Brand Standouts: Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen, Halo Top, Steve’s, Coolhaus

Van Leeuwen, Halo Top, Steve's, Coolhaus

In a category where visuals are everything (not much time to read when the freezer door’s open!), we take a look at how four up-and-coming brands take on packaging.

Van Leewuen: With a simple and cheerful look (monochromatic and not a whole lot of copy), and a crafted, timeless typeface, Van Leewuen stands out in a sea of neutrals. Created in part to succeed on social media, the pack cues Brooklyn in a big way.

Halo Top: Apart from its whimsical pattern and eye-catching primary and secondary colors, Halo Top leans heavily into its point-of-difference—its health and caloric count. The “melting scoop” graphic element helps break up the visuals, but can be difficult to interpret from far away.

Steve’s: Breaking away from the category convention of cardboard, Steve’s uses a sturdier plastic with transparent sections to stand out on shelf. The flavor-specific fonts and colors help tell the brand’s story of interesting and unexpected flavors. 

Coolhaus: One part quirky and another part youthful, Coolhaus uses a distinctive logo typeface, tagline (“awesome ice cream”), and graphic “drips” to communicate fun and irreverence (unlike the serious and sophistication of competitors). It is ice cream, after all.


Are you designing new packaging or refreshing your logo and need some brand guidance? We can help. Learn more here.

Choosing a Company Name

Before brainstorming on your company name, you may want to think about what type of name might be best for your company.

Naming Your Company

Here is a quick primer on the various types of names.

There are generally three types: Descriptive, Suggestive and Abstract.

  • Descriptive: a name that describes functionality. Example: FlexiMop (a flexible mop)
  • Suggestive: A name that suggests benefits. Example: Casabella (a beautiful home)
  • Abstract: A name that feels like an abstract concept or idea. Example: Method (a technique, order or system.)
When to Use a Descriptive or Suggestive name

Use a DESCRIPTIVE or a SUGGESTIVE name when you are a new product or service and need a name to help explain yourself.


Unfortunately, descriptive words are often common words. They can be hard to trademark in your category because they are already in use.

These types of names can also be limiting in the long run. FlexiMop is so specifically mop-based that its “name elasticity” to support new products beyond mops feels tight.

When to Use an Abstract Name

Use an ABSTRACT name when you want a strong trademark that can support an array of products in varied categories with different benefits.


Choosing an ABSTRACT name means you might have to spend marketing dollars to help explain it.

Use an ABSTRACT name when you want a strong trademark that can support an array of products in varied categories with different benefits.


Remember, that your company name should be chosen based on your brand. If you haven’t gone through a branding exercise, at least start with identifying your brand’s personalities. This will help you brainstorm on names.

Do you need help getting started with Brand? DriveThru can help. In as little as two weeks we can get you a customized Brand Guide to get you moving forward in the right direction. Learn more here.

How and Why Brand Matters

Why start with Brand?

Trying to figure out when to fit Branding into your company roadmap? Scroll through this quick presentation to learn how and why Brand matters—for businesses of all sizes and stages.

In this Slideshow, you will learn:

  • Is Branding for me?
  • What Brand is (and what it’s not)
  • How to start Branding
  • When to start Branding
  • What Branding can do for your company

Ready to get started with Branding? DriveThru builds minimal viable brands for startups and small businesses — to get your Brand Strategy up and running in as little as two weeks. Learn more here.

Harry’s – How They Get Branding Right

When establishing a brand, we believe that there are three core principles every startup should keep in mind: Be Meaningful, Be Concise, and Be Consistent.

To demonstrate, what we mean, we’ll feature brands we love who do this well and break it down for you. First up, Harry’s.

Brand Principle 1: Meaningful

Your “Why” must matter to you and your audience

From their homepage and beyond, Harry clearly articulates the mission behind their company– to create high quality products at a lower than average price point. You may ask why that is more “meaningful” than other brands who are trying to make more affordable products, and you’d be partly right. What makes Harry’s stand out is the way they tell their story, both in the words they use and the imagery they choose.

For example, by adding “made by real guys for real guys” and showcasing photos of (what we assume is) their team, they’ve connected their company to their audience, and established the purpose behind their business.

Harry's Website Branding

Brand Principle 2: Concise

Your pitch must be immediately understandable

Harry’s has this brand principle in spades. “Great shave, no middleman” is immediately understandable and cuts to the core of what they do in four words. In this concise pitch, they are able to express that they are building quality shaving products (“great shave”) and that they sell directly to you (“no middleman”).

Harry's Website Branding

Brand Principle 3: Consistent

Sing the same tune, over and over again.

If you click around on their site, scroll through their social media, and catch any of their ad campaigns, you will instantly recognize Harry’s branding. From their visual identity to the language they choose, it all looks and sound the same, without getting tired or repetitive.

Harry's Branding


Are you ready to get started with branding? Let DriveThru Branding help. In 2 weeks, we encapsulate everything you want to say about your company and turn it into a custom Brand Guide. Learn more here.



Brands are a lot like people. As people, our personality and behavior transmit who we are to the world. For example, if you’re a friendly or generous person, you probably open the door for people, and say good morning.

Or think about a person we’re all familiar with, the comedian Amy Schumer. We all know she is funny and smart. But not because she tells us she is, but because that’s how she behaves.  

The same is true for brands.

Except with brands we feel their personality through the content they create. Their advertising, social media, packaging, in-store experience, website, etc.

An example, Oreos:

Oreos, an iconic brand for a century, Oreos’ personality is optimistic, nostalgic, wide-eyed and pure of heart. These traits comes through in everything they create.

The same is true for your brand.

If you haven’t identified your brand’s personality, here’s a quick exercise to get you thinking about it. Don’t get caught up on the words you choose. Focus on the meaning behind them. Ideally you want to identify 3-4 personality traits that are authentic to you and ensure that those personalities are clear and consistent across all the content you create.

Here’s 5 steps to identifying your brand’s personality.


  1. Gather brands that feel like you: are you curious like Google? Rebellious like Virgin? Friendly like Dunkin’ Donuts?
  2. Confirm the 3-4 personality traits that feel right for your brand.
  3. Identify what your personality would look like – write some phrases inspired by other brands.
  4. Identify what your personality would sound like – write some phrases inspired by other brands.
  5. Evaluate your current brand and marketing content: your name, logo, social campaigns.. do you think it’s delivering on your personality? If your content doesn’t reflect your brand’s personality — it’s time to update/refresh your content.

Joon, The “Millennial” Airline

This summer, Air France launched a new millennial-focused airline called Joon, “aimed at a young working clientele whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology.”

It says the brand, which will not be a low-cost carrier, “has been entirely designed to meet their requirements and aspirations, with an authentic and connected offering that stands out in the world of air transport.”  

It doesn’t elaborate what that might be, but on its website, it elucidates a tad more.

“JOON breaks the mold, dressing its cabin crew like its customers: with contemporary elements, the new uniform is based on a trendy and comfortable minimalist style.”

Air France, or, Joon, is it? We have so many things to say.  

First of all, the millennial generation is a pretty diverse group of people, so when you say the brand has been entirely designed to meet their requirements and aspirations, what does that mean, exactly? All the millennials?

And when you reference a “lifestyle that revolves around digital technology,” what exactly are you referring to?  It sounds as if Joon’s not meant for the person who needs to finish a presentation on an overnight to New York, so I’m guessing you mean a person who wants to remain connected to Instagram at all times.

Also. Saying you’ll dressing the cabin crew like its customers, which means an abundance of sneakers, judging by your illustrations, buckets this diverse generation group into one consolidated, homogenous lump.

Joon promises more details soon—and we’ll reserve further commentary until then, but here are three things we hope they take into account when they launch.

  1. Acknowledge individuality: “Millennial” is not shorthand for casual clothing and 24/7 access to technology.  And catering to stereotypes is not a great way to speak to anybody.  
  2. Speak to a higher order: Wifi and visuals are important, sure, but they’re accents. And table-stakes, by the way. What can you emphasize that feels bigger and more unique?
  3. Ageism: It comes in all forms, and even when subtle, it’s not a good look.


(Should not be a question.)

You may be wondering if branding is right for you and your company. If you’re at all skeptical, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do people immediately understand your core value proposition?
  • Are you getting the responses you want — from investors, consumers?
  • Are you making decisions about how you look, sound and behave using a set criteria?
  • Is your team wholly aligned on what you say, write and design?
  • Is making content a breeze?

If you answered NO to any of the above questions, Branding is right for your company. Read on to learn how Branding — and not Branding — will impact your company.


You will have the clarity to express who you are to any audience, regardless of platform. Everyone who represents your company or creates your content will know your Brand Story. Your marketers, salespeople, writers, designers and developers will all have clarity around what you do, how you do it and most importantly why you do it. They will understand your core personality traits and how those traits translate to how you behave, how you look, and how you sound.

The result — all the content your create will hang together as a strong and unified brand story across content, audience and platform.


Without brand guidance, making the right choices about how and what to communicate is fraught with complications. You may know who you are (and we believe most companies do) but without an actionable framework to guide your efforts, there will be time and money wasted launching inefficient, fragmented content that doesn’t communicate well together.

Ready to get started with Branding? Let us help. In as little as two weeks, we can build a custom Brand Guide for your company and get you moving forward on the right path. Learn more here.

AXE, for the modern man

Axe has grown up. That’s right. The men’s brand that stayed famously adolescent for years, creating advertising segments around the “Axe effect,” “clean balls” and the “dumpster diver” (the latter being a buxom woman driving an expensive car who chases after a undeserving man who, you guessed it! is diving into dumpsters) repositioned itself this year.

And it’s a revolution, not an evolution.

It unveiled a new manifesto, called “Find your Magic,” where men are portrayed as individuals, doing things that the old Axe guy would never in a million years do. They’re dancing (even one in heels!), holding cats, protesting . “Who needs another thing when you got your thing?” the advertisement asks. “Now work on it.”

The video has more than 10.5 million views on YouTube as of recently, and the comments are good. Really good. Even for YouTube. They include “This is the last company I’d expect to make an ad like this.” Another, “Great ad. I approve, and you should too.”

But this isn’t just an ad campaign. The brand’s done a total refresh — with grown up packaging that carries the emphasis on individual style even further. Sleek and unexpected, it’s modern masculinity — not for that guy guzzling a beer at Hooters. “Whatever your style, we’ve got a product to keep your mane looking razor sharp,” the website proclaims.

And they’ve created a “Magic Finder” quiz that promises to tell you “what makes you tick.” It’s set up to send articles, style tips and product recommendations — “all tailor-made to suit your magic.” And there’s a section called, “Is it ok for guys to…?” which suggests searches such as, “yoga, be nervous, wear pink, show emotion.”

It’s a total turnaround from where the brand was before — and one that feels in line with the year’s cultural emphasis on feminism and gender-bending. Kudos to a brand that took its overarching idea — masculinity — and reframed it to be culturally relevant, from end-to-end.

Are you creating content or designing a website for your company? Start with Brand Strategy. Learn more about what DriveThru Branding can do for you here.

From Brand Guide to Content

Brand Guide 101

When talking about Branding, people tend to talk about Brand Guides. But what are they, why do they matter and how do you use one?

A little primer… At the end of a branding engagement, you should be provided a Brand Guide.

While all Brand Guides are not equal, your guide should provide you with your:

  • Brand Story
  • Personality and Behavior Traits
  • Tone of Voice
  • Visual Look and Feel

Your guide is your “True North,” and functions are your starting point for every piece of content and communications, so all your content will work together, always telling the same singular story regardless of audience or platform.

Below is a chart below that describes in greater details how you will utilize the elements of a Brand Guide to create more cohesive and impactful content.

If you are creating a website or a designing a logo, start with DriveThru Branding. We can help you get your Brand Strategy done, quickly and affordably. Learn more here.