On the surface it doesn’t appear that Axe (Lynx in the UK) and Dove have anything in common aside from their functionality. They each have completely different target audiences and have blatantly differing messaging schemes that reflect this. However, these brands share a fundamental similarity—the common goal of making people feel good about themselves. The incredible success of both these personal care brands on a global scale illustrates exactly how brand owner Unilever expertly listens to their consumers and responds in kind.


Axe has been garnering attention for years with its racy ad campaigns and suggestive product naming. The brand has built its identity upon the characteristics intrinsic to the emotions, thoughts, and feelings of its target demographic. Not to oversimplify the mind of a male teenager, but it’s safe to assume that teenage boys spend a fair amount of time thinking about sex. On a deeper level, these thoughts and feelings can be associated with basic psychological needs, such as belonging, association, and approval. Axe pairs sexual overtones with humour in the form of hyperbole to achieve perfect irreverent harmony.


Axe’s success as a brand stems from its ability to identify primal needs and understand the topography of the environment in which they exist. Axe’s brazen approach in creating their brand identity mirrors the developing mind of their target demographic and demonstrates the brand’s understanding of consumer wants and needs.

Dove launched its Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004, in efforts to spark a global conversation about the need to expand the definition of beauty. This campaign was as huge success for Dove as it increased conversation surrounding the brand, generated goodwill, and improved overall sales.

Dove saw an opportunity to engage a frustrated audience in a new and clever way. The campaign took on a friendly tone in that it didn’t explicitly criticize the unnaturally thin bodies of the models we were so used to seeing in advertisements. On the contrary, it encouraged the acceptance of all body types. Dove is unmistakably a Brave Brand, claiming numerous prizes and recognitions since the initial launch of the Campaign for Real Beauty.


The vast differences between the Axe and Dove advertising campaigns have been widely noted. Generally, identifying inconsistencies in a company’s messaging reveals a weak mission or poor follow through, but upon closer analysis of Unilever, there is evidence of just the opposite.

Unilever allows each brand to maintain authenticity by allowing leeway and individuality in messaging scheme. Their brands are successful because they all tell their own story. Unilever’s philosophy is relatively simple, “We help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.” It seems that both of these brands have found their place under Unilever’s mission.

Getting the edge in the spirits category is no easy feat. The category is crowded with robust marketeers committed to discovering compelling ways to peak consumers’ interest and capture their curiosity. While consumers find trust and personal identification in the core product of an alcohol range, they are always on the lookout for new ways to celebrate and make the moment special. This provides great opportunity for alcohol brands to continuously push the boundaries, be highly imaginative, and explore innovation.


Case and point is SKYY Vodka’s latest limited edition which features LED lights that move to the beat of the music. Designed specifically for the bottle service occasion, the special bottle engages, entertains and enhances the SKYY experience.

HOW IT WORKS: Integrated into the new soft-touch label are dozens of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). A special color-coordinated base housed the batteries, sound sensors and power switch. When turned on, the LEDs create a constant illumination of the SKYY logo. Additional LED’s arranged in the shape of equalizer bars, are sound-sensitive and actually move to the beat of music.


INSPIRATION FOR ALL CATEGORIES: Why relegate innovation like this just to alcohol? As competition in all categories continues to get more and more robust, it may literally take putting a spotlight on your brand to make it stand out on shelf. But it isn’t simply about making something light up. It isn’t only about being unique and different. Rather, it is about finding a meaningful way to enhance the experience for consumers, a way that is genuine and truly tied to the truth of your brand.

Considering its bone chilling weather, Burlington, Vermont may seem an odd place to start-up an ice cream company, but then again, our latest Brave Brand is anything but conventional.


Ben & Jerry a long time ago.

After bonding on the track of their seventh grade gym class Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield found themselves to be the perfect pair. Describing themselves at that time as “the two slowest, fattest kids,” they view food and girth as the tie that’s bound them since childhood. After Jerry was rejected by all of the medical schools he applied to and Ben realised he would never be a successful potter, the pair decided to start a business together. They began their journey of frozen frivolity in 1978 with a $12,000 investment, a renovated gas station, and a correspondence course in ice cream making. Nearly four decades later Ben & Jerry’s has become one of the most successful ice cream brands in the world.

Ben & Jerry

Ben & Jerry recently.

Don’t get us wrong, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is delicious but it owes its success to far more than just taste. It’s built on the foundation of a three-part mission statement encompassing product quality, economic sustainability, and social activism. Through these pillars Ben & Jerry’s has created the numerous quirks and quips that make it unique.


Economic Sustainability

The concept of “linked prosperity” manifests itself in every aspect of the company’s functioning. Yes, Ben & Jerry’s seeks to achieve profitable growth, but the company also holds a genuine interest in expanding development opportunities and career growth for their employees.

All of the brownies sourced in Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked and Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavours are from Greyston Bakery, a bakery dedicated to providing jobs and training to low-income city residents in New York.

Half Baked

Quotes from Ben & Jerry’s Reddit Ask Us Anything session:
“I think one thing that has worked out well for Ben & Jerry’s is that the company pays a liveable wage, not just minimum wage, to ALL our workers. And it turns out that it’s actually beneficial to the company.” At one time “Ben & Jerry’s had a compressed salary ratio – the highest paid person in the company didn’t make any more than 7 times what the lowest paid person made.”

Ben & Jerry's employee

Product Quality

Focusing on the development of “euphoric concoctions,” Ben & Jerry’s cultivates original flavours while maintaining its commitment to using natural ingredients. If the public aren’t loving a flavour then it ends up in the Flavour Graveyard, where website visitors can pay tribute to the “dearly de-pinted.”

Flavour Graveyard

Quotes from Ben & Jerry’s Reddit Ask Us Anything session:
“In the early years of Ben & Jerry’s, Ben did all the flavour development and quality control for the ice cream. So he was always concerned about having enough big chunks in the pints of ice cream, and when he was testing a pint of ice cream he would eat the entire pint because Ben claims that any ice cream tastes good for 1 or 2 spoonfuls.” But apparently, he continues “you need to be willing to make the sacrifice of eating down through the entire pint to make sure that quality holds up.”

Social Activism

Ben & Jerry’s is cognisant of the central role that businesses play in society, and it wants to make sure its impact is a positive one. Ben & Jerry’s supports a range of initiatives through their business practices and the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. “We both believe that business should be using its power to help address social & environmental issues, and not just making money.” –Greenfield, J. (2015) Dedicated to progressive social change, the Foundation provides grants to grassroots organizations devoted to social and environmental justice.

Cow-Costumed Cloning Protestors March To U.S. Capitol

Another shining example of the way Ben & Jerry’s practises social activism is through product naming. The brand named several flavours in support of gay marriage legislation. These include Apple-y Ever After, Hubby Hubby, My Big Fat Greek Gay Wedding and I DOugh I DOugh.

Ben & Jerry's in support of marriage equality


The brand’s business philosophies are sometimes counterintuitive to profitability, and it risks alienating customers by taking a strong stance on political, social, and environmental issues. If Ben & Jerry’s isn’t brave then no brand is. By cultivating an interactive relationship with the local, national, and global communities, Ben & Jerry’s ensures its lasting relevance.


The brand spanking new year gives us a chance to look back at our Brave Brands of 2014. Exclusive and prestigious, Brave Brand status is given to the brands that successfully break through the white noise to make a statement. It’s about stepping out of the comfort zone in order to set forth on a higher path. The Brave Brand causes a disruption in efforts to redefine an often tired category. It stays so true to its convictions that it is even willing to put potential profit on hold in the name of values. So which brands stood out for us last year?

ANZ Bank

The Australia and New Zealand Banking group is the third largest banking group in Australia. ANZ logo Why was it brave? ANZ launched an awareness and fundraising campaign in Sydney for the upcoming Lesbian and Gay Madi Gras festival. gaytmsThe campaign saw ANZ decorate 10 ATM machines across the city. The camp, brightly coloured machines were aptly called GAYTMs. Operating fees generated from the GAYTMs, throughout the duration of the campaign, went to non-profit Twenty10. The organisation provides assistance and guidance to young people in the midst of coming out or discovering their sexual identities. The campaign brought together beautiful street art and a good cause, not things a lot of consumers would expect to be on a major bank’s radar. Read the article in full


Durex unashamedly loves sex and it knows full well that we do too. Its perseverance and success in the face of the many rules, watersheds, regulations and limitations imposed upon it (due to its adult nature) are really something to admire. Durex balloons Why was it brave? Brand conscience Like all good brands should, Durex is very big on social responsibility. It loves a good cause and has its heart in the right place. Elements such a safety and reassurance form the fundamental core of its proposition and go hand in hand with Durex’s wider conscience. Design Durex’s competitor brands pale to insignificance on shelf as the colourful packaging manages to sell fun, pleasure, safety and responsibility in remarkably equal measure. Naming and copy Product names like Play, Tingle Me, Discover and Little Devil are confident and dynamic. Not just breaking taboos but smashing them. Read the article in full


Now 103 years old Oreo is an untouchable part of the American brandscape. There’s no doubt that if innocent-looking Oreo ever had any competition, it would squash it. Oreo Wonderfilled Why was it brave? The celebrated cookie stood alone in its category. Lots of brands possess an impressive heritage that they are proud of and rightly so. The difference is that Oreo stays up with the times instead of stalling in them. It’s gained and maintained relevance with people of all ages by leveraging its childish side, not an easy niche to carve. When a brand stays as current, humorous and dynamic as Oreo, it’s hard not to be impressed. Read the article in full


Founded in 1957, Dove had always been the Mary Sue of skincare. Synonymous with purity and gentleness it was a highly recognisable category constant with a loyal consumer base. Dove Real Beauty Why was it brave? In 2006, the popular and respectable beauty queen decided the time was right to disrupt the personal care category. Utilising print, TV and social media advertising in an unprecedented commitment to its cause, Dove shook the foundations of the beauty industry and started the ‘Real Beauty’ revolution. body-image With third wave feminism and growing concerns over eating disorders and the sexualisation of young girls at the very peak of their pertinence, Dove’s decision to become the people’s champion was perfectly timed and paid off in spectacular style. The real beauty of the Dove rebrand campaign is that it provided a totally new appeal by taking a fresh approach to its brand proposition rather than uprooting it completely. Dove has always been known and admired for its sensitive and caring qualities, the Real Beauty campaign simply extended them beyond skin, to a whole person with a heart and mind. Read the article in full


Coca-Cola bought its first 18% stake in Innocent in 2009. Four years later, in 2013, the soft drinks giant upped its ownership of the smoothie brand to 90%. Innocent. Tastes good, does good. Why was it brave? Innocent successfully juggles a multitude of brand values. A friendly and relatable personality upheld through copy and consumer engagement activities helps Innocent maintain a transparent and honest relationship with customers as well as generating huge brand loyalty. As a brand, it consistently strives towards innovation and self-improvement, whilst remaining confident in the work it’s already doing. And Innocent is undeniably making the world a better place, both in terms of its consumers’ health and charitable works around the world. We think Innocent is just great. screen-shot-2014-07-14-at-15-42-27 Read the article in full


Ten years ago Uniqlo had just 100 stores, all in Japan. Next year, it will have 840 in Japan and a further 1,170 elsewhere. The two-thousand or so stores are performing phenomenally with the clothing retailer was set to amass sales of $14 billion in the financial year of 2014. Uniqlo Heatech Why was it brave? Uniqlo’s mission statement begins: ‘We consistently provide fashionable, high quality, basic casual clothes that anyone can wear anytime anywhere – and always at the lowest possible market prices.’ And it’s certainly a mission Uniqlo has rigorously stuck to. Anyone who’s browsed one of the brand’s stores or wears its clothing will attest its excellent quality relative to its affordability. Innovation flows throughout the company, from the advanced technicality of its fabrics to the lean, flat, open way the business is organised. Even more impressive perhaps is Uniqlo’s relentless commitment to protecting the planet and securing a sustainable future, not only for itself, but for the whole world. url-51 Read the article in full


Häagen-Dazs is telling its customers, “You have been eating your ice cream wrong.” The attention-grabbing accusation is an introduction to the Concerto Timer, the ice cream brand’s latest packaging innovation.


According to Häagen-Dazs, ice cream needs to sit for a couple of minutes once it’s out of the freezer to reach its optimum taste and softness. The Concerto Timer has been created to ensure that the Häagen-Dazs brand experience continues during that brief countdown. Consumers are invited to point their phones at a carton of Häagen-Dazs whereupon an augmented reality application kicks in to reveal a tiny violinist or miniature cellist playing classical music. Put two different flavoured cartons together and “enhance the performance” as they duet. Quite amazing, really. Sophisticated, luscious, premium and tasteful, the Concerto Timer is a braver idea that’s right on the Häagen-Dazs brand. It creates a brand ritual, something that can be extremely powerful. Brand Strategist Yaacov Weiss sums up brand ritual’s importance pretty well so we’ll leave it to him: “Rituals create a unique brand experience which provides us with a reason, consciously or unconsciously, to want to revisit the brand experience. It imparts something personal, giving us a closer connection to the brand. The ritual also involves the customer with the brand. Acting in a unique way for a brand helps create affinity towards it. It creates a habit, which encourages loyalty. Brand rituals are also “sticky”, they help the customer remember the brand and the brand becomes iconic”  – Weiss, Y. (2010)

Whether Häagen-Dazs Concerto Timer will become the next Oreo Twist, Lick, Dunk time will tell, but we certainly admire the execution.


Today is a day of terror, panic, despair and one-off retail promotion. It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, the darkest day in the American calendar - Black Friday.

action animated GIF
In 2013, approximately 141 million U.S. consumers shopped during Black Friday, spending a total of $57.4 billion, with online sales reaching $1.2 billion. That’s big money but the main profiteers on this day tend to be big brands and chain retailers. Small, independent, entrepreneurial businesses often get lost in the shuffle (or shall we say scuffle?), unable to match the bargains or the advertising power of their larger corporate counterparts.

In recognition of the important role small businesses play in our lives and communities, financial giant American Express created Small Business Saturday.

In the aftermath of Black Friday, AMX encourages the public to ‘shop small,’ by giving rebates for purchases made in participating stores. The campaign is in its 5th year and has been pretty successful both financially and socially. It has been endorsed and promoted by Obama himself, and last year, Americans spent $5.7 billion in local shops.

The event isn’t without cynics. Some think it’s just another marketing scheme from a multinational corporation, another trick to make people spend more money, a feel-good campaign hiding the dark side of consumerism.

Whether any of that is true or not, there are good intentions here. Small Business Saturday is a reminder that at the heart of successful communities is a thriving small business sector. It sheds a light on what consumers get from small business that they simply can’t get from the heavy hitters – the personal touch, the passion of craftsmanship, the unique experience. Beyond this, the event highlights how supporting small local business begins a virtuous cycle in your community.

See how this local cycle business is making a big impact on its community

Yes, at the end of the day Small Business Saturday is about driving purchasing and profit. But it’s also a celebration of entrepreneurialism and the people that give colour and distinctive character to a community. It makes people stop and consider how best to spend their money. Is a half-priced TV set that will be out of date in six months really worth more than the livelihood of those who make the place you live special and unique? As Small Business Saturday continues to expand its reach away from USA to the UK and beyond, we can’t be alone in thinking that it isn’t.


An hour or two at Singapore airport on a stop over to Indonesia or Oceania is often the closest that people ever get to visiting Singapore. Their loss. 

One of the only pieces of trivia people know about Singapore is that chewing gum is illegal, but that hardly sums up one of the most vibrant and prosperous cities in Asia. The days of strict post-colonial regulations banning such things as rock ‘n ‘roll and video game arcades are long gone. What has emerged in their wake is one of the most culturally diverse places on earth bursting with art, fashion, food, and music.

Named as ‘the world’s easiest place to do business’ by the World Bank for the 9th year running, Singapore has become a diverse community with several professional expats enjoying the opportunities – and weather. And as the host of an F1 Grand Prix and the home of several Michelin Starred restaurants, Singapore is now entertaining on an international scale.

We’ve been locals for 3 years now so we’ve just about got the lay of the island. Here are our recommendations to anyone visiting Singapore:


Din Tai Fung:  An authentic Taiwanese restaurant with a Michelin star, Din Tai Fung is ranked as one of the world’s Top Ten Best Restaurants by The New York Times. Go for the xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings) and heart-warming steamed chicken soup. 

Maxwell Hawker Centre: The local’s favourite food market. Hundreds of delicacies to try under one roof from fish head soup to the traditional congee with pork and century egg from Zhen Zhen Porridge. 

Labyrinth: The newest face of Singaporean fusion, Labyrinth is the vision of chef LG Han. Be sure to try the signature dish of chili crab ice cream (below). 

Pasarbella: A wonderful farmers’ market with great craft beers, wine, meat, dairy, seafood, fruit, veg, and more. 


KU DÉ TA: Perched above the observation deck of the SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, KU DÉ TA Singapore boasts a restaurant, club lounge and a breathtaking view of the skyscape.

Potato Head Folk: Whimsy childhood murals on the walls and sculptures fill the space at Potato Head Folk. It also offers a beautiful roof terrace, delicious burgers and amazing cocktails. 

Ronin: Exceptional coffee and excellent sandwiches in this simply gorgeous cafe.


Orchard Road: Walk down Orchard Road by night to see it at its best. 

Southern Ridges Park: Bridges to die for. 

Marina Bay: Stroll around the bay, walk over Helix Bridge and admire the sculptures and incredible architecture before you. 

Joo Chiat: Discover Peranakan culture as you stroll past heritage shophouses, quaint stores and eateries in this charming corner of East Singapore.Chinatown: Heritage in abundance. Experience the original Chinese charm of Singapore. Visit its Wiki Travel page for detailed info. 

Art & Design

Gillman Barracks: Located on a 6.4 hectare site and set amid lush greenery, Gillman Barracks is a contemporary arts cluster in Singapore that is home to 17 international art galleries, three restaurants and the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), which are all housed in conserved colonial barracks.

Having just re-opened after 7 years, the library@orchard is built around the theme “Design is for Everyone.” The next-generation public library includes numerous interactive features and collaborative spaces to inspire and educate. With a collection of comfortable nooks and crannies, the upper level is the perfect place to relax with a design book or magazine.

Red Dot Design Museum: The latest trends in the international design scene with a collection of more than 1,000 exhibits in the field of product design and communication design from over 50 countries.

National Design Centre: Centrally located in the arts, cultural, learning and entertainment district in the Bras Basah-Bugis area, it is well placed to invite the public to learn about design through its exhibitions and programmes. 

Parkroyal on Pickering: Balconies covered in tropical plants provide 15,000 square metres of greenery at this stunning hotel. The award-winning interior is equally as stunning. 


Haji Lane: Enjoy the many independent stylish clothing boutiques of Haji Lane.  

ION Orchard: It cost $2 billion to construct this massive futuristic shopping centre. ION Orchard has become the “centre of gravity” in the retail scene, with spectacular frontage and cutting edge designs and concepts. It brings together the world’s best loved brands for within one development with over eight levels of intelligently designed shopping space – four levels above ground and four levels below – totalling 66,000 square metres.

Sungei Road Thieves’ Market: Singapore’s oldest flea market dating back to the 1930s. Great if you’re looking for retro, vintage items.

sungei road thieves market

Little India:  Crammed into 700 by 500 metres of space, Little India is a little hectic but well worth your time. With markets, food stalls and temples aplenty, it’s an experience for all 5 senses and an opportunity to grab some bargains. 



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