• Posted by: Felipe Valerio and Macaila Laubscher on Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

    IB Academy Zurich

    Eleven hours and 35 minutes. That’s how long my flight took to get from São Paulo to Zurich. I could’ve watched the entire The Godfather trilogy, or 7 football matches, or possibly gotten a good way through James Joyce’s 800-page Ulysses. But I didn't do any of that. Instead, I spent most of my flight imagining the experience I was about to have at the Interbrand Academy 1.0, in Zurich. Before you ask if the Academy is some kind of in-company training, I must say that it goes way beyond that. In reality, it’s a great way to do what we do best with the best people we have.

    More specifically, the Academy is a unique opportunity to work on real branding challenges alongside key Interbrand executives—from managing directors and strategy heads to CEOs. Every year it takes place in a different location among our offices worldwide, and brings together 18 lucky Interbranders from different regions. It’s not only a chance to meet strategists, designers, and writers from around the global network, but also a chance to work with them in an intense, high-energy environment. And, yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.

    At the Academy 1.0, I met inspiring people from Madrid, Milan, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo, and London, to name a few. One of them was Macaila Laubscher, a designer from Interbrand London, whose talent for connecting ideas and telling stories made an impression. As a verbal identity manager from São Paulo, I appreciated her knack for concepting and creative insight.

    Academy Zurich

    After our Academy experience, Macaila and I discussed what we learned in Zurich. Here is a snippet of our conversation about the workshop:

    FELIPE: Hello again, Macaila. What was it like to attend Workshop 1.0?

    MACAILA: Hi, Felipe. The workshop was an intense and brilliantly informative three-day course, which was a great privilege to attend. Meeting colleagues from every corner of our vast network of offices, opened my eyes to how big Interbrand is and how many amazing opportunities it offers to grow personally and professionally. Within minutes, even though most of us didn’t know each other, we dove in to tackle strategic challenges hands on and absorbed as much theoretical knowledge as possible. And with a schedule that was extremely efficient, speakers that were highly engaging, and content that was truly mind-expanding—not a moment was wasted.

    MACAILA: What about you Felipe, did the workshop live up to (or exceed) your expectations?

    FELIPE: At first, I was just hoping to understand how strategic thinking could help our office enhance the quality of verbal deliverables and strengthen their impact. However, about 20 minutes into the workshop, I realized that it was going to cover a lot more than I expected. In fact, the workshop was so comprehensive that it brought a new challenge I wasn’t anticipating: how to apply all of these learnings. Fortunately, the classes were more practical than theoretical. We explored real case studies and ongoing projects, which allowed the teams to experience, and more fully grasp, the synergy among our disciplines. My only regret? Telling all my international colleagues that Brazil was about to win the World Cup!

    MACAILA: As you know, we uncover some amazing insights at Academy workshops. What did you learn that was new to you?

    FELIPE: My first and most important discovery was about the importance of having clear strategic thinking behind everything we create. After getting more familiar with all of our methodologies, I was able to better appreciate how transformative brands can be. Second, I learned a lot about building relationships with clients and new ways to deliver winning pitches to our prospects. Finally, I understood how to apply these tactics and principles in different areas and situations.

    MACAILA: Good point. Having had a basic knowledge through my experience working for Interbrand for the past three years, I knew the strategy models at a top level and could work my way through it. However, now I have a deeper understanding that can really influence the quality of work I do and the confidence with which I approach brands.

    FELIPE: That said, what was your favorite part about the experience?

    MACAILA: The “syndicate project,” which framed the three-day course, challenged us to work in smaller groups and present our solutions back to a panel of highly esteemed Interbrand judges. We were fortunate enough to have a live client brief out of the Milan office. In retrospect, it is likely that the high pressure to deliver great quality work, in a short time frame—with people you’ve never worked with, who are all the best of the bunch and have their own great ideas—probably pushed me further than most one-month projects.

    FELIPE: I totally agree with you, Macaila. And that was only possible in such a stimulating multicultural environment. We had 18 people from different countries working towards one common goal: To gain a fuller understanding of the approaches, both creative and strategic, that make Interbrand the world’s most inspiring and valuable branding consultancy. The results were impressive. I think all of us came away with deeper insights and greater confidence in our ability to deliver world-class work. On a more personal note, I truly enjoyed our encounters outside of class as well (fondue + wine + beer). Socially, it was definitely a lot of fun—and offered great opportunities for us to hear about experiences from other offices.

    MACAILA: Yes, it was a great time. By the way, were you able to activate what you learned in your local office?

    FELIPE: Well, for one thing, I brought a new mantra back to Brazil: If you want to connect with brands you should first connect with people. The Academy was not only inspirational, but also emphasized the importance of connecting different areas of expertise in order to do the best possible work. Identity teams must be extremely strategic and strategy teams must be creative. Clients in Brazil, for example, are increasingly expecting our deliverables to be not only strategically impeccable, but also truly inspiring.

    MACAILA: I agree. Communication across all disciplines and activities is key to the success of both individual projects and the business as a whole. Designers, for instance, should be more integrated into the strategic process from the beginning, rather than solely bringing projects to life at the end. Their ideas can be integral to shaping strong propositions. In Zurich, we had a chance to step back and look at what really works, test out new approaches, and implement tools that can help us create truly world-changing work.

    IB Academy Zurich

    For more insight into Interbrand’s unique educational workshops, check out The Interbrand Academy: Cultivating Excellence.

    Felipe Valerio is a Verbal Identity Manager at Interbrand São Paulo and Macaila Laubscher is a designer at Interbrand London.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Thursday, August 21 2014 05:39 PM | Comments (0)
    Month of Service

    During July, Interbrand united for its Month of Service as part of Interbrand Inspired—our global foundation. This year, Interbrand provided pro-bono consulting services to inspiring non-profits and social-impact startups, in addition to offering hands-on volunteering in local communities.

    As more companies work to make their Corporate Citizenship practices more impactful and visible, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of what brands are doing to give back. The line between a brand’s performance and its commitment to sustainability efforts is blurring. Entrepreneur explores the rise in consumer’s expectations for companies to do good. Research shows that billions of dollars in brand value are tied to participation in Corporate Citizenship initiatives. For that reason, Interbrand, the world's leading brand consultancy, is expanding its Corporate Citizenship practice to Canada, where national brands are increasingly coming under the scope of environmentally- and socially-conscious consumers. Carolyn Ray, Managing Director of Interbrand Canada, addresses the growing need in the Canadian marketplace for brands to have a transparent Corporate Citizenship strategy.

    Corporate Citizenship may go by many names, but one thing is for certain, a company's long-term financial success parallels its stance on social responsibility. A new article in The Guardian discusses five trends that show the importance of corporate citizenship as a business practice. CSR is here to stay, proving to be an invaluable business asset among companies that are incorporating social responsibility into their core values.

    As sustainability and efforts to reduce environmental impact take center stage, brands like General Mills are working towards transparency by insisting that its suppliers take measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. CNN Money reports General Mills also plans to purchase its ten most frequently used ingredients from sustainable sources by 2020. Now that it has launched a new series of environmental commitments, Kellogg’s also plans to do the same, according to Environmental Leader. General Mills and Kellogg’s join other companies like Coca-Cola and Mondelez that are setting increasingly ambitious sustainable sourcing goals.

    Additionally, newer companies uphold a responsibility to both make profit and remain socially responsible as part of their founding principles—a new type of business model. The New Yorker looks at Warby Parker and several other companies that are designated as “B corporations,” which are for-profit companies that commit to achieving both CSR and business goals.

    To find out more about the value of Corporate Citizenship, be sure to check out this month’s installment of Closing the Gap!

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Monday, August 18 2014 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

    Month of Service 2014

    In keeping with its annual tradition, during July Interbrand united for its Month of Service as part of Interbrand Inspired – our Foundation. Across the globe, Interbrand provided pro-bono consulting services to inspiring non-profits and social impact startups, in addition to offering hands-on volunteering in local communities. In total, Interbrand hosted and participated in more than 20 activities and positively affected the lives of many.

    The gift of generosity is a powerful expression of humanity and when a corporate community embraces altruism, the true character and spirit of the brand is revealed. Corporate Citizenship at Interbrand is our demonstration of appreciation for what we have and what we can give to others in pursuit of making the world a better place.

    From the Americas to Australia, Interbranders left a lasting impact on the organizations it partnered with and the communities in which we operate. The effects were felt in New York, where one team worked with Futures and Options to help underserved youth express their own personal brands – advice that Futures and Options knows will “help in their professional growth no matter what field they pursue.”

    The volunteer opportunities also support Interbrand’s collaborative and world changing internal culture, providing employees with the ability to think creatively and grow closer through shared experiences. Our Madrid office dedicated their time to a local community center, and as Ángela Rodrigo expressed, “it was a life changing experience for all of us.” In working with Student Reporter, Associate Consultant Jeremy Shapero noted, “our work was an exciting opportunity to flex beyond our traditional roles and teams."

    During Month of Service, Interbrand partnered with the following non-profits and start-ups: Career Gear; Friends of the Children New York; Minds Matter; Domestic Violence Project; Rooftop Films; Bite Size Learning; Friends of Bezalel; Student Reporter; Charity Miles; Pencils of Promise; Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE); GrowNYC; Futures and Options; Per Scholas; Upwardly Global; ABC Life Literacy; The Library Project; and Envision.

    For more photos from Interbrand’s Month of Service, visit our Facebook page here!

    About Interbrand Inspired
    Interbrand Inspired is Interbrand’s very own commitment to Corporate Citizenship. It is a not-for-profit foundation leveraged to promote the power of education around the world. Interbrand Inspired provides our employees an opportunity to give their time and talent to our communities through partnerships with educational organizations.

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  • Posted by: Vandana Ayyar on Wednesday, August 13 2014 12:31 PM | Comments (0)


    Interbrand is excited to announce that we have submitted to SXSW, in hopes of hosting a panel at SXSW Interactive and SXSW Music in 2015 and we need your help to get us there!

    SXSW, held in Austin, is a three-part conference and festival taking place from March 13th-22nd, consisting of three sessions: Interactive, Film, and Music. Notable speakers at the conference included Neil Degrasse Tyson, Chelsea Clinton, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Rosario Dawson.

    Interbrand has submitted four panel suggestions to SXSW, with each focusing on brands and how they use technology.

    To vote, simply click on the titles of the panels and make an account on SXSW’s PanelPicker site. Every vote matters so make sure to submit yours today!

    Mecosystem 2020: Brands are evolving into platforms to survive. Think GAFA — Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Possessing unique Log-In IDs and rich, multi-contextual touch points, the user is currently displacing the masterbrand as the primary, centralizing lens. Over time, these platform brand ecosystems will become mecosystems — user-generated brand instances that reflect a unique set of preferences and dynamic, biometric data. We will map out a model for brands to achieve a cohesive experience, a coordinated act of optimizing the interface layer, the partnership layer and the supporting infrastructure. Is the current age of the GAFA platforms enhancing or constricting the user's total experience?

    Wearables & The Happiness Quotient: Can wearables help us be happier? From the quantified self movement to the emerging biometric economy, wearables may finally deliver on the collective dream — to identify what we desire and create predictive and reinforcing engagement models to help us achieve our goals. Defining a 'happiness algorithm' via ubiquitous computing and biometric data promises to be the most exciting and meaningful endeavor of our respective disciplines. In this pursuit, how can individuals, marketers and policy makers create a win-win scenario surrounding increasingly personal data?

    Brand Strategy For The Internet Of Things: Buzzwords = pain points. These days devices are "seamless": Seamless communication, seamless integration, seamless connection. Customers want their devices (and data) to be "social" — to relate to one another in convenient, helpful, and appropriate ways. But siloed protocols prevent seamless cross-category connections. We end up with Smart Scales that don't sync. Selecting the right communication technology is more than a product decision; it's a brand decision. Communication and data standards are key differentiators that dictate the devices — and brands — that can participate in an ecosystem. Partnerships and brand alliances will increasingly drive how products communicate, share data, and relay information to customers. In this session, we'll look at how communication and data standards will form an integral component of brand strategy, and examine the ways in which brands can identify and form solid partnerships to truly deliver a seamless experience to customers.

    Digital Killed The Music Star: As platform brands like Google and Apple compete for music delivery and revenue, the experience gets better and better for the music fan: shareable, streamed, on-demand, curated and tailored for the listener, cheaper and even free. At the same time, it's getting worse and worse for the artist. Digital is largely responsible for many musicians no longer receiving fair compensation for the consumption of their music. Do digital practitioners feel a responsibility to right this wrong? What is the blueprint for a win-win compensation model for musicians, fans and corporations? How can technology and branding revive the pessimistic state of the industry?

    Voting ends on Friday September 5, 2014, so be sure to get your votes in! For more information and updates, visit SXSW.com.

    Vandana Ayyar is Interbrand’s Marketing Coordinator, North America. 

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Thursday, July 31 2014 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

    Image: © Kreg Holt for WOBI

    According to strategy expert Rita Gunther McGrath, the competitive advantage is dead. Any edge your brand has over another will be trumped faster and more furiously than ever before. And in fact, most of the speakers at the WOBI on Innovation conference focused on these disrupters: brands that emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, and shake up a category so dramatically that all others in its category must hustle to stay relevant.

    McGrath advises a new, nimble mindset as the best way to protect your brand from being edged out, including changing your thinking about innovation and also your business strategy. Incredible agility is now required when we consider our products, budgets, and even our own careers.  Innovation should be incorporated fully into our company, not as an “extra,” but as another cost of doing business. Products and ideas should be championed for as long as they are effective and then relinquished for improved solutions. And, as employees, we have to consistently and proactively shape and nurture our career paths.

    If the WOBI faculty is an indication of the future, then healthcare in particular must be alert to the patter of disrupters. Technology looming on the horizon could threaten many healthcare brands; however, getting educated about what’s happening at the leading-edge and being open to possibilities gives brands an opportunity to progress and position themselves as forward thinkers, whether that means partnering with “disruptive” consumer brands or refocusing their own R&D.

    What does the future hold?

    If we are to believe tech entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, our future is going to be super cool and very scary all at the same time. We’ll start with the (now) ordinary but end up with the extraordinary—and a number of questions about our privacy and consumerism in general, will be raised. What happens to the pharmaceutical industry when we can print our own medications? Or to doctors when robots perform all our surgeries? Our phones will track everything our bodies do, from fitness to heart monitoring, to medication absorption. Global data is growing at a rate of 59 percent per year, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Pills will come with sensors; medicine for conditions like cancer will be personalized. We’ll print hearts and lungs and bionic hands. Devices and tattoos on our skin will store our health records, credit cards, and IDs. Robots will continue to advance in medicine and beyond, replacing pharmacists, delivery vehicles, factory workers, and more.

    How does a brand adapt?

    So how does a healthcare brand stay agile during this tumultuous time? CEO Mark Bertolini offered some insight into the direction Aetna is taking that is inspiring for anyone in healthcare today. Perhaps most importantly, Bertolini has shifted the company’s perception of its customer, its marketplace, and its role:

    “Healthcare is focused on curing disease, not creating highly functional human beings. Our goal should be highly functional humans because they are productive, economically viable, and therefore happy. That should be our definition of how a healthcare system works.”

    Not only is this aspirational, it’s practical. Between the ACA, new technology, and concierge medicine, healthcare is more patient-centric than ever. Consumers now have the tools to understand, monitor, and take an active role in their health like never before. Bertolini goes so far as to say that if the healthcare system is structured properly and built around the individual, traditional insurance won’t even be necessary. He sees three main transformative principles for staying ahead:

    1. Move towards consumer-centric digital tools that empower customers to take control of their healthcare
    2. Partner with doctors and hospitals to share incentives and keep people healthy
    3. Exact concierge level service for chronic patients that is high touch and high tech

    Bolster your brand

    There are no guarantees against disrupters—and they’re also not always a genuine threat. For every Uber or AirBnB there’s a Pets.com or LaserDisc. However, taking the whole landscape in account, it’s very clear that we’re entering a brave new world for healthcare. Therefore, understanding the strength of your brand in the marketplace and developing future strategies around that can help you adapt to the industry’s turbulent new normal. What shifts should you make to foster innovation and keep employees engaged? How can you push new products forward and disengage from those that have run their course? Can you adopt new technologies to better serve your consumers? We don’t know where the next disrupter will come from, or when it will emerge, but by recognizing changes in our industry, employing forward-thinking techniques, and adapting to consumer marketplace trends, we can set our brands up for success and longevity.

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter @NicoleDiamant.

    Interested in future-proofing your brand? Connect with InterbrandHealth here.

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