Archives for posts with tag: branding

A brand is...

A brand is what you feel, think and say it is


A while back I was asked by Patrick Stal from Interbrand if I would do an interview for their quarterly magazine IQ. This issue is all about digital and I had the opportunity to talk about digital branding and the role of design in this context. Read the full article below.


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I know that the parallel between God and Google is starting to be a cliche, but somehow since the beta launch of Google+ this came top of mind again for me. As Google just added yet another divine quality to its already quite potent set of services to us humble servants of Google. : )

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Last week I headed down to London to visit the iStrategy event in the Millennium Hotel in Kensington. Over the 2 days many interesting speakers brought their experiences and insights to a group of 250 online professionals.

I will not go into the details of each keynote, as Phil Jenkins already posted a great summary on his blog. Instead I want to reflect on the things that where memorable to me and I have started reflecting on after the event, and give you an impression of the event itself through some pictures I took.

The good

“People talk to people, not to brands”. This was a theme I heard a few speakers talk about. Brands like Dell are empowering and enabling experts in their organizations to become brand advocates on twitter, and have them engage with people in social media. “You cannot outsource social media” as you need the expert knowledge that is within the people of the organization in order to have a meaningful engagement. Enabler for this is a mind shift within an organization, social media becomes part of employees job profiles and objectives. Brands need to pay utmost attention to employer branding and nurture engaged people to become spokesmen for the brand.

Convergence convergence convergence! Everything is coming together and connecting. Products, people, data, touch points and content. The mobile platform is the main driver for this shift and is enabling a greater value for people by bringing everything they care about and need in one interface which they carry with them all the time. We are just at the early beginnings of this new world, and are learning everyday how we can bring true value to people through this new technology. Behavioral transformation seems imminent. Trial and error is the way for brands to experiment and learn with this new phenomenon.

What people want & what people need.  Both David Henry of Monster and Mark Stuart of CIM touched upon the imperative of understanding people and taking User Centric Design (UCD) as the strategic driver for successful experience design. As this is my mantra I really enjoyed their talks and was glad to hear the success story of Monster.

The bad

A better “Sales pitch” balance!! Some keynotes just did not land at all, as the majority of the slides where a self promotion and sales pitch. Not delivering any value to the audience. On the twitter feed #istrategy2010 the comments were very critical about this, and a learning to those speakers. Sure speaking at a conference is an opportunity to get leads, but there is no need to be a speaking advert. Bringing meaningful and helpful content and insights will be your best advert!

“Sex sells” Jonathan Oliver of Microsoft had a strange presentation. He started of very strong talking about creativity and how creativity is about ideas that can drive innovation on all fronts. A very charismatic and enthusiastic speaker with great passion for the Microsoft brand. He even managed to have the audience stand up!! Respect! He got all my attention … until…. He showed a case study of a campaign targeted at 15 year old boys, and the main visual to the campaign was a bikini babe!!! He talked about how successful the campaign was… Now this I found very disappointing, how can creativity lead to bikini babe? This is not creative, this is the easy sell! He did however manage to deliver the most retweeted quote

“Social Media is like high school sex. Lots of guys talking about it, few doing it, and even less doing it right.”

The Social

I met loads of great people at the event and the #istrategy2010 tag helped me find them. I highly recommend them so here is the list!

@yushkalia @PhillipJenkins @RIBenjamin @lars_hilse @_insightz @tamhm @taylorzoe @KerryatDell @hoorayhenry @FZammit @nclangereis @nickwallen

If you get a chance to go to one of the upcoming iStrategy events in Syndey, Singapore, San Jose or Amsterdam I highly recommend going! Visit the iStrategy website for more info.

More detailed notes on the keynotes by Phil Jenkins

iStrategy 2010 Conference – London

iStrategy Conference Day Two

The new Twitter design offers many new features which will enhance and simplify the browsing experience of yr timeline. However the new design also limits us slightly in the way we are able to customize it and create our own branding on our page.

I was searching for the new design specifications online, but found it hard to find any detailed measurements. So I decided to screenshot my newly migrated page and provide you with the basic specifications needed to customize your background and you avatar. Hoping you will find this helpful!


The new center column is twice the width (1020px) of the old design, leaving little room for a rich designed background. Find a template with guides created on a 1440 x 900 px screen resolution, using Firefox. Approximately with this screen resolution there is 190px of width on both sides of the page to be creative.

Download this .jpg in Photshop and turn on the guides (ctrl+;)


The new avatar image is much bigger (128 x 128 px), which is good news! However keep in mind that the smallest version of yr avatar is 24x24px so therefor I do not recommend to design it at the largest size. The timeline version is 48 x 48px and I would highly recommend using this as your reference size to design for. As aggregators such as Tweetdeck and mobile apps also use around this size to display you avatar.

I hope that this is helpful to you with creating your new branded page! :)

see mine at

related links:

New Twitter Obeys the Golden Ratio

New Twitter design guidelines and free PSD layouts

Make your Twitter profile sidebar transparent


In 2008 Mark Churchman and I explored the notion of Brand Behavior in the article How to Make Sure a Brand Behaves Itself published in the Design Management Review of August 2008.

We made a case for the orchestration of all brands’ manifestations according to a set of core values a brand lives by next to the more traditional visual corporate identity.

Marty Neumeier, author the Brand Gap defines “A brand is the consumers feeling about your product, your services or your organization.” This basically means that it is the emotional reaction of a consumer when interacting or thinking about a brand. This is the exact same way we as humans relate to each other.

Relationships between people are based only for a very small part on appearance. Sure we are attracted at first maybe by how somebody looks, dresses etc, but very rapidly as the relationship deepens it is about WHAT someone does, and HOW he or she does it that determines whether the relationship is a good one, or a bad one. As people we never only see our identity as our name, and appearance. It is indeed an element that makes us recognizable, and through fashion we can somewhat express what we are about. But our identity is really formed by our core values that drive our actions and reactions.

Brand are like people. Building a meaningful and ongoing relationship with consumers has never been more essential for a brand than now. With the rise of the influential consumer with the WEB 2.0 revolution and the mobile revolution we are in, understanding the building blocks of a relationship is essential for successfully designing a brand identity that goes beyond a logo, a typeface and a color scheme.

In my opinion a Brand Identity 2.0 should be looked at from these 3 aspects: Why we do what we do, what we do and how we do it

Why we do what we do | First of all a brand obviously needs to be clear about its values, establish clearly what drives the brand. This has to be in line with the expectations of their audiences/consumers.

What we do | To keep a brand’s integrity and authenticity in social media space, what it does has to be driven by the why. The choice of which conversations to engage with and clearly defining what the things are a brand wants to say is key.

How we do it | Now here it becomes interesting from a design point of view, as this really is the actual manifestation of the brand. How the brand engages in social media needs to be carefully designed, written, and styled in such a way that the true character/identity of the brand is truly experienced by the audience.

So if the how is the manifestation of the brand, and therefore what consumers actually experience, this is the brand’s instrument to influence the emotional reaction consumers will have to a brand.

Designing a brand identity in social media has to go beyond the traditional guidelines describing visual elements. A brand needs to define why it engages, what will it say, and how will it say it. By delivering the right brand experience through the dialogue, building an authentic relationship with its consumers.

Am I making sense?

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