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  • 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: Fell Gray on Thursday, February 13 2014 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

    Aviage Systems
    Best Asian Brands

    A 玫瑰 by any other name

    It’s the start of a new year in China, and the astrologists tell us that the Year of the Horse has the potential to be more successful than last year, but it will require patience and perseverance. And for any brand looking to launch a Chinese brand name this year (or any other), these are words to live by.

    While the appeal of the Chinese market is clear to most, the need for a Chinese name may not be. Given that the average Chinese consumer doesn’t speak English and sees Roman characters as graphic elements, a Chinese name is important just to break through. But there are a host of other reasons: a cultural desire to protect and preserve the Chinese language, marketing support necessary to educate consumers on the English name, and government requirements (e.g., audible Chinese for all TV advertising), to name a few.

    When you do jump into Chinese name development, brace yourself for the realities of the screening process. There are 6.27M active trademarks and more than 600,000 filed each year. And China follows a first-to-file not a first-to-use system, so registration can be a bit of a land grab. Beyond that are language and cultural considerations for a successful name: tonality, harmony checks, dialects, simplified vs traditional characters…. As I said: patience and perseverance.

    Then, Then Again, Now

    To get to the right names, you’ll have a range of creative strategies at your disposal: creation, translation, literation, and transliteration. The right choice lies in determining the importance of meaning vs. sounding the same as your existing name. Elevating the importance of meaning in Chinese over the sound will aid memorability and recall. And a name that sounds similar will strengthen the connection to the international name and its brand equity. Some brands manage to find an equal balance through transliteration (well done, Coke), but many make the decision to pick one over the other. Nike chose a name that sounds identical to the English and means “enduring and preserving,” while Citibank chose a name that sounds different but means star spangled banner bank. All are valid options, depending on your goals.

    Whatever your approach, one of the most important things to remember when evaluating your options is: don’t hear with an English ear. The right word in English is not necessarily the right word in Chinese. Pairings of characters can change meaning significantly, so you can’t look at characters individually. And you can’t underestimate the importance of symbols in Chinese culture, so be sure you are looking at all the layers of meaning the name provides.

    This week's guest author, Fell Gray, is Senior Director of Verbal Identity for Interbrand New York. She is also the practice leader for Brand Voice.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Tuesday, February 4 2014 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Health TechNew developments in health tech and smartphone apps are giving patients more power than ever in the palms of their hands, allowing them to do everything from book appointments and keep in touch with physicians to track medication in their bodies and even produce personal EKGs.

    At InterbrandHealth, we consult with healthcare companies on how to best position and shape their brands to drive loyalty, perception, and premium. Successful brands recognize that brand experience strengthens a customer’s emotional relationship to their product. What better way to integrate your brand into consumers’ lives than with relevant smartphone tools? A consumer doesn’t need to have a serious condition to find these exciting and innovative apps pertinent to their lives.

    For example, Quest Diagnostics has three apps: one for scheduling, one for physicians, and one where patients can track their own health information. GE Healthymagination’s platform has nine apps and growing, ranging from weight loss and fitness tools to pregnancy and sleep monitoring programs. They even offer a game called Patient Shuffle, which tests the user’s ability to run a hospital. The health craze is extending to consumer brands as well; Nike has been pioneering life data devices like FuelBand for a few years now, and Under Armour just made headlines with its purchase of the exercise app MapMyFitness.

    While these programs can be entertaining and useful resources, could the technology ultimately be lifesaving? Physicians are now regularly using apps like Epocrates, a meticulous drug reference system; Isabel, a symptom synthesizer that offers possible causations; and AliveCor, a portable heart monitor that can produce EKGs. There are also apps to see how clean a hospital is, to turn your phone into an otoscope (a device that examines the ear), and to view x-rays and MRIs on your phone anywhere in the world.

    More apps are coming down the pike—some are even being produced via crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, truly demonstrating the public demand for health and wellness apps and information. A new program called Skulpt Aim measures fat percentages and muscle quality for better fitness. Chronic Wellness Tracker helps people with heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions tract symptoms and progress over time. Healthcare companies are even working on developing an ingestible GPS sensor, which can be swallowed with medication and relay information to your smartphone about your intake schedule and how the drug is affecting your body.

    As the healthcare industry continues to develop corporate and product branded apps, questions will be raised about the efficacy and efficiency of these technologies. Some may see the one-size-fits-all model as problematic, especially if consumers begin to diagnose themselves incorrectly. But most will see them as helpful, if not essential, to healthy living. As technological improvements are made, strong healthcare brands can recognize and harness the power these tools have in shaping brand experience for their consumers and in increasing loyalty, perception, and marketplace share. Future customers may just be a download away.

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth.

    Connect with InterbrandHealth, the only full-service global branding consultancy with an exclusive focus on healthcare.

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  • Posted by: Jemima Maunder-Taylor on Thursday, January 30 2014 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

    Stroll down the sunny streets of Melbourne Sydney and you’ll find Sneakerboy, Australia’s new favourite footwear brand. Open the eye-of-the-cave door and immerse yourself in the seemingly endless, darkened aisle of designer label sneakers, special editions and pre-release samples, wandering ever further into the hologram tunnel.

    Artfully merchandised rows of shoes line the walls, ready to be worn, but none will leave. This is another brick-and-click setup; you won’t walk out of Sneakerboy with your new shoes. Instead you’ll order via iPads or the mobile app, to arrive at your door days later, and you’ll leave the store empty-handed.


    Hailed as the next generation retail model, Sneakerboy turns the search for a new pair of boots into a digitised world of play. Online convenience meets physical theatricality to revolutionise the space: product showcasing uses 77sq m of the 80sq m total in the flagship Melbourne store. This store is all about the illusion, the mysterious, futuristic foray into the world of Sneakerboy. The brand’s rebellious, savvy personality is brought to the fore so that shoppers can take part in the brand themselves.

    Creating digitised playgrounds out of store space is a simple and engaging tactic. Brands can showcase their core values and assets on the high street, minus the hassle of stock-keeping.

    US jeans retailer Hointer targets time-strapped shoppers with its seamless, effortless experience. The offer is wholly shoppable via the in-store mobile app. Customers select jean size, model and colour, which are sent within 30 seconds to a designated fitting room, thanks to behind the scenes robots. They purchase items on the spot in the fitting room, or discard them from the virtual shopping basket. Digital wow factors make this experience cool, collected and refined, just like its brand.

    Nike is the undisputed king of turning digital play into an emporium of its brand. The energetic, go-getting atmosphere of its stores is achieved through gamified innovation, using illusion and even magic to launch new products.

    The Box Park outlet in London’s Shoreditch is renowned for its neon-lit everything and wall-length displays. The pop-up is a Nike+ Fuel Station, with interactive displays and stations to test and showcase the Nike Fuel band. The store featured digital mannequins with motion sensitive mirrors revealing film footage of local runners clad in the latest Nike gear. Not to mention the gait-analysing treadmills and an immense interactive screen installation where shoppers could watch life-size images of themselves reflected via motion-sensors. The end picture became a personalised digital art piece, shareable via social media.

    Nike also designed the Building Twist in Tokyo, to launch its new twistable free-running shoe. The game used projection mapping to entice shoppers to play with the illusion. When players picked up the shoe and twisted it, neighbouring buildings appeared to twist in a mimic of the game, a magical experience playing on reality. These are just a few examples of Nike’s digital phenomena, for which it has been widely praised. And rightly so – the excitement and hype surrounding Nike are a perfect embodiment of the spirit of the brand, ready to unleash the athlete in all of us.

    This trend isn’t limited to fashion brands either. Mini, the brand of downtown fun, turned traditional car-selling on its head by driving the showroom test cars to the buyers’ homes. Imagine the surprise for the prospective purchasers of the brand of urban excitement.

    Moscow’s Noviy restaurant redesigned all of its surfaces as touchscreens so guests could communicate with each other from across the restaurant and order their meals by text. Traditional fine-dining was re-imagined for a brand positioned around the novel, the evolving and the unexpected.

    Even at product level, brands are looking at digital innovation to awe and entertain us – think edible QR codes, alcohol-aware ice-cubes and smart knives which display food freshness and provenance on the blade as you chop. Creating hubbubs of inspiration and illusion, or even just a game, is a winning tactic for brands wanting to invite consumers to join the experience. Those cashing in on our willingness to explore surreal and transportative brands are the ones which will drive footfall to the bricks-and-mortar stores.

    Jemima Maunder-Taylor is an Analyst, Brand Strategy, at Interbrand London.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Tuesday, January 7 2014 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

    Our social listening experts and on-the-ground Interbrand team are monitoring the interwebs and live press conferences at CES 2014 this week to bring you the latest product launches and innovations from the world's leading technology brands. Check out our recap of the biggest connected ecosystem stories and latest tech gadgets, live from Las Vegas, and follow @Interbrand on Twitter as we follow the buzz from Las Vegas this week. Stay tuned for news about how brands are forging connections, making consumers' lives better in the car and at home with wearable health trackers, and more.

    Samsung looks to partner brands to create a truly connected home - Yes, Samsung's 85-inch bendable TV sparkled, but its announcement of the "Smart Home" demonstrated the brand's understanding of the connected ecosystem's importance. Although this concept isn't first to market, Samsung's single platform will connect all smart devices and home appliances, allowing consumers to monitor and control every aspect of their home from any mobile device (phone, wearables, etc.). Initially, Samsung plans for the app to only work with its own products, but the brand understands that its future success relies on partnering with other brands' devices, as to create a truly connected home for consumers. [Engadget]

    AT&T Creates a "Smartphone on Wheels" - At the AT&T Developer Summit on Monday AT&T's announcements included the Drive Studio, a collaborative garage where partnering automakers will engage with the AT&T Drive technology to create a safe "smartphone on wheels," as Fast Company puts it.

    Text your appliances what to do with LG's HomeChat - LG's HomeChat app introduces a new level of consumer convenience and control. With an app that allows users to text their home appliances from anywhere, the sky's the limit: ask the fridge if you are out of milk while at the grocery store or start a wash cycle before arriving home from vacation. [CNET]

    Wearable Health Gadgets Off To a Running Start at CES - Wearable technology brands like Nike and Kolibree are improving lives in a growing market, connecting health-tech devices used across life spaces. We're looking forward to seeing the impact of these brands in 2014. [brandchannel]

    Intel Brings "Human-Like Senses" To Devices - Intel's RealSense technology aims to make tech feel more "human-like" through voice, touch, gestures and 3-D notebook cameras. [Forbes]

    Sony reveals its fun side with wearable tech - Demonstrating the brand's latest vision centered around "play," Sony announced the SmartBand, a gadget that captures not only physical motion, but emotion as well. This device will monitor consumers' daily activities and visually represent them in the Lifelog app, allowing users to reminisce about their past and plan for the future. [CNET]

    Monitor grilling temps with iDevices - iGrill2 serves up a little help in the kitchen for the grill master of the house, allowing you to monitor your meat's progress on the grill from your smartphone. Never overcook your steak again! [CNET]

    To learn more, please contact Andrea Sullivan, Chief Marketing Officer, North America at asullivan@interbrand.com. To subscribe to The Connected Ecosystem: Interbrand at CES, please click here

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