Our new work for Brooklyn’s Lifestyle magazine in New York

Brooklyn’s Lifestyle is a hyper-local digital magazine about all things Brooklyn NY and sometimes beyond. The site’s founder Nat Cleary asked us to help her rebrand and relaunch her site, having seen our work for Luger London featured on a global web design showcase.

The new brand identity echoes Massimo Vignelli’s pioneering design work for the New York transportation system. The Helvetica typeface gives the design a classic feel and we’ve reworked some iconic elements of Brooklyn and New York metro signage. We combined this with lifestyle imagery but given it a distinctive style that’s urban, engaging and works well on social media.

The new design has helped Nat bring some major new advertisers on board including Mercedes-Benz and the new site is already getting lots of extremely positive feedback. Have a look at the new site here.

It’s significant that although we’re based in Ireland and the UK we can work with a client In Brooklyn NY and help them grow their brand, grow their business and get the best results.  We already have lots of experience of working with clients in Silicon Valley, China, Japan and mainland Europe, so we’re very proud of our international reputation.

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Does becoming a more social brand really help grow your business?

Recent research from statista.com says 83% of SMBs use social media as a way of driving growth for their business. The same source says 70% of professional marketers claim to have been successful in gaining new customers using social networks.

These figures tend to support my own analysis. Social media has become one of the first things business owners and marketers turn to when they want to get more growth or launch a new product. But just how effective is social media in building your brand and growing your business?

I recently talked to customer experience professional and social media expert Augie Ray of Gartner. Augie argues that marketers “cannot achieve their goals with the limited and shrinking reach of organic social media.  Within a year or two, I think all social media marketing will be paid ads, with little effort dedicated to organic and free marketing.”

Brandcasting on social media rarely works

Augie thinks that while some brands do have a great success with social channels as they have great brand experiences that involve their audiences (examples are sports, entertainment and lifestyle brands like Apple and Samsung). But most do not and should be wary of placing too much of their focus on social media for marketing.

Social media marketing which isn’t really social will always be largely ineffective whether it’s paid for or not. Brandcasting on social media rarely works.

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A little less conversation – the problem with social media

Social media channels are placing less value on conversation. Blue ticks, algorithms and interwoven adverts are killing Twitter. LinkedIn is often seen as a walled garden where users have to pay just to look over their neighbour’s fence. Facebook has always seemed less than the value of its parts. But Twitter has lost value since it became a revenue-chasing corporation.

There’s generally a lot less conversation since the early days of social media. This makes social platforms less valuable, not only for general users but for brands too. The average user is less likely to join a conversation started by a brand. They’re more likely to comment about things that touch their lives and their emotions.

Brands are more than logos. They’re groups of people who deliver a brand experience. To deliver that experience they need to be well-known and appreciated. If not they die.

Problems happen if a brand jumps into a conversation without thought and attention. And if they start their own conversation they risk indifference. Read more

Mad Men, Coca-Cola and the big brand dilemma

In the Mad Men finale, broadcast late last night in the UK and Ireland, Don Draper and many of the main Sterling Cooper characters are desperate to flee the all-consuming, skirt-chasing ad agency giant McCann-Erickson. In fact US reviewers have largely overlooked the fact that Don is trying to escape the deathly clutches of McCann’s almost as much as he’s been running away from the everyday horror of his tangled New York existence.

Until a total stranger opens the fridge door of his mind to give him a very Madison Avenue kind of enlightenment, Don is completely lost. A Coca-Cola style of creative immortality seems to call to him on a California hilltop overlooking the ocean. Jack Kerouac meets David Ogilvy.

Mad Men, not inadvertently, raises an issue for McCann’s, Coca-Cola and Mad Men itself. Let’s call it the big brand dilemma.

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You’re not really a brand owner until you own your brand data too

I was having lunch with an assistant professor of machine learning recently, when he asked me why, as a brand and design specialist, I was so interested in data?

My reply was quite simple. If you want to take ownership of your brand and control how it develops and grows, then you must understand and own your data too. And I didn’t have to look too far for an example.

I’d invited my friend to have lunch to discuss some of the more advanced aspects of data science, so I booked a table at a restaurant he suggested, followed up the booking with a confirmation the day before our lunch, and then as the host I would pay for the meal with my credit card and walk off into the afternoon skyline.

Right away you can see there were three times where the restaurant, let’s call the restaurant the ‘brand owner,’ had an opportunity to talk to and engage with me personally using simple digital tools including email.

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Continuous branding can help startups and all companies grow their business

Most startups and companies use their brand at about twenty percent of full power. Don’t take my word for it, look around you and look at your own business. Have you considered that absolutely everything you do is an important part of your brand and product experience?

That tweet you posted doesn’t simply represent your business and your brand – it’s part of your brand experience so it’s an essential part of your brand.

‘Social media in service of a product experience is not just media – it’s the experience of the product itself,’ says Forrester analyst James McQuivey in his book Digital Disruption, Unleashing The Next Wave Of Innovation. That’s quite a statement if you think about it.

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CultureTech’s creative marketplace – a designer’s view

In my early days as a Creative Director in London it wasn’t unusual to invite key members of a client’s marketing team for a strategy dinner in Paris, or to fly them business class to Monte Carlo for an industry specific conference.

Which is why it was extremely refreshing to be invited to take part in CutureTech’s creative marketplace in Derry, an event where clients and agencies could meet and agree deals and where the businesses attending had been given access to funding to buy design services on the day. As an experienced designer this was one of the most enlightened and trail-blazing events I have attended anywhere in the world.

Outsiders wouldn’t perhaps think of Derry as a shining example of new creative thinking – a place where the new wave of design agencies could gather and help define the future of business, but that is how the city is presenting itself through CultureTech. Read more

Design your future

When you work with new business start-ups and established companies it soon becomes clear which ones give themselves a greater chance of growing their business and having a brighter future.

Companies that value design and value ideas and creativity in everything they do always seem to do better and grow faster than those that simply go with the flow. As a company owner or marketing specialist, if you’re not moving forward and thinking creatively every day then you’re not using the power that design and inventive thinking give you to grow your brand and design your future.

Design is important in everything you do in your business. From the way you design and reply to your emails, to the typeface and logotype you use and the subtle communication your web site and social media accounts convey to the people who interact with you and potentially buy your products and your services. Good design helps you engage with, learn from and better understand your customers.

The future of your business is the way you design your business. I have recently seen at first hand businesses that have used external funding to quickly establish and develop their brand and build credibility and value in a matter of weeks all through using the power of good design and inventive thinking. I’ve also seen businesses struggle as they’ve become mired in meaningless processes and outdated ideas leading to the uncertainty of an undesigned future. Read more

This must be the place – how creative ideas are creating a new wave in business thinking

There’s a new wave of creativity sweeping the land. Virtually overnight creativity and creative ideas seem to have become much sought after commodities in forward-thinking businesses. To take our own business as an example, Brandlogik has been picking up new projects in Derry, Dublin and Tokyo and even in hitherto dark creative backwaters such as London. 

Becoming the number one ranked design agency site on Google helps, but that position has very little to do with SEO and everything to do with good content and a hard-earned reputation for understanding business and the role creative ideas play in business growth.

Bland is in danger of being beaten into retreat.

There’s a new wave of creativity in the arts too, which, in my view, has played a not insignificant part in the emergence of fresh thinking in businesses. Even the Oscars judges, who perennially celebrate the bland, gave Italian director Paulo Sorrentino an award for The Great Beauty, a film that’s arguably one of the most innovative, finely tuned and masterfully directed of the century so far. Read more

That breath beyond – branding in the age of disruptive technology

In our latest ebook we look at how brands can win and still be authentic in the ever-changing business market where disruptive technology rules, and we offer some interesting points for business owners and marketing professionals to consider.

Technology and design can really help brands go stratospheric and see real business growth. For instance it’s important to realise that everything you do is an important part of your brand and product experience. Your brand is how you speak and interact with your users and your customers. It’s everything you do. That’s why in the always on, always connected, always accessible world – everything matters.

‘Everything that surrounds your service and your product can be described as part of your total product experience. Your website, the totality of your digital presence, including all your social media accounts, are all essential parts of your brand experience. This has implications for business owners of all types and brand managers in all business sectors, as there are some that haven’t quite got the message yet.’

It’s important to realise then that to be a successful twenty-first century brand, everything you do is important. That includes your social media presence too, in all its forms:

‘Social media in service of a product experience is not just media, it’s the experience of the product itself.’

Brands win in the disruptive technology world by using digital tools as a means of production, rather than as a means of consumption, and this applies to all territories and virtually all sectors.

‘You must move from merely using technology to get the job done to disrupting yourself and your market by depending on, exploiting and pushing the boundaries of technology.’

In branding, this authentic approach means developing a design and visual language that really says who you are and what you do.

It’s not borrowed or reimagined from someone else – it’s authentic for you and suits your brand’s personality and your company values.

It’s an approach we would do well to apply to each area of our own work and life, if we want to produce original thoughts, create new and cutting edge brands, or have authentic feelings that are something more than the strung together sequences from someone else’s movie.

You can download That Breath Beyond here.

Eugene Burns

 

 

 

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