Lovemarks (Redux)

“Lovemarks” is a marketing term coined a few years ago by Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Roberts intended for the term to replace the idea of brands as he claimed, “Brands are running out of juice.”

Personally I think Roberts it’s just trying to sell books by putting a new spin on the word brand. I completely disagree with him that brands are running out of juice; however, I do agree that the term “brand” has become watered down and misunderstood.

Really what Roberts is talking about is the emotional side of branding. Once a company has developed their brand strategy and they have put forth a vision, mission, and values that inspire, it’s time to activate the brand through the company’s people. In order for a company to become a brand they need customers to fall in love with them. Love isn’t marketing “fluff.” Love is what’s needed to elevate a company to a brand.

If you are interested in building loyalty among your customers beyond what is considered “reasonable,” the following are key emotional ingredients to elevating your company’s status to that of a brand:

Mystery: Tell great stories. Exercise your past, present and future. Tap into dreams, myths and icons. Inspire your staff and your customers.

Sensuality: Sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste. Excite the senses. We are sensual beings making emotional decisions. Tantalize the 5 senses and you will win.

Intimacy: Commitment, empathy, and passion. Show your customers you are an intimate person/company, and they’ll show you love back.

The difference between a product, fad, and brand is simple.

The following schema of emotion is based on respect and love.

Mere products (commodities) command neither respect nor love. Think salt.

Fads attract love, but without respect this love is just a passing infatuation. Furby anyone?

Brands on the other hand command both respect and love. BMW. Grey Goose. Apple. These are brands and they’ve achieved brand status by binding the holy trinity of emotion: mystery, sensuality, and intimacy.

Case Study: RunWild Marathon


The Leading Edge RunWild Marathon is challenging, competitive and fun event with races designed for every level of runner. Events include the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and the WildOnes Kids MaraFun.

Created and managed as a non-profit organization, the Leading Edge RunWild Marathon mission is to promote a healthy and active lifestyle while raising money for important charities in the community.

This case focuses on brand development, marketing strategies, communications and overall management for a not-for-profit organization.


Event stakeholders were looking for an effective way to establish a credible running event that would promote their passion for healthy living, share with St. Albert an event that would make history, as well as raise money for an important charity in our community. They turned to Urban Jungle for help. Our methodology was to examine every possible angle to get a clear idea of what they wanted to accomplish and why they wanted to accomplish it. This approach proved to be successful and the process involved both Urban Jungle and the client working together in order to succeed.

Main Objective

To create a memorable and engaging athletic event that raises awareness and essential funds for a local charity.

Primary Marketing Challenges

We identified many barriers that were standing between the stakeholders and success:

  1. What type of athletic event would we host? Would it be a “one-off” or an annual event?
  2. Why would we host such an event?
  3. Which charity would we partner with with? Why?
  4. Would skeptics criticize the stakeholders of using the event to market their own companies? If
    so, would it matter?
  5. Once we determine the type of event, what would we name it? How would we establish a
    strong and cohesive branding platform that differentiates it from other similar events? How
    would we establish a base to develop long-tem credibility?
  6. How do we generate the necessary funding to host such an event?


In our preliminary examination of the situation, we identified five important factors that would be the foundation of the strategy:

  1. The stakeholders private companies were credible, cutting-edge, health-based organizations
    located in St. Albert.
  2. St. Albert was going to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2011.
  3. St. Albert has never hosted a marathon.
  4. There weren’t any other St. Albert-based marathons.
  5. Runners are a tight-knit influential target group. They are willing to invest a great deal of time, energy, passion and money in a great race.

This proved to be the ideal time for the stakeholders to host a professionally branded marathon event in St. Albert.

Target Audience

The primary audience included male and female runners aged 25-45, with a heavy female skew. The secondary audience focused on local businesses—partners required to provide a base of necessary funding to achieve the organizations overall fund raising objectives.

Communication Tools and Tactics

RunWild’s brand platform development included elements such as name, charity focus, Vision, Mission, Values, Key Messaging, Positioning, Elevator Pitch, Colour Scheme, Typeface, Visual Identity, Graphic Standards Package, Advertisements, Sponsorship Packages, Website, Social Media, News Releases, Event Planning and Execution.

View some of the creative work we did for RunWild »


With the inaugural event held in May 2011, the Leading Edge RunWild Marathon proved to be an overwhelming success enjoyed by over 1,500 race participants, 300 volunteers and nearly 2,000 spectators. The event also raised $70,000 for the Zebra Child Protection Centre.

Now in its second year and already ranked a Top 10 event by Canadian Running Magazine, the Leading Edge RunWild Marathon has established itself as one of the region’s premiere road races.

Urban Jungle Launches a Facebook App for RunWild Marathon

For Immediate Release:

Urban Jungle Launches a Facebook Application for RunWild Marathon

Edmonton, AB, April 22, 2011 — Brand marketing firm, Urban Jungle, today announced the launch of an innovative Facebook application for the runners of the RunWild Leading Edge Marathon. According to Urban Jungle, the application is designed to post RunWild runners’ times live to their individual Facebook pages.

Tapping into the online services provided by Results Canada, the event’s timing chip supplier, the application leverages Facebook’s “like” button feature. According to Urban Jungle, any registered marathon runner that owns a Facebook account can “like” the RunWild Facebook page. Once the page is “liked” the runner is automatically entered into RunWild’s database. On race day, when the marathon runner crosses the finish line, their race results are immediately posted to RunWild’s Facebook page as well as to their individual Facebook pages.

“The Facebook app is going to be a fun little feature for our marathon runners and we are pretty excited to launch it,” said Anita Cassidy, RunWild’s Race Director. “We are huge advocates of social media, and tools like Twitter and Facebook have given us the ability to engage with our friends and fans on a deeper level. This new app is going to be a cool way for our runners to inform their friends and families of their times without having to do a thing-it’s 100% automated. It’s also going to be a great way for our runners to help us spread the word about the marathon and our fundraising efforts for the Zebra Child Protection Centre.”

About Urban Jungle
Established in 2000, Urban Jungle specializes in creating brand strategies, graphic design systems, and marketing communications for companies seeking to strengthen their brand, improve their business, and dominate their market. Unlike advertising agencies, integrated marketing firms, and graphic design studios, Urban Jungle works with organizations to develop complete brand platforms that inspire employees, guide business development, and create strong connections with customers and other audiences.

About Leading Edge RunWild Marathon
The Leading Edge RunWild Marathon is challenging, competitive and fun event with races designed for every level of runner. Events include the Leading Edge RunWild Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and the WildOnes Kids MaraFun. Created and managed as a non-profit organization, the Leading Edge RunWild Marathon mission is to promote a healthy and active lifestyle while raising money for important charities in the community. Now in its second year and already ranked a Top 10 event by Canadian Running Magazine, the Leading Edge RunWild Marathon has established itself as one of the region’s premiere road races.

Urban Jungle
Phone: 780 701 9877
Media contact: Craig Blackburn, Principal Brand Strategist, Owner
craig [at]
780 701 9877 x1

Case Study: Micralyne


Micralyne is an internationally recognized, award winning, Edmonton-based Micro-Electrical-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) foundry. As pioneers of the 21st century, Micralyne helps make our world a smaller place by developing and manufacturing some of the smallest mechanical structures in existence for the communications, life sciences, energy, and transportation sectors.

Some of its clientele include Kodak, General Electric, Hyundai among other innovative Fortune 100 companies and high-tech start-ups.

This case story focuses on the reputation-building work that Urban Jungle developed for an organization with an international market, a diverse audience, and a complex relationship of internal and external stakeholders.


Micralyne had seen significant increases in company size and revenue since its inception as a University of Alberta owned not-for-profit entity in the 1980’s. In the early 2000’s its reputation was extremely strong, but through growing pains, “corporate arrogance,” being saddled with a declining revenue stream, staff cutbacks, and a world-wide economic crisis, its reputation was suffering.

Micralyne and its stakeholders wanted to regain the reputation they once enjoyed and reposition the company in order to save the business it currently held. Micralyne required a more effective way to market its capabilities and services, and required assistance in developing its brand, strategy, culture, and overall business development. After discussing the possibilities with Urban Jungle, Micralyne realized that Urban Jungle could offer the complete marketing package—from leading qualitative and quantitative research through in-depth interviews and questionnaires to brand development, business development, marketing planning, and consultation to full internal and external campaign execution.

Marketing Objectives

  1. Create consistent brand platform & core messaging strategies
  2. Align sales & marketing communications processes to drive sales
  3. Introduce metrics to track marketing communications’s effectiveness
  4. Strengthen brand awareness in Asian & Western European markets
  5. Improve relationships with customers & key industry associations
  6. Build perception as market-leader & innovator in key markets

Primary Marketing Challenges

Despite having 200+ brilliant staff members armed with good intentions, Micralyne was unable to dedicate sufficient time, energy, and in-house expertise to execute planned marketing activities.

Its board of directors, comprised of various Alberta-based technology stakeholders—including representatives from government, public and private sectors, had difficulty establishing a vision and direction among the executive management, which made it difficult to make important decisions. This had a ripple effect felt throughout the company as silos of communication developed not only between departments but within departments as well. Branding was fragmented and inconsistent across the company’s various departments.

Internally, things were challenging. Morale was quite low having eliminated nearly 1/3 of its staff, implemented extensive pay cuts, and longer hours with little recognition. Meetings lacked structure, action and accountability. Marketing materials were produced by different departments and creative companies and as a result did not communicate a common theme or message. Corporate culture was dismal.

Externally, revenue targets weren’t being achieved in the midst of a global recession and its international presence was limited. Customers were unhappy with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 63%. There was an increase in competition for MEMS fabrication services, which meant increased difficulty to stand out, decreased margins, and decreased price-value relationship.

The perfect storm was brewing and the company was in a precarious position.


After partnering with Urban Jungle in 2009, our work began with an exhaustive examination of the situation. Urban Jungle identified five key areas, which would be the foundation of our strategy: brand development, internal adoption, customer experience, web dominance, and relationship development.

Micralyne was doing some amazing things but nobody was noticing. In 2010 Micralyne assisted NASA in finding water on the moon and developed an implantable glucose sensor for diabetics. MEMS foundry and semiconductor marketing is notorious for being boring, so our solution was to launch a campaign aimed at key stakeholders, consisting of elegant and refined creative executions that broke out of the dull, ordinary advertising efforts that dominate this industry. Our goal was to make MEMS sexy and in March of 2010 “Pioneers in making the world a smaller place.” was born.

View some of the creative work we did for Micralyne »

Communication Tools and Tactics

Micralyne’s brand platform development included elements such as Vision, Mission, Values, Key Messaging, Positioning, Elevator Pitch, Colour Scheme, Typeface, Visual Identity, Graphic Standards Package, and Advertisements.

To facilitate information sharing and transparency, all marketing communications documents were categorized in a shared directory. These documents included: Collateral Material, External and Internal E-newsletters, Case Stories, Website, PowerPoint Presentations, Trade Show Booths, Award Programs, Photo Bank, Events, Media Relations Strategy, Processes and Procedures, News Releases, Advisories, Announcements, Social Media, Internal Communications Strategy, Dialogues and Meetings, and Intranet Wikis.


Urban Jungle’s work resulted in clear, consistent, and engaging communications, numerous awards and recognition, stabilized revenue, and increased web traffic and leads.

The balanced marketing approach targeted communication to key markets in a more direct and personal manner. Customer, partner, industry, and media relationships improved, sales and marketing processes improved, metrics to track marketing communication effectiveness improved, and Micralyne increased its customer satisfaction rating from 63% up to 91%.

In addition, Micralyne enjoyed a capital injection by the Federal Government and received a highly publicized on-site visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In 2010 Urban Jungle helped Micralyne expand its market within Western Europe and Asia and elevate its appeal to international high-end device developers. We boldly put Micralyne in a class of its own, defining the company by a reputation for quality, longevity, and dignified edge.

Unfortunately this case study does not end on a happy note. After a turn-over of 3 CEOs in two years, developing the brand was next to impossible as the company failed to create and implement a vision and mission. In March 2012, two years after our contract was terminated along with the entire executive staff, Micralyne filed for creditor protection.

The case study of Micralyne proves that despite having a balanced marketing approach and pretty design system, without a solid brand platform and a strong leader to drive the company to achieve its mission and vision, everything else is fluff.

The Jungle goes to Hollywood!

That’s right! April 29, 2011 we’re off to Hollywood to hang out with some of our coolest clients and run shoulders with celebrity. Nothing could be further from reality for this Alberta team, which is why we can’t wait to jump on a plane to the City of Angels.

The Nancy Davis Foundation will be hosting it’s annual Race To Erase MS Gala. The celebrity studded event typically raises over $2.5M in one night for the foundation. Please visit their website and help find a cure by purchasing some of their great merch. 100% of all proceeds raised go towards finding a cure for this horrible and debilitating disease.

Kensington Takes Home Honours at Edmonton’s Awards of Excellence

Congratulations to our client, Kensington Master Builders for recently taking home the Canadian Homes Builders’ Association award for Best Home Over $1,000,000.

The Broughton, is a luxurious estate home in the Crimson Leaf Estates subdivision just minutes south of Sherwood Park. Unfortunately the CHBA eliminated the “Greenest Builder” category from this year’s awards, otherwise Kensington would have won that category too. The Broughton features geothermal heating and cooling, rain water collection and recycling, and insulated concrete forms (ICF). It’s R2000 certified, BuiltGreen Platinum, and has an Energuide rating of 89.

View some of the work we’ve done for Kensington »

Case Study: Celebration Homes


Specializing in elegantly crafted homes that are both practical and sophisticated, Celebration Homes is building an thriving reputation on four key principals — craftsmanship, choice, character, and consistency.

Established by 20-year custom home building professional, Randy Ettinger in 2009, Celebration Homes is staffed with highly-skilled personnel, committed to making the home building process an exciting and enjoyable experience from start to finish.

This case focuses on brand development, marketing strategy, communications, and overall brand management for the Edmonton-based home builder.


The home building landscape in Edmonton is emense with over 100 builders competing for consumers’ attention. The largest competitors have endless budgets and massive outreach campaigns, swallowing up every advertising opportunity available. Specialized magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, billboards are regularly purchased by the “big five” volume builders — Jayman, Cameron, Sterling, Pacesetter, and Avi. The rest of the builders are forced to play the game and advertise. Despite the majority of the smaller, boutique builders offering a more premium product than the volume builders; without a brand, without charging premium prices, and without awareness, many fizzle into obscurity.

As a new entrant with a relatively small budget, Celebration Homes was unable to compete by marketing its way to the top, nor by owning the best land available in the city. Instead, Celebration chose to play the game differently and engaged Urban Jungle to help develop its brand.

Main Objective

The main objective was to evolve the new company into a brand. A brand with a mission to become Edmonton’s most sought-after builder by being known as “the most enjoyable home building experience in the market.”

Primary Marketing Challenges

The primary marketing challenges were to:

  1. Create sustainable awareness on a limited budget
  2. Create a luxurious product with an affordable price tag—one that could compete head-to-head with the price ranges of the volume builders


Celebration Homes entered the Edmonton housing market in 2009 with a strategy targeting home owners who preferred a “semi-custom” home buying experience. Our strategy was to play up Celebration’s biggest assets: people, product, and price; while downplaying its perceived weaknesses: equity, limited product, and less than ideal building locations.

Through our research Urban Jungle uncovered four key attributes; craftsmanship, choice, character, and consistency, which became the pillars grounding the brand. These four attributes, along with the aforementioned assets helped us position the company in a crowded home building scene as the enjoyable, affordable, and luxurious alternative to buying volume-built homes.

Target Audience

The primary audience included males and females aged 30-45, with a heavy female skew. Most are post-secondary educated, currently holding an ownership, management, or professional position, and are married with young children. The secondary audience focused on local land developers and sub-trades—those whom Celebration Homes could partner with to deliver its brand experience.

Communication Tools and Tactics

Celebration Home’s brand platform development included elements such as Strategic Counsel, Stationery, Colour Scheme, Typeface, Product Presentation Packages, Illustration, Magazine and Newspaper Advertisements, House Rendering / 3-D Modelling, Website, Web Marketing (SEO), Direct Mail, News Releases, Photography, Show Home Window Wrap Displays, Office/Selection Centre Signage, Large Format Signage, and Lot Signage.

View some of the creative work we did for Celebration Homes »


In 2010, Celebration homes exceeded its sales targets. Limited to only a few areas in Edmonton, it managed to outsell its biggest competitor, and sell-out its agreement in all three developments. Through December 2010 and January 2011; typically the slowest sales period of the year, Celebration Homes outsold nearly all of its competitors, including two of the “big five.”

Superbowl’s #Adbowl Extravaganza

I have to be honest I spent more time scanning the #AdBowl hashtag comments on Twitter than I did watching football today. The game was great, but the online activity was incredibly interesting. The ups, the downs, the love, the hate—it had it all.

While this commercial didn’t make my Top Picks list, bar none the most controversial ad was Groupon’s “Save the Money.” Some thought it was hilarious, others mildly amusing, but most tweeters were enraged and in complete disgust as they felt it was in poor taste and that it exploited Tibet. I can’t disagree with any of them. Ironically, Free Tibet saw a spike in donations yesterday—no doubt a response from perturbed Superbowl viewers.

Now on to my Top Picks!

Gold: Chrysler “Imported from Detroit”

This is the winner in my mind on so many levels. It has everything you want in a commercial. An incredibly written brand story. Beautiful cinematography. Emotion. Staying power. Brand memorability. This is much more than a car ad. This is a call to all Americans to buy import…from Detroit. It doesn’t hurt that you have motor city’s own Eminem backing the brand either.

I’m not normally a fan of all the overt “rah, rah” American patriotism crap, but these people need a lift and I know if I were a Detroiter I’d be damn proud. Nice work Chrysler.

Silver: Volkwagon “The Force”

I have probably watched this one 20 times already and each time I laugh just as loud—out loud. Maybe I’ve connected with it because I’m a parent. Maybe because I loved Star Wars as a kid. Or maybe because I wish I had some extraordinary power. Whatever the reason I don’t really care. I just love it.

Bronze: Carmax “Kid in a Candy Store”

I feel like an epileptic at a strobe light convention! I feel like a douchebag at a Nickleback concert! Yeah, yeah—they could have gone on and on with the clichés and I guess that’s why I think it’s a great ad. Because they didn’t. Instead of just making us laugh they brought it back to the beginning and reinforced the brand.

Runners Up:

Audi A8 “Prison Break” – funny.
Motorola “Moto Xoom” – just damn cool.

Honourable Mentions:

NFL “Brand American,”
Mercedes “Diddy,”
Bridgestone “Reply All” & “Karma”


Everyone else for spending $3M and not getting my attention!

Just in Case There’s Any Doubt…

Most people who have worked with me know that I love the emotional side of marketing. The killer copy, the ridiculous designs, the soundtrack—the audience experience. Truth be told, I am actually more in love with results. While the analytical side of marketing isn’t often considered sexy, it solidifies what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

Here are 2 quick videos on social media that make stats supersexy.

Is social media a fad? Or is it an evolution in the way humans communicate? You decide.

The Fantastic Voyage

With that in mind, even if you’re not a gearhead, this video will stir your soul. There’s very little spoken word (and what words are spoken are by none other than Top Gear’s James May), yet this commercial does a killer job of capturing the essence of the Ferrari brand. It is story telling at its finest. With all the elements anyone could ask for—mystery, sensuality and intimacy it exercises the past, present and future to tap into our dreams of driving one of these mythical beasts. It’s a blitzkrieg on the the senses. From the basso-profundo notes of the early front-engine era, each scene cuts to a newer generation, ending with the banshee-scream of the ridiculously sexy modern F1 car.

So—crank your speakers to level 11 kids. Sit back and enjoy the ride.