By Stella Gianotto >>

ONCE available only to large corporations, branding is now more accessible and vitally important to every size – and type – of family business, including yours.

But what is branding and how does it contribute to your business’s success?

Branding achieves considerably more than a clever name or a slick logo does.

Think of iconic Australian brand Akubra, which has been making wide brimmed hats for over 130 years. It is a little known fact that the Akubra name is “believed to be derived from an Aboriginal word for head covering” according to Wikipedia. 

It is more ingrained than a catchy tag line, such as the one that Walter Kennard (aka Wally) from Kennards Hire said back in 1948, “I won't lend it to you, but I'll hire it to you.”

And it’s even more enduring than your latest advertisement or marketing campaign, such Sandhurst Fine Foods radio commercial, where CEO Mimmo Lubrano tells Maria to “put down the artichokes…”

Branding doesn’t replace these important business development or marketing strategies, especially ones that have become part of the Australian business landscape.

Branding inspires them, it focuses the strategy, gives it purpose – AND it gives it a long-term impact.

Branding is the driving force behind WHY consumers purchase your product when there are many competitors or overseas knock-offs available to them. The top-of-mind recall, known as ‘brand awareness’ inspires your customers to buy your product, with just a little extra push.


Whether you realised it or not, your brand was established from the day you started your family business.

In many cases, the brand remains hidden and ineffective. Once revealed and used, a brand can breathe new life into the business, the family and the business owners.

It’s never too late to brand or even re-brand your family owned business. Big businesses do it regularly as their market and competition change.

We’ve all tasted one of the brewed soft drinks from Bundaberg Brewed Drinks (family owned since 1960) whose CEO, John McLean was quoted as saying, “Once we took the time and didn’t have to talk about someone else’s brand … we were able to grow our brand and take our business further and further afield,”

This is part of the reason they are a global business and today export to over 32 countries.

Small businesses can, and should, consider undergoing a branding exercise as part of any major investment, such as redesigning marketing and sales materials, or for an advertising or social media marketing campaign.

In addition to improving the initial response to your initiative, a brand will create a lasting impression on the marketplace, for both current as well as potential customers.

For Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, part of their re-brand was to focus on their core offering and what they did well: “brewing ginger beer in that familiar stubby bottle”.

In turn, this will improve long-term sales and recognition.

And unlike many promotions, sales efforts won’t have to rely on lower prices and reductions in profit margins to gain more market share either locally or abroad, in an attempt to increase your brand awareness.


As with most marketing activities, branding is a specialty skill that every family business should pursue diligently.

Family businesses (in particular) should be attentive to branding strategies – according to Forbes magazine, “family-owned businesses seem more stable, more customer-friendly, more approachable and more trustworthy”. The Forbes article goes on further to say that “even the appearance of a family connection increases market visibility and consumer trust” for any family-owned brand.

Once you are able to understand this concept, you (and your family business) are ready to dive into the world of branding.

The best introduction to this great marketing strategy should come from a branding expert who will help you get to the heart and soul of your business and articulate its hidden brand message.

Once revealed, your enticing brand message will resonate with your target market and will distinctly differentiate your product from your competitors.

Investing in your branding right from the outset, with a branding expert, will see your next stage of business growth resulting in dividends accruing quickly and continuously, and potentially global expansion ahead too. 

About the author

Brand For Brands founder Stella Gianotto specialises in branding and is passionate about making branding accessible and understandable for her clients and for industry audiences. A series of industry awards and presence has led to her contributing to several books: Marketing Brands Made Easy, Social Media Marketing: Write Up Your Tweet and Well Spun: Big PR and Social Media Ideas for Small Business.

By Leon Gettler >>

WITH 40 percent of jobs set to disappear over the 15 years as a result of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, people will need to brand themselves, according to Scarlett Vespa.

A self-styled personal branding expert who calls herself the ‘Human Brand Futurist’, she said people needed to be several steps ahead of the inevitable changes.

“As the pressure builds in every industry and anxiety and different mental health issues come up, we really need to know who we are and why we’re doing it and that will become much more prevalent,” Ms Vespa told Talking Business

She said coaching was now a growth industry because people needed support in the changing climate out there.

Ms Vespa said the first thing people should do is future proof themselves by building their best self and being super-aware of what’s happening in their industry.

“The other tip is to really focus on your own personal growth and get some strength and confidence,” she said.

Ms Vespa said this was particularly important for people who are over 40 and 50 and who are finding it hard to get a job in their age bracket.

What they need instead is a change of mindset where they see themselves standing out in the job market by offering skills and experience, she said.

It’s also important for people to take a look at their skills and talents and reframing them, seeing how they can be applied differently.

Ms Vespa said people also need a brand on social media – including having their own website.

“I am very much for people buying their URL, their own name, because businesses come and go but you’ll stay there,” she said.

It is a way for people to showcase their skills.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at


By Stella Gianotto >>

RENOWNED tennis star Andre Agassi once said: “Image is everything”. That is especially true when it comes to a business logo.

As the cornerstone of any brand, a logo can effectively express a brand’s essence that’s more easily digested than a written explanation of your products or services.

As a branding expert I’ve established over 3,000 logos in my career and I’ve learned a few things about how to create an impactful logo that will help express your brand and stand out. Here are my top 10 tips to consider when designing yours: 

1. Avoid designing a logo that is too similar to another brand’s.

Once a brand has become established it starts to become recognised by the general public. If you choose (or copy) a logo design that’s too similar to another brand, your market presence may be forgotten or overlooked … as your logo is mistaken for someone else’s and, worse still, they win the business!

2. Select an appropriate and legible font
A font is just as important as the design of a logo. The font should incorporate the same feel as the business. Whether it is modern, edgy, timeless, or a sophisticated italic, it must match the overall appearance and personality of the brand or company.

3. Don’t forget about the business’s target audience
A logo design should be developed to appeal to your target audience. Your logo is used as a visual tool to aesthetically draw the attention of your target audience and communicate your brand’s message. Unless your Mum or the kid studying design next door is your target market, don’t rely too heavily on their opinion.

4. Don’t use cliché trends
Dots, swooshes, straight lines, 3D shapes; these clichés have been so overused in a logo design that they are instantly disregarded. Don’t try to ‘spruce up’ a logo with these ineffective additions either, as it will cheapen your brand.

5. Don’t rely solely on colour
Having a logo that doesn’t reproduce in black and white is a hugely common problem – even the Commonwealth Bank’s logo, when not in colour, transpires to a black square! So make sure you check that your logo’s important features work well in colour and black and white.

6. Choosing a logo that will quickly become dated
Be cautious of logos that look out of date or follow a trend that’s happening right now. A good logo design grows with the business and can withstand time as long as the business does. Don’t choose a logo that is representative of a certain decade, era or trend, or you’ll risk making your products and services seem outdated, along with your logo. 

7. Avoid vanilla
Simplicity is important, but too much is boring and sterile. A ‘vanilla’ logo design isn’t memorable and won’t speak to your target audience. Your logo must incorporate just the right amount of personality to avoid being boring and overlooked.

8. But simplicity is best
Too many styles, elements or ideas joined in the one logo design could lead to a misinterpretation of your business. A logo is designed for quick recognition and brand loyalty – too much going on will defeat this. 

9. Pay attention to space
A busy logo design with everything in it doesn’t appeal to customers. A poor logo design is difficult to decipher, especially when letters are included. The logo must be clear and crisp to resonate with your target audience at first glance. Stick with an odd number of graphic elements, one, three or five elements work well.

10. Always remember the purpose of a logo
It’s not a picture stolen from the internet; it’s not clip art, or a written explanation of your brand. A logo design should be an impactful and a succinct design that can be used to represent your business for many years to come.


About the author

Brand For Brands founder Stella Gianotto specialises in branding and is passionate about making branding accessible and understandable for her clients and for industry audiences. A series of industry awards and presence has led to her contributing to several books: Marketing Brands Made Easy, Social Media Marketing: Write Up Your Tweet and Well Spun: Big PR and Social Media Ideas for Small Business.

GRAND PLAZA has created a three-day hair and beauty experiential event as a brand statement that innovates the way shopping centres can help build the small business sector.

Branded as the ‘New Year, New You’ Hair and Beauty Expo, for three days at Grand Plaza there will be special pricing, special events, complimentary treatment sessions and special prizes on offer to attract visitors from way beyond the centre’s usual catchment area. 

The expo is being presented to regular customers and visitors alike as a rare opportunity to ‘rest and unwind’ with special value treatments and products at Grand Plaza, located south of Brisbane at Browns Plains, Logan City.

The prize list and special event agenda is impressive (see below), with the Grand Plaza offering the chance for attendees to win a $1,000 voucher to spend at the centre.

Grand Plaza stores such as Napoleon Perdis, Hairhouse Warehouse, Priceline and Grand Plaza Skin and Beauty are on board for the ‘New Year, ‘New You’ Expo with exclusive giveaways, discounts and competitions, according to Grand Plaza centre manager Martine Coorey.

She said there was also an opportunity to try complimentary skincare, hair and beauty services and throughout the expo and The Beach House Bar and Grill would “also be serving up ‘mocktails’ to keep hydrated”.

 “Life is busy, but at Grand Plaza we believe everyone should take a little time for themselves, especially as we settle in to the new year,” Ms Coorey said.

“Customers can meet the experts who can provide advice on braids, lashes and skincare. It really is an opportunity to spoil yourself and try before you buy,” she said.

Bookings for complimentary consultations and treatments are essential, Ms Coorey said, and details were available through the website. The event runs from 4pm-7pm on February 7, 10am-1pm on February 8 and 10am-1pm on February 9.




  • Napoleon Perdis is offering makeup and eyeshadow tips, as well as lipstick touch ups. Plus, visitors to the counter on the day go in the draw to win a private makeup lesson for themselves and five friends.
  • Grand Plaza Skin and Beauty is offering UltraSono Facial Treatments for pigmentation, dehydration, loss of elasticity, wrinkles, acne and sensitive skin.
  • Hairhouse Warehouse is offering a complimentary curling and hair straightening service, as well as a range of sample products for visitors to take home.
  • Salon Express is offering complimentary braiding and consultations with the team from Salon express at their braid bar and consult lab. 
  • Terry White Chemmart is offering sessions on what skincare and beauty products are right for individuals. There are educational sessions on how the La Roche Posay line range is “revolutionising skin care”. 
  • Priceline Pharmacy has courses in how to apply temporary lashes with ease with the guidance of a Priceline Lash Technician.
  • Australian Skin Clinics is offering a complimentary skin analysis and cleanse. Guests can also chat to the team about the exclusive Balense range. Plus, book a series of three high performance Microdermabrasion treatments on the day at a greatly reduced price.
  • Laser Clinics Australia is teaching visitors “everything you need to know about laser hair removal, skin treatments and cosmetic injectables” with a complimentary consultation and half price offers on first treatments.
  • Beach House Bar and Grill is offering its signature Ginger Spark Mocktail and a complimentary “drink on us” for a future visit.
  • Vintage Loves Flowers, specialising in “making your flower and decor dreams come to life” will be showcasing and treating attendees to a complimentary gift on its Thursday and Saturday sessions (not available on Friday).


AUSTRALIANS trust the ABC most and distrust Facebook the most, a new Roy Morgan media survey has revealed.

Conducted in May by Roy Morgan, the MEDIA Net Trust Survey showed that while Facebook – and social media organisations generally – is deeply distrusted in Australia, the ABC is by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation. 

Half of all Australians (47 percent) distrust social media, compared to only 9 percent who distrust the ABC. After the ABC, SBS is Australia’s second most trusted media brand. Fairfax comes in third as the only other media brand with a positive NTS.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, trust is now firmly on corporate Australia’s agenda,

“But distrust is the critical measure everyone’s ignoring,” Ms Levine said.

“The absence of the voices of distrust should be alarming every CEO and company director.

“Distrust is where our deepest fears, pain, and betrayal surface – the shock of discovering we were foolish to trust too much.

“And nowhere is that sense of betrayal more profound than in our media brands.

“When we subtract distrust from trust to achieve a Net Trust Score or NTS, we reveal a minus NTS for the Australian media industry,” she said.

“The banking industry has an NTS of minus 18 percent, compared to the media industry with an NTS of minus 7 percent. So, while media industry is less toxic than banks, it is still in negative territory.

Media category Net Trust Scores (distrust score subtracted from trust score) assessed by Roy Morgan are:

Social media     minus 42%

Television         minus 16%

Newspapers      minus 13%

Internet             minus 7%

Magazines        minus 4%

Radio               minus 2%

SBS is also Australia’s most trusted commercial television network with an NTS of plus 5 percent – well ahead of the other three commercial networks, all with an NTS of between minus-6 and minus 10 percent.

“Australians told us that their trust of the ABC is driven by its lack of bias and impartiality, quality journalism and ethics,” Ms Levine said. “While their distrust of Facebook and social media is driven by fake news, manipulated truth, false statistics and fake audience measurement.”

According to survey respondents, their top five drivers of distrust in commercial television were: False news and fake news; bias; news is sensationalised and there is a focus on controversial stories; pushing commercial or political agendas; and too much advertising.

Ms Levine said distrust mattered to media organisations because it negatively affected the bottom line.

“Distrust triggers audience churn, distrust kills audience engagement,” Ms Levine said. “Distrust kills advertiser spend, distrust is the tipping point for reputational damage, and distrust is the bellwether for an unsustainable future.”


By Andrew Nicholson >>

CONTRARY to what many may think, Disney is not always the happiest place on Earth.

That fact was highlighted again recently, when reports surfaced that a petition accusing the famous film studio of ‘colonialism and robbery’ had circulated and attracted more than 42,000 signatures.

The allegation surrounds the use of the phrase ‘hakuna matata’ which means ‘no worries’ in Swahili, which Disney has sought to register as a trade mark in the US. 

The mark is a famous catchphrase from the movie The Lion King which was released in 1994.

In fact, Disney first registered the mark in 1994 without any great fanfare, but the matter has again come to light now that a trailer for its live action remake of the film was released in November 2018.

Interestingly, the trade mark is only registered in relation to a fairly limited class of goods – namely T-shirts, so that Disney does not have exclusive or monopoly rights which extend beyond the use of the phrase on T-shirts.

At the time of writing, there is no similar trade mark applied for in Australia. As a result, Disney does not have any registered trade mark rights in Australia. Having the mark registered in the US doesn’t assist in the enforcement of rights in other countries.

The complaint follows a developing trend in 2018 of complaints over the use of native or indigenous language as a trade mark.

In October we commented on the battle over ‘bula’, where Florida-based Ross Kashtan trade marked the common Fijian greeting for his bar Bula on the Beach, sparking heated online debate and the circulation of a petition seeking to protect the word.

Fiji's Attorney-General said that his government was “shocked and outraged” and described the use of the bula trade mark as a “blatant case of heritage-hijacking”.

Earlier in the year, we saw a similar dispute arise out of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where the mascot’s name ‘Borobi’ was adopted from the indigenous Yugambeh language – translated into English to mean koala.

In what might come as a blow to those who are petitioning Disney to cease use of ‘hakuna matata’, the decision in the Borobi case found that the Commonwealth Games Corporation's use of the word did not breach the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth).


I wonder whether some other well know phrases or marks may also come under closer scrutiny, as many well-known phrases from movies and music rely on foreign or indigenous words. 

Some examples which spring to mind in relation to films include ‘Hasta la vista, baby’ from Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and ‘Carpe diem’ from Dead Poets Society.

From the world of music, we also have ‘Que Será, Será’ by Doris Day, and ‘Achtung Baby’ by U2, to name just a couple.

These examples are indicative of a growing trend.

They highlight the need to take care and to obtain proper upfront advice when selecting trade marks, as well as the need to undertake appropriately informed due diligence and background enquiries to ensure that problems don’t arise.

Andrew Nicholson is an intellectual property law specialist and a partner at Mullins Lawyers in Brisbane. Mullins Lawyers is a foundation Industry Expert partner with Queensland Leaders, the organisation fostering the next generation of leading Queensland-based companies.


AUGMENTED reality and voice assistants are likely to positively shape the future of retail, according to PayPal’s latest mCommerce Index: Trends Report.

It is a trend being called ‘retailtainment’ according to PayPal Australia director of customer engagement, Elaine Herlihy, who believes Australian retailers should no longer view their mobile offering as simply a transactional storefront, but also as an enjoyable and entertaining experience for their customers

The report’s findings show how combining elements of the real world with digital information, augmented reality (AR) and voice assistants have already evolved mobile shopping from a convenient experience to a form of entertainment. 

“The data shows that simply having an online offering is no longer enough for retailers,” Ms Herlihy said. “Australians are demanding mobile-first experiences and are gravitating towards mobile shopping experiences that are fun and engaging.

“Reading and writing reviews, product research and sharing images of virtual try-ons is an enjoyable pastime for many Australians, particularly with younger shoppers.”

The Trends Report discovered that two-thirds (67%) of Australians ‘digital window shop’ for fun on their mobiles, with 77 percent of those making impulse purchases when they do. All up, 88 percent of Australians say they worry about whether items might fit or be suitable when shopping online or on mobile.

Australians are also largely – about 44 percent – more likely to buy online if they could virtually ‘try before they buy’ using AR on their mobile phones, the report found.

Yet, only 5 percent of Australian businesses currently offer an AR experience and one in three (32%) are currently developing or intend to develop an augmented reality experience.

So far, it is estimated one in five mobile shoppers have used a voice assistant for retail enquiries.

The popularity of ‘shopping for fun’ is particularly prevalent among younger generations, with 69 percent of Generation Z respondents (22 years and under) engaging in mobile shopping as a leisure activity – making it as popular as watching television (69%) and more than twice as popular as watching or playing sport (31% and 27% respectively) for this cohort.

While Australians may be embracing mobile shopping, a number of barriers persist as counterpoints to its convenience and ease-of-use. Almost nine in 10 Australians (88%) say they are concerned about not being able to identify the correct size of an item, and 82 percent said that even if the size was correct, they were unsure of whether the item will look good on them or in their home.


Ethan Nyholm, CEO of Australian-owned premium technology and fashion accessories brand STM Goods, said the AR experience on the company’s native app had increased both customer engagement and sales. He said it allowed the brand “to communicate key value points while providing a functional, yet enjoyable experience”.

“Enabling customers to virtually try on our products through our AR experience has allowed us to communicate key value points while engaging customers at all levels of our distribution chain,” Mr Nyholm said.

“Since integrating AR, we have seen an uplift in both customer engagement and in sales, and we attribute this to giving customers the opportunity to explore our products and truly appreciate the thought that goes into their design.”

Australians cite fashion (62%), furniture and homewares (47%) and accessories (36%) as the product categories they are most interested in shopping through an AR experience.

The PayPal-sponsored research was conducted by ACA Research. It consisted of a five minute online survey of 1,012 Australian smartphone users aged 18 and older, exploring adoption, usage and sentiment towards mobile and social commerce. In addition, ACA Research conducted a five minute online survey of 404 business decision makers within Australian small and medium business-to-consumer (B2C)  retailers and merchants who sold or took orders online, exploring their attitudes and behaviours around mobile and social commerce.


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