Archive for the ‘Brilliant thinking’ Category

OK, the sun came out yesterday. And again today. I can’t promise it’ll stay, but I think it’s actually finally summer.

Portland just had the wettest May in history and broke the record for the wettest June by the 16th of the month. We’ve  had no sign of summer until now.

So, with the new-found sun we finally get to post our summer reading list. And here it is:

Flipped: How Bottom-Up Co-Creation is Replacing Top-Down Innovation. John Winsor.

Just began this one, but it’s looking good already. Written by the man who started Radar Communications, which was bought in 2007 by Crispin, Porter, Bogusky. Just recently helped start the crowdsourcing agency Victors and Spoils. Promises to challenge most of what you think and know about how branding should happen. Victors and Spoils has just attracted Jon Bond (as in Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners) as an investor. These guys have something up their sleeves, and it ain’t paper flowers. A must read.

Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation. Grant McCracken.

What? You haven’t read it? What’s your problem? He’s telling corporations to hire the cultural capabilities we agencies are supposed to own. He’s describing a job most of us would want. And if you haven’t discovered the other writings of McCracken yet, or his blog, I hope you’re a professor of medieval history somewhere. (Mmmm…medieval history.) Sheesh. Get this book.

A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.

Yes, we’ve started it before, but who ever finishes it the first go-round? Or ever? But if you want to know who predicted the whole future model of branding and brands, you need to read this. Actually, you only need to read the first chapter on the Rhizome. Because it’s the second-best metaphor (after “culture“) for how brands need to act and live in this era. Benefits include looking like a mysterious post-modern philosophical type to the babes (of either gender) on the beach. Also good for crushing greenheads on Plum Island, or for swinging at Donny Deutsch to keep him away from your girlfriend in the Hamptons. Impressive tome.

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth. Juliet Schor.

Yes, she’s an economist. But her book doesn’t read like she is. Except it’s smart. I heard her on NPR and had to pick it up. She could turn your head around about all kinds of things, especially your definition of sustainability. As in, human sustainability is connected to economic and environmental sustainability–surprise! You might just decide to work less and raise chickens as your own small way of preventing the next Gulf oil disaster (or personal disaster). Provocative indeed.

Designers Don’t Read. Austin Howe.

We’re reading this because some of us haven’t read it yet. Soon all of us will have read it. And by all of us, I’m including you. Reading Mr. Howe is like eating pots de creme. It’s absolutely delicious and over far too soon. Austin has abandoned his own people (advertising) to live with the Others (designers). Find out why. A must read for everyone going into or still slugging away in the business of branding. Each (short) chapter even tells you how many minutes it will take to read it. (Not many.) Yum.

Envisioning Information. Edward R. Tufte.

OK, it’s not his latest book, and it’s not new, but people here are reading it for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is because I haven’t read it. But Melissa, our senior strategist, highly highly recommends it. And Josh, our creative director, thinks everyone’s already read it. Is he right? (Oops, not quite.)

Livability: Stories. Jon Raymond.

Josh admits that he’s promoting the book of his co-editor of Plazm magazine, but I told him that was OK, as long as he was actually reading it, which he assured me he was. A review on Powell’s says: “These nine gorgeous stories from novelist and screenwriter Raymond find pallid Northwesterners testing the moral perimeters of their decent lives.” Beach-y, don’t you think?

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Alexander Osterwalder.

This is another Melissa recommend. Josh asked if maybe putting it on our list was giving away a secret, and Melissa said No, everyone should read it. Melissa is smart, so I guess I’m going to be reading it. Sometimes I’m a Game Changer, but mostly I’m a Lyrics Changer, which drives my wife crazy. Ignore my digression and listen to Melissa.

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. Roger L. Martin.

I found this on Dennis’ desk. So he must be reading it. He just left for a Disneyland vacation with his family. So that might be an indicator that The Mouse and this book don’t go together. I don’t know. Looks interesting. Smells new. Got that nice, new tight binding when you lift the cover. And he’s emblazoned his name on the top of the pages with a Sharpie, so he’s committed to it. Ooh, and it’s published by Harvard. Dennis has good taste in books so that’s a recommend.

That’s it for now. Dive in, bibiophiles, and read your summer away.

– Doug


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Michael Bierut of Pentagram

OK, I’m going to send you to the blogger who so dilligently wrote down the slide titles and reported on the experience of Michael Bierut’s talk about the designer and the client, because this person did us all a great service. I’m also going to repeat the titles of Bierut’s talk below because they’re so important.

To some of us, this reaffirms many of the hard lessons we’ve learned over the years. To others, this might help you get through the hard lessons you’re about to learn.

Either way, this stuff is completely and absolutely true (and I don’t say that about nearly anything). Confidence versus fear. Exactly.

Agencies: ask yourselves if you’re treating your good clients like gold.

Clients: ask yourselves if you’re good or bad.

Michael Bierut talks about clients.

  • Clients can be the best part of the design process.
  • Clients are the difference between art and design.
  • My clients are the same as yours.
  • The right client can change anything.
  • The best clients love design, or don’t give a damn about it. (i.e., they have confidence)
  • The worst clients are somewhere in between. (i.e., they have fear)
  • Never talk about “educating the client.”
  • What makes a great client? Brains, passion, trust and courage.
  • “You’ll never go wrong when you work with someone smarter than you.” (Tibor Kalman)
  • Warning: Your great client may not be my great client.
  • Great clients lead to more great clients (and more great work).
  • Bad clients lead to more bad clients (and more bad work).
  • Bad clients take up more of your time than they should.
  • Meanwhile, we take great clients for granted.
  • The trick is to reverse this.
  • What do I owe a great client? Loyalty, honesty, dedication and tenacity.
  • Once you find a great client, never let them go.
  • If you can find five great clients, you’re set for life.
  • “You’d better find somebody to love.” (Jefferson Airplane)
  • Good luck.

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Unified Field Theory


We at ID Branding are constantly in pursuit of breakthrough paradigms on how the world understands and consumes brand. We rely on our branding experts, hand-picked from a broad field of disciplines, to develop innovative new models for vetting by agency leadership. Once these models have been put through intensive intellectual study, they are applied rigorously in the field for months to years with actual brands. Throughout this intensive process, we are collecting, crunching and analyzing everything from established KPI data to the cognitive psychology of consumers. From this, we publish our findings and case studies to share with the branding world.

After digesting our latest model, please share your thoughts with us. If this one doesn’t work for you, then you can read about our other model of Brand Culture. That one does not include Space Invaders.

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It all started with a big cat. A lynx deep in high mountain snow.

I was a gonner.

The Big Cat

The Big Cat

Then a photo of the lynx 2 storeys high plastered on the tail of a Frontier Airlines MD-80. And when I passed by the cardboard kiosk set up in the Denver airport where I could get a photo of that lynx for my very own – on the front of a Frontier Airlines MasterCard, I did what I had never done before or since. I stopped and signed up for a credit card.

Right there in the airport. I ignored my inner judge who insisted that a credit card garnered in the C-Gates transit lounge from anything made out of cardboard, by a rather grubby, rumpled guy who (more…)

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Blue Hill at Stone Farms, where Mike and his partners had their retreat.

Well, let’s just say that Mike Bryne, on Thursday, was in an owner’s retreat (more…)

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Microsoft recently announced that it is unveiling a new Xbox Live gaming experience. Coming this November 19, Xbox users that also subscribe to its Xbox Live online service will be treated to a free upgrade of its user interface, which is currently called the Dashboard.
New Xbox Live Experience

New Xbox Live Experience

Screen shots and videos of this new experience suggest that Microsoft has finally gotten things right by delivering a simple, intuitive, and imaginative way to navigate online content ranging from games to movies, videos, and music. Microsoft is even partnering with Netflix to provide its subscribers access to 10,000 on demand movies and TV shows.

This move is brilliant for the Xbox brand. It places them light years ahead of Sony Playstation and Nintendo Wii’s online capabilities and gives its users what they really want—an addictive interface that rivals iTunes, a social gaming platform and instant access to a huge library of online entertainment content. I think this is going to give on-demand cable, satellite and even Apple TV a real run for their money.
Aww man...

Aww man...

Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

So while this is all good news to Xbox owners, it got me thinking about other aspects of Microsoft’s business. As I stare at my Windows Mobile phone each time I compulsively check for email, I wonder why it can’t be as cool as the iPhone. And while I conduct rote tasks on my PC, I wonder why Microsoft’s Vista isn’t as sexy as Apple’s Leopard. Maybe Microsoft should take a closer look at what’s going on in their Xbox division and figure out how to bring its design principles into its Windows experiences. Because until they do, Microsoft will never get the credit for the cool and amazing work that its Xbox unit is doing. In fact, many non-gamers I talk to don’t even realize that Xbox was created by Microsoft.

Is anyone up in Redmond paying any attention to this?



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