Reinvention Through Play

How to Shape Better Branded Experiences Few industries exhibit the symptomatology requiring a prescription for innovation more potently than the world of biopharmaceuticals. With players across the healthcare system looking to introduce patient-centric design to their services, it’s easy to see where challenges remain. Due to the regulatory barriers they face, biopharmaceutical companies seem to…

Pay, Pray, or Play: How to Win at Building Brand Love

What is that indefinable brand quality every company wants to achieve in the minds of their customers? Advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi calls it “loyalty that goes beyond reason,” or, more simply, “love.” This level of devotion may even have physiological implications. In 2011, the BBC program Secrets of Superbrands worked with a team of…

What is Sound Design?

Sound design is the art and practice of creating, collecting, adapting, and producing audio elements. Like any other type of design, sound design is a process that involves turning an idea into an outcome. What makes sound design different are the tools used in that process. Whereas a graphic designer’s toolkit includes typography, images, and…

Designing Your Personal Brand

I recently told a friend that I was writing a piece about designing personal brands. “Sounds pretty gimmicky to me,” he replied. My friend’s response is not unusual; personal branding is often misunderstood and consequentially gets a bum rap. For many, it means a logo on your business card or designing a website. Others, like…

Why Storytelling is Important to Business

As long as there have been humans, there have been stories. Stories, told orally, were one of the first forms of human communication, and, in large part, were used to learn from one another’s experiences. Today, they are still at the center of all that we do and say. However, when we think of stories,…

Mistaking Process For Purpose and Tinkering for Thinking Pt. 1

Process and method are both necessary aids and major obstacles to innovation. Process is clearly necessary for organizing thought and action, planning rigorous research, and aligning groups of people towards a common goal. However, people have a tendency to elevate process so that it becomes the end in itself and not a means to the…

Storytelling and the Quest for Brand Authenticity

Human beings are storytellers. We use stories to understand and explain what life means, and we use big stories, or myths, to teach ourselves important lessons. Sisyphus and his endless attempt to push the rock up the mountain; Raven the Trickster who brought light into the world; Gilgamesh and his quest for eternal life. These…

Is Your Brand the Problem? Think Again.

When companies struggle to launch innovative new products, find growth or – most importantly – improve business performance, they often blame the brand. It’s either a lack of customer engagement, or not having enough brand awareness and customer activation. However, that is not always true. I recently spent time with a group of mid-level executives…

There’s Emotion in the Function of a Brand

One doesn’t need a big canvas to paint the “emotional” picture of the current brand state: a climate where brand positions sit at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, regardless of category engagement, in an attempt to create ownable and conceptual distance from a mass of me-too brands. Despite this strategy’s ability to establish…

For Pharma, Branding is all About Chemistry

You could say that the pharmaceutical business is all about chemistry. Discovering new compounds that will mitigate or eliminate the impact of disease is the reason that companies like Pfizer, LEO Pharma, AstraZeneca, GSK, and AbbVie are in business. Because they have traditionally been focused on the chemical compound, their business model is built around the product.…