Mixed herbs can teach you a lesson

Last week I went to Sainsbury’s for a quick shop and found out they had changed their entire spice section. Writing about spices and supermarkets, it could sound quite boring right? But it gets better so keep reading.

The thing is… I couldn’t find the brand that I usually buy, ironically I don’t remember its name, I just know how it looks -it’s the little jar with the green lid. Branding fail or not? My brain only remembered the visual aspect, so when I was looking for mixed herbs, oregano … bla bla bla, they are all now branded Sainsbury’s. As I’m in the ad world I started analysing the packaging, label, typography, colours, they all look clear and simple. The design is quite good and functional, the best thing: now you can read what you have from the top, (before there was only a big letter and the herbs’ name in tiny tiny letters), and while cooking you don’t have time to play the game of lifting 3 or 4 spices before you find the one you need.

According to Campaign Live the dry culinary complements market in the UK, which includes herbs, spices and seasonings, is worth about £92m.  So when Sainsbury’s starts branding their own herbs they are getting a big slice of the category. There are business opportunities everywhere, even on little things such as seeds and spices.

That day I organised my laptop, created a plan and now I’m contacting small businesses who want to do great things. The big lesson here is start seeding.

We tent to think that making a smart move is making a big move. Sometimes small steps can get you further.



3 spare hours

Few weeks ago I started an online course called “The secret power of brands“. It was my first experience with distance learning education as I previously wasn’t keen on it as I prefer face to face interaction – also I am easily distracted. But 3 factors persuaded me to try it:

1. The tutor. Robert Jones, works at Wolff Olins as an Strategist. The brand consultancy approach and work are very inspiring. To give you an example, they reinvented the category when working with Orange, making a mobile phone network talking about people and optimism. As they said “We gave the network the name of a colour, not a technospeak name”. They didn’t have a special technological advantage, so they created a brand that had nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with simplicity. I used to love its slogan The future’s bright. For me it was a brand talking to humans and behaving like one of us. But that was back in 2008, now Orange and T-mobile have merged into EE and that’s the case for another post.

Wolff Olins


 2. What I saw. I read an accurate and concise description and I saw a clean website. Future Learn has a modern, simple and user-friendly platform.

3. Time. 3 hours per week for 6 weeks, that’s it. Unlike long-distance relationships, distance learning didn’t require a big commitment.

So far, I find it very interesting. There were some quotes in the first week that I would like to share or post somewhere so I don’t forget.

It’s better to think of brand not as cause, but as effect. Doing the right things will create growth, and a strong brand will follow as the effect.

‘User’ doesn’t just mean consumer, but also colleague, neighbor, investor, supplier, partner.

The high-growth businesses of the future will all be, at heart, purposeful. And purpose is the source of value-creativity.

Experiences aren’t things you create and then transmit to people – they’re things people shape for themselves.

If you have 3 spare hours per week, and don’t have any Breaking Bad episode or soap opera in the queue, I recommend you to join the class.


Sundays are quite tricky, they make you think that you have the entire day to do nothing, In fact it is your busiest day. People do sports, go shopping, cook, clean the house, go to the park, etc…I spent the entire day working with my friend Marcia on her new project as an entrepreneur in the world of accessories.

She showed me all the jewelery for sale and I have to confess I fell in love with most of it, specially the ones with blue bits. She told me her plan and we started putting it into action. After brainstorming, we had a big list of things to do, today we created the name, concept and brand identity ‘Marcia Squirrel’, making things happen step by step.

I’m not an a Graphic Designer but recently I have more tabs open in Photoshop than in other programs. It is interesting that my friend, a Marketing Manager showing her Commercial side, is making me, a writer, show my Art Director side.

Thanks Marcinha!