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Showing posts from July, 2008

Redesigning the Stop Sign

If you are curious why it can seem so hard to create simple ideas, then please check out this video. It's a hilarious satire of the creative development process. Even funnier knowing that it was sent to me by a client with a good sense of humor.

"Advertising is the price companies pay for being un-original."

I don't know who authored this quote, but I found it in this video of a presentation Yves Behar gave at TED about the need for design to create products that tell a story. I believe all great brands tell a story. Advertising has always been a powerful way to weave a brand narrative . But the process of storytelling should begin with the design of the product itself and be carried through all points of contact. Design shouldn't be used as a shortcut to make average ideas look better. True of products. True of advertising. Design Thinking helps solve business problems by creating solutions from the customer's point-of-view. A good example is the way Target rethought its pill bottles to help customers sort out the jumble of bottles in the family medicine cabinet, and by doing so Target created a differentiated idea for its pharmacy business. Design isn't limited to physical products. It can help create a better customer experience. Jyske Bank in Denmark s

How Detroit can create the next iPhone

Like hundreds of thousands of people across the country, I stood in line this weekend at the Apple Store in Newport Beach to buy the new iPhone 3G for my daughter after three unsuccessful attempts at nearby AT&T stores. Witnessing this exuberant demand for a new product made me wonder if this feat could be repeated in other categories, such as the auto business. What would an automaker have to do to seduce consumers to stand in line to buy a hot new car? Here are some lessons from the iPhone: Functionality : Auto execs pondering how replicate the iPhone’s commercial and cultural success would be wise to note that the iPhone is not simply a marketing phenomenon. The iPhone is a breakthrough product. It revolutionized the mobile phone business through design, features and functionality. One way for auto companies to create breakthrough products may be to begin thinking like a consumer electronics brand. Technology brands are the new car. Throughout the last century th

Sony rediscovers its mojo.

Several years ago when I led Young & Rubicam in Southern California I had the opportunity to  work with Sony Electronics.  During that time I developed tremendous respect for the brand's quality, innovation and design.  But I also confronted first-hand the silos that separate the company's considerable entertainment content from its hardware. Sony owns movie and music companies and also markets the hardware on which to enjoy movies and music, not to mention videogames.  I can still recall the difficulty in getting Sony Music to come to the table with Sony Walkman (remember Walkman?).  These silos where invisible to most until Apple launched iPod and iTunes, a perfect combination of hardware and content.  Game. Set. Match. That's why I was very excited to hear last week's announcement that Sony Pictures will offer customers who own a web-enabled Sony Bravia TV the ability to stream Hancock, its summer blockbuster, before it is released on DVD.  Content and h

Barack, please focus your campaign

Those who know me know that I am a passionate supporter of Barack Obama's campaign for President.  I talk up his candidacy.  I have been a foot soldier during the primaries going door-to-door.  I've given money. But I am disappointed that Obama's advisors (and Barack himself) have not yet focused on the meaty issues facing America.  I'm all for change.  But what type of change?  So Barack, and your army of bloggers, here's my plea:  in the spirit of the great brand marketers, embrace one overarching idea and then focus all messages and policies to support this defining idea. While it is true that Americans want change, we are a fairly risk-averse culture.  What we actually want is to change course toward a destination that is safe and secure.  We want a secure future that inspires optimism.  We want a secure future we can leave to our kids.   Some will argue for a return to a past that seems, in foggy hindsight, to be more secure than today.  But if the past was so