Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

A Different Look at Yahoo!

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

By now, you’ve probably seen the new Yahoo! logo. And by now, you’ve probably heard the laughter, shrieks of horror and stinging criticism from the professional branding and design communities, not to mention the greater business media world. That criticism is quite well deserved, but perhaps for more reasons than those that are so painfully obvious.


Brand Love

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

My partner, Dave, loves the Apple brand. And when I say “love,” I mean LOVE. So it was amusing to see Randall Stross’ Digital Domain article in the New York Times, when he suggests that “love” is not “the word that immediately comes to mind” when you describe your affinity with the Windows operating system. Awkwardly, Microsoft behaves as if its customers have a stronger affection.

Why do consumers love brands? What is that love? One key element in that affinity is the consumer’s identification of brand meaning coinciding with their deeply held values. Stross makes this observation about Microsoft’s assumptions about its Live product range:

Even if the services had been closely tied to Windows, the public didn’t perceive the brand as having the attributes that would serve associated products well. Professor Batra says, “Our brand-love research shows that loved brands reflect and symbolize deeply held personal values, such as Apple does for creativity,” he says. “Windows and Live each lack this type of brand strength.”

Professor Batra and others authored a research article, Brand Love, aiming to provide a more diligent grounding to concepts of brand love, beyond adopting concepts of personal love. The authors identified seven core elements to a consumer’s love for brands, such as congruence of personal values and brand meaning. In the article they point out that brand love is not the same as interpersonal love: “Consumers were concerned with what the brand could do for them, not what they could do for the brand.” Nonetheless, the authors conceived a model against which brand love could be considered, which include passion-driven behaviors that feature interactive actions and cognitive aspects.

The outcomes of brand love are intent to repurchase, willingness to pay a premium price, proactive positive word of mouth and resistance to negative information about the brand. And when I apply this framework to what I know about Dave and his relationship with Apple, it is easy to see he is irretrievably smitten.

Adjacent Innovation

Monday, May 21st, 2012

dda not only acts for clients in different industries, various markets and broad scales of activity, but we do so as a deliberate and essential function of our business strategy. Why? Because it ensures we are more innovative.

Our clients do not seek us out for expertise in their field of business. We work with clients that already know their field better than we could. Rather, the value we deliver is in our insight and innovation that stretches beyond the client’s market and operational landscape. We mine deeply into the client’s organizational psyche and its cultural narrative and identify the soul of their brand. Instead of staying within the confines of our client’s narrow field of activity, we implement a variety of discovery exercises across a landscape of non-traditional considerations, be they connected by a brand attribute or archetype, cultural meme, social trend, design expression or other oblique prompt.

We endeavor to frame the circumstances to be conducive to innovative breakthroughs. We diligently juxtapose concepts and exploring the potential they might catalyze. Placing loosely related concepts together facilitates cross-pollination and allows random opportunity to flourish. In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson describes Stuart Kauffman’s research work and theory on the adjacent possible, describing the possible sets of first-order combinations of ideas.

“The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them. Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations. Think of it as a house that magically expands with each door you open. You begin in a room with four doors, each leading to a new room that you haven’t visited yet. Once you open one of those doors and stroll into that room, three new doors appear, each leading to a brand-new room that you couldn’t have reached from your original starting point.”

This generative impetus is to be found in those spaces, both physical in the built environment around us and psychological, within our own minds and as cultivated in our intellectual interactions with others. These are what Frans Johansson in his book, The Medici Effect, calls Intersections, being places where difference can collide and provoke newly formed insights. This generative power forms a cornerstone of the most potent organizations, where humans are the central focus that engenders success, as asserted by Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter in their book humanize.

Innovation requires some luck and chance. But, you can create circumstances that encourage such serendipity, as suggested recently at the Big Omaha conference by the speaker Brian Wong, and as I try to manifest through my conversation experiences, Squishtalks. dda’s innovative prowess comes from relishing a mix of learning styles and talents, intimate offices and open plan creative spaces, curiosity and the diligence of embracing a deliberate process of divergent business considerations, intended to foster the organic ecosystem necessary for genuine innovation. The outcomes are relevant and radical.

Identifying the Sound of a Brand

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Tuesday’s American Public Media Marketplace story confirmed the progression of the business of managing the brand experience: my LG washer dryer’s ditty was not only catchy, but an integral part of the brand.This is not just an advertising hook, but an extension of the overall brand experience.

For decades, (more…)

Hopefully, writing hopefully

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

AP Style is gradually succumbing to the scuzziness of spoken English. The powers that be recently added a new rule about the word “hopefully” to the Stylebook and I, for one, embrace it.