Archive for the ‘Design’ tag

Learn to Love Your Brand

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Isn’t it odd when you’re thinking about an old friend from your hometown you haven’t connected with in years, and then you see her in the SoHo TOPSHOP out of the blue? Do you find it strange when a word you newly discovered at work appears later that day in a cookbook, the next week on a billboard, and again in conversation over Sunday Brunch?

We’ve all had these occurrences—most experience this phenomenon a few times in their lives, while others encounter them with greater regularity. Is there some hidden cause or meaning behind these events? Would you call it a coincidence, synchronicity, or just a blip in the matrix?

According to the Urban Dictionary, the instance where one happens upon an obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or name—and soon encounters the same subject again is known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Skeptics may conclude that the frequency of these experiences hasn’t changed, just simply our perception of them has.

One version of this theory explains that when we hear or see a word or name that we just learned, it may feel like more than a coincidence because Baader-Meinhof is amplified by the recency effect; a cognitive bias that inflates the importance of recent stimuli or observations. This increases the chances of being more aware of the subject when we encounter it again. Scientific observation shows us that the Baader-Meinhof theory strikes with a keen accuracy, and happens too frequently to be explained away so easily. The reason for this is our brains’ prejudice towards patterns. Our brains are fantastic pattern recognition engines, a characteristic that is highly useful for learning. The brain promotes the information because two or more instances make up the beginnings of a sequence. What we fail to notice is the hundreds of thousands of pieces of information, which aren’t repeated, because they do not conform to an interesting pattern.

Researching this fascinating data made me think about how these organically occurring phenomenon’s link directly to smart and effective branding. Repetition, consistency and frequency are all critical in supporting a brands design language and strategy, and therefore hold extreme value to the success of a brand. With the direct and subliminal communication of a brand’s design elements (shape, color, typography, iconography) and design principles (contrast, scale, depth, perspective), the brand importance is heightened, and there is an automatic imprint of the brand story in the mind of the consumer.

Further proof of how a brand can sustain importance and connect with consumers over the duration of time visually, can be found by examining a brand’s visual language history. A brands “look” often evolves slowly over time, but the core message of all successful brands never really changes. For example, since the brands conception in 1971, Starbucks has kept up with modern design standards by tweaking their logo over the years. While the brand proposition of offering quality coffee and an intimate customer experience in a comfortable atmosphere never changed, the visual interpretation has. Starbucks Masterbrand logo, (seen above in 1992 & 2011), shows that the wordmark portion of the logo is eventually removed; however the logo is still recognizable as a stand-alone brandmark, and still representing the Starbucks brand. This brand expression, when transformed by a Rodarte inspired design on a coffee thermos (above), proves that even with an obscured and pixilated logo, the brand still resonates. This successful branding evolution has led to continued consumer recognition and ultimately trust and loyalty from the Starbucks consumers.

A brand’s consistent and frequent repetitive story is not just in the eye of the beholder; it can extend to other senses as well. Think about the distinct smell of Auntie Anne’s pretzels as you stroll through a mall, the familiar echo of the Intel’s 5-note ding or that satisfying gulp of an original Coca-Cola. And what about “Touch”? You can almost feel the possibilities of how an established brand could connect with consumers when you consider the brand experience from this multi-faceted perspective. It is interesting to consider these patterns of human behavior, and how leveraging our senses can impact the sustained health of a successful branding campaign.

Because our brains are bombarded with millions of messages every day, we can’t be expected to pay attention to all of them – so we heed the most relevant ones and ignore the rest. With familiarity comes trust and confidence. If executed correctly, a consistent, frequently repetitive brand story brings clarity and purpose that eventually leads to consumer loyalty. Whether perceived or not, you have more of an emotional connection—and the experience, service or product is held to a higher level of importance to you.

And with that, I’m headed to SoHo to buy those gorgeous hot-pink, blinged-out limited edition TOPSHOP jeans, that I, for some reason, just can’t stop thinking about.

Written by: Erin Helmer

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iPad Mini, you complete me.

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iPad MiniPhoto Credit: Cult of Mac

Every time Apple launches a new product, the rumor mill starts speculating when the company will launch a “mini” version. It happened with the original iPhone and even after five years, there is no sign of a smaller version. They did it with the MacBook Air and we saw an 11-inch version a few years later. Even with the iPad selling as fast as they can make them, everyone is still waiting for a smaller form factor.

According to a report from the New York Times, Apple will in fact be announcing a smaller version with a 7.85-inch screen and we can expect it by the end of the year. End of story.

Well not quite… There are two challenges that a 7-inch screen faces on being successful and those are differentiation and app development.

First off, I have been skeptic about something smaller than a 10-inch screen; I mean that is why I have a smartphone. In October 2010 Steve Jobs even shot down the idea when he said, “It is meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size.” (A little bit of a fanboy here.)

It has been two years and no other tablet or size for that matter has been able to overtake the 10-inch iPad. Things are changing though and much like the PC industry, various screen sizes will meet different needs for different types of consumers.

I got my hands on the newly announced Google Nexus 7, which Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal called the first challenger to the iPad, and the size makes sense. It feels great in your hands and with the upgraded Google Play store, it is perfect for watching video, checking email, reading magazines and books, etc.

We might be at a point in the evolution of the tablet where smaller sizes make sense for consuming content and a larger screen is reserved for content creation. Will people purchase both?  Some people own a desktop and notebook computer, so we shall see…

The other challenge that Apple faces is fragmentation of screen sizes. More screen resolutions and sizes affect how developers create apps. Apple has a very strong developer community whose applications are one of the reasons for the iPad’s success. Will it be possible to throw a 7-inch iPad into the mix and make it easy for developers to build for that screen?

In the past, Apple has done a great been job at eliminating fragmentation by creating tools that help developers build for new screen resolutions. When the time comes to make an official announcement on a smaller iPad, we will see how Apple handles this. One hint was when Apple announced iOS 6 at their WWDC conference in June where one of the new features of the operating system was an Auto Layout API, which could be a clue to new screen sizes coming…

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Written by Admin
Admin

July 24th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Design,Technology

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Lower Energy Bills = Happy Homes

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1280-Nest-happy-homePhoto Credit: FastCompany.com

Apple advertising usually makes the top of most lists for great advertising. We wouldn’t expect anything less especially from companies that have Apple veterans running them.

Nest, a smart thermostat company, was founded by Tony Faddell, the father of the iPod. The company has partnered with Goodby Silverstein & Partners for a new Happy Home campaign that includes TV spots showing homes that are happy from the outside due to the energy savings going on inside.

The campaign is also promoting the campaign on Pinterest where the company is holding a contest for followers to post pictures of “Happy” homes. What a good use of Pinterest!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out what Nest is doing, check out their website and the TV spot.

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Written by Admin
Admin

July 11th, 2012 at 5:22 am

Pop Ups That Really Pop

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PopUp2Photo Credit: Ric Edwards

Can you imagine sitting in chair that looks like a spinning top? How about being surrounded by 30 male models dressed in designer suits while getting a complimentary shoe shine? Thanks to the Herman Miller Pop Up Shop in SoHo and the MR PORTER Pop Up Shop in Meatpacking, I was able to experience both.

The Herman Miller Pop Up Shop, which is open until July 1, features luxuriously detailed furniture vignettes throughout the 6,000 square-foot space.  Located at 68 Wooster Street (between Spring and Broome), the shop tells stories of the past and present while inspiring professional designers, consumers, and commercial users.

Through furnishings for the home, office and exterior spaces, the Herman Miller collection reintroduces familiar classics and forgotten masterpieces to a new generation of design lovers. As Design Director George Nelson envisioned in 1952, Herman Miller’s collection should be “the continuing creation of a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirement for modern living.” If you want to experience the timelessness of the collection first hand, I suggest getting out there this weekend and seeing it for yourself!

After getting dizzy in Herman Miller’s iconic Magis Spun chair, I headed over to the MR PORTER Pop Up Shop at 72 Gansevoort Street, which brought the online menswear destination to life in partnership with USA network’s show, Suits. The store, titled “Suits & Style,” closed on June 17 and had the feel of a masculine, metropolitan lounge.

MR PORTER brought their online experience to the store with large interactive touch-screen monitors that allowed you to play around and create your own looks–what’s the harm in virtually trying on $2,000 cufflinks? Just in case you were in the mood to splurge, your order could be processed right there in the store for delivery. If that wasn’t enough to spark your interest, there was personal grooming services provided by Aesop (and a free java bar!).

It’s safe to say that no matter who you are, the MR PORTER Pop Up Shop would have ‘suited’ you.

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

June 28th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

A Picture is Worth 23 Chromosomes…

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Is it possible to make your art anymore personal? DNA11 thinks so.
The company launched in 2005 and is making it easy for anyone to take a little of themselves and make a truly customized piece of art. Maybe you aren’t interested in your genome being displayed, but what about your pets? DNA11, like many other brands, has discovered that consumers are moving to more individual, customized experiences.
This isn’t your $25 stock image from Ikea though. A personalized DNA11 print might cost cost anywhere from $100-$1000. A custom DNA waterfall went for $25,000.
So what do you think? Will you let them prick your finger?

061812-DNA-PAINTING-029edit-660x440Photo Credit: Wired.com

Is it possible to make art anymore personal? DNA11 thinks so.

The company launched in 2005 and is making it easy for anyone to take a little of themselves and make a truly customized piece of art. DNA11, like many other brands, has discovered that consumers are moving to more individual, customized experiences. It doesn’t get anymore personal than this.

Don’t expect IKEA prices as this isn’t stock imagery.  A personalized DNA11 print might cost cost anywhere from $100-$1000. A custom DNA waterfall went for $25,000.

So what do you think? Will you let them prick your finger?

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Written by Admin
Admin

June 26th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

5 Simple and Successful Retail Strategies

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Nike Bowery StadiumPhoto credit: dmnews.com

Brands, listen up! Are you trying to figure out how to maximize consumer retail experiences? Look no further–MKTG INC’s Charlie Horsey gives five “Sweet Summer Retail Strategies” in Direct Marketing News’ Direct by Design Blog that will ensure the success of your retail (and summer vacation, too!).

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

June 18th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

MKTG @ E3

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E3Photo Credit: nintendolife.com

June means many things to many people; end of the school year and beginning of summer freedom, less work and more vacation, longer days and warmer nights.  But when it comes to gamers, June only means one thing… E3.

From June 5th – June 7th, downtown Los Angeles transformed into a gaming mecca where industry insiders and professionals went to experience the future of interactive entertainment.  A reported 45,700 attendees made it out to the convention this year in search of the next big thing, and you bet MKTG INC was there to check it out.

Gaming giants Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony each made some big announcements during their pre-convention conference.  Nintendo followed up on their 2011 E3 announcement of Wii U, the successor console to the hugely popular Wii that incorporates a touch pad controller.  The conference unveiled a 23 title software line-up and visits from top video game publishers and developers.  A separate online conference was held to discuss the latest and greatest in store for the Nintendo 3DS platform coming this year including New Super Mario Bros. 2Scribblenauts Unlimited, and the highly anticipated Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.

Everyone expected Microsoft to unleash updates around Halo, their biggest and most successful franchise, but the big shock came when they announced the next big thing on the XBOX horizon…SmartGlass.  SmartGlass will essentially be a collection of apps that can be added to PCs, tablets and smart phones, enabling these devices to be used as a second screen and controller for the XBOX 360.  Additional updates surrounding Kinect and other gaming entertainment features on the XBOX 360 were also revealed during the conference.

Sony had a strong focus on software with the announcement of Beyond: Two Souls, The Last of Us, and Wonderbook: Book of Spells (a Harry Potter inspired game that turns the Move controller into a magic wand).  Far Cry 3, God of War: Ascension, and Assassin’s Creed III were also among the top titles featured in the press conference.  The PS Vita was highlighted by the announcement of plans to make use of its front and back touch screens with the PlayStation 3 console.

Once the clock hit noon on Tuesday, the show floor was flooded with people eager to experience the hardware and software firsthand.  Game developers Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Activision showcased large booths with stunning game trailers and what seemed like endless lines test their new products.  One of the most anticipated software titles of the conference was Watch Dogs, which allowed appointment-only demos of the game in a private room.

Celebs like Danica Patrick and Snoop Dogg were among convention attendees as they promoted new software titles and strolled the convention floor in search of their next favorite game.  There was even an area dedicated to the video game history showcasing the evolution of gaming (Atari anyone?).

Overall it was a successful year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo even though mobile gaming was less prevalent on the show floor as some would hope.  Needless to say, we’ll be back again next year!

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Written by Admin
Admin

June 11th, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Fill Up Your Cup

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It’s Friday and it’s certainly happy hour somewhere. So when you find yourself ponied up to a bar, check out the new Guinness campaign  – just order a pint! Hot from BBDO New York, there’s now a whole new way to have fun with QR codes with the Guinness Glass. When the dark beer is filled to the top, the code becomes visible. Scan the QR code and unlock promotions as well as access to a number of social media goodies. Guiness QR Glass

Have a nice weekend and bottoms up!

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Written by Admin
Admin

May 18th, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Experience

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Office Space

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Our Office

The New York Egotist was kind enough to post a short piece about our New York office and all the cool things inside of it. We’re talking large blocks of inspirational text (see above), video game stations, and a fully stocked in-house bar. Like W.C. Fields said, “There are only two real ways to get ahead – sell liquor or drink it.” At MKTG INC, we do both. Occasionally at the same time.

To see more photos of our workplace digs, head over here.

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Written by Michelle Heller
Michelle Heller

November 9th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Posted in Design

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Google Us

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Chrome 640

Flight delayed? Good. If you’re taking to the skies on Virgin Atlantic, it’ll give you more time to play around with Google’s new Chromebook. Event Marketer did a nice write up of the program MKTG developed with Google to drive awareness of its soon-to-launch laptop. Lucky airline passengers and guests of New York’s Ace Hotel can get their hands on these sleek PCs from now until the end of September.

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Written by Michelle Heller
Michelle Heller

September 9th, 2011 at 2:51 pm