Why we say no to vanilla | Kraken Marketing

24 May 2023

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 vanillaBut WTF do we mean?

It means we want you to be authentic and showcase your true personality! And that this will help you to be really successful. 😍

But, we know this takes bravery, and being brave and authentic with your brand is hard! 


Having a distinct brand personality can help you stand apart from your competitors and build better relationships with your customers. And we all want that right?
Developing an emotional connection with your audience helps create brand loyalty. 😍



What is vanilla?

So the good news is, you don’t need to be corporate or overly “professional” to be successful. This comes across as boring. Vanilla. 

We want to help you say no to vanilla marketing – so you can showcase who you really are and what you’re really about. So you can share what really makes you special and ✨unique. ✨

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, like really love. Who’s marketing and messaging makes you smile when you see or hear it. They probably have a strong personality, don’t they?

There will be something they do that makes them stand out and makes you really care about them. 💜

Want some examples? Hell yeah you do!

Some brands that really stand out to me as totally not vanilla are:


Innocent Drinks

They’re informal, witty, fun, and ethical. They authentically represent this personality in everything they do and they’re instantly recognisable. They even make sure their packaging is fun! 😇 Who knew I could love a drinks company so much? 


Harley Davidson 

They’re rugged and gritty. They’ve embraced their rebellious spirit and are disruptive in their industry. 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 an energy 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 who you are and what makes your brand special. We’ll look at your business goals and who your target audience is. Then we can refine your brand personality and tone of voice in a way that’s authentic and will resonate with your audience. 


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 ripped skinny jeans and a leather jacket.

She’s drinking tequila 🍸 and making inappropriate jokes. 😂

She’s quick to laugh and tries to make sure everyone is having a good time.

She knows all the random facts that help her team win Trivial Pursuit – she’s competitive and wants to win. 🏆But isn’t a sore loser! She just wants everyone to have fun. 


This is a fun way to help you get a good idea of how we can personify your brand. 


Obviously, that’s the personality that fits our brand but yours would be totally 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 say 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 incredibly 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. 😢 As tough as that is!


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

Get in touch.