Monday, September 27, 2010

Preservation and Documentary Film Travels

The James Bay Northern Quebec Crees have invited us back to their magnificent Northern land. 
The intent is to continue our collaborative efforts recording in digital high definition video, history specifically from the 1980's period. While on the road I hope to capture some activities and images here in my blog over the next two weeks as a record of the trip sharing the experience with some of the loyal readers who have logged on over the last few months.  I'm very impressed that people from distant places like Peru and Malaysia have checked in here and have even come back on more then one occasion. I welcome any perspective you may wish to offer. I would enjoy dialogue and insight from others who wish to send their perspective and thoughts on aboriginal culture. 

Stay tuned for highlights from James Bay!  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two "Touch Points"

Looking around on a day-to-day basis you can take stock of all the brand touch-points you experience. A little analysis of the different sensory situations helps to flex your creative muscle and contributes to understanding how our lives are impacted with others. Hopefully your experiences are more of the upside ilk then the downside.

Situations in life can be insightful and more then just encounters.  These “2 touch-points” enriched my world and contributed toward positive experience by virtue of my daily routine.

The dentist today, performed an operation that by usual standards was more invasive. I came through it with the realization that my imagination pre operation made the expected experience far worse then what occurred in reality. The dentist experience ended up being fairly routine. 
This combined with an extraordinary hour-long lesson on Scottish history. The dentist used the hour to explain to me Eurocentric evolution through the ages in chronological story-telling. The dentist defined Scottish cultural attributes. He shared many hero’s names, dates, battles and period milestones accounted in extraordinary oral clarity. He even included one book referral.
Dentists have a great advantage because the client’s vocal ability is impaired for most of the procedure. Of course you can’t talk during the engagement. One brief pause took place where the tools were withdrawn from my mouth. During that heartbeat moment I was able to comment  “value add”.
Of course my Scottish roots* made this dentistry story-telling very relevant. I was fortunate the dentist picked the Scot's as a case study. The dentist used a well known brand strategy. He impressed me with an attribute I will refer to as the  “dentist brand extension” using education as a means to calm the nerves of his client.

*The name Gordon is territorial and the family who took the name are believed to have been of Anglo-Norman descent, moving from the Borders to Aberdeenshire. The wild boar’s head appears on the Gordon arms because, legend says, the first Gordon saved a Scottish king from an attacking boar.

Retail Kiosk Sales 
Walking out of the mall* after a routine trip to “Sources” for computer cables.
By the way Computer cables should be like wall jacks plugs. The two-prong/three prong variation has always been a reliable and sure bet for streaming power to electrical appliances. Today of course one lives in fear and trauma that the “plug” carted away from the retailer will not properly lodge within its intended receptacle.
After much debate and counsel from the wizards within the shop I acquired the chord and was walking back to my car from that retailer. As I was heading to the lower floor level of the mall a young lady caught my eye and signaled for me to go to her Soap/salt kiosk. I looked behind my shoulder to confirm she in fact was signaling me. I realized after that split second that in fact it was me that was being called forward. I admit the young clerk was attractive and I was caught off guard by her suggestion to be approached.
Rather then heading toward my car I ended up at her booth.
This encounter from a brand touch point experience is a classic case study in retail sales cycles and value chain dynamics to closing an order.
Neta learned my name and offered me hers in turn closed the sale with clinical precision. Some time ago on another occasion and place, I was with my son, Harrison in Manchester England at a mall where the exact same “sales theatre” unfolded. While with my boy I did not succumb to buying the salt. Even with that prior knowledge I was lead to buy here in Quebec form Neta.
Neta was able to transcend any resistance using three key tactics which were uniquely integrated into the experience.

1. Dynamic body signals,
2. Sample give away
3. Sensory experience specifically touch (“Dead Sea” salt hand washing)

The bill was totaled in excess of $100.00. I was thinking during the entire encounter that as a sales genius and expert on persuasion tactics I would handily extract myself from any form of sales framework. This meant no money would trade hands. I did purchase an amount of product for less then the balance that was originally wrung up. Many freebies were put back on the shelf and I was accused of being cheap. The mall offers lessons in brand, core constructs and a myriad of experiences that can be attributed or profiled regarding how individuals or organizations position their unique offering.
This example I felt was instructive as I went to the mall for a utility cable and ended up with a manicure and soap.                                                                                                                 

*The urban shopping mall in many ways is western societies international neutral zone. The mall experience is where global branded organizations come together and extend to consumers an environment which is predictable, reliable and for the most part free of political influence. The mall platform celebrates universally the consumer’s willingness to trade for goods. This occurs around the world. I reflect on my time spent in Dubai and how their malls were remarkably similar to the mall down the street. By association the mall became a welcome retreat in a distant land. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

“Cultivating communities of practice”

gordongroup certainly is an example of such a community. Clients become part of a larger community once they've engaged with us. Typically they become accustomed to our proactive response that we provide to delivery of design solutions, creative writing, technology for online platforms, media development and outreach. All of these skills performed by people who demonstrate pride, empathy and years of practical experience extending their capability.

As we evolve along the technology path and witness the emergent online sphere, some things stay constant while new developments are evident quarterly.  Operating in the media space on major documentary production has extended the notion of multi disciplinary capability to our clients in a formidable way.

Where media was and where it is today specifically the broadcast format has changed for good. All these changes are storming ahead. This has organizations asking questions about how to prioritize their brand building and market outreach.

The transition to broadcast media online puts new tools in the hands of organizations that otherwise couldn’t be conceived just a few years back. In retrospect, our experience dealing in organizational brand building over the last two decades has been steeped with practice in each unique transition along the curve of growth from telephone and print to international skype calls and full-length documentary production.

The Internet of course has made this all possible.

Design and related extensions including managing knowledge, innovation, prototyping, creative thinking and right brain analysis today is at the forefront of leadership. The designer's role is integral to all these competencies.

The movie “Helvetica” ends with a high priest from the design world commenting on how the web has democratized communications and the brand business so anyone with an interest today can essentially create highly personalized and differentiated outreach tools to promote their cause.

“Design Thinking “ underscores a new approach to competitive advantage for organizations. While change continues to march ahead Design Thinking today is embraced by leading companies in the market.  Design Thinking is one bet an organization can place with confidence knowing it will drive momentum forward and cultivate communities of practice.