The tendentious Dr. Utterson | The ‘Phantasy’ trend & Branding | Chapter 3

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There are several sites talking about ‘phantasy’. Perhaps, the most valuable synthesis about this trend could be found in TrendWatching and The Cool Hunter.

Phantasy is based in two movements that are happening at the same time:

  • People are taking distance from mass-media, mass production, mass-advertising, mass-whatever
  • People are emphatically showing their opinions and thoughts in a more transparent and conversational mode

Trend #3: The ‘Phantasy’ of being demode

The observed result is that when people, companies, institution find themselves in a middle of a discussion, they use to answer in a traditional way that could be consider unreal… a ‘phantasy’… I know that I’m only showing one of the effects!

The real issue of this unreal situation is that people, giving their opinions, feel comfortable and enjoy this new power that they have obtained. There are no filters and/or obstacles from old institutions and corporations.

Challenge #3: Inclusive brand experiences

Brands need to evolve and their experiences have to be part of the people live experience. To do this, it’s simple (which doesn’t mean easy). We are talking about:

  • Honesty
  • Inclusive
  • Taboo adverse
  • Conversational
  • Fun
  • Having a real soul

Brand extensions will not be as we saw before. They will be as people want them to be… as a brand that gives something to improve their day-to-day experience.

Also, and this could be considered as ideological, what is false, must be done well… Seriously now, what I’m trying to say is that the story, the product, the promise should be good…

Examples to make this point clear (to see them, click on the images):

  • Comme des Garcons released their ‘Series 6 Synthetics’ line, which is a range of perfumes based on unconventional materials. This Japanese creation is sold in London’s Dover St. Market. Actually, these are anti-perfurmes, however, as they have been honest telling people this story, they are a success
  • Ticings: they offer decorative edible sheets of icing that quickly add modern design features to cakes, cookies, brownies and cupcakes. The taste of your cake it’s your problem… but, for sure, it will look so well 🙂

Just another boring blogpost talking about Tiger Woods

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During the last couple of weeks we have read whatever you want regarding the Tiger Woods -TW, Affair… A man who behaved as a depredator tiger, visiting an excesive number of woods 🙂

What if…

Instead that I do not believe in the “conditional perfect tense” (it’s an ontological issue) the question is:

  • What would with Exxon have been happened if they had used TW in their old advertising?
  • Could TW have been or will be a reference for certain brand extensions? (e.g.: Burberry’s)
  • What if TW had been the CEO of one of the sponsoring companies?

Are they serious about…

In certain way, all this affair looks bizarre…

  • Some sponsors are saying goodbye to TW… Questions:
    • Why Accenture’s partners did not say anything after some Arthur Andersen affairs?
    • Why Gillette doen’t talk about its “daddy” -P&G, dominant position in certain categories and markets?
    • AT&T?…. The list continue… Can anyone cast the first stone?
  • TW had a car accident… And due to this accident we all discovered that he has a good number of lovers… LOL! (up today, I did not understand the correlation)
  • TW’s wife behaved as a naif person who didn’t realize that his husband had several (not one!) lovers… And in Xmas thanked him because of his US$ 300m present… LOL again!… This is unbelievable in the US, Spain, Congo or China… For God sake!

It wouldn’t be strange that in few week we hear that TW is going to go to the same clinic that Michael Douglas went….

And the basics?

Possibly, the main issue here is that in certain point somebody forgot a simple branding rule (I don’t know if inmutable…. I don’t think so!)… Try to avoid the relation of your brand with a person… I remeber that we were discussing about this issue some months ago in an Executive Program at UTDT… Here is the answer!


In the case of Accenture, the situation is a good evidence to learn about this issue… They had a great advertising campaign, however, they generated the confusion using the same person (TW) during several years… Did Accenture dilute its identity on behalf of TW ones?

Advertising has the objective of producing incomes in the short term, while branding has the objective of generating longlasting value in the long term… Understand?

The vertical line should have and arrow at its bottom 🙂

BTW… Where were or how should corporate responsibility be understood in this case?

Twenty-first century slaves

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Gideon would say: “Deleuze in The Logic of Sense: It’s a strange position the one that blindly values the depth at the expense of the surface, giving to superficial the mean of lack of draft instead of long dimension“.

Two facts that I am paying some attention:

  • Increased access to information via the Internet, especially through social networks 
  •  We know more, though with less depth (even without actually knowing if what it has been said is true)

More information wherever and whenever we want, tailored to our interests … More superficial, shallow and therefore no less exciting.

The question is: Do we really take advantage of this situation?

Communicate with meaning | Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

Without going into the question of whether today’s social networks will be successful or not, it is true that the technologies allowed us to socialize at levels hitherto unknown. In a different way than few years ago but no less valuable.  

However (there’s always a but …. God Dammed!), if we pay attention to what is said we could see several things:

  • Many saying the same … even in some cases, or there are people who read and absorb knowledge very quickly, or they only read the titles 
  •  A little added value in the flow of information … Something like “step as it comes” 
  • The talks, regardless of how many friends, followers, fans… you have, are almost restricted and are possible to follow for those who hold them 
  • Something that began with the virtue of honesty begins to be distorted… without that, much information can be categorized as disinformation…

Do not believe it at first, think about what you see, read or hear, create your own opinion, learn and expand … Be yourself!

And if you don’t want to, be aware, other is the one who is writing the script… 🙁

Someone is writing the script | The Usual Suspects

If we pay attention to general social networks (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Tuenti …), the information not only repeats tirelessly and without additional content, but also those who say something about it are few.

Much of this information, in turn, came from other networks, with people who took it from somewhere else and the story continues…

The point is that someone created that information and in some cases it ends up being, at least, of bizarre nature…

The risk of this is that eventually and with vehement negligence we are allowing few to write the script of our daily agenda…

An example of Spain, today:

  • There is talk of a new law proposed by the government affecting the rights of people on the Internet 
  • “Someone” opened forums, groups, etc.. in different social networks with a “manifesto” (In basic twiterian it would say #manifesto) against the measure 
  • Several people joined the event 
  • Today we discover that behind the event there would be some personal intentions
  • At least, I got off the list for feeling somewhat cheated, manipulated and poorly represented… And not because of my agreement or disagreement with the contents 
  • Today there was a meeting between government and the “usual suspects” … News: “The government has no intention of listening” 
  • I wonder with honestly thought: “Henry, are you really the interlocutor?

We should write our own scripts; we are players in our own play, we could also be actors in plays of others… Basically, no matter if our ideas are great, good or disposable …

The issue, I think, is to develop and practice the art of thinking by ourselves and this is the basis to do something together in community.

Co-creation starts with having something to give, and what better if what you have is an idea!

Co-creating means sharing | Pulp Fiction


Co-creation could occur in new environments … although they may not 🙂

In any case, new technologies, social networks…, at least give us good insights if you wanted to do something with other people… The question is: Did they choose me?

In a world where “to flow is the king”, find the “creators” is a complex task, if you do not know them personally.

Instead, not everything is so black … If you pay attention, if you read slowly, you’ll notice things cool, unique, shared… And if you do this for a while, you’ll also see that there is a small group of people who generates those thoughts that you like.

Co-create is to discover who, with patience, knowing that you have to give firstIt is about peers where the greatest challenge is to exceed our ancestral aspirations of referential status.

In this case, it is not ideological writers, it’s about those writers of their own destinies who also invite to be part… and accept to change their ideas because they discover that together can cerate better things.

We move at a slow pace, the rhythm of human beings… seeking for empathy that comes from shared principles and agendas… and this takes time. Hence the patient, hence the feeling of overwhelmed by these new technologies that could help us.

The new technology is beyond us | Matrix


To give a framework to my thoughts: In a world with 6,400 million inhabitants, Internet penetration is 26% and like wealth , it’s unevenly distributed.

  • Of all those people … 30% access social networks … that is, something like 7% of humanity … 
  • 10% actively participate and 2% create content… That means that only 0.1% of humanity is creating content. Are you one of them?

In summary … Although we are talking about millions, we are “early adopters” of these technologies in a world upside down, most children know more than we do 🙂

The interesting thing is that as individuals we are still so raw as we were several thousand years ago. The wars, hunger, poverty … slavery continue there, and our reactions are so “demode”, that just thinking about them make us feel shame.

My thoughts at this point (at least one of them) is that the mix between humans, technologies and knowledge is creating a new type of slavery … And I think we aren’t realizing this.

As a society we are beginning to know and learn more about the tools than about the contents:

  • We use Excel but we are not able to rationalize the equations giving the response 
  • We use Word and believe that its spellchecker works wonders 
  • We welcome ideas from others who said this or that, and do not stop to think if what they told has any value, can be improved or even criticized
  • Forget events to give space to others and do not stop to think about their relationship (eg: Today, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize announced that he will send more troops to war)

We are so preoccupied that we forgot to think. To know does not mean to learn.

A society that becomes expert in tools and ignorant of reasons is taking the decision of self-enslavement. Curiosity by itself is harmless. It should be curiousity that generates action, that moves us, what finally makes us creative, which humanizes us.

Thinking in terms of free society is the challenge for the ones who have ideas.

The challenge of having ideas | Serendipity


Everything goes so fast, so on the surface… Overwhelming!

Dazzled by this “belle epoque” that we are living is real… We are at an exciting time.

The paradigm of inequality continues and has additional aspects that require reflection.

Perhaps if I had to ask for something for this holiday season, would be to return to the roots of our humanity, to exacerbate our creative ability, to take the responsibility (at any level) to think and make others think… A challenge of love of what we always have been and are still learning to be… people!

Please, take care that we aren’t cheering with champagne on the deck of the Titanic 🙂

Quantity vs Quality to build an online brand experience

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For a couple of weeks, I was in a rush and only updated my status in Webjam, continue with some conversations here and in LinkedIn, invite people in Facebook to read/re-post old things that I revisited and thought they are still relevant (at least for me)… So, I’m back!

During this period of time I was also thinking (at least for a couple of hours a day) and paying attention to social networks, communities… and specifically, I was looking at our interaction…


To give a framework to my thoughts let me present some figures:

  • Brand 3.0 members @Webjam: 500
  • Brand 3.0 newsletter subscriptors @Webjam: 200
  • Brand 3.0 members @LinkedIn: 4,200
  • Brand 3.0 fans @Facebook: 160
  • Allegro 234 members @Allegro234: 200
  • Allegro 234 fans @Facebook: 160
  • Allegro 234 followers @Twitter: 500
  • Cristián network @LinkedIn: 1,500
  • … Xing, Inusual, Marketing LATAM, Digerati, Libellus,…

So, I’ll talk about interactions between a good number of people (it’s not a direct sum…. some people belong to several networks at the same time)… Let say 4,500 approx. Fair?

We use to talk, and this began with Adam and Eve

It’s interesting to see two issues:

  • The quantity of people in Facebook and Twitter talking about Facebook and Twitter
  • The recognition as a new paradigm that we are talking

Adam and Eve talked… Actually they also mantained several dialogues with God, situation that could be considered as the first online virtual dialogue… They also talked with a snake…

The points are that neither them, nor us (in our offline life) use to talk about the tools that we use to be connected… At least in my case, when I use the phone I don’t establish dialogues about the terminal that we are using, or when we are drinking a beer with friends we don’t talk about our vocal cords… The other point is more complex and perhaps a psychiatrist and/or psycologist is able to explain it better… We were, are and probably will be gregarious; so, by default we are rational dialogical animals (we also smile… which is an unique characteristic of human beings).

Activity generates dialogue, sometimes deaf

As Alberto mentioned in WOW 2.0 and yesterday in the iBGC ’09 (Bilbao, Spain), activity is essencial in social networks to produce dialogues. I agree with this, however, in some cases (more than you can imagine) activity generates activity. Period.


  • LinkedIn group: Somebody begins a discussion. After few days you can see 10 comments, but most of them are not considering the other comments, or even worse, the comment is used as a way for self-promotion, to show how smart is the one who is writing that post… From a dialogue generation to a deaf dialogue
  • Facebook wall and Twitter: In a normal day… from 100 Twitts and or FB wall comments, four are related and could be considered as a sort of dialogue, 20 are RTs’, other 20 are emoticons… and the rest, God knows what the hell they are

Activity could generate dialogue if it mantains certain relevance. And if this dialogues are generated at corporate level, they should be carefully thought. Dont’ you think?

Brand experiences are built on dialogues… Alleluia!

For companies, dialogues help to build their brand experiences… Alleluia!…

This is not new. Actually, almost every experience is based on dialogues. The experience exist because we talk about it. Social networks allow us to tell more people, more easy and more quickly the sort of experiences that we are living.

But, before social networks, we also talk about our experiences… and now, for those companies that still do not have their own social network, people are talking about that experience…

Control is a pre-Methuselah historic illusion. To try to control dialogues is futile; we can only observe and give some intention.

Personal branding in a world where brand are something personal

A side effect of paying attention to social networks has been to see all the efforts to build, sell, promote… personal branding.

We wish to be different, unique, cool… Following an online process to improve our personal brand (I would say “personal brand” because it’s understandable, actually, we should say personal image) looks, at least, funny… If we all follow the same process we will become a sort of “Mini-me” of others.

You can build your image online promoting activities that generates good dialogues. And to do that, you have to be honest and show you as you are… and not as the manual suggests that you should be. No? (Canadian question)

‘Dialogus interruptus’ are unproductive

Yesterday in one of the valuable Twitts that I read, there was one from iBGC ’09 so interesting when one of the speakers defined Twitter… He said: “Twitter is a sort of dialogus interruptus”…. He was right!

‘Whatever interruptus’ is unproductive by default… Babies aren’t born, ideas don’t see the light, dialogues aren’t generated.

Experiences are based on dialogues, on fluid dialogues… And fluid means:

  • You talk, he/she talks
  • You talk and wait (I deleted several people who I began to follow because their comments were like SPAMs)
  • The dialogue evolves
  • You feel great because something interesting (and perhaps new) is co-created

The law of diminishing yields

The day has 24 hours and there is no plan to change it. Neither hours of 120′, nor days of 36 hours. Pregnancy takes 9 months (at least till now)…

We have certain time to read, to interact, to talk… certain time to work, to think… certain time to enjoy with our family, friends… Time is a scarce resource… As talent, knowledge, creativeness.

We have  a real limitation to belong to an infinite number of social networks and seriously participate on them.

The message is simple: “Become relevant, create activity, generate dialogues, be passionate… and before all that, please, consider that on the other side of the cable there is another person”… That should be a great experience!

I’m learning this!… It takes time! 🙂

I am with the brands

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A month ago, two TV Channels in Spain launched a campaign in”defense of the branded products”… We are hearing slogans like  “We believe in brands” and/or “Do not stay white”… “We are with the brands”…

These ads are based on the principle that there is a war between branded products and white labels… and the second ones are winning the battle…

Wrong principles generate confusion

This principle is, at least, inexact… I was trying to think, remember, find examples of white label products, and I couldn’t…The times of the big pop-corn bags are far away.

We are in a world of branded products and branded products… Yes!… One are owned by certain manufacturers and others are owned by the distribution. To be clear, the game is between branded products and DOBs’ (Distribution Owned Brands), and the second ones are winning this round (not necessarily the game).

We choose DOBs’ because the brand is telling something that we are able to decode, is functionally aligned with today’s constrains and emotionally relevant. It’s a simplification to think that the reason to buy is only based on price.


The International Taste and Quality Institute (Brussels, Belgium) gave in 2008 the Superior Taste Award (3 stars) to Carrefour’s Confiture Mure Cassis.

This make me think about the real reasons which could be behind the scene of this “défense de la non protégés”.

Walk the talk!

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As it was written in the 2008 Trend Report, one of the main observed trend shows that there is almost no brand left out there that has not seen its carefully scripted messages torn apart, if not exposed for inconsistencies or broken promises.

During this week in an article talking about China, Contagious’ Xtreme Information also talked about the need of brands to walk the talk. They were stronger than other media showing, for example:

  • McDonald’s Happy Meals targeted at kids in the US and UK come with “˜better-for-you’ substitutes, such as milk and Apple Dippers ““ but not in China
  • Subway Sandwiches has launched a “˜Fresh Fit for Kids’ menu, with apple or raisins as a replacement for potato crisps in the US ““ but not in China
  • Starbucks is now offering low calorie drinks and better food options for kids in the West ““ but not in China
  • In India, Danone is establishing a centre to study diet-related disease following pressure from anti-obesity campaigners ““ there is no such centre planned for China

For example, consider YouTube… It’s uncensored, politically incorrect, invokes debate and propels people’s news within hours… A virus infection which is demonstrating that companies do not own and control all their assets, specifically, their brands.

So… In certain way, in this new fluid world, the brand experiences are built or destroyed by us. Companies can and must make their best efforts creating a compelling brand experience… and that takes years… If they do not walk the talk, we are able to destroy that experience in seconds… Years to build, seconds to destroy…

Things are changing so fast and in a fantastic new direction… We are everywhere!… Take care, we are watching you!

Identity and image are not enough

By | Envisage, Identity, Staging, What we think | No Comments

Considering brands as an experience and a concept that transmit identity, reputation and relationship between the company and its audiences, we face a reality where those elements will be more or less relevant according to the interests and needs of each public in particular:

  • If the audience consists of clients and customers, identity will be more relevant through image communication.
  • For shareholders, reputation will be more relevant when presenting the business value proposition as well as metrics of its performance.
  • When it comes to the company’s managers and employees the relationship between both audiences will prevail over identity and reputation.

In all cases, the brand is present. The change is the communicative relevance of the elements the company wants to convey.

During the last years, brands were created responding to an “industrial” reality which today seems to be far away, linear and, in some cases, limited.

Until not long ago, the company itself represented a system that kept a sometimes precautious relationship with its environment and which also admitted the existence of something farther and without a direct relationship with it: The Universe.

Today, company and system are two different things: Ikea is the company; the system involves vendors and customers.

The environment is an attractive part for the system, and therefore, it tries to attract it. Again, referring to Ikea, the environment is formed by potential customers, new designers or other companies whose offer is a complement to its own offer. The universe is represented by everything beyond the environment and which has no influence on the system and the company. However, due to the information available, both companies and universe are not unknown to each other.

Within the universe, attractive segments for the company also exist. They comply with the target of sharing values, possessing shared knowledge and going through similar experiences. They still need to be “properly introduced”, i.e. that communication is established.

Identity is shared by the system. The company’s brand begins to be associated to other brands in the system. As usual, all this involves many risks, but several opportunities as well.

The alumni of a Business School are a good example of this. People’s names and last names are a good representation of their identity. Adding a business school brand to yours conveys something else about that person. “John Smith” means something specific for those who know who he is.  “John Smith, MBA from INSEAD” means something else for those knowing who he is and for those who do not as well. Neither better nor worse: just different.

From a professional point of view, a brand becomes a guarantee in its environment. Within alumni’s community it works as a reference of values and features of shared identity.

Besides, some business schools are asking their alumni to get involved in the admission process of new students. Are they employees of the institution? No, but they certainly they are part of the system.

The company, as far as the construction of its identity is concerned, is a multidimensional system. It appears as a business and as representative of its products and services, it is managed according to the desired behaviour of strategic variables, both internal and external to the company, under the latter’s control though, and comes into existence from functional and emotional elements which build its value proposition.

Within the company, a shared identity is practical and emotionally valued, differentiates the organisation and creates a sense of belonging. To external audiences it means credibility and becomes its emotional difference.

Companies, being more than their business model, seek not only for results but also for a deep share of feelings. More than making profits, their aim is generating emotions, being ethical and conveying a personality of their own. This is called attitude.

This model of company requires a strong identity to create a credible and relevant image to their different audiences. Its attitude transcends the people who create and manage the business.

A shared identity is practical, it makes the Organisation a different one, it helps to create a sense of belonging, it conveys credibility and it makes the emotional difference


Jam session I

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Let’s see the results of co-writing in Webjam. The first instrumentalist is Cristian Saracco, editor of The Semantic Branding, where he shares his thoughts and trends about branding and business strategies. Cristian is also Director of Allegro 234 based in Madrid, Spain. The second instrumentalist is Julio Ferro, editor of Hey! It’s About Design and owner of Hey! Brand Design in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They’ve worked together and allowed them to ignite the spark between their two worlds in order to deliver differential solutions to both local and international renowned brands.

[C] I would like to humbly begin with a trend which in certain way has some kind of relation with Julios’s previous post: We are facing new ways of recognition and satisfaction, away from well-known trditional status symbols like luxury cars and expensive watches. The issue is to see who spend the most, who lives an unique experience, who has more presence online… And this excitement is not necessarily about traditional consumption patterns, but about status, about impression peers.

[J] The funny thing is that the word Design is closely associated to luxury goods as well. I mean, they sound like synonyms in the big cities around the world where you can see an incredible show off. A good example is Design Miami/Baselâ„¢. Design for zillionaires.

[C] There will be people who will pay € 10 to€ 350 for a bottle of water… They will show status to their peers because of the experience that they are living with a bottle spotted at the Emmys and MTV Awards. Bling H2O, a fashion accesory.


[J] Bling-Bling! And if you don’t have enough glitter, the alternative is to pimp your gadgets. You can give real gold to your iPhone or laptop that coast a fortune. Glitter is part of the environment of (posing) millonaires. Glam is back, but this time is real and worths too much money.


[C] It’s water!… It’s a 750 ml bottle embelished with Swaroski crystals… Functionally, we know what it is , emotionally, “a bottle that tells a lot about the person who is drinking from it”…. And behind the scene, another two big factor: It’s telling us a reality, it’s transparent, it’s telling us a story, “it’s not waht you have, it’s the experience you live”.

bling detalle

[J] Crystal clear. There’s a new sense and It’s a review over a traditional atribute of waters. I see coincidences between waters and parfumes. And several coincidences between the experience looking at their bottle designs. May I either drink Carolina Herrera or spray my face with Ty Nant? There’s also Kenzo water. Any ressemblance with Voss is “pure” coincidence.


[J] Going back to your comment about new ways of recognition I see really interesting the new design directions for such a basic product. Y Water has an amazing bottle designed by Yves Behar (One Laptop Per Child designer). It’s a “smart water” where form and content work really well IMHO.


This post is also published in Hey! It’s about design

Stay tuned…

Belonging values could be self-expression values”¦couldn’t them?

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It looks like a Canadian question” and actually, it is!… The reason why is because I’m using two great examples of Canadian ads. Both are from Molson beer, both are based on belonging values”¦ both are empowering self-expression.

This could be consider as a dichotomy. By definition, there are two main families (allow me to say this in this manner) of values, belonging and self-expression ones.

If you see the first ad, you’ll discover clearly values related to the nation, the key values and behaviours of its people”¦

If you see this second one, they show by contraposition, values they have and make them different from Americans”¦ They are Canadians or as Joe said, I am Canadian”¦

So the table is served”¦ Sense and sensibility is present”¦ A strong identity is behind the scene”¦ the brand image is there only for a second”¦ Molson”¦

Could we consider that in FMCG ““Fast Moving Consumer Goods, the tribes are based on this exquisite relation between belonging and self-expression values?