“Head in the clouds, feet on the ground”

The title of the post is a quote from the former brand director of Orange, the mobile phone network. With "head in the clouds" she was referring to the way the brand had a bold vision about the brand’s role, which was helping people connect more deeply with one another through a wire-free world. When the brand first launched this was a real challenger position, as the market was very technology driven.

The "feet on the ground" part was to do with product innovation, of which Orange delivered plenty. They were first with many features including billing by the second and texting numbers to your phone. And all of these features helped make the vision possible.

Rooting an ambitious vision firmly in product truth avoid the "brand ego trips" that some marketing teams head off on, when they dream up a vision that relies solely on emotional appeal. The create new extensions of the back of their "big idea", but these tend to flop as they have no real added value.

Another brand that seems to have its head in the clouds but feet on the ground is Flora/Becel. Not that long ago it was a simple, mono-product spread brand. I remember the UK ads that sold it as being "low in polyunsaturates". I never knew what these were, but it I got the idea that they were good for your cholesterol. Today Flora/Becel has re-invented itself as a healthy lifestyle food brand with the big idea of "Love your heart".


This idea of Love your Heart sees the brand take a stance on a key issue in society, which is the rising incidence of heart disease. What’s nice is the way its positive, not scare-mongering. And its a rallying call to action. They’ve done a beautiful job of integrating this idea into the visual
identity with a heart device. And anyone who is trying to manage a
global brand will look in envy at the way the Flora/Becel team have
managed to have this brand idea and identity adopted across the world.

The idea is brought to life in many ways, including sponsorship of the London Marathon and offering 15% discount for BUPA health-checks. And it feels so much more positive, energetic and inspiring than the mix of the other main cholesterol lowering brand, Benecol:

But the Flora/Becel Love Your Heart idea is firmly rooted in product truth, and so has its feet on the ground. The original range of spreads carry on. But what has really accelerated growth is the development of the Pro-Active range that actually lowers cholesterol. The spread is sold at a 300% premium to the standard one, and the brand has also stretched into mini drinks and dairy products/ Many years of R&D went into this, in addition to several years working with opinion formers to get their support. The brand’s credentials were further enhanced by Dutch health insurer VGZ’s offering to reimburse policyholders who buy use Pro-Activ. What a strong message that sends, more powerful than any amount of brand funded advertising. All this investment in the product makes this innovation very hard for other brands and own label to copy.