Why we brand
What is in a brand?
Product brands have been around for pretty well as long as civilisation itself – think of the signatures on old paintings and pottery that signify the maker – it has always been a way of making sure that the origin of something can be known. We want anyone to be able to know that a Totally Wicked product stands for something a little different, a little better thought through, a little better made. When it becomes yours we want you to be as pleased to own it as we have been proud to put our brand on it.
It would be easy to say, that since Totally Wicked e-cigarettes and accessories are not made in any factory that we own, that we are simply rebranding for the sake of advertising, or perhaps the brand in itself is essentially meaningless. This could not be further from the truth. The Totally Wicked brand is only applied to any product after extensive testing and development, working closely with manufacturers’ R&D teams, and only to products that we truly believe offer outstanding quality and value for money to our customers. But this only goes part of the way to explaining why placing our brand on a product is important to us, and we hope to our valued customers.
Importantly, once the product is yours, our brand means more than just a name or logo, because it also means that we hang onto some of the responsibility for the product. While we offer our industry’s leading warranties and guarantees, we know that we sometimes have to go a little beyond this. In short, we back our brand, so that if you have any issue with a Totally Wicked product at any time, the Totally Wicked brand tells you that we intend to take care of you, and we started making provision for this a long time before you even considered buying that product.
The branding journey
The journey from idea to Totally Wicked branded product is a longer one than you might imagine. It often starts with an idea generated here in Blackburn from scratch, or with a prototype provided by one of our manufacturing partners in China, but from that first phase there is always dialogue. We have worked with most of the top e-cigarette brand factories since 2008, and we choose partnership with brands where we trust integrity and quality as we only want to work with the best. This means we have long working relationships where we have a lot of shared history and experience.
The prototype phase can be a long one at times, and can involve several trips to China for our team members while we figure out exactly what the next Totally Wicked product needs to be for UK vapers to enjoy. On other occasions it can be as simple as defining a few tweaks to the prototype, manufacturing samples in colours and finishes that we know will be attractive, and you might think then just placing an order and putting it on sale, but you may also realise that life is never that simple.
Beta testing is really important, and over the years our test team has developed a really good feel for products that give a great customer experience. Does the wick dry out in the atomizer head and lead to burning? Does the tank leak straight after filling? What is the battery life like, and how long does it take to recharge? Does the product get too warm if using while pass-through charging? The list can seem pretty endless, and often we will be going back to the drawing board to iron out any glitches and make sure that whatever we present with our brand on is the best yet.
Branding a product with our name is a serious buisness
We take branding seriously, as you will have guessed if you have read this far, so with the product fully defined, the next step is to decide on a name for it, and we have had some names. Around 2010-11 many tended towards Mega or Ultra, and by mid-decade we had products with names as unlikely as the arc Pico Grande and the Magoid. Fortunately the product family names that have stuck have been slightly more orthodox, such as arc and Tornado, and those families have become sub-brands within the Totally Wicked product family. The naming phase includes copyright checks to make sure we are not abusing anyone else’s Intellectual Property Rights, and this is really important as it has to be finalised before the next three sections in the product journey.
The style of the product name, and the size of position of this and the brand on the product are tightly defined by our graphics team. On most occasions we see this as so important that a branded prototype is built, sometimes as a joint effort between our team and our manufacturer’s team. This way we know exactly what the product is going to look and feel like when our first customer opens the box and takes out their new Totally Wicked vaping device, and that box is also important.
When you have been using your vaping device for a while you might forget that it came in a box, but the design of the packaging also has to be defined around this point. This means that the box on the shelf in the shop is not just going to look great, but will meet all the requirements of UK regulations, including nicotine warnings, recycling and electrical symbols, chemical symbols where applicable, and an indication of the kind of nicotine dose delivered by the product under controlled test conditions. This is sufficiently complex that we have experienced specialists looking through every package’s artwork in very fine detail before we release the designs for production.
Well that seems a lot of work, but it has to be everything doesn’t it? Absolutely not! We mustn’t forget the manual. We put a lot of care and attention into making sure that every Totally Wicked branded product that needs one has a manual that is well worded, easy to follow, contains appropriate diagrams where necessary, and we hope allows someone that has never seen an e-cigarette before can be up and running within 15 minutes. It doesn’t work out ever time, which is why our shop staff, and telephone and online Customer Service teams are such a vital part of Totally Wicked.
At this point we are finally ready to start production, get the product shipped to the UK, and carry out final quality control procedures to make sure the e-cigarette that you receive is exactly as we intended right back at the beginning of the process. From there it will get to you via our distribution centre, and then our shop or website, at the end of a very long journey.
So what is in a brand?
A lot of hard work, but we hope you might now appreciate just how much attention to detail goes into ensuring that if it says Totally Wicked on the box, we have pulled out all the stops to to make sure it really is totally wicked in every way.