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Archive for December, 2008

What’s happening today in the world of consumers and brands is pretty simple, really. Especially if you step away from the business of branding for awhile and just faziopay attention to people and the world.

We are catching up with our consciences.

Not some simplistic naughty or nice superego Jiminy Cricket conscience, but a more sophisticated conscience (or consciousness) regarding our actions and their repercussions.

Meaning we’re actually regarding our actions. You could say that the post-modern post-industrial first world is finally waking up from its self-serving ways (colonialism only ended with World War II, remember), and is looking at some of the undesirable reverberations such self-ish actions have left in our wake. (more…)

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This is the fourth in a series of four postings, and certainly, for me, the hardest one to write. (See postings under “What we’re not” for the others.)

gothicdoor

Late Gothic cathedral door

That’s because I have so much affection for the legacy of graphic design as a field, and because graphic design is uniquely tied to a much larger artistic force within human history, which is the broader category of design itself.

Not to slam advertising, interactive, and branding – the other three fields. It’s just that they’re not directly downstream from gothic altars, DaVinci’s machines, the books of El Lissitzky, and

Set design by Inigo Jones

Set design by Inigo Jones

Paul Renner’s Futura. (Actually, advertising has a closer relationship to art than has been properly presented, but that’s a different post.) (more…)

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Jennifer Lyon Bell

Jennifer Lyon Bell

This is a brief audio interview (below) with Jennifer Lyon Bell, a client of ours. Before that, she was an account planner who I was fortunate enough to work with on several projects over the years. When she and her fiance – also an account planner – moved to Amsterdam for his job, she took the rare opportunity to rethink her future.

She decided to make sex films. But she had no interest in (more…)

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Mike Byrne of Anomaly

Mike Byrne of Anomaly

This is a stirring call to action, aimed at all my friends, enemies, acquaintances and others who live in Portland and work in this business. You’ve got to see Anomaly’s Mike Byrne, PAF‘s next speaker, when he comes to town from New York on January 15th. It’s a lunch gig at Bridgeport Brew Pub (1313 NW Marshall) and starts at 11:30. It costs a bunch of money but seriously, folks, this shit isn’t in any books.

The last PAF talk, given by Ian Cohn of Wexley School for Girls, has been ridiculously valuable to me. I not only understand more about where this business is going next, what makes a successful agency in the post-agency era, and what kind of work clients like Microsoft are doing these days, I also picked up case studies I can use to encourage my clients to be bold.

There is no way that you, no matter what your job title or discipline, cannot leverage this knowledge to make more money over your career. Look at it as an investment. Anomaly is arguably the most inventively structured agency in the world, with a very cool approach to our business. Mike Byrne (ex-Wieden) and his partners set out to form the anti-agency before most of us realized it was necessary.

Don’t miss this. Seriously. Spend the bucks! For the cost of a video game or a fancy bottle of Oregon Pinot you will pump up your branding IQ, vastly add to your overall professional studliness, maybe get promoted and, if nothing else, demonstrate your commitment to people you might need a job from someday.

– Doug

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mcmanus-walter2

So I’m reading this article someone sent me about how unhappy Saturn owners are that GM is planning to dispose of their beloved brand, and I come across the following piece of wisdom – a comment about Saturn’s decline from success to failure:

Walter S. McManus, the head of the Automotive Analysis Division of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, says he could see it coming.

“Brand loyalty is overrated,” McManus stated flatly. “It is costly to do all the fuzzies, and Saturn’s example is clear that it doesn’t pay off for what is essentially an economy-car company. Women especially appreciated the Saturn way, but Honda sells more cars to women, despite having a less female-friendly approach.”

OK. So the first question is, could everyone in the American auto industry be this stupid? Because that would explain a lot, wouldn’t it? Honestly, does anyone in the industry actually agree with McManus’ proposition that Saturn has failed because of their efforts to build brand loyalty and their focus on “the fuzzies?” (more…)

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I read about this really interesting concept store today called Sample Lab! International. It has evidently been doing so well that it is looking to franchise.

Sample Lab interior

Sample Lab interior

This concept allows brands to directly connect their product with their consumer – often even before the product hits the market. It’s like feedback in realtime…across multiple industries.

For the consumer who just HAS to be the first to have everything, this is his/her place to be. A membership allows access to try before you buy¬† – or often even before the product is out. And think about the potential from a brand culture perspective by connecting with the ‘influencers.’ I think this is one place to watch, and for brands to take note of.

-Melissa

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Check out trendwatching.com’s overview of 6 key trends for 2009 including:

-Melissa

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