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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?
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”?
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?
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?
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.