Brand Standouts: Kombucha

Gut health is trending in a major way. So we’re sure that kombucha shelf space will only get more crowded. A recent trip to Whole Foods prompted us to take a closer look at what the packaging says for three brand leaders.

Health-Ade: Here, the structure itself works hard to distinguish the brand on shelf. It’s a shorter, squatter bottle, with substantial glass, and does a lot to make it stand out from the taller, leaner competitors. The simpler label and prominence of the brand name also works to catch the eye.

GTs: Playing off the naturality heritage of kombucha, you’ll note some of GTS’ added elements—the crest around the logo, the descriptor of “organic raw,” the note of “enzymes and probiotics”—communicate the idea of “healing within.” It also suggests a time when kombucha had to do more to educate consumers about the drink. (Healthade has moved away from this).

Kevita: Similarly to GTS, Kevita emphasizes health, naturality, and consumer education. The pyramid shape at the top and “rays” extending throughout the bottle suggest a greater context of yoga—leaning into an obvious consumer target. The claim “master brew” and iconic depiction of the ingredient, in this case, a pineapple, work to communicate “small batch.”


Ready to get started with Branding? We can help. Learn more about our Customized Brand Guides here.

Brand Standouts: Chocolate

You’re a captive audience (minus Instagram, minus whiny children, minus checking to make sure you didn’t forget anything), waiting in line to check out at the grocery store. Chocolate bars have 10 seconds to get your attention—how do the best ones do it?

Mast Brothers: Premium and artisanal, Mast Brothers’ packaging always feels like something you’d see as wallpaper or a framed print in a cool, contemporary apartment. It’s unexpected and unique, saying more about the tone and mood about the brand than flavor or ingredients.

Madecasse: Puting ingredients and provenance front and center, Madecasse’s illustrated packaging showcases this brand’s story, which is rooted in cocoa and in Madagascar.

Vosges: Here’s the abstract expressionism to the Mast Brothers patterned visions. Vosges highlights ingredients and flavor composition in an artistic and unexpected way that feels premium.

Raaka: Similarly to Mast Brothers, Raaka uses artistic patterns on pack, but its off-center holding shape and limited use of color makes it feel a more like etchings, and a little less polished.


Ready to get started with Branding? We can help. Learn more here.

3 Benefits to Startup Branding

Big or small, all businesses today create enormous of content. But making the right choices about how and what to communicate is fraught with complications. Particularly if marketing isn’t your expertise. You may be clear about what your company does, how you do it and even why you do it. But the real challenge comes in translating that knowledge into a crystalized message, tone, look and feel – consistently. That’s where Branding comes in.

Brand Guide

The point of Branding – the required Brand Exercises and receiving your final guide is to make the transform the abstract into the concrete. Once you’re done you and your team, will have a common language to talk about your company. Along with a guide to making decisions about your verbal and visual identity.

Here are 3 big reasons to consider branding for your startup.


Branding will help you figure out the answers to these questions:

  • What is my core value proposition?
  • How do I encapsulate this value into a meaningful, concise and consistent story?
  • What are my personality and behavior traits?
  • What is my tone of voice? How do I write and speak?
  • What do I look? What imagery and photographhy do I use?
  • What are my brand colors? My fonts? My graphics?



As a startup, we’re always trying to save money. But often times we’re penny wise pound foolish.

To know if the savinigs are worth it, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you wasted time and money debating with your team (or yourself) about what to say, how to look, what to write?
  2. Have you wasted time and money redoing content because you couldn’t really figure out what it should be or how to get your resources to get you there.
  3. Have you launched inefficient, fragmented content that doesn’t work together or communicate what you need it to?


Add it up.. Only you can determine if Branding is worth it to you now.


Strategy always comes before Tactics. The same is true with building your brand. Before jumping into any tactics (designing a logo, building a website, launching a social media campaign), you should always think about strategy first.

Branding provides you with a Strategic Roadmap to your tactical executions. It is a guide to drive all your decisions about what you do, how you look, sound and behave. By starting with brand, before creating one piece of content, you’ll ensure whatever you create will consistently tell your story. (And you’ll save yourself from serious headaches and heartache.)

We Believe Small Companies Deserve Branding, Too

Contrary to popular belief, branding doesn’t have to take 3 months.DriveThru Branding

Big or small, all businesses today create enormous of content. But making the right choices about how and what to communicate is fraught with complications. Particularly if marketing isn’t your expertise. You may be clear about what your company does, how you do it and even why you do it. But the real challenge comes in translating that knowledge into a crystalized message, tone, look and feel – consistently.

So, how do companies ensure they tell a concise, consistent story?

The answer is to start with Brand before creating one piece of content.

Traditional Branding isn’t built for small businesses.

Unfortunately, anyone who has worked with a traditional brand agency — whose process includes long and expensive engagements — knows they’re not built for fast moving, startups and SMBs. So, unfortunately most small businesses go without branding — or try their hand at a DIY approach. (Not recommended.) The result? Hours of internal debates, a reinvention of the wheel with every piece of content created, and inevitably, time and money wasted launching inefficient, fragmented content that doesn’t communicate what you need to communciate.

Because we believe small companies deserve branding — DriveThru Branding was born.

We believe all companies, no matter the industry, stage of business or size, should have clarity about their brand. We believe brand is the mothership, unifying how you look, sound, feel and act. It is an encapsulation of everything that makes your company unique and should be baked into everything people experience from you – your product, logo, name, social media, PR, ads, elevator pitch, hiring practices—everything. By starting with brand, before creating one piece of content, you’ll ensure whatever you create will consistently tell your story. (And save yourself from serious headaches and heartache.)

DriveThru is a new consulting paradigm, providing brand services for smaller, fast moving companies.

Our process and products were built specifically for the needs and realities of companies on the go. In 2 weeks, for an affordable price, we build custom guides that provide direction for everyone on your team — marketers, salespeople, designers, writers and developers — so there is clarity and alignment about what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and how that story translates into what you say, how you say it, and how you look.

One of the biggest reasons startups and small companies fail is lack of consumers/users/customers. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with your audience. Get your story straight — from the beginning.

Branding isn’t just for big companies anymore.  At DriveThru Branding — drive in a company, and out a brand, in 2 weeks.

Learn more here.

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.