The final afternoon here at Fuse was filled with user stories for me. I jumped between tracks from 3D: Translating Brand Connection Through Form with Justin Coble, Industrial Design Manager, MARS CHOCHOLATE NORTH AMERICA to Brand strategy: Marketing Unlearned with Anthony R. Albanese and Sam Swartz of DUKE CANNON SUPPLY CO. to 4D: The Reset: Reinventing Windows Phone with Chris Acker, Design Program Manager, WINDOWS PHONE.
The one similar vein between all tracks was tales of knowing your user, and building a strong brand identity to speak to them.
Justin Coble from Mars Chocolate spoke of Mar's goal of "building memories" through their products. The user experience of a candy container would likely be simply to buy it and throw it away, but novelty seasonal items with an ornament top for example, kept the M & M brand in users home year on year as an object connected with a holiday memory.
The team from Duke Cannon supply co left us with some key (un)learnings such as:
Unlearn "Let's be everything to everyone!" When you extend your brand you lead to confusion, cannibalism in brand equity and marginal-ism
Or "It's too capital intensive to launch new items" Reality: there is a co-packer for everything now, and new distribution channels deliver unprecedented access to consumers, and when it comes to marketing with good ideas it's possible to do more with less. Another unlearning is that robust research is critical to success. Despite strong research, most ideas fail anyway and in the meantime competitors may succeed in the space. Learn to fail quickly and inexpensively.
Chris Acker spoke of both the research behind relaunching the Windows Phone, focusing on a specific real family as users to connect with their consumers, as well as the reality of designing the user interface. Microsoft developed a "design language" called Metro for the phone, using certain principals to guide every aspect of the design. This included such elements as "Fierce reduction of unnecessary elements" - by simplifying they bring delight to the user.
Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a
specialization in marketing. She may be reached at email@example.com