issues and policies, consumers have started to feel more and more concerned about what they eat and how it is produced.

According to a study that was recently published by Havas Worldwide ‘Superbrands 2016: consumers and future business models’, which surveyed more than 10.000 people from 28 countries, 58% stated that their awareness concerning social and environmental impact of the products they consume has increased in the last years.

As well as this, 53% of them stated that they don’t allow themselves to buy products from companies that have a negative social or environmental impact.

The rise in demand of more responsible brands presents an opportunity for them to find new ways of competing thanks to this commitment. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the long-term effects of their daily purchases, this awareness makes them look for ally brands that allow them to live a more eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle.

Regarding this whole context, companies have a major role to play and they can also take advantage of it. Indeed, showing a true environmental or health commitment is now a boon to improve the likeability of a brand. The British brand Innocent for example, well known for their 100% natural smoothies and juices that are now organic, has managed to create real bounds with their customers through funny quirky communication, packaging that reflects the values of transparency and ethics made of recycled and recyclable materials, and true commitment with projects against global warming.

Therefore, if ethical and healthy products have turned into a new sales argument, be careful not to be accused of “green washing”! Certainly, the customer doesn’t like to be fooled, this is also why governments have implemented labels and certifications such as “green label”, “organic certified”, ISO 14000 norms …, to ensure the reliability of the products.

In Little Buddha, we recently worked on the branding and packaging of the Danish ecological tea brand Pickwick. Have a look!

Branding and interior design: a tandem of success for your brand

Corporate interiors are a fundamental strategic tool for communicating your brand’s values. Corporate interior design project should be unique, appropriable, and a differentiating element. A challenge that can and should be taken up by a branding and corporate design agency is to be able to transmit the essence of the brand through the different spaces, as well as offering a solution to usability needs, in a coherent, consistent and differentiating manner.

It is a three-way puzzle in which the interior designer, brand strategy expert and designer come together to offer comprehensive service.

This tandem should be able to understand physical spaces as mediums or channels to translate messages to users. Corporate interiors become a strong weapon of communication and differentiation against competitors.

3 keys will guarantee the success of a corporate interior design project:

1) Analyze the space. From this analysis we will extract a series of specific architectural elements within each area that will condition the conceptual phase and development of the creative idea, and will determine the way in which the proposal will be adapted in the different spaces.

2) User needs. The users of the space will determine the functionality of it. The interventions we make should offer solutions for the objectives set, which can go from more emotional (generate an emotional reaction in the user, create a feeling or brand experience) to more functional or rational ones (more privacy for example).

3) Use and interaction. A space can determine different types and degrees of relationships between users. The “open plan” concept for example is becoming increasingly popular in interior design projects for offices. Some spaces facilitate somehow a horizontal hierarchy a free and easy circulation of people, which invites them to experience, create and work as a team.

As an example of this, Affinity Petcare asked Little Buddha to help them with their interior design project for the company’s new corporate headquarters in Barcelona. The challenge was to create designs, which once applied to the numerous rooms, walls and common spaces would create a closer, more personalized work environment that would be coherent with their corporate values and the essence of their brands.

This was achieved through the creation of a look & feel that stresses the bond between pet and pet owner, as well as a naming proposal for the rooms and common areas that would represent Affinity’s internationalization and allow fast and easy location and recognition.

For more information on this projecthttps://littlebuddhaagency.com/project/nuevas-oficinas-affinity-petcare/

The Importance of Traceability

Nowadays consumers are more interested in the true quality of their ingredients, instead of just checking calories. After the irregularities found in many products which had to be pulled off the shelves for health & safety reasons, consumers are starting to be more aware and demanding with the components and ingredients of the products, especially if they contain allergens and/or GMOs. If consumers are not able to get this information or understand the information they’re looking for, they can move onto the next brand in a second. Transparency builds trust, as it shows that brands should have nothing to hide about the ingredients and sources of origin.

These irregularities and incidents in the Food Industry have led to the general public starting to care and be more aware about where their food comes from. There is a growing need to know exactly what goes inside the products they consume, as well as having the ability to hold brands to account when something irregular is found. This calls have led to a change in EU laws and a new e-certification system has been introduced to help eradicate this problem once and for all. This means that we’re able to trace the food right back to the source, among other important information consumers now look for.

Additionally, an increasing number of people are being diagnosed with intolerances or allergies (to gluten/ lactose, seafood, nuts, etc.). These kind of consumers are becoming more demanding in having a detailed ingredients list for their own safety reasons. Also, the “average” consumer’s interest about buying “healthier products” by principle or “family solidarity” is growing.

Labelling is crucial: it is required by law that a packaging contains all the information consumers need to know about each and every product, especially:

·      The name of the food, which indicates what it is exactly and a list of ingredients, organised in descending order of weight, providing the net quantity expressed in the respective unit for the ingredient (units of mass in the case of solid products, and in units of mass or volume in the case of liquid products).

·      Ingredients which may cause an allergy or intolerance should also be noted, as well as the quantitative ingredients declaration. This means that if a product contains an ingredient that is typically associated to that product, or it is highlighted in the label through words, images or a graphic representation, the exact quantity of this ingredient must be noted in the label.

·      A lot, which is used to identify the whole set of units of the product that have been produced, manufactured or packaged on identical circumstances. This is one of the most important pieces of information, because it lets the product be traced in case of an emergency or recall.

Other important information which must be included is:

·      The date of minimum durability or the ‘use by’ date

·      Any special storage conditions or conditions of use

·      The place of origin or provenance of the product shall be indicated on the  label in cases where omission of such information would be liable to mislead consumers as to the real origin or provenance of the product.  If there is a case in which the country or the place of origin of the food is not the same as the one of its primary ingredients, this information of those ingredients shall also be given.

·      The nutritional information, which must include the energy value of the food, as well as the amount of fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and salt. Also, other ingredients such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyols and or starch, fiber, vitamins and minerals must be included if there is a significant amount.

As the demand for product content, and the complexity of this information continues to grow, many food manufacturers have found it challenging to keep content continuously updated and constant across all channels, although it is a needed effort that will just increase in the upcoming years, it should also bring a positive impact on the image & perception of a company, which could also be reflected as an increase in sales, as well.