I’ve been pretty busy this semester with my faculty position at the new School of Visual Arts, Masters in Branding program. It’s been terribly exciting, but the blog has been a little quiet. My apologies.
Gave a lecture last night that compared the brand-building magicians, Josiah Wedgwood and Steve Jobs. Two unlikely characters, separated by the centuries, but connected by a radical sense of how to build a compelling and integrated brand experience.
The frenzy to own china in the 1760s was not much different from the frenzy to own an iPad today. These objects are both cultural icons of their time, and a reflection of an individual’s place in the world, while being tools both utilitarian and utopian.
And using the tools of their age both of these marketers combine design, technology, sales, marketing, advertising, merchandising, logistics, retailing, and creative showmanship. Both also share a similar philosophy on design and on the position of their brands in the marketplace.
Jobs says, “In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains or the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”
Wedgwood said, “Beautiful forms and compositions are not made by chance, nor can they ever, in any material, be made at small expense. A composition for cheapness and not excellence of workmanship is the most frequent and certain cause of the rapid decay and entire destruction of arts and manufactures.”
On Brand Position
Wedgwood said, “We agreed that those customers who were more fond of show and glitter, than fine forms . . would buy Soho, and that all those who would feel the effects of fine outline or had the veneration for antiquity would be with us.”
Jobs says, “Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation.”
Separated by the centuries perhaps, but each a uniquely successful advocate for design’s role in building brand experiences.