a his & hers weblog of worlds apart
I’ve been a deadbeat dad to this blog lately. So rather than hold off any longer with intentions for the perfect comeback post, I figured I would share some of the bits & pieces that have been whirling around in my head over the last little while.
Imperfect Brands. I’ve been noticing an increasing appreciation for brands that embrace imperfection and leave gaps for interpretation. Makes sense in today’s world of speed and humanness. On a related note, I’ve also observed a recent uptake of products with what I call Endearingly Bad Branding – cases where brand ID & packaging are clearly just not a priority relative to designing great products and experiences.
Intentional Obstacles. Audi is now tagging its North American ads with Vorsprung durch Technik. David Chang is serving diners bacteria. But it was the Trappist monks that reminded me that when you make things for yourself first, people often enjoy jumping over hurdles to obtain or better understand your product.
Non-Linear Narratives. It’s a theme that has been written about quite extensively with regards to transmedia and the whole Coherency, Not Consistency shift. But Chris Ware’s just released Building Stories is an amazing analog example:
You will never be able to read “Building Stories” on a digital tablet, by design. It is a physical object, printed on wood pulp, darn it. It’s a big, sturdy box, containing 14 different “easily misplaced elements” — a hard-bound volume or two, pamphlets and leaflets of various dimensions, a monstrously huge tabloid à la century-old Sunday newspaper comics sections and a folded board of the sort that might once have come with a fancy game. In which order should one read them? Whatever, Ware shrugs, uncharacteristically relinquishing his customary absolute control. In the world of “Building Stories,” linearity leads only to decay and death. (NYT Book Review)
The New False Advertising. It’s becoming harder to cry foul on advertisers when today we’re all offenders. In this age of semi-pro content creation, we all present our selves and our experiences in ways that best represent our interests. Dating sites and social networks are probably the most obvious settings. But even on ‘non-partisan’ product review sites contributors are now carefully considering the presentation of the photos and stories they’re sharing. Filters and other quick-fancy photography tools don’t help – or hurt – either.
Data Analytics vs. Corporate Empathy. Two competing mega-trends in the biz world. Marrying them is the mega-opportunity.
Strategy Souvenirs. When your product is intangible, physical souvenirs can be powerful delivery devices. Creating pieces that people want to recall, display and discuss will keep your thinking top of mind and top of desk (vs. that lost Powerpoint file).
“She’s good at Facebook.” I overheard someone saying this about another person recently. Which got me thinking, what makes someone good at facebook? I’m sure answers will vary, but would be fun to try to create some sort of playbook.
Place Brands. Hiut Denim Co has an incredible comeback story rooted in bringing manufacturing jobs back to Cardigan, Wales. For me it marked another example of a successful place-based brand – a trend I’ve seen with emerging players like Mill St. Brewing and Oliberte, and a nod to the Kawasakis and Sapporos of the world that have long built authentic stories rooted in place.
Cardigan is a small town of 4,000 good people. 400 of them used to make jeans. They made 35,000 pairs a week. For three decades. Then one day the factory closed. It left town. But all that skill and knowhow remained. Without any way of showing the world what they could do. That’s why we have started The Hiut Denim Company. To bring manufacturing back home. To use all that skill on our doorstep. And to breathe new life into our town. As one of the Grand Masters said to me when I was interviewing: “This is what I know how to do. This is what I do best.” I just sat there thinking I have to make this work. So yes, our town is going to make jeans again. Here goes.
I’ll leave it there for now. Anyone been mulling over anything loosely connected? Always up to grab a drink and chat.