The election of bill clinton (born 1946) to the presidency signaled a generational shift in the US as early as 1992 (though, in terms of policy he is attacked for being to similar to the Republicans, in the same way Blair is attacked for the “New Labour” ideology, that was soft Thatcherism).
The shift in generations was signaled by Bush (1946) and Al Gore (1948) slugging it out. Both were different in their ideologies and Al Gore, the more radical of the two lost out. What this tells us is that it was not the difference in thinking at the top, but the difference in thinking of the masses that will matter more.
The humble Mind the Gap warning that prevents people from falling of trains is fast becoming a more sinister global issue. If you believe the media...well actually I don’t know if we do anymore but lets assume we can, minding the gap is becoming a national obsession. Whether it is the gap between the, ‘haves or have not’s or the uneducated or the educated, ATL agencies and BTL agencies, R&D and sales, sales and marketing or even the good ol’ property debate of the northern and south divide, the western world and the eastern world mind the gap is ringing in our ears. But why is this gap so important and what is it that we need to address?
Some will argue that these growing ‘gaps’ are because our governments are dysfunctional, or our financial institutions are demanding short term thinking, but there is no question that these gaps are where the hard questions lie, and to be honest, always have. My recent book, ‘One Hard Question” explores some of the hard questions that have defined our history as well as the global brands that we see today, but we face far greater questions in this very uncertain and changing world.
At the heart of the issue is trust, or lack of it and this is what makes the equation so difficult when deciding what should be done. In the past the foundations of business have relied on a basic level of trust, which has enabled our society to develop. A Darwinian process that was at the heart of Maslow’s theory, but for some inexplicable reason the titans of our world have come crashing down because the bedrock of this theory, trust has been put into question. Arguably it started with Enron, a giant in energy, followed quickly by Apple, amazingly but they managed to save themselves with the Nano recall. Nostradamus in this new world could not have predicted what followed, but the wrong decision to let Lehman brothers go to the wall signaled the financial crash. This led to the government scandal’s, which resulted in imprisonment and now the fall of the Murdoch Empire that will surely drag down our law enforcement with it. The government who make law, the media that report on it and now the police that enforces it, what a mess.
So, whom can you trust now and is this the reason why the gaps are appearing? I think that I might have one theory about who is causing this unrest and the finger points at baby boomer. The gen Y and gen X have already established the idea that everything the boomers thought was a blast will now probably kill us. So my theory is that the Y’s and X’s have decided that enough is enough as the boomers take leave of the boardroom and they take charge. Lets face it this crew could not be further from the self obsessed hedonists of excess, and can only think assimilative thoughts. Out with the old in with the new will be the rallying cry, lets sort this out together, which will require some very hard questions to be asked and will require a certain level of ‘emotional intelligence’ to find the answers, This emotional intelligence is at the heart of this generations ‘heart’ the only way to conquer the gaps, left and right brain working together to ask the right question and answer it together, however difficult it may appear. If you refer to my opening passage, the reason why this is so critical is because it’s not the difference of thinking at the top that matters the most but that of the masses they serve. This in itself probably forms one of the hardest questions that need’s to be asked because it will require a new way of thinking that crosses traditional government thinking. The problem is that this will require closer working relationships and the glue that will enable this is trust and from all parties concerned. Lets hope this can happen.
So, this leads us to our world, the business of design and branding and the gap that we all face, the gap between strategy and creativity. As brands strive to stay competitive and continue to chip away at the ‘bottom line, it is very easy to lose sight of the very reason for their existence and that in many cases it is the emotion that sells their brands and not JUST a great distribution centre and great operational logistics. But, this is where the hard questions comes in because there can only be one ‘lowest price’ and we already have crammed houses full of stuff that we simply do not need that we bought on promotion or yet another BOGOF. The one hard question I would be asking is, ‘how do we get the operations, sales and marketing teams working together with the same end goal in mind’?
At 1HQ we have always believed that the gap between strategy (left brain thinking) and creativity (right brain thinking) is the key to ensure the hard questions are addressed and that brands stay true to who they are and what they do. Great research leads to great strategy, but unless that great strategic vision actually makes something happen then it remains as just a thought or good idea. Building brands is a complex process and if Coke can get it wrong then we all can. It is a grey area because this is where the two most important parts of brand building must overlap. But even today, big global brands are often working in silos, as do many of the creative brand agencies that serve them. How many times as a client have you heard the line of ‘here is the strategy, over to you’, or even worse been offered the creative route that looks great but does not exactly fulfill the commercial expectations.
Minding the gap between strategic thought and the creative output is where the magic happens in brand building, it is where the hard questions are asked and answered and wrapped into a creative brief that will lead to a brilliant creative and commercially successful solution. It is as simple as the phrase itself ‘mind the gap’, but never has it been more important as the tectonic plates of business shift beneath us that demand that we think differently and collaboratively. The process can only be seamless and should never be separated and something that cannot short cut or separated however much procurement processes insist…but do so at your peril.
Ironically it is the Bank tube stop that utter these famous words of warning…
‘MIND THE GAP’!
The widely trailed new Starbucks identity was unveiled this morning at its Brompton Road store. While the dropping of both the brand name and coffee from the logo had provoked anguished reactions from consumers, and not a little derision from some design industry commentators, those of a more measured disposition wondered what the new identity would herald in changes to the brand experience. Having now seen it for myself, the answer is not a lot. Don't expect radical departures - it was the smell of evolution mixing with the coffee in Knightsbridge this morning. There are some new product lines and a refreshed interior but I suspect that for most people queuing for their morning brew, the changes will go unnoticed. As it turns forty, Starbucks remains resolutely familiar and incontrovertibly a coffee shop - which will either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what your feelings towards the brand are. And that logo? You know what, it's perfectly fine.
From left to right: North Sea Edition, Indian Ocean Edition, Mediterranean Sea Edition, Pacific Ocean Edition, Baltic Sea Edition.
Electrolux are proud to display 5 limited edition Vac's made from plastic collected from the ocean floor.
"After several months of plastic hunting in the world’s major oceans and seas – in coral reefs, coast lines, sandy beaches and rocky crevices – five Vacs from the Sea from five oceans have finally been designed, constructed and are ready to be displayed to the world." Hans Stråberg CEO
The underlining meaning behind these extravagant designs were to show the extensive waist of plastic in the sea and the shortage of recycled plastic on the mainland. A beautiful piece of design explaining the seriousness of sustainability.
Bridget Riley now 80 years of age has open an exhibition at the Royal Gallery, showcasing her complete private works. I have always admired the line and form that Riley produces in her mind altering pieces of art. As Adrian Searle so eloquently puts it;
“You don't so much look at Bridget Riley's paintings as watch them, as their configurations and forms jostle and shift and change before you.”
The reviews praise the exhibition, in particular her most recent painting to date; 'Arcadia 1'.
The exhibition was opened to the public on the 24 Nov – 22 May 2011 in the Sunley Room of the National Gallery, free Admission.
look at the website for further details:
"Aimed at an audience of all ages, this spectacular exhibition celebrates the drama and splendour of the natural world, with astonishing, creative and sometimes humourous wildlife photography."
There are thousands of photos being exhibited at the Museum of Natural History for the Veolia Wildlife Photographer competition, generally it is sectioned into 4 categories: Young awards (entries from 10 and under!) adult awards, special awards and then the overall winners.
The standard of the photography is staggering especially from the youngsters of the competition, showing a true eye and unmissable talent.
The Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is open until the 11 March 2011 but unfortunatly there is a fee: Adult £9, Child and concessions £4.50.
look at the site for full details:
The beauty to the design comes in the folding process. Through the use of tri-folds, a design reminiscent of an accordion, the super thin screen rests along the peaks of the folds until finally laying flat when the phone is fully expanded capable of showing off full HD movies at a scale we’ve never seen before on a phone.
The innovation in the Nokia E10 concept does not stop with the screen, instead it continues through a focus on the environment. On the reverse side of the phone are three solar panels which can deliver a much stronger power supply than existing phones which rely on a single panel.
Amazing innovative design and hope to see this in production in the future.
The 1HQ blog is fuelled in many ways, one of which is a new initiative we call Fire+Wire. Uniquely, we send our creative team to events, activities and locations in order to 'fire' or inspire their creativity by addressing topical trend and brand-related hard questions. Our creatives then 'wire' their discoveries and experiences via the blog.
Marisa and Rhona were thrilled to find out their destination was going to be the first edition of the Vintage Festival at Goodwood organized by the same people that brought the Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival.
Vintage at Goodwood is the annual music and fashion led celebration of creative British cool from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s, featuring the leading DJs, bands, collectors, purveyors of vintage clothing and vintage vinyl from each decade, as well as contemporary bands and brands inspired by Britain’s rich creative and cultural heritage.
This glorious event is the brainchild of designers Gerardine Hemingway MBE, Wayne Hemingway MBE – who started their business selling and customising second hand clothes and are now co-owners of Britain’s premier collection of cultural artefacts, The Land of Lost Content Museum, and Lord March – mastermind behind the internationally acclaimed Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival, and proprietor of one of the largest organic farms in the south of England.
Rhona and Marisa are both big lovers of vintage culture, lifestyle and fashion. They were overwhelmed by the dedication and attention to detail of the event organisers, and also by the amazing vibrancy that floated in the air as it was hard to believe they were in 2010.
There’s something about the uniqueness when it comes to vintage culture that could be described as a big crowd of ‘ones’. At the festival, we saw these real life characters wearing their favourite picks from their many trips to second-hand shops like quirky pattern dresses, bespoke scarfs and accessories, the most eccentric shades combined with their personal touches, be it red lips, hair curlers or their nana’s nighties. Wearing vintage is a great way of avoiding fashion any faux pas of bumping into a friend wearing the same dress as you! So the challenge has been set, it’s not just about looking cool, but also to create your own trademark. What’s your trademark?
We were suprised and inspired by the resourcefulness encountered throughout the entire festival. Even the High Street shops that had popped up for the duration were pushing the arts and crafts angle. John Lewis was running workshops on pattern making and sewing (pushing their haberdashery wares of course) and they did a fantastic job.
The smaller stalls around the outside were selling inspired recycled goods, some made by the vendors themselves, others selling on behalf of charity projects from abroad.
There’s so much we throw away, so much that we should stop and look and think ‘what else could I do with this?’.
We say, get creative and be unique!
How are today’s brands making the most of vintage and taking inspiration from Britain’s rich cultural heritage? In the eternal dispute among the creative mind-setters to set the stardards for what is cool and what is not, some of today’s brands decided to have a go on the vintage theme but with their own creative take, be it to recall some of the old days’ glamour, to pay some sort of homage or to state that something that has always been good is still good!
It's been noticed recently that Lush has been going through a rebranding process, that involves a new website, already live, and also their POS's. What does 1HQ think of that?
Their stores have been renovated quietly behind closed doors (a relief for some consumers..) perhaps to be re-opened just in time for Christmas. Although a vast improvement on the original logo, a few questions have been left in the air, is Lush going to be able to change their tone of voice radically enough to match the new artwork? How will this new visual style align with the tongue in cheek tone of a brand that offer “buffy the backside slayer” whilst quirkily telling you who made it and where? Also as we know branding is multifaceted - that signature lush fragrance (love or hate it with a marmite quality) might struggle to balance with the the crisp lines of high street beauty.
Besides that, in trying to be elitest, they seem to be denying their unique selling point which still remains a mystery, as well as their new packaging. I guess we'll have to wait and see!
Thanks Sarah Clark, Emmma Narramore, Allison Noble, Rhona O'Leary and Marisa tayti for contributing to the content of this post.
An amazing installation exhibition based in Kensington Gardens, featuring sculpture that are manufactured from stainless steel distorting the surroundings around you literally turning you upside down.
The sky mirrors are the most impressive part the collection, one of which is tinted red and situated in water, reflecting back the overcast sky which could be interpreted as outer space..
Very interesting installation running until March 13 2011.. Well worth a trip into town.
Thanks to Sarah Clark.
Enough with the rainbows and flowers - it's time for guns and missiles! This is the true power of light painting: every weapon at your fingertips. A Brilliant piece of film work created by different colour torches and long exposure cameras.
More than any movement before or since, punk was defined by the poster. Excluded from TV and radio, struggling to be heard in the mainstream press, posters provided an effective and virtually free means for bands to reach the public. Mott’s collection, which also incorporates fanzines, flyers and other ephemera, delivers a gripping snapshot of the Britain of that time, a country rife with divisions which was slowly awakening to the reality of its reduced status in the post-war world.
This advertising campaign has been designed by John O'Brien for Feel Good Drinks. The campaign communicates a ‘no added sugar’ message from soft drinks manufacturer Feel Good Drinks. Aimed at 16 - 34 year olds, it references 8 bit computer games such as Space Invaders, Pacman and Arkanoid. O'Brien combines nostalgic content with a fresh aesthetic so the outcome appeals to both younger and older target audiences alike.
Technology does not work in revolutionary/transformatory steps. Instead, technology sells best when it exploits dominant and recessive codes and proposes a new cultural idea. For e.g., the iPod proposed mobile device that allowed re-contextualisation of music, a post-modern idea that was already underway through the use of playlists on computer.So if we take away the physical remote control, how will we re-present the existing social codes that are widely used by existing devices?
So, from a design perspective it needs to look beyond the novelty and engage in “semiotically” informed design to create something that will be immediately adapted by consumers”.
Thanks to Lee T and Dr. Kishore for content of this post.
To see a demonstration video go here:
Channel 4 are currently running ads for Alan Carr Chatty Man, based on how his childhood home movies may have looked. A team from Channel 4’s 4Creative have captured the essence of the 70's, when Carr was growing-up. The beauty is in the detail, it's the itchy fabrics, largely orange and brown colour palettes and veneer furnishings that transport you right back to this era. The idea was awarded a Yellow Pencil for advertising from the D&AD organization who celebrate design and innovation in creative industries.
Thanks to Marisa T for the post.
To see the ads go here: