As we are emerging from the Great Recession of our times, the salient question that is often asked, how important is the brand proposition. BrandZ Research shows as the S&P declined, the value of illustrious brands increased. Over the past 5 years the value of BrandZ Top 100 Global brands have appreciated by 40%. This is striking. To be more analytical, measured against the S&P 500 during the same five-year period, the BrandZ Top 100 Portfolio has grown by 18.5 percent in value compared with a decline of 11.5 percent for the S&P 500. What is it about indestructible brands that transcends price and perception even during the challenging times? Of the various features below, the heritage factor comes across strong to me. To illustrate the Legacy factor, I could not find a better example than the Reichstag Building in Berlin.
With the proclamation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles on Jan. 18, 1871, Berlin acquired a new role as capital of the Empire. The Reichstag, the Imperial Parliament, (dates back to the Roman times), needed a larger, imposing building. The new Reichstag, an elegantly proportioned Neo-Renaissance palace, was designed by Paul Wallot; the foundation stone was laid by the Emperor himself in 1884 and the building completed in 1894. After a century of tumultuous history, it is now the permanent seat of German Bundestag.
In 1977 intangible asset value were roughly comparable in value to tangible assets. By 2007 intangible assets were worth three times that of tangibles, reflecting our move to a post-industrial world where intellectual property and services drive the global economy...[that is the potential of your brand.] Source: Millward Brown Optimor analysis
A Brand is a Pledge, a Vow, a Guarantee, a Promise.
A Brand is a Hallmark of Trust.
“A brand is not a product. It is the sum total of everything a company [school] does — the good, the bad and even the off strategy — that creates a large context or an identity in the consumer’s mind.” Scott Bedbury. An established brand is a living, breathing abstraction. The brand AT&T is the case in point. In 1984 AT&T Bell System ceased to exist. It was chopped up in 8 different units. After turbulent 10 years, SBC Communication (disruptive innovation at work) acquired the brand AT&T and re-established the brand in it's former glory.
A Brand Promise is supported by Positioning, Communication and Operation.
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“I would define intellectual elegance as a mind that is continually refining itself with education and knowledge. Intellectual elegance is the opposite of intellectual vulgarity.”
Intellectual elegance is that exalted level of intelligence which has produced all the masterpieces in the history of mankind. I believe it resides in the most beautiful emotion that we experience in the mysterious within us. The Hindu sages call it serpent shakti. The Chinese Masters call it chi. It is intellectual elegance that Einstein speaks about when he says: "Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion."
History and our post-modern society is interspersed with Intellectual Elegance. It is in the eloquence of the Pyramids, in the Renaissance paintings, in the sublime writings of Goethe, in Pythagorean Theorems, in Tesla Coil Theory. You name it, it is there. It is the golden thread that guides us to the best solution of whatever we do. It is the definitive goal of our minds - the one beyond compromises.
"It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science...To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly....." [Einstein 1930]....this is Intellectual Elegance.
Intellectual elegance is also our community consciousness and our moral imperative. It is the deepest meaning and the ethos of Design.
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One sunny afternoon a blue butterfly decided to sit on my car windshield. I watched—it was as if poetry paused only to lure me into this labyrinth of curiosity and wonder. I marveled at this beauty that defied all laws of evolution to become an innovation in itself. It is as if, in it's mission to unite mother earth and father sky it goes through its own complex stages of disruptive innovation. Coined by Prof. Clayton Christensen, in his book The Innovator's Dilemma, disruptive innovation is the process in which a product takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.
Some examples of disruptive innovation include:
Cellular phones Fixed line telephony
Community colleges Four-year colleges
Discount retailers Full-service department stores
Retail medical clinic Traditional doctor’s offices
In the portable trade show arena, the story of Skyline seems to be a marvelous example of continual Disruptive Innovation at work. More than 20 years ago the portable pop-up solution created exhibiting opportunities for customers who otherwise could not afford to exhibit. Skyline gained impressive market share and defined portable exhibiting. With this growth in market share there arose a new class of customers who wanted more efficiency at a lesser cost. We saw the emergence of online vendors step in to fulfill the Theory of Disruptive Innovation. Skyline had to innovate in a new way to be more beneficial than the existing competitive products in the marketplace. It went through its own Disruptive Innovation and introduced Arrive, an even more portable solution for trade show exhibitors. It made the grand entry in the market by winning the 2010 Best New Product Contest. Only time will tell if Arrive will be another paradigm shifting blue butterfly.
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It is the passion and the vigor of the designers that breathes life into products. It is the authencity and comfort that matches people's desire, makes the product momentous.
"Really successful brands have cultures people can partake in." Ron Pompei.
Some brands like Anthropologie, Apple or Whole Foods have made that leap. The Portfolio Retail Design Luminaries Awards this year was presented to three outstanding individuals who have demonstrated unparalleled creative excellence, exemplary professional leadership and unwavering personal commitment to the design industry—lighting the way for others, inspiring us all with their accomplishments and visionary guidance. The Luminaries are: Ron Pompei, Ken Nisch and Andrew McQuilkin.
As shown, the product designs above, will be a splash of freshness in the trade show industry. The ever popular pendant lights takes a new form with this à la mode Poppy Lamps designed by Hive Mfg. Co. Inc. Lounges, that are current in trade show gatherings can be enthralling with the handmade Bloom Armchair designed by Kenneth Cobonpue.
It is these design visionaries that light the path for others to follow. They move the masses and leave a legacy that which is unexpected. This piece is my tribute to them.
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