A while back, a friend helped me stumble upon this cool little manifesto from design company (and man behind it all) Jonathan Adler.
Please read it. It’s cool.
The manifesto is honest, brave, fun, and so very Jonathan Adler. How do I know this? The proof is in the pudding. The company starts from the ground up, building on their own foundation and no one else’s. What is important to them guides their decisions, their process, and their final product. Everything circles back to their manifesto.
Do you have a manifesto for yourself? What guides you, inspires you, helps you make tough calls?
I’m working on my own manifesto, and let me tell you, it’s going to be honest, brave, and so very Katie Scully. State your motives, your guiding light, your point of view. Make it your own.
On three separate occasions, I “spoke” with four different people from Crate&Barrel. Five if you include the supervisor. I’m in wedding registry mode. It’s been interesting. But this is not a rant, I promise. It’s a reminder that people are awesome.
First impression: if you call the customer service number and there is a wait, they offer to call you back. They recognize your time is valuable. How considerate.
Anthony, my first C&B friend, was incredibly kind. He even called me back, twice, after he spoke with his IT team. “We have been dealing with issues online, but there’s a solve. We will try this first.”
Unfortunately, the issue arose again. The issue: can’t log into my account.
So I went the IM chat route. Immediate response from Laura. She reset my password and asked me to wait 15 minutes.
Back to Sherri via IM, who looked back through the call/chat log, and noted my issue would be best served by the registry team. She gave me the phone number and I called.
One minute later, JoReen answers. She, as well as everyone else I’ve communicated with, apologies for all the issues I’m experiencing. But together, we’re fixing this. New security features, questions, passwords, blah blah blah… she didn’t care about telling me the details. She was focused on a happy camper at Crate&Barrel.
Of note: I have not purchased ANYTHING here. I’m registering for gifts I hope other people will purchase for me. I’m not a customer. I’m a prospect. But they made me feel like family.
After the kind words, pleasant conversations, and effort to rectify my IT issues, I just had to chat with the supervisor. Marty graciously accepted my compliments, and he told me that each team member would receive a certificate for going the extra mile. My praise will be a part of each team member’s annual performance reviews. I am so happy because of these people. Whenever I have the chance, I will talk about, shop at and praise C&B. The people behind the brand are the reason for that.
Have our expectations been managed to anticipate shitty customer service? Should be we as surprised and delighted by awesome experiences like this? The least we can do is embrace them. The best thing we can do is take note and follow their awesome lead.
I want to give Havertys recent commercial series a Win – and not just because I share a name with the super funny lead. I mean, it’s furniture, right? But they have taken me on a lovely journey with this relationship for more than a year. And it’s all about relationships, isn’t it? So take a few minutes and brighten your day with these.
THE FIRST DATE:
THE JOB INTERVIEW:
MEETING THE PARENTS:
THE NEXT STEP:
Second, equally funny version:
So please tell me there is a furniture-related wedding in Havertys’ near advertising future?
So I saw this little nugget pop up early last week, and my first reaction was… that’s cool. Then when I started really thinking about it, I completely shifted gears.
Hessian is a brand for sale–that is, a brand that represents no business or product. The designer, Ben Pieratt, hopes to sell the Hessian brand for $18,000. That includes 30 hours of design time, the URL, twitter handle, identity that’s already been designed, and a whole list of other odds and ends you can find here. The buyer will then apply it to their restaurant, start up, clothing label, etc.
Visually, the design and execution are pretty cool. I like the flying “h” through space effect; it weirdly reminds me of the flying toaster screen savers from the mid-90’s. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just what popped into my head. I must say, if I saw this identity emblazoned across a storefront or wrapped on a vehicle, I’d be intrigued. If I walked into the store and it was a nail salon, however, I’d be disappointed.
Ben mentions in his blog post about Hessian “… it seems to me that in today’s connected environment, there’s no reason designers shouldn’t be able to create designed product packages, and then sell them to entrepreneurs.” I think he is correct when it comes to maybe graphical elements such as icons, or heck, even customizable website templates, but branding? I can’t help but imagine that this type of thinking will turn the identity and branding process into something more along the lines of getting a tattoo. You walk into the store, flip through the book, and say “I want one that’s similar to this”. Now, you can always get a super duper custom one-of-a-kind tattoo, but that will cost extra.
This idea, albeit interesting, completely misses the point – in my opinion – of what branding and identity is. I may be proven completely wrong, and these guys may have invented the next big business model for identity designers. However, in my world (and BOF’s world), branding and identity begin with the client, or more specifically, the business. We have to ask what or who we are creating an identity for. How should that person or business be portrayed to the rest of the world? What are the fundamental values of that business, and how can those be incorporated into a brand mark? The list goes on.
Anyway, I don’t mean to sound cranky, I’d love to hear what you guys have to say. I also promise to do a follow up if this thing sells.
A while back.. well, a while back in internet space/time, the University of California had a new identity system designed – and there was a big to-do.
If you don’t know the story, here’s what happened in a nutshell:
The University of California unveiled a new brand identity. The new system was somehow misconstrued by the public to be replacing the school’s seal. It wasn’t, the seal was updated and was still hanging around for more formal uses while the new identity would be used everywhere else. The design team was able to pull together what had been a largely disjointed amalgam of logos and type treatments and turn it into one unified monogram and brand identity system. There was a backlash from the community (students, alumni, the internet in general), they all signed a petition on Change.org, and the administration pulled the monogram from any kind of usage… until further notice.
For more detail, here are some great write ups that follow the drama on the Brand New blog: post 1, post 2, post 3. There’s also a really nice 99% Invisible interview with Vanessa Correa, creative director of the internal design group in charge of the rebrand, here.
So, I could talk about the identity itself and say that I thought it was a breath of fresh air when it comes to large scale university branding systems, and that it does a great job pulling together many disparate organizations under one cohesive visual umbrella. Yeah, the gradient in the “c” is a little weird, but I could get used to that over time… just like when Nike founder Phil Knight was presented the swoosh logo.. he said “I don’t love it. But it will grow on me.” (quote via Brand New) But I digress…
My point about the UofC rebrand is that I think the design is beside the point when looking at the overall story. The university had confidence in their design team, accepted the redesign, and launched the new system. Then, they backed down because of public outcry over what seemed to be mis-information. Instead of standing behind their decision to move forward with the new identity, or trying to re-explain that they weren’t replacing the seal, they backed down…. and went back to using God knows what… and ended up a little in the same place that they started.
Anyway, I think it’s obvious what I think – they should have stuck to their guns and moved forward. However, that contradicts a lot of what we preach around here in letting the community decide what they want to symbolize them. An argument could be made for bad pr (mistaking the monogram for replacing the seal), but at the same time, if this is what the community wants, shouldn’t they get it? Honestly, I think there’s a time and a place when parents should step in and do what’s best for their kids no matter how much they whine. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say. Go ahead, rake me over the WOM coals… I can take it.