Recently, I found myself in the audience of a keynote panel discussion at the annual ePharma event in New York City. There were very successful people in the pharmaceutical industry asking questions like ‘how do we incorporate digital into our company’s DNA?’

One panel member vented by saying that Pharma companies had to stop investing in apps that merely promoted and sold their own products. A few weeks later, I found myself presenting a business case to colleague of mine. A very busy woman, with many things on her plate, she began multitasking by intermittently texting with important contacts throughout our discussion. As I was making the point that ‘digital disrupts everything’ I couldn’t resist but to point out that it was disrupting the very conversation we were having. She was almost aghast at herself for her behavior and put her phone down immediately.

Though this may bother a lot of us I didn’t really mind it at all. It kind of validates the case I've made. And I think its fair to say that this behavior is much more acceptable today than it would have been a decade ago.

We are all beginning to understand it more and accept it more. We are all in some way beginning to adjust to living disrupted lives. This is a new reality that is not going to go away.

Digital has taken us over. We know this.

But we don’t yet know the long term implications of its pervasiveness. There are many exciting things about instantaneous global connection to one another. On Facebook I find myself frequently connecting with my cousins in Argentina or the nanny who helped my mom when I was a baby now living in Iceland.

I’ve had conversations with digital artists from almost every continent on the globe sitting in my living room. I’m reacquainting myself with friends from decades ago who I would have never suspected to see again if it wasn’t for ‘digital.’

Twenty years ago the smart phone didn’t exist. Today there are 5 billion. I saw a recent study that said there were significantly more images uploaded to the internet in 2011 than all of the photographs created by analog photography EVER.

Ben Blumenfeld who spoke at FUSE 2011 (then the creative lead at Facebook), shared a story about how Facebook wanted to create a language translation platform. Originally they projected enormous costs in creating the platform that would take up huge amounts of time and eat up resources. They then turned it over to their network and had a the first iteration created in days at very little cost.

So how do we adjust what we’re doing within this digital takeover?

What is the shift in the psychology that will best help us handle the digital invasion? I couldn’t possibly begin to answer this on a global scale but from a design perspective, as a director of the creation of websites and a communicator of business strategy, I’ll sum it up by saying we need to move from hierarchies to hubs.

If you haven’t wrapped your head around this yet the fundamental shift in mindset is from the traditional ‘hierarchy-type’ thinking to ‘network-type’ thinking.

This is such a great opportunity for design thinkers as it is conceptual and abstract. There is much work to be done in business everywhere. Ideas now need to be constantly drawn out and refined. It also presents opportunity for designers as ‘pollinators’ in business. In the past we found ourselves floating from team to team within a corporate structure getting an idea of “the big picture” so that we could communicate it visually in the branding and design.

Today we can actually map out this journey in order to help the business understand its own network-based structure. This creates a great gateway from servicing our clients to partnering with them.

Digital: Hubs not Hierarchies

Many companies today still find themselves trying to “tackle” digital.

Successful digital approaches begin more from the creations of ‘hubs’ than the creation of hierarchies. A strong team paves way for a strong hub. And today a strong hub can create a global language translation platform accessible to the entire planet within days. A little insight can now go a long, long way. Pretty awesome.

About the Author

Dan Madinabeitia is the creative director for the Institute for International Research. He has been the design lead for hundreds of design campaigns within the events industry. Coming from a fine art background, Dan evolved into a graphic designer. Eventually he took on leadership roles involving the oversight of graphic and web design disciplines as well as the creative voice behind many digital marketing strategies. His work has been published in Photoshop Creative Magazine. Follow Dan @DanMadina on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

With the ongoing noise that surrounds consumers every day and the visual noise we invite into our lives, it is hardly surprising to see the trend of simplification. Many identities are being distilled down to their core assets in an effort to cut through the clutter and be easily identified.

At shelf, this philosophy needs to play a role as more and more noise is added on what seems to be a daily basis — design cliché after cliché and a yawn fest of so called “strategy” that is merely a value proposition disguised as a value-added emotional proposition to the consumer. Detergents, breakfast cereals, oral care, and pet care are solid examples of the “shout the loudest” and “be the brightest” design strategy at play.  Consumers have wised up in recent years like never before.

They understand the tricks, the strategies, and trends. They also know what they are looking for, and get frustrated when they cannot find it. Simplification and a distillation to the brand’s core is the key. Designing for how the consumer envisions the brand is step one; step two is having them identify the brand of choice within the magic three seconds at shelf; and step three is the validation and delight with the package in hand.

Every category has a distinct design language, and a brand within that category plays a role in defining that specific language. The goal is to be able to help lead the category evolution and growth while still engaging and delighting the consumer. Not easy.

Brands with solid and distinct assets need to hold a mirror up to themselves and the internal marketing team. Strip away the elements on the package one by one until you are left with the bare minimum with still maximum recognition. Play the old Chanel trick before you leave the house — take one thing off!

Clarity and transparency will be a huge factor in the future of consumer brands. Failure to connect quickly and emotionally could prove costly. The defendable assets that reside in the consumer’s mind is where it all starts and the associations the consumer holds from identity to emotion.

About the Author

Dyfed “Fred” Richards
Worldwide Creative Director, Consumer Branding

As a recognized leader in the global world of consumer brands, Fred champions the CPG team at The Brand Union. In his role as Worldwide Executive Creative Director, he collaborates closely with the network’s 23 offices. Fred has developed an unparalleled personal view on the new global consumer shopping and purchase habits and trends impacting retail and brand communications. He is currently bringing his invaluable strategic insights to clients such as GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitt Benckiser, and Kraft.

Fred has worked in the international design industry for more than 20 years, specifically in the CPG category. Having worked for some of the world’s leading branding and design companies in Britain, the USA, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and New Zealand, he brings a multifaceted perspective and rich design philosophy to The Brand Union. Fred has led global teams for P&G, Bayer, Wrigley, AT&T, Valvoline, Lowe's, and Kroger. The retail, packaging, and design work that Fred developed for Swarovski more than ten years ago still stands today. Other former clients include Unilever, Kellogg’s, Bayer, Roche, Nestlé, Miller, and Guinness.

A much sought-after speaker at client and industry events, Fred is often featured for his thought leadership in international press publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Fast Company, Graphis, Communication Arts, Brandweek, and Shelf Impact. 



Fred is an avid rugby union player and fan. He has represented the Chicago Blaze Rugby Club, Ealing Rugby Club in London, and his hometown team in North Wales. 



Wow! What a kick-start futurist, Magnus Lindkvist gave the FUSE audience this morning.  One of the most entertaining, engaging and informative talks I have ever heard (and I have heard a lot of talks in the past).  Magnus not only gave us an articulate vision of the future but a way of dealing with it.  He enticed us with the challenge, “Letting go of ideas is the pinnacle of inventing the future”.  Free yourself from conventional wisdom and anticipate new thinking.

He discussed globalization and mentioned that we have not truly realized this imagined status.  Only 5% of people live outside o the country where they were born.  He bemoaned the fact that globalization is simply “copy and pasting” culture, architecture and experience from one location to another.  Tokyo looks like New York. Shenzhen looks like Dubai. Magnus sees this same copy/paste mentality in branding and product innovation, renaming R&D “Rip Off and Duplicate”.  This iteration rather than true innovation causes lots more competition between similar brands rather than a truly new experience.

He suggested that rather than these “horizontal” shifts in culture; we need “vertical” shifts.  Technology is one of these vertical shifts.  Digitization and Digitalization will truly accelerate change and make the future more radically different than today.  Part of our future we can predict now with certainty.  We now for example how many 70 year olds we will have in the next 50 years, but we do not know is how they will behave.

And so, in this uncertain future we need to determine if we are going to just compete or truly create.  He offered 3 tenants that we need to embrace if we are to be truly creative.

1.     Willingness to Experiment- the need to try new and potentially dangerous things.   He showcased a book called “50 dangerous things you should allow your children to do”. He suggested we teach our kids how to take safe chances and learn from them.
2.      Embrace Failure- be willing to recycle past failures and improve upon them.  He mentions that nothing ultimately fails faster than success.  When we are successful we feel that we are immune to change, and that always catches up with us.
3.     Foster the Virtue of Patience:  Success takes time but persistence and willingness to learn from failure is the only way to guarantee lasting success.

He ended with a truly compelling video clip of a lone dancer at an outdoor music concert who was unabashedly just going for it.  Slowly one by one he gathered followers.  Soon there was a tipping point where those who were sitting started to feel out of place and then everyone got up and danced.   He used this as analogy to the designer and encouraged us to be the crazy dancer.    I wanted to rip off my sport coat and shirt and dance as we all gave him a standing ovation.


Dennis Furniss- VP Global Design Unilever then took up the goal of designing brands for life.  As the first VP of Design in this huge, 100 year old company, Dennis mentioned that creating brands for life is very different from creating brands for consumption.  Unilever’s goal is to improve life through their products. He talked about this mission and how his management team is driven to shift thinking within this huge organization to make products that are relevant, ethical and responsible. Their measure of success is to double the size of their business but not increase their carbon footprint in the process. 

He sees the goal of design at Unilever to solve problems not just create solutions.  This interesting distinction was then further defined in the remainder of his personal story and his relationship with design.

He had a short video clip of 6 boxes being opened, each containing an object that helped him tell his story.  An orange is a perfect object that reflects the never-ending cycle of re-generation. The year 1969 reminded him of being a boy and watching the lunar landing while still using an outhouse and marveled at this contrast.  This served to highlight how Unilever is now on a quest to provide proper sanitation to developing worlds. The erector set called Mecano was used as an analogy for building things, breaking them down and rebuilding them, learning from the mistakes and enhancing mastery. The empty box was the analogy for inventiveness.  It’s not an empty box but a container for a gift, a child plaything, and endless number of things that come from looking beyond the expected and developing the unseen opportunity.  The stone became a symbol of usefulness.  Design is purposeful and concrete.

In the end he left us with the idea that design needs to influence how we think and not just how we execute.  He represents the next generation of Unilever thought leadership and the courage to be bolder, more assertive, more daring.

The senior vice president of one of our collective mentor brands then took us on a case study of the evolution of Target’s design-driven differentiation.  Shawn Gensch, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Target gave us an understanding of how design differentiated the Target experience from the other discount retailers who were formed in the same year, Wal-Mart, and Kmart.  Shawn acknowledged that differentiation based on the lowest price is a “zero sum game,” a race to the bottom.  Target played this game well for a period of time, but because of the size and scale of Wal-Mart, they would never be able to win.  Rather, in the late 90s, they embraced design to transform the bullseye into “an icon of affordable chic.”

He deconstructed ad campaigns and early relationships with Michael Graves, Philippe Starck and other designers to bring style to everyday things. By representing even the least design driven, commodity products in a new, fashionable way, it gave the everyday elements some flair. They moved the ad campaign to the runway and used a fashion parable to further differentiate the brand. This spawned the Everyday Collection and their limited-time fashion house offerings. Social media helped continue the story and close the gap between the brand and its guests.  

Shawn left us with an important and reoccurring theme of the day, take chances, embrace change and have fun!

Virginia Postrel, Author of “The Substance of Style” and her new work, “The Power of Glamour”, then diligently deconstructed the history and current redefinition of Glamour.   Virginia grounded us in the entomology of glamour with its mystical roots as an illusion of reality.  She traced the use of the term through literature, the military and aviation and into its contemporary description of indulgent luxury.  She aptly defined glamour as “an inarticulate longing” It creates the feeling, “I wish I could be like that”.  The perception that life would be perfect if I had that home, that watch, those shoes, etc. 
She even looked at the visuals that defined Obama’s 2008 campaign suggesting that it embodies everyone’s ideal of what they wanted in government, in American society.  

Glamour provides a promise of escape and transformation.  From the indulgent fashion and travel photography to the ad campaign for Corona beer and the offer to “find your beach”.  Glamour also has a grace to it, the appearance of effortlessness that masks any possible flaws.   She highlighted the power that this experience has and will always have in allowing us to imagine and ideal possible within our lives and to attach that to an object or a brand.  Powerful indeed!


We had the chance to explore the mind of the independent film maker and story teller Tiffany Shlain as she introduced us to the “cloud film making”, or requesting video clips through a global social network and weaving them into a unified story.  

She chronicled her career from early days of collecting film clips and re-assembling them to her new venture of sending a message out through the internet and assembling many messages into one unified story.  She embraced the Internet very early on recognizing it as a social phenomenon.  She founded the Webby Awards and owned it through the dot com boom and bust.  She explained that 9/11 had a profound impact and encouraged her to go back to filmmaking but to incorporate new technology to dramatically simplify the process. She celebrated our global collectiveness, our inter-dependency through a cloud film from the contribution of people across the globe.  She then provides this film to not for profit organizations to support awareness and development funding. She left us with the thought that since every smart phone now allows you to take video, there is no barrier between the filmmaker and the storyteller.  Stories are more real, more authentic.  This will only become more evident as new generations and the rest of the world comes on line.


A panel of corporate design leaders and a consultant explored the client/agency relationship. Moderated by Wendy Orner of Procter & Gamble, corporate design leaders Adrienne Powers of Kraft, Jon Denham of ConAgra, Jennifer Giannotti-Genes of Colgate-Palmolive and Rob Swan of Brand Image provided a candid analysis of what works and what does not.   The metaphor of “marriage” was offered up and then discussed as it relates to the best agency/client relationships.  The definition of “partnership” was explored.  Elements of trust and mutual respect were outlined with specific antidotes.  Both sides discussed the value of making an investment in each other and the brand stewardship that evolves.  Honesty, directness, transparency and empathy were also featured as essential components of every interaction. 

The ideal client was describes as one who has courage and conviction, who maintains consistency of direction and helps navigate the complexities of the large client organization.  Borrowing Steven Webster’s quote, the ideal client is “a preacher, a teacher and a game show host”, evangelizing best practice, educating its team on the process and rewarding those who follow it.   The design director as an enabler, a creator of design thinking culture.  A translator, of the internal culture’s language, helping tell the back-story and unmasking the hidden politics and cultural traps that live under the surface.  And the design director must be a soldier, fighting for best practice, protecting the consultancy and allowing them to do their best work.  

Wendy’s presentation with Leo Burnett and her design firm partners from yesterday were referenced as one of the most effective case studies of advertising and design collaboration.  The agency relationship is determined and run by executive management while the design firm selection does not have access to this level of decision makers. Adrienne suggested that this collaboration could become a reality when the design firm is engaged on a longer-term retainer rather than a project-by-project basis.

This session ended way too soon for many of us. Later discussion suggested that an entire day could be devoted to just this topic at future FUSE sessions.


Daniele Monti of Starbucks then detailed the Tazo tea brand identity evolution.  Since its launch almost a decade ago the brand went through a series of what Daniele called “face lifts”.  New products were added periodically but the brand had not been truly renovated in some time and its relevancy had eroded.   So much so, that in 2009, the brand was pulled from international markets and replaced with the Starbuck’s logo—despite the fact that this old logo still had the word “coffee” in it green circle.  This did not matter.  In fact, this rebranding increased sales significantly.   It was time that the Tazo brand owned its own story.

The first step in Starbuck’s rebranding process was to identify and personify its inspirational user.  They named these users Zack and Zoe and defined them as highly discerning and somewhat skeptical authenticity seekers.  They defined what brands Zack and Zoe had real affinity with and imagined what was in Zoe’s bag and Zack’s backpack.

The compelling brand experience that Tazo could uniquely own was “life reblended”.    Tazo is cultured, refined without being unapproachable.  Daniele shared an interesting chart where the design exploration was mapped out in context of how evolutionary or revolutionary each aspect of the exploration should be.  For example, the logo could evolve, but because other elements had little equity, the design architecture, the product segmentation strategies, the flavor communications, the color palettes could all be revolutionized.  And team leaders courageously determined they wanted to see some totally revolutionary concepts just to learn from.  The resulting design exploration was more focused and effective. 

The selected design architecture eliminated the restrictive holding shape behind the logo and celebrated the ingredients in an unconventional and beautiful way.  Herbs were photographed in a unique way.  Powdery ingredients were represented in new, playful shapes.  The design’s shelf impact was enhanced with a color device that appears to link adjacent packages.  This new brand identity system was then transformed into new communication standards.  Typestyles, boarders, textures and all other visual elements were defined and their usage confirmed.  This was used to design the brand’s web site and its signature retail store in Seattle.   Overall this was a compelling presentation of design processes that resulted in a most successful new brand experience.


Bringing insights from her work on both the client and the consultancy side of the business, Karen Laisster-Bryan of Design Resource Center described the tenants of the design best practices.   She suggested that the brief must include objective success criteria and the analytical tools to determine they are maintained.  This prohibits arbitrary critiques and a moving target that causes scope creep.  She warned that design couldn’t precede strategy.  One must know the brand story first and design against it.  She warned that research is not a diagnostic tool, “which one do you like best”, but rather an opportunity to gain an understanding of how specific design elements make the consumer feel, using research to help shape the best strategies and only then execute against them. 
Lastly she suggested that the design process should know when to stop, to question the last tweaks.  Designers and decision makers should not loose conviction or chicken out but remain consistent and vigilant in maintaining objective criteria.  She left the team with the idea that the “bake off” or selecting multiple firms to do an initial design exploration dilutes the impact that one dedicated firm can create.   This comment brought a number of big smiles on the faces of the consultants in the room.


Steven Peters of No Mimed Media ended a most successful conference with an engaging story that used text messaging, web site access, a Youtube posting, Google search, and cell phone calls to tell a story that can become more compelling if delivered in multiple and unexpected touch points across multiple tools. 

He painted the vision of entertainment where once you have purchased the tickets to a movie you get a phone call from the characters to give you a bit of a back story before you enter the theater.  After the movie, you could dial the character’s cell number and hear a message from them that gives you a richer context.  He warned that it’s easy to be sucked into the allure of new technology but suggested that the story is paramount.  Only engage when the story will benefit from the use of technology.

------------------------------------------
This, the largest and most successful FUSE conference ever, concluded with sincere thanks to Debbie Millman and Cheryl Swanson, co-chairs who created and evolved this brand with the help of IIR’s Kim Rivielle and Krista Vasquez.  We as an industry owe a great debt of gratitude to their collective efforts.  They are to be acknowledged for their vision, their passion and their incredible contribution to our industry’s success.  Again Deb and Cheryl, thank you!

Looking forward to engaging with all of you again next year!

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




Steve Peters, Founder of No Mimes Media, gave a brilliant session on crafting stories across media.  What made this especially powerful was that instead of merely telling us what a story could be like, he instead immersed the entire audience in the story, making the session participatory and a co-created experience.

The emphasized that the goal of the story is to make people feel like they're in a movie, not merely digesting a commercial.  This was wonderfully highlighted through the below snippet from A Christmas Story.
 

Media is being used now as it's always been used.  To be the vehicle for commercials.

He pointed out that using various media creatively will take a while to become common place, as it is analogous to what happened in early films.  Those early movies were essentially successive pictures on an uncut reel of film, and it took a while before filmmaking became an art and a science of its own.

Truly a wonderful, whimsical, and thought provoking session to end FUSE2013. 

How will you weave multiple strands of media into the story of your brand?

Jenni Pulos is an Entertainer and stars on Bravo's "Flipping Out".  She shared her story, of how her life had taken multiple bad turns, her relationships had fallen apart, and she was afraid of moving forward.  Yet, move forward she did, and things couldn't be better for her.

I would've liked more detail in her talk, but, nevertheless, it was heartfelt and inspiring.

Her biggest theme? 

Don't be afraid to fail.  Keep moving forward and embrace who you are, where you've been, and where you're going.

Do that, and you can't go wrong.





Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation
www.zenstorming.com

Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards, is the type to dive right in when it comes to the use of new technology. While many people, especially filmmakers, shy away from foreign mediums or technologies, Tiffany grabs at any opportunity to make new contributions to her filmmaking process, keeping in mind, “If not now, when?”

 An affinity for collaboration started at a young age and from the start of the web, Tiffany was fascinated by connecting with other people around the world through the internet. It was only a matter of time until these two ideas would come together to form cloudsourcing. Cloud filmmaking came to be when Tiffany began cloudsourcing by asking people over the web to contribute their own visual media towards her films. For the first film, people from all around the world answered by sending their own videos and artwork resulting in a four minute film that was voluntarily translated into 65 different languages, all done over the internet. The cost and ease of cloud collaboration has allowed her to begin the production of a fourth film in less than two years. The films collectively show the immense power of connecting with people through the internet.

 Our co-evolution with this ever connecting internet is changing the way we think as well as creating one collective mind. Comparing this new collective mind to the brain of a child, Tiffany explains the importance of the content we are creating and the connections we are making on the internet as they are shaping and molding this newborn mind. Her latest cloud film, Brain Power, explores the parallels between the child and global brain while offering a few insights on structuring both minds.



Watch Brain Power



 Quoting Tiffany Shlain’s own interpretation Abraham Maslow’s Law of the Instrument, “If all you have is a camera, everyone has a story to tell.”




-Jessica Genualdi
Love this Interactive Forum.  It started a little late but was well worth experiencing.

We've all encountered those times when data might say one thing, and our guts say another.  This session looked at how people defined 'gut' and made gut decisions.  After the session ended I realized that gut is also forward looking; no amount of data will ever tell you what people want in the future, because, strictly speaking, the future is unknown.  That's why it's important to be able to imagine the future.

Would've loved to have had more time with this session.







Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation
This panel discussed differentiating brand through design.

As often happens with panel discussions, this one had wonderful insights that were perhaps more tangentially than directly related to the topic at hand.

Much of the discussion centered around the challenges that designers face in organizations, from bureaucratic hurdles, to obstructions, to free flowing creativity.


Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation
www.zenstorming.com
If you ever felt like you were powerless to create because you didn't have the resources, this talk was for you.  Tiffany shared her story, from traditional filmmaker to collaborative cloud filmmaker.  By leveraging the power of the cloud, the creative process is empowered.  People are able to make, share, and distribute at a scale that would have been cost and time prohibitive, not to say anything of logistics.

Her main takeaway?

It's about interdependence.  It's about moving from being a lone ranger to leveraging the power of shared wants and needs throughout the world, vie the World Wide Web.

Inspiring and Powerful.  Share and be more!




Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation
www.zenstorming.com
Author and Columnist, Virginia Postrel gave a thorough treatment of Glamour: what it is and how it's used.  Starting with the history of the definition of glamour and working through to how glamour is seen today, she shared how crafting illusion and addressing people's unarticulated longings is key to engaging people on the level of glamour.








Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation
www.zenstorming.com
Shawn Gensch shared the story of Target and how they have seen themselves as forging a conversation between their brand and their customers. 

It was a fascinating trip down memory lane with an ever-present theme of connection to their most faithful customers.  Target has continued to forge that relationship while branching out and supporting the community in myriads of ways.  Target is definitely living design, not just doing it.

 
 
 
Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation
Dennis Furniss is the VP of Global Design and Unilever.  He took a different approach that highlighted 6 aspects of crafting brands.  His session was inspirational and down to earth.  The key takeaway is that designers can, and should be, more engaged and taking leadership roles.

It's time to not only be about products, but to teach and to help shape how people think, how they approach the world and its problems.

Look for opportunities and be bold enough to take the lead. 






Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation
www.zenstorming.com
The final day of FUSE2013 kicked off with a high energy talk by author and futurologist, Magnus Lindkvist.  Filled with humor and keen insights into the present, while pointing the FUSE participants at the portal of the future, the heart of this session was simple: Don't think in terms of good and bad, don't dwell in just the horizontal, but think of possibilities, certainties and uncertainties, horizontal globalization and vertical magic.  We are amazed by technology, but won't be forever.  We are probably the last generation that will not take interconnectedness for granted.

For a look at other concepts, here is my take on Lindkvist's talk:


To see full size


Click here to see full size


 
 
 
Michael Plishka
President
ZenStorming Solutions, LLC
Designing Innovation


Virginia Postrel on the subject of Glamour. 

Virginia wrote "The Substance of Style" which is still one of few books which flew in the face of existing design momentum. Design as a practice was sick of being subjected to the "style" department, Virginia made a contrarian and elegant argument in favor of style. 

The book should be on every book shelf where the word "design" is used.

She now takes us on a test drive into the world of Glamour. It is often uncomfortable for an audience to participate in a contrarian test drive. When the world is moving toward transparency, Virginia talked about translucence. 

Here are some of the items she put in the ears and minds of the FUSE audience. 
First, Achilles was the original war hero portrayed as glamorous. Aviators portrayed as glamorous. 

What is glamour?
– An illusion "known to be false but felt to be true."
 Depends on audience response.
 Not something you have, something you feel.
 Fragile.

Glamour is like humor.
– It can occur spontaneously. 
 It can be crafted.
 The audience's reaction determines whether it works.
 Too much scrutiny destroys it.

Nonverbal persuasion taps into what is lacking, not in the form of a need but rather a want. The idea, "life would be perfect if I lived in that house."

Why are windmills on McDonald's cups? Throw some turbines in there and it will have "green" glamour. Windmills are glamorous, yes windmills. Obama, he was the glamorous candidate. People project onto him what they desire in their country. 

The elements of Glamour. 
– Promise of escape and transformation: emotional core.
 Grace: the central illusion, effortlessness, hiding all the flaws.
 Mystery: defining perceptual quality.

Grace: Glamour is effortless as it appears to be without effort, even though we know it's hard. The harder we know it is, but the more effortless it seems, the better.

Grace: Specifically dark-room grace is the idea of having an image, then fixing it up. Like the fact that you never see a lamp cord in an ad. Or the Joan Crawford photos,  she was covered with freckles but they are all taken out, and not by Photoshop. Even a paparazzi photo of "wind-blown Jackie", cropped to focus on her, is spontaneously edited to design glamour. 

After all Virginia gave, the final and the most memorable point was just this:

Ralph Lauren never went to Africa, but has a clothing line designed around glamorous images of Africa. And, when asked, Ralph said he would have never designed the line in the same way if he had actually been to Africa.  

Glamour is not about revealing "real" but rather about deeper aspirations in the human spirit. Glamour may be seen as bad in today's economic and environmental conditions, but Virginia made a persuasive, professorial argument for the rest of us to take a new look. 

Thank you, Virginia, for "being a silly dancer" in front of all of us. Impressive.


Aaron Keller
Managing Principal
Capsule

Debbie Millman, President of  STERLING BRANDS; Chair, Masters in Branding, SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS; Author of BRAND THINKING AND OTHER NOBLE PURSUITS, and Chair of FUSE put together this 11-minute retrospective of the endurance, longevity and personal history of the FUSE: Design & Culture, Brand Strategy, & Packaging event.

Take the FUSE journey with us, we've merely begun:

 
On the third and final day at FUSE 2013, Magnus Lindkvist, a trendspotter and futurist, began with an enthusiastic conversation about time, change and the future. We live in a progressive society where change is meaningful. Our fast paced technology is allowing for impulse entrepreneurship and the ability to connect suppliers, needers and users very quickly with temporary business.

 How can we make the best of the fleeting opportunities that are floating around us? There are current beliefs and thoughts that impede creativity and change for the future. One is our culture’s focus on competition which is crippling to innovation and change because competition and creativity have absolutely nothing in common. Competition is to copy and creativity is to making new. “The future,” Lindkvist says, “will always be completely unexpected.” We can’t know, and in that uncertainty we need to make a choice to compete or create.

The three things needed for successful creativity:

1. Experimentation : Don’t be afraid to do things differently
2. Falire and Recycling : The failures are what you need to focus on to find new ideas
3. Patience and Persistence is key : Twitter didn’t explode for three years. Their patience and persistence changed the way the world communicates. Think about that!
');
?orderby=published&alt=json-in-script&callback=mythumb\"><\/script>");

Most Popular