Thursday, 8 October 2009

A clear vision

It is always a joy to see clarity of thinking and optimistic ambition encapsulated by a brand. Cass Art has got this delightful vision emblazoned above their shops - this one is in Berwick Street in Soho.

The area has always been a hot bed for artists - and other things - but the move of St Martins up to Kings Cross may reduce its arty reputation. And conversely the bohemian Soho chic of St Martins (yes I still call that bit St Martins) may be eroded by the move. Having in the past been one of the top 5 Cool Brands in the UK (along with Aston Martin, Marc Jacobs, Bang & Olufsen and Apple) it needs to work on maintaining its reputation. There is however a lovely project being set up by Central St Martins where alumni are being asked to be part of 'Mapping the Move' by drawing bits of their old college spaces. So get down to Cass Art, sharpen your pencils and balance on your drawing stool to add your mark making to the archive.

Image of Richard Long by Oded Halammy, see it here

Friday, 2 October 2009

Insight overload...

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a breakfast briefing by Breaking Trends called "Re-booting for Growth" - a summary of key headlines from their Breaking Trends Global Briefing 2009. The presentation was rather a sensory overload with a fast-paced video of 'trends' and lots of buzz-word sound-bite type information. I would love to say that I have distilled down some key signposts for 'smart ways to evolve out of the downturn' - but I suspect my early morning brain was not wholly up to the job. However a few snippets still seem interesting and potentially relevant. With the recession being such a big influence and focus (and challenge) a lot of the insights seemed a little more like just good common sense and not startlingly new/surprising - but let's face it there's nothing wrong with common sense - and how often is it actually acted upon?

A few things that sound interesting (in no particular order):
  • Differentiation is the big challenge - transparency, trust and tone should be the new bywords
  • Consumers are looking for "beacons of truth and constancy"
  • Shared narratives cut across silos - a rather nice example of this, I think, is Nick Hand on his slow bike ride around Britain
  • There is a need to re-tribe consumers eg Gen Y - under 26, sceptical of traditional media, tech savvy, creative conversations; Boomer woman - thoughtful messaging, set to inherit from both sides of the family (parents and husband)
  • Conversation is a big thing - consumer centric behaviour will be embodied by creative conversation companies, conversations are peer to peer, consumer to company, company to employee, employee to employee etc
  • the rise and rise of the conversational company
  • "treat employees like customers"
  • we are entering the "era of consequences"
  • As Elmo's Mum said, apparently, "Sometimes waiting for something makes you value it even more when you get it."
  • Invest in smart R&D
  • living standards will drop by 20% in the next 2-3 years
  • belt-tightening becomes a fine art
  • big growth in health stuff
  • twitter facts - 85% of people on it use it less than once a day; 53% of users are women; 5% of twitter users account for 75% of the activity
  • the rise and rise of the 'android' phone
  • 10% of all UK internet traffic is iPlayer
  • we'll be tracking our kids soon
  • technology will be used less as virtual life and more to enable/facilitate real life
  • those who succeed will be those who have global insight, invest in it and act without hesitation
Action is key. Good information is key. Communication is key. Imagination is key. Contextualised thinking is key.