It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. The FUSE 2016 program is here! Download the FUSE 2016 Brochure for full program details: http://bit.ly/1jfVHy1

FUSE 2016 Miami
Designing Brands with Purpose
April 4-6, 2016
Nobu Eden Roc
Miami, FL
Visit the website: http://bit.ly/1jfVHy1

The pressure to build meaningful connections with your consumers has never been greater.  Brands built on trust, empathy and purpose are thriving in our new economy. Join us and discover FUSE 2016: celebrating a new synergy of brand strategy and activation, design, culture and trends to build better brands that change the world.

Exclusive Savings – Use code FUSE16BL for a $100 discount. Register today: http://bit.ly/1jfVHy1

We hope to see you in Miami this spring!

Cheers,
The FUSE Team
@NextBigDesign
#FUSE16

Nextbigdesignblog.iirusa.com
After a week that ended with horrific violence and atrocity, it was warming to see so much support for both France and Beirut. Many gave their respect to the events in Paris by gathering together and acknowledging a moment of silence, and others made signs with the peace symbol. However this peace symbol was different. This time, the lines in the middle of the circle made up the Eiffel Tower. You’ve probably seen it by now, as it’s all over social media at this point, but what you probably don’t know is how this design got started. According to an article posted on Fast Company this week, a 32-year-old French designer by the name of Jean Jullien created the image upon hearing about the news while on vacation abroad. “"I wanted to create a symbol of peace,’ Jullien says of the hand-drawn illustration that combines the Eiffel tower and the universal symbol of peace. ‘It was a raw reaction. It was the only thing I could think of doing and my way of expressing to all of my loved ones in Paris ... I was thinking about them…’” In the article Jullien also stated that the world needs symbols that can express what we cannot, at the moment, say. The image, which he posted to all of his social media accounts has become a global symbol for the hope and support for the victims’ families in Paris. After 24 hours, the image was posted by Instagram and accumulated more than 1.3 million likes. In dark times, like the ones we find ourselves in today, it is uplifting to have images to remind us of our unifying factor; that human good will prevail.


Ever since I was little I always hated taking my temperature. I always worried the thermometer wasn’t sitting right or, if checking it via mouth, that it would be affected by the cold drink I had just drank. But we live in the future folks. Now, according to a Fast Company article, there is such thing as a temperature reading sticker for babies. That’s right. Not only are you able to tell the temperature of a sick one, but they are able to wear a cool sticker for it! The sticker is called The Fever Scout and is priced currently at $59. “It’s a reusable sticker that you apply to your baby’s torso to constantly monitor his temperature. Via Bluetooth and an accompanying app, it will send a trend graph of temperature updates to your phone, and even wake you in the middle of the night if a fever gets too high.” This cool new piece of technology comes from a company called Vivalnk that also enlisted NewDealDesign, the firm behind the Fitbit. The article also goes into quite a bit of detail on how the product was designed and how the design of the finished product eases the mind of parent with a sick child. “…the worst case scenario for The Fever Scout would be that, instead of being a device that can worry for a parent, it became a conduit to amplify their concerns with more data points.” I highly recommend reading the entire article, as it is a fascinating technological innovation and provides interesting insight as to how it these innovative pieces are designed.

An article on Fast Company this week discusses the development and design of Samsung’s Gear VR as it was largely spurred on by consumer insights. According to the VP of Immersive Products and Virtual Reality, Nick DiCarlo, “’Consumer and developer feedback is critical and all of the tweaks we’ve made to the device have been as a result of what we hear from the community. We are committed to continuously improving and bringing this amazing new technology to millions, and that takes a careful ear to listen and learn from the passionate VR community and developers we work with every day.’” Many consumers had comments from the previous version that centered around the touchpad which is located on the right side of the headset. In its newest version, Samsung changed the touchpad from being flat and squarish, to a cross-shaped groove that is more conducive to swiping up and down. This article is great example of how consumer insights and market research can impact the design of a product and its evolution thereafter.


Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
Whether you’re starting brand strategy from scratch or reviewing your business’s current strategy to make sure it reflects the goals for your business, there are a few key things you should know. According to a recent Business2Community article, here are 7 ways to nail down your best brand strategy.


You should know:

Who You Are. This may seem simple, but it can be more difficult than you expect. The more you know about who you are as a business, the better you’ll be able to communicate that to your customers.

What Makes You Special. It’s important to identify your unique attributes in comparison to your competitors, but it can also be valuable to see how you’re unique from a broader industry perspective. Things like how you run your team, how you interact with people online, what you value as a company, how you talk, how you look, etc, are all part of what makes your business special.

Your Purpose. This is one of the big questions and one that’s just as important for a brand to answer. Why does your brand exist? What is it designed to do? What’s your vision? Without a solid answer to these questions, your brand won’t be very meaningful or effective.

Your Audience. Identifying exactly who your brand wants to serve, what their interests are, where they spend time, and what they care about will guide your marketing efforts and your business development journey.

What You Are Doing. Your brand’s mission statement should very clearly explain what you’re doing and why. In addition, your daily business activities should tie back to these central goals.

How to Communicate. You can’t develop solid a brand communication strategy until you’ve answered the questions above. After you’ve identified who your brand is, why you exist, what you’re doing and for whom, you can figure out how to talk to your target audience and what kind of tone your brand should have.

Where to Invest Time. It’s true that where we invest our time is where we invest our lives. So, it’s also important to identify where the brand should be spending its time, both in person and online.


Want more on developing a brand? Attend FUSE 2016 in Miami, FL this spring. For more information, click here
Preview the Just Released FUSE 2016 Agenda! Download it here: http://bit.ly/1S1zOOM

The pressure to build meaningful connections with your consumers has never been greater.  Brands built on trust, empathy and purpose are thriving in our new economy. Join us and discover FUSE 2016: celebrating a new synergy of brand strategy and activation, design, culture and trends to build better brands that change the world.



Build better brands and business – and change the world
April 4-6
Nobu Eden Roc
Miami, FL

Let the world’s top brands and design leaders spark inspiration and reignite your passion to create iconic design:

·         Why Beauty Matters: Stefan Sagmeister, Co-Founder, Segmeister & Walsh
·         The Evolution of Do-Good Marketing: Ellen Gustafson, Author, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder, FEED
·         PepsiCo’s Culture Design-Led Innovation: Mauro Porcini, SVP & Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo

Save your seat for FUSE while the lowest rates apply. Don’t forget to use code FUSE16LI for $100 savings, Register today: http://bit.ly/1S1zOOM

We hope to see you in Miami this spring!

Cheers,
@NextBigDesign
#FUSE16

nextbigdesignblog.iirusa.com

Fast Company this week released an article on the 3 key traits of an “exceptional designer” and they are, well, inspiring even for those of us who aren’t designers. The first trait listed is an empathetic designer with a business-savvy mindset. “Exceptional designers take an empathetic approach to not only understanding the person they are designing for but also the mindset and requirements coming from each stakeholder in the process.” Being open and respectful and capable of building relationships is listed as the second quality. If you think about it, this one really makes sense, as design often requires one to think outside the box and be open to many different directions of art. The final quality according to the article is being a selfless advocate and acting like a communication bridge. “Exceptional designers put themselves in the shoes of the person they are designing for.” So there you have it, three keys to being successful in the design industry. What do you think? Should there be others?


In a fascinating article on Fast Company this week, the author explores eerie photos that literally show people getting sucked into their mobile devices. According to the article, a photographer based out of London by the name of, Antoine Geigeris noticed that everyone is constantly connected to their phones and wanted to make a statement about it. “In a photo series entitled SUR-FAKE, Geigeris explores what he terms ‘over-exposure’ to our phones by depicting people getting their faces sucked off by their devices.” Apparently Geigeris captures an image where a person is looking down at their phone and from there, distorts the pixels of their faces using Photoshop in order to create a melting effect. “’The images weren't staged. They are all proofs, facts that I captured, and post-treated to apply my feeling on it… I used a telephoto lens so I could shoot from far away without being noticed. But sometimes I shot with a regular lens—you can literally come in front of somebody and take a picture they won't even notice. It's fascinating.’” Want to view the pictures? Click here.


Switzerland is famous for being home to many spectacular things including chocolate, accurate clocks and, self-driving what?! That’s right. Switzerland is set to soon add a driverless bus to this list. According to an article on Fast Company this week, the Swiss city of Sion will be carrying out a two-year trial with two autonomous buses starting this spring. “The buses come from startup BestMile and will be operated by SwissPost transport subsidiary Car Postal. The company’s name hints at the purpose for these small, nine-person shuttles. They are designed to cover the "last mile," the gap between a regular bus or metro stop and the passenger's own front door.” Many are saying that this design could prove to be a pleasant alternative to common ideas of having fleets of driverless taxis. Here, the idea is public transportation while putting less vehicles on the road and adding to the cluster of taxis. My one concern is the jobs that are being stolen with this move? What do you guys think? Are robotic busses worth the amount of driver jobs that will be lost?


Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
If you live in NYC or familiar with the area at all, you know full well how ridiculous and hard rent and finding an affordable place is. And just when you thought it couldn’t be worse anywhere else? This week Fast Company wrote a piece that singles out Bangkok for being so expensive, that architects created “a tiny house that can easily pop up in a parking garage…” You definitely heard correctly, by the way. The article, which discusses this portable home, states that the rent in Bangkok has gotten so expensive that people are living in parking lots and parking garages. According to the designers of the collapsible home, “’It is very difficult for young professionals to live with a bit of quality of life in the city…we noticed the issue and want to offer an alternative way of semi temporary living.’" Due to the climate in Bangkok being mild, these “pop-up” apartments are open and quite airy. Rather than solid walls, the structure is composed of a lattice-like design that allows a breeze to pass through. Named after its actual physical properties, “The Light House” is on display in the Chicago Architecture Biennial.


Museums are great for rainy days right? However, what about visiting a museum on a rainy day without having to even go outside? According to an article on Fast Company this week, The Guggenheim has just launched its first online exhibit. Troy Therrian, who is the curator of architecture and digital initiatives at the museum, believes that museums should be rethinking the architecture and the way the exhibitions are designed. “’A lot of museums have gone the way of introducing more gadgets and gizmos into their exhibitions so that people can experience [the technology] firsthand, but that doesn’t give you a sense of the effect of those things," says Therrien. ‘It’s too direct, and it's not interpretive enough. The idea for the Åzone Futures Market was to create something that would itself display the dynamics of the way that technology is controlling parts of our lives.’” In this way, the digital exhibit, called “Åzone Futures Market”, isn’t solely about technology; the exhibit IS the technology. Another important difference between the physical exhibit and Åzone is that Åzone does not have an end date. I think this is a completely unique and innovative idea for museums to perhaps model after.


A very fascinating article by Fast Company this week, discusses the work of Alexander Semenov, a marine biologist who dedicates his life and career to educating people on what organisms lie in the deep sea. His work, done through art and photography, is stunning and captures the organisms in such a way, that the reader is pulled into everything within the photo. According to Semenov, “’My own goal is to study underwater life through camera lenses and to boost people’s interest in marine biology.’" Just looking at the one photo posted with the article, I am drawn in and can’t help but study the photograph and weigh in on all the intricacies of the organism. The article also states that Semenov is going to be leading a three-year-long oceanic research trip called the “Aquatilis Expedition.” The purpose of this expedition is to study the rare and extremely fragile soft bodied organisms that reside 300 feet under water. “He's photographed a handful of these creatures, but estimates that 80 percent of them are undiscovered. The arresting images show jellyfish that look like delicate flora, iridescent Syllidae, and UFO-like Estonian indicans.” I highly recommend scrolling through the slideshow of pictures he’s put out, as they are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.


We’ve all seen the news articles and hear about it in passing, “China’s pollution problem is horrid, did you see the photos?” However, this week Fast Company wrote a piece discussing an up and coming architecture firm that plans to change this. The idea is to essentially build cities from bamboo and surround them with pollution-sucking bamboo forests. According to Chris Precht, one of the co-founders of Penda, “’Bamboo is underrated material, especially when it can be used locally.’” The article states that bamboo in a building, is two to three times stronger than a steel beam of similar weight. “The designers also envision that it could be used to create entire cities in China, using a paired system of planting bamboo groves next to buildings. For each cane of bamboo chopped down for buildings, more could be planted in the forest, providing fresh air and a constant supply of new building material for the city.” When looking at the pictures and framework for these buildings I am blown away with how feasible and modern it all looks. If this design were to actually work in a city setting, it would be a huge stride for china decreasing the pollution problem they have currently.


Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
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