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Apologies for the appalling use of Shakespeare’s classic line. I thought it was funny.

Recently, I started a project with a UX agency. My idea: work on a high-fidelity prototype and test with users asap. The agency was against user-testing. Their argument was that as the UX experts, their knowledge, experience and the persona research conducted up front provided enough information to build a ʻgoodʼ experience. User-testing would not be a good use of time and budget.

My response at the time, ʻHmmmm,ʼ followed by ʻreally? OKʼ. The agency had (combined) more experience than I did, were successful in their field and certainly knew their stuff. I was happy to follow their lead, but still, the flat out ʻNo!ʼ …


… and how following Design Sprint methods is the answer.

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Robert Stulle, a Partner at Edenspiekermann (a digital, brands and service design agency in Berlin) succinctly and brilliantly summed up the state of the agency landscape in two simple slides.

“The world was complicated”
Robert’s view being, back in the day one person would be an expert or master in their field with years of training behind them, a Napoleon figure leading the charge. All those around would seek guidance, direction and hang on their every word. In this top-down creative direction agency structure, his or her say would be final.


A lean framework for creating a customer-first brand that stands out from the crowd.

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“When technology is the thing you want, you don’t need design because you want the better technology. When the technology matures, you don’t buy it just based on technology, in that case design comes into the foreground” is the argument by John Maeda, the renowned design leader and venture capitalist. I agree but would go one step further and argue that the brand also comes into the foreground as a key differentiating factor.

The brand, now more than ever before, is playing a key role in driving consumer decisions especially in e-commerce and on-demand platforms. The brand is no longer the product and as the user experience, design and price become homogenised and almost standardised, consumers have no need to show allegiance to one particular company or brand.


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Should brands get involved in politics? Or should they ‘Shut up and stick to what they know’

When I say ‘get involved in’, I’m not talking about doing a quick whip-round for Greenpeace or sponsoring some good-cause environmental charity; that in my opinion is just green washing. I’m talking about getting into a Twitter war with @realdonaldtrump, for example.

Even in 2016 this would have been tantamount to brand suicide. Brands didn’t get involved with politics, full stop. However, slowly some in the public are looking to and in some cases demanding that brands voice their opinion and stand up for certain issues — especially as at times the brands opinion and money is the only voice politicians will heed. …


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Before I get going, and in the order of transparency, I must declare my love for Christmas and anything to do with Christmas, even the advertising. Yes, it’s too commercial I hear you say. Yes, Christmas jumpers are naff, travelling is a nightmare, you always have over 100 Christmas cards to write and if you see one more ‘Look at my Christmas tree’ Facebook post you are going to de-friend everyone, but come on, it’s Christmas.

Having said that, did we reach peak ‘Christmas advert’ in 2016?

The trend started, at least for me, in 2011 with John Lewis’s ‘The Long Wait’ advert. …


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Hi, my name is, what? My name is, who? My name is, (chka-chka) . . . you know the rest.

And that’s my point, you know the rest. Right from the go, Marshall Bruce Mathers launched the Eminem brand onto us with his tell-all uncompromising story-driven single told truthfully and with a passion. We knew about his English teacher in high school, his mum’s dope habits, how Dr. Dre took him under his wing and his plans to be a famous rapper.

I was hooked and wanted to know where the Eminem bandwagon would head and more about this cheeky chappie rapper from Detroit. …

About

Gareth Fox

Dad, Creative Director, designer & sometimes brand strategist. Passionate about tech, design sprints and football ⚽ www.garethfox.com 🖥

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