Weekly inspirations: April 7, 2014

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   Portable Robot Printer Is Like A Roomba That Squirts Ink I find myself backing an almost alarming number of things on Kickstarter these days.  the latest was designed by Zuta Labs and is called the Mini Mobile Robotic Printer which cleverly sheds the bulk of consumer printing by re-imagining what a printer actually is. Their new version is small, portable and everything that people need in the modern, mobile age. Read the article here. Why You Should Get Excited About Emotional Branding Globalization, low-cost technologies and saturated markets are making products and services interchangeable and barely distinguishable. As a result, today’s brands must go beyond face value and tap into consumers’ deepest subconscious emotions to win the marketplace. This article does a nice job of explaining why...

Making Grocery Shopping Easier with Amazon Dash

The technology to build a refrigerator that scans items so it knows to order more has been available for a long time but like with most old-school industries major appliance manufacturers are really slow at adopting new technology. So Amazon has now created the Amazon Dash which is a free device that lets you scan or say the names of food items you need and it automatically builds an Amazon Fresh shopping list. It is an obvious play to make ordering much simpler by breaking down the interactions with Amazon Fresh into smaller micro interactions which will be much less laborious and more thorough for the user than having sit sit down once a week to make a grocery list. Right now the Dash is only available in Southern California, San Francisco and...

Weekly inspirations: March 31, 2014

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   From Google, A Giant Psychedelic Sculpture Visitors Control With Chrome Unnumbered Sparks is the brainchild of Aaron Koblin, creative director of Google Creative Lab, and artist Janet Echelman, who describes her pieces simply: soft shapes that are the size of buildings. The project is a huge Google Chrome browser window that projected onto the sculpture which is suspended from two buildings. Spectators connect to the local Wi-Fi through smartphones, and can hook up directly to Chrome. A gesture-based app lets people draw and paint with light. Read the article here and see it in action here. How Google Fumbled Glass — and How to Save It Google announced Google Glass two years ago and rolled it out to developers and their Explorer program about a year ago. Over that time Glass has gone from a whole new...

Virgin America partners with Nest to create Total Temperature Control

April Fool’s has turned into a real competition for tech and media companies to see who can come up with the best April’s Fool press gag and this year was no exception. There were a lot of funny and quirky attempt but my favorite came from Google and Virgin America. The video they released features Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson and CEO of Nest Tony Fadell announcing that they’ve teamed up to create the Total Temperature Control (TTC). This new system will put a Nest thermostat into Virgin America’s Red in-flight personal touch-screen entertainment system. Having the two founders makes the beginning of the video seem completely real and possible but it is only when you see the full-sized thermostat stuck on the back of an airline seat do you get the joke. These are two brands I really love for a lot of reasons and this video shows why....

Weekly inspirations: March 24, 2014

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   State of the Creative Industry: Its Democratization Benefits Us All My respect of Behance founder Scott Belsky is deep and well documented and I really like his latest article that look at why all companies should be concerned with the risks and opportunities that now face the creative industry. Read the article here. 5 Brilliant Strategies Jeff Bezos Used To Build The Amazon Empire Amazon has grown at breakneck speed over the past decade and brought in nearly $75 billion last year, thanks to the unconventional, and sometimes ruthless style of its chief executive. This article lays out five strategies that their founder Jeff Bezos used to build the Amazon empire. Read the article here. Check out this weeks inspiration from Stephen Gates Blog.Click To TweetPowered By CoSchedule Building a compelling...

What if brand films told the truth?

Over my career I’ve built a lot of  brands and I’ve always found it really funny how every brands says they want to be strong and different but in the end they all fall back on the same generic and tired brand images. I saw this promotion this week for the stock footage house Dissolve Footage and throughout it perfectly captured the high water mark of generic brand expressions – the brand film. You can watch it above or click here to see it on YouTube.

Weekly inspirations: March 17, 2014

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   How to Build a Culture of Innovation by Killing Mediocrity One thing I have seen in my work with companies like Apple is that they are all dedicated to killing mediocrity in all of it’s forms. Steve Jobs was famous for saying that things were either ‘brilliant’ or ‘complete shit’ and that thinking remains in place today. So how do you ring that thinking to your company and your group? This two part article is a great walkthrough of how to make the changes and put the thinking in place to strengthen your group and your ideation. There are two part of this article – read part 1 here and part 2 here. Inside the Pixar Braintrust This article is an excerpt from an upcoming book I am very excited about called Creativity, Inc. from Pixar founder Ed Catmull. Unveils one of...

The sales funnel is dead. Welcome to the brand loop.

I have grown tired of hearing agency after agency talk to me about the importance of the ‘sales funnel’ and how it effects consumers and brands. The problem I have with the conversation and with the idea of the ‘sales funnel’ is that it shows just how out of touch all these people are with modern consumers and branding. A few years ago I read an article that laid out a new model that I think gets the problem exactly right showing how the ‘sales funnel’ is obsolete and probably always was in favor of a brand loop. The Traditional Sales Funnel The traditional way everyone thinks about how consumer engage with brands is a linear funnel where they go through the stages of being aware of a brand, putting it into consideration against other brands, making a purchase with that brand and then dropping out the bottom of the funnel where you then try to retain...

Weekly inspirations: March 10, 2014

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:   How Google’s Redesigned Search Results Created A More Beautiful Web If you’ve searched anything on Google in the last day you might have noticed something different. The company’s newly designed search results page has ditched the ugly yellow box around AdSense results, increased font sizes slightly, and, most notably, removed the prominent underlines that we’ve associated with hyperlinks since the rise of the web. This article is a great look at why this simple change is so important for web design and all web sites. Read the article here. Why Good Managers Are So Rare Gallup has found that one of the most important decisions companies make is simply whom they name manager. Yet our analysis suggests that they usually get it wrong. In fact, Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the...

Why don’t luxury fashion brands understand digital?

The question of why luxury fashion brands don’t understand or utilize digital has baffled me for years. It seems like such a natural thing that brands that have so much influence over culture, over design trends and over the luxury market would be the leaders in adopting digital because their clients are the most likely to have and use the best technology.  2 in 5 luxury consumers shops online and 4 out of 5 luxury purchases are influenced by digital so the numbers back up my frustration. And yet the sites of pretty much every major fashion house are nothing more than videos of past runway shows, slide shows of look books and the occasional online shopping experience which sees a 70% shopping cart abandonment rate. Where is the social media, the social sharing, the brand building or the great smartphone experiences?   The only two brands that I think are doing anything worth...