What Makes You Notice A Brand?

What Makes You Notice A Brand?

How Have You Come Across The Brands You Love?


I always think that the question of what turns a business into a brand is a fascinating one. Just like the elusive “going viral”, building a brand is more than just throwing money at a product or service.  Interestingly, even though in my line of business we are supposed to be evangelists for the holy trinity of brand (building: marketing, social media and PR), some of the brands that have caught my eye recently have done so rather subtly.

The first of these is a company called http://www.fieldandflower.co.uk/, which seems to be a meat version of Abel and Cole. My first brush with the brand was when a girl in her twenties knocked on my door and started by doing a mini survey with me on the doorstep and (of course) went on to offer me a discount for signing up there and then. I didn’t. I never buy anything on the doorstep or over the phone without checking it out first, but I then went online  to look at the company and was impressed. I like their branding, I like the idea and that person to person contact was enough to get me interested.

Another brand that got me signed up was Peak, the brain training App, which has now become a major addiction of mine. Advertised on the tube as an antidote to boring tube journeys. it got me signing up there and then. It offers a choice of four games day on the free version; many more on the paid version, and I recommend it to all my friends and family (if only so we can compare scores!). Interesting. It made me think about what makes me chose the brands I do. In my reflecting I realised that

  • I am often prompted to read a book after seeing an ad on the tube and about I’m happy with around 85% of them
  • If a friend recommends an App I always give it a go at least
  • When it comes to basics like household cleaning items I buy on price (i.e. what’s on special offer) but I have my favourite brands for clothes, toiletries  and even coffee that I rarely change. Indeed, if I have to have something different (such as meeting someone in a Starbucks and having a brand of coffee I don’t much like) I can get quite grumpy
  • Dress it in pink and it will at least catch my eye. This is what started my dangerous affair with Tyrell’s sweet Poshcorn
  • Even though I may be tempted in by a sale sign I always end up buying something not in the sale
  • Amazon reviews are my bible when it comes to buying electrical products

Interesting eh? Have you ever thought about your own buying habits? Questions such as:

  • What brands are on your radar at the moment?
  • What prompts you to buy or at least gets you interested?
  • Where do you turn for trusted reviews?
  • What’s your attitude to people knocking on your door to sell you things?
  • Do you chose brands for another reason, perhaps ecological or because they are a social enterprise?
  • is there any magazine, website or even physical space (tube, bus stop) that influences your buying decisions?

Please do share your comments below. I’ve also asked a few of my friends and colleagues what’s currently catching their eye and why..

Hela Wozniak-Kay is co-founder of www.sistersnog.com and has recently moved to Hove:

Hela Wozniak- Kay“Brighton & Hove is a little principality brimming with sea air, seagulls and creativity with a kooky twist. I’ve always been a fan of bric-a-brack, recycling and the treasure trove you find in charity shops. There are 13 on my very doorstep in Hove and probably another 13 within with a mile radius. You could literally kit out your home and your wardrobe at a fraction of the cost of the High Street. And every penny spent makes a difference to A.N. Other. Charity shopping is a winner all round. My number one trend for 2016 is the smarty shoppers will put Charity shops right at the top of their shopping list.


Of all the charity shops in and around Brighton & Hove Martlets Hospice gets the prize. Only just because all of them in their own right are fabulous with the most amazing people behind the till. However Martlets gets the top vote by a whisker. They’ve got their finger on the community and social media pulse. They package their message with a twist. Last October they organised a Viva Las Elvis Reception that starred 100 Elvis impersonators at Old Stein. They’re at the heart of the Brighton & Hove community understand the power of social media and always have their next idea waiting in the wings.  www.themartlets.org.uk

Brighton is famed for nooks, crannie laines or is it the lanes – well actually both. In ancient times there were once five fields surrounding the old town of Brighton. They were called Hilly Laine, Little Laine, West Laine, East Laine and North Laine. The lanes on the other hand are little alleyways called ‘twittens’bordered by North Street, East Street and Ship Street. It’s a bit of a jumble, particularly for the new comer to the area (hands up me). However the one thing that’s consistent on the Laines and Lanes is the cornucopia of amazingly amazing businesses and brands.

Two of my faves are:


Choccywoccydoodah is an art and design chocolatiere specialising in sculptured fantasies. Huge. Delicious. Awe inspiring. Made from the finest ingredients. Treat your tastebuds to a mélange of milk, plain and white delights on the candy-&-cake-buffet. Guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s love affair with chocolate. Forget the sandwiches. Choccywoccydoodah day only caters for the sweet tooth. The first emporium was in Brighton. (There’s now one in London.) Chocolate is very much on trend these days. What with Chocolate Week in October and The Salon du Chocolat coming to London for the third year, anyone in league with the bean is trend-a-licious. www.choccywoccydoodah.com

Irregular Choice

Brighton is a colourful character magnet. A wonderful place to walk around – particularly in a pair of Irregular Choice chaussures. It’s rare to find shoes that combine quirk and elegance. For anyone with a penchant for the peculiar, who likes to step out in a statement shoe Irregular Choice is the only choice in my book. Shoes today reveal so much about the person who steps into them. This fab footwear is anything but High Street. I have a feeling they are going to become far more mainstream and everyone who’s walking the walk will have at least one pair of sole mates nestled in their wardrobe.  www.irregularchoice.com

Ceri Wheeldon is the founder and editor of online magazine www.fabafterfifty.com

Ceri Wheeldon“When I was asked if I could contribute to an article by sharing my thoughts on brands that had got their marketing mix and social media presence absolutely right I thought I would be spoilt for choice…I was wrong.

Those who seemed to have engaging TV ads had fairly boring and social media streams with little engagement -apart from customer complaints. Sainsbury’s Mog the Cat Christmas campaign seemed to strike chords across generations and different mediums…my only obvious success.

But then I thought about the various parties I had been to over the Christmas period, and the one brand that seemed to come up nearly every time…..the Kardashians! Although most of us had never watched a single episode of their programme, we all knew who they were. It would appear that there was a Kardashian that everyone could remember or relate to. They are famous for being famous- understand the importance of engagement on social media , and seem to know the value of sharing – it could be over-sharing for those who value personal privacy in our own lives. There are elements of their marketing we could all emulate in our businesses – forming the right strategic partnerships for even greater exposure – and communicating and engaging on social media without broadcasting , and of course diversification…each of the Kardashians seems to be a sub brand and uses their own personality to engage with their audience…from weight gain to marriage breakups, not to mention Bruce/Caitlyn and his/her transition from male to female. There is always a fresh angle for brand Kardashian to promote.”

Karen de Villiers is the founder of www.londongreenafrica.com and blog www.mysilverstreet.com

Karen de VillersThat’s not my age, may have been around forever but I recently discovered Alyson Walsh. Has become my daily guru to go to for bold, intelligent and nourishing anti-invisibility armour. The blog is fresh, the pictures sharp and education and the overall feel-good factor is inspiration to all women, of all ages. ‘ It’s not about age, it’s about style. And this is for every woman who refuses to be invisible. Alyson Walsh’

Kit Kemp. Been around for a while but seems to have the golden orb when it comes to other brands wanting her input, her name and her divine aura. Part of the Firmdales Hotel duo, she gets to play with design and décor and I want to be her. Take many design tips from her eclectic mix of patterns and styles, ever since I saw her ‘Ardmore Couch’ in one of her hotels – a wonderful place of pottery and creative design in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. When ever I think things don’t mix, need a boost in the ‘it’s possible’ arean, it’s Kit for me. I want to work for her, hell no, I want to be her.  https://www.firmdalehotels.com/a/kit-kemp-design-collections/

Hello Fresh. A few years ago no-one had heard of them and flavoured, or favoured Ocado – tenacity and an upbeat, sweet and airmed at guys and girls approach to healthy eating for the busy parties, has seen an almost meteoric rise in the brand. https://www.hellofresh.co.uk

Claudalie. As we drink the grape so ardently, firm believer in this beauty range that takes the leftovers of the grapes and vines for skin care. And it is French of course, so it must be oh la la. What started a while ago is becoming a real contender in the Beauty industry. Enviromental, from the land stuff of dreams and I just love the idea of my face touched by a vineyard in Bordeaux . https://www.caudalie.com

Faye Smith is founder of marketing and PR agency www.keepyourfork.co.uk

Faye Smith“From a marketing viewpoint, I use Boden a lot because I am Boden women. Time poor, need good quality stuff in standout colours. Their 20% off today, 9 % off tomoz and 2% off on Thursday strategy gets me to part with substantial cash every time. Lift the flap lolly flyers, £10 off because Johnnie hasn’t heard from me in a while, pre sale special customer only advance notices… all get me! I have ordered from their partner brands (leaflets in box), cooed over the tissue wrapped parcels of loveliness with the special storage bags for my shoes, and the one year returns policy.

What’s not to love?”



Caren Johnstone of creative design studio  wondesigns.co.uk

_DSC0076-cropped“As a designer and director of a creative design studio I am often researching or in direct contact with the fantastic, the ground breaking or the downright fascinating. A company with a different angle of PR and marketing that has caught my eye is Sloan Sheridan-Williams.

Sloan by profession a life coach, but by business and brad she is very much more. Sloan has an refreshingly different approach: she publishes a free online lifestyle magazine. Not only is the magazine itself free, but so are all the articles themselves, it is completely advertising free. In pressing her as to why and how she makes her money, the answer is simple: passion. This comes through in all her angles of marketing.

Sloan has 3 main arms to her business: Sloan coaching (http://www.sloansw.com/), Sloan wellness clinic ( http://www.swlondonclinic.co.uk/) and  Sloan magazine http://www.sloanmagazine.com/

Her main forms of marketing herself are: Twitter – With over 24 thousand twitter followers, her approach is very personal, she works very hard at tweeting and getting retweeted by sending updates to specific followers encouraging them to promote her magazine and in turn will retweet her followers. It is very much a reciprocal relationship. Parties and PR functions – With having articles within her magazine, her partners and featured (as well as non featured) celebrities invite her to many functions (up to 2 a day). Here she promotes what she does, in a very ‘take it or leave it, non pitch’ fashion. She doesn’t believe in hard selling at all. This approach is effective those that are interested jump on the opportunity and those that aren’t – don’t. ”

Finally, Jo Davison of Jo Davison Communications says

“Compare the meerkat!! Brilliant, funny and heartwarming adverts – spawned a line in meerkat toys too.

The Warburtons  Muppet Show commercial for the new giant-sized crumpet. Simply magnificent and gave Warburtons a whole new image. AND made me rush out to buy them.”

Please do let me know what brands catch your eye, and why….!







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