Why We Break Up With Brands

Working with Retail and CPG clients on Customer Experience projects, it can be easy to lose one's perspective.   Brands are under intense pressure to build loyalty and enhance mobile apps.  But as consumers, we have limited time, money, attention and phone memory!  

I summarized some of my thoughts with colored pencils and marker.  It's an unusual prop to use in place of a Power Point presentation.  But it'll be fun way to get the point across at my next meeting.

Why Loyalty App Got Deleted

Infographics - the merger of marketing and creative?

I've always loved drawing on whiteboards and bringing complex concepts together as a simple graphic.   But it seems to be more important than ever in our information-saturated world.   Sometimes a picture can cut through the clutter faster than words can.   And no-one has time to read a thousand words -- especially on the screen of a smartphone...

Born to Build: The Joy of Learning Through Trial and Error

We are all born to build things, in one way or another.  For some of us, it’s being unable to pass a set of Legos without fiddling with the blocks, or being unable to resist the urge to throw just one more spice into the soup. 

For me, it’s making art, even if it’s a cruddy watercolor I painted on the beach while watching the kids or a surreptitious sketch of a stranger at Starbucks while waiting for a client to show up.  As a formally-trained fine artist, I have to chuckle that my most prolific medium these days is PowerPoint.  As much as I love to write stories in .ppt format, it’s not nearly enough to satisfy the craving.

Madebyhand Mark Frauenfelder’s book Made by Hand confirms my suspicion.  Building tangible things fulfills a primal need:  learning by making our own mistakes.   

Kids do it every day because they lack the fear of failure.  How freeing to be able to make missteps as an adult, learning (and hopefully laughing!) along the way..

Note:  in the midst of drafting this post, I was forced to put the principles of the book in action. My laptop OS died a miserable death and I had to reformat my primary drive and rebuild it from scratch.  

It wasn’t my definition of a good time, but it could have been a lot worse, and in the process, I rediscovered my inner geek, the one who used to rollback to DOS 2.1 when a DOS 3.0 install didn’t take, and lamented the day my command line went away.

It was a great feeling to switch from automatic to manual, and to feel as if I was fully capable of controlling my own computing destiny (after a litany of missteps, of course).  The only difference between these days and my DOS days is that it would have been impossible to do the installs & updates without using my backup laptop alongside to pull up online documentation, Microsoft tech notes and support threads...

The Mashup of Consumerism in Developing Markets

India sketchbook1 copy
Sketching the scenery of south India from a moving vehicle, I was forced to take it all in and put it down on paper as fast as I could.  Indians are absorbing consumer culture just as quickly, and adding the best of the "new world" while retaining the uniqueness of a 4000+ year old culture.

I passed by a Pizza Hut next to actual "huts", villages with intermittent electricity, bullock carts and bustling Internet cafes where farmers were trading commodities while students were doing their homework.  Fresh sugarcane juice was being squeezed with a sturdy device that looked like an improvised clothes wringer with a flywheel.  Next to the sugarcane stall were signs for Java programming, SAT and MCAST preperation classes.

A book that I picked up at Bengaluru airport, We Are Like That Only,(Winning in the Indian Market  is the U.S. edition) by Rama Bijapurkar  sheds light on the consumer mashup in modern India.  Generalizing a market of a billion people and their demand for consumer goods based on per capita income, past behavior and population growth would be short-sighted.  Indians don't want to emulate the west, they want to adopt western goods and services in their own way.