Archive for the ‘Brands’ Category
[images from: vacationcarecenter.hilton.com]
As if we didn’t have enough reasons to the love The Onion, our favorite satirical news site recently teamed up with Hilton Hotels and Resorts to address a very serious issue near and dear to the Method teams’ hearts: Vacation.
Together, Hilton and Onion Labs created vacationcarecenter.hilton.com, a site full of cartoons themed around the “14 Symptoms of Vacationitis.” These terrible afflictions include “Commuteritis: Suffering from an excessive number of hours spent daily commuting to work or between meetings” and “Cubiclophobia: The fear of cubicles”. On the site, you can diagnose your own symptoms and get your vacation diagnosis, which involves a visit to a Hilton hotel, naturally.
This week, The New York Times covered this sharp and funny approach to marketing and Method’s own Paul Valerio was quoted in the piece:
“Paul Valerio, a San Francisco-based principal of Method, a brand and design consulting company, also said the vacationitis concept ‘taps into something that’s been seen before.’ But he called Hilton’s use of Onion Labs ‘unexpected, in a positive way, coming from a brand that’s been around that long.’” Read about The Onion partnership with Hilton Hotels on The New York Times.
Catch Paul Valerio and Baratunde Thurston, founder of Cultivated Wit and former Director of Digital at The Onion, at SXSW Interactive for a Q&A on the parallels between innovation and comedy!
Earlier this year, Method Principal, Marc Shillum, introduced the 10×10 piece, Brands as Patterns. ‘Patterns’ focused on the idea that brands are no longer definitive. They exist in multiple mediums, and adherence to a big idea and endless repetition of centralized, fixed rules can make a brand seem unresponsive, inhuman, and out of step with its audience.
Marc’s message, that brands must maintain relevancy through change, was picked up by multiple media outlets, including Fast Company, and inspired two wildly popular presentations at SXSW Interactive 2012.
Since then, the thinking that motivated ‘Brands As Patterns’ has continued to evolve. Last month, PSFK invited Marc to PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO to recap his concept of ‘Patterns’ and share what he’s been working on since publishing the piece.
Introducing ‘Brands as Frequency’, Marc explained that if you accept a brand to be iterative, you have to think about designing your brand over time, which means understanding the frequency of your brand. He outlined the different frequencies brands need to be aware of, illustrating his point with a musical interpretation of the Apple iPhone’s product release cycle. Marc also shared a list of rules–using the metaphor of surfing–that brands need to follow in order to be as prepared and fluid enough to be able to respond across a constantly shifting context.
Watch the full talk below, and let us know what you think in the comments!
“Today’s RH is a far cry from the hardware and nostalgic discovery item based business it once was. Currently, we circulate four Source Books twice yearly, RH Home, RH Big Style Small Spaces™, RH Outdoor, and RH Baby & Child totaling over 1,400 pages of inspired design. The new branding positions us for the future and reflects our belief that we can curate a lifestyle beyond the four walls of the home.” - Gary Friedman, RH Creator and Curator
Restoration Hardware, the leader in luxury home furnishing, asked Method to help develop both a short and long-term vision on how to integrate digital platforms into their existing shopping experience. As a company that has grown into a lifestyle brand and has evolved their product line and retail stores to represent luxury, curation, and authenticity. The brand and online experience needed to match that evolution. Continue reading…
[Screenshots taken from Pitchfork.com and Pitchfork Spotify app]
Over the weekend, I visited Pitchfork, a well-respected site dedicated to covering music news and reviewing the latest releases. I realized two things:
- I hadn’t been on the Pitchfork site since the release of their app on Spotify.
- Pitchfork has a lot of advertising on its site.
By releasing an app on Spotify, I wonder how significantly the traffic through to their site has dropped, and with it the potential audience for all that advertising. I know a couple of people who are not paid Spotify users who have said that Pitchfork’s app could tempt them to sign up.
The Pitchfork app content clearly has value for Spotify. By publishing that content on a third party platform the content owners could be risking the revenue that funds it. And if that is the case, could Spotify start paying brands or people to create apps and curate content?
It left me wondering, could getting your brand on a platform with millions of users be a bad idea? What do you think?
When I began writing Brands as Patterns in late 2010, I hadn’t full...
When I began writing Brands as Patterns in late 2010, I hadn’t fully realized the potential of the argument.
What I had foreseen was the convergence of interaction design with brand thinking and how that was going to change the business of building brands forever. What I hadn’t foreseen is that that same convergence has the potential to change the face of designing for interaction as well.
It occurred to me after this week’s verdict on the Apple – Samsung patent lawsuit that this goes beyond vilifying copycat design and begins to challenge the underpinning of all design for interaction.
It is, of course, somewhat ironic, that a discipline that was founded upon recognizing and notating the common patterns of users and is responsible for creating the standardized building blocks of design has produced one of the most hotly contended intellectual property battles.
The outcome of this verdict could mean that any designer of interface or behaviors could be financially liable for whether the function or behavior they’re designing is unique, or appropriated from a commonly held usage pattern.
Of course it is the declared goal of interaction design to make use easier, and building upon commonly held usage patterns had been the primary way this was achieved.
Some of the patents being protected—the bounce back behavior, the unlock gesture, pinch and zoom—have quickly become the standard way we all have come to understand touch interfaces. It seems incredulous to design a plethora of permutations as to how a user may perform these standard tasks. But, if you think about it, this is exactly what has happened in the physical world. A pin tumbler lock is pretty much the standard for physical locks and was patented in in the 1800′s by Linus Yale. Yet if you look at your key ring, there must be at least three kinds of keys that all have different behaviors, and that does not take into account numeric combinations, electronic key cards, or biometrics.
Traditionally the choice for any competitive brand, when faced with patent issues, is to license, innovate, or avoid. And because it would be hard to imagine someone like Apple licensing its core patents to the competition, the only real choice is to innovate.
This brings about an interesting conundrum: are we really going to reinvent standard interactions to create differentiation? And do we then pass on this inherent complexity to the user?
But, therein lies the opportunity. By creating a set of behaviors, functions and organizing principles that is unique and protectable, you create a stickiness within the interface that a user grows attached to. They begin to organize their systems through your tools, create value through your functionality, access and respond to your behaviors. Much in the same way that it is easy to become accustomed to the handling of a particular car, users become accustomed to the handling of the interface.
This is the true power behind brands as patterns. Branding has moved away from the tails of planes or the logo on a business card that can only signify the breed of the company. Branding has become the way you use something, the way you interact with a company, and the way you experience their products. So far, it is as protectable by law as a logo, a trade mark, or a slogan.
So, there are 2 implications for the interaction design community to consider:
1. If this thought presents a fundamental challenge to the very core of the discipline and blocks best practices, the user will ultimately suffer. Future users may be unable to convert between interfaces and will have remaster even the simplest of tasks. The adoption of standards solves this massive problem. Imagine the web without http; measurement without standard weights or distances, or currency conversion without a centralized rates. The standard patterns of interaction are only shared between designers with an adhoc agreement to create better experiences for all users.
To protect standardization in the future, we must create a legal entity that would hold the global decisions on which interactions are kept as common and which are created into Brand IP. This would represent the Standards of Common Interaction if you will.
2. If this thought embodies the true spirit of innovation and presents the opportunity to fuel innovation for the coming centuries. It’s clear that we must all begin the race towards creating more ‘brand owned’ experiences and interactions in earnest.
Ultimately, we must delight and engage the user in the uniqueness of the product or service as it relates to the ownable pattern of the brand. To do this, we have work ahead of us.
Check out our latest 10×10 piece, “Who’s the Chief Experience Officer?”, featured over at Co.Design! Principal Reuben Steiger discusses how to manage great consumer experiences through building brands with great products and services.