• Posted by: Christoph Meyer-Roscher on Friday, April 11 2014 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

    Recently I was invited to a nice little dinner at a friend’s place. Besides delicious dishes and drinks, there was something special about it. Everything was served in or on dinnerware she designed and created all by herself. How? Simple! She printed it.

    No longer in the realm of pure science-fiction, 3D printing has quickly become a science of its own and advanced rapidly over the last years, democratizing the process of 3D Design. Just by browsing through Thingiverse, a community sharing digital designs that can be transformed into physical objects at home, one realizes the pace of development this emerging movement has—with several new objects and designs being shared every hour. There are all kinds of little things you can print to enhance your daily life, but also bigger innovations on the way like 3D printed jet parts or experiments to print complete houses.

    Among some of the more groundbreaking applications, Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, pushes the boundaries of growing human cells, tissues and organs. In a TED Talk three years ago, he had already presented the prototype of a bio-printed kidney that could someday revolutionize organ donation. Or a more recent example: The Robohand project by Richard Van As, a woodworker from Johannesburg who lost four fingers in a work-related accident, and Ivan Owen, a theatrical prop designer from Seattle. They partnered up with MakerBot to develop a prosthetic hand that can be downloaded and printed for a total cost of around $150 USD.

    So, what are the ramifications of this technology for companies and their respective brands? Are we going to witness the rise of homegrown brands? Is the evolving opportunity for homemade production a threat to traditional manufacturing? From a historical perspective, rising threats are almost always accompanied by rising opportunities. And, in this case, it’s no different. Companies and brands can truly benefit from this technology in terms of workflow optimization and product innovation. For example, technology groups like GE and Siemens are using 3D printing technologies to speed up production processes across their business portfolios while reducing manufacturing costs. In another example, Nike released a first of its kind athletic shoe in 2013 that incorporated 3D printed football cleats: the Vapor Laser Talon. Constantly innovating around the shoe in its 3D printing and testing facilities, Nike unveiled an improved version in January, just in time to boost players’ performance during Super Bowl 48 to new heights.

    Beyond product innovation, an increasing number of brands are recognizing the huge potential of this technology to get audiences more involved and enhance the overall brand experience. Increasing its drive, Honda, following Porsche’s example (the brand published 3D printable data for mini Cayman cars), took this idea one step further and provided CAD data for some of their concept cars developed during the last twenty years. On the accompanying microsite people can download the cars and are invited to further develop the designs and play with them. Besides being a nice example of customer involvement, it is also an innovative recruitment tool that could help Honda attract the best and brightest car designers now and in the future.

    3D printing now also taps into the realms of food and cooking. Companies like 3D Systems, which teamed up with Hershey’s for its ChefJet Food Printer, or Barcelona-based Natural Machines, which invented the Foodini, are completely reimagining the future of food. During SXSW 2014, Mondelēz-owned Oreos created an engaging brand experience by combining social media with food printing technology for a real-time sweet-time: visitors are offered free Oreos from the “Trending Vending Machine” that incorporates trending flavors from Twitter conversations into the fillings.

    Just imagine the possibilities for other food brands. Maybe one day we’ll be able to buy chocolate printer ink from our favorite chocolate brands. Digital terminals inside retail spaces could allow people to instantly individualize their food. Printing cookies that match the tableware or food packages that come with digital cookbooks containing CAD data are touches that could really rock a birthday party.

    Other great future opportunities lie within the world of professional cooking for chef-focused brands like Unilever Food Solutions. Such brands could influence kitchens in real-time by incorporating live feedback from chefs into their product mix and making them co-creators or enabling them to fulfill the wishes of their most demanding guests with surprisingly imaginative solutions.

    The sky is the limit when it comes to 3D printing. It’s going to be very exciting to see how the technology evolves over the next few years and how brands will leverage this form of digital creativity to connect with audiences and create outstanding experiences together.

    Christoph Meyer-Roscher is a Designer at Interbrand Central & Eastern Europe

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  • Posted by: Ariën Breunis on Thursday, April 10 2014 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Best Dutch Media Brands

    Best Dutch Media Brands: Important lessons from the past five years

    Interbrand recently launched the fifth edition of Best Dutch Media Brands, which has been spotlighted in Tijdschrift voor Marketing, the leading marketing journal in The Netherlands. The Best Dutch Media Brands report reveals which brands are strongest in the marketplace and offers a fresh perspective on the Dutch media sector. In this blog post, I will share key lessons from the report that will benefit marketers and brand leaders around the globe. But first, let’s get a sense of the bigger picture by comparing this year’s top brands with the top brands of five years ago.

    Top Ten—2014 versus 2010

    2014

    2010

    Brands

    Category

    Brands

    Category

    1

    NOS

    Television

    SBS 6

    Television

    2

    Discovery Channel

    Television

    RTL 4

    Television

    3

    Nederland 1

    Television

    NOS

    Television

    4

    Uitzending Gemist

    Internet

    Hyves

    Internet

    5

    Facebook

    Internet

    NU.nl

    Internet

    6

    Donald Duck

    Magazine

    De Telegraaf

    Newspapers

    7

    NU.nl

    Internet

    NET 5

    Television

    8

    YouTube

    Internet

    Veronica

    Television

    9

    LinkedIn

    Internet

    RTL 7

    Television

    10

    National Geographic

    Television

    TROS

    Television

    While you may not be familiar with all the brands on the list, a closer examination of the changes in the rankings in the past five years is like looking at two different eras. As recently as 2010, television, mass communication, and big brands dominated. Just four years later, the internet, personalized content, and tailor-made brands are driving change and grabbing more mindshare in the Dutch media landscape.

    What can media brands learn from this shift? Here are three key lessons:

    1. Media brands have nothing to lose but their chains
    In recent years, traditional boundaries around media categories have blurred, if not evaporated. Television and radio, for instance, no longer exist in a vacuum and out-dated category laws no longer apply. The media world today is a digital and convergent one. It’s adage: B&C instead of B2C. Brand messages, content, and even products are no longer just “delivered” to people, as it was in the old days. Brands are now co-created, with consumer preferences and behaviors now influencing business strategy, brand strategy, and offerings. The people’s chief demand is clear: access anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Only brands that are responsive and adaptive to these trends now appear on top in the 2014 ranking. The NOS brand, for instance, is perceived as a brand that’s accessible via multiple entry points and is, therefore, close to consumers. Given the rising success of such organizations, other brands should take this as their cue to remove the shackles of their (former) category and embrace the possibilities of a digital, convergent world. Brands that still define themselves today strictly as major television or newspaper brands are likely to struggle in the future. They will become prisoners of their own category.

    2. Digital enables consumers to shape what a brand stands for today
    Another interesting development is the rise of social media brands such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Unlike traditional media brands, these brands don’t provide their own content. Social media brands offer user-generated content. In the digital age, a lack of brand owner created content, however, doesn’t mean a lack of brand influence. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn facilitate consumer connections and conversations, while monitoring what’s going in their social and professional lives. According the Best Dutch Media Brands survey results, consumers indicated that the most important driver for using these brands is to bond with others. The relevance of these brands lies in the fact that they’re tapping into a primary human need. Since social media brands use technology to deliver tailor-made, personalized content, the resulting brand experience flawlessly fits a consumer’s identity. As such, “my Facebook” is distinct from “your Facebook,” a notion that takes personalization—and relevance—to the next level. To thrive in the coming years, nearly all brands—especially media brands, which are communicative by nature—must figure out how to harness the power of digital technology to connect with and better understand consumers.

    3. Wanted: brands that believe what I believe
    A number of the top ten Best Dutch Media Brands convey or have their roots in a clear purpose, cause, or belief. Discovery Channel, for instance, is dedicated to satisfying curiosity and puts that commitment at the heart of everything they do. It’s literally the brand’s raison d'être. It gives focus and direction to all branded activities and helps to ensure consistency in look, feel, and experience—which extends to the hit series the brand produces such as Deadliest Catch, MythBusters, and Shark Week. The Discovery Channel’s products are tangible proof of what the brand stands for and believes. As a result of its clarity around and commitment to its core value, it attracts consumers who want their curiosity ignited and the thrill of discovery delivered. In Start with Why, Simon Sinek’s book about what it truly takes to lead and inspire, the author couldn’t have said it better when he when he wrote, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In other words, purpose-driven brands don’t interact with a target group, but with like-minded people. Now that’s a strong basis for a relationship!

    As these lessons illustrate, the path forward for media brands is evident: break free from your category, embrace digital, and start with a clear purpose. The key to adaptation—and success—is “change,” as the title of this blog post, borrowed from Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, indicates. What will the media landscape look like in 2015? It will depend on which brands evolve (and how quickly), and which brands fail to keep up with the pace of change.

    Ariën Breunis is an Associate Director in Interbrand’s Amsterdam office

    You can follow him on Twitter at @BreunisA

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Tuesday, April 8 2014 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Best Retail Brands 2014

    Interbrand has released the Best Retail Brands 2014 report. The report examines 150 of the world’s most valuable retail brands across four regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

    In addition to ranking the top 50 North American retail brands, the top 50 European retail brands, the top 30 Asia-Pacific retail brands and the top 20 Latin American retail brands, the Best Retail Brands 2014 report also provides readers with key digital trends, global insights on enhancing in-store experiences, regional overviews and a close examinations of seven sectors within the retail space: Apparel, Electronics, Department Store, Drugstore, Grocery, Home Improvement, and Mass Merchant. Exclusive and in-depth interviews with executives from top retailers such as CVS/pharmacy, Darty, The Container Store and PriceMinister are also available.

    This year, Walmart is the most valuable retail brand in North America (and across all four regions) with a brand value of USD $131.877 billion. Looking beyond North America, the following brands ranked as the top retailer in their respective regions:

    H&M – USD $18.168 billion (Europe)

    Woolworths - USD $4.948 billion (Asia-Pacific)

    Natura - USD $3.156 billion (Latin America)

    As the role of digital revolutionizes the world of retail, leading retail brands are adapting more quickly and successfully than others. From mobile shopping to virtual fitting rooms, the world’s most valuable retail brands are proving that reimagining the customer journey through a digital lens is the path to success.

    “The structural shift from physical to digital retail has not been painless—and reinvention is a must,” notes Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer, Jez Frampton. “But we know that extraordinary retail brands will not only survive the transition—they will become more extraordinary because of it.”

    Click here to read the 2014 Best Retail Brands report in full or follow the conversation on social media by using #BestRetailBrands.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Heise on Tuesday, April 1 2014 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Borja presentation packaging summit 

    This year's ENG Packaging Summit in Madrid marked milestones in the history of ENG and Interbrand Spain, both celebrating 10th anniversaries. Borja Borrero, Executive Creative Director EMEA (Western Europe) & Latin America at Interbrand chaired the summit, which focused on the future of packaging. He was joined by numerous leading brands, including Coca-Cola, adidas, Heineken, Nestlé, and Colgate Palmolive.

    The focus of the conference was to discuss new challenges for packaging design, looking specifically at design management, sustainability, enhanced functionality, and consumer engagement. Helping to open up that conversation, Els Dijkhuizen, Concept Development Manager at Heineken, gave a presentation called, "How to stay appealing and cool without ever changing the product." Dijkhuizen stressed how crucial a role design plays for Heineken, since the product could not be changed: "If you want to be successful, you have to invest in innovative design!" For Heineken, an innovative design strategy is about connecting, involving, and engaging.

    Ana Isabel Terrés Hernández, Group Packaging Manager at DIA, one of the biggest discount retailers in the world and a current client of Interbrand Madrid, explained the importance of customizing its brands in the different Latin American countries where it operates. By targeting the local identity in each region, DIA is able to engage with its clients on a more personal and meaningful level.

    The concept of “inclusive design” in packaging was also introduced during the presentation by Ross Taylor, Senior Designer R&D at Nestlé. According to Taylor, making things easier for customers by introducing small changes to packaging adds value to the final product. Since user-centered design contributes to an overall richer customer experience, thoughtful packaging enhancements tend to drive preference as well. While something as obvious as making products easy to open and close might seem like a design no-brainer, Taylor illustrated, through numerous examples, that user-friendliness is not always the priority it should be. Building on this idea, Emilie Martory, International Marketing Manager at Nestlé Waters France, acknowledged that Nestlé knew it would lose consumers every day if they couldn't open a bottle of water easily. Whether considering the general public—which usually prefers fast and easy over complicated—or people with special needs such as the elderly or visually impaired, customer-centered convenience packaging will only become more important as the pace of life quickens and aging populations grow.

    Ross Taylor Nestle packaging summit 

    In world that is becoming more digital by the day, consumers have unprecedented opportunities to research, compare, discuss, and discern. With this shift, businesses are under more pressure to differentiate their products and strengthen their identities. For that reason, the role of packaging has evolved as a driver of business. It is "the expression of the soul of the product," as Apivita’s Head of Sustainability, Anagnosti Choukalas, put it so beautifully. It is that image—the product in its package—that enables people to connect with the brand in person and via other channels, including social media.

    However, placing the packaging issue in a broader context, Interbrand’s Borja Borrero stressed the importance of taking a holistic view in branding, reminding attendees that packaging is only one of multiple consumer touchpoints with the brand. Although it is often one of the most relevant touchpoints (as is the case in FMCG), “packaging should not be understood in an isolated manner, but as part of a holistic ‘brand story’ that expresses through all touchpoints (advertising, web, promotions, etc.),” Borrero said. He also emphasized that it’s important to be aware of “key packaging trends such as the eco-digital approach, where no extra packaging is used unless absolutely necessary, as well as broader trends such as the hyperpersonalization of products and services and more dynamic forms of storytelling, such as ‘liquid content.’” “Dynamic storytelling,” Borrero asserted, “will become ever more important in the post-digital world. Attracting and engaging consumers with narratives that are unified across platforms (from analog to digital) will be essential to helping consumers identify and properly value the packaging proposal offered when they reach the shopping aisle.”

    The summit’s overall message was that product packaging in 2014 has to stand out, convey a story, and create meaningful connections, all within an ever-shrinking window of time. "Speed is the new currency," as Till Schütte, Coca-Cola’s former European Head of Design, put it. Therefore, it is time to start re-thinking packaging.

    Packaging Design needs a (flexible) system, must allow for consistency and customization, and must be approached with sustainability in mind. Remember, the pack is the brand in your hand. What does it reflect? Business as usual? Or innovation? Dig deeper to figure out how you can make your packaging work harder for your brand.

    By adopting a more inclusive, user-focused approach and creating an effective packaging design system for complex brand architectures and product lines, brands can achieve deeper engagement with consumers and future-proof their businesses.

    As Nestlé’s Ross Taylor summed it up, packaging is "all about connecting with people who are using it." In a world that is shaping up to be increasingly collaborative and co-creative, this is precisely where the focus of package design should be. Borrero concludes, “More than ever before, within this digital context, where B2C has evolved to B&C, businesses and consumers want to find relevant solutions for packaging while bearing in mind the social responsibility they now share.”

    Nicole Heise is a Business Development Manager, New Business, Interbrand Hamburg

    Angela Rodrigo is a Communication Coordinator, Marketing/New Business, Interbrand Madrid

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Monday, March 31 2014 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

    Crowdsourcing names sounds appealing: companies can get responses very quickly and cheaply. “Namesourcing” has become so popular it has sprouted a bevy of businesses dedicated to the practice. Beneath the appeal of namesourcing’s quick, cheap turnaround (with a dash of consumer engagement) lies its biggest limitation for brands—the wisdom of the crowd doesn’t extend to deep category and business expertise.

    There’s no lack of success stories around crowdsourced innovation and technology. When AB-InBev wanted to develop a brand more attuned to craft beer tastes, it turned to the crowd. The result? Black Crown. And brands like Lego, General Mills and MWV have devoted entire platforms to crowdsourcing initiatives. But crowdsourcing for names can be tricky—or even foolhardy. Imagine if you let the internet name your firstborn. The results might be disappointing, to say the least.

    Crowds are, by definition, loose and disparate. When a brand puts the crowd at the controls for naming, it won’t necessarily get back names that reflect the brand’s positioning or tone of voice. For the crowd, quality and consistency are not always priorities. Aussie web designer Dean Robbins was actually kidding when he suggested iSnack 2.0 as a new moniker for Kraft’s Vegemite—yet the name he coined won. And when Mountain Dew asked consumers to “Dub the Dew” for its apple-flavored offering in 2012, hackers eagerly nominated names like Diabeetus and Gushing Granny.

    Crowdsourcing has the most value as an engagement tool that invites customers to start conversations, share ideas, and feel like they’re being listened to and appreciated. To do that right, a thoughtful plan should trump result. Crowdsourced names might make a temporary splash on social media; some might even end up on a real shelf—but the truth is, companies rarely view or treat crowdsourced names as long-term investments. The stories and campaigns that sit behind them—the stories brands can tell about inviting participation—is where the heart beats.

    Try to think of a crowdsourced name that isn’t on your radar because it was attached to an #epicfail. iSnack 2.0 is the granddaddy of them all, but it’s five years old. And the Gushing Granny disaster is 21 in dog years. But chances are, you’ve engaged with at least one campaign on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed in recent memory. There’s Lay’s Do Us a Flavor, Dunkin’ Donuts Next Donut, Sam Adams’ LongShot American Homebrew, and Mountain Dew’s DEWmocracy. What do these have in common (and why have some of them even thrived as global annual campaigns)? They’re inviting you to engage.

    So, go ahead—name a chip Benedict Cumberbatch, and crack a smile the next time you see a Lay’s bag at the deli.

    Paula Pou is Associate Director, Verbal Identity, Interbrand New York.

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