Strategic Design: The Art and Science of Branding | Su Mathews Hale And Michael D’Esopo | Skillshare

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Strategic Design: The Art and Science of Branding

teacher avatar Su Mathews Hale And Michael D’Esopo, Senior Partners at Lippincott

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Brand Strategy


    • 3.

      Building Brand


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Experience Innovation


    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.



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About This Class

In this 45-minute class, Lippincott senior partners share their process for creating, developing, and nurturing some of the world's biggest brands. From business strategy and culture to naming, graphic design, and customer experience, it's a start-to-finish, comprehensive look at the craft of branding. Every lesson ties back to Lippincott's real rebranding of Hyatt Place. Plus, the 8 video lessons culminate in a project Lippincott developed exclusively for Skillshare students: rebrand Carnival Cruises for the millennial demographic. This class is crucial for designers, business owners, marketers, students, and everyone curious about the art and science of branding.

Meet Your Teacher

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Su Mathews Hale And Michael D’Esopo

Senior Partners at Lippincott


Lippincott is a leading brand strategy and design firm. We uniquely combine business-based strategic thinking and creative excellence to solve the most complex challenges facing corporations today. As pioneers of corporate identity, we have been behind some of the world's most iconic brands and partner with today's leaders as they shape their brands for the future. Lippincott is part of Oliver Wyman, a global professional services organization owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies.

Su is a senior partner in design based in Lippincott's New York office. For over two decades, Su Mathews Hale has thrived at the intersection of graphic design and brand strategy.

Michael is a senior partner based in Lippincott's Boston office and is the director of brand strategy. With more than ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: I'm Michael. I'm a brand strategist at Lippincott. I'm Sue, I'm a designer at Lippincott. Today we will be teaching you about the Art and Science of Branding. I recently taught a class to a group of girl scouts about branding and I had posed a question to them about, what is a brand? They said that, ''A brand is a logo, a brand is a name, a brand is the experience, the brand is the product.'' It was funny because I said you know what, everything that everyone said is exactly what a brand is if you put all those things together. There's a great quote in, I think something from Jeff Bezos where he says, ''A brand is what they say about you when you leave the room". We very much view it as an asset. It's not something that shows up on our financial statement or on a balance sheet, but because we think about the impact and the role that a brand has in driving the business, it is a strategic asset. It's the same way that you think of a company that has a manufacturing plant or a customer relationship. It's an intangible asset, but it's one that actually is critical to driving the business. The process we will be going through today, we'll start with really around the discovering, how do we actually develop and create the brand strategy? Then we think about once you have that strategy set, how do you bring it to life? In terms of design and expression, that gets into things around the name and the logo and the identity and the visual expression. But then we obviously think about things much more broadly than that. So, you start to get into questions around, how do you bring that brand to life in terms of the experience? How do you actually start to think about it in the context of what it means for employees and what they need to do? Ultimately, how do you tie that all together in terms of how you actually launch and bring the brand out to the marketplace in a way that gets customers excited, gets employees excited and again ultimately goes back to that objective of helping to drive some business results? For today's case, we're going to walk you through some work that we had the privilege to work on several years ago, with the rebranding of Hyatt place. So, the assignment that we have for you is to imagine that Hyatt acquired Carnival Cruises, and to rebrand Carnival Cruises and think about how it would fit in the existing Hyatt portfolio, think about the brand strategy and the positioning, and hopefully you'll be able to use our process as a means to thinking about it. Then if you're extra ambitious, you can think about what would the logo look like. This class is designed for anyone who has a passion and interest in branding. Hopefully, you'll see as we go through today, Sue and I bring different skill sets and different experiences, but that is a big part of how successful brands are being built. So, whether you're a designer who wants to understand how does the strategy piece work in terms of informing great design or you're a strategists like myself who wants to know how do we actually take a strategy and actually bring it to life in a powerful and emotional way, there's so many different types of skill sets of folks that work here at Lippincot. You need to be able to bring together all of those different types of skills and even just having the exposure to, how strategy thinks about it if you're a designer, how designer thinks about things if you're a strategist, makes you a better builder of brands. I think this class is also great for someone who is maybe thinking about rebranding their company. So, how they might work with designers and strategists to thinking about the process of rebranding their company. It's also good for not just people who are actually doing the rebranding as far as designers or markers or strategists, but perhaps on the flip side, if you're actually the client or wanting to think about how you might rebrand. To have success it needs to be very collaborative. Sometimes, designers because of the way that we think, we might have solutions that are more unexpected. So, I would hope that strategist would better understand that involving designers up front, is really important. I think a lot of times we see clients struggle with or have emotional or subjective reactions to design. To be able to frame that in a broader strategic context, helps the client feel more comfortable with making that decision around, which design do I go with and to being able to think about how those connect together and yes it's going to be a beautiful design, but often I think what we see is that clients have a hard time making that decision, and so how to take that creative inspiration and frame it back in a way that helps client feel confident around how it's going to help their business. 2. Brand Strategy: So, when we start a project with a client, we really do begin with a very broad view of understanding a lot of different things going on with respect to the client. We begin with an understanding of their overall business and business strategy. The way we diagnose the brand is we do take what I would characterize as a multidimensional lends. We'll obviously spend some time with executives to get to those question around the business strategy. We'll often do an employee surveys. We'll do a set of customer interviews. Those can be things where it's in-depth conversations like one on ones, it can be focus groups with consumers, it can be ethnography where you're actually following an observing a customer, either I got consumer in their home or customer in their business and we'll actually look at and do our own research around the competitive landscape. Hyatt came to us after they had acquired AmeriSuites hotels and AmeriSuites, the brand itself was actually pretty broken. It was a brand that customers that stayed there didn't really have great things to say about it. So, they came to us and asked us to think about how would they insert this brand into their portfolio. So, when they came to us, the project they kept saying, "We really need to figure out what's the vibe of this hotel." With Hyatt Place, we started with thinking about those different topics that I mentioned before. They purchased AmeriSuites. The goal there was that AmeriSuite was roughly about 140 properties. Part of the context was that there was a growing need or an unmet need around what this select service. It might not be in downtown urban areas. It might be out in the suburbs. It might be in smaller cities. As a consumer, one time I might want to go and splurge and stay at the really high-end hotel that's $500 a night. Another time, I might be on vacation with my wife and my kids and we're doing a road trip across the country, and I just want a very simple straightforward, I want a clean room. I want to be able to go and know that I can have breakfast at the hotel. I'm really just looking to get in and get out overnight because I'm on a road trip across the country. Increasingly, what we see in this category is companies creating more brands whereas in other categories, you might see companies actually taking away brands because there's lots of overlap and it's hard to distinguish one brand from another. One of the reasons why we wanted to really understand the business goals, first obviously is that, this is an acquisition into an existing portfolio. You don't want to have the AmeriSuite set of properties all of a sudden takeaway stays from other brands in the portfolio. So, as we started to think about this assignment, it was, where is it that there are people that are not staying in Hyatt hotels today? How do we actually attract them? Some of that might be location, but some of it was quite honestly the idea that there were younger road warrior. You can think of the person who is the traveling salesperson, who covers a broad range in a broad geographic territory. They're not staying in the downtown city. They're going from point A to point B on a sales call. They stay a lot of nights away from home. They missed that familiarity of home. So, how do you actually think about what that could look like? How do you attract a segment that might be a bit more budget conscience? The assumption was that it was going to be probably more of a trendy boutique at a lower price as opposed to a hotel that was maybe less trendy but contemporary and felt relevant and moderate fresh at a lower price point. At the time that we did this project in the select service category, there were really pretty much all the same. So, you could expect to usually around $100 a night, but you're pretty much guaranteed that you're going to get a hotel room that was very bland and vanilla. It had that scratchy ugly floral bedspread that you'd like to peel off immediately when you get into your room. You wear your slippers in the room because you're afraid of what is on the floor. The bath products are terrible. The towels don't try you off. So, I think all of us at some point of our lives has stayed at a hotel like that. Across the category, no matter what brand you stayed at, that was pretty much the experience across the industry. So, when they acquired AmeriSuites and we're really thinking about how to reinvent the select service category, this was very different at the time. Now, there's a lot of brands I've felt to and there's a lot of offerings out there who have done copycats of the Hyatt Place. But back when we started this project, there was really nothing different out there less like select service category. So, it was really an interesting opportunity. 3. Building Brand: Before thinking about creating a brand with a strong emotional connection, we really like to think about what's the conflict from a customer perspective that we're there to resolve. The way Walmart broadened its appeal, was this idea of shopping smarter and it was really about this idea of not just saving money, but saving money without bigger purpose to live better, and that can have a broad appeal to a number of different customer segments. So, specifically for high-end, when you start to think about those different directions, what are those different insights? One of the big insights was around the fact that, we are on the road near. If you're focused on these, business travelers that are spending a lot of time away from home and they're coming in late and they're leaving early, they want this to feel comfortable and they want it to feel like home. It also needs to feel somewhat standardized. So my home is going to be very different than Sue's home. How do you actually create that sense that it creates a sense of familiarity, and that became one of our position direction around this idea of larger than home. So, what we'll do is we'll work with the data that we have and the insights that we have from the customer, from the employees and start to create different directions around that, and actually build different options and not just come up with the words. So, do you like the words larger than home or is it something different, but actually build out some of the experiential elements. So, in one concept, it might be we're really going to dial up the emphasis of the living space, and another one it might be we're really going to dial up the use of the products in the bathroom as a way to sort of feel like I'm indulgent for example. So with each one of those concepts, it's not just the words are on the intent from a communication standpoint, but what are all those different sort of cues that you put around it that actually help pay it off much more broadly. So, one of the elements in our framework when we start to develop these different options as we'll often think about what does that brand promise? What is that sort of statement that is-, it doesn't, it's not an external piece of copy, it's not a tagline, but what is it that this brand is actually promising on behalf of the customer. It's something that you'd want an employee to understand and believe in and feel like they could act against and it's supported by a core set of differentiators, and those differentiators are things that we can demonstrate and prove either in terms of messaging, in terms of a set of claims that we can make or it can be in the case of a high-end where it might be elements of the experience that we can demonstrate that are different in terms of, it could be around this idea of a tuned comfort and what does that mean, and how do I actually demonstrate that in the actual experience, and then finally, it's supported by a set of personality attributes that give, Sue mentioned a little bit earlier that's what's the vibe, right what's the tone, if this brand work person, what kinda person would it be? We ended up going with the position statement that was larger than home. It had a lot of appeal to customers because it really felt relevant to their daily lives and how they were living their lives when they weren't traveling, but it had a sense of sort of also relevance in being refreshingly modern and in a way that was different than what was happening in the select service category. A broader food offering, having more elements in the room. So things like, when we did this project, a lot of hotels didn't even have even more of the upscale hotels have flat-screen TVs and so we said there's larger than home because they were going to be some things that might be even a little bit better than what you would find it home. So, the fact that there were going to be big huge Samsung flat-screen TVs and you know in every room. Those kinds of things that were. So something's that were just a little bit better than home so. Think of technology today. There's Apple and Samsung and as soon as I say those two different brands, you get a different impression. Even though they make similar types of products they both make smart phones, you get a different sense of the personality of those organizations, the personnel of what you expect from those products in terms of design and so when you start to think about what those personality attributes can mean, those can actually inform a whole set of activities around sort of how do we actually write, what's our voice. When we get into creating the name. How do we actually start to think about what that name starts to feel like, what does it sort of evoke in terms of the customer and ultimately when we get into design this who will talk a little bit about it, we'll get into how do we actually demonstrate it in terms of the way we present ourselves visually, and so I think those really become important words that we spend a lot of time thinking about and we actually put some definition around, so that you can actually sort of clients can understand how they actually build meaning around them and then we actually think about the other elements of building the brand that demonstrate them from a customer standpoint. And the idea around this with purposeful service because it obviously to select service hotel, you're not going to suddenly be able to have full service and not going to suddenly be able to have room service and all the kind of service that you would at an actual hotel. But it was purposeful service in a way that we relate a lot about where could we leverage points of service that would actually be differentiating category. So when somebody checks and could we figure out a way to use that person that checks in to also get you a glass of wine, that sort of where were areas that we could not necessarily add on people for service, but think about service in a different way. In airports, you could check in yourself. So, this was one of the first select service hotels where you could actually- there was a kiosks that when you came in, if you're the type of person like me, I like to have as few interactions as possible with people, live people, you'd just go straight to the kiosk and you could check in, or you could go to the counter and check in with a live person. You know again being in select service hotel, they weren't gonna start field submitted a ton of money in areas that they weren't spending before. So, it wasn't like they were going to suddenly be able to offer, these very high-end bad products but they could rethink about which bath products do they offer. So, are a lot of these people that are staying here, bringing their own shampoo or they bring in their own conditioners and so actually the lotion is something that should be something that you have there and it's a little bit better or the quality of the idea that spending a little extra money on towels. So that the towels actually were better and they actually dried you off and you could really feel that sense of quality and that was something that you noticed, but maybe they would not have so much paper and things around the room and communications that talked about stuff that people didn't want. And you can imagine some of the elements that come through in terms of the personality and given the positioning, it was thinking about how do you actually create and communicate in a way that's very inviting, and welcoming and friendly, and so you start to get out elements in terms of how you write and that it's not going to be using complex phrases. It's going to be pretty straightforward in it's communication, it's going to be more inclusive in terms of a potential guest or in terms of encouraging them to try elements. So, you might not be the type of person that would show up and as you said, the first thing you want to do when you shop is have a glass of wine offered to you. It sort of trying to make you feel comfortable. So, there's elements of it that inform not just the experience part which we can talk a little bit more about, but also starting to then think about what does that mean for the name. 4. Design: How do you name something here? It's almost like naming the child. It's a challenging complicated, fascinating, but very rewarding activity. With the benefit of having the brand strategy in place, you can really think about what is it that we want. No name is going to be perfect. We see companies where they hope that the name is going to encompass everything and the idea that they want to do communicate and it doesn't. We talk about names as being an empty vessel into which you're going to need to build meaning. I think the nice part that I was thinking about when you come up with different name options, some of them may help dial up some of the attributes that Sue mentioned. Some might be more around that sense of being very purposeful, so you can imagine very direct name. Others might be more around that friendly and welcoming, and you can imagine a word or a name that sounds very different and welcoming than one that's very purposeful and direct. So, what we do is we actually think about that very strategically. We use the personality attributes and the brand strategy to develop what we call a set of name criteria. We have a broad team of namers on staff that can actually go and generate literally hundreds of names against those criteria. Then our core team then does a rigorous evaluation of those name candidates against the criteria. We then need to go back and evaluate them and take them through a preliminary legal search. One of the biggest challenges today is that almost every word in the English language has been trade marked. So, for our clients that want to have a name that they can build equity in and own, and protect legally, it becomes a big hurdle in terms of figuring out what's that name that works but also one that we can own and secure, and protect for ourselves. After we go through that process, we'll typically narrow down to about six or seven names where it will go through a much more comprehensive full legal. We will also do a linguistic analysis. You can imagine we want to have a name that doesn't have any challenging meanings or inappropriate meanings in other languages. Then at the end of that, the idea is to come down to and say, we've got a couple of good workable names that have passed all those filters, which one do we feel most comfortable with, it evokes some of the meanings that we want to create in the brand strategy but equally importantly it then suggests. It may not do these other things as well that we'll have to do and other elements of our communications, whether that's the identity, it's in our look and feel, it's in our messaging, and in terms of some of the other tools in our toolbox that we have to be able to create that brand more holistically. One of the things we always tell our clients is, don't fall in love with a particular name because we always want to keep a number of different workable options open, because you never know what you're going to run up against when you start looking at legal and linguistic type of issues and challenges. Second, is how does it actually very specifically tie back to the strategy that you're developing. Then the third piece is, to that last point, you never know where the options will come out. There are times when clients will say, "I want a name that is one of those made-up terms, or I don't want one of those, that's made up because I don't what it means." Then you'll find that it actually does resonate with them. So, in terms of thinking about what makes a strong name, we'd like to think about that in terms of both what we call functional criteria and image criteria. The functional criteria are very much the must-haves. It's got to be legally available. It can't be offensive in other languages, but it also is in best practices. It should be short. It should be ideally a couple of syllables. Where you get into really tailoring it for a particular client is in what we would call those image criteria. They're very much grounded in the brand personality. They're very much in the case of Hyatt Place grounded in those elements of a tuned comfort, distinguishable quality, and purposeful service. So, how does a particular name payoff one or more of those attributes? How does it start to evoke a little bit of that tone of personality? How does it start to pay off some of those ideas of being seen as an inviting and welcoming brand? Those are a little bit more subjective, but we go through that evaluation process recognizing the different name ideas might do that better or worse on some dimensions. We landed on the name Hyatt Place. It kept coming up this idea, well, it's the place to be, or it's the place where people will hang out or it's a place where people will stay. It had a reference to the idea of staying someplace. Having the name Hyatt in the name would make it more credible offering. So, the idea of leading with Hyatt and having something that worked with the name Hyatt. So, it wasn't necessarily going to be a made up name that would be endorsed by Hyatt or Hyatt Hotel. It was really going to be something that we probably wanted to lead with the name Hyatt. The name is really important with the design. So, often we'll have clients say to us, "Well, can you start the logo the same time as the name?" We'll say, "No, we really need to know the name." Because if you think about can really effect the name if it's say, with Apple. So, if there was a logo of a pair, that would be a really weird offsetting of the name. So, companies like Apple, or Shell, or Delta that's the literal translation of the name. So, we need to know the name because that's really going to greatly affect how we think about the symbol, because they should align, and they should be at odds with each other 5. Experience Innovation: I think actually the logo is probably one of the most difficult things to create. I know Michael had mentioned that the name is really difficult, but I think the logo is even more difficult. Because the expectations that this is going to be the one thing that synthesizes all of the work we've done up until this point from the perspective of the business, and what we do, and what we're trying to do in the future, and what perceptions we want to change, and it has to say every single thing that we do. All the criticism comes down on the logo. So, even if the company is changing products that they're offering and their business strategy and going after new customers, the initial reaction and criticism is all around the logo, so. It's one of those things I think going back to the strategy part and talk about how with clients, you want a strategy that lasts for five years. You're going to change the strategies, the business changes as the customer mindsets needs change. You generally don't change your name every five years, in fact, you want the name to last for a really long time, but you're able to build meaning into that and I think the identity and the logo is one where that's the instant, you need to be able to get it into a certain extent. If people don't, it's not the type of thing that people change again every five years. They might revise it and tweak it and evolve it slightly, but the best leading brands have iconic identities that you can see the symbol on it's own and know what it belongs to. To be able to build that recognition takes a long time, and so, you want to be able to have that come through. People often think that we love to just start from a complete blank sheet of paper and white paper, and actually, we like having a little bit of guidance and guidelines to be able to because there's a million different ways that you can think about a problem especially visual leathers. Thousands typefaces in images and colors that you can use. So, if you take the image attributes and the personality, how does that translate in a visual way? So quite often, the way we'll start and this is what we did for Hyatt Place as well, is we'll visualize some of the words. So we'll show examples of how far change, what does a refresh mean, what does an evolution mean? What does a revolution mean? That's what we did for Hyatt Place where we created this vibe. So, we showed them images of the type of customer and colors that we thought might be aligned to this type of personality traits, typefaces and materials and things that generally communicate the type of messages that we're trying to communicate. So, that's where we'll start is really setting up some criteria and getting aligned around that, before we even jump into what does the logo look like. Then we start to think about typefaces, colors, is there a symbol? Quite often, we'll go across the whole spectrum of looking at word marks which would be a logo that doesn't have any type of symbol in it, but it's mostly made up of typography and there might be some element within the typography to freestanding symbol that actually has an icon and a symbol in addition to a typeface. So we'll start thinking about, what are the appropriate typefaces and colors and imagery and symbols, we'll start to just brainstorm around, similar to naming, association. So, if you think about a place or you think about this experience that we've been talking about, what are some of the visual associations that one might have? I quite often will tell designers, I don't want to see anything on the computer or in color at the very beginning stages because for me it's about finding that concept, that's a really strong and simple idea, and not getting clouded yet too much with the exact color, the exact typeface or something that's tricky that you can do on the computer. So I find, we tend to get to the best solutions if we start from a process that's sketching and in black and white and not getting too hung up on all those details. Then once we start to find some ideas that we think have some legs and are interesting ideas, that's when we'll start to really think about more of the details from, let's draw it now on the computer, what colors help to better associate? How do we balance if we're going to use a typeface that's more modern? Do we bring back some of that traditional comfort or familiarity of the brand through the symbol or so. It's always that kind of balance of dialing up and dialing down and the juggling act of like how all those pieces work together, and when they all work together really well, that's when a great logo comes together. It's not all about process and it's not all about, if you do this and then this you're going to get the perfect solution. There's also that stage of the process in the brainstorming with creating logos and identities that there's that magic that happens or that connection, that sort of, "Aha," moment that designers find that, I think other people have difficulty finding, and that's hard to explain to clients. So, it's that internal sort of just gut check feeling that, ''Yes, this feels right.'' Because often, clients will say, ''Yes,'' but when there is a logo and they'll say, ''But it communicates this and it has this is everything but the kitchen sink in the logo, you know like, but it's just ugly.'' So, I think that's the whole balance of being able to create something that strategically sound, has a simple idea, but also just looks good. I think the best logos have a very strong and simple idea. So, for Hyatt Place, the idea around the logo that was selected was inspired by the idea of the experience. It was going to be much more engaging, it was going to have places that people could feel like they were together with people, but they could also be alone if they wanted to work down in the lobby. It was going to be designed in a way that you could work individually, you could also have group meetings down there, you could have a glass of wine, so it could also feel very social. The one circle coming together creating sense of space coming together, so it had that idea of individuals being alone, but also being able to be together. Circles coming together in the shape of a square was also sort of this juxtaposition that was very interesting to us of sort of architectural, but also comfortable. Then the logo itself was made up of all these colorful dots and there's two black circles at the top and the bottom so that at nighttime in the signage, those two black dots actually disappear, and so, an H comes forward from the dots, and so you see the H from Hyatt. So, there's a little bit of a surprise and unexpectedness there, that we knew that we were trying to communicate with the experience of the hotel, and we thought that was an interesting way to do that also on the identity. 6. Research: In terms of research, you often were asked, "How often do you actually test something through research and where do you actually do research?" Obviously, we do a fair amount of that in the discovery process. We often do a fair amount of it when it comes down to narrowing and in landing on the strategy. As I mentioned before you start to understand from a customer perspective, which of the different strategic directions are more credible and relevant and unique? As you start to move into name, and certainly with logo, we generally don't do as much around research, and there's a few reasons for that. One is consumers typically love or have a strong association with what's familiar. So, if I were to give you a descriptive name, versus a sort of invented or coined term, generally, consumers will pick the more familiar descriptive name because they already know what it means. We haven't put any of the meaning in it and so we kind of know that from having done that research before. What we often suggest to clients as well is that because the legal availability piece is so difficult and challenging, if you go out and test names and you actually need to provide some context as to, well, it's this company and it's this type of offering, what you can often run into is somebody using the research will actually go out and try, and then get the Dot Com or the URL or register the name themselves, because it's so hard to get and own legal securance, you can actually run the risk of not being able to get a name that you want because you've actually shared it out in the public before you actually own it and secure it and can protect it. 7. Organization: Branding is definitely much more than a logo. It's the voice. It's the experiences around it. Sometimes, the way that it smells or it sounds. In the case of Hyatt Place, we create an identity that it wasn't just the logo. It was about a scent. So, we created a signature scent for Hyatt Place. So, every single Hyatt Place, when you walk in, would have the same scent. We create a signature soundtrack, so every single Hyatt Place, when you walked in, there would be the soundtrack that was playing. So, it was started to create this experience that obviously went beyond the logo. We helped them think about signature moments and elements in the experience like there was a couch. We heard from customers that they don't work at a desk actually and that they shouldn't spend a lot of money creating the perfect desk for this type of customer. They actually sit. When they're at home, they sit on the couch and they worked with their laptops on their lap. So, we created this area that we call the cozy corner, which was really just this really comfy couch at home, an ottoman that people could sit and put the laptop on, and they could eat off the ottoman, too, and they put their laptop there. So, that was the cozy corner. We helped them think about just even how do you brand the person that checks you in. So, we refer to that person as the host. So, quite often, when you go to somebody's home, they're hosting you and they greet you with a smile and they welcome you into their home and so we named the check-in person the host. So, we helped them think about a lot of different elements beyond the logo. The idea of this customer experience and thinking about it holistically and mapping that customer journey becomes a really powerful way for people to understand what the impression we're trying to create. I think a lot of times, you can spend a lot of energy and effort word-smithing the perfect strategy, but you go down and talk to the rank and file employees in, okay, what do I do differently? That's where the rubber hits the road in terms of having it be actionable, having it be something that an employee knows what they need to do and that a customer can feel in terms of getting that impression. So, when you get down to that level of detail in terms of this is the impression we want to create, here's a way to start to think about what we might want you to do. But actually, what often comes out of that is, an employee reaction might be, "That's good but I actually think there's something better that I could do. Here's something different than I can do." It's those thought starters that actually get the entire employee base engaged around, this isn't a top down sort of dictate, you as a marketer or you as a brand consultant are going to tell me what to do, but you're giving me the inspiration to think about, "If that's what we want to do, why don't I do this?" Often, the best ideas come from folks that are interacting with those customers on a day-to-day basis. 8. Collaboration: I don't have any design skills or training, but I actually to the point that we've talked about earlier around the collaboration the same way that a designer contributes to the strategy development. I think strategy does contribute to the design process. Part of it is being able to draw those connections from the strategy into different design directions. Part of it is by the fact that not surprisingly, in the beginning part of an assignment, the strategy team is working a little more closely with the client and so we have a better understanding of what may or may not resonate with a client. For us as designers, it's great to have the involvement from our partners on the strategy side of the house because quite often, what we'll do is we'll have Michael select the ones that he likes as a way of knowing that's probably where the client is going to go and then help us to think not necessarily that that's the direction to go, but to think about why did he like that one and how might we address that and some of the ones that we think are actually stronger. So in some ways, it's helpful to not necessarily to say that, "Oh well, Michael is going to pick the one that the client picks," so therefore, we should pick that logo, but the ones that he picks probably are more aligned in what the client might pick and why is that? What is it that's attracting him to that particular logo that we can start to think about "Oh, some of these other logos that we had potentially don't deliver on that. How do we make it deliver a little bit more than that?" I think it's always great to show other people and get reaction. Sometimes, we'll have something that we all think is completely legible and you can read the name right away and then we'll show it to someone who hasn't been involved in the project and they'll say, "What is that?" They'll read it in a completely different way so it's always good to break out of your bubble and it's not about you know that is research, but sometimes you do need to break out of your space and show others because you can get really wrapped up in thinking it's the perfect idea. As you share it with somebody, do you like it? It's trying to get at not that visceral. "Oh, I like how it looks right," I don't like how it looks. It's like, what do you see in it? How does it make you feel? That's what we're trying to get out because I think as I said before your people will always prefer the familiar and so you find that the familiar identity is one that people gravitate towards, when you're making a change it's like what is it evoking? 9. Implementation: As we work with clients to finalize, here's the new name, here's the new logo, you want to be able to start to educate employees. They need to be able to be armed. They need to understand the rationale for the change, why we picked this particular direction. What does it mean? How do they talk about it to their customers or to who they interact with? So that when you then go out and talk about it externally, that the first reaction is someone's going to ask an employee and they're going to go, you hope that they tell that story that you want them to tell. So, it becomes much more of a methodical launch process because it is about having employees understand that, believe in it, and feel what they're doing is in support of that, as opposed to, "Oh, it's just another marketing campaign." Hospitality has the advantage of you know, they can do a lot of, so they can do model test rooms. Yes. Without renovating or redoing the whole hotel space, they can take one of their hotels and just renovate one room in there and they can take franchisee owners through them and what do you like about this, what don't you like about it. Sort of the beauty in hospitality that it's very easy to mark up rooms and model rooms and have them what it's going to feel like before you actually go and do the entire thing. With a store, it's harder to do because you have to sort of affect the whole shopping experience of customer coming in, where in hospitality, you can change over three different rooms in the hotel and nobody even knows that you did that. I think one of the things, in terms of the case study that we've walked through, and say how did this actually drive business results. So, the first area where it drove business results is you can think of that average revenue per available room. So, revPAR is the term that's used in hospitality industry. So it was able to take it before it's Amara Suites, it was at a certain point, and the increase was on the order of 10 to 15 percent higher. So all of a sudden, there's more rooms. As they build up more rooms, they're commanding a higher price per room. That becomes very appealing. There are developers that want to build hotels, that want to build a high place concept in a particular area. So, it becomes a popular concept to be able to generate interest on the part of developers as well, but it was actually a pretty straightforward before and after, particularly for those existing properties as they got remodeled. You are able to see, okay, we've moved the needle, the investment's worth it. Then if you have other properties that are franchised, you can say, "Look, we made this investment. We saw this amount of increase." There's a pretty clear ROI message that appeals to somebody who's going to be spending their own capital. What you also can then look at, a number of different brand measures. How are we performing against those different brand attributes? Are we actually seeing that we're actually being recognized for the attributes? Is it seen as welcoming? Is it seen as inviting? Other areas where you do more direct customer surveys, is this seen as a differentiated concept? Is it one of my favorite concepts? Is it something that I'm satisfied with or that I would recommend, or that I would return to again? So, there's a lot of ongoing customer feedback that is sort of the indicators that ultimately tie back to this financial results. So, all of those things together are a set of measures that you think about up front, but ultimately you want to be measuring those, and often become the guideposts to say, "All right, you know what? Here's the first wave." If we're not moving the needle on certain attributes, do we need to make some tweaks to the concept? If we're not commanding the price premium that we thought we were going to command, why is that? Where is it that we may need to make changes in the experience so that we're able to continue to to think about it that's true to the brand, but also is still very understanding and focused on the business results. It was great to see the success as far as just experiencing it ourselves first hand. So, I started staying at a lot of high places because a lot of times, I am travelling. The great thing was that every time, for the first three years of every time I went to a high place, I would be in the elevator with somebody who would be talking about to their colleague. "Hey, do you remember when this was Amara Suites?" and they say, "Yes, it was like crap. It's, like, so terrible." They will be talking about all of the things as if we had briefed them. So, I would always be standing there just sort of laughing as I would listen to them say, "Even the logo is cool," and it's just funny to hear it everyday, sort of guess our consumer talking about, that they liked the logo and that the experience has changed so much. That's always really exciting to hear people talk about in a way that is really positive and all the things that we're trying to communicate. You got your vibe played back to you. Yes, I got my vibe played back to me.