A For Adventure

Tales Of Adventure / A For Adventure's Blog

"Tales of Adventure" A for Adventure's official blog.

Posts tagged branding
Instagram's Multiple Accounts Feature And 5-Dos And Don'ts Of Social Media Brand Management

Those of us who maintain not only our personal social media presence, but those of our business, employers, and clients are breathing a long-awaited sigh of relief as Instagram announces their new multiple accounts feature.

While constantly switching between multiple accounts, user names, and passwords has been made significantly easier, the addition of this feature highlights the delicate dance brand managers navigate throughout the week. For many, it can be a form of Brand Personality Disorder™ (BPD) – where do I stop and the brand begin?

As BPD becomes increasingly more common, we thought a few basic rules – dos and don'ts – might be in order:


5. Go easy on the discount offers. Sales are sometimes necessary not to mention effective, but constantly being on sale is not only boring for your followers, it cheapens your overall brand image.

4. DON'T post poorly lit, unappetizing, boring, irrelevant or simply bad photographs. Not all of us are born with an eye or technique for photography, but your brand's image is at stake, so class it up!

3. DON'T use comments to insert your brand into a conversation merely for exposure. Bad manners, yo.

2. DON'T over-hashtag #feelingblessed. Keep your hashtags relevant and specific to your posts #kanyewestlovesme

1. DON'T make yourself a brand mascot! More often than not, you personally are not the brand (unless you are). Your life, your cat, new car, and the dinner you are eating are all riveting, but are they the "brand", "on-brand" and serving the goals and strategies of the business and / or connecting with your customers or clients?


5. DO know who your brand is. Create an aesthetic, a tone of voice, and basic set of brand values and stick to them. It looks weird to be luxury one day and discount the next.

4. DO know who you're talking to. Why are they following you? How can you help, inspire, or inform them?

3. DO make a plan, a content calendar, a social media strategy. For brands, social media should not be a toy or a recreational device; it's a tool to accomplish your brand's goals, and if it isn't, it's a highly effective waste of your time – at best.

2. DO have something to say. Have a point of view. Create relevant content, whether it's written, drawn, filmed or photographed. I know it's a lot harder to make stuff than not to make stuff, but if your brand is boring, irrelevant, or simply absent, what message is that sending to your customers?

1. DO be a good friend! Celebrate your followers accomplishments. Take part in relevant discussions with your brand POV. Just like "real life", it's not always about you. It's about fostering community, affinity, and trying to make long-term friends / customers. :-)

What are your dos and don'ts?

A Lesson In "Core Values" From Steve Jobs

In 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple as CEO after being forced to resign by his board of directors in 1985. After 12 years of mismanagement – pre-iPhone and pre-iPod even, Apple's marketshare was in the basement. Steve needed to rebuild the company from the ground up, and the first place he started was with the Apple brand itself. Steve rehired the Chiat Day agency, and began an intensive, eight-week sprint to find and define their brand's "core value." What follows is an incredible speech Steve gave internally at Apple, revealing their motivation, thinking, and ultimately the first salvo in what would come to be known as the "Think Different" ad campaign.


“To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world; it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us. Now, Apple fortunately is one of the half-a-dozen best brands in the whole world. Right up there with Nike, Disney, Coke, Sony, it is one of the greats of the greats. Not just in this country but all around the globe. And – but even a great brand needs investment and caring if it’s going to retain its relevance and vitality."

"And the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years. And we need to bring it back. The way to do that is not to talk about the speeds and fees, it’s not to talk about MIPS and megahertz, it’s not to talk about why we’re better than Windows."

"The dairy industry tried for twenty years to convince you that milk was good for you. It's a lie but they tried anyway. And the sales were going like this. And then they tried Got Milk and the sales are going like this. Got Milk doesn’t even talk about the product – as a matter of fact it focuses on the absence of the product. But the best example of all and one of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen is Nike. Remember, Nike sells the commodity. They sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product, they don’t ever tell you about their air soles and why they're better than Reebok’s air soles."

"What is Nike doing in their advertising? They honor great athletes and they honor great athletics." 

"That’s who they are, that’s what they are about."

"Apple spends a fortune on advertising. You'd never know it. You'd never know it. So when I got here, Apple just fired their agency we're doing a competition with twenty-three agencies that you know four years from now we would pick one and we blew that up and we hired Chiat-Day – the ad agency that I was fortunate enough to work with years ago. We created some award-winning work including the commercial voted the best ad ever made – "1984," by advertising professionals. And we started working about eight weeks ago and the question we asked was: Our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that we stand for? Where do we fit in this world? And what we are about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. We do that better than almost anybody in some cases. But Apple’s about something more than that."

"Apple at the core – its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better."

"That’s what we believe. And we had the opportunity to work with people like that. We have the opportunity to work with people like you, with software developers, with customers who have done it in some big and some small ways. And we believe that in this world people can change it for the better. And that those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that actually do."

"And so what we’re going to do in our first brand marketing campaign in several years is to get back to that core value. A lot of things have changed. The market is a totally different place than it was a decade ago and Apple is totally different. Apple’s place in it is totally different. And believe me, the products and the distribution strategy and the manufacturing are totally different and we understand that. But values and core values, those things shouldn’t change. The things that Apple believed in at its core are the same things that Apple really stands for today. And so we wanted to find a way to communicate this and what we have is something that I am very moved by it – it honors those people who have changed the world. Some of them are living and some of them are not, but the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see, we know that if they’d ever used a computer it would have been a Mac."

"And the theme of the campaign is “Think Different”. It’s the people honoring the people who think different and who moves this world forward. And it is what we are about. It touches the soul of this company. So I’m going ahead and roll it and I hope that you feel the same way about it that I do."

Here’s to the crazy ones – the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Stroops - Heroic Dogs!

A feel-good brand for feel-good food – artisan hot dogs from the award-winning culinary team at Dutch & Co. Our mark was Inspired by the approachability of the menu, and the good-natured humor of our clients.


A stroop is a Dutch waffle, a delicious staple of the Dutch & Co. Saturday hot dog pop-up where the idea of a dedicated hot dog joint was born. We all loved saying and riffing on the word stroop, so much so that we decided it should be the name of the restaurant, rather than the original working name, Links.


Our assignment grew from logo and beverage labels to naming, brand positioning, website (coming soon), full restaurant ephemera and packaging, as well as exterior and interior design consulting.


Every self-respecting hot dog joint needs a mascot, so of course there's Señor Stroops (or Admiral Stroops, depending on who you ask) – our heroic, Dutchman hot dog riding a penny-farthing bicycle.

Our Top 5 Richmond Brands (We Had Nothing To Do With)

Let's face it, Richmond is not a logo town.

Not yet anyways!

Whether it's the regrettable / forgettable silhouette tree craze or just dated typography choices. And yes, there are logo towns. Drive down any major avenue in Austin, TX and you will see air conditioner repair shops with cooler logos than Altria – which, I admit, is not saying much. But we're not merely talking about logos... as Seth Godin puts it:

"It takes more than a hat to be a cowboy, it takes more than a designer prattling on about texture to make a brand."

Or as Jerry McLaughlin of Forbes says:

"...your 'brand' is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic).  Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it.  It’s fixed.  But your brand exists only in someone’s mind."

So without further prattling, here are our favorite Richmond brands we had nothing to do with:

5. Mamma 'Zu

An odd choice, you might think, with it's slightly amateur and inelegant handwritten execution, yet the Mamma Zu mark fits neatly into a carefully crafted and curated brand image and experience. Owner Ed Vasaio is a master of the art of humble understatement, expressed in his careful and deliberate choice of location, interior aesthetic, and even his infamous yet exceptional staff. Full disclosure: In 1993, myself and my best friend and local artist Chris Milk designed / illustrated the first Mamma 'Zu t-shirt in trade for a mammoth meal and a lot of wine.

4. Work Labs

Despite their reputations, ad agencies are not always proficient when it comes to branding themselves. Cabell Harris' Work Labs has no such deficiency, with over 20 years worth of award winning branding and self promotion excellence. Whether it's beer, magazines or interactive site experiences, Work Labs never tires of finding new ways to express it's brand, stay current and sell itself.

3. World Of Mirth

A toy, kitch and oddities shop extraordinaire, World Of Mirth was the brainchild of the late Kathryn Harvey, and the final mark was brought to life by the talented Richmond illustrator, Kelly Alder. It says something that I am constantly shocked that World Of Mirth isn't a national chain – yet! 

2. GWAR, of course!

There's really nothing quite like GWAR – a hilariously macabre, ironic, sarcastic, perverted, silicone circus drenched in fake blood – accompanied by a deceptively-fantastic heavy metal band. Known the world over, the GWAR brand was handmade here in Richmond by a small army of talented artists. The GWAR logo morphs and adapts to each and every application, be it comic book, stage prop or tattoo. The hand and artistic vision of GWAR slave, Bob Gorman, is the most recognizable aesthetic, which seems to touch almost everything they produce.

1. Need Supply Co.

Long before the term hipster was even coined, a small, high-end denim shop opened in Richmond's Carytown shopping district. Almost twenty years later, Need Supply Co. has grown into a national and global online retail powerhouse and innovator – known and mimicked by anyone who's anyone in online fashion. Despite their national success, Need operates slightly under the radar of it's own hometown, where it's good fortunes sound more like rumors overheard some evening at Balliceaux. They rigidly control and polish their aesthetic and are addicted to keeping up with if not staying ahead of trend centers like New York and Paris.

The original Helvetica Neue logo was fittingly designed by a friend and Work Labs alum, creative director / art director David Waraksa.

Let us know your favorite Richmond brands!

Anatomy Of An Unexpe-( Spec )-ted Brand Redesign

A For Adventure has been lucky enough to work with ART 180, an incredible Richmond non-profit, since 2000. During a series of strategic work sessions with us in 2013, the ART 180 staff mentioned that it had been many years since their stationery system was updated, and we offered to pitch in on the redesign.

As we began our initial research stage, we realized we did not have a working version of the ART 180 logo. Instead of bothering them for a file, we decided to build a rough, stand-in logo, to be replaced later with the original when we were ready to build our presentation. Our revelation came when our stand-in exposed opportunities beyond the original.

Original ART 180 logo by Anne Chamblin.

Original ART 180 logo by Anne Chamblin.

The current ART 180 logo was designed by a wonderfully talented Richmond artist, Anne Chamblin, in 1998. Anne used her background in painting and printmaking to hand-carve a potato print; the scan of that original stamp is still in use today. The ART 180 logo is literally a one of a kind impression – a piece of art and a moment in time. The scanned logo captures the unique textures created by Anne's carving and the surface of the potato.

We love Anne's logo. It has so many qualities of a great mark; elegant, recognizable, contextual and relevant. Our more stylistically refined stand-in, however, revealed the original might lack a property critical to the ART 180 brand – the freedom of individual expression. The ART 180 logo is frozen – it can't be redrawn, spray painted, lit up in neon nor welded onto steel. It is fixed like amber in it's original execution – that one, fateful stamp.

A For Adventure's ART 180 logo reinterpretation.

In the spirit of rejuvenation, we chose fresh and current typefaces with whimsy and presence.

In keeping with a recurring theme at A For Adventure, our color palette recommendation is bold, optimistic, and unexpected.


The mark travels well into mobile, stationary, and any other possible canvas.


"it's like having your mechanic buy you a new car instead of repairing your old one..."

At the end of the day, an unexpected rebrand is one of the last things any company wants to see from their agency. Rebrands can be expensive, but more importantly, they play on emotional connections and attachments the staff and the public have created with the brand.

I'd bet it's like having your mechanic buy you a new car instead of repairing your old one... regardless, ART 180 politely passed on this redesign for now, but did get to enjoy the rare chance to look in the mirror and reimagine themselves, even if only for a few minutes in an otherwise mundane series of meetings.

Little House / Big Brand

On the heels of some good press for Little House Green Grocery, we thought we'd take a moment to air some of the fun work we've created together...

We are proud to help them bring great local food to the Richmond community!