FUSE Symposia Starts Strong


Tina Zinter-Chahin,  Fisher-Price kicked us off with a strong start talked about integrating a year long relationship with BANE in a strategic deconstruction of Fisher Price’s brand architecture- sponosred at the top and then directed with middle management to get things done. Working with multiple design consultancies to create a common game plan.  Achieved a tremendous amount of work quickly.
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Sarah Dear of Elmwood and Sinia Whitney-Guest of Morrisons took on a journey for transforming brands to adapt faster to the incredibly increased pace of change.  The successful brands are not the strongest or more intelligent but those that adapt to change best. So what can etailers to do fight the online erosion.  Unlike Borders, Morrisons anticipated and made real change.  For example, their “Field to fork” program is actually breeding authentic cattle to crate the best British meet. And then they changed their retail environment, Market Street, feels likes real shops within the store.  They trained their employees to be the best bakers, butchers, florists, fish mongers, etc.  Tell a compelling story.  Convenience meals prepared and refrigerated. By 2016 3billion British pounds.  Guilt associated with this.  Retell that story.  M Kitchen story to become more personalized.Carried that story forward to the redesign of Morrison’s entry price point food brand, M Savers.  They took the sigma out of buying cheap by personifying the brand and speaking with humor, celebrating entry price point.   
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Melissa Tarquini of The Food Network, reinventing how to connect with consumers who refuse to watch from their living rooms but want to engage on the train, while shopping, while preparing food, after dinner. The Food Network changes with these changing user’s needs.  The corporate organization has its own agenda and believes they are the only folks who “own the brand”.  Users own the brand.  In the past digital fought with broadcast but Melissa helps integrate this.  TV is the beginning of the journey but creates a logo bug that directs users to their aps, interest, face book and other digital experiences to continue the journey. 

Be careful not to overshadow the main brand with smaller brand messages.  All of The Food Network digital brands link back to the larger brand.   Key lesson, you are not in control- users will evolve the brand.  Stay with them.  Make a plan but be prepared to change it.  Be flexible.  Have fun.   Good question: What happens when your brand is made up of other personal brands?  Giatta, for example, has her own brand and that is very different from Guy and their other personalities.  Celebrate this.  It makes the brand more dynamic and interesting.
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Panel- How Interaction Design is Replacing Branding

Cliff Kuang- Fashion Editor at Fast Company Magazine
Jenny Ji, Design Director, Path
Robert Fabricant VP Creative, Frog Design

Cliff suggested that firms are defined by the experiences that people remember.  The “Magic Band” at Disney World anticipates how consumers want to engage in Disney World.   No more lines.  It helps create a much more fluid experience.  The Chase banking experience was re-made by allowing consumers to scan and deposit checks.   User experience is the new branding.   So user controls it. Who tries to shape this?  Who is the UX designer? Who leads?

Jenny added that she and her team were not classically trained in user experience but all of them are open and empathetic about the user and the audience. Users engage and want to interact.  Audiences are just there for the information.  They need to be treated differently. 

Robert talked about literacy and the consumer’s growing sophistication in many many things.  People can tell if your brand is real vs. smoke and mirrors.  This thing you once defined in one way and took for granted often evolve and become a whole vocabulary.  Google maps were the definition and then Apple maps changed that.  It failed but it changed the language and what maps could be.  They don’t always win the market but they change perception and enhance the user experience literacy. 

Everyone struggles as to whom to be the best custodian of the brand within the UX.  But look to those who are leading- check out Fidelity within the financial services sector. GE’s UX leaders have close ties to executive management.  Not yet an established model but in 4 – 5 years the value models will evolve.  Don’t copy Tivo or Netflix- Not that easy to build and sustain that relationship based on other categories.  Users interact differently with each brand.

Brands can’t just add more information- there is content overload. It’s how that information is designed to encourage “stickiness’”.   

How do you deliver hyper customized experiences without becoming intrusive or weird?  What is the balance of usefulness without “Big Brother’?   The contact and interaction has to feel personal and human, it creates the emotional response.  Brands build trust and then users invite them in and allow them to become more intimate and then the user forgives the intrusion.  Google is a good example.   

Trust is based on engagement and respect.  Listen to users and know how deep they want you to engage.  They will be honest about their perception of your brands and many times become brand advocates and recommend you to others.

Looking forward to more insights following lunch!

Rob Wallace
Managing Partner, Strategy
Wallace Church Inc
Rob@wallacechurch.com

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