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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: Interbrand on Friday, June 13 2014 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Interbrand Global CEO Jez Frampton was invited on CNN today to discuss the current marketing and branding efforts around the World Cup. Jez suggests that the successful sponsors will be the brands that show they care about Brazil as much as they care about football. Watch the interview above and connect with Jez on Twitter: @jezframpton 

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  • Posted by: Ilan Beesen on Tuesday, May 6 2014 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

    Brand Mashups

    To keep customers on their toes, brands have to figure out how to create unexpected connections. For some, that means exploring new ways to collaborate with others to create the never-before-seen. 

    The decision to pursue one type of partnership or another is definitely a strategic one. Think Intel chips in Dell computers—one brand lending a key capability to another. Of course, most co-branding/ingredient/sponsorship relationships feature one brand in support of the other. Attribution? Often unequal.

    But what happens when two brands meet each other as equals? They create something different. Unique. That’s the brand mash-up, and it’s sometimes expressed as Brand x Brand, or Brand + Brand.

    That naming convention suggests more than just one brand helping another. It’s the mingling of two different forces and promises—even industries—to create something that’s neither one nor the other—the unexpected third.

    It’s not totally new, but it’s still on the fringes—practiced by the most inventive. The Stussy x Nike mash-up pairs two very different styles and design sensibilities to produce shoes that are not entirely Nike or Stussy.

    Nike has been at it for a while, in fact. It was Nike + iPod in the early days that later produced the brilliant Nike+ set of products. This was the perfect marriage of design, tech, apparel, and fitness. Other notables include, M.I.A x Versus, Adidas x Opening Ceremony. Even retail stores like Target + Neiman Marcus are getting in the mix.

    While most mash-ups involve CPG and/or retail, GE is a notable exception. GE + Quirky pairs the resources of GE with the grassroots inventors of Quirky. The mix creates fun, jointly produced products that people wouldn’t expect from GE.

    Bloggers are getting in on the side-by-side game. Take Google x Berg for instance. This experimental collaboration may take Google out of the digital and into the real world. The key word being, “experimental.” The essence of the mash-up is nobody knows exactly what to expect.  

    We’re on the lookout for the next unexpected mash-up that will change the way we look at some of our favorite brands. What’s your dream mash-up? What would it change?

    Ilan Beesen is a Senior Consultant at Interbrand.

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  • Posted by: Christoph Meyer-Roscher on Friday, April 11 2014 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

    Recently I was invited to a nice little dinner at a friend’s place. Besides delicious dishes and drinks, there was something special about it. Everything was served in or on dinnerware she designed and created all by herself. How? Simple! She printed it.

    No longer in the realm of pure science-fiction, 3D printing has quickly become a science of its own and advanced rapidly over the last years, democratizing the process of 3D Design. Just by browsing through Thingiverse, a community sharing digital designs that can be transformed into physical objects at home, one realizes the pace of development this emerging movement has—with several new objects and designs being shared every hour. There are all kinds of little things you can print to enhance your daily life, but also bigger innovations on the way like 3D printed jet parts or experiments to print complete houses.

    Among some of the more groundbreaking applications, Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, pushes the boundaries of growing human cells, tissues and organs. In a TED Talk three years ago, he had already presented the prototype of a bio-printed kidney that could someday revolutionize organ donation. Or a more recent example: The Robohand project by Richard Van As, a woodworker from Johannesburg who lost four fingers in a work-related accident, and Ivan Owen, a theatrical prop designer from Seattle. They partnered up with MakerBot to develop a prosthetic hand that can be downloaded and printed for a total cost of around $150 USD.

    So, what are the ramifications of this technology for companies and their respective brands? Are we going to witness the rise of homegrown brands? Is the evolving opportunity for homemade production a threat to traditional manufacturing? From a historical perspective, rising threats are almost always accompanied by rising opportunities. And, in this case, it’s no different. Companies and brands can truly benefit from this technology in terms of workflow optimization and product innovation. For example, technology groups like GE and Siemens are using 3D printing technologies to speed up production processes across their business portfolios while reducing manufacturing costs. In another example, Nike released a first of its kind athletic shoe in 2013 that incorporated 3D printed football cleats: the Vapor Laser Talon. Constantly innovating around the shoe in its 3D printing and testing facilities, Nike unveiled an improved version in January, just in time to boost players’ performance during Super Bowl 48 to new heights.

    Beyond product innovation, an increasing number of brands are recognizing the huge potential of this technology to get audiences more involved and enhance the overall brand experience. Increasing its drive, Honda, following Porsche’s example (the brand published 3D printable data for mini Cayman cars), took this idea one step further and provided CAD data for some of their concept cars developed during the last twenty years. On the accompanying microsite people can download the cars and are invited to further develop the designs and play with them. Besides being a nice example of customer involvement, it is also an innovative recruitment tool that could help Honda attract the best and brightest car designers now and in the future.

    3D printing now also taps into the realms of food and cooking. Companies like 3D Systems, which teamed up with Hershey’s for its ChefJet Food Printer, or Barcelona-based Natural Machines, which invented the Foodini, are completely reimagining the future of food. During SXSW 2014, Mondelēz-owned Oreos created an engaging brand experience by combining social media with food printing technology for a real-time sweet-time: visitors are offered free Oreos from the “Trending Vending Machine” that incorporates trending flavors from Twitter conversations into the fillings.

    Just imagine the possibilities for other food brands. Maybe one day we’ll be able to buy chocolate printer ink from our favorite chocolate brands. Digital terminals inside retail spaces could allow people to instantly individualize their food. Printing cookies that match the tableware or food packages that come with digital cookbooks containing CAD data are touches that could really rock a birthday party.

    Other great future opportunities lie within the world of professional cooking for chef-focused brands like Unilever Food Solutions. Such brands could influence kitchens in real-time by incorporating live feedback from chefs into their product mix and making them co-creators or enabling them to fulfill the wishes of their most demanding guests with surprisingly imaginative solutions.

    The sky is the limit when it comes to 3D printing. It’s going to be very exciting to see how the technology evolves over the next few years and how brands will leverage this form of digital creativity to connect with audiences and create outstanding experiences together.

    Christoph Meyer-Roscher is a Designer at Interbrand Central & Eastern Europe

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