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Inside FUSE: Zunda Group Knows How to Make a Product Special

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With FUSE quickly
approaching, we wanted to take some time to speak with two creative thought leaders
from Zunda Group to learn more about what's happening in the design & brand
strategy space lately. Charlie Zunda, Owner and Gary Seve Esposito, Partner and
Chief Creative Strategy Officer of Zunda dive into inspiration, how design
& and brand strategy have changed, and what it takes to truly make a
product special.
Check out what they 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?
Zunda: Inspiration
is all around in what we see, think and feel. Like the other 'I' word,
Innovation - which is an iterative process - to be truly inspired is to not
expect, but best realized as a 'quiet" surprise. It is a sense of
'knowing'--- when something feels right, effects or impacts your thinking
and opens your imagination to a range of infinite possibilities.
Inspiration first resonates on an emotional level, for it is subliminal and
difficult to articulate.
I find the multi-dimensional elements of
color, light and sound (especially music) quite inspiring. To translate
Inspiration creatively into a tangible brand (product or service) is to apply
transformational thinking to the creative process. Reimagine. I do not
have a 'muse' per se.
IIR: How has
design or brand strategy changed in the last 5 years?
Esposito: Hearing
what a consumer has to say is a great starting point in understanding how to
emotionally connect with them. But understanding their lifestyle, no matter how
they answer questions in a qual or quant test, is the only real key to
connecting with them. Hearing that a consumer is green conscious may tell us
they care, but does it mean they have the time and where with all to compost?
If we know our market is the light green, caring mom who is
just too busy running from PTO to soccer to be an activist, maybe the trigger
for her is being easy green. Maybe she'll connect with the effortless green
approach. At the end of the day, we really need to know everything about the consumer's
lifestyle, not just their opinion about the category you're addressing, in
order to find the right emotional triggers to connect with them.
IIR: Brands want
their product to be special ' to mean something important ' to their customers.
How do you make your product special?
Esposito: Perhaps
the biggest misconception in branding is that if your competitor is "doing
it," or if all of your competitors are "doing it," then it must
be right and we need to "do it."  Brand X is blue, so blue must
be our category color. Brand Y is showing people, so lifestyles is the way to
Had we followed that direction with Chobani the packaging
would have shown the Parthenon rather than build a benefits driven platform, and
Greek yogurt might still be three percent of the market instead of 36 percent.
I like to believe the starting point is what is "not" being done yet,
and work back from there. Isn't that how Kotex rocked their category with
"U"? Start with the unconventional and impossible. You never know'it just
may become the new norm.
Zunda and Esposito will be speaking at FUSE 2014 in April. Uniting brand strategists
and designers, along with trend hunters and culture curators, the 18th
annual FUSE conference celebrates a collaborative approach to
building more meaningful brands. With One Collective Voice, FUSE becomes a
forum for all to share stories, inspiration and best practices. This year, we
present our most Iconic and Inclusive experience ever and welcome all to
discover the magic of FUSE. To meet
Zunda and Esposito in person at FUSE, click here: http://bit.ly/1egIcJg
About 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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