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January 2009
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March 2009

February 2009

LG Uses Brand Storytelling To Captivate Our Imagination

While browsing through a recent edition of Vanity Fair, I noticed a cool ad by LG. The ad (a 3 page colour spread ripe with visuals) features thoughts and comments by film director Edward Zwick and starts out with the header "The right vision makes stories soar" and quote:

"The way to make a movie is to understand that you're speaking to one person at a time, in the dark. You're telling them a story, gauging their reaction, watching in your mind's eye as they lean forward, making it as personal a telling as you possibly can."

The ad features LG's tagline (Life's Good) strategically placed throughout the spread, along with variations of the tagline that are in sync with Zwick's story ("Life Looks Good"). The visuals are great, and emphasize the integration of both old and new technology. The references to stories and storytelling are quite powerful, and the ad itself seems as if it's designed to represent a mini-film.

There are several interesting things to note about this approach to advertising.

1) The visuals are stunning, and through their clarity are able to easily convey the brand message that "Life's Good"

2) The copy dramatically matches the message of the visuals and one truly feels as if the ad was written by a filmmaker. Keywords such as "Powerfully moving human stories", "good old-fashioned storyteller", and "experience through his exquisite visual storytelling" make the viewer feel as if they're right there on the photo shoot with the director

3) The print ad features a link to the LG website, which offers more information about the director and his experiences with filmmaking. A series of short hip videos are offered featuring Zwick's comments on topics such as Inspiration, Technology and the Creative Process. Perhaps most intriguing is the opportunity to take a visual tour of Zwick's office. The tour is full of artifacts of his life - each with their own story as to how and why they earned a coveted place in his memory.

LG's creative use of storytelling in both traditional and digital ways is right on target. By designing the ad to look like a story in an actual film, we're drawn to the message and can't help but ask which brand this represents. Zwick's narrative is craftily embedded into the brand narrative, and together they weave a story that's both informative as well as compelling.

As brand guru Scott Bedbury once said, "A great brand is a story that's never completely told." LG's approach leaves the reader wanting more...a desire they fulfill by directing readers to an engaging and interactive website.

What do you think of this ad? Does it help LG stand out amongst the clutter?


Worlds of Technology and Entertainment Converge For Digital Hollywood


In March 2009, the "Who's Who" of the technology, entertainment, publishing and advertising worlds will meet in New York City for the Digital Hollywood media summit to discuss how technology and entertainment converge in the realm of social media and entertainment marketing.

Unless you've been living in isolation, it's clear that the use of traditional media is on its way out as new forms of interactivity take to the stage. Broadcasters (including traditional media outlets), advertising agencies and entertainment conglomerates are faced with new business models that change the way people create and distribute information. How to take that information and make money off of it remains the question of the day for the heads of these organizations.

In the "old days", people used to sit around campfires or the family dinner table to share their stories. Today, we're able to form online communities in an instant and information is disseminated at the touch of a button. What's missing is a solid understanding of how online communities really work. To figure it out, we have to look at "old" technology (to find out what makes people tick), as well as new" technology to figure out what it is about technology that engages people and encourages them to do things online.

The Media Summit will cover such topics as "The Changing Face of Media", "Transforming and Redefining the Relationship Between The Consumer, Advertising and Media Platforms", and delve into the "Future of Entertainment and Communications."

All this is great and it's nice to get people talking...but to understand the relationship between people and media..isn't it worth taking time to go back to the basics?

The internet is a place to tell people who we are. Everyone is eager to tell their story, and technology has the capability of capturing and relaying the emotional components of our actions. To make a business decision, we have to FEEL that the product or service will be beneficial to us - and companies have to show us that we matter.

As long as companies focus on giving us flashy interactive experiences that don't tell us anything, we'll feel as if we don't matter and probably won't be eager to buy their product or service. So, to all the captains of industry converging in New York in's perhaps not as complicated as it may sound. Give us a solid product (or service), make it relevent to our lives, and make it easy for us to find the information needed to buy your product or service.

What's missing is not an understanding of technology, it's an understanding of the people behind the technology. Remember to design human attributes into your interactive campaigns, and we'll buy into your idea. Find a way for us to relate our story to your own, and your Return on Investment will be a direct reflection of the Return on Interaction.

Great Design Makes Me Love The Brand (All Over Again!)


Last December, I went to my local Canadian Tire to buy a new pair of skates. I hadn't bought a pair of skates in over 10 years, and was overwhelmed at the selection of models and brands stuffed into the store's shelves. There were skates with laces, skates that looked as if they were designed by NASA, and skates that resembled ski boots more than they did skating gear.

To me, there were two key things that mattered in making my purchase decision. First, the skates had to be easy to get into. Second, they had to be wide enough so my feet wouldn't freeze up while skating (in my childhood, I never had a great experience with traditional women's figure skates as they were narrow and too rigid).

After trying on what seemed to be an endless selection of skates, I finally decided on a blue pair of the CCM "Alpine Performance" brand. By now you're probably wondering why all this is relevent to branding. Here's my point. I could have bought cheaper skates from another brand, but I chose the most expensive pair because they fit all of my buying criteria. The coolest thing was that the skates had the latest and greatest in skating technology called the BOA system. Rather than using laces, the skates are tightened using narrow cables that are extremely strong and durable. If I want to tighten my skates, I just press one knob and turn the button clockwise. To loosen the skates, I pull out the knob and simply pull off my skates.

When I use the skates, I get the feeling that CCM considered my needs as a skater and integrated them into the design of the product. What mattered to me as a skater was taken care of in every aspect of skate design.

The story would end there but there was one more reason I decided to buy CCM skates. It wasn't the key reason, but in the background it somehow assured me that the buying decision would be a good one. As a child, I grew up with three brothers - all of whom had CCM bikes. When one of my brothers grew out of his bike, it would then be passed down to me. I trusted that the bike wouldn't let me down, and it never did. My past experience with the brand was such a positive one, that I remembered it years later in adulthood. It reached me at both a rational and emotional level, and the story it told was one of trust, quality and performance with a hint of nostalgia.

Do you have similar stories to share? Is there a brand that you used as a child, that you're still using today? Why?

Ryerson University Develops New Program In Digital Media: User Experience Design

On January 28, 2009, Ryerson University called on local digerati to come up with ideas for their upcoming program in Digital Media:User Experience Design. The workshop session was hosted by the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University and featured three leading experts in the areas of usability and experience design.

Tedde van Gelderen, President of Akendi, spoke about the importance of experience design and how companies should align all the components that touch the end user to come up with a more enjoyable and profitable customer experience. He encouraged companies to take a holistic approach to experience design, and explained why the intangible aspects of a customer experience (such as emotion) are just as important as more tangible aspects such as technology and strategy.

While most clients tend to jump right into the design stage, van Gelderen noted that it's best to consider strategy and research before entering the design phase.

Steve Mast, Vice President and Managing Director of Delvinia Interactive presented a case study involving the Canadian Opera Company. Entitled "The Digital Opera Customer", Mast explained how Delvinia was able to use the principles of digital media and interactivity to design an engaging website for opera fans. After researching opera customers, Delvinia found that less than 20 percent of them were using the site - in spite of the fact that most were highly media saavy. Delvinia used interactive stories to create an engaging experience on the website that was able to connect with fans on an emotional level. Content was also created for distribution through BlackBerry devices that kept customers up to date on the latest developments of the COC.

Finally, Ilona Posner, a Usability Consultant, led the team through a workshop on paper prototyping. Posner explained how the process of trial and error is critical to good design, and demonstrated how paper prototyping can be an effective way of laying out a design before it gets to the more expensive development stage. The workshop was fun and engaging, and participants were able to test their designs with fellow digerati.

Chang_schoolRyerson's plans for a future program in User Experience Design highlights the importance and benefits of considering experience design in the everyday business environment. While success in business depends on a solid return on investment, the intangible aspects of design can contribute to the bottom line by ensuring that customers are both engaged and excited by a brand's attributes.