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These days, it seems more and more brands are owned by a bigger daddy brand. Kiehl’s is owned by L’Oreal. Pringles is owned by Kellogg’s. Converse is owned by Nike. And… the list goes on.
That’s all well and good, but what if you want to avoid one of the big giants? The ‘Buycott’ app lets you do just that, by cross-checking your purchases against parent companies with a barcode scanner. (Nice one, Harl.)
It also lets you trace any company all the way back up its family tree (L’Oreal is part owned by Nestle, don’t you know). As well as checking any product against a pre-saved list of your beliefs, you can start your own cause which get’s added to the app once its gained enough support.
Posh dos. God, they’re a pain aren’t they? Particularly if you don’t like wearing a suit. Especially if you don’t even own a suit! I do own a suit, but reluctantly. It clashes with my style, which has been described as “too casual for my own good”… I’m also going through a bobble-hat phase… Bobble-hats and suits don’t mix. Not at all.
But, I sucked it up, and donned the old whistle. And looked quite dapper, I must say. Uncomfortable, but dapper. I blended in; I didn’t look like my usual self. When I got to the party I was glad I’d suited up. Firstly people came and spoke to me, which was nice. People listened to what I said, which was also nice. People EVEN laughed at my jokes, which was brilliant. “I am a hit at this party”, I remember thinking. “I’m glad I am this bloody uncomfortable”. (On a side note, there were people dressed more smartly than me, but I have since learnt there is always one knob in a cravat).
The ability to change my guises and ‘blend in’, to make sure those who are used to the suited and booted look aren’t put off and will actually talk to me – it’s a good skill to have. I can adjust my image, with relative success, to communicate appropriately to different audiences. So why can’t brands?
Well, first off, it’s not very wise. You can’t be Harley Davidson and say you’re going eco just to appeal to the green army. You also can’t say you’re one thing when they say you’re something else… But you can say you are one thing and then say nothing at all…
Consider this… You are Starbucks (now, I know my history with Starbucks on previous posts, but stick with me). You are Starbucks. Coffee now is huge, but in London people are edging away from mainstream coffee houses, like Starbucks and Costa, to go to cooler places, where baristas have facial hair and ombréd backcombing and serve flat whites in old school glasses not cups. Where the coffee isn’t branded by big multinationals and the man!!
I went to one of these places in a library in Dalston at the weekend. Rakish taches, check. Dip-dyed hairdos, check. Cool coffee concoctions, check. Cool cliental, check. Good coffee, double check. No branding, check! So imagine my surprise when I did some digging and found out…
You can guess where this is going… Yep. Starbucks. Peel back the green, the naff seasonal messaging and this is the result. A cool coffee shop. A non-branded franchise. With moustaches and hipster hair.
But how did I feel about it…? Well, I felt divided. Just like I am able to put on a suit and schmooze people who aren’t my usual crowd, should a company (and a brand) have the same tricks? Well, no, but was it a good coffee…? Yeah.
Most people don’t like dishonesty. Let’s take Tesco’s undercover coffee house, Harris & Hoole. Now they have been spectacularly outed in The Guardian, they’ve come under fire for cheating people into a false sense of coolness!
“Now I find this is Tesco… It looks like a small indie. It is disingenuous. It makes me upset. I feel duped.” Carol Levine, 50, a Crouch End physiotherapist, no longer enjoying her lunch break in Harris & Hoole.
The coffee may be great, but it’s left a bitter aftertaste. And when you’re the country’s least trusted supermarket brand*, it goes to show – Every Little Helps.
*Source: The Drum Nov 2012
This ‘tell it as it is’ label says it all! A clever way to say ‘quality’ without being pompous.
Introducing the Naturalis toolkit: a home micro-factory that bridges the gap between the cosmetics industry and DIY products.
Created for Rowenta by French industrial designers Eliumstudio, Naturalis uses helical emulsion technology (a process widely used in the cosmetics industry) to enable consumers to agitate ingredients at high speed to create cleansers, moisturisers and skin-nourishing lotions.
This is another step towards a more transparent beauty industry, as it lets consumers take control of the products they’re using. It also helps consumers to become experts, as they develop a better understanding of products and the processes used to create them.
A new clothing website launched by ex-Hugo Boss designer, Bruno Pieters, offers men’s and women’s collections that lift the lid on manufacturing costs. ‘Honest by’ provides a radical disruption in fashion (especially designer fashion) where manufacturing costs are often hazy or hidden, allowing brands to demand considerable premiums for labels.
The first limited edition collection (sold exclusively online) has been designed by Pieters himself, with collections from guest designers due to be offered in the future. Honest By claims to be the first company in the world to offer a full cost breakdown of its products. People can see exactly what their money is buying, whether that’s yarn, buttons, fabric or manufacturing, and even the mark-up price is revealed. The company also offers full disclosure of the production process, so people can learn about the materials and the design, where their product was made and by whom.