03 White Van Man and His Teachings

You don’t normally equate White Van Man with multi-layered sub-textual socio-messaging.

But how about the van belonging to T.W. Fisher, Electricians Ltd, parked in a London street last week? So multi-layered with grime that it sent the subtle message: Too busy working to wash me motor, mate.

Mr Fisher, your commercial nous is noted. But so is your notion of what a business should call itself in public. T.W. Fisher, Electricians Ltd. The name gleams through the grime in a burnished heraldic Olde English font. Curious. Do I want a mediaeval electrician?

And do I need all the initials? What are the odds of confusing T.W. Fisher with that other famous wiring wizard, T.Q. Fisher?

And trumpeting your legal status as a limited company? Am I suddenly supposed to infer that yours is a venerable institution? Meaning I can relax safe in the knowledge that, in my hour of electrical darkness, my wallet will not be stiffed while you and your brother Shane impersonate a pair of sloths on valium?*

* Names have been changed to protect the author’s face from being mashed.

And this relates to business how…?
Does your business present itself more effectively than Mr Fisher’s? Ok, the initials and the historical font stuff is just Mr Fisher grandly planting his identity in the world. And we all need to do that.

But confident businesses don’t bark like alsatians. And they don’t make their branding talk exclusively about themselves. They make their branding talk about the values they and their customers share.

Customers want organisations to present themselves in a way that’s inspiring to engage with. And – consider this – employees want to be proud of their employer’s image.

Strong brand projection secures emotional commitment. So we need smart websites, literature and packaging. Because our customers want those things too. Branding is part of people’s mental arithmetic these days.

For example?
Innocent, the smoothie drinks outfit, have a truly engaging tone of voice and fun marketing tools. Some 130,000 people have signed up for weekly emails and 45,000 go to their Fruitstock pop festival every year. Be inspired at http://www.innocentdrinks.co.uk or just read one their cartons. It’s lovely stuff.

Or was until last month when they sold 30% of their company to Coca Cola, ostensibly to benefit from the giant’s distribution network. What do you make of this? Are Innocent guilty of compromising their brand values, the values that 130,000 of their customers thought they shared? You can comment below.

Oh, and just for the avoidance of doubt… Mr Fisher is not a dinwoodie client.

Nielsen Dinwoodie
business messages people remember




3 Responses to “03 White Van Man and His Teachings”

  1. T.W. Fisher’s questionable corporate identity package brings to mind an SCTV sketch.



  2. Dear Mr Dinwoodie,

    Mr Fisher missed a trick. His choice of van side font should have been ‘SPARKY’ an earthy yet positive style that would look well under an inch (or more) of grime.

    Mike H

  3. No such thing as a negative contact, though didn’t know you were so plugged in to fonts, Mike.


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