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Finding a New Place on the Spectrum of “Wow”

Finding a New Place on the Spectrum of “Wow”

Many clients say they want to create a feeling of “wow.” But, there is a spectrum of wow experiences, and it is important to find the right place on that spectrum for your business, product or service. On one end is the, “OMG, I couldn’t believe it, it was sooooo cooooool” kind of wow. This is a fun sort of wow and best experienced in person. However, “OMG wows” tend to be momentary in nature; the power of the experience, while intense in the moment, fades quickly away. Also, it is very hard to convey the full feeling of that kind of wow to other...
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Irritating Ads Give Way to Conversations That Matter

Irritating Ads Give Way to Conversations That Matter

For too long, marketers have relied on TV ads to create “awareness” for their products and services. Relying on the ideas of “impact” and “frequency,” the most aggressive TV ad marketers have proved so irritating that people reached for the remote, bought TiVos, or simply stop watching television. Today smart businesses are recognizing that the most effective way of getting people to know about, try and buy their products and services is through word of mouth. And the most effective word of mouth – be it delivered through social media or through...
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Schools That Matter Truly Matter to Parents

Schools That Matter Truly Matter to Parents

With the state of education sparking parental fears and a plethora of schooling options prompting parental confusion and anxiety, smart schools are looking for ways they can matter more to parents. Of course, kids are the primary “business” of educators, but every learning institution needs to reach out and convince parents that their school is the best option. The secret lies in taking all the good that happens within your school and transforming that into thoughts that will prove personally relevant and emotionally important to parents – given their mindset, concerns and...
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Is Your Brand a Noun or a Verb?

Is Your Brand a Noun or a Verb?

“I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process—an integral function of the universe.” – Buckminster Fuller Many brands feel like nouns. They are simply static “things” that are devoid of feeling and meaning. But then there are brands that are clearly verbs. They are about action, moving forward and changing the status quo. They help people create meaning through their engaging and generous actions and behavior. They are evolutionary processes that help people advance, achieve more and find greater satisfaction. As such, they become an...
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Beyond Identity: Achieving a Presence That Matters

Beyond Identity: Achieving a Presence That Matters

A new product or service is ready to be launched. A logo, a set of colors and a design look and feel are decided. A brand guidelines PDF is published. And, for many people, a brand has been established. But for products and services to survive in today’s world, much more needs to be done. In today’s world, branded products and services need to go beyond establishing an identity and create a presence that truly matters. Going beyond brand guidelines, they need to take on a presence-defining behavior that engages, enchants and gratifies people – by linking what the brand does...
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“Why?” Is A Good Question. “Why Is That Good?” Is A Better One

“Why?” Is A Good Question. “Why Is That Good?” Is A Better One

Seth Godin recently posted about the value of asking “why?”. He points out that “because I said so” is not a valid answer. This reminded us of the question we’re always asking our clients, “why is that good?” Our question comes from the experience of hearing business people talk about their offerings using the superficial and meaningless mumbo-jumbo of jargon. To help them get below the surface – and to uncover the meaning that lies beyond the jargon – we ask them repeatedly, “why is that good?”. For example, “Why is it...
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Change Of Functionality Adds Meaning For Getty Images

Change Of Functionality Adds Meaning For Getty Images

It’s amazing how seemingly small changes in the way a business reaches out to people can have such a meaningful impact. Getty Images website users in the UK now see a more subtle, informative and personalized watermark when viewing images (bottom image). The new watermark is simply more useful: It shows the link that takes you directly to that image’s page, which is now richer in content. It credits the photographer, which is a great way for Getty to reach out to its contributors. It no longer stands as a dated and arrogant barrier between the image-seeking user and the images...
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When Businesses Truly Matter, Logos Don’t Matter At All

When Businesses Truly Matter, Logos Don’t Matter At All

Brands are much more than just a logo. We spotted this great report at Fast Company about Virgin Group’s new global HQ in London. The theme was how Virgin cleverly managed to convey the brand’s values through workplace design, without using the “brand” as so many people think about it. That’s right. Take a look, there’s no logo proclaiming the “proud” owner. Virgin has inspired us for years by their way of building meaningful bridges between their business units and their employees and customers. We believe they are vanguards of an idea...
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A More “Valued” Value Proposition for your Business

A More “Valued” Value Proposition for your Business

The traditional value proposition is defined as: Value = Benefits – Cost. In other words, people buy from brands that deliver more for less. In the past, when the focus has been on “faster, cheaper, bigger, now”, it was enough to think only about the rational benefits your brand offered – and to build your value proposition from there. Today there is a need to radically overhaul the definition of “benefits” when articulating value propositions. Today people are seeking ways to create new meaning in their lives, brands need to go beyond rational appeals and...
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All Together Now: “It’s A Channel, Not A Strategy”

All Together Now: “It’s A Channel, Not A Strategy”

Once again we share the brilliant insights of Tom Fishbourne. Tom illustrates the problem of being more focused on the channels of communication than on what your brand is trying to achieve in this world. Hearing that everyone is posting to Facebook, sending tweets and “pinning” things on Pinterest naturally perks our attention, and suggests we will be missing out if our brand isn’t “there”. But, honestly, there is no “there” there (sorry Oakland). It is not enough to simply “be” in a space, be it digital, social or the latest hot app or...
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What Does Purpose Look and Feel Like for Your Brand

What Does Purpose Look and Feel Like for Your Brand

Sometimes It’s Not What You Add To A Brand, But What You Take Out We were reminded of the story of the sculptor who was asked how he managed to fashion a beautiful elephant out of a piece of granite. He replied, “By chipping away all the pieces that didn’t look like an elephant”. What elements of your brand strategy “don’t look (or feel) like your brand”? Does your brand’s purpose look (and feel) right? Your brand’s purpose, its reason for being or ambition is the key to the meaning you create (or fail to create) in this world. If your...
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Emotional Design Principles Build Meaningful Brand Interactions

Emotional Design Principles Build Meaningful Brand Interactions

Emotional Design We recently came across an older, but interesting article about the use of emotion in design. The piece takes us through the premises of two books on website user interface design, “Emotional Design” by Don Norman, and “Designing for Emotion” by Aaron Walter. We were drawn to this recap of Norman’s 3-level approach to creative design: The visceral level – the appearance of a design The behavioral level – how the product works The reflective level – the long-term impact of the design By combining these three levels in the right...
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Employees Love Brands That Truly Matter

Employees Love Brands That Truly Matter

Brands that truly matter It’s amazing how a focus on emotion and meaning can change the way employees approach their work. They feel like doing more. Employees are eager, motivated and driven. They wake up looking forward to their work day, and return home feeling a sense of purposeful accomplishment. They care more for one another. The workplace is civil, considerate and supportive. Employees are empathetic and compassionate about their bosses, their peers, their reports and everyone in the business. They work better together. Employees are more open to collaboration, teamwork and sharing....
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Meaningful Brands evoke “Of Course” Moments

Meaningful Brands evoke “Of Course” Moments

Meaningful brands make people feel good. We came across a reference to Christian Lindholm, of the design firm Fjord, and his “of-course principle of design”. “Most companies, he said, are looking to ‘wow’ with their products, when in reality what they should be looking for is an ‘of course’ reaction from their users.” We’re not opposed to brands creating a “wow” sensation, at least when there is a genuine reason to make people feel that way. Often, it is better for brands to strive to create numerous “of course” moments with...
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The Naked Brand: Coming To A Screen Close To Your Customers And Employees

The Naked Brand: Coming To A Screen Close To Your Customers And Employees

One day soon, people both inside and outside your company, are going to sit down and watch this film. For some people, it will simply reaffirm what they already know and feel. For others, it will spark an awareness that there’s more to brands than one tends to think: It will alter their perception of themselves and the brands in their lives. It will change their expectations about the brands they use today, and choose to use tomorrow. It will make them think twice about how they spend their money and where they earn their wages. It will make them decide they are either dealing with a...
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