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.”
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.