There's a lot of conversations going on about how brands should interact with us. The prevailing thoughts from the smarty pants is that a brand should work on developing a relationship with me through many light weight, meaningful interactions. Makes sense. But I've been noticing that since I've stopped watching broadcast tv and starting living in my world of personally curated content that I'm missing a ton and would enjoy a bit of disruptive advertising to turn my head in new directions. 

I never know what movies are out.
I miss huge cultural events.
I don't know about the latest this and that, unless it's coming from a brand I already have this so called relationship with.
When I surf the web I see ads for the stuff I already bought and my Twitter feed is totally gentrified. Dang it!

How the hell can I get some disruption over here! I want to know things I don't already care about. I want to buy shit I don't already have. 

Disrupted advertising isn't dead nor should it be and I'd like to see more of it.

When done right disrupted advertising says, hey you shouldn't have to be in the know to hear about this. This is important whether you are well plugged in or not.

If we rely on small interactions that spread through existing social constructs to develop the holy grail of a relationship with customers this alienates people not already integrated into these networks and perpetuates knowledge gaps between the connected and the non-connected.

An it's not just brands it's all types of organizations that have information to get out. It may not matter if I know about a new movie but it does matter when my experience of the world is limited to only what I "subscribe" to. 



Note: I realize parts of this position bump up against my last post A Steady Diet of Ignorance but that why this stuff is hard. 

CategoriesContent, Brand

This is the front page of a new webservice. I will not be going any further.

I will not be a user of this product (for now).

I saw a promotion for the service in a newsletter and I was interested. I clicked over. I saw that I'd have to log in to check it out. That's cool. If I want to check something out online I'm not discouraged by a log in gate, I can always delete my account and I'm happy to engage with the company in they way they need in order to provide the service they spent so much time and money creating, especially if it's free.

Today I will not be doing this because the visual design of this page is terrible.

Work at Play home page

Work at Play_Twitter business account 2 I haven't done much thinking about Twitter lists yet, but I did stumble upon this very elegant and smart way to use them.   I like that the lists are completely relevant to the profile and answer questions you would like the answer to.

While we are highlighting the smartness of Work [at] must check out their site.

I love how the background (image of them working) is supporting and standing behind the work (it pops over the background)  nice little metaphor.  I'm also really into the horizontal movement when you navigate.



DawnAd600 Have you seen this commercial from Dawn?   Dawn Commercial, Wash Away: Help Dawn Save Wildlife

It such a perfect marriage of brand, product and cause. When you first see it you get that "of course" feeling. We all know Dawn cuts grease and is mild on your hands right. Why wouldn't it be the best thing to remove oil from animals fur and feathers.

The interesting thing is that the campaign idea was brought to Dawn from the people who actually work on recoveries, see this  NY Times article, they found it was the best product to use and brought it to Dawn's attention.

I think they've done a nice job with the campaign. It's on brand, reinforces the value proposition of the product and is telling a true story.  There is conversation on the web about Proctor and Gamble's continued use of animal testing, but that's another issue. This campaign I like and it is raising money for an issue I think gets way too little attention.

If you buy Dawn go here to make sure a dollar of your purchase goes to save wildlife.

CategoriesBrand, Strategy
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The story of iSnack 2.0, aka Vegemite, is so interesting (and it is so hard to type iSnack 2.0 without laughing).  I'm not even sure how I feel about it or what the most important lesson of the story is.  Pop over and read Idsng's article about it.

Are you back? Ok.

From the perspective of a creative professional there are so many things wrong with this story and it's obvious that the public wasn't immune to the ridiculousness of it, but what really bothers me is the underlining assumption that everything must be continually improved. It's troublesome that a product that was clearly doing fine and has the affection of a nation could be vulnerable to this ugly side of business.

Constant unquestioned unending growth, optimization, updating to try and sell more has never set well with me. We've seen what can happen when the economy became addicted to growth.  I think that same crash'n burn can happen to a brand when it looses sight of the intention and limitations of a product.

Why can't companies just leave things alone. The product is special, it brings in a good profit, it strengthens your other brands by bringing stability and trust, people identify and consider it part of their life. What else could you ask for?  To sell more?  I guess so.....  but my approach would be to enrich what is already there. To dig deeper into what people feel and what they need and see what ideas come out of that.

I'm working on talk about Strategy as it applies to the creative industries, digital focused of course, this story is strengthening my resolve to get it done and out there.

ps I don't think you are a bad guy/gal Kraft. Just a little misdirected. I would love to work with you sometime.


While doing some looking around after I made the discovery in my last post about the lack of Author pages on Amazon I came across the BBC's FAQ page. Couple things struck me about the page.

1. Their FAQ is pretty good.

We should all think a bit more about FAQ's and how we can make them useful and work on behalf of the site goals and the health of the Brand.

I like that they give a quick list of the answers available below. I like that the answers appear to have some good thought behind them. FAQ's often leave you with more questions then they answer or use it as a place to dump content that has no other place to live. They seem to really want to address reader's questions not just lower the calls to customer service.

2. Loving their very open approach to adding a new feature to the site.

They have taken the opportunity to explain to the readers that they are trying something new and they ask for feedback.

We can't ignore that the websites we design are places that people care about, take time out of their day to visit and often become an intimate part of their life. Being transparent and open about the innovations of the site shows a great amount of respect for the people who care enough to come back day after day. And if you decide the new stuff isn't going to work it might not be as hard for the users to take since they have been with you all along.

3. The Topics pages are a great idea. Hope it works out.

So much news is being produced everyday. It comes and goes. Great content is pushed down the page till it disappears. News organization should take the time to catalog and curate the best most desired content.


Last year I worked on a career site for a big electronics company and as part of the work, I did some looking at other large company's career sites. I remember being struck by the Goldman Sachs site. It had an energy to it that was really engaging and seemed to say, "If you are young, super smart and wanna control the world, Goldman Sachs is for you." I was wondering last night if the site had changed since the collapse of our financial market. Looks like it surely has.

Wish I had more screen shots from the previous version, but I think this one page comparison says a lot.

Goldman Sachs Careers


Katherine Jones & Randall Macon | UX Week 2008 | Adaptive Path from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

I just watched this really wonderful presentation from last years UX Week. It's given by Katherine Jones and Randall Macon from Milkshake, on the subject of Brands that are appropriate platforms for fostering community.

They walk us through how they think about Brands and how they uncover if community building/expanding/supporting is a viable or useful endeavor for a specific orgainization.

and the Blanton Museum are used as casestudies. These stories are both perfect and very different illustrations, both completely engaging and enlighting.

Milkshake uses a process of identifing three distinct pieces of the community picture. Belonging. Connecting. Enduring. I'll let you watch the video for the details, but I will say that I am excited to try this process out.

My big take aways are:

  • External Influences can't be ignored and are extremly powerful, effecting the way in which your Brand is being perceived. This is especially true when your Brand is carried and shaped by a community.
  • You can't just flip a switch if the switch doesn't exist.
  • Find out who they trust.
  • I would love to work at Milkshake. Smart. Thoughtful people.

disclaimer: I am not a Branding expert but it is infused into the considerations of my work, so I am working through some ideas out loud.

In an earlier post I showed "Brand Needs" and "Business Desires" as consideration of the UX practice. I would like to amend that. I think it is actually "Brand Desires" and "Business Needs"

The attributes of a Brand are wishes. They are what a company hopes people will feel about their company and products. The Brand will exist even if these particular views/feelings of the Brand are not realized. It may not be the Brand perception we were going for but it doesn't necessary mean the project was damaging to the business. We should do everything we can to further the desires of the Brand but keep a realistic perspective on our ability to effect it.

In the case of the Business, I was trying to get at the fact that what the company thinks they "need" from the digital realm may not always be accurate.

For example, they may want to increase traffic to their Help section because they feel it will decrease calls to customer service, but in reality an increase to the Help section may mean people are having trouble navigating or understanding the site. A business may also want to get people through the check-out process as quickly as possible to increase sales but if the customers expectations of the product or agreement are not properly set before check out this could result in fewer sales in the future.

The Business "Desires" the site to work in a particular way but the "Needs" of the business are what we must concern ourselves with. For example: the business must maintain profitability, it must not harm the customers, it must establish and meet expectations.

Of course we can often satisfy "Needs" and "Desires" but I am trying to see if there is a way to set priorities for our practice.

What do you think?