I've been in the advertising, design and interactive space since 1993, with roots in traditional but a heavy focus on digital since 1995. During all this time I've had the opportunity to work with some of the best brands in the business, building next generation brand experiences, global advertising campaigns and relationship marketing programs that have quickly moved from a side show of the brand's expression to center stage.
Brands take on a completely different meaning in the digital age. The old concepts of consistency, visual identity or a tagline are no longer the “fundamentals,” they’re merely tools in a massive toolbox.
In the digital age, brands are built from the experiences they create — including products, service delivery, communications, employee experiences and retail — that are often siloed into different parts of the organization. But we all know that customers don’t care to understand a business’ org chart. They simply expect the brand to interact with them in a compelling, meaningful and useful way.
This opens the idea that consistency is a concept that’s done. How would the product design detail relate to the voice used in a press release? Or a social activation strategy tied to employee morale? These are not like objects, and can’t be treated like they can be painted with the same brush and the matching luggage result will have any value. Instead, modern marketers are put in the position to have to think through the behaviors and characteristics that make up the brand and start from a more formative, strategic place to drive coherence. Our new tool are stories, motifs and.purpose, which is why we’re in one of the most exciting times to be pioneering the very concept of a brand in the digital age.
A few years ago, a few colleagues (most notably, the author of the source paper Marc Shillum) and I spoke at SXSW on the topic “Brands as Patterns,” which itself was derived from the ideas we built while creating the brand program for HP. Have a read of that paper, too, for a bit more insight on how I approach building a brand.
I’ve had the amazing fortune to work on the largest rebranding effort in modern memory: the global rebranding of HP. At the time, the business was Fortune #9, amassing over $100 billion in annual revenue with 320,000 employees around the globe. With one of the most complex portfolios in the world, defining even the core story proved challenging. Raise the altitude too high and the brand narrative becomes nebulous and dull. Lower it, and the story doesn’t reflect the full portfolio. But find the sweet spot and you can drive emotional resonance with audiences from every sector, every region and every customer segment.
The brand work on HP directly led to a single-year increase in brand value of more than $3 billion and the #10 placement in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands. A massive accomplishment on the other side of a massively daunting task.
If you’d like a copy of my resume, please reach me via email.