Thoughts on marketing, creativity and innovation.

We Are Up is a strategy & innovation consultancy.

Hi, Welcome back and keep the faith. We'll get there.
Gifs by: @boglio_boglio
"I met a guy who spent several years jumping dirt bikes. I asked him, as I often do when I meet people with unusual skills, what was the key to doing it well. His answer: "Committing."

Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator

Stay Cool
It's the best of times, it's the worst of times. A time for despair, and a time for reinvention. And for, you know, staying cool. Sony, seem up for the latter. They just announced a new subsidiary called Sony Immersive Music Studios. They're looking to reimagine music through immersive media, and developing immersive music experiences with creativity and tech. They're using Unreal Engine, the games engine from Epic Games (in which they have a minority stake). Their first project is a virtual performance from Epic Records-signed singer songwriter Madison Beer in partnership with Verizon, to showcase songs from her debut album. It's available on PlayStation VR and Oculus VR, and on streaming music video channels (2D). Which all sounds super interesting, from the tech, to the platforms, to the partnerships and collaborations. Reinventing musical experiences, opportunity knocks.

Meanwhile Nike, is looking to reinvent itself too. Great FT article “Can Nike keep it’s cool”, which gives context to the latest launch of Nothing but Gold, an app to deliver style, content, community and exclusive products exclusively for their female audience. Under new leadership, they’ve reorganised the business to serve 3 customer groups; men, women and kids. Which, makes sense (vs sports specialism as it was) and the app sounds really interesting. One way or another, they've got to stay cool.

Trying to stay cool, is exhausting. Just look at the Bernie meme, from Biden's inauguration. A simple picture of a mittened Bernie Sanders in the crowd (looking a little glum), sparked an ocean of memes like this or this or this and culminated in someone making a site that allows you to put Bernie sitting at any google address. Funny and astonishingly fast. Culture and the creative tools it now wields, can make brands look pedestrian. Staying cool ain't easy.
Good Brand Stuff 
Been thinking a lot about brands lately. What good brands are, and why. Mark Ritson wrote a good piece on how damaging brand image is rarely that harmful, good brands are more robust than we think. He cites Ben & Jerry’s dog ice cream, the Porsche Cayenne which people thought would sink them (became their biggest seller) and Boohoo, who'd a load of negative publicity around slave labour, as examples of brands that weathered image storms and thrive. And he concludes that "In the age of Trump, what people think of you is far less important than the more brutal objective of getting people to think about you." Not sure I totally agree, but he always makes a good argument.

He also wrote a primer on brand strategy, which is full of good advice (more like marketing strategy really). It outlines the importance of undertaking diagnosis first, of making choices and of clarifying the strategy before ploughing ahead with tactics. It goes on to highlight the questions a good brand strategy answers, like; Who we're targeting, What we want them to think and How we'll achieve this. Straightforward stuff. Not always easy though.

Not easy, because brands are complex. Built over time. We wrote about that and what brands actually are these days, which thankfully chimes with above. Good brands also express themselves well and if you need some good inspiration in that space, here’s Ad Age’s 30 best brand moves from 2020. It contains some really amazing work, including “Match Made In Hell" and New York Times “Life Needs Truth", both of which were particularly sublime.
5 things we read this week:
  1. Robot architects, pizza makers and stock photography. Wow.
  2. The Met unframed AR experience is v cool.
  3. Dave Trott on laughing matters. Great point.
  4. Making a joke in zoom. heh.
  5. How we really decode people. heh.

Watching: Whatever it takes by AMV BBDO and Macmillan Cancer Trust  (ht Rob Campbell) was really something. It's rare these days to see communication that moves, understands and expresses so clearly, that which we can only feel. So nice to see. Congrats.'ve got this far.....good hustle....

Just to say, this newsletter is a labour of love. If you have any feedback, good or bad, it's welcome. Also. if you have a challenge or you're feeling a little stuck, we'd love to help. 
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