Never underestimate the power of design and brand for a start-up

“One of the easiest things to do to make yourself standout within the digital world is to hit a homerun with the design and experience.  If you invest significantly in this area, then you are going to standout from all the rest.” – Darren Herman

Darren is the Chief Digital Media Office at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners and one of those guys that just plain “gets it.”  He wrote the above quote when talking about why Flipboard is suddenly the hot start-up of the week in the media world.  Ironically it is a sentiment that I was just discussing yesterday with a VC in NYC as it relates to the power of branding in the digital media.

Not enough companies in the digital world invest behind design, branding and experience.  In many ways, Google won the search war because its simplistic design made it stand out from crowded search portals.  The same goes for Facebook, a company that spends a disproportionate focus on user experience.

Why design should matter for Brand Managers

Thanks to Chris Brogan, I stumbled across this amazing presentation on the importance of design.  Over the past several years, design has emerged as a powerful force at P&G.  This presentation does a great job capturing why design is an important element for every Brand Manager to consider.

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New look to Hard Knox Life

New Hard Knox Life logoOver the weekend I launched a new look to Hard Knox Life. A huge thanks to Jina Kiem at E9 Digital for the design of the new logo and header. Jina was formally my Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi X and I’m thankful for the chance to continue to work with her. She did an amazing job of capturing my desires for this site and the look I was going for. I would recommend Jina and E9 in a heartbeat so if you like what you see, you should e-mail them at

Brands I Love: Help Remedies

I recently I came across a brand whose concept I just love, Help Remedies. The brand is taking what Method did for Home Care (and now Personal Care) and applying the concept to Health Care.  The company is bringing simple, yet elegant packaging/design to health care products, while using a singular benefit such as “help, I have a headache.” I love this concept and their tag line of ”Everyone needs a little help from time to time.”  The company goes on to explain their concept further on their About Us page with the following:

While some health problems are large, complicated and frightening, most aren’t the end of the world. A kind word and a little help can get you on your way again.

Help Remedies was created to make solving simple health issues simple. We find the best solution there is, and take away everything else. By stripping away some of the complexity and fear mongering of the health industry, we hope to make the category friendlier and more accessible, and in doing so empower people to make their own health decisions.

We think a little help, honesty and kindness will go a long way.

I think the brilliance of this idea is really in the simplicity.  Health Care doesnt need to be complicated but we have made it this way.  There is a growing trend of DIY Doctor (coined in MicroTrends) and brands like Help will be able to capitalize in a big way.  And it will be easy for them to expand with Help, I have heartburn (watch out Tums) or Help I have chapped lips (watch out Blistex).  The opportunities are endless for this brand….I just hope P&G’s M&A group has their eye on these guys!