• Posted by: Dominik Prinz on Tuesday, September 2 2014 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

    Busta Rhymes

    RockCorps is not your average not-for-profit organization. It is a leader when it comes to developing more experiential ways of engaging the masses to create positive change in the world.

    To be a bit more precise, RockCorps is a global youth movement. Its mission is to inspire the world’s youth to experience the power of volunteering. The reward RockCorps offers its volunteers is quite compelling. It produces pop, rock and hip-hop concerts and distributes the tickets exclusively to volunteers who have either conducted four hours of volunteer work through RockCorps or who have organized volunteer projects to benefit a local charity.

    Stephen Greene, RockCorps’ long-standing CEO, summarizes the belief that led seven friends to create the organization—and a belief that still holds true: “One person, one show, one city at a time. We are crazy enough to think we can change the world.”

    RockCorps’ first concert took place in New York in 2005. Since then, the organization has produced spectacular celebratory concerts around the world—all featuring major international artists. By leveraging the power of music, RockCorps has inspired youth to give over half a million hours of work to their respective communities. Over the past eight years, RockCorps has supported 2,400 partners in the non-profit sector.

    RockCorps fully understands the potential that lies in tapping into a brand’s sphere of influence and intentionally connects the for- and not-for-profit worlds. That’s why its concerts serve as platforms for selected brand partners. By connecting Millennials to both the sponsoring brand and a good cause, RockCorp not only meets its partners’ objectives, but also creates value and long-term social gain.

    Rock Corps Volunteers

    The RockCorps platform enables brand partners to develop a lasting, meaningful relationships with young consumers, the result of which is seen through significant shifts in brand perception, purchasing behavior and product differentiation. Basically, it’s a “win-win-win” situation: The volunteers win. The brand partners win. And the local charities win.

    Accordingly, the organization’s track record is quite impressive: Over 40 concerts have featured world-class artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Maroon 5 and P.Diddy. Roughly 160,000 volunteers have contributed approximately 600,000 hours of volunteering. And many more potential volunteers were reached through classic and social media.

    RockCorps is once again looking closely at the United States. “Since our last concert in the US in 2008, we have been on a world tour: UK, France, Israel, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, South Africa, Australia and now Japan,” noted Greene. “RockCorps, however, is an American-founded company and we are preparing to come home.” He continued by acknowledging that RockCorps has come a long way since it was first founded. “We have learned a tremendous amount since our last U.S. concerts--how the music industry, youth, artists, communities and brands not only can help each other to meet their own objectives, but can also change the world in the meantime. We are seeking brand partners who share the same vision!’

    Rock Corps Volunteers

    The RockCorps story is undoubtedly a compelling one—one that is told by the for-profit and not-for-profit sector together—as it should be. Because when big brands team up on big cause-related missions, the positive impact is felt far and wide—and leaves the world a better place.

    To find out how you can either become a volunteer or a brand sponsor and support the RockCorps mission, please visit their website.

    Dominik Prinz is a Strategy Director in Interbrand’s New York office. You can follow him on Twitter @DomPrinz.

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  • Posted by: Laura Tarbox on Friday, August 29 2014 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Bald Cartoons

    Interbrand London’s Executive Creative Director Sue Daun recently took us through her top picks from the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Laughter, smiles and even tears (yes, mine) ensued as she wove her way through work such as Lacoste’s epic ‘The Big Leap’ and CNA’s online educational project, ‘Speaking Exchange,’ which connects Brazilian students who want to practice their English with residents of a Chicago retirement home (*cue tears).

    But there was one particular piece of work that really stood out for me. ‘Bald Cartoons,’ created by Ogilvy Brazil for GRAACC (Grupo de Apoio ao Adolescente e à Criança com Câncer or Support Group for Children and Adolescents with Cancer), aims to drive home the message that children with cancer deserve to be seen like any other child. The initiative saw more than 40 cartoon characters—including Garfield, Hello Kitty, Snoopy and Popeye—become bald in support of children with cancer.

    Observing the work took me back to a moment a couple of years ago when I saw an adorable little girl carrying a backpack featuring Hello Kitty wearing a pair of eyeglasses. Back then, I was struck by the sheer power that lies in using the icons of a certain demographic (or a specific age group) to make unique characteristics (or seemingly ‘negative’ differences) acceptable to others – in this case, kids.

    Hello Kitty with glasses

    When you consider how an eyeglass-wearing Hello Kitty reframes the very notion of wearing eyeglasses, it’s exciting to think about what other issues could be tackled with a similar approach: Sexuality? Braces? A Garfield that’s more creative than academic (Sir Ken Robinson’s provocative TedTalk, anyone)? A cartoon character that deals with learning difficulties? You can see how this principle of positive subversion could be applied to many other groups, attitudes and causes and the impact it could have.

    As marketers, our opportunity lies in changing behaviors and perceptions. Such opportunities are always fascinating, but they are not always as personally rewarding as this strong piece of work by Ogilvy Brazil and the subsequent thoughts it has sparked. To that end, how can we as marketers, apply the way we think and look at the world to create real behavior change in the areas that matter the most?

    Laura Tarbox is a Strategy Consultant in Interbrand’s London office. She can be followed on Twitter @lauratarb.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Thursday, August 28 2014 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Polo Tech Tee

    This week, Ralph Lauren suddenly emerged with a new sensor-based tech shirt. The “Polo Tech” tees were smartly introduced at the U.S. Open where the power of the Ralph Lauren brand has been at play for years. The company plans to incorporate the technology into more product lines going forward.

    The Polo Tech monitors your breath and heart rate, in addition to other biometrics. It also streams the stats to your iPhone or iPad. Ralph Lauren joins the crop of consumer-based brands like Nike, Apple and Samsung as it steps into the health space. In her Fast Company profile of the new product launch, writer Sara Kessler raised some very intriguing questions. Even though we now have the technology to quantify our activity, heart rate, and more, do we really want to? With companies eager and anxious to stay ahead of the curve, how does a brand know if it should follow this rapidly emerging trend or take a different/innovative path?

    Without a doubt, all of this new wearable technology is mesmerizing and seductive. (I myself was even lured into purchasing a SkulptAim a few months ago based purely on its ability to measure my muscle quality.) But as more consumer brands move into the health sector and develop devices and assorted quantifiers, it begs the question: if one is generally healthy and living day-to-day with few concerns about his/her well-being, how much does he/she really care about breath rate?

    The key to wearable techonology’s future in our daily routines may also lie in information sharing. Programs like Map My Run are successful, not only because they provide useful tools for runners, but because they also create a community—one in which users can share and support each other. Similarly, people dealing with a chronic condition like diabetes or COPD may find it invaluable to monitor their vital signs or medication intake and share it with their doctors. Wearable technology may find its greatest success in niche sectors.

    As the rush for health and tech innovation increases--and the marketplace becomes flooded with options--brands will need to move forward carefully and thoughtfully—and not simply follow the herd. Does developing a piece of wearable technology fall in line with your brand’s overarching promise? Will a piece of wearable technology help your brand in anticipating the needs of its consumers? Will a piece of wearable technology help your brand in creating integrated/seamless experiences? If the answers are yes, then join the wearable technology craze. If the answers are no, there may be other, more distinctive, ways for your brand to showcase its ability to innovate.

    Nicole Diamant is a Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter @NicoleDiamant

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  • Posted by: Felipe Valerio and Macaila Laubscher on Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

    IB Academy Zurich

    Eleven hours and 35 minutes. That’s how long my flight took to get from São Paulo to Zurich. I could’ve watched the entire The Godfather trilogy, or 7 football matches, or possibly gotten a good way through James Joyce’s 800-page Ulysses. But I didn't do any of that. Instead, I spent most of my flight imagining the experience I was about to have at the Interbrand Academy 1.0, in Zurich. Before you ask if the Academy is some kind of in-company training, I must say that it goes way beyond that. In reality, it’s a great way to do what we do best with the best people we have.

    More specifically, the Academy is a unique opportunity to work on real branding challenges alongside key Interbrand executives—from managing directors and strategy heads to CEOs. Every year it takes place in a different location among our offices worldwide, and brings together 18 lucky Interbranders from different regions. It’s not only a chance to meet strategists, designers, and writers from around the global network, but also a chance to work with them in an intense, high-energy environment. And, yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.

    At the Academy 1.0, I met inspiring people from Madrid, Milan, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo, and London, to name a few. One of them was Macaila Laubscher, a designer from Interbrand London, whose talent for connecting ideas and telling stories made an impression. As a verbal identity manager from São Paulo, I appreciated her knack for concepting and creative insight.

    Academy Zurich

    After our Academy experience, Macaila and I discussed what we learned in Zurich. Here is a snippet of our conversation about the workshop:

    FELIPE: Hello again, Macaila. What was it like to attend Workshop 1.0?

    MACAILA: Hi, Felipe. The workshop was an intense and brilliantly informative three-day course, which was a great privilege to attend. Meeting colleagues from every corner of our vast network of offices, opened my eyes to how big Interbrand is and how many amazing opportunities it offers to grow personally and professionally. Within minutes, even though most of us didn’t know each other, we dove in to tackle strategic challenges hands on and absorbed as much theoretical knowledge as possible. And with a schedule that was extremely efficient, speakers that were highly engaging, and content that was truly mind-expanding—not a moment was wasted.

    MACAILA: What about you Felipe, did the workshop live up to (or exceed) your expectations?

    FELIPE: At first, I was just hoping to understand how strategic thinking could help our office enhance the quality of verbal deliverables and strengthen their impact. However, about 20 minutes into the workshop, I realized that it was going to cover a lot more than I expected. In fact, the workshop was so comprehensive that it brought a new challenge I wasn’t anticipating: how to apply all of these learnings. Fortunately, the classes were more practical than theoretical. We explored real case studies and ongoing projects, which allowed the teams to experience, and more fully grasp, the synergy among our disciplines. My only regret? Telling all my international colleagues that Brazil was about to win the World Cup!

    MACAILA: As you know, we uncover some amazing insights at Academy workshops. What did you learn that was new to you?

    FELIPE: My first and most important discovery was about the importance of having clear strategic thinking behind everything we create. After getting more familiar with all of our methodologies, I was able to better appreciate how transformative brands can be. Second, I learned a lot about building relationships with clients and new ways to deliver winning pitches to our prospects. Finally, I understood how to apply these tactics and principles in different areas and situations.

    MACAILA: Good point. Having had a basic knowledge through my experience working for Interbrand for the past three years, I knew the strategy models at a top level and could work my way through it. However, now I have a deeper understanding that can really influence the quality of work I do and the confidence with which I approach brands.

    FELIPE: That said, what was your favorite part about the experience?

    MACAILA: The “syndicate project,” which framed the three-day course, challenged us to work in smaller groups and present our solutions back to a panel of highly esteemed Interbrand judges. We were fortunate enough to have a live client brief out of the Milan office. In retrospect, it is likely that the high pressure to deliver great quality work, in a short time frame—with people you’ve never worked with, who are all the best of the bunch and have their own great ideas—probably pushed me further than most one-month projects.

    FELIPE: I totally agree with you, Macaila. And that was only possible in such a stimulating multicultural environment. We had 18 people from different countries working towards one common goal: To gain a fuller understanding of the approaches, both creative and strategic, that make Interbrand the world’s most inspiring and valuable branding consultancy. The results were impressive. I think all of us came away with deeper insights and greater confidence in our ability to deliver world-class work. On a more personal note, I truly enjoyed our encounters outside of class as well (fondue + wine + beer). Socially, it was definitely a lot of fun—and offered great opportunities for us to hear about experiences from other offices.

    MACAILA: Yes, it was a great time. By the way, were you able to activate what you learned in your local office?

    FELIPE: Well, for one thing, I brought a new mantra back to Brazil: If you want to connect with brands you should first connect with people. The Academy was not only inspirational, but also emphasized the importance of connecting different areas of expertise in order to do the best possible work. Identity teams must be extremely strategic and strategy teams must be creative. Clients in Brazil, for example, are increasingly expecting our deliverables to be not only strategically impeccable, but also truly inspiring.

    MACAILA: I agree. Communication across all disciplines and activities is key to the success of both individual projects and the business as a whole. Designers, for instance, should be more integrated into the strategic process from the beginning, rather than solely bringing projects to life at the end. Their ideas can be integral to shaping strong propositions. In Zurich, we had a chance to step back and look at what really works, test out new approaches, and implement tools that can help us create truly world-changing work.

    IB Academy Zurich

    For more insight into Interbrand’s unique educational workshops, check out The Interbrand Academy: Cultivating Excellence.

    Felipe Valerio is a Verbal Identity Manager at Interbrand São Paulo and Macaila Laubscher is a designer at Interbrand London.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Thursday, August 21 2014 05:39 PM | Comments (0)
    Month of Service

    During July, Interbrand united for its Month of Service as part of Interbrand Inspired—our global foundation. This year, Interbrand provided pro-bono consulting services to inspiring non-profits and social-impact startups, in addition to offering hands-on volunteering in local communities.

    As more companies work to make their Corporate Citizenship practices more impactful and visible, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of what brands are doing to give back. The line between a brand’s performance and its commitment to sustainability efforts is blurring. Entrepreneur explores the rise in consumer’s expectations for companies to do good. Research shows that billions of dollars in brand value are tied to participation in Corporate Citizenship initiatives. For that reason, Interbrand, the world's leading brand consultancy, is expanding its Corporate Citizenship practice to Canada, where national brands are increasingly coming under the scope of environmentally- and socially-conscious consumers. Carolyn Ray, Managing Director of Interbrand Canada, addresses the growing need in the Canadian marketplace for brands to have a transparent Corporate Citizenship strategy.

    Corporate Citizenship may go by many names, but one thing is for certain, a company's long-term financial success parallels its stance on social responsibility. A new article in The Guardian discusses five trends that show the importance of corporate citizenship as a business practice. CSR is here to stay, proving to be an invaluable business asset among companies that are incorporating social responsibility into their core values.

    As sustainability and efforts to reduce environmental impact take center stage, brands like General Mills are working towards transparency by insisting that its suppliers take measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. CNN Money reports General Mills also plans to purchase its ten most frequently used ingredients from sustainable sources by 2020. Now that it has launched a new series of environmental commitments, Kellogg’s also plans to do the same, according to Environmental Leader. General Mills and Kellogg’s join other companies like Coca-Cola and Mondelez that are setting increasingly ambitious sustainable sourcing goals.

    Additionally, newer companies uphold a responsibility to both make profit and remain socially responsible as part of their founding principles—a new type of business model. The New Yorker looks at Warby Parker and several other companies that are designated as “B corporations,” which are for-profit companies that commit to achieving both CSR and business goals.

    To find out more about the value of Corporate Citizenship, be sure to check out this month’s installment of Closing the Gap!

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