Amongst the twelve brand personalities, the Innocent beams – exuding a lightness with a wide-eyed smile that seems amiss without a halo above it. Ever the optimist the Innocent sees the good in everyone, in everything and more than that too, the Innocent spots possibility at every turn to do good and do better. But not for their own gain – that’s not what their about. The Innocent is without agenda or showmanship, instead their motivation lies in demonstrating not directing when it comes to promoting their brand ethos. For whilst the Innocent would prefer consumers to convert to their vision of simplicity, a nostalgic and sometimes rose-tinted view of why going back to the basics is the best – the Innocent is a patron of the old ‘you can bring the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ philosophy.
So, who better than the ethereal Dali Lama to christen the Innocent brand as its human counterpart? The ultimate master of zen, patience and serenity, the leader of the Buddhist faith epitomises the ways in which we could all be kinder, more tolerant. We needn’t follow the high monk into the Tibetan mountains but the essence of what he stands for is something we all ought to take heed of. And just like the Innocent brand personality, you won’t find the Dali Lama proclaiming his mantra through a megaphone, in fact – he likely doesn’t even have a written doctrine. Instead, he leads by example, do good – and people shall follow.
There’s only one brand then who could kick off our coverage of the Innocent. One so acutely aligned to the Innocent brand personality they included it in their company name; it is of course, Innocent Smoothies. Innocent Smoothies have built their whole brand proposition on the qualities of what it means to be Innocent. So, let’s consider for a second what it is to be Innocent; it is to be wholesome, pure, uncorrupted. And because of those qualities, they can afford to be cheeky – sometimes even controversial, without the risk of causing offence. It’s this premise that Innocent Smoothies have adopted throughout their branding and marketing channels. Their tongue-in-cheek visual branding is barely designed. It’s a half-drawn circle anyone could recreate, dotted with eyes and anointed with a halo. But it works – that’s the whole point; nothing here has been overthought or over considered. Or perhaps it has – but we wouldn’t want to spoil the magic.
Innocent Smoothies have a plethora of ad campaigns and marketing content that all carries the same consistent brand identity. Messaging taglines ‘the fruit, the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit’, ‘heavenly elevenses’ and ‘innocent by nature’ – are playful and packed with lively energy that makes people smile. Couple this with a bright, almost primary colour pallet and you’ve got yourself a quintessentially Innocent brand identity. This familiarity and wholesome goodness is carried onto the Innocent Smoothie website too, and across their social channels – making for a digital customer journey as smooth as their gulp-able product. Throughout every digital touchpoint, the Tone of Voice is unmistakably them. From the websites navbar that calls out ‘things we make’ and ‘recycling revolution’ to the brand’s now famous Twitter thread which berates, mocks and jokes with everyone from politicians and celebrities, to Joe Bloggs from South Shields. And we couldn’t go without mentioning Innocent Smoothies partnership with Age UK and the campaign ‘The Big Knit’. Since 2003 Innocent Smoothies have harnessed the help of knitters across the country with a brief of stitching together bottle-sized hats to don the top of their smoothies in exchange for 25p, donated to Age UK – raising over £3 million since the campaigns’ inception – now that’s a whole lot of goodness.
Yakult is another of the wholesome food brands aligning their principles with the Innocent brand personality. Positioning their brand identity as having the same pious points as fruit and veg, Yakult coined the marketing tagline ‘Every day is a Yakult day’. Not only does this sort of clever messaging create a habit within the consumer, but it also suggests that the occasion is happening anyway – whether the viewer joins in or not. Quintessential Innocent traits, inviting, never instilling. The language crafted around the ‘Little bottle of science’ is clever too – it makes gut health cute.
Another classic quality of the Innocent brand personality is nostalgia. Creating an aura of reflection, looking back on simpler times. A brand that executes this with almost cinematic conviction is the British bread maker, Hovis. Harking back to their original 1973 advert which features a young lad pedal up the cobbled streets to the baker – the brand recreated what was hailed as Britain’s favourite TV advert over 40 years later. In their latest version, a similar cheeky chap wanders with his loaf through some of most significant events over the last decades: The Second World War, the miners strike and England’s World cup win. The marketing slogan that closes the advert reads: ‘Hovis: as good as it’s always been’.
Hovis position their wholemeal as steadfast wholesomeness, the consistent companion of bread-eating Brits. The iconography of the brand logo always – always, includes the proud stamp of their founding year: 1886. Yet that hasn’t kept them in the past, in fact with new product names christened ‘glorious grains’ and ‘fabulous fibre’ Hovis are keeping up with their modern-day contemporaries. And in the COVID-19 crisis, Hovis have stepped up again to fill the shoes of the selfless do-gooder. Partnering with Marcus Rashford and Tom Kerridge in their brilliant campaign, Full Time Meals, to end child food hunger in the UK, Hovis have championed the cause – donating over a quarter of a million loaves to over a thousand charities. It’s this philanthropic content that is shared across the brand’s marketing channels, communicated in the playful, upbeat illustration and typography you’d expect of a company invested in the securing a brighter future for underprivileged children.
The Highstreet chemist Boots is another example of the Innocent brand harnessing heritage and history. In a recent advertising campaign set to the Diana Ross’ classic ‘I’m coming out’ – Boots launched an inclusive message that sought to reassert definitions of ‘summer ready’. An extension of their signature tagline ‘Let’s feel good’, this campaign said to the audience ‘Let’s feel good about summer’ after research found 76% of women in the UK have avoided summer activities – like going to the beach or attending music festival – because they feel self-conscious. Boots’ pitch is upbeat and lively, it’s like an exhale of inhibitions and a return, well, to Innocence. From their offline marketing channels such as the instore experience, to their digital marketing platforms – Boots is a light and bright beacon of steadfast reassurance. They are worthy winners of those milestone visits that punctuate our lives, from the first razor purchase to the dental glue.
At Glorious, we’re well accustomed in helping our clients to bring their innocence to the surface. Optical Express is one such brand who approached our team looking for help in delivering a brand position that would prove in equal parts encouraging and reassuring. Although the brand already has the largest market share of the laser eye surgery sector, their existing marketing activity had been more focused on price promotions, rather than a more concrete campaign that positioned the brand as a go-to for trust and expertise. The requirement was to develop a new brand identity, that would address the ‘fear factor’ and emphasise the remarkable vision transformation that enabled patients to dispense with glasses and contact lenses.
After extensive research, the Glorious team identified what was missing in the market. The unoccupied space was defined as ‘the lack of any meaningful emotional connection between providers and potential patients.’ In other words, the Innocent brand personality. We developed a new positioning expressed in a single word that summed up the response of those who had experienced laser eye surgery. Sheer, unadulterated ‘JOY’. To give the campaign the breadth and scope needed for the offline and online marketing channels for which it was intended, we developed several expressions of ‘JOY’: Happiness, Delight, Pleasure, Optimism, Elation, and Exhilaration. These elemental emotions dedicated everything from the colour pallet to the typography, and from the photography style to the marketing message: ‘It’s a wonderful world.’ It certainly is when you’re on the brighter side of life.
Another brand within the health sector looking to firmly align their brand proposition with the Innocent personality was Colosseum Dental Group. Having recently acquired a new arm of their business, Southern Dental – the client needed a great deal of help to create a cohesive brand identity. This extended all the way from the look and feel of the brick-and-mortar clinics to the promotional brand book that could be used across the business. The final suite of deliverables was extensive and varied, but all unified by their underlining message: Colosseum is an honest and trustworthy brand.
So, if all that has left you feeling warm and fuzzy inside, then we’ve got some Innocent brand personality building blocks that, will set you on your way to creating a real do-gooder of a brand – one of the nice guys:
• Remember this isn’t about you – the whole ethos of an Innocent brand personality is to present a better way of doing things, but in a way that demonstrates, not dictates. We’re about the good of the community here, and not the brand at hand.
• When thinking about a colour palette and other visual branding elements, think lively and bold. Add energy to your creative assets that feel light and free, not intrusive or instructive.
• Be playful with your Tone of Voice. Done well, an Innocent brand can’t truly offend – they are far too nice for that. This gives brands the scope to be cheeky and inventive with their language, without having to follow the strict rules other more formal brand personalities might.
• Align yourself to worthwhile philanthropic causes that matter to you and your brand. This is because Innocent brands genuinely care about the good of those around them and the causes they champion.
• Even if your brand is in its infancy, begin thinking about heritage and history where you can. Innocent brands are often about the story, and so the sooner you start writing yours the better.
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