A close friend of mine once told me to not over think, as according to her, “thinking can also be a disease.” Who was I to argue, since she along with her family had been coping with the death of their mother for several years.
There have been many occasions where I drift away and think, think even more, and think again. This affects the actual doing, you know the process that produces results … yeah that thing. There is a voice in all of us that says,“no you’re no good, no you can’t do this, what will people say,” the list goes on. But ultimately, to achieve results one must ignore this type of thinking and actually do what is in sync with your destiny.
One day, my mum told me to do the dishes. She walked out the house and I went to look at the kitchen sink. It was full of plates, immediately I thought to myself that I’ll do it later. Hours went by and I would think, “mum will be back soon, I must wash those dishes.” But it was until I went spontaneously to the kitchen for a drink that I just did, without the lazy thinking, started to wash them one by one.
In short, negative thinking will waste your energy, you must focus on your inner stillness that directs you to results. If you have trouble in finding your inner stillness, firstly ignore the negative voice and focus on sound much like transcendental meditation. If there happens to be no sound, listen to the sound of you breathing.
We all have an ego, but Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now changed my life and I believe it can change yours. Our ego always wants to be associated with the past and the future whereas its ultimate enemy is the present. It is always trying to want more with future ambitions or think of the past. The ego is never happy, and our first step is to be aware of the ego, acknowledge that you are not the voice/the thinker but the one who is aware of it. Simply put, Tolle says, “knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom.”
The second step is to feel 100% in the present moment starting with the air you breathe, your physical form, and give everything to creating the best possible moment. Our mind is always trying to conclude and interpret, so when one becomes at ease with not knowing, you are going beyond the mind – says the acclaimed author.
The third step is surrender to the now, if you have trouble doing so just look at nature – how a flower or a tree adapts to the changing climate via the seasons. Surrender only arrives when you no longer ask “Why is this happening to me?”
To conclude, our ego is hungry for the past and eager for the future so the only way we can defeat it is by living in the present.
An irresistible brand contains a variety of ingredients, the main being its story. Some stories are timeless, others are nostalgic, whilst few are exceptional. In the very first page I wrote the following, “we believe that each brand has a story, if it doesn’t then this is a marketing crime,” so yes, I am very serious! One could say, a brands story is the melody to growth – a bold reminder of the past, influencing the present and its hope of the future.
We all know that without words there is no story, however without creativity there is no interest. Stories must also be simple to understand, so that they can be remembered and retold. In relation to branding, the message must be fundamental to the brands roots, defining its purpose and appeal to the masses. The challenge as a marketer arises when there is no story, much is the case with clients that have start ups. This is when creativity is tested, but there is always a seed to be found if you truly question the dots, then connect them to create a picture – mindfully.
To conclude, the human mind loves stories – from books, films, music, or real life experiences, everything has a story. Ever since we were old enough, stories have had an impact on us because we all have our own. That is the special thing and this also true with branding.
Art also exists in typography and searching for fonts that pair well together is a quest, but once found it is a magnet to the eye. The infusion of serifs with sans serifs is crucial, however not all are destined to blossom. It takes experimentation along with taste to establish a connection, and the result – a contribution to art.
I was first introduced to the big brands of today whilst working in Harrods. From Prada to Gucci, each one had their own unique typography. It was apparent that fonts are instrumental to their success, sending its own message of elegance. I wanted to know how they created these ripples of creativity?
After a year of studying fonts through books, blogs, & articles I began to experiment. The result being 7ofParis.com – positioned in two words “Renaissance Couture” with the aim of selling affordable luxury. However, the challenge I found was using fonts for clients. A perfect example being a construction company. It would not have made sense if its slogan was in fashion typography, so we chose the rather simplistic Helvetica.
To conclude, each font must be in sync with the direction of the business as it is critical in creating your brand image. It can engineer your brand to victory, but only if you know your stuff! That is why, I respect graphic designers. They are truly modern day artists.
Words, written or spoken are sacred. “Patience is food for the Soul” … how powerful are words. “Be an instrument to improve Humanity,” how effective are words. “The currency of this World should be kindness,” – words are paramount.
When I sit down with a client, I act as a Scientist. Firstly, depending on the business (in recent cases it has been restaurants) I pick out buzzwords or keywords that are in sync with its direction. Then, I carefully tailor the words around the vision of the client because I believe that words can blossom your brand. When carefully woven, they can be potent in creating vibrancy around your story. They can enhance, ignite, and harmonise your brand.
Why can’t Art be infused in Marketing? As a Brand Consultant that is my aim, I want to paint a picture to my clients through vocabulary that to some may seem to be different but to set/create trends one must be unique. Because words, when seasoned perfectly can create irresistible flavours. There is a growing appetite for creativity and with every client we aim to plant a seed that will grow and eventually drive the brand to success.
I leave you with a sentence I wrote whilst travelling in the beautiful Swiss Alps, “Words are melodies to branding and the magnet of a brand is belief.”
Exceptional design boils down to beauty and simplicity. For one to design, he/she must be a visionary. He/she must create a solution that can harmonise humanity and ultimately connect/unite culture. There is a melody behind design, and it’s called change.
Change is an obsession to modern designers, change is potent and curiosity triggers action that influences this change. Often, one thinks design to be about furniture, cars, but technology has been at the forefront of this movement. The remedy to great design is creating a product that is a magnet to the heart. A remarkable product must fuel modern day culture and play its part. Apple inc. have done that – having recently announced the sale of over 1,000,000,000 iPhones (you saw that alright … a Billion).
In relation to branding, firstly I would like to highlight that taste is critical to design and without taste you will not set or create trends. To have a design driven mindset that is in sync with the trend-conscious will do you wonders. Secondly, creativity in the aspect of differentiation is the rhythm to a branding orchestra. Thirdly, I love typography and for the last year have continuously studied different fonts, how they pair/marry each other, and those Vogue type fonts that have changed the fashion World. With regards to logo’s, when I have a client, not only do I brief graphic designers to do a cool logo but force myself to go on photoshop and create a typography font logo which is in sync with their brand.
To conclude – Design at best, is simple and beautiful, or … simply beautiful. For that reason I applaud Apple Chief designer Jony Ive for inspiring me, thank you.
Are you like me? When I first visited Paris I was amazed at the subtle yet rich brands such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga … the list goes on. Some, I cannot even spell but I know how to pronounce them. I found something however that took me a while to realise, the key to their branding is simplicity. Yes, Simplicity!
My first ever book that I read was How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci and the very human who was part of the Renaissance period said, “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.” It was evident this is true when I read another book by Ken Segall (the right hand man for all matters Marketing to the legendary Steve Jobs). He stated that Apple were all about simplicity, I found this outstanding, but when one thinks in clarity … the iPhone has only one button at the front (everything is done via the touchscreen) I am not counting the volume, on/off button because that is standard in all phones. Even my two year old cousin used to play angry birds when the iPhone 4 was in its heyday.
So, be it Creativity, Design, or Branding everything should be simple. But by simple I mean the one that touches the 5 senses, be slick, attractive, and worthy of a purchase. Yes, that is the secret everyone however it is the most complex thing to accomplish.
For a chef to create he/she must taste. As simple as it sounds, it is rather true. However that is just one of the 5 senses. To be potent, you must allow the customer to fully indulge each senses. Only a polished brand has this ability, and believe me it can take years and tears, unless of course you already know the secret. The equation you see below is the alchemy to a successful brand, it will create ripples of positivity, and keep everyone happy – from staff to shareholders. I should really write a book on this, but being one that likes to share knowledge – here it is.
Last night I had a conversation with someone close to my heart and perhaps my biggest critic. I was adamant that my point of taste being the road to success is correct, yet his view complemented mine with another sense … feel. Take for example the hospitality industry, in specific fancy restaurants – they truly first and foremost rely on feel. These are not my words, rather they are his – who has (may I add) been in hospitality for over 15 years, “feel is so important, when you are living in a city such as London, you are faced with daily challenges, you are not on holiday mode and it all begins with feel. From the cutlery to the glasses, quality of the napkin, all the way to the feel of the table/chairs.”
Feel must be conditioned in the brand DNA, feel leads the path to taste, without feel we will not enjoy the taste. In short, feel fuels taste … irresistible taste that is. Now you can poach my thought or you can ignore it, but if you truly understand branding, you should keep this in mind: Success = Feel + Taste
A few months ago, I was reunited with an old friend, “just come over and see what I am doing, maybe you will learn a few things or two,” he said. He was also the catalyst in making my decision to start a masters.
Flashback to 2011 and he had just stepped foot into the country, my parents invited him over for dinner at our London flat. He asked me why I am not considering doing a masters since I had yet to find a marketing job with only a Bachelors. So I decided to start!
Fast forward to 2015 and his persistence did not stop, in what is probably the most difficult market – Switzerland, He had settled well and started his own construction, scaffolding, and consulting company Lika. After a short trip to the UK, I told him that it would be an honour if I were to create a slogan that not only reflected his company but also himself, and so the slogan … QUALI+Y was born.
From my academic experience (amounting to 6 years) I have learned that being critical is not bad, unless when one is too critical then you ultimately doubt yourself. I am naturally creative and played the piano from an early age, so academic life taught me the other side, both of these were a blessing.
I came across Edward de Bono (considered by most a pioneer in creative thinking) and I learned through his lateral way that you can actually be creative in step by – critical-creative steps. I strongly believe this is a method for employees or entrepreneurs to live by, that is why … I always say,
He always used to look after me as a kid. My mum said I was always smiling, looking at people, always curious. Sadly a great deal has happened, but I do not want to lose that smile, that joy, that innocence of when I was once a kid. You see, when we grow up, we tend to loose touch with our inner child, our spontaneous, artistic self. Suddenly everything becomes critical. Bills, family drama, relationships, broken heart (the list goes on) but please remember … there is a difference between being childish & childlike. Childish is a spoilt brat whereas childlike is that creative, artistic, full of joy being.