The Opposite of Little

We often hear retailers and other businesses lament how difficult it can be to gain city approval for effective building signage. There are a host of reasons for this, from the need to fit contextually with the overall setting to durability and illumination concerns, and everything in-between.

Example of thoughtful, restrictive sign criteria for a community.

An emerging, Portland-based burger concept, Little Big Burger, either has an influential city official in its hip pocket, or it has done an extraordinary job of convincing stakeholders that its trade dress is inextricably linked to its actual “menu”.


This restaurant concept has developed a tight set of brand guidelines and applied it consistently. And if an exterior painted wall is unavailable, the same menu is displayed on a glazed surface adjacent to the entry.


Freddy’s, don’t take me for a fool

There is a lot to love about my neighborhood Fred Meyer store in SE Portland. And lord knows we spend plenty of nickles there, even with the limited culinary palates of the kiddos.

  • engaging service staff, reflective of our unique Portland sensibilities
  • liberal returns and exchange policy, seamless when you use their Rewards card
  • intuitive store layout, solid cross-merchandising, depth and breadth of produce, excellent craft beer and breadth of deli offer
  • coupons quite relevant to our shopping habits (thanks, Kroger)

So I was a bit irritated when deciding on a trail mix the other day. What’s with the outrageously priced $10.89 / lb ‘Men’s Energy Mix’? Overflowing with pecans…? Nope. Cashews…yup, but the Honey Roast Harvest has those too. Expensive pine nuts…last on the ingredient list…get me some tweezers. I opted for the Honey Roast at $5.99, perfectly content with its blend of salt and sweet. So it lacks Vitamin C — who gives a hoot.

Here’s the deal. Freddy’s planted a seed of doubt in my little brain. I don’t trust them today as much as I did yesterday. And that’s not a wise strategy for cementing a long-term relationship with this semi-cynical consumer.

This isn’t your momma’s McDonald’s

Beware ye fellow doubters and conspiracy theorists. I gotta call it as I see it. And I am talking about a McDonald’s “experience” that moms across the country might approve of. Hard-working moms, discerning moms, cash-strapped moms. And teens, tweens, dads, uncles and aunts too. While I’m not suggesting it’s fit for date night, it was an eye-opener for this semi-jaded consumer and brand consultant. Continue Reading…