In his book “The Designful Company,” Marty Neumeier, director of transformation at the brand marketing firm, Liquid Agency, argues that business management itself has an aesthetic component. “Of course, everyone knows you can apply the principles of aesthetics to the curve of a fender, the typography of a web page, or the textures in a clothing line. Yet you can also apply them to upstream strategy, organizational change, and marketplace reputation,” he says. In the chapter “The Rebirth of Aesthetics,” Neumeier charts the elements of aesthetics and attaches questions to them that all types of businesses – even design firms, large and small – should ask themselves to become more innovative, identify how the parts relate to the whole, operate more creatively, and arrive at a strategy that will lead to market distinction and long-lasting growth. It’s good to end the year by taking stock of what you’re doing and where you want to go.
Editor’s note: Here’s more thoughtful advice excerpted from branding expert Marty Neumeier’s book, The Brand Gap. Marty is the director of transformation at Liquid Agency.
Why are there so many sound-alike names? The short answer is this: Most of the good names are taken. Between a rising tide of startups on one hand, and a flood of URLs on the other, companies are continually forced to dive deeper for workable names. The latest trend is to push the boundaries of dignity with names like Yahoo!, Google, FatSplash and Jamcracker. Where will it end?
It won’t. The need for good brand names originates with customers and customers will always want convenient ways of identifying, remembering, discussing, and comparing brands. The right name can be a brand’s most valuable asset, driving differentiation and speeding acceptance. The wrong name can cost millions, even billions, in workarounds and lost income over the lifetime of the brand. George Bernard Shaw’s advice applies to brands as well as people: “Take care to get born well.”
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Transformation is in the air. Business leaders across industries are recognizing that “old school” management isn’t up to the task of nonstop innovation. As a result, companies that were once run from the top down are steadily shifting to a more networked style of management in which employees and customers play a greater role in driving innovation. Networked cultures tend to be more creative, more agile, and better able to anticipate the needs of customers.
How do you create a culture of innovation? By recognizing one simple fact: If you want to innovate, you’ve
got to design. Design and design thinking are the tools that create new products, new services, new business
models, new markets, and new industries. The best way to leverage innovation—as outlined in my latest book—is to build a “designful company”.
To find out where you are on the culture curve, take this simple test: Share a total of 10 points across each of the
10 pairs below. For example, if your company is more siloed than collaborative, you might score it 6 and 4.
When you’ve finished, add up the two columns to measure your progress. If your totals come out to 60 and 40, for example, you could say that you’re 40% along the path to an innovative culture.
Editor’s Note: In his inimitable style, Marty Neumeier, author, lecturer and director of transformation at Liquid Agency, makes complex marketing principles seem logical and easy to understand. Here from his book “Zag: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands,” Neumeier explains why in a world of “look-alike products and me-too services” it is important for brand marketers to zag when everyone else zigs.
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Editor’s note: People often ask the difference between how a public relation expert goes about wooing customers versus an ad agency, a designer, etc. In his top-selling book Zag: The No. 1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands, Marty Neumeier summarizes the differences in this tongue-in-cheek visualization. Neumeier is the author of several books on branding, lecturer and Director of Transformation for Liquid Agency, where he helps companies build their brands from the inside out. His book was published before social media caught on, so we don’t know how Twitter would fit into this comparison? Maybe a courtship between two emoticons.