Pumpkin Spice Me Up

There are few sure to tell signs that summer is coming to an end and fall is approaching: weather gets chillier, schools begin after summer holidays and Pumpkin spice latte makes its annual return on Starbucks menu. I don’t know about you, but I was in fact familiar with this fall treat years before I even had tasted it myself. How? Through social media of course!


Even though the drink was originally developed already in 2003, years before the rise of social, and it was successful even then, I would base some of its current status due to social media, especially Instagram (which I will be focusing on this post). Every year when the drink makes its return, Instagram is flooded by pictures of people enjoying their drink. Starbucks has even launched separate social media pages on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr just for the drink itself called The Real PSL. How does this activity on social media help Starbucks sell Pumpkin spice lattes to even more people?



You may be familiar with AIDA model in marketing. AIDA of course stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. There are many variations of this formula, that add more levels to the basics of making purchase decision. One that I found most interesting, due to it been having added the levels of customer experience and sharing is AISDALSLOVE. This monster is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Search, Desire, Action, Like/Dislike, Share, Love/Hate. I feel it describes more of today’s consumer behaviour.



My own journey with Starbucks’ Pumpkin spice latte, and I believe many others can relate, can be described by using AISDALSLOVE. First is Attention, that came to me via social media. Starbucks has created admirable presence in Instagram, coming by not only the company itself but the consumers as well, sharing pictures of their cups and drinks. That’s how I also got my first glimpse of Pumpkin spice latte. Next step is Interest where consumer becomes interested about the brand and how it would fit their lifestyle. Interest is followed by Search. You start to search information about the brand and their message, externally and internally: does this message fit with my values and idea of myself. For me, this was typing #pumpkinspicelatte into a search board and going through pictures. Next is Desire, consumer begins to feel the need to test the brand themselves.



All this leads to Action: becoming a customer and buying the brand. After trying out the brand you either Like or Dislike it. Personally, I liked it. When you’ve tried out the brand, you usually want to Share your experiences and with modern days, social media is the place to go. After trying out Pumpkin spice latte, I posted a picture on Instagram, with appropriate hashtags obviously to share my experience with wider audience than just my followers. I also tweeted about it and used traditional word-of-mouth by telling all my friends, who for one reason or another don’t follow my social media, about this amazing drink. Last step on the model is Love/Hate, which means developing deeper feelings towards the brand, either love or hate depending on how their experiences have been, which leads to either taking your business elsewhere or becoming a loyal customer.

I, as you can guess, am part of the latter group with Starbucks’ Pumpkin spice latte. Having bought the drink countless of times since my first sip (even though it only sells for couple of months a year, enter sad face) and sharing my love towards it on social media again and again. The circle has come to close and who knows, maybe one of my posts sparks Attention to someone who has never heard of PSL before.

What do you think, does expanding AIDA to AISDALSLOVE make more sense today, especially with social media being such a strong presence in our daily lives? And have you had similar experiences with any brand? Share your thoughts on comment section below.




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The Ikea Phenomenon

First of all let me introduce you to Ikea we all know nowadays. Ikea was founded in Sweden in 1943. It operates 370 stores in 47 countries. So what makes ikea so special? How did Ikea gain customers trust and create the “Ikea phenomenon”? Lets take a look at Ikea’s successful concept through four main points of Keller’s Brand Equity model.


Brand identity

When you see Ikea’s logo what comes to your mind? Most likely it’s gonna be house furnishing, cheap prices or perhaps the Swedish heritage. Brand identity consists around the question “who are we?” what kind of image the brand wants to give to consumers.

Slogan “make room for life” is talking to everyone there isn’t any target group. Ikeas whole concept is build around the idea of creating better life for everyone. To implement this Ikea creates furnishing products that are affordable for everyone. Everyone knows Ikea from it’s build-it-yourself concept, Nordic designs and convenience. Ikea has also managed to get it’s origin part of the identity with advertising, colours and some products they offer.

Brand meaning

Brand meaning considers what brand stands for. For many students, young families or people who need short term furnitures Ikea is the place to be. However nowadays it’s not only for people who try to save money. You can find Ikea products in almost every house. The Wide variety of products is remarkable. You can find anything for a comfy home from Ikea with a decent price and quality. Leontyne Green Sykes, (CMO of IKEA North America) is telling that the price isn’t the only key thing that matters for Ikea. They aim for sustainability, form, function, and quality within the low price. Sounds too good to be true right? Some people might hate the build-it-yourself practise, but that’s a part of their brand identity and helps to gain those factors. The flat packed furniture is also much easier to move around and those who struggle with building the furniture can always call the helping infos Ikea has. The aim is to make everything the most effortless and cheap as it can be with a good quality.

Brand responses

Brand responses handle the feelings and judgements that the brand wants to bring to customers. Ikea is relatively cheap so the quality has to be fair enough to keep the consumers coming back and spreading the name.  People are satisfied with the price quality ratio. Nowadays Ikea has entrenched into many houses in many countries so strongly that the designs and feelings from ikea are positive and bring the home like feelings.

Brand relationships

Ikea has a managed to create a brand relationship with many people around the world. Brand relationship covers the top of Keller’s pyramid. It considers the special idea that consumer has about the brand that keeps them coming back.

Ikea is seen as the most effortless and perhaps even funny way of getting everything from the same place. Families like to go to Ikea, because it has something for everyone not only the furniture, but also food and place for children to play.

Ikea is unique with its idea of bringing their furnishing ideas concretely for everyone. You see all the furnishing ideas not only in Ikea’s catalog, instagram or website, but also inside the store, you can walk in the actual rooms. People like to visit Ikea, because they get a proper experience how would it be like to have a whole room decorated by ikea. That is indeed one of Ikeas goals “to be the leader of life at home”. The moment you step into ikea is the moment you start wondering which kind of room feels like home the most.


To sum up Ikea has indeed managed  become one of the leaders of home with providing good price quality ratio, wide supply and convenience. Ikea as a brand has managed to create an unique positive picture as the easiest and funniest way of furniture shopping that makes consumers want to come back.








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4 Steps towards a strong brand

The word “brand” means everything a company does and how a customer sees it. Building a brand is vital to a company’s success. A strong brand is part of a company’s business plan and when built on the business vision, takes time to perfect and does not need changes every year.

Keller’s Brand Equity Model or also known as the Customer-based Equity Model, was developed by marketing professor Kevin Lane Keller. The key idea of the model is to display how to build a successful brand and what are the things to consider when building a strong brand. Keller’s Brand Equity Model is described as a pyramid with four different layers: identity, meaning, response and relationship. In order to create a strong brand, the pyramid must be constructed in the right order.


Identity – Who are you?

The first level and the base of the pyramid is to define what the company’s brand is exactly. In this first step, customers need to be aware of your brand’s identity. Make sure you are sending out the right message, so your brand stands out and customers recognize it.

Meaning – What are you?

The second step of the pyramid is all about what your brand stands for. In this step, you start to create customer loyalty. Your brand values give people a reason to be proud of their purchases and remain as customers.

Response – What about you?

At this level, the product must respond to the promises that have been set previously in the pyramid. If the company is able to keep its promises, the brand will strengthen, and the company becomes more successful.

Relationship – What about you and me?

The fourth and final step is about the relationship between the customer and the brand. At this level, brand loyalty is formed; the product has been so good, that customers will purchase other products from the same company.

Keller’s Brand Equity Model is a great way to build a strong brand without forgetting any essential dimension. When you have a strong brand equity, customers will be loyal and buy more from you and not from the competitors.


Lumene Oy is a Finnish cosmetics company with a strong brand equity. The company was founded in 1948 and has been a strong and valued brand in Finland for many years.

Lumene’s identity is to be a leading Finnish cosmetics company. Over 40 years they have made their name as a domestic cosmetics company for Finnish skin. The meaning of the company is to be domestic, Finnish, pure and natural – the values the company stands for. Lumene stresses that its products have been made for Finnish skin from Finnish raw materials. The brand is all about being Finnish. So, has Lumene kept its promise? They have been the leading cosmetics company in Finland for over 40 years, and are still growing. So I think it’s safe to say that they have. The relationship between Lumene and its customers is strong. Its customers want to buy cosmetics that are domestic and natural. They want to support a Finnish company that has existed for 69 years.


Lumene homepage. Available: http://www.lumene.com/fi

Building a powerful brand. Keller’s Brand Equity Model. Available: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/keller-brand-equity-model.htm

Keller’s Brand Equity Model. Available: http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/news/kellers-brand-equity-model/



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Ben & Jerry ethically responsible or socially critical?

Since 2000, Ben and Jerry´s Homemade Inc. is a subsidiary of Unilever. The company has grown into a multimillion dollar publicly-held company and is, arguably, one of the most innovative, progressive as well as socially responsible businesses in the world. Across the United States, there are more than 80 scoop shops which sell ice cream and proprietary merchandise (Lager, 1994). The company consists a mission, which contains three points. Firstly, a product mission with a commitment to incorporating wholesome ingredients, using Fairtrade certified ingredients to show that they respect the earth and environment. With this mission, they try to present that they make, distribute and sell the finest natural ice cream products. Furthermore, the company concentrates on the economic mission to operate the company for sustainable financial growth and provide a wider range of opportunities for a career development for the employees. Lastly, they focus on the social mission to operate the company to become innovative to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally (Ben and Jerry´s website).

On the website of Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. there are several information about the company itself as well as about their ice cream products and how they are made. Moreover, there are information about the franchise communications and social activism (Ben and Jerry’s website). According to Grimm (2002), Ben and Jerry´s Homemade Inc. have never made big advertisements. Instead, they have made their brand stand out by way of imaginative combinations of ingredients, goofy flavor names, and many eco-conscious associations. Moreover, Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. practices a strong business model based on the company’s three part missions to guide decision making. According Hooker (2011), rational decision-making starts by making sense of one’s role in the world. Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. has demonstrated their belief for the company’s role in the world through their economic mission to operate for sustainable financial growth, product mission to make and sell the finest ice cream using natural, wholesome ingredients, and social mission to operate in a way that makes the world a better place (Ben and Jerry’s website).

However, there are also critics about the company. One of the critics is from Jon Entine, author and journalist, who is also a senior research fellow at the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at the University of California. In his article, he claimed that a few years ago there was the dilemma with the ice cream, which left. Additionally, Ben & Jerry’s with its socially conscious operating philosophy had another idea. The ice cream was collected and given away to local pig farmers. He mentioned that it seemed like a classic win-win situation: Ben & Jerry’s solved a minor environmental problem while farmers got an unexpected windfall. At least, that’s what everyone thought he mentioned. Meanwhile, the story was fed to the press along with Ben & Jerry’s Peace Pops. There are unexpected complications after the pigs were fed with the ice creams. Some of the pigs suffered from human like arteriosclerosis, the thickening, hardening and loss of elasticity of the walls of arteries. According to a local pig farmer, Earl Mayo, the slaughtered pigs yield fattier pork.

To conclude, there will be always critics about big companies, which are global and well known. Apparently, it will not be the last critic that the company will face. They design company strategies as well as marketing to create a good image and reputation. This is a long path and effort. However, they need to be careful about their strategy and decision-making. Nowadays, the destruction of image can happen suddenly through social media. On the contrary, to gain the consumer, brand and company trust can take a long time as mentioned before. That was just one critic, there are many of critics about the company but there is a positive picture of the company in general. Big companies know that it is more important to gain consumer´s trust and they try different ways to achieve this goal such as with marketing, influencer or sustainability strategies on their own webpages and advertisements. But there is a query if the big companies are as transparent as they assume.


Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. website. Retrieved from:http://www.benjerry.com

Grimm M. 2002,  Earthy crunch. American Demographics, 24(6), 46. Retrieved from: http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/200638902?accountid=27965

Jon Entine. When Rainforest Ice Cream Melts: ‘The Messy Reality of ‘Socially Responsible Business’: http://www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/ejrot/Vol1_1/entine.pdf

Lager, F.1994. Ben and Jerry’s: The inside scoop, How Two Real Guys Built a Business with Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor. New York, NY: Crown,Publishers, Inc.


Hooker, J. 2011. Business ethics as rational choice. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.


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5 Effective Brand Building Strategies to Attract Customers

What is brand building and why is it important? Many people think that it is about communicating and exposing the brand but it’s more than that. Brand building is the process of creating value to customers. It is a crucial step for companies to reach and attract consumers.

I found the Cox Blue’s theory of the 5 effective brand building strategies to attract customers very accurate so let’s illustrate those tips with the example of the company LUSH.

As a reminder for those who do not know LUSH yet, it is a very successful company with more than 900 stores in 43 countries. It offers fresh handmade, ethical beauty products. They stand from the others in the industry through its green behavior of being against animal testing, eco-friendly packaging and the use of organic material to make their products.

Let’s have a look at those 5 strategies:

  1. Define your brand
  2. Differentiate and position your brand
  3. Build and expose your brand
  4. Personalize your brand
  5. Review your brand


Define your brand

What does your brand stand for? What are your strengths? What is important for you?You need to build your company, have a clear idea of what are the values you support.For Lush, it is pretty obvious. They are very proud of their values: cruelty-free and eco-friendly are their main two.

Differentiate and position your brand

How is your brand different from your competitors? Try to find your key selling point, what is unique in your company. Lush is a really good example of what a unique company is. Of course they have competitors like The Body Shop but Lush has a particular brand image. They are well known for their colorful products; they were the first one to sell the “bath bombs” which became very popular. They sell their product in eco-friendly packaging which reflects its green behavior and they encourage their customer to take a part in this ecological aspect by having a special offer: when returning 5 jars, you get a free mask.

Build and expose your brand

One of the channel you can use to expose your brand is social media. You need to be able to reach people but at the same time, to know what people are saying about you, what they know, what they think. In fact, LUSH doesn’t spend any money on advertising, they only work with social media.

Social media became very popular for brands to expose their product to millions of prospects. LUSH’s Instagram has more than 3 million followers which is a huge opportunity for them to advertise new product or events. They are reposting their consumer’s pictures and looks which also increase brand loyalty.

Capture d_écran 2017-10-20 à 18.11.14


Partnership is another great opportunity for you to expose your brand and reach millions of people. LUSH work with several YouTubers for example. Some of them will even advertise you for free, they’re happy to get free product and to talk about it. For others, you will pay them a certain amount depending on their fan base, number of views etc. The return on investment is usually very interesting, here you can see a video of people trying LUSH’s toothpaste in a video which has more than 4 million views.

 Capture d_écran 2017-10-20 à 18.12.02

Personalize your brand

It is important for your brand to have an identity. LUSH stands for a funny-trendy brand with colorful product, a large range of products. Everyone can use it, it’s fun (they have bath bombs with glitters!!), it’s eco-friendly and cruelty-free, it smells good, how can we not like it? This is a unique formula, they are very different from every company because they have their own values, own identity, own story. They created a very strong brand image and it is one of the greatest example I could think of.


Review your brand

You need to work on your brand every day. You need to challenge yourself in coming up with new ideas, new products, new events but it doesn’t matter if you do it but not review it after. The best way of ensuring growth is reviewing your activities and evaluating through metrics. You need to know what worked, what did not. That’s how you grow and you can create more value for your customers which is the most important part of the business.


Brand building is not easy. You need to come up with a strong brand identity and adapt brand strategies to create value for your customers and build loyalty. In brief, you need to define your brand, differentiate, present it, and review what your brand stands for from time to time.


Powell, A. (ND). 5 Effective Brand Building Strategies To Attract Customers. Available: https://www.coxblue.com/5-effective-brand-building-strategies-to-attract-customers-2/

Polizzi, M. (2015). LUSH Cosmetics: How a Brand Balances Ethics With Profit. Available: https://www.brandfolder.com/blog/lush-cosmetics-how-a-brand-balances-ethics-with-profit/

Casey, C. et al. (2014). Lush: Fresh, Handmade Cosmetics. Available: https://prezi.com/xocm8fc6xjqg/copy-of-lush-fresh-handmade-cosmetics/

Dalmazzo, M. (2011). Lush Cosmetics: How to be green and fun. Available: http://www.slideshare.net/maradalmazzo/case-study-lush

Hayes, C. (2014). Battle of the Brands On Social Media: Lush vs The Body Shop. Available: http://www.socialbro.com/blog/battle-the-brands-on-social-media-lush-body-shop

Posted in Branding in social media, Ecology, Trends, Values | 2 Comments