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Field Study

An Unedited view of design and thought process:

work, experimental and otherwise by Keenan Cummings

Build Brands, Not Apps : SXSW Interactive / ‘13

The medium is disappearing.

I wasn’t around for the invention of the book, the newspaper, radio, television, or film, but grew up watching the internet take shape. The story of a new medium starts with the technology, and moves to the content. We no longer talk about what is inside our TVs, but what is being played on them.

The internet is at that moment. We’ve been long fascinated by the technology layer behind all the liking, linking, streaming, and sharing. But a wave of new users is taking the tech for granted and interacting with pure content and communities.

Any good brand transcends a discrete product and embodies an ethos. Nike isn’t about shoes; it’s about the lone struggle and athletic triumph. Virgin isn’t about music or flights; its about rule-breaking adventure and life-style. The internet and its users are uniquely ready for technology companies to move beyond the stories of social, mobile, local, real-time, etc. and start telling stories of aspiration and purpose. When a technology becomes commodity (Ikea making TVs?!), users look for a deeper reason to pick a product and stick with it. 

I have a lot more to say on the topic and am hoping to do so at next year’s SXSW Interactive Conference. I have teamed up with Jon Troutman, Lead Product Designer at General Assembly, to put together a presentation on Building Brands, Not Just Apps.

If we get approved, we’ll be putting together not just a presentation on the matter, but an exploration of some of the questions we pose. What would a brand-centric approach to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare look like? How would that have changed the company had it been a core value from day one? We’ll do a design exploration to visualize what that might look like. Are lean-startup methodologies the antithesis of careful brand building? How can they co-exist? We’ll share our very different experiences — both building brand-centric products in very different ways.

It’s going to be wild! Your votes help make it happen. Three simple steps:

  1. Sign Up to vote (Kind of a pain but you’re up to the challenge)
  2. Find our panel proposal: Building Brands, Not Just Apps
  3. Look for the thumbs up on the left side of the page to vote us up 

Vote Here!

  1. soyonis reblogged this from keenancummings
  2. randyjhunt said: We should talk! At Future of Web Apps last year I gave a talk, the Future of Branding, where I made a case for the inseparability of building a brand and building a product. I treat building a brand like product design.
  3. designthatinspires reblogged this from keenancummings
  4. beastykid reblogged this from keenancummings
  5. adbrad reblogged this from keenancummings
  6. kchayka reblogged this from keenancummings and added:
    Wow, what a slogan. Brands are the new medium?
  7. keenancummings posted this
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