Monday, February 22, 2010

Energy Innovation

Innovate a new kind of energy, more efficient, more powerful and at the same time reduce our global carbon emissions to zero by 2050. I feel like this challenge has been on the table for a few years now but it's nice to finally get presented with the challenge. Solving the energy and carbon emissions problem simultaneously is certainly the single greatest challenge our generation will face. We have 20 years to invent the technology and 20 years to implement it. Let's get crackin'.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Branding is Dead

Branding is Dead.

Well at least the way it's been done for the past 15 years. Here's a little remix of Hoffman Lewis (an SF advertising firm) and Naomi Klein (author of No Logo who is well known for anti-globalism.)

Both have a problem with the same thing. Brand culture and brand strategists have spent the past 10 years creating a world of culture, imagination and personality around a world of collapsing innovation and product development.

As products and services lost momentum advertisers compensated by focusing on the company's brand image. For me, the pinnacle of this movement came in '08 when I was recognized with a Jay/Chiat planning award for help on a campaign that boasted bad marketing for a great product. Although the strategy was considered clever, the irony is that the product was the same old crap the company had been creating for the past 10 years. It was another example of spraying a tan onto another pasty dude at the pool. The spray on brand tan that company's have received over the past decade are wearing off and they are getting exposed for their in-authenticity. Companies must continue to think disruptively but they must also tout an innovative, respectable product.

There is good news though. What is emerging from the rubble is a combination of brand imagination and product innovation; a mixture that has the potential to evolve the way we do and communicate business.

This is a call to action to stop branding the empty cow; if you must, look to the hands of the engineers, the architects, the builders; and find brands that are worthy of communications. But in my mind the real opportunity rests in collaboration. If your clients have a lousy product, don't create a more imaginative world to disguise it; help them build something better.