Why we say no to vanilla | Kraken Marketing

18 March 2021

Why we say no to vanilla

Lyssa is a marketing badass and founder of Kraken Marketing. She is all about using Data-Driven Marketing using Agile methodologies to help businesses level up. Google Women Techmaker, public speaker, and GIF aficionado. She was one of Cornwall's 30 under 30 and Young Business Person of the Year.
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You might have heard that we’re on a mission to get you to say no to vanilla.  But what does that actually mean?


We believe that brands need to be authentic and show their true personalities to be really successful. But this takes bravery, and being brave with your brand is hard!


Having a distinct brand personality can help you stand apart from your competitors and help you build rapport with your customers. It helps people build an emotional connection with your brand and it inspires loyalty. 



What is vanilla?

I’ve found that brands often think they need to be corporate and overly “professional” to be successful, but this often comes across as boring. Vanilla. 

We want to help brands say no to vanilla and showcase who they really are and what they’re really about. 

If your copy could be dropped onto a competitors website and not look out of place, you’re not standing out enough.


Who isn’t vanilla?

Have a think about some brands you love. They probably have a strong personality, don’t they? Something that makes them stand out and makes you care about them. 

Some brands that really stand out to me are:

Innocent Drinks

They’re informal, witty, fun, and ethical. They’re authentically representing this personality in everything they do and they’re instantly recognisable. They even make sure their packaging is fun 

Harley Davidson 

They’re rugged and gritty. They’ve embraced a rebellious spirit and are disruptive. They know who their audience is, and they talk directly to them. 

Red Bull

They’re extreme and smile in the face of danger. They’re a bit of a daredevil and they’ve fully embodied this by hosting extreme sports competitions around the world. Who would have expected a drinks company to do that? But because it’s authentic, it works. 


How do you say no to vanilla?


The first thing we need to do is to find your voice. 

We’ll explore what you are and what makes your brand special. Your business goals and who your target audience is. Then we can refine your brand personality and tone of voice. 


I like to imagine your brand as a dinner party guest. 

For example, Kraken Marketing as a dinner party guest is a woman in her early 30’s. 

She’s wearing black skinny jeans and a leather jacket and drinking tequila. 

She has fun with the other guests and makes a lot of inappropriate jokes. 😂


That helps you get a good idea of how to personify your brand. 


Obviously, that’s the personality that fits our brand but yours would be different. 

We need to develop your core values and work out what’s important to you.


Are you down to earth?
Are you all about sincerity?
Are you warm and nurturing?
Are you total geeks and proud of it?
Do you get really excited about what you do?
Are you sophisticated?
Do you like to make jokes?
Or are you more serious? 


Why do businesses fail at creating brand personality?

Company culture 

Brand personality comes from company culture. It needs to be fully embodied by the company. You can’t create an eco brand if you’re still printing and filing every invoice you received. It doesn’t match up and it’s not authentic. 



Brand personality flows from the top down. If your leadership aren’t embodying your brand personality, then it won’t be by the rest of the organisation. Everyone needs to fully commit to it. 

If your employees don’t feel safe or empowered, they won’t be able to help your business develop and portray the personality. 



Having a clear purpose helps shape your personality. If you don’t stand for anything, it’s harder to discover your personality. If you’re a tech agency that help incubate startups, that helps inform your brand personality.  If you’re a brewery creating artisanal beers, that will inform your brand personality.  If you’re an illustrator working with female-led businesses, that will also inform your personality.
Your personality needs to be cohesive as well as being authentic.  It needs to resonate with your target audience. 



Without formal documentation to share company-wide, things can get lost in translation or nuances missed. 

Documenting your brand style and tone of voice helps everyone work from a shared understanding. This doesn’t mean your brand personality can’t evolve, you can update and refine as appropriate. But just make sure everyone has the up to date documentation and that it is regularly referred to / looked at. Not just filed away in the depths of your shared folders!


Fear of change 

For more established businesses, there can be a fear of change. But to really level up, you need to stand out and be authentic. Or your business will be left behind. 



It can be scary to day no to vanilla, but we know you won’t regret it.
Developing a fully rounded brand personality will help you build better relationships with your target audience. It helps you create the right content and speak to the right people.
It’s also a lot of fun!



You’ve heard the phrase when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one?

Well, when your brand starts unapologetically being its authentic self, you really start speaking to specific people, which is really effective. But, some people won’t like it. You won’t resonate with them, in fact, you might create a strong negative reaction with them. But you know what, that’s OK.

They’re not your target audience.
You just need to be prepared that some people might not like you. 😁😢


Ready to say no to vanilla and find your brands authentic voice?

Get in touch.