Archive for the 'Branding' Category

FLIR from the past: Brands and tattoos


One year ago we wrote about the similarities between brands & tattoos. It’s still true (and funny) and worth revisiting. Just click on the Hulk Hogan back tattoo to be transported back in time…

New FLIR Creative Work: Barkley Village


Here’s a look at the refreshed identity and materials we’ve just completed for Barkley Village. With new residential, restaurants, and other mixed-use buildings in various phases of construction, the timing was right for a brand and website update.

New Barkley Logo

New Barkley Website

Barkley print campaignBarkley bus boards

Learn more about FLIR Creative. Visit our website and view our work.

Authentic Traditions In Business


Habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically. Stopping at the same place for coffee each morning on the way to work or grocery shopping every Monday evening are consumer habits.

Tradition is also repeated behavior, but it’s driven by emotion and the positive feelings of prior experiences – tradition just “feels right.” While we usually just go through the motions with habit, we’re more willing to modify our typical routines for tradition.

Unfortunately, many businesses think tradition is just their yearly schedule of sales (spring sale, 4th of July sale, etc.). The businesses and organizations that understand tradition (and people’s affinity for tradition) transition from being just stores into brands with loyal followings.

Need some ideas of how to integrate tradition into your business? Here’s what others have done:

  • The Boy Scouts
    Each year after Christmas the Boy Scouts drive through town and pick-up old Christmas trees. For a few bucks I save the hassle of getting rid of my tree and support a great organization. I know that for probably the rest of my life I can count on the scouts to pick up my tree. For the scouts, picking up trees is consistent with their core value of public service and also acts a fundraiser for their organization.
  • Hardware Sales
    For as long as I can remember, Hardware Sales has given fifty-cent pieces in its change instead of two quarters. There’s no cost in doing this, it’s memorable and it fits perfectly with who they are and what it’s like to shop there.
  • Les Schwab
    For over 20 years Les Schwab has run an annual promotion giving away free beef with every new set of tires. The promotion has a down-to-earth legacy and conveys the unique working-man roots of the Les Schwab brand.

In addition to each having traditions that correspond with their core values the Boy Scouts, Hardware Sales and Les Schwab traditions all have something else in common: If any of them ever stopped their tradition people would notice and complain. That means they’re doing something right.

Bellingham Logos & Your Competitive Universe


The Bellingham Herald is holding their annual “Who’s Logo Is It?” contest. The Herald takes local logos and removes company names and other identifying features from the logo reducing it down to just a few elements. Readers then try and figure out which logo belongs to what business, fill out their entry and then hope to win the $500 grand prize.

Besides being a fun scavenger hunt for readers (and beneficial to the companies who pay to have their logo in the contest) it’s a good reminder of what you should do periodically with your company brand and logo – look at it in the context of your competitive universe. A brand is similar to an investment portfolio in that about once a year you should look to see if it needs to be rebalanced in any way (messaging, position, design, etc.). For now though, let’s set the brand aside and focus on just the logo. Here’s a little exercise to try:

Step #1
Print out all the logos of your competitors and arrange them on a table.

Step #2
While reviewing the competitors’ logos that you’ve gathered ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who appears to be the market leader/most professional/cheapest/most expensive based on the logo alone?
  • Do any of the logos have anything in common (color, shape, symbolism, tag line, etc.)?
  • Who does a really good job of conveying their unique value or market position?

Step #3
Now add your logo to the mix and ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Do I stand out or differentiate myself in any way compared to the other logos or do I just blend in?
  • What new/existing attributes exist in my company that aren’t coming through in my logo.
  • Dose my logo look current or dated?

Keep in mind that this is just an exercise to measure the visual effectiveness of your logo in your competitive marketplace, not your entire brand. If you identify issues with your logo after this exercise, improving your logo can probably help, but a more comprehensive look at your entire brand may be needed.

New FLIR Work: A New Identity For Kulshan Builders


FLIR Creative just finished a new identity for Kulshan Builders, a local green builder. The identity fuses Kulshan Builder’s classic craftsmanship with their skill in utilizing the most effective green building techniques.

Kulshan Builders Identity

I Miss The Rowdy Buckaroo


Rowdy Buckaroo StandingThere was a time in downtown Bellingham when you knew someone had your back. If your lunch, meeting or shopping trip ran long you still had a fighting chance to beat a parking ticket. One man stood for the common drivers of Bellingham – the Rowdy Buckaroo.

The Rowdy Buckaroo would patrol downtown Bellingham in his custom painted van looking for expired parking meters. When an expired meter was found, the Rowdy Buckaroo would pop a Canadian dime into the meter (the meters used to accept Canadian currency) and leave a note that said you had been saved by the Rowdy Buckaroo. He was a downtown Robin Hood protecting the commoners from the “big mean city.” And as you and I both know, people always love to root for an underdog.

The City of Bellingham didn’t take too kindly to the lost income that would have resulted in the payment of the parking tickets had the Rowdy Buckaroo not stepped in, but surprisingly there wasn’t too much of a confrontation. In the end, the Rowdy Buckaroo rode off into the sunset, the parking meters were modified to reject Canadian change and the drivers of downtown Bellingham were left to fend for themselves.

Rowday VanThe Rowdy Buckaroo was the effort of Travis Holland, owner of the Horseshoe Cafe in downtown Bellingham, and was a brilliant piece of out-of-the box marketing that not only benefited Holland’s own business, but the visitors to downtown and the surrounding downtown merchants as well.

There are a few reasons why the Rowdy Buckaroo was such effective marketing. See what inspiration you can take from Holland and apply to marketing your company:

  1. Authenticity
    The Rowdy Buckaroo looked like a rowdy buckaroo – he was a character. And from what I remember, he also sincerely enjoyed saving people from parking tickets.
  2. It didn’t “stink” like marketing.
    Something of value was given to drivers that saved them money and hassle. Drivers weren’t left feeling tricked or even marketed to.
  3. Word-of-mouth
    People told one another their Rowdy Buckaroo stories and news about him and the Horseshoe spread. How could you resist telling someone the story of being saved by the Rowdy Buckaroo?!
  4. Fantastic PR
    Every time a story was written about the Rowdy Buckaroo, Holland’s restaurant would get some press. PR doesn’t have to mean twisting a reporter’s arm to tell your story. Create something interesting/newsworthy to begin with and coverage will often follow.
  5. The Rowdy Buckaroo was fun.
    It was fun watching the Rowdy Buckaroo in action popping dimes into expired meters and leaving notes. The Rowdy Buckaroo was was equal parts entertainment, performance art and marketing.
  6. Fusion
    The Rowdy Buckaroo and his custom vehicle were highly visible. What started initially as a form of marketing in the downtown core actually became infused as a part of the landscape and culture of downtown.
Learn more about FLIR Creative. Visit our website and view our work.

Brands & Tattoos


Getting a tattoo and developing a new brand identity/logo are very similar:

  • You only get one shot to get it right
  • Once it’s created, you have it for a long time and they are very hard to change
  • You pay for what you get. Have a professional help you, not your cousin or a buddy


Thinking of getting a “tattoo” or fixing your existing one? Let’s talk.

Learn more about FLIR Creative. Visit our website and view our work.