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Brilliance@Work: Jen Handley Shares How to Harness the Power of Fandom

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. This month, we’ll feature market research experts.

Jen Handley

Jen Handley

How does your brand make people feel? Successful brands make people feel good about themselves and about the world. Achieving and sustaining that level of success requires a healthy “fan base.”

Jen Handley leads technology and innovation initiatives at Fizziology. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to her presentation, “Harnessing the Power of Fandom,” Jen shares her insights on the importance of activating your fans for business success.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can leveraging brand advocates or “fans” help shape an organization’s future success?

Jen Handley: Your fans are those who know and love your brand the most. They’ll voice their opinions, hopes and wishes, and they’ll also be the most critical of you. Brands who actively listen to their fans, understand who they are and what they want, can shape their products and market for future success.

PB: What are some examples of how you leverage brand advocacy for your various clients?

JH: MarketCast Group’s companies take a unique approach to understanding brands’ fandoms. For example, at Fizziology, we assign “evangelist” ratings to the fans who talk about a brand in social media. This allows us to consider fans on a spectrum of those who casually engage and those who strongly advocate for the brand. We then dive deep into their behaviors, their needs, values, personality traits, and what’s driving that advocacy.

PB: How does this approach help tell a compelling marketing story?

JH:  Consumers connect most with brands that are authentic. Our research has shown that brands need to deliver on three key areas to satisfy fans: innovation in product and marketing, providing ways for the consumer to enhance their identity and relevance through being at the forefront of culture. Brands can prove authenticity in each of these key areas by showing that they’re listening to their fans and to the greater trends happening in the world.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

JH:  Attendees will walk away with an understanding of what constitutes a true “fan” versus a consumer. We’ll use real-life examples from the worlds of Media & Entertainment and Lifestyle Brands to show how fandom can vary from brand to brand, what our best fans do for the brands they love, what drives fandom, and ideas for activating their own fan-base.

Want to hear more from Jen? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.

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Brilliance@Work: Emily Higgins and Amy Shea Create Brand Memories

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts.

Emily HIggins

Emily Higgins

Memories are the key to who we are. Marketers, like Emily Higgins, VP Client Services and Amy Shea, Director of Brand Experience at Ameritest, use the latest research on the brain to help create experiences that evoke positive memories of their brands.

Amy Shea

Amy Shea

They are also presenters at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to their presentation, Emily and Amy shared insights on how memory and emotion create stronger brand connections.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What is the science behind the brain’s three major memory systems?

Emily Higgins and Amy Shea: As scientists focus on the study of memory in relation to work on devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, we are learning more every day about the link between our memories and our self-identity, present-day choices and thus our future.

Scientists have known for some time that memory is three-dimensional. Academics call the three types of memory semantic, episodic and procedural memory; advertisers long ago have translated this into a communications philosophy, calling these three dimensions think, feel and do.

At Ameritest, as we collaborate with our clients on branded communications designed to solve business challenges, we use Head, Heart and Hand—a much better model to diagnose the visual and verbal narratives brands use to create branded memories. The most successful brands create memories across all three systems. And these memories drive choices at decision time.

PB: How does this relate to emotion?

EH and AS: Episodic memories, or what we call heart memories, are our social memories. They are the autobiographical memories that create your sense of self—including the brands your ‘self’ has chosen. A brand story that emotionally engages you forges a heart memory link.  This connection can be quite strong, as emotion drives behavior more powerfully than does logic. We will be talking about how emotion drives behavior specifically in the Casual Dining Category in our presentation, “Are Consumers Eating Their Feelings?”

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

EH and AS: We will share a case study of our own research—so, no data is blinded or embargoed in any way—to demonstrate three core aspects of creating brand memories: how the head searches for and embraces attribute, benefit and value equations that deliver their ideal experience; how the heart seeks the emotional satisfactions of their brand choice; and how the hand part of memory wants to see that rehearsed in a visual storytelling that is powerful and category-relevant. This is the work we do on a daily basis, focusing on the importance of creating brand memories and the role of a visual language in creating those memories that drive choice.

Want to hear more from Emily and Amy? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Retail Design Expert Maria Gustafson

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Maria Gustafson

FUSE 2017 presenter Maria Gustafson is Senior Vice President of Global Creative at Kiehl’s, where she leads the creative vision of one of the world’s leading skin care companies.

Her expansive creative career bridging fashion, beauty and lifestyle began with Peter Arnell, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal, and Lloyd & Co, where she created campaigns for Burberry Blue Label, The Standard Hotels, Club Monaco, Cole Haan, Gucci, and Samsung.

Maria also developed creative at MAC Cosmetics, Gap, and the L’Oreal luxury brands Giorgio Armani and Shu Uemera.

As a preview to her presentation, Maria shares her insights on how good retail design can increase brand engagement:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
Maria Gustafson:
I was that lucky kid who was raised by two super creative, imaginative parents who nurtured my artistic curiosities. Every weekend my parents, brother and I were building something together, whether it was a tree house, a skateboard or a piece of furniture. And then we’d sleep in the tree house or ride the skateboard. My dad and I even started a business repairing vintage wicker furniture. He was building the skeletons, and I was building the architecture around them. That business eventually paid my way through college.

Design is a way to communicate, tell stories, build an audience, and evoke a feeling about what it is to be human. It’s a spirit, an essence of who you are; it shouldn’t feel like work. For me, it started as a connection, developed into an expression, and then became a passion that gives me a sense of accomplishment and immediate gratification. It’s even grown into a bit of an obsession – always an extension of everything I do.

PB: What role does retail design play in the performance of a brand?
MG:
Good retail design creates a theater for your brand’s DNA – a place where customers can discover your brand story and have a positive, memorable experience that makes them want to stay. In that sense, it functions as a salesperson; even if the staff is busy, the shop itself has the ability to engage customers and sell. You experience this when you’re in a space that’s done really well. You just get it, you escape into the brand’s story, and you want more.

PB: What are some of your most notable design projects?
MG:
To this day, my favorite projects are still the ones I create with my parents. But professionally, I’m very proud of the projects Kiehl’s does that give back to our community. We create partnerships with high-end artists such as Jeff Koons, Kenny Scharf, Kaws, Faile, and Norman Rockwell’s Foundation. They design packaging, patterns and objects that are true to their styles and also complement our Kiehl’s DNA. These unique items fly off the shelves, and they generate money and awareness for the charities that Kiehl’s support.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
MG:
An interesting, purposeful discussion of how to create engagement through the retail experience and some great visuals. You might even be able to touch a texture or two.

Want to hear more from Maria? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Storytelling Juggernaut Stanley Hainsworth

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Stanley Hainsworth

FUSE 2017 presenter Stanley Hainsworth is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Tether, a storytelling juggernaut creating branding, design and advertising for a diverse range of clients such as Google, BMW Motorrad, Pepsi, Microsoft, Amazon, Gatorade and many others. He has written books on branding, is an educator, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a sought after speaker on branding and design worldwide.

As a preview to his presentation, Stanley shares his insights on how design is the face of the brand:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in branding shape your character and career?
Stanley Hainsworth:
It was kind of the other way around. I was an actor before I fell into the world of design. I was a trained storyteller. I assumed different roles, always observing others and situations.

When I started my first job in design at Nike, I approached it in a very storytelling-centric way. And, of course, Nike had great stories to tell. When I started a project, I researched like it was a role I was going to play. I came up with the story, the backstory, the situations, the audience, all that was needed to bring a story to life, and most importantly, to make someone care about it.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
SH:
Design is the face of a brand. It is many times the first thing that a consumer sees – the way a brand looks and speaks. Brands are born from the inside out and the outside in. Design strategy plays a role in the inside out and design meets it from the outside in. A well-designed product, brand or experience makes the person interacting with it feel uplifted and betters that moment in their day.

PB: How can you transform a brand into the role of a consumer’s “friend”?
SH:
When you think of a brand that you use regularly in your life – your beverage of choice, your shoes, clothes, car, phone, etc. – these are brands that you initially experimented with, and you liked the experience, so you eventually made those brands part of your life. You might spend as much or more time with those brands then you do your human friends. So, if the definition of a ‘friend’ is someone or something you choose to hang around with, then yes, those brand friends are part of your life.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
SH:
The design projects that give me the most long-term satisfaction are those brand projects that have a resulting product or experience that I see being incorporated into someone’s life. When I see someone walking down the street drinking a beverage that we’ve designed, or eating something we’ve designed, that makes me smile as I remember all the time and effort that went into that end result, from strategy to concepts to design to production.

Awake is a fun one. This is a brand we were able to create from scratch and come up with the positioning, design the product, the packaging, the social media program, the website, the advertising, the events and the retail elements.

Also, another one is Tatcha. This prestige beauty brand is something that we named, created, and designed all of the products and experiences that people have when they use the products in their homes. And to be able to read and view the responses from the brand fans as they experience and use the products is very heartening.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
SH:
They will have fun seeing that brands are kind of like people, and people are kind of like brands. We all try on different exteriors and personalities to find what works for us. And sometimes we need to morph them as we and brands change.

Want to hear more from Stanley? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Blue Sky Innovator John Silva

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

John Silva

FUSE 2017 Co-Chair John Silva is President and Senior Creative Director at design innovation agency DuPuis Group, where he leads national campaigns for Hormel, Anheuser-Busch, Frito-Lay, Dole and WD-40.

John has been in design for 25 years. As an author, artist and diplomat, John brings design thinking to organizations as a culture shift toward more vibrant problem solving.

As a preview to his presentation, John shares his insights on how design thinking inspires new and meaningful propositions:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
John Silva:
For me it came in a different order. I think the character I was born with is what compelled me to design, which then manifested as a profitable lifestyle (aka “career”). I’ve always been vastly optimistic and curious about how everything works and was that kid with “Yeah, but WHY?” Then that became, “Well, how about THIS?” But once I found that creativity and resourcefulness could make things in our world more beautiful, exciting and useful, I knew what I was going to do with my life.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
JS:
Small d “design” is fundamental to how a brand looks, smells, feels and is the trigger and incentive for engagement. Big D “Design” is underneath and inside how a brand inspires, moves, relates and evolves. It is this higher purpose of design that forms strategies that win over time and triggers activation that provokes and disrupts.

PB: How can design thinking drive innovation?
JS:
Both of these terms have been beat to death, so I’ll rephrase as, “How can emotional intelligence spur new, meaningful propositions?” That new question answers itself.

Emotional intelligence forces non-linear, human qualities like empathy, desire and optimism into how we problem solve and build stuff. Innovation on the other hand is often dumbed and numbed too often to be only iterative change.

Meaning is what fuels the type of innovation that your original question is poking at. It’s a deeper vibration than simply “new” as it alters the relationship between people and products.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
JS:
I’ve been fortunate and privileged to work on great, global brands, but the noteworthy programs (aka “meaningful”) are not always the most visible.

Working with PepsiCo, for instance, has allowed us to contribute on many brands with high-expression, yet a very notable initiative involved designing solutions that are behind the obvious. In this case we pulled together environmental scientists, logistics and supply chain experts to assess and rethink how PepsiCo could approach the PET plastic life cycle in more sustainable, less costly and even consumer-excitable ways. Recycling was the baseline, and we blew up the entire model from there to create new, non-waste streams and behaviors that not only could solve the problem but create fresh, inspiring drivers for their business.

Another example is our strategy and design work on a wearable technology for women by Cyrcadia Health that can detect pre-cancerous cellular activity as advance warning of breast cancer. Very human and very inspiring in purpose.

PB: What is the best part of being the Co-Chair of FUSE 2017?
JS:
It’s a privilege that gives me the chance to elevate the dialog around design as a driver of not only business, but more inspired living. I appreciate the opportunity to share what I can and meet others who have the same fire for fresh thinking and growth mindedness. FUSE to me is like opening day of Design Season.

Want to hear more from John? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Global Brand Marketing Leader Larry Logan

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Larry Logan

Larry Logan

FUSE 2017 presenter Larry Logan has more than 30 years of success in developing brands that become the industry leaders in their respective markets. Among them were Larry’s roles at Immersive Media (the developer of Google Street View), Healtheon/WebMD, Verde Media, and Playboy’s Entertainment Group.

Currently, Larry is Chief Marketing Officer at Digimarc Corporation. He is the recipient of more than 100 Gold- and Platinum-certified records in entertainment marketing campaigns. The World Brand Congress also recently named him among the 100 Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders.

As a preview to his presentation, Larry shares his insights on the symbiosis between branding and design:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in marketing shape your character and career?
Larry Logan:
I was with PLAYBOY magazine and the company’s Entertainment Group for 17 years in various creative and marketing roles. Playboy is obviously a globally-recognized entertainment brand, and from my time there, I became acutely aware of the symbiosis between branding and design.

At the end of the day, Playboy isn’t selling a magazine, of course, but an entire lifestyle centered on a certain attitude toward life, a way of moving through the world—and the branding of everything at the Playboy Entertainment Group was very consciously cultivated in service of that brand impact.

PB: What role does marketing play in the performance of a brand?
LL:
Marketing is the driver with respect to articulating the attributes of the brand and providing the necessary vision and support tools to help fellow employees support that vision. These attributes must be authentic and consistent and also resonate with the ecosystem of customers, partners, vendors, the media and financial markets.

Marketing also serves as the ‘brand cop,’ with its antenna up, searching for any deviances from the attributes of the brand or lack of compliance by others in the organization, as well as with partners and vendors in the ecosystem.

PB: How can design thinking drive innovation?
LL:
It’s been well recognized for some time now that design itself is a competitive edge, and not just with an attractive logo or pretty collateral. And, more recently, this has been seen in relation to the concept of Consumer Experience (CX) at every touchpoint.

There is little doubt designers play a critical role as thinkers and innovators, for (hopefully) they ‘live’ among the people who consume the products they work on, and it matters little whether we’re talking about a B2C or B2B marketing context because knowing the consumer is essential. Designers are also natural innovators because they have specialized skills and talents in abstract thinking, which is a key element of innovation.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
LL:
My career has been extraordinarily eclectic, ranging from VP Creative Director at Playboy to working on breakthrough agricultural technologies. One project that comes immediately to mind was at Healtheon/WebMD, where I was the VP of Marketing and Communications. We went from the #14 most visited healthcare site to #1 in less than a year. We did this by focusing on the highest level and quality of content, served up in a way that addressed the anxieties and concerns of our site visitors, and their desire for the same data their doctors might access.

I often reflect back on my ‘experiences,’ and there are some great memories, such as producing the first-ever live Internet video broadcast from Mt. Everest for the Everest Environmental Expedition. Similarly, I produced the first live 360-degree video stream from the 2010 Olympics and documented the International Space Station and Space Shuttle mock-ups in 360-degree video for astronaut training.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
LL:
Packaging and packaging designers are under pressure as never before. There’s contraction among companies, a race to cut costs, and timelines are not getting any easier. But a looming threat is today’s consumers, who expect and demand information and content right at their fingertips. Unlike any previous generation, this one cares deeply about the food they eat and the products they buy.

Yet, packaging real estate is exhausted; there is no longer any room left on the package to convey detailed information. The only viable means of content delivery, either in the store or later at home, is through The Connected Package.

We’ll explore the different types of connected packaging and how brands and designers can choose the right one for their product. And, we’ll look at how this new form of modern packaging can deliver benefits to the entire enterprise, such as streamlining the supply chain and reducing waste.

Today’s packaging is not complete without a real-time link to digital content, and this is an opportunity for designers to be heroes and deliver exciting new capabilities to the brand.

Want to hear more from Larry? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Consumer Brand Marketing Expert Karen Hershenson

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Karen Hershenson

Karen Hershenson

FUSE 2017 presenter Karen Hershenson is the leader of the clay street project, one of Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) top innovation capabilities, which “strives to reveal the genius of P&G people to deliver more human-centric ideas and organizations.” Karen joined the clay street project in 2008 after a 15-year career in consumer brand marketing, building and managing some of the world’s most valuable brands including Coca-Cola, Barbie, and Disney.

As a preview to her presentation, Karen shares her insights on how creativity and innovation support sustainable business performance by building high-performing teams:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in consumer marketing shape your character and career?
Karen Hershenson:
Working on brands like Coca-Cola and Barbie early in my career gave me an appreciation for the sacred relationship that brands have with their consumers. I still get goose bumps when I remember how little girls’ eyes would light up at the sight of a new Barbie doll. When you realize the role your brand plays in another person’s life, you feel a sense of responsibility to make the best possible experience for them.

PB: What role does marketing play in the performance of a brand?
KH:
I see my role as a marketer to be both a steward and an integrator. As a steward, I guard the consumer-brand relationship, ensuring the brand stays true to its heritage, but evolves to meet the consumer’s own growing needs. As an integrator, I start with integrating human insight with business-building strategy. Then I continue by working with my cross-functional team to create and deliver a holistic experience that is consistent over time.

PB: What is an “innovation ecosystem” and how is it set up in an organization?
KH:
An innovation ecosystem is a way to look at your organization to identify the culture you need, to deliver the business results you want. For us, it means recognizing that work is a direct reflection of the teams that are doing that work, and the system in which they operate. So if you want to change your results, you must create the conditions for innovation in all three areas — the team, the system and the work.

Often, organizations have many separate efforts directed to change culture, work processes and team building, and the results become scattered. We have found that creating a series of experiences that are connected results in overall less effort and more synergistic results in the work and culture.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?
KH:
In our early years, we touted new product launches like Ariel Gel or the creation of the consumer-facing P&G brand. But today, we assess our success on two things: 1) our ability to continually evolve and expand how we serve P&G businesses — moving from 3-month sessions at clay street to a series of short integrated experiences for an entire organization; 2) the speed of culture change we observe across the organizations where we work and the personal transformation we enable.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
KH:
A much-needed pause to help them connect their own creative dots! They will experience and learn about simple techniques they can weave into their busy days that can help make them more present and creative.

Want to hear more from Karen? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Jeremy Lindley, the Man Behind “The 10 Commandments of Brand Design”

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Jeremy Lindley

FUSE 2017 presenter Jeremy Lindley is Global Design Director at Diageo, the world’s leading premium beverage business with an iconic collection of alcohol beverage brands across spirits and beer. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Talisker whiskies; Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas; Baileys, Captain Morgan rum, Tanqueray gin, and Guinness beer.

Prior to joining Diageo, Jeremy was head of design for Tesco Stores Ltd., where he was responsible for design across the portfolio of 19,000 private label products and for leading the store formats and design teams. During his early career, Jeremy was a design consultant and university lecturer.

As a preview to his presentation, Jeremy shares his insights on how design is at the heart of brand thinking and activity:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
Jeremy Lindley:
I fell in love with the idea of being a designer when I was 17 years old and had to switch tracks from a very academic focus at school. Task one was to learn how to draw!  Forcing my way into a profession that my early education choices did not obviously lead towards helped me recognize that great talent and ideas can come from many non-traditional places, and it’s not just the “creatives” that can be creative.

My art school training taught me the importance of empathy (to create great design you really have to understand the end user), openness (great ideas rarely come quick and often from unexpected sources) and humility (as a designer you are not always right, there is always much to learn). These skills have served me well throughout my career.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
JL:
We operate in an era of multiple media channels where consumers are in control of whether to watch an advert or not. Each channel needs a unique solution – creating a 30-second advert and pushing it out to all platforms simply won’t work.

The reference point for brands used to be the advertising narrative. Today it’s the brand’s visual world – how the brand shows up across multiple applications. Design is the interface between the brand and the consumer, providing coherence and meaning throughout the whole consumer experience. If design is not at the heart of brand thinking and activity, the company will underperform.

PB: How can design connect on an emotional level with consumers?
JL:
The human brain is designed to understand images. We’re so good at this instinctive skill that we mostly don’t realize the meaning we take from visual stimulus. Consumers take implicit understanding from every visual output of a brand; these are influenced by existing memory structures, other brands and culture.

The question for brands is less “how can design connect emotionally” – it already does! Rather, the focus needs to be on understanding how the brand already connects, what the existing memory structures already are, and how these can be developed.

PB: What are some of your recent design projects?
JL:
As Diageo is the world’s leading premium spirits business with over 100 brands in our unrivaled portfolio (these include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness), there are too many projects to mention!  One recent project of which I am very proud is the redesign of Buchanan’s whisky that won a Gold at the Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards in London. I value this award because it demonstrates the business impact of design; to win you have to prove conclusively the link between design and business performance.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
JL:
I’ve been working as a designer for over 25 years; seven of those freelance and the remaining leading design within client organizations. I’ve tried to distill the key things I’ve learned from working on some of the world’s most iconic brands into a “10 Commandments of Design.”

Want to hear more from Jeremy? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Brand Catalyst Brian Singer

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Brian Singer

Brian Singer

FUSE 2017 presenter Brian Singer is a San Francisco-based artist and designer who has received international attention for his provocative social projects such as TWIT Spotting (Texting while in Traffic) and The 1000 Journals Project. Previously, Brian was the Design Manager for Brand Creative at Pinterest and managed design teams at Facebook.

As a preview to his presentation, Brian shares his insights on how design is about problem solving:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
Brian Singer:
I think my character might have shaped my design career, actually. I think I pursued design out of a love and interest in art, which, if you boil it all down might have just been a way for me to get attention/positive reinforcement as a child. Design has taught me a lot about people and has led me on a long (sometimes frustrating) path towards finding meaning in my work and career. As for affecting my character, I’m still kind of a jerk, but the nicest jerk you’ll ever meet.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
BS:
Design has always, in my mind, been problem solving. How well the brand performs depends on how well the problem has been solved. This can be the functional side (does it work, is it simple) or on the emotional side (how does driving a VW Beetle feel compared to a Ford Focus). If you do both well, the brand should succeed. Of course, if you’re not solving a need, then all the design in the world won’t help.

PB: How can design thinking drive innovation?
BS:
Design thinking is really just a process for problem solving. Personally, I think ideas are easy. They’re a dime a dozen. The real work is in making the ideas a reality. That might require money, or courage, or influence inside a company. You might need consensus, the right talent, or the green light to even pursue it. It requires building a prototype, proving it works, testing it in market, and even then, the numbers all have to work out. That’s a lot. I’m still a fan of one good idea, well executed.

PB: What are some of your most notable design projects?
BS:
I’ve worked on projects for everyone from Apple to Facebook to Pinterest to Adidas to Microsoft to Levi’s.

The most notable thing I’ve done though has probably been on my own and an attempt at solving distracted driving. After noticing how often drivers in stop-and-go traffic on a freeway were using their phones, I began taking photos of them (always while I was a passenger, not while I was driving because that would be stupid). I then put the photos on billboards.

The project received a massive amount of attention in the press from television to radio to online. I’m willing to bet it was more effective than the $8 million the government spent on their distracted driving campaign that year. The point is, I think it’s notable because it had an outsized impact for the investment, and it was driven by a simple idea. It’s too bad I didn’t have that $8 million to work with.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
BS:
Why, they’ll know how to get rich, of course. They’ll also walk away with renewed purpose and outlook on their pursuits. I hate to say I’ll inspire people, but I might, even if I inspire them to quit their jobs.

Want to hear more from Brian? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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Brilliance@Work: Wearable Technology Innovator Barry McGeough

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Barry McGeough

Barry McGeough

FUSE 2017 presenter Barry McGeough is Group Vice President at the Innovation Next division of PVH, one of the world’s largest importers of apparel, which includes iconic brands Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Izod, and Speedo. Barry’s extensive experience includes directing athlete and human biomechanics-inspired product development and innovation teams at Teva, The North Face and Speedo.

As a preview to his presentation, Barry shares his insights on the impact of collaboration and innovation on designing wearable technology:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What inspires your product development innovations?
Barry McGeough:
Everything from David Hockney and his approach to digital expression from an analogue perspective, to business leaders like Elon Musk and Kevin Plank who build worlds of business and product possibilities off the back of sheer audacity, to thought leaders like Malcolm Gladwell that challenge all our current ways of thinking conventionally. It’s all about being pathologically curious, finding the problems that vex us in life and the business of product and consumer experience, and using that curiosity to create the elegant solution.

PB: What role does collaboration play in the design-production relationship?
BM:
Sounds stupidly obvious, but collaboration is everything. At Innovation Next, we are now collaborating with everyone as we explore how connected apparel becomes part of the IoT. We are working with universities like NC State and MIT, confederations like Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), schools like University College London, Parsons in New York, Hong Kong Polytechnic, as well as being actively engaged in our partnerships in Silicon Valley, in the start-up community, and looking outside our industry into the Defense and Biotech industries. We even collaborate on industry-wide initiatives with our competitors.

Everyone should be empowered to be their creative best selves. The innovation process works best when it’s smart: when its goals are targeted, its desired outcomes are clear, and a path to success is defined. Innovation and the idea of investing in pure R&D research, while well known in industries like consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, and the auto industry, is very new to the apparel sector.

As such we are, all of us, from Under Armour to Adidas, defining what these investments could mean to us as we drive to bring relevant, practical solutions that help our brands build their unique competitive edge and drive revenue and profit. With the onset of fast fashion and the demands of an immediate gratification culture, we can no longer succeed using old go-to-market paradigms. We must now look outside our comfort zones and even outside of our industry to find these unique solutions. And that requires strategic collaboration.

PB: What are some notable products you’ve helped to create?
BM:

PB: What do you see as the next phase of wearable technology?
BM:
In the short term, we as an industry must solve for the problems of power generation and power storage before we can fully integrate apparel into the Internet of everything.

But if we believe as we do, as the World Bank does, that by 2020 there will be 8 billion people on Earth, and there will be 50 billion connected devices and 95% of the world’s population will be connected to the Internet, then we also must believe that in a world of smart everything, from cars to phones to thermostats to wearables, that no one will accept smart EVERYTHING and dumb clothes.

Our expectations for connected apparel will be commensurate with our expectations for functionality in all other areas of the consumer and connected experience. And who better to drive this than PVH, who make products in multiple brands that cover the human body every day. Connected apparel is a ‘how,’ not an ‘if,’ and we are building these gateway solutions today.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
BM:
My presentation will specifically discuss the intersection of innovation and biomimicry. As an alum of the outdoor industry, I have been fortunate to cross-pollinate the ideas put forward by Janine Benyus who wrote Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Naturethe primer for the concept of biomimicry, and use some of those concepts to build training aids that help strengthen Olympic athletes for one of the world’s most iconic brands. The inspiration we get for simple yet powerful solutions from the natural world is in its infancy. I will showcase how this insight inspires this and other industries.

Want to hear more from Barry? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.