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IR is a tech company with a product called Prognosis. It’s designed to make IT systems simpler, but the thing is, the product and the problems it solves are pretty complicated.

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IR: A story of optimisation.

In a nutshell, Prognosis is a piece of software that improves the systems that underpin our enterprises, workplaces and everyday lives. It helps call centres maintain good voice quality, payment technology (like PayPass) run smoothly and can even prevent hackers from accessing your details.

It’s a great product, but the benefits were getting lost in a sea of jargon and category clichés.

IR were having trouble explaining the benefits to their customers, so they called us to help them humanise these complex digital problems, communicate what they do, and tell some great stories about Prognosis coming to the rescue.

After conducting research and holding workshops with IR, we began to understand their role, and the role of Prognosis, is to optimise complex systems. This idea of optimisation became our brand idea and influenced everything we did for IR.

The IT sector struggles to find suitable imagery, because there isn’t anything to photograph. We steered clear of photography, because stock shots of people smiling in front of a server don’t really tell you much about a business. Instead, we used metaphor to explain this complex, multifaceted business in an accessible, interesting way.

Seeing as communication was at the heart of IR’s problem, we helped them define their voice and make the way they communicate simpler and easier to understand – without dumbing the product down.

Case studies were a great place for us to start. We listened to stories that explained how Prognosis had saved the day in a number of situations, and re-told them using simple metaphors and little bit of humour.

We illustrated these stories with dots and dashes, which became our illustration style. These dots and dashes are punctuated with colour to help tell these stories of optimisation – blue represents ‘optimal’, while red represents ‘sub-optimal’ to illustrate the complex problems IR solve in a fun, accessible way.

These simple illustration elements helped us create an optimised logo. White dashes are paired with red and blue dots to form the i and the r of the company’s name.

The design elements are influenced by Swiss style. An emphasis on cleanliness, readability, objectivity, strong grid, sans serif typefaces, asymmetric layouts, minimalism.

With their new, optimised identity, IR can explain what they do more easily, so more people can benefit from everything they offer.

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Pause Fest is “Australia’s premier digital event, aimed at supporting and showcasing the best in creative and tech from Australia and all over the world.”

We never baulk at an opportunity to discuss digital culture and its impacts on markets and brands. So when we heard Pause Fest was rolling into Melbourne for its 5th annual event, we threw our hat into the ring.

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Preparing for Pause Fest

On Sunday February 15 we’ll be running an interactive workshop entitled “Technology Eats Brands” – exploring the challenges and opportunities for brands in the digital age.

Among the questions we will be asking are:

- How are technology and digital platforms changing the way consumers interact with, and get value from, brands?

- Has technology-led innovation displaced brand building as the most critical task for brand owners in 2015?

- Why is the strategic activity of ‘brand positioning’ becoming increasingly redundant – and why is there more value in defining a ‘purpose’ for your brand?

- What are the new philosophies and working practices that brand owners need to commit to in order to survive?

The workshop will be facilitated by Nick Davis (GM, Melbourne), Paul Hoskins (Strategy and Transformation Director), and include a guest panel. We’ll begin with a discussion around brands and technology, with examples from our own experience, and then move into a workshop on brand building in 2015- a hands-on session where everyone can participate and work together to imagine the digital brands of the future.

Limited tickets are available here. There are a few ticket options, each including access to a range of events running across the festival agenda (9-15 February).

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Telstra recently launched their flagship store of the future in George Street, Sydney and as part of the store experience they asked us to create an iconic carrier bag.

Our goal was to bring ‘Spectrum’ (Telstra’s visual language of colour and angularity) to life in three dimensions. The idea was to create an innovative form factor that would be instantly recognisable on the high street and create wow-factor for customers in-store, all whilst being 100% recyclable and flat-packable.

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Telstra spectrum bag

Our research revealed that many high street fashion brands and Telstra’s competitors were not producing environmentally friendly bags since they had cord handles or matt-laminated finishes. We knew from the offset that the volume of carrier bags Telstra would require could have a negative environmental impact if we got the design wrong so we gave ourselves the constraint of using only 100% recyclable materials.

We partnered with internationally renowned artist and paper engineer, Benja Harney, to bring Spectrum to life in 3D. We conducted research into the customer experience, typically packaged products, supply chain, in-store storage and employee behaviour. We discovered that two sizes would be needed – one for a mobile phone box and an accessory, and the other for larger items such as the T-Box. Interbrand identified five blue-sky creative directions before selecting one with the client for further development. Working with Benja, over 50 prototypes were developed to find a unique and ownable form that would bring some theatre to the store experience whilst ticking the practical consideration boxes too. Finally one bag presented itself as the clear winner.

The Spectrum Bag takes its shape from two opposing triangles at the base and opening, creating a unique form that is highly sculptural and distinctly Telstra. Following Benja’s prototypes we handed the designs to Paper-Pak to finalise the engineering and create the final die-line. The bag comes in the four Telstra colours and features a single scored fold on each side to create more volume inside and elegantly connect all faces.

The bag is currently being trialled in Sydney’s George Street flagship store but will eventually roll out to all stores across Australia.

 

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The online-car-selling industry is enough to drive anyone to distraction. It’s certainly not a simple place to get the job of buying and selling a car done. Most of the time it feels like you’re getting the wool pulled over your eyes. There’s no price transparency when purchasing, and listing your car can be a real hassle. Who wants to buy a car in Perth if they live in Sydney? And who wants to pay for a lead that will never come through?

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CarsGuide

CarsGuide believes the process of buying and selling cars online is broken. So they’re fixing it. With things like free listings and location-based search. In other words, they’re the antidote to CarSales. This bold new way of thinking is reflected in the brand strategy and identity we created for them. With the brand idea ‘Joy Mechanics’, we created an identity that simultaneously disrupts the market while making the process of buying and selling cars easier and more enjoyable.

The idea is simple. The brand is split into two characters, each with distinct personality traits, typeface and tone of voice. First up is The Mechanic. He’s simple, straightforward, and to the point. Then there’s The Guide. Friendly, cheeky, and always happy to help. To make it work, we use a simple construct. ‘The Mechanic’ says something simple, informative and to the point. Then we let ‘The Guide’ loose. He’s always tinkering, editing, pointing out useful bits or adding something fun. The logo is clear, simple and flexible, and can be infinitely customised by the Guide.

A recent article in The Australian reported that in the first month of its relaunch, CarsGuide enjoyed 32% growth in private car listings. Traffic was up 15% compared to a 22% retreat for drive.com.au and there was a 5% fall for CarSales.

Great work CarsGuide!

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Brands need to be current in order to be relevant to customers. But if we design brand identities based on what’s current now, won’t they just need a redesign in five years time?

In this article for Sex, Drugs and Helvetica, our ECD Chris argues that to create relevant and timeless brand identities, we must design them to evolve. And that means building in flex, encouraging freedom, and thinking about just how long things are really meant to last.

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How to create a timeless brand

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Described as a “frenetic, fast-paced industry crash-course for thirty lucky young creatives”, The D&AD New Blood Workshop was recently held for the first time ever in Australia.

Developed in partnership with D&AD, the Glue Society, Google Australia, and Will O’Rourke, a group of thirty handpicked, talented young creatives gathered in Sydney to develop an entire project from brief to broadcast in one day, with help from some of the best creatives across the industry.

Our Creative Director Ben Miles was a mentor, helping a team develop their concept, ideas, and campaign on the day.

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Ben at D&AD New Blood

“I’ve been a big fan of D&AD New Blood program ever since I was a student. So I jumped at the chance to be involved in D&AD’s first New Blood event on Australian shores.The day kicked off with inspiring talks from D&AD CEO Tim Lindsay and Glue society’s Jonathan Kneebone. The focus of the day was geared towards D&AD’s more recently added white pencil award — Design for good. I’ve seen this theme grow in importance through the span of my career and it’s great to see D&AD champion this. The energy and spirit of collaboration throughout the day was inspiring. Seeing so many fresh, dynamic creatives working with each other and industry experts was very special indeed. And the results were world class. I left the day feeling incredibly excited about the future of Australian design.”

Watch the video about the day below, and check out all the work created on the day here.

A huge thanks to D&AD for involving us. We were really honoured to take part and inspired by the great work that came out from the day. Looking forward to the next one.

Video Credit: D&AD

Image credit: Paula Taylor

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The Communicating the Museum conference is the world’s leading arts communications conference, attracting people from 2,500 arts and culture organisations each year to a cultural hub. It was recently hosted in locations across Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart.

As part of the Melbourne leg, Nick Davis, our Melbourne GM featured in a moderated conversation with Museum Victoria CEO, Patrick Greene. Hosted at the Melbourne Museum, they discussed the role of branding for museums in general; using brand to bring Museum Victoria’s  “networked museum” organisational strategy to life; and the critical role that leadership must play in embedding brand within a museum organisation.

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Nick communicating the museum

Nick spoke about why there is more opportunity than ever to build meaningful relationships with audiences, and focus on the now and next as much as the past. He also urged delegates to ensure their museums seek to present a point-of-view over and above merely showing, so to create a more differentiated and unique experience for audiences.

Thank you to Agenda for involving us.

Pictured from left:
Rod Macneil – Head, Communication and Partnerships, Museum Victoria
Patrick Greene – CEO, Museum Victoria
Nick Davis – GM Melbourne
(Thanks to Rob Chivers for the photo)

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A few weeks back, A bunch of us from the studio headed to the Australian Museum to see Lex, our Associate Director of Verbal Identity, speak at the AGDA event – How do words get in the picture. The event featured three talented writers from the industry, each sharing their view on the role of writing and language in creative.

Lex gave a brilliant presentation! To a full crowd, she spoke about her writing process, the power of language to shape brands, and the power of partnerships – explaining why writers and designers working together generate better work.

Thank you to AGDA NSW for involving us and congratulations to all the speakers. We had a fantastic night.

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Lex talks words for AGDA

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Today Interbrand launched its 15th Best Global Brands Report.

Damian Borchok, CEO for Interbrand Australia and Steve Pozel, Director of Object: Australian Design Centre spoke to an audience of 80 senior marketers at Sydney Opera House. Sydney Opera House was the ideal venue for the launch: Apart from being a client, Sydney Opera House is one of Australia’s truly globally recognised brands.

In addition to presenting findings from the report, Damian looked at the impact of technology on how business and brands work.

Steve Pozel spoke about power of design thinking and its ability to find new answers to new challenges.

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Best Global Brands 2014

Highlights from the Best Global Brands report include:

  • For the second year in a row Apple was the number one brand. It grew brand value by 21% to USD $118.8b
  • Google continued to strengthen its position at number two, growing 15% to USD $107.4b
  • For the first time in the history of Best Global Brands two global brands – Apple and Google – have each earned a brand value that exceeds USD $100 billion
  • Facebook was the top rising brand this year, growing in value by 86%. Other notable risers included Audi, Amazon, Nissan, Volkswagen and Starbucks
  • While the tech sector was a high growth sector, Nokia and Nintendo were the fastest declining brands for the second year running, dropping in value by 44% and 33% respectively
  • This year, the total value of all 100 Best Global Brands is USD $1.6 trillion — a 6.65% record increase over the total value of the 100 Best Global Brands in 2013.

Find more information on this year’s Best Global Brands Report here.

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The Basement is one of Sydney’s most iconic music venues. It’s an institution, the kind of place you’d catch Dizzy Gillespie or Herbie Hancock play at the height of their fame. 40 years later, we found ourselves tasked with a rather spicy Sydney branding project that introduces La Lupita, a pop-up Mexican restaurant and one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets, to The Basement.

We had to give La Lupita the chance to be heard over the music and the pantheon of greats that adorn the crammed walls. In true Interbrand style, we wanted to take this to the next level, and agreed that the spirit of La Lupita should be rebellious, fiery and passionate. For that reason, it became more than a pop-up. It became a takeover!

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La Lupita’s Sydney takeover

With a pirate mentality, we began claiming areas of The Basement, repurposing materials and smashing styles together. From re-using shipping palettes and abandoned milk crates, to creating menu boards from broken walls, it took two days to bring the space to life; an epic mission of paint fumes, sweat and mescal! Inside, we created bold, vibrant statements by collaborating with some of Sydney’s finest underground artists; Beastman, Numskull and Aisle6ix.

The logo is designed to be quick to replicate and embody the rebellious nature of our takeover. Reminiscent of a skull and crossbones, the flame logo is hand painted and full of imperfections, this reflects our story; the story of a brand that only cares about authentic amazing food, for the people. Para El Pueblo.

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We are now in our second year of working with Opera Australia and are pleased to share our latest branding work on the 2015 season brochure, launched at the season preview last week at the Sydney Opera House.

For this season our Sydney agency worked again with the internationally recognised fashion photographer Georges Antoni and Opera Australia performers to capture the energy and emotion of the season through rich and evocative photography.

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Opera Australia 2015 Season

Its wonderful to see the brand is continuing to evolve and open up opera to new and familiar audiences. And if 2014 is anything to go by, 2015 is going to be an incredible season. Get your tickets here.

“The new brand, introduced last year, was designed to open up opera to to new audiences. Working with top fashion photographer Georges Antoni, we designed images that would evoke emotions and demonstrate the many genres of opera. This year we worked with Georges again to produce the images for the 2015 season, and the results are just stunning. We’re thrilled to continue to work with Opera Australia on their brand and to keep opera singing for a long time to come.” Chris Maclean, Executive Creative Director, Interbrand.

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For over a hundred years people in Australia have used paper directories to search for friends, family or local businesses. However with the rise of digital technology and the emergence of Google as a universal synonym for ‘search’, the world has changed.

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True colours: The new Sensis brand

For Sensis – an organisation whose operations were previously focused on paper directories – the imperative has been to re-imagine its role in a digital landscape. This has involved transformational changes in terms of what it offers to customers and how its business operates. From a complex and dilutive portfolio of brands, products and services to a focused set of strategic assets, Sensis is now positioned to meet every customer’s needs. From paper directories to SEO, website design and apps, Sensis is now at the forefront of digital marketing services for Australian businesses.

Interbrand has been engaged with Sensis throughout this transformational process, with a unique strategic process to redevelop its brand in line with its business ambitions.

We fielded a team of strategists and creatives in Sensis’ offices and worked together to define the organisation’s challenges and opportunities. This led to clear recommendations on a new strategic direction for the brand and portfolio architecture. Typically this kind of work takes months to complete but a collaborative and iterative process allowed for a solution to be formed and directives developed in under a week.

The recommendation was to separate the B2B and B2C functions that existed in all brands across the portfolio. This result was the elevation of the Sensis brand from a passive corporate entity to a purely B2B brand, focused on helping its customers optimise their marketing efforts. Meanwhile the other brands in the portfolio (Yellow Pages, White Pages, True Local, WhereIs) would represent a range of B2C offerings across print and digital. The result is a portfolio that gives focus to all of the Sensis brands and provides scope to introduce new propositions as and when they are developed.

The expression of the new Sensis brand needed to show how it could educate and empower organisations of all sizes to be better marketers. It needed to present itself as a guide for Australian businesses as they navigated from the physical to the digital. It needed to be a brand that could engage and motivate by demystifying technology and simplifying complexity.

The new brand is based around the character of a mouse: a metaphor for the resourceful, determined and industrious businesses Sensis works with. The mouse is the hero and platform for all of our communications.  Dutch illustrator Tim Boelaars was commissioned to create a menagerie of characters who interact with the Sensis mouse to help tell the story of Sensis and its customers.

Oliver Maltby, Creative Director of Interbrand Australia, comments: “Each individual story uses a simple metaphor relevant to a business issue, such as growth (Giraffe), knowledge (Owl) and technology (Robot). Using these recognisable characters along with straightforward encouraging language presents digital marketing in a way that’s human and accessible.”

John Allan, CEO of Sensis adds: “The brand identity leverages the equity of Sensis’ consumer brands and positions Sensis as the leader. The instantly recognisable character illustration brings a warmth to our brand while being flexible, helpful and, most importantly, encouraging,”

Interbrand is continuing its partnership with Sensis on a range of projects.

 

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Over the past year, we’ve been working closely with the SKY brand, helping them build a programme that’s all about supporting the next generation of Kiwi athletes.
We’re pleased to announce that nine of the SKY NEXT athletes have made it to the Commonwealth Games. From all of us at Interbrand, we’d like to say well done and good luck!

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SKY NEXT Rebrand

Previously called, ‘SportConnect’, this initiative had failed to garner any attention or support from New Zealanders. We rebranded it as SKY NEXT, and we used design, language and imagery to propel the initiative forward and give it the honorable mention it deserves in the hearts and minds of Kiwis.

SKY NEXT has succeeded in giving young, talented athletes the support they need to make it – and New Zealand has taken notice and spoken up in support of the cause. Far more than a cheque, NEXT is connecting these rising stars to other athletes ahead of them in their journeys, creating a team to give them confidence, media training, sponsorship, rights negotiation and more.

The effective brand design of NEXT raises the profile of the both program and the athletes themselves. The latter being the heroes of every communication. NEXT is encouraging young Kiwis to follow their passions and live their dreams. With design now helping to give the initiative the ability to move beyond sport, now the possibilities for the NEXT generation of Kiwis are limitless. Read all about the programme here.

“Sporting underpins the culture of NZ so when SKY asked us to get involved with the NEXT initiative, we jumped at it, and we really couldn’t be more excited. We hope the initiative spreads beyond sports, into media and other channels. Ultimately helping the NEXT generation of Kiwis on their journey.” Ben Miles, Creative Director, Interbrand.

TVC created by DDB New Zealand.

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If you’ve spent time in Darling Harbour this month you’ll have noticed Cool Yule – a brand new event in Sydney’s calendar.

Cool Yule is a month long festival that celebrates winter in Darling Harbour. It’s wonderful to see the precinct come alive with all the things we love about winter in Sydney and beyond, such as an ice rink, an inflatable luge slide, European market stalls, and SNOW!

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Branding Cool Yule

This is the third event campaign we’ve created with the new Darling Harbour brand after FIESTA and MONTH OF LOVE. With more coming soon.

You can find more information here.  If you’re a Sydney-sider, make sure you head down on the weekend as it finishes this Sunday (July 13).

Thanks to Kerry at Cranky Mermaid for making it snow in Darling Harbour, and our own Chris Maclean for the incredible photos of the brand in action.

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Throughout the year, we open up our studio to design schools. We love it because it not only gives students an experience of how we work, it gives us the opportunity to learn from tomorrow’s brand makers.

Over the past few weeks, our Creative Director Oli Maltby has been working with Tractor as a Design Mentor. This saw him developing a brief for the Sydney design students using a fictional TV channel as the challenge. Four days later, the students joined us in the Interbrand studio, where they pitched their concepts and ideas to Oli and our Senior Designers Dan Ingham and Ed Hall for feedback.

We had a great night meeting the crew and we were really impressed with the presentations. We got to see some fantastic work.

Thanks to Tractor for involving us – we’re looking forward to the next one. Read more here.

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Tractor & Interbrand

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With a reputation as one of the ‘not to be missed’ events on the AGDA calendar, we were chuffed to have Mike our Motion Director invited to be a guest speaker at the AGDA Shot Down event, which took place at Play Bar on June 18.

Shot Down is an opportunity for speakers to talk about work that’s been unseen, unheard, unrealised and under appreciated.

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Mike at AGDA Shot Down

Mike spoke about his working life as a motion designer at Interbrand, and how his role sees him involved in projects from the very beginning – working right from the conceptual phase to make our brands move. He had the crowd hanging on his every word as he talked through two of our client projects that were shot down, addressing what the client needed, what we aimed to provide and why it didn’t make it.

It was a fantastic evening. Thanks as always to our friends at AGDA for involving us – look forward to the next one!

Shots by Chris Maclean.

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As part of the launch of our rebrand of SKY Movies we collaborated with digital agency Sixty40 to create 18 channel idents. Created to share SKY’s passion for film and inspired by some of the most loved movies, the idents cover the full range of genres and emotions you discover on the SKY Movies channel – from laugh out loud to couch-side cliffhangers. Each ident uses the the SKY angles we developed for the SKY NZ masterbrand and are loaded with energy, charm, and personality.

And we aren’t the only ones who think the idents are brilliant! They’ve been awarded a Gold in the Best Channel Identity category for the PromaxBDA New Zealand 2014 Awards. A massive achievement! Congratulations to the team at Sixty40, Rumble Studios, who were responsible for all of the sound design and original music compositions, and to the internal team at SKY NZ.

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SKY Movies Idents win gold

The idents were a true collaboration. It was a pleasure working with the great teams at Sixty40, Rumble, and the internal team at SKY. We’re absolutely thrilled.

Read all about the SKY Movies rebrand and watch the idents here.

Mark from Sixty40 and Ben are pictured above with the trophy.

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If you’re a regular reader of Interbrand’s Stand Apart, you’ll know that Chris Maclean, our ECD and Mike Tosetto, our Motion Director have been chosen as creative industry mentors for The Loop’s Portfolio Masterclasses taking place this Saturday as part of Vivid Sydney.

In the lead up to the event, the Loop interviewed Chris about his career so far, what inspired him to be a designer in the first place, and why your first job in the industry is so important. Read Chris’ interview here.

 

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Chris mentors for The Loop

And if you are Sydney based student, recent graduate, or just a designer looking for some industry advice, head down to the MCA this Saturday June 7 for The Loop Portfolio Masterclasses. These sessions are a great opportunity for you to talk through your portfolio and grab some tips from the best in the industry.

Chris will be at the Graphic Design & Illustration masterclass from 10:00am – 12:00pm.

Mike (our Motion Director) is also an Industry Mentor. He’ll be at the Film, TV, & Animation Masterclass from 1:00 – 3:00pm.

Thanks again to the Loop for involving us. See you on Saturday!

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As a regular columnist for Marketing Magazine, Sergio, our Associate Strategy Director, continues to share his views on branding.
His latest piece, Gamification: a business and societal model for the 21st century (May 23) talks about how a gamifying strategy has the ability to embrace complexity, smoothen change, increase a company’s bottom line and, ultimately, the potential to transform people into enterprises for themselves.

We’re also excited to announce that earlier in the month, Sergio was invited to become a regular contributor to US based BrandChannel.

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Brand new thinking from Sergio

His first two articles are now live:

Oz Marketing: Australia Pitches Itself as a Foodie Destination (May 19)
Through food, Australia has spiced up its rugged roots with the influences of generations of Asian, Middle-Eastern, and Mediterranean immigrants to slowly cook an exquisite, and still emerging, national identity that promises to conquer international markets by the stomach!

For Wearable Tech Brands, a Lesson from EVs in Drive to Mass Adoption (May 21)
If wearable tech is about quantifying yourself, it’s important to understand that people see, measure—and yes, desire—the world in different terms. In order to drive mass adoption, the wearables category needs to design features and cast brand ambassadors that trigger people’s unconscious desire.

And given Sergio is multilingual, it was only a matter of time for him to begin writing in one of his other five languages. You can now also find him writing regularly on Branzai, Spain’s #1 branding blog. He’s had three articles published so far.

Spanish speakers – esperamos que les haya gustado!

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For those of you in Sydney this Saturday, Doug, our Strategy Director will be representing Interbrand at Vivid as a member on the panel for “2020: Adapt or Die”, talking brand creativity – and creative of all kinds!

Organised by AGDA, the half day session features 20 industry visionaries sharing their ideas on the future landscape of creativity and the importance of forward thinking brand strategy. It’s sure to be a lively morning.

You can learn more about the panelists and buy your tickets here. Be quick – It’s selling fast!

We look forward to seeing you there- and thank you AGDA for involving us.

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Doug talks brand creativity