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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.


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Brilliance@Work: Kellogg’s Brand Design Leader Lisa Day

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.”

Lisa Day

Lisa Day

FUSE 2017 presenter, Lisa Day, Design Leader at Kellogg’s Masterbrands and Innovation, combines Consumer Research, Marketing and Design to successfully lead redesigns on brands such CHEEZ-IT, Morning Star Farms, Town House and Keebler. Lisa has spent the last 15 years showing that good design can also mean good business, resulting in growth on multiple brands globally for Kellogg’s, Procter and Gamble, International Paper and Shiseido.

As a preview to her presentation, Lisa shares her insights on how to bring an iconic brand into today’s world.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What inspires your product development innovations?
Lisa Day: Understanding the world around us that influences the decisions that my consumers make.

Politics: With today’s access to information, we need to be more informed than ever about what’s happening in our own country as well as around the world. We are all connected now, whereas before we were not. What we do here (especially on iconic brands) can influence and inspire what we can do in countries all around the world.

Trends: Understanding where things are heading from a trends perspective helps get ahead of consumer anticipation. Understanding what has been done and done well, coupled with creating or moving a brand to a space where there is a real need can create great brand shifts and new products.

The Stock Market: This is not sexy for most design folks, but the benefits of understanding the market – from charts to theory – not only helps with creating trends, but understanding our current limitations as well as where we can push our boundaries.

Understanding our consumers as people: Many people believe that digital road mapping is the most powerful tool we have. Although it’s extremely valuable, we also have to give ourselves the time to sit with our consumers and have a conversation with them; go their homes, understand them as emotional beings, and see what brands they choose and how they use them in their actual spaces that we want to become a part of.

PB: What role does collaboration play in the design-production relationship?
LD: It’s the lifeline; every success in the marketplace is contingent on collaborating with the people who can turn your ideas into reality. If you can have upfront conversations with your production teams, this will allow you to understand what you can and can’t do to bring your visions to life.

PB: What are some notable products you’ve helped to create?
LD: Cheez-It Line Design Restage (including Kellogg’s largest grossing Innovation CI Grooves): This is a brand that nobody wanted to touch for many years because it’s always been such a successful brand for Kellogg’s. Knowing when and how to approach the company about making the right changes was critical. The key to this success was to understand what is working so well and how to keep the essence of that alive along with the brand heritage, all the while bringing the brand into today’s marketplace, both in terms of feel and product innovation. We not only kept the success of the brand alive, but we were able to bring it to a level that Kellogg’s never even imagined.

Keebler Cookies Line Design Restage: A very iconic brand that people know and love. Here, we needed to make sure that the brand worked together as a family while consumers were able to find their favorite cookies. This was a great brand to help recreate because it’s all about keeping the Keebler Elf Magic alive!

Global Re-Branding and Design Strategy for Shiseido: Shiseido is one of the most prestigious and high quality brands in the world, and the number two cosmetic brand in Japan. I was honored to help bring them more into the forefront in the U.S. market while helping to unify them as a global brand. This included Global Branding, Product Development, Global Brand Architecture and Strategic Design Implementation.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of consumer product development at Kellogg’s?
LD: Creating new and innovative products that meet market needs while staying true to what the Kellogg’s brands stand for. There are many different facets to consider (some of which I mentioned above). Overall, we need to understand the world around us, we need to inspire our internal teams (which in turn will inspire the work that will inspire our consumers) and most importantly, we need to be open to change.

Want to hear more from Lisa? 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: Dolby’s Collaborative Brand Builder Vince Voron

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.”

Vince Voron. Photo: Paul Sakuma Photography, www.paulsakuma.com

Vince Voron. Photo: Paul Sakuma Photography, http://www.paulsakuma.com

FUSE 2017 presenter Vince Voron, VP, Executive Creative Director of the Brand Content Experience team at Dolby, oversees design, brand, experiential marketing, the Dolby Theatre®, and the Dolby® Institute. He came to Dolby after leading marketing design teams at Apple and Coca-Cola.

As a preview to his presentation “Making Others Successful with Your Design Agenda: Leveraging In-House ‘Creatives’ to Evolve Brands and Inspire Innovation,” Vince shares his insights on how a global mindset can help you thrive personally and professionally.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did living and working in multiple countries shape your character and career?
Vince Voron:
 Living abroad was a humbling experience that provided activities and experiences that I had never imagined. I am so fortunate and grateful to have been exposed to so many diverse cultures, both personally and professionally, during such a moldable portion of my life.

Spending the first 10 years of my professional career working in Singapore, France and Ireland had a dramatic impact on how I communicated with and inspired my colleagues and external partners. The diverse cultural experiences of those three countries alone helped me to construct the values I have today. Living within that diversity provided introspection and outlined the cultural and business values most important to me.

My experiences abroad were also profoundly enriching from a visual standpoint – in very different ways – from food to architecture to landscape to fashion. I learned to speak French, I became fascinated with cultural differences, and I gained a solid appreciation for navigating new locales that were so very different than from where I grew up in Pennsylvania. In addition to those first 10 years solidifying my career foundation, they also had a profound impact on me personally, as I met my wife while I was working in France.

PB: How did your work at Coca-Cola and Apple influence your work at Dolby?
VV:
 I like to say I earned my design chops at Apple and learned my brand knowledge at Coca-Cola. The fusion of working for so many years at these great companies has been one of the greatest assets to enable me to build teams that create thoughtfully-designed experiences that can be scaled and appreciated on a local level, globally.

My global mindset definitely helped me to thrive and survive in two such different corporate cultures as Apple and Coca-Cola, where the work and leadership styles vary vastly.

One of the parallels of working at Coca-Cola that has also helped me at Dolby is the importance of partnerships with other corporations. Both Coca-Cola and Dolby have very integrated co-branded partnerships around the world, and that ability to integrate and synthesize two great brands together, while preserving the authenticity of each, takes time, persistence and patience to do well.

PB: How do your leadership values support your creative work?
VV:
 Trust and transparency are two leadership values that I seek to strive for in my own work and in that of the teams I lead. It is so very important for a leader to earn trust with their teams, and that takes time and significant engagement on a day-to-day basis. It also requires taking the time to understand how different personalities and subject matter experts are inspired, how they work and how they think.

Delivering trust and transparency is a principal element as a leader, but at the same time it’s really important that my team members reciprocate that as well, and for them to be transparent with me, they have to trust me. It’s that two-way street. It’s paramount in all relationships, but especially with a leader who has to work harder to develop and maintain that trust and transparent communication highways.

PB: What role does a collaborative culture play in building a strong brand?
VV:
 Accountability and expectation-setting are at the core of successful collaboration partnerships that are effective. At the beginning of a project, I spend a lot of time assessing and determining roles and accountability amongst team members. I find that by taking this time at the onset, it opens up these channels for my team to challenge me, or me to challenge them, in a non-emotional way.

One of my primary philosophies is how can I make others successful. And collaboration is closer to diplomacy than business negotiations – it’s really important for everybody to experience something positive throughout the process.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of design at Dolby?
VV:
 We continue to work on creating holistic Dolby experiences as well as inspiring our partners with our technologies to help them create and enable amazing experiences. The globalization of the Dolby Cinema® platform is one of our key initiatives that I’m really excited about because we have curated and designed every moment of that movie-going experience from the moment you walk in until the time that you leave. All that attention to detail that we’ve put into this platform – including architecture, design, imaging and audio technologies – is truly compelling. We also strive to look for new opportunities where our technology can improve audio and visual experiences at home, at work and on the go.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
VV: I’ll be sharing insightful stories from my experience working in the design teams at Apple, Coca-Cola and Dolby, as well as methodologies and anecdotes that have helped these great global brands become even greater. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all my years in design, it’s that if a brand can learn how to tell a great story and deliver a great experience, they will capture the hearts and minds of their consumers, and in turn, strengthen the bottom line of the company. I’ll be sharing practical insights on how great brands have developed and leveraged entertaining storytelling to engage consumers and build brand love.

Want to hear more from Vince? 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: Hallmark’s Pop Culturist Christine Taylor

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.”

What is a pop culturist? A life-long pop culture fan with 11 years of experience in licensing entertainment products.

Christine Taylor

Christine Taylor

Creative strategist, designer and fan franchise expert Christine Taylor is Licensing Creative Account Manager at Hallmark Cards, Inc. She works with iconic brands like Star Wars, Star Trek and DC Comics for product development, merchandising and promotion. Her licensing experience and “passion for geekdom” led her to create something unique for Hallmark, which she’ll share more about as a presenter at the FUSE 2017 Conference, April 4-6 in Miami, Florida.

As a preview to her presentation “Pop Goes the Brand,” Christine shares her insights on how Hallmark is connecting and marketing to a passionate group of fans through a new branded experience called PopMindedTM.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How has Hallmark evolved into the iconic brand it is today?
Christine Taylor:
Since we’ve been around for 107 years now, I would attribute our success to our founder J.C. Hall. He was a visionary of his time. He brought greeting cards to the U.S., invented modern gift wrap, created an omni-media presence with entertainment—before the word “omni-media” existed—and he and his son who followed him, actively looked for partnerships, like Disney, and acquisitions, like Crayola, that synergized with our company’s mission. J.C. also established relationships with public figures that had an eye for art, like Winston Churchill and Jackie Onassis, as well as with some of the biggest artists, celebrities and designers of the 20th century.

I think Hallmark really became a household name through broadcasts of Hallmark Hall of Fame and our legendary commercials that made people cry, thus coining the term, “Hallmark moment.”

Hallmark was, and still is, one of the largest employers of creative talent worldwide. J.C. was an entrepreneur who loved and had a passion for creativity and how creative products transcend into how we connect with those around us. His belief in quality and creativity are still the foundation of the company and what we continue to strive for in all we do today.

PB: What are the creative processes involved in collaborating with companies with which you have licensing agreements?
CT:
We have some long, established relationships with some of our licensors that date back over 20, 50 and even over 80 years. We are one of the very few licensees that are allowed to create original content and illustrations of licensed characters. We have illustrators that can perfectly replicate the characters to create new poses to match specific concepts, and we also have artists that interpret the characters to create unique looks for our products.

Another difference is we have creative managers who are experts of these licensing entertainment brands and are responsible for the creative relationship and brand integrity. We ensure the licensor’s franchise strategies and character attributes are translated across all our products from end-to-end of the design process, and in turn, those strategies align with each Hallmark product development team’s intent. We meet with our licensing partners regularly to stay up with the most current franchise information and often have collaborative brainstorms. Having these strong relationships allows for a smoother creative approval process, and that close collaboration makes for better end products.

We share a common goal – the consumer/fan is key – so finding a co-branded product approach that meets consumer needs and expectations is a big focus for us. It’s not always easy, but we often align people who have affinity for, or are fans of, certain brands and products, keeping the passion for getting it right for them, a high priority.

PB: How does Hallmark find new audiences for their products?
CT:
Much like any larger company would: Diversification of products, omni-media channels of branding and distribution and continually seeking out new partnerships, sponsorships and acquisition opportunities. We recognize it’s all about building up your digital content and engaging with consumers in social spaces, not just relying on traditional media and brick-and-mortar stores.

Currently, we are looking at how we can target various consumer segments by tailoring product design, retail merchandising, online engagement, sponsorships and event opportunities in a very specific, niche way that speaks directly and more authentically to that consumer. This may be through identifying a cultural trend, or revisiting an existing brand, capability or product offering that we just have changed the conversation around to be more relevant to a specific sub-set of consumers.

Christine Taylor (next to Darth Vader) creates a fun PopMinded experience for Star Wars fans.

Christine Taylor (next to Darth Vader) creates a fun PopMinded experience for Star Wars fans.

PB: How did PopMindedTM get started?
CT:
We’ve been attending Comic & Fan Conventions for about a decade now. We had done some great co-branded booths with a Star Wars overlay featuring all original artwork by our in-house illustrators and designers, but what we came to realize is we did not have our own clear point of view for Hallmark to this consumer. We already had all the co-branded licensed product that we had curated for the shows, and exclusives we had created to sell, but no branded voice that was relevant to them to gravitate to beyond the conventions.

We took a step back last year and decided to approach these conventions more like a branded, perennial pop-up shop experience. I gathered a small band of “rebels” at Hallmark, which included cross-functional fans of geeky pop culture franchises. We ultimately came up with what now is a pop culture sub-brand intended to serve this very loyal segment of consumers. It has evolved into a full consumer acquisition and retention strategy, where we have the opportunity to connect with these fans of fandom in a very authentic way because the ones behind PopMindedTM and the products are pop culture fans themselves.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of the PopMindedTM experience?
CT:
We have already started some social media on Instagram and a weekly YouTube video series. This year, Hallmark Gold Crown stores plan to have a PopMindedTM section dedicated to the front of store in late summer with exclusives like we would sell at conventions. We want to bring a little bit of that excitement in-store for consumers already shopping Hallmark.

We are also scouting other conventions and events, as well as looking at potential partnerships and sponsorships that will help us grow and spread the word. We plan to launch an online community forum that fans can discuss, chat and link with us as well as buy, sell and trade past collectibles.

Dream Plans? We would love to partner on other store-within-a-store concepts with other pop culture purveyors that align with our sensibilities and have our own online shopping experience.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
CT:
In all honesty, I can’t say I will leave anyone with any profound wisdom, but what I hope people will take away is that innovation doesn’t always have to be about some novel product or what the next big thing is.

There are new opportunities and innovative ideas for us and/or our companies hiding right under our noses. Too often we can get so caught up in our day-to-day roles and responsibilities that those things become too hard to recognize. But we must stop for a second and remember the many insights, instincts, experiences already living inside us that we need to let out!

We must continually remind ourselves that we are consumers too—and most likely even fans (of something). We create content, use social media and are people seeking to connect with others. And these days, that empathic and authentic understanding can go a long way, but it may take stopping the presses for a moment to find it…and when you do, you must let it out.

Want to hear more from Christine? 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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How to Survive and Thrive in the New Brand Reality

Happily Ever AfterPhoto: StockSnap

“The strength of brand loyalty begins with how your product makes people feel.” – Jay Samit, digital media innovator

How does your brand make people feel?

Successful brands make people feel good about themselves and about the world. Achieving and maintaining this level of success requires constant and equal amounts of care and innovation.

Be ready to meet and exceed these standards of the “new brand reality” by joining me April 4-6, 2017 in Miami, Florida for FUSE 2017, “at the intersection of design, brand and strategy.”

Here’s a peek at a few of the speakers and presentations on the agenda:

  • Featured Keynote: From Domestic Diva to Brand Icon, Martha Stewart, Founder, Emmy Award-Winning Television Show Host, Entrepreneur and Best-Selling Author, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
  • “Atomic Design: The Next Gen Digital and Brand Experiences,” Stephen Gates, Global Head of Design, Citi
  • “DO NOT OPEN: A Tale of Resiliency, Imagination and the Power of Curiosity,” Brian Robinson, Global Head of Creative, Design & Development, DreamWorks Animation
  • “Designing Calm Technology,” Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist and Author
  • “Pop Goes the Brand,” Christine Taylor, Licensing Creative Account Manager, Hallmark Cards Inc.

Register today for FUSE 2017 to learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

In the meantime, watch for my Fuse in Focus presenter profiles and conference posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Starry Blue Brilliance.

Looking forward to attending this event with you!