Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

A great book on the wonderful world of branding. It is a small book which makes it a quick read. He presents the topic in a innovative way that makes it a pleasure to read. In fact, Marty has created a brand for himself (branded himself) with the signature of the book. His style (typography, layout, images, etc.) is unique and very visual.

I was recently involved in a project of creating a logo for a company. We were trying to put reason behind the logo, and were treating the logo as the brand. First of all, this book demystifies the logo. "A brand is not a logo or a corporate identity system or a product. A brand is not what you say it is. A brand is what they say it is". Wow, how true it is. Nobody describes the logo or explains the reasoning behind their branding. It is how the audience perceives it.

He also says that in order to differentiate yourself (or your company), you should answer these three questions:
who are you?
what do you do?
why does it matter?
The last question is where most people stumble. This is a powerful concept which applies to both companies as well as individuals. Why does it matter? Why should I care? This aims at contribution. This reminds me of Guy Kawasaki's idea of answering the little man. Whenever you are about to do something or write something, imagine that there is a little guy on your shoulder who asks "so, what?". If you cannot answer him, then you are not contributing.

Here are some of the quotes and snippets from this book:
Brands should be charismatic and stand for what people want, be it joy, happiness, success, love, comfort,..

It takes a village to build a brand. Branding cannot be done in isolation. Everyone in the company should work towards creating a brand.

Innovation is what gives brands traction in the marketplace. Innovation needs creativity. Infuse and encourage creativity in organizations.

The 7 criteria for a good name:
1. Distinctiveness
2. Brevity
3. Appropriateness
4. Easy spelling and pronunciation
5. Likability
6. Extendability
7. Protectability

Logos are dead. Long live icons and avatars.If it's not innovative, it is not magic.

Avoid these three barriers to achieve full potential in web design:Technophobia, turfismo and featuritis

Focus groups were invented to FOCUS the research, not to BE the research.

Your business is not an entity. It is a living organism. So is your brand. Treat it so. Alignment is the basis of a living brand.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What is your passion?

Did you know that people age faster in their retired life?
Did you know that people develop all kinds of (imaginary or not) ailments as soon as they retire?

Research has shown that the main reason for all this is the lack of purpose in life. Once a person retires and stops working, he looses a reason to get up in the morning, and go get something done. The other reason is boredom and depression. That is one of the reasons retirees look for part-time work in their retirement.

Without passion for something in life, it is hard to make a retired living.

What is retirement?

Earlier, people considered retirement once they reached a particular age. Retirement is considered once you have financial freedom. What we need to realize is that retirement can be boring and frustrating, if it is not properly thought out.

What would you do if you had financial freedom?

If you answer that question with something that you are not doing now, you are up for a boring retired life.

Who are you?

When you are asked who you are, you reply that you are a doctor or a professor or ... So, your profession defines you, especially for professional people. In a society where your profession defines you, it is hard to be retired. It is hard to lose one's identity.

When anyone asks one of my friends what he does, his answer is "I am a musician". "And, I just do database administration at ABC Corp just to pay my bills". That is an interesting way of putting things. Of course, it would have been a lot better if his passion could pay the bills too.

Without a passion, it is hard to pass time. If you are passionate about something, what keeps you from doing it now? Why are you waiting to be "retired" to do something that you love?

Pick your passion today, and start practicing retirement!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

With = Girl; What = Boy;

[with, if, not, where, be, when, your, her, we, should, she, and, me, myself, hers, was]

Did you know that these keywords are feminine? I didn't.

That was news to me. I just discovered Gender Genie and I posted some of my blogs into it. I seem to have a good mix of masculine as well as feminine writing.

What is interesting is the way the algorithm works. The algorithm is based on a research paper comparing the linguistic styles of males and females. I feel that there may be linguistic differences based on speech, but not based on the writings. They have compared writings from decades to draw conclusions. Formal writing, such as business writing or technical writing is generally neutral, and the same style is practised by both the genders. So, this research may have value when it comes to fictional writing. But, the gender genie has incorporated algorithms to interpret both fiction and non-fiction writings.

Post some of your writings and get a feel for what your style is.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blogs, blogs, -- redux

Sometime ago I wrote about why I blog and why I read blogs. I touched upon the variety of reasons people blog.

I recently stumbled upon this presentation on 25 basic styles of blogging. It is a great presentation that throws light on what one can do on a blog. Also, it is a great presentation to watch.

So, pick one or more styles and start your own blog today!