What if brand X did Y?

I’ve been a bit of a brand nerd most of my life. Thinking back it probably incubated when I was a kid and spent ages thumbing through the Argos catalogue. Differentiating between electronics brands, product features and prices.

With this brand spotting and nerding I often ended up wondering… what if brand X did something they don’t normally do? It’s kind of a daydreaming activity where I just start imagining what it could look like rather than caring too much about the corporate strategy and profit margins.

Sometimes the wonderings are really obvious, many of us have probably had the same thoughts. In some cases, the things I wondered already existed and I hadn’t heard of them. This isn’t a smart list of genius ideas. I’m not yelling into the wind “only if brand X knew what I knew”. I guess I’m just interested in collecting my daydreams into one place.

I’ve wondered about…

Tiny IKEA.

We really enjoy the grocery section at IKEA. I’d love to see a tiny IKEA with majority food, a small cafe, marketplace best sellers, new products and a click and collect. I stumbled upon a medium sized IKEA next to the Port of Piraeus near Athens a couple of years ago. There were also a few kitchen and office showrooms dotted about years ago I believe, not quite the same delight as food and essentials.

Nandos Express.

I’m not a frequent flyer at Nandos, don’t mind it but don’t crave it. It seemed bonkers that so many folks go wild for it and you could only get it by going in for a sit down. Well, turns out there is one, I walked past it years ago just near Liverpool Street station. Looks like its gone now as delivery apps have solved this.

Audi Road Bike.

I used to own a Trek 1.2 road bike. It was a mighty little bike for its price. When pedalling up hills across the UK I’d often wonder what an Audi bike would look like, feel like to ride and what acoustic design the components would have. Wonder no more, here it is for €17,500. Ugh, not quite what I pictured.

KFC breakfast

Fried chicken is fine at any time of the day when you like fried chicken. Perhaps I started wondering about this after I had fantastic fried chicken brunch at the now defunct Duke’s Brew & Que. A bit of Googling and we can find KFC has done some bonkers stuff in Japan, and yes, we did even get a trial of breakfast in 2016 from 10 branches in the calm waters of UK KFC.

Vegan Greggs.

Err, this one isn’t even worth typing up. I did buy shares in Greggs once, got scared about picking shares though and went with an index fund instead – Vanguard normcore.

Premium B&Q.

Only the good tools, parts, components, accessories, chemicals, etc, blah. Make it a small shop — are you spotting a pattern here? — so it can easily squeeze into city districts. Amazon is full of bogus DIY stuff too. Sadly a lot of the local indie places are closed up now or not as plentiful as they once were.


  1. Mark Pollard’s strategy frameworks are really fun for this type of stuff. https://www.markpollard.net/examples-of-strategy/
  2. You can run ideas workshops by asking teams to imagine “what it would look like if company X did Y?”
  3. These are just daydreams about brands, I appreciate the death grip of monopolies conquering every bit of our high streets and wallets is probably not for the best.


Written by
Lawrence Brown on 28th January 2023

Decision nuggets

▼ This got me thinking. Damn I want some chicken nuggets. Would I ever go to Burger King for them though? Wait. But why? I haven’t even tried BK’s nuggets.

You’ve got to love a strategy that can have a place in our mind the second before we commit to a competitor. They are your doubt. They are your wake up call. At this point, they own questioning a decision, if only for a second.

BK are notable for a variety of interesting marketing ideas, stunts and executions, I wouldn’t say this is one of them.

Although, there’s something wonderfully childish about this. It’s cheeky and we all know BK’s brand is too. Often you hear marketeers talk about “brand positioning” – a place in a consumers mind. They have nailed it here just by the physical positioning and opportunity, with added bonus of not having to worry about any smart ass copywriting.

Questions I’m thinking about

  • Where is your companies brand positioned literally and strategically?
  • Will you get this close to influencing your customer during a decision?
  • How can you deliver brand voice without needing copy?
  • What are BK’s chicken nuggets actually like?

Written by
Lawrence Brown on 17th July 2019

Emoji Treasure Hunt

You can have this idea.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I have no opportunity to apply it to any live projects.
Introducing… The Emoji Treasure Hunt ????????. If you’re working at or with a company talking to a younger audience and you have mobile figured out – this will/could work.

  • Start a flash sales campaign. ????
  • Put some insanely good discounts out on retail/services items. Retail works better – think ASOS. ????????????????????
  • Now setup search ???? so that unique combinations of emojis ⛱???? surfaces theses SKUs.
  • Make it limited to 10s or 100s of items for each SKU to spike interest. ????????

The best bit is the opportunity for combining emojis to surface the related products. This can be made really fun ????????????. Null results should be dealt with small clues????, get users searching again and again, guide them to the prize ????, let them solve the pattern.

The aim – create a result of awareness ????, create a reward incentive ????, increase time on site ????, increase eyes on product catalogue ???? and some offers so good it’s hard to put your phone down ????.

The phone is crucial. Right now emojis are hard on desktop keyboards (or could be considered niche).

Here’s two examples:

???????? = Alexa Bodysuit
????❄️ = North Face Jacket

Written by
Lawrence Brown on 21st February 2016