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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: Nicole Diamant on Monday, June 30 2014 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

    If Virgin were in the healthcare space

    From digestible colon cameras to bionic hands to 3D printed organs, the healthcare industry is exploding with scientific discovery, technological achievement, and impossible visions made possible. And yet, when we look at the majority of the creative work done for the healthcare sector, it rarely captures the sense of excitement that often accompanies these cutting-edge developments. The way the industry communicates and represents itself visually is often safe, cliché, or just tries too hard to win us over. Are opportunities being missed?  

    “Cool” may not be the first word that comes to mind when most people think of healthcare, but, in such an innovative field, cool things do, in fact, happen. Maybe it’s time for the sector’s creative work to reflect that.     

    At the inaugural Lions Health festival at Cannes, InterbrandHealth’s Executive Creative Director, R. John Fidelino, explored this cognitive dissonance in his talk “Chasing Cool in Healthcare.” In his provocative presentation, R. John tackled the concept of cool, the current language of healthcare, and how communications and creative professionals can shift their thinking and elevate the groundbreaking work being done in this field.     

    Should healthcare be cool? If so, how can we push the boundaries to more effectively communicate with consumers in this increasingly patient-centric world? The inherent nature of something deemed cool is the effortlessness of it. Cool things, people, and places inspire us and make us want to be associated with them. When we think about healthcare, we need to ask ourselves, are we achieving this same thing with our brands? Do we strive to hit the three qualities that characterize cool: meaningful, authentic, and immersive?    

    And is cool even appropriate for healthcare? It may be that we are uncomfortable with “cool” in healthcare—it may trivialize the seriousness of disease and sickness. While the category does demand a high level of respect, we do it a disservice by not recognizing and promoting innovative work and exciting breakthroughs. Are we diving deep enough and helping people understand all aspects of our category? 

    Great consumer brands craft relationships with people—through websites, apps, social media, in-store experiences, and more. In healthcare, are we creating that same 360-degree experience? We need to start thinking about how words and images create full and complete worlds for consumers. That is what makes a great brand. What if Virgin ran a hospital? What if Apple sold pharmaceuticals? What if Nike made medical devices? Consumer brands are already dabbling in the healthcare space. Imagining the future of healthcare and the types of brands that may eventually play in this space can be inspiring and eye-opening.

    Healthcare enriches life, even saves life. What could be cooler than that? We need to stop being bashful about the category. We need to recognize all the great things happening in our industry, celebrate them, and help people appreciate the wonders of this rapidly evolving field. When we acknowledge how amazing our category really is, we won’t have to chase cool—we’ll naturally embrace it. And others will too.     

    Here are a few questions to help us assess our brands' cool factor:   

    • Are we crafting brands that are authentic, meaningful, and immersive?
    • Are we creating 360-degree experiences for consumers?
    • Are we properly communicating the awesomeness of our category?
    • Are we thinking outside of healthcare and appropriately adopting the best practices of great consumer brands?  

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

    For more information on the Chasing Cool presentation, please contact InterbrandHealth. A video clip can be seen here.   

     


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  • Posted by: Cathie Cocqueel on Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

    In a global market place, the best logos are the ones that are understood by all and consistent across countries. How can a brand convey its essence to those who speak and write in different languages? Create an icon, and let it speak for itself.

    In a globalized world, symbols are powerful communication tools. Think about road signs. One can navigate cities around the globe because the images on these signs are consistent and universally understood. Roads signs also happen to be visually impactful, even memorable. Isn’t that exactly what a global packaging brand wants to achieve? Bold, simple design is the key to reaching across both language barriers and cultural boundaries, while making an impression that “sticks.”

    Among corporate brands, this trend is well established and has a long track record of success. One of the first brands to use this strategy was Nike. The brand’s innovative product line, combined with aggressive marketing and brand positioning from the 1970s onward, created a strong mental link between the Swoosh image and the company's name. With so much equity in its brand, Nike felt it could drop the name and go with the Swoosh alone in advertisements, on products, or anywhere else the corporate logo would apply. Though it once would have been unthinkable to strip a company's name from products and ads, Nike set a new standard by going textless—which turned its logo into an icon.

    In the digital world, consumers encounter icons with every click. Whether it’s a button that represents a specific action, an emoticon that translates emotion, or a traditional logo elevated to an iconic representation, images speak louder than words online—and digital brands know it. A truly successful icon must be able to stand by itself, evoking all the manufactured associations that form a corporation's public identity. Apple does it. Facebook does it. Twitter does it. After all, it’s how a brand, as Nike has proven, becomes ubiquitous.

    This phenomenon cannot be underestimated by packaging brands. At a time when technology, entertainment, and design are converging, simple, evocative icons don’t just grab attention—they drive marketing. But how can packaging brands take advantage this trend? The rise of online grocery shopping is one opportunity.

    Today’s packaging designers have to think beyond the shelf and figure out how their designs can make an impact, not just in a physical retail environment, but also online. How can brands convey meaning and value, even when the representation of the product on screen is very tiny?

    The objective is to create a recognizable symbol that is easily understandable—an icon that can stand on its own.

    One brand already doing it in the food sector is Walkers Tiger Nuts. A kind of double image optical illusion, the tiger’s features on the front of the package are also the brand name. Whether one can read the text or not, by combining the product name and logo into a single iconic image, Walkers lets the tiger do the talking. Red Bull has accomplished the same feat—the iconic red silhouette of a bull renders the actual brand name unnecessary. One look at that image, and we instantly recognize the brand.

    When a brand no longer needs an introduction—and when it owns very strong and unique assets—its name can be replaced by an icon. Procter & Gamble’s line of laundry detergents, Ariel—a widely used brand in many markets—is one such example. P&G’s first detergent to use enzyme technology, making clothes brighter and whiter with less effort, Ariel’s iconic atom symbol positioned the product as a scientific breakthrough. From Europe to South America, Asia and the Middle East, the atom, combined with striking green hues, represents freedom from scrubbing, thanks to sound science—and lets consumers around the world to know what they are buying.

    To succeed in this process—to create an icon—a brand must significantly build on its equities. This means starting with a strong brand idea, zeroing in on the essence of the brand, and capturing that essence through symbolism.

    On the path to becoming an icon, brands that leverage symbolism effectively make an impact on the shelf, drive choice, achieve differentiation and also manage to create consistency and universal appeal across markets. .

    It took 40 years for Starbucks to drop its name from the logo. How long will it take packaging brands to realize the benefits of a logo without text? However it may read, the icon transcends language, making it the perfect mode of communication for today’s world—a global village that speaks in many different tongues, but shares common symbols.

    Cathie Cocqueel is an Associate Design Director at Interbrand Singapore

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  • Posted by: Brittany Waterson on Wednesday, February 26 2014 03:04 PM | Comments (0)
    Paris Fashion Week Live

    Fashion Week, held every February and September in New York, London, Milan and Paris, is known for ushering the newest styles, trends, and designers into mainstream fashion. The season will come to a close in Paris this week, where brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Lanvin, are now showing their collections. For the past few years brands have become more experimental, pushing the digital envelope and integrating technology into their fashion shows. Streaming shows live and posting photos immediately online are trends that have now become expected from Fashion Week. Within the last few years, fashion brands are working in different ways to connect with consumers and bring new concepts to reality.



    Alexander Wang chose to host his Fall 2014 show in Brooklyn. The invitations were heat sensitive and arrived with step-by-step directions to the venue. The brand also teamed up with Uber, an app-based cab service, providing 30% off Uber transportation. The invitation was a foretelling of the heat-activated fabric Wang used in his collection. For the show’s finale, models were positioned under heat vents as the fabric changed colors under the presence of warmth. The brand is not the first to debut this type of technology, but certainly one with the most brand recognition.

    For the Rebecca Minkoff Fall 2014 fashion show, the brand used the social media platform Keek to post behind scenes videos. The company’s CEO Uri Minkoff believes customers appreciate an insider look at the brand and connect more with raw and un-edited content. Rebecca Minkoff has also used its large social media presence in past fashion weeks to debut looks to customers via Tumblr and Snapchat. The value of a brand’s social media following is indispensable and helps create a highly engaged audience, welcomed into the brand’s inner circle.

    Marc Jacobs opened a pop-up shop for his fragrance, Daisy, in New York City on the first day of Fashion Week. Formally called the Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop, the store employed social currency; visitors could use the hashtag #MJDaisyChain and receive a branded gift from the store. Exchanging branded items for social media posts is an innovative concept to spread awareness and reward customers for their endorsements.



    Burberry is one of the most digital brands in the luxury sector. Constantly pushing the tech-envelope, Burberry looks to merge digital and physical touch points across its brand. From teaming up with Apple last year to opening a till-free beauty boutique, Burberry has championed an array of successful innovations. The brand has also successfully expanded its “Runway Made to Order” service, which now includes menswear, womenswear, and cosmetics available for purchase and personalization, straight off the runway. For its most recent Fall 2014 show, Burberry created heavy engagement on social media, posting exclusive photography, videos and original Vines.

    “Burberry’s strength is very much in asserting its sense of self while demonstrating its sensibility to an evolving world and consumer. As such, the brand is looked to as an adept and agile maestro of the experiential” comments Rebecca Robins, Director EMEA & LatAm for Interbrand and co-author of Meta-luxury: Brands and the Culture of Excellence. “This is a brand that has embraced the very premise of tradition as innovation, remaining true to the threads of its core values, while working constantly to ensure its relevance for generations to come."



    "The question for brand owners," Robins adds, "should be how does innovation add value to the brand? How do innovations add value to how consumers engage with the brand? In the same way that leading luxury brands dispense with the very term 'luxury,' technology comes as standard. The brands that truly embed the magic and logic of innovation and the magic and logic of brand as central organizing principle, will be the ones that we will be reading about long beyond the runway.”

    Fashion Week is a time for brands to showcase their ability to experiment and further position themselves as innovators in the fashion industry. Strides and advancements made in past fashion weeks have now become expectation. While some fashion brands are still slow to embrace it, technology is a new way to tell a brand story, especially through social networking outlets and product development. Utilizing technology is becoming increasingly necessary for fashion brands, as live streams, social media, and digital innovation are essential to connecting with consumers.

    Brittany Waterson is an Associate in Interbrand's Global Marketing and Communications team.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand London on Tuesday, February 11 2014 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

    At Interbrand, we believe that "brand-led design," where brand and design are approached together, does more than create effective design – it creates brand and business value.

    Andy PayneWe are aware of design all around us, from the chairs we sit on and the phones in our pockets, to the cars we drive and even the welcome that we are (sometimes) given in a hotel. But what we want to focus on is brand-led design. It is this "branded" element to that product, service or experience that makes its design recognisable and attributable. Not every mobile is an iPhone, not every coat is a Burberry Trench, not every coffee is a Starbucks and not every car is a Volvo. Each of these relies on far more than just a logo for their recognition. Their shape, form and function have been designed with their specific brand in mind.

    To explore this in more detail, we have started to look at the extent to which consumers "value" this brand-led design and in turn, how this translates into brand and business value. One of the most important ways that brands create financial value is through their influence on the purchase decision. Strong brands encourage trial and, through the brand experience, engender loyalty and repeat purchase. Interbrand’s brand valuation methodology captures the influence of brand on choice through its "Role of Brand" analysis, which quantifies this influence using market research and statistic modelling techniques.

    We employed the same techniques to focus on the impact of design on consumer choice for a client in the mobile and smartphones market and found that design-related purchase criteria made up 30% of the total decision to purchase the handset. The study also showed that improvements in design could generate up to a 13% increase in likelihood to purchase (all other factors being equal). To put this into context, more than 1.8bn mobile handsets were sold worldwide last year. The better the design, the more it serves to reinforce the brand, meaning the bigger your share of the market, the bigger your business and the more valuable, ultimately, your brand.

    In the same vein, it seems to state that bad design can ladder up negatively to the overall brand. Without a brand influencing the design, it risks straying to the functional or the inconsistent. Similarly, this applies to a brand tampering with its prized design equity. For example, Tropicana’s decision in 2009 to remove the beloved and widely-recognised equity of an orange with a straw in it from their packaging resulted in a 19% drop in market share for the brand. After just one month on the shelves, the old packaging was re-introduced, as customers struggled to navigate through products and rallied against the modifications to their beloved brand. This example shows the importance and the impact of design; design equities previously established and appreciated by the audience and strongly associated with the product were lost in transition.

    Take the obvious, but all-round exemplary example of Apple, whose innovative, flawless and intuitive design is undoubtedly led by its core brand values. The unmistakeable design is recognised the world over; the brand is truly brought to life through design. Indeed, the brand in this instance is design. The same applies to other less obvious contenders too, as more and more businesses understand its pivotal importance. GSK has stated publicly that they are looking to push design across their portfolio of brands from a function of marketing to a strategic lever and enabler for the business across multiple touch points.

    It can be concluded that brand-led design is fundamental to brand value. The common thread throughout this perception of design and brand is that a strengthened and harmonious interweaving of the two and subsequent seat at the heart of a business results in higher overall economic value. Understanding and acting upon this is crucial to forging the desired association of design with a particular brand and of a particular brand with a design.

    There are three fundamental elements to delivering brand-led design. It must start with a business clearly defining its brand. Without this firmly in place, design can lack its foundation and consistency. To build and strengthen this, the business needs a clear design philosophy that reflects the brand and can adapt as needed over time. In essence, it then comes down to how the brand uses this philosophy to guide and influence brand activities to create a strong and valuable whole. In equal measure, the brand itself will guide the design; a symbiotic relationship working at its best.

    With contributions from Andy Payne, Sue Daun, Max Raison and Julia Bland.


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