Karim Rachide Sparks A Brand Fire at FUSE.

FUSE has traditionally focused on large agencies and national brands with an emphasis on design and culture, brand identity and packaging, this year’s event was much the same with an infusion of Private Brands to keep it exciting.

The Private Brand moment of the morning came in a presentation from Vickie Van Hurley Design Director for the Midwest retailer Meijer. Her presentation titled, “For the Love of Packaging: Design for the Relationship and Experience – Private Brand POV” presented a look at the retailer process for Private Brand development as well as a preview of their new brand Drink

Notable Private Brand related attendees include retailers Bath & Body Works and Crabtree & Evelyn as well as representatives from Daymon Worldwide’s design group Daymon Design as well as numerous agencies who have created significant Private Brand projects over the last year including: Pearlfisher, United and Dragon Rouge just to name a few.

The following is liberally borrowed from the official blog of the conference “The Next Big Design”.

The morning keynote sessions of a crowded and energetic opening symposium of FUSE 2011 in Chicago began with a number of questions from the presenters John Silva, President & Creative Director of DuPuis Group asked how can be escape parity? Mauro Porcini, Head of Global Strategic Design at 3M asked how can you spread design innovation throughout a company? And Marco Beghin of Moleskine America asked “How do we exist on the digital analog continuum?”

John Silva explored parity. First asking “Is parity always bad?” it can be helpful when you’re in ‘not losing’ survival mode, but it isn’t the recipe for winning. Silva’s recipe for avoid “the grind” is as follows:

  1. Have a meaningful consumer insight
  2. Have a real point of difference
  3. Have inspired, emotive creativity
  4. Use collaboration, wisdom and courage

Mauro Porcini of 3M was up next asking “Who do you design for?” The answer needs to be not “consumers,” but users and ideally someone you love. Brands should seek to create tangible solutions as well as intangible inspiration. Start with the “wow” aspect of visceral impact, continue with an interactive experience. This should lead to spontaneous, word of mouth spreading of the brand story.

Marco Beghin was up next discussing the digital analog continuum, and the way the things we carry with us in the world become shorthand for who we are. Using his own Moleskine notebook and a projector to tell his story, Marco explored the way technology and tradition interacts. Moleskine tries to design for the modern nomad.

Taking it one step further, Karim Rashid wrapped up the morning general session by discussing the way the physical world is becoming a seamless extension of the digital world. From movement of more to less, the dematerialization of most of the world’s goods (from money to holiday gifts) to the way virtual innovation has lead to increased opportunities for individualization in everyday life. Says Rashid “You could argue that you no longer need anything physical in the world, unless it creates an enhanced experience.”

Increased technology allows for more opportunities for creativity and technology has increased the boundaries of creation. Machines make 92% of the world’s products. As a result machines can even custom build objects any way they can be imagined. The future as Rashid sees it is one of humanization and personalization in an increasingly industrial age.

Stay tuned for more reports from Fuse



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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.