At FUSE 2017, Ron Voigt, president of X-Rite Pantone, will be examining how getting specific with your vision early in the creative process helps you generate enthusiasm and buy-in, as well as expedite time to market in his session “The Counterintuitive Magic of Specificity.”
But before he takes the stage in April, we wanted to know what makes Ron…Ron.

What did you want to grow up to be when you were a child?

Ron Voigt: I wanted to be a long-distance truck driver. I was drawn to the idea of being part of the system of movement or “flow” of goods from one point to another. My collection of toy semi-trailer trucks was unparalleled.     

What was your first job?

RV: I was about 10 years old when my father employed me as a drill-press operator at his tool & die business in Essexville, Michigan. We would go to the plant every Saturday morning, and I would work for 3 or 4 hours while he took care of other business. I have very fond memories of that time even today. 

If you had one wish for the Design community, what would you wish for?

RV: That they would have equal and unfettered access to tools that allow them to simultaneously unleash their creativity while understanding exactly what they can expect to achieve when they create an actual product. 

What is the last book you read?

RV: 10 % Happier by Dan Harris. This is the story of a remarkable personal journey that led Dan to embrace “mindfulness” as the solution to the chattering, negative voices in his head. 

What is the new tech trend in design about which you are the most excited?

RV: The proliferation of high-end visualization tools (hardware and software) that allow designers to rapidly and easily express their creativity. I think we sometimes take advancements in this area for granted and, for me, they are truly revolutionary.

If you were to tell one person, "Thank you for helping me become the person I am today,” who would it be and what did they do?

RV: Gordon Bigalke was my high school debate and forensics coach, and he led our annual high school theatre productions. He challenged me to listen carefully to those around me – whether they were my teammates or opponents or fellow thespians – and then express myself in a clear and direct manner.  

How can brands prepare for the changing retail landscape?

RV: I think whatever they do it must involve enhancing their speed and throughput. I can’t think of a change that has either happened or will happen in the retail industry where speed to market won’t be part of the appropriate response. 

And finally, what Pantone color describes you best, and why?

RV: Pantone 291U. It’s a subtle blue – like the sky on a sunny day. I am a positive person. Every day I remind myself that the sky is the limit. 

Join Ron at his FUSE 2017 session to tell him what Pantone color best describes you and learn how to execute on your creative vision.
Stanley Hainsworth

FUSE 2017 presenter Stanley Hainsworth is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Tether, a storytelling juggernaut creating branding, design and advertising for a diverse range of clients such as Google, BMW Motorrad, Pepsi, Microsoft, Amazon, Gatorade and many others. He has written books on branding, is an educator, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a sought after speaker on branding and design worldwide.

As a preview to his presentation, Stanley shares his insights on how design is the face of the brand:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in branding shape your character and career?
Stanley Hainsworth:
 It was kind of the other way around. I was an actor before I fell into the world of design. I was a trained storyteller. I assumed different roles, always observing others and situations.

When I started my first job in design at Nike, I approached it in a very storytelling-centric way. And, of course, Nike had great stories to tell. When I started a project, I researched like it was a role I was going to play. I came up with the story, the backstory, the situations, the audience, all that was needed to bring a story to life, and most importantly, to make someone care about it.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
 Design is the face of a brand. It is many times the first thing that a consumer sees – the way a brand looks and speaks. Brands are born from the inside out and the outside in. Design strategy plays a role in the inside out and design meets it from the outside in. A well-designed product, brand or experience makes the person interacting with it feel uplifted and betters that moment in their day.

PB: How can you transform a brand into the role of a consumer's "friend”?
 When you think of a brand that you use regularly in your life – your beverage of choice, your shoes, clothes, car, phone, etc. – these are brands that you initially experimented with, and you liked the experience, so you eventually made those brands part of your life. You might spend as much or more time with those brands then you do your human friends. So, if the definition of a ‘friend’ is someone or something you choose to hang around with, then yes, those brand friends are part of your life.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
The design projects that give me the most long-term satisfaction are those brand projects that have a resulting product or experience that I see being incorporated into someone’s life. When I see someone walking down the street drinking a beverage that we’ve designed, or eating something we’ve designed, that makes me smile as I remember all the time and effort that went into that end result, from strategy to concepts to design to production.

Awake is a fun one. This is a brand we were able to create from scratch and come up with the positioning, design the product, the packaging, the social media program, the website, the advertising, the events and the retail elements.

Also, another one is Tatcha. This prestige beauty brand is something that we named, created, and designed all of the products and experiences that people have when they use the products in their homes. And to be able to read and view the responses from the brand fans as they experience and use the products is very heartening.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
They will have fun seeing that brands are kind of like people, and people are kind of like brands. We all try on different exteriors and personalities to find what works for us. And sometimes we need to morph them as we and brands change.

Want to hear more from Stanley? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in 
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John Silva

FUSE 2017 Co-Chair John Silva is President and Senior Creative Director at design innovation agency DuPuis Group, where he leads national campaigns for Hormel, Anheuser-Busch, Frito-Lay, Dole and WD-40.

John has been in design for 25 years. As an author, artist and diplomat, John brings design thinking to organizations as a culture shift toward more vibrant problem solving.

As a preview to his presentation, John shares his insights on how design thinking inspires new and meaningful propositions:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
John Silva:
 For me it came in a different order. I think the character I was born with is what compelled me to design, which then manifested as a profitable lifestyle (aka "career"). I've always been vastly optimistic and curious about how everything works and was that kid with "Yeah, but WHY?” Then that became, "Well, how about THIS?" But once I found that creativity and resourcefulness could make things in our world more beautiful, exciting and useful, I knew what I was going to do with my life.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
 Small d "design" is fundamental to how a brand looks, smells, feels and is the trigger and incentive for engagement. Big D "Design" is underneath and inside how a brand inspires, moves, relates and evolves. It is this higher purpose of design that forms strategies that win over time and triggers activation that provokes and disrupts.

PB: How can design thinking drive innovation?
 Both of these terms have been beat to death, so I'll rephrase as, "How can emotional intelligence spur new, meaningful propositions?" That new question answers itself.

Emotional intelligence forces non-linear, human qualities like empathy, desire and optimism into how we problem solve and build stuff. Innovation on the other hand is often dumbed and numbed too often to be only iterative change.

Meaning is what fuels the type of innovation that your original question is poking at. It's a deeper vibration than simply "new" as it alters the relationship between people and products.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
I've been fortunate and privileged to work on great, global brands, but the noteworthy programs (aka "meaningful") are not always the most visible.

Working with PepsiCo, for instance, has allowed us to contribute on many brands with high-expression, yet a very notable initiative involved designing solutions that are behind the obvious. In this case we pulled together environmental scientists, logistics and supply chain experts to assess and rethink how PepsiCo could approach the PET plastic life cycle in more sustainable, less costly and even consumer-excitable ways. Recycling was the baseline, and we blew up the entire model from there to create new, non-waste streams and behaviors that not only could solve the problem but create fresh, inspiring drivers for their business.

Another example is our strategy and design work on a wearable technology for women by Cyrcadia Health that can detect pre-cancerous cellular activity as advance warning of breast cancer. Very human and very inspiring in purpose.

PB: What is the best part of being the Co-Chair of FUSE 2017?
It's a privilege that gives me the chance to elevate the dialog around design as a driver of not only business, but more inspired living. I appreciate the opportunity to share what I can and meet others who have the same fire for fresh thinking and growth mindedness. FUSE to me is like opening day of Design Season.

Want to hear more from John? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in 
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We live in a time when cars are driving themselves, drones are dusting crops and food is being printed. Yup, the future has arrived and it is an shaking the ground below the feet of many leaders in “experienced” industries. We are modernizing everything and it isn’t an aesthetic thing, it is a real change to how brands interact with people in space and time.

The marketing, brand and design communities are equally susceptible to the shakedown. Let’s look at a recent invention (1980s) in marketing: frequent flier programs. Invented by American Airlines through the creation of a new currency, points. We, as passengers, earned them for our loyalty as they became a macro indicator of loyalty that showed up as a liability on the balance sheet of many brands. Marketers and loyalty agencies reinvented this idea to focus more on smushy, hard to understand “rewards” and less on a currency. The results allowed marketers to be more micro and measurable but perhaps less effective on a macro scale. But, at least fewer brand managers faced the CFO’s angry face when a massive liability showed up on the books.

The current state of loyalty programs is facing the soul rattling impact of blockchain. This backbone behind our new currency bitcoin and many other currencies is articulated here in an HBR article by Dan, Jessica and Alex. They are all practitioners in the field of engagement, loyalty and programs designed to quantify loyalty.

So, as a nod to our book, The Physics of Brand, let’s run this through a thought experiment. What if all loyalty currencies were on a centralized exchange where people could buy points with cash or exchange loyalty points like we do traditional currencies?  

Here’s the potential quake if an open marketplace develops with the security of a blockchain backbone. In today’s market, brand owners set the value of their points (currency) and like China, they’re sometimes inflated or deflated depending on the state of the loyalty program, brand position or other market dynamics. An open market would be less susceptible to manipulation but more open to large shifts in point value.

Now, we the people, in a blockchain system would get a lot more power to set the value through market supply and demand. Theoretically, someone could find enough airline points cheap enough to undercut the prices in certain markets. Theoretically, someone who changes jobs gets off the road may cash in on a freighter load of points. Theoretically, a brand owner could see a massive use of points and a rebalancing of this liability on their financials. Whatever the case, rebalancing of a dysfunctional marketplace (loyalty programs manipulated by brand owners) would certainly have an impact.

You might say this is a macro measurement of emotional engagement in an open market system. The brands with high emotional engagement will win and those who have tried to buy fake engagement will likely lose.

Let’s get that party started.

Now, let’s talk about the micro version, or the measurement of human emotional engagement in each individual. Your body is communicating how you feel by outputting heat, heart beats and electrical energy. You’d be highly aware of this fact if you’ve experienced the “liar” side of a lie detector test. Now here’s some interesting news: your iWatch is collecting some of that data today. Yes, your watch is getting to know you emotionally, perhaps better than your new lover. Though to be honest, Apple doesn’t seem to know what to do with your data yet. Your lover hopefully knows what to do with your data.

The horizon is short and even the brains at Capsule and Cupitor are developing a research methodology to better understand human emotion and correlate its contribution to brand value. So, someday soon Apple will know you better than the “love of your life” and while it may scare you, it may also make you a better person. It might tell you to work out more. It might tell you to eat better. It may also tell you the “love of your life” doesn’t really mean that much to you and you should wake up and reach out to the person you keep stalking on Facebook. Just kidding.

The wave of human advancement is starting to crest and what you perceive to be a darkened sky is actually a wave of knowledge shadowing your eyes. Once we’re surfing this wave, it will be an amazing adventure. We look forward to some amazing conversations at FUSE as the design, brand and marketing community can either resist the wave or surf it to a better place.

Founder, Capsule Design

March's color alert is Thrive. With it's rich, vegetal inspiration, this hue connects the power of green to keep us nurtured and vital. It is a green about growth, strength and endurance. An evenhanded color that helps maintain our balance, Thrive represents the prevalence of authentic, numerous greens emerging in our lives.

I distinctly remember the first time I saw the first commercial for the “Real Beauty” sketches campaign from Dove. I was sitting in a coffee shop, perusing Facebook (I mean diligently studying) when I came across a link on my timeline with the caption “This is SO BEAUTIFUL. Kudos to Dove.”

The commercial featured a person sitting in a chair, describing themselves to a sketch artist. They tended to use language that was not flattering, and it was clear they didn’t like describing themselves. After answering a few questions about their appearance, they were then asked to describe the person they sat next to in the waiting room. They used language that was much kinder and complimentary, and it was clear that they saw things in that person that they didn’t see in themselves.

Toward the end of the video, each person sees the sketch that the artist drew when they described themselves compared to the sketch that the artist created when someone else described them. The difference is profound, and in a beautiful way, conveys how everyone has real beauty that they don’t see.

In many ways, this video is my first memory of seeing a brand becoming human. I have seen that video several times, and I am moved to tears almost every time. By paying attention to human emotions, Dove championed a mantra that at first glance seems counter-intuitive for the beauty industry to endorse: embrace natural beauty.

In many ways, Dove started a movement within the beauty industry. In the last five years, we have seen beauty brands place a priority on featuring real women in promotions and creating products that enhance, rather than replace, natural beauty.

After I watched this video, it became clear to me that Dove (like Patagonia) is practicing an extremely important relationship skill: listening. As I am drawn to people that are excellent listeners, so I am drawn to a brand that I know listens.

Like Target, I would care if Dove disappeared. By taking the time to pause and listen to what their audience is telling them, Dove has established a relationship built on trust and authenticity. Because they have demonstrated that they care about the people they interact with, Dove's absence would be felt if they were no longer a part of society.

After all: who would remind us of our real beauty?

Maddi Wagner
Project Coordinator

By: Ronald Voigt, President of X-Rite Pantone

Have you seen the Academy Award-Winning La La Land, where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dance through the cosmos and experience alternate realities? Or the latest Apple Commercial, where Lil Buck dances down the street, up the walls, over the marquee and beyond, transported by his AirPods? Maybe you’ve seen this Russian packaging that superimposes conflicting scales.

Surrealism is bleeding into our reality, and I kind of think it’s a zeitgeist. Simply defined, surrealism strives to reconcile our dreams with reality. As Victor Hugo penned, “Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.”

The resolution of such wildly divergent polarities is quite an ambitious undertaking, no? Therein lies the power, as Carl Jung wrote: "The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites."

Image via
Our world is full of surreal happenings:

  • 10x thinking took over San Francisco years ago and continues to proliferate.
  • Fortunes are gained and lost in days, not lifetimes.
  • Children can print 3D objects, literally forming tangible objects from ‘dust.’
  • A patient may receive a heart transplant and then stand in for its original owner at a wedding.
Surrealism is oozing from our popular art and culture, and also from our technology.

Perhaps it should. I’m willing to venture that the invasion of surrealism is necessary.

It is necessary because innovations depend on it, and innovation has been stagnant. According to Robert J. Gordon, of Princeton, “With a few notable exceptions, the pace of innovation since 1970 has not been as broad or as deep as that spurred by the inventions of the special century [1870-1970]” (see his book and his TED talk).

I have found that surrealism is a great way to subvert stagnation. It is necessary to dream beyond our reality, as Elizabeth Gilbert pleads in Big Magic: “We simply don’t have time anymore to think so small.”

Are not innovators like Da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk also surrealists? I think George Bernard Shaw would agree, given his statement: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

The practice of surrealism is required in order to achieve breakthroughs of any kind. Whether it’s social evolution (MLK’s “I Have a Dream”) or technology innovation (Ford’s answer to “faster horses”), we cannot achieve revolutions without imagining, without dreaming of a future very different than our current state.

For me, I push myself and my team with these questions:
  • What if we refused to believe that it takes 9-12 months to bring new consumer products to market? What if it took 30 days?
  • What if we could envision and share the final form of a new product without having to go through the expensive commercialization process?
  • What if we could understand how a new package design would look in context of the retail shelf, the digital shelf, the pantry shelf, and in my hand before it was ever put to paper?
  • What if we could test new product concepts with photo-realistic imagery through online consumer research panels to understand if we have a winner before we even create a prototype or comp?
  • What if I could snap a picture of something that inspires me, perhaps in nature or while traveling, and apply it to fabric on my phone or find products for my home in that exact color?
What would an invasion of surrealism look like for you? How can you and your team take the plunge into surreal thinking in order to elicit groundbreaking solutions for your business?

I recommend we get to know the surrealists. I’ve mentioned a few, and there’s Wikipedia.

Leap into surrealism using these exercises:

·         Imagine the problem is solved. Write an Acceptance Speech for the success. Who will you thank? Why? (Then go find those people!)
·         Complete a sentence such as, “If I had half the budget, I would…”
·         Answer a question like, “How could we solve this problem unreasonably?”

PS: Did you know that you can now get married at a Taco Bell?

About the Author: RONALD VOIGT has been President of X-Rite Pantone since 2013. Previously, Ron led Commercial and Services Operations at Tektronix and was President, Industrial Automation at Kollmorgen (both Danaher companies). Before Danaher, Ron held several leadership positions at Delphi including a European based assignment in Paris and an executive residency at NUMMI, where he immersed himself in the methodologies and practices of the Toyota Production System. Ron earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University. Ron and his wife Rebecca reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their 3 cats, 2 children and 1 dog.

This article was originally published by MediaPost on March 10, 2017. See it here. Used by permission of the author.
Larry Logan

FUSE 2017 presenter Larry Logan has more than 30 years of success in developing brands that become the industry leaders in their respective markets. Among them were Larry’s roles at Immersive Media (the developer of Google Street View), Healtheon/WebMD, Verde Media, and Playboy’s Entertainment Group.

Currently, Larry is Chief Marketing Officer at Digimarc Corporation. He is the recipient of more than 100 Gold- and Platinum-certified records in entertainment marketing campaigns. The World Brand Congress also recently named him among the 100 Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders.

As a preview to his presentation, Larry shares his insights on the symbiosis between branding and design:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in marketing shape your character and career?
Larry Logan:
 I was with PLAYBOY magazine and the company's Entertainment Group for 17 years in various creative and marketing roles. Playboy is obviously a globally-recognized entertainment brand, and from my time there, I became acutely aware of the symbiosis between branding and design. 

At the end of the day, Playboy isn’t selling a magazine, of course, but an entire lifestyle centered on a certain attitude toward life, a way of moving through the world—and the branding of everything at the Playboy Entertainment Group was very consciously cultivated in service of that brand impact.

PB: What role does marketing play in the performance of a brand?
 Marketing is the driver with respect to articulating the attributes of the brand and providing the necessary vision and support tools to help fellow employees support that vision. These attributes must be authentic and consistent and also resonate with the ecosystem of customers, partners, vendors, the media and financial markets.

Marketing also serves as the ‘brand cop,’ with its antenna up, searching for any deviances from the attributes of the brand or lack of compliance by others in the organization, as well as with partners and vendors in the ecosystem.

PB: How can design thinking drive innovation?
 It’s been well recognized for some time now that design itself is a competitive edge, and not just with an attractive logo or pretty collateral. And, more recently, this has been seen in relation to the concept of Consumer Experience (CX) at every touchpoint.

There is little doubt designers play a critical role as thinkers and innovators, for (hopefully) they ‘live’ among the people who consume the products they work on, and it matters little whether we’re talking about a B2C or B2B marketing context because knowing the consumer is essential. Designers are also natural innovators because they have specialized skills and talents in abstract thinking, which is a key element of innovation.

PB: What are some of your most notable marketing projects?
My career has been extraordinarily eclectic, ranging from VP Creative Director at Playboy to working on breakthrough agricultural technologies. 

One project that comes immediately to mind was at Healtheon/WebMD, where I was the VP of Marketing and Communications. We went from the #14 most visited healthcare site to #1 in less than a year. We did this by focusing on the highest level and quality of content, served up in a way that addressed the anxieties and concerns of our site visitors, and their desire for the same data their doctors might access.

I often reflect back on my ‘experiences,’ and there are some great memories, such as producing the first-ever live Internet video broadcast from Mt. Everest for the Everest Environmental Expedition. Similarly, I produced the first live 360-degree video stream from the 2010 Olympics and documented the International Space Station and Space Shuttle mock-ups in 360-degree video for astronaut training.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
Packaging and packaging designers are under pressure as never before. There’s contraction among companies, a race to cut costs, and timelines are not getting any easier. But a looming threat is today’s consumers, who expect and demand information and content right at their fingertips. Unlike any previous generation, this one cares deeply about the food they eat and the products they buy.

Yet, packaging real estate is exhausted; there is no longer any room left on the package to convey detailed information. The only viable means of content delivery, either in the store or later at home, is through The Connected Package.

We’ll explore the different types of connected packaging and how brands and designers can choose the right one for their product. And, we’ll look at how this new form of modern packaging can deliver benefits to the entire enterprise, such as streamlining the supply chain and reducing waste.

Today’s packaging is not complete without a real-time link to digital content, and this is an opportunity for designers to be heroes and deliver exciting new capabilities to the brand.

Want to hear more from Larry? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in 
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Karen Hershenson

FUSE 2017 presenter Karen Hershenson is the leader of the clay street project, one of Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) top innovation capabilities, which “strives to reveal the genius of P&G people to deliver more human-centric ideas and organizations.” Karen joined the clay street project in 2008 after a 15-year career in consumer brand marketing, building and managing some of the world’s most valuable brands including Coca-ColaBarbie, and Disney.

As a preview to her presentation, Karen shares her insights on how creativity and innovation support sustainable business performance by building high-performing teams:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in consumer marketing shape your character and career?
Karen Hershenson:
 Working on brands like Coca-Cola and Barbie early in my career gave me an appreciation for the sacred relationship that brands have with their consumers. I still get goose bumps when I remember how little girls’ eyes would light up at the sight of a new Barbie doll. When you realize the role your brand plays in another person’s life, you feel a sense of responsibility to make the best possible experience for them.

PB: What role does marketing play in the performance of a brand?
 I see my role as a marketer to be both a steward and an integrator. As a steward, I guard the consumer-brand relationship, ensuring the brand stays true to its heritage, but evolves to meet the consumer’s own growing needs. As an integrator, I start with integrating human insight with business-building strategy. Then I continue by working with my cross-functional team to create and deliver a holistic experience that is consistent over time.

PB: What is an "innovation ecosystem" and how is it set up in an organization?
 An innovation ecosystem is a way to look at your organization to identify the culture you need, to deliver the business results you want. For us, it means recognizing that work is a direct reflection of the teams that are doing that work, and the system in which they operate. So if you want to change your results, you must create the conditions for innovation in all three areas — the team, the system and the work.

Often, organizations have many separate efforts directed to change culture, work processes and team building, and the results become scattered. We have found that creating a series of experiences that are connected results in overall less effort and more synergistic results in the work and culture.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?
In our early years, we touted new product launches like Ariel Gel or the creation of the consumer-facing P&G brand. But today, we assess our success on two things: 1) our ability to continually evolve and expand how we serve P&G businesses — moving from 3-month sessions at clay street to a series of short integrated experiences for an entire organization; 2) the speed of culture change we observe across the organizations where we work and the personal transformation we enable.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
A much-needed pause to help them connect their own creative dots! They will experience and learn about simple techniques they can weave into their busy days that can help make them more present and creative.

Want to hear more from Karen? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in 
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Jeremy Lindley

FUSE 2017 presenter Jeremy Lindley is Global Design Director at Diageo, the world's leading premium beverage business with an iconic collection of alcohol beverage brands across spirits and beer. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Talisker whiskies; Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas; Baileys, Captain Morgan rum, Tanqueray gin, and Guinness beer.

Prior to joining Diageo, Jeremy was head of design for Tesco Stores Ltd., where he was responsible for design across the portfolio of 19,000 private label products and for leading the store formats and design teams. During his early career, Jeremy was a design consultant and university lecturer.

As a preview to his presentation, Jeremy shares his insights on how design is at the heart of brand thinking and activity:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
Jeremy Lindley:
 I fell in love with the idea of being a designer when I was 17 years old and had to switch tracks from a very academic focus at school. Task one was to learn how to draw!  Forcing my way into a profession that my early education choices did not obviously lead towards helped me recognize that great talent and ideas can come from many non-traditional places, and it’s not just the “creatives” that can be creative.

My art school training taught me the importance of empathy (to create great design you really have to understand the end user), openness (great ideas rarely come quick and often from unexpected sources) and humility (as a designer you are not always right, there is always much to learn). These skills have served me well throughout my career.

PB: What role does design play in the performance of a brand?
 We operate in an era of multiple media channels where consumers are in control of whether to watch an advert or not. Each channel needs a unique solution – creating a 30-second advert and pushing it out to all platforms simply won’t work.

The reference point for brands used to be the advertising narrative. Today it’s the brand’s visual world – how the brand shows up across multiple applications. Design is the interface between the brand and the consumer, providing coherence and meaning throughout the whole consumer experience. If design is not at the heart of brand thinking and activity, the company will underperform.

PB: How can design connect on an emotional level with consumers?
 The human brain is designed to understand images. We’re so good at this instinctive skill that we mostly don’t realize the meaning we take from visual stimulus. Consumers take implicit understanding from every visual output of a brand; these are influenced by existing memory structures, other brands and culture.

The question for brands is less “how can design connect emotionally" - it already does! Rather, the focus needs to be on understanding how the brand already connects, what the existing memory structures already are, and how these can be developed.

PB: What are some of your recent design projects?
As Diageo is the world’s leading premium spirits business with over 100 brands in our unrivaled portfolio (these include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness), there are too many projects to mention!  One recent project of which I am very proud is the redesign of Buchanan’s whisky that won a Gold at the Design Business Association's Design Effectiveness Awards in London. I value this award because it demonstrates the business impact of design; to win you have to prove conclusively the link between design and business performance.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
I’ve been working as a designer for over 25 years; seven of those freelance and the remaining leading design within client organizations. I’ve tried to distill the key things I’ve learned from working on some of the world’s most iconic brands into a “10 Commandments of Design.”

Want to hear more from Jeremy? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in 
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