There are a slew of new episodes of Design Matters now up at designobserver.com – Most recently, two delectable conversations with Steven Heller (who’s written a new book!) and food specialist Julia Turshen!
Check out one of the latest episodes of Design Matters, in which Debbie interviews Ben Watson – Executive Creative Director at Herman Miller.
As former CEO of haute Italian furniture house Moroso, and also former Global Creative Officer at Nike, Ben is able to share some enlightening tales of growth in design with Debbie.
Celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Design Matters with a fantastic conversation between Debbie and designer Louise Sandhaus.
Educator, Partner and Author – Louise teaches at CalArts, works with prestigious clients such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Los Angeles World Airports, and has recently published the book Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936 – 1986.
This week on Design Matters, Debbie talks with Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman about their unique collaboration… find out more here.
“A decade before the so-called golden age of podcasting… Debbie Millman launched the worldâ€™s first podcast about design, armed with nothing more than an idea, a telephone line, and ample doggedness.”
This week we celebrate the 10th Birthday for Design Matters with Debbie Millman: a series of sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always inspiring podcasts on design and the world affected by design.
Above: a portion of the poster Debbie designed, celebrating 10 YEARS of Design Matters
“The only factor in becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention.”
- Kevin Kelly, Wired
Ken Sacharin wrote an entire book on this topic and its importance today certainly merits a longer exposition than my own limited attention here makes possible. To me, his most important observation is this: Yesterday’s marketing model assumed attention and focused on persuasion. Today’s marketing model cannot assume attention and thus must find a much more subtle and interactive form of persuasion.
We are attention challenged- now more than ever. Our view of the marketplace is more cluttered than ever before. Over the past fifteen to twenty years, the number of brands on US supermarket shelves has quadrupled and the number of advertising messages we’re exposed to has more than doubled. We’ve gone from a few television channels to more than a thousand program options. Thanks to the Internet and telecommunications in general, information is now ubiquitous. It is in the air we breathe. It is as available in Kuala Lumpur as it is in Kansas City.
Entertainment as a result has gone personal. When surrounded by screens and endless content choice, you build your own world. As a result, advertising messages struggle to find their place.
Many marketers already get this, but some don’t. For example, some marketers will still test their TV spots by bringing a bunch of people into a room to watch a clutter reel containing their ad. No one should expect this technique can in any way replicate today’s reality. It does not in any way consider the cluttered personal media environment in the equally cluttered life of a real person.
So consider another way.
Attention is the currency of marketing, and this currency is both hard to get and hard to keep once you get it. Worse, others are fighting you for it. This mean that today’s marketers need to be a whole lot more creative than their predecessors. It’s a challenge, but it’s a lot more fun than road blocking the Big Three networks with a simple broadcast.
We’ll explore some of this new creativity in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Austin McGhie is Sterling Brand’s head of Strategy
Welcome to 2015! We are going to usher in the new year with a few of Austin’s thought on effectively communication your Position. Let’s dive in with a lesson on keeping it real.
People don’t deal well with concepts. They prefer reality. Brand positioning is a good thing so long as it isn’t entirely conceptual. Instead, a brand position must be real, and it must be brought to life through the product or service itself. If there are multiple products under a brand umbrella, find the catalyst- the one that best exemplifies the position and makes it real to the audience.
All this is especially true if you want to change the way people see you. Yeah, maybe you can convince them you’ve changed just by telling them so, but wouldn’t you be more certain of their response if you could present some evidence?
When Oldsmobile told you it was “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile,” the unspoken response was “Um…yeah, it actually is.” Oldsmobile had a catchy line, a good communication strategy, but didn’t have a product to back up its claims. Cadillac, on the other hand, didn’t need to say a whole lot about its new and younger outlook. It simply showed you the Escalade and- perhaps just as important- who was driving it.
Consider these additional examples:
-Target doesn’t claim to be hip. It just is. No amount of claiming to be chic can substitute for real-life presence of top designers and brands in its stores.
-Sun Microsystems may have been “the dot in dot com,” but it was the Java programming language that brought the company’s Internet-centricity to life, getting Sun into thousands of offices where it was subsequently able to sell a lot of profitable servers.
-You can say you’re in the entertainment business and that intuitive design is important to you. Or you can be Apple and simply introduce the iPod. And then follow it up with the iPhone.
-Motorola called itself Moto and tried to act very, very hip, but it didn’t work until the company launched the Razr. (Unfortunately, although the phone looked great, it didn’t work well, so success was fleeting.)
Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, a real product or service that brings strategy to life is worth millions of marketing communications dollars.
The recent increase in ‘environmental branding’ is a testimony to the benefits of keeping it real. Niketown, Levi’s, Disney and Apple stores are all great examples of a brand being brought to life in a controlled retail experience. ‘Pop-up stores’ can also showcase a brand for the same purpose. That purpose, that focus, is almost entirely on creating a great brand experience.
So keep it real. Never forget that a real product and a real brand experience are generally worth more than all the words you write and all the marketing communication money you spend.
Austin McGhie is head of Sterling Strategy
We’re happy to announce Sterling’s win for several of our latest designs in the American Graphic Design Awards!
DVX Identity Design for American Standard – Designer Team: Kim Berlin, Michael Dabbs, Isabel Babcock
Clutch-N-Clean design for Kimberly Clark – Design Team: Stephanie Krompier and Gabrielle Cuoccio
Hershey’s Miniatures for The Hershey Company – Design Team: Maliva Baker, Marisa Balmori, Michelle Lee, Michelle Hoffman
Check out the latest episode of Design Matters where Debbie chats with Ji Lee, communication designer at Facebook and famous creator of the Bubble Project.