Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Brand thinking

History of Innovation: “Timing is everything”?

History research demonstrates that plenty of valid and sensible innovations never stuck or were adopted by societies. Why?

For example, the printing press could not make much sense in the 16th century Europe if industrial production of current papers were not made available. What was the use of using printing press on archaic parchments and papyrus…?

The influential book “In search of excellence” by Tom Peters was researched in the 70’s but published in 1982, in the right timing for its concepts to take off:  The US was facing around 20% interest rates, 15% inflation, and 11% unemployment (worse than today conditions) and then Donald Reagan was elected President after Jimmy Carter.

“In search of excellence” was mostly promoting the concept of “Brand Yourself”, or everyone must be a brand. The “faceless employee or Badge #129” was being outsourced either to lower cost locations such as China or India, or to software algorithms.

The quality logic is that you have to pay attention to your workforce, the culture for tending to details if you are serious about competing with Japanese quality products…

Currently, KIA cars or Subaru before it are very high in quality: They can run 30,000 miles without ever having to go into a shop.

Timing is everything“.

For example, the US billionaires in the 19th century were mostly born around 1835. They generated their wealth in the railroad, telegraph communication, postal facilities (containers, bill of lading…) oil production, refineries, distribution, media, publishing…Most of the current billionaires are inheritances of the wealth and constitute the “elite class” of 1% richest…

Another example is the top innovators in computer and internet business: They were born around 1955 and enjoyed the facilities of timely innovations and facilities to mark 10,000 hours of practice sessions.

More details https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/mark-these-10000-hours-of-practice-sessions-and-become-a-top-expert-in-anything-you-wish-to-be/

Malcolm Gladwell said in the interview: “When we drive a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy Volt, we are sending this powerful message “These are my values. This is the kind of world I want.”

The declarative value of consumer choices, and the public statement made by consumers in their brand choices, is an enormously powerful tool that has consequences on the economy, the community we live in, the agricultural systems…”

If you think long and hard on a choice, it makes perfect sense of what message you are sending.

There is a paradox. You cannot just focus on “your own brand” to be successful: You badly need the horizontal network of peers and satisfied clients, the extended family of professionals as producers and consumers of quality services.

Note 1:  This post was inspired by Debbie Millman ”Brand thinking and other Noble Pursuits”. This book is a collection of 22 interviews with known brand designers and entrepreneurs such as: Wally Olins, Grant McCraken, Phil Duncan, Dori Tunstall, Brian Collins, Virginia Postrel, Bruce Duckworth, David Butler, Stanley Hainsworth, Cheryl Swanson, Joe Duggy, Margaret Youngblood, Seth Godin, Dan Formosa, Bill Moggridge, Sean Adams, Daniel Pink, DeeDee Gordon, Karim Rashid, Alex Bogusky, Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2: Debbie is president of design division at Sterling Brands and president of the AIGA design association

What are the “cultural meanings” in your design?

In an interview with Debbie Millman, Grant McCraken said: “Basically, a design is expressing one or several meanings of a culture.  It is the job of the designer to explicitly express these meanings, in a particular package, for a particular group, at this particular moment…”

Design matters because it’s a great opportunity for giving clients (corporations, institutions…) access to anthropology, sociology, and knowledge of the particular cultures…

The “just trust me” doesn’t cut it when presenting the message.

If the designer is not consciously aware of what “meanings of the culture” he is approaching, maybe he is consciously illiterate about the particular culture, and the designer needs to start doing his due diligence: The Western civilization failed to take seriously the cultures of the emerging economies of China, India, Latin America, the Middle East…

The first condition to crafting a “provocation” in a design is to have a thorough knowledge of the culture and the social world in which you mean for your design to effect any structural change. Designers should not fail to get access to the proper culture, the language, the customs, the dances, the music…

It is up to the designer never to assume that the corporation knows what changes in any culture the designer is targeting. The most critical phase in branding a product or service is identifying the cultural meaning the brand wants to alter, change, or enhance.  The identification phase requires that the team of designers be at the highest of their background knowledge of the particular culture.

For example, Santa used to be dressed exclusively in green, until Coca Cola dressed Santa in Red and White, and particular cloths that never changed in details in all the ads…A corporation may have control over a design until the message gets hold of a culture meaning and belongs to the masses and consumers.

Seth Godin said in the interview:

“Thorough background knowledge of the culture and tradition in designing a brand is a must in order to have any impact:  It is not Photoshop or Illustrator technical skills that define a designer.  There is a need for a mix of history and future expectation in order to feel like growing…For a brand design to appeal to real people, it must be able to connect to feelings we have that go back to age of four.  For example, to reconnect the experienced feeling to a chocolate bar…from the visual, the smell, the shape…”

Many City-States and small States (Dubai, Qatar, Singapour…) are trying to project their brand culture in many major capitals around the world, like building high rises in London, the tallest high rises, gigantic hospitals, ports,…

No new media medium ever killed an older one: Television improved radio, and internet enhanced television…We have a multiplicity of improved medium to select from and adapt to…

The world has reached a climax in fluidity, in abundance of choices, in fast turn-over of technological products, and mankind feels that the best he can do to cope with the quick superficial changes is to learn how to be fluid and respond accordingly. You cannot leave decision and control in the hands of the “elite class” who seek total control for any change in society…

Since we pay dearly both ways for not responding to culture and for opposing change, we might as well learn how the fluid current is heading to.

So far, it feels more of a promissory note that designers will take the trouble to comprehending the targeted culture they are designing for.

McCraken said:

“Time line is a cultural creation:  It is circular, linear…and consequently, we create a future corresponding to our notion of time.  The return of artisanal movements, do it yourself, back to nature… mean that we want to get back to a circular time notion, a future that has a sense of continuity, not moving faster than we can cope with, in touch with the present and past slow human development…

We want a world with manageable propositions, actuated and controlled by mankind limitations and potentials…”

Note 1:  This post was inspired by Debbie Millman ”Brand thinking and other Noble Pursuits”. This book is a collection of 22 interviews with known brand designers and entrepreneurs such as: Wally Olins, Grant McCraken, Phil Duncan, Dori Tunstall, Brian Collins, Virginia Postrel, Bruce Duckworth, David Butler, Stanley Hainsworth, Cheryl Swanson, Joe Duggy, Margaret Youngblood, Seth Godin, Dan Formosa, Bill Moggridge, Sean Adams, Daniel Pink, DeeDee Gordon, Karim Rashid, Alex Bogusky, Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2: Debbie is president of design division at Sterling Brands and president of the AIGA design association

Have you been branded for life? Did you Brand yourself? What “branding” is to you?

When I hear the term “branding”, the first image comes to mind is in movies where slaves and cows are branded with hot iron with a symbol, logo, or initials to be visually recognized as belonging to a particular proprietor.

If a corporation imposes on its employees to exclusively patronize and purchase its “brand” products or services, wouldn’t that constitute a form of “branding slaves”?  For example, when Microsoft implicitly discourage its employees to search Google as its preferred engine, do you think the company is exercising “slave branding” until the salaried person is fired or going to retirement? 

I figured that a good method to defining an explaining “brand” is by developing on a few categories of “brands”, which are not necessarily exclusive. 

Categories of brands:

1. “Belonging brand”: We do belong to a tribe, a religious sect, a restricted community, a gang group…We want the members of our group and those outside the community to discriminate us with our slang, language, customs, dances, ceremonies…through symbols, which are the tribal markings, visual and verbal signs of differentiation. The more global the “economy”, the more pronounced the local markings… This idea is put forth by Wally Olins.

2. “Professional brand”: You wear the white coat and the stethoscope and you are readily accepted to be a physician, regardless of youth, genders, or race…All professional syndicates and professional disciplines tend to “brand their members”.  Have you ever asked a physician or a judge, or an engineer to fetch his diploma, certificate, or university grades…in order to prove his professionalism?

The Red Cross logo project a symbol of vulnerability and thus, it is safe to approaching the vehicle and let it move freely in battle fields…

3. “Addiction brands”: You are in Africa or any remote area and you don’t find a bottle of water or sugar in shops, but invariably, you can buy a soda can or bottle.  The soda liquids are heavily sugary and loaded with addictive additives. You find Coca Cola, Pepsi, orange flavored soda bottles, locally made soda loaded with sugar. The gas in the soda gets you the feeling of emerging from a heavy meal and the sugar is needed for the brain…, but it is not the same as drinking water or eating sugar.  The same goes to all the other addictive products.

The story goes that Pepsi discovered that a person is ready to drink unlimited quantity of soda if available, and Pepsi offered the 2 liters bottles in order to compete with Coca Cola…

4. “Fear and peer-pressure brands”: If you don’t buy this product people will make fun of you, and you will not be considered a normal person. Cosmetics ads use this sense of being an “outlier” in a community to encourage the usage of particular products. For example, fear is associated with workaholic individuals because they feel disconnected with the safety of the community outside the corporation.  Workaholic people are defensively constantly checking the “pleasant mood level” of the boss.

5. “Herd brands”:  “Are you an American? You must own your own home as every successful family…”  All research studies are demonstrated that renting is much cheaper than purchasing a property, but the citizens were pressured to buy homes, even though they knew they could not afford it.  As long as easy credits were extended, people were willing to go with the flow of normalcy…

6. “Story brands”:  Tom Peters said: “A brand is a good story. Period. People are suckers for stories. Dump the word “brand” and use “story” instead.  When I become a story, I am viewed as more human, more real…” For example, oats was grown as cattle and sheep feed, and then Quaker Oats box package made a sensation. Why? If Quakers are offering oats as food for mankind, it means oats is good for you: Quakers are not in the culture of lying to you… 

7. “Cultural brands”: The differences in wine quality, price, and varieties are shrinking. The wine brand is: “From which country or region is the source of the wine products?” The future brands will be cultural because the western civilization failed to take seriously the cultures of the emerging cultures in China, India, Brazil, Latin America…As Grant McGraken stated: “The first condition to crafting a “provocation” in design is to have a thorough knowledge of the culture and the social world in which you mean for your design to effect any structural change…”

The identification phase in any design is fundamentally to respond to this simple question: “What are specifically the cultural meanings you intend to design?”

“The word “Africa” is used as a brand name to mean an intricately complex area made up of people, countries, cultures that have no more in common than we do with Uzbekistan…” (Malcolm Gladwell)

8. “Seductive brands”:  Be as beautiful, as healthy, as seductive as “I am brand”.  Corporations want to attrct customers, “to be loved” as individuals behave to attract others.

Dimensions of brands:

1. Stable reputation like college or hospital ranking, done by peer evaluation and having nothing to do with objective measure of performance.  What’s left, after reputation is taken out, is a small residual…

2. Reliability for using a product or a service:  You have definit expectation when you patronize a brand name and you want this expectation fulfilled. 

The dimension of durability is no longer a serious factor since everyone knows that corporations are explicitly engineering products to fail after a certain periods:  Corporations wants heavy turnover of products to encourage “consumerism”…

Our personality is a function of the collection of objects, ideas…we surround ourself with. For example, psychologist Samuel Goslig rates a person from how the room looks like:  You are judged according to what you display. Another example is (Svpply site, v and not u) that is another facebook-type, where you associate with people who like and purchase particular objects, whic are common to your perception of a life-style…

This the first installment on a series of articles revolving around the topic of “brand” and branding.

Note 1:  This post was inspired by Debbie Millman ”Brand thinking and other Noble Pursuits”. This book is a collection of 22 interviews with known brand designers and entrepreneurs such as: Wally Olins, Grant McCraken, Phil Duncan, Dori Tunstall, Brian Collins, Virginia Postrel, Bruce Duckworth, David Butler, Stanley Hainsworth, Cheryl Swanson, Joe Duggy, Margaret Youngblood, Seth Godin, Dan Formosa, Bill Moggridge, Sean Adams, Daniel Pink, DeeDee Gordon, Karim Rashid, Alex Bogusky, Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2: Debbie is president of design division at Sterling Brands and president of the AIGA design association

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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