Tech distracts, it’s the product stupid, supply chain is sexy, branding sans logo and more this Friday

Growing up digital. Wired for distraction – a timely read since I’d recently finished Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows about how the internet is causing us lose focus easily. I believe we’ll only become more distracted as technology become inextricably woven into everything we do. For marketers, it means we’ll have to work harder at establishing relationships and emotional connections with our prospects, customers,  and colleagues. People simply don’t have time to digest all of the messages they’re bombarded with and need to be more selective should they want to actually accomplish anything. That means shorter messages, more targeted. Think snackable sound bites. My hope is that we don’t lose sight of the simple tactile experiences that await us in the physical world – like soft ocean breeze, rustling leaves or the experience of building in-person relationships.

Building on the above is this post by Jonathan Baskin on the dangerous lure of the social web. He talks about how people have always talked about brands. Now they’re more wary and have more tools to share their likes and dislikes. And marketers have more tools too. The keys to the kingdom today, however, are to build a better product. Don’t be fooled by the hype ; this is a good read for anyone either caught up with shiny object syndrome or just kicking the tires of the social web.

I first heard Kinaxis’ story at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum last May in Boston and was inspired at how this company that develops what most people would consider pretty dry – supply chain management software – makes it engaging and fun via social media. They’re a sterling example of a B2B Company that gets the concept of Integrated Marketing and the real power of social media. Oh, it helps that they really know how to execute and measure results too.

Companies invest thousands of dollars in their identity. Logos are valuable identifiers for brands – but they’re certainly not the brand. And I’d argue that they’re less important than what people are saying about you. No, brands, as Marty Neumeier states in The Brand Gap, aren’t what you think it is, it’s what they (your customers) think it is. And that’s why I enjoyed this insight into Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta on why they don’t use a logo. For them, it’s about craftsmanship and art. Consistently delivering great products with great design. Something Apple also does well and I might add that their logos have become more subtle over the years with a focus on distinctive design.

I love good design – whether it’s something beautiful to look at or touch or something so simple it gets out of the way and I don’t even notice it. In the technology world, Apple does this better than anyone at present. I believe the built environment often lacks good design with the strip malls and houses are slapped up with great efficiency but without the enduring qualities that draw you in. We go to these places because we have to. This week I stumbled across this post on imagination featuring some incredible examples in the built environment. That I saved the link but can’t recall exactly where shows a bit about how easy it is to get sidetracked while doing research online. My favorite is the seed cathedral in the UK – featuring 60,000 filaments that carry light to the inside. For me, such architecture sparks my thinking – inspires me to push for more creative solutions to everyday communication problems. It’s about asking what if we . . .? Or how about Container City in Mexico which turns junk into something very useful and beautiful in its own way?

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