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Tile and the Need to Tell ‘a Bigger Story’

Imagine sitting at your desk consumed with your latest project when you remember that you were supposed to leave for an appointment 10 minutes ago. You reach down to grab your keys but they’re nowhere to be found. Now you’ll never make it to your appointment on time!

While most of us have experienced this scenario at least once, it never need happen again thanks to Tile, a San Mateo, Calif. company that offers a Bluetooth-enabled device and app that can locate your keys and other belongings when you can’t find them.

As the company sought to introduce their product to a retail audience, they looked to San Francisco brand strategy and design firm Noise 13 for help. The collaboration was a win-win for everyone. Consumers gained a helping hand with finding their belongings while Tile found the messaging that led them to stand out from the crowd.


Making the Move to Retail
While Tile already had experienced success selling products directly to consumers, the move to retail provided a challenge. “The packaging for direct can be a lot different than for retail,” says Dava Guthmiller, founder and chief creative officer of Noise 13.

If you’re selling direct, people are typically seeking you out or they’re going directly to your website. With retail, the potential customer must be able to look at the packaging and discover what your product has to offer in the few minutes that they’re walking past it in the store.

One way Noise 13 made the packaging consumer friendly was by creating a system of custom icons that educated them about what the product could do.


There were also practical concerns. When someone purchases a product via a website, mailing costs become a factor. To address this, Noise 13 produced two different packaging options, with the direct packaging slimmer and less bulky, making it lighter and less expensive to ship.

When Tile expanded its product lineup, another challenge arose. The logo was the same size and shape as the original product. However, when the company released new products of different shapes and sizes, “we needed to have a bigger conversation around Tile the company vs. Tile the product,” Guthmiller says.

As a quick fix, they pulled the logo out of the original shape and tightened up some of the spacing. Then they added to the system of icon assets, which could be used interchangeably among all of the different product offerings.


Creating a Unified Message
In addition to working on the packaging, Noise 13 created in-store point of sale displays. Since Tile’s products are part of a new category of personal trackers, it was important to be cognizant of the language and to make sure the value was clear and the steps to sign up were easy.

All of the elements of the campaign had to convey the same theme: Tile products are here to make your life easier. One way Noise 13 conveyed this was by using color to provide a soothing effect.

“If you have Tile your stuff is always found so you’re not in panic mode,” Guthmiller explains. “Even in the photography, it’s a lot of neutrals because Tile should make your life feel calm.” The use of warm textures and tones emphasized a sophisticated-yet-approachable quality.

Noise 13 also developed a library of images that showcased how consumers could use Tile’s various devices. These could be used on different types of media to accommodate Tile’s various marketing channels.

Today Tile is a leader in its category with its products sold by such retailers as Target, Best Buy, Lowe’s and Apple. Noise 13 has played a major role in that success and understands how to reach a consumer audience in a retail environment. When it comes to retail, it boils down to one thing, Guthmiller says. “You have to tell a bigger story.”

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Author: Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a freelance writer and editor who has written extensively about business, careers and success for such publications as Working Mother, Real Simple, and AARP Bulletin.

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