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Inside FUSE: Brand Strategists and Designers Need to Inspire Eachother

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With FUSE 2014 quickly
approaching, we were fortunate to sit down with Tyler Thoreson, VP of Editorial
and Creative of Gilt, Men's and Home to hear about what's happening in the
design & brand strategy space lately, from an editorial perspective.
At FUSE, Thoreson will be speaking along with countless
brand strategists, designers, trend hunters and culture curators. With one
collective voice, the 18th annual FUSE conference celebrates a
collaborative approach to building more meaningful brands ' becoming a forum
for all to share stories, inspiration and best practices.
Here is what Thoreson had to say:
IIR: A big theme
for FUSE this year is inspiration. So, we want to know what is your 'muse' or
what inspires you in your work?
Thoreson: I'm
inspired by people who exude'whatever you call the opposite of FOMO. The ones
who are so thoroughly in possession of themselves that they draw the rest of us
into their orbit. Also, people who can get by on only four hours of sleep a
IIR: What is the
best website you've seen this year? Why?
Thoreson: It's
called Gilt.com, and you should definitely check it out. It's shopping as
entertainment, a window into the exceptional, and a new store every day. Check
it out. Buy something. Repeat.
IIR: Why is it
important for brand strategists and designers to work collectively?
Thoreson: One
needs to fuel and inspire the other, in equal and alternating doses.
IIR: What is the
biggest design and brand strategy trend of 2014?
Thoreson: We've
heard a lot lately about simplicity and authenticity, and I expect we'll hear a
lot more about both of those things in the year ahead. They're buzz words that
are going to be with us for a while. And, frankly, I'm not complaining.
IIR: Who is your
industry icon?
Thoreson: I'm
still trying to figure out what industry I belong to, but one person I have a
ton of respect for is Andy Spade. His creativity is both strategic and
savant-like. And he dresses well, too.
IIR: What are
ways a design can emotionally connect with its audience?
Thoreson: By
anticipating and addressing a need the audience didn't even know needed
IIR: How has
design or brand strategy changed in the last 5 years?
Thoreson: I think
both have become more aware of their own importance and their shortcomings.
IIR: Knowing how
consumers will react can be an art and sometimes involves clairvoyance. How
have you developed this skill?
Thoreson: This,
in a nutshell, is what an editor does. It's part highly analytical navel
gazing, and part trial and error.
IIR: Gamification
is shaping our interactions with everyday experiences, from education to
retail. How has gamification affected you?
Thoreson: Gilt
has virtually pioneered the concept of shopping as a competitive sport. What I
love about our version of gamification is that it's not a 'technique' we're
trying to goose sales. It's core to what we do. 
IIR: Brands want
their products or services to be special ' to mean something important ' to
their customers. How do you make your product special?
Thoreson: We
inspire our customers to live a more rewarding and stylish life, from fashion
to experiences to home d??cor, but we never forget that the luxuries that we
provide access to are meant to enhance a life, not define it. 
IIR: We live in
an always-on 'now,' where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything.
What does this emphasis on immediacy mean to marketing and design?
Thoreson: It
makes the creation of products and ideas that endure that much more important.
IIR: How have you
used Design Thinking to solve a problem?
Thoreson: Design
Thinking starts with empathy, and as I mentioned earlier, empathizing with the
reader/ user/customer is what an editor does. That's true whether you're
editing a magazine or working in ecommerce.
IIR: Each brand
is a story and must be approached as a narrative. What makes a successful brand
Thoreson: Being
true usually helps!
Thoreson will be speaking at FUSE 2014 in April. This year, we present
our most Iconic and Inclusive experience ever and welcome all to discover the
magic of FUSE. 
As a loyal reader of
our blog, you get an exclusive 15% off discount when you use the code FUSE14BL. So register today to meet Thoreson
in person at FUSE! http://bit.ly/1q0Hgxm  

the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and
print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing,
and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR's blogs
including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc

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