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World's First Patent-Pending Brand Logo—A Behind-the-Scenes Video

Bts_titleIt’s a logo like none other.

Which is why there’s no way I could resist asking Rich Silverstein and other people central to its creation to appear on-camera to share insights on "The Seagate Living Logo"—the world’s first patent-pending corporate brand identity.

(See video at bottom)


Ll_story_still_rich_Yes, it’s true that brand identities rendered in real time through data visualization have been around for a while now.

But the Seagate Living Logo—launched at CES last January—is the first to have a patent in play for literally taking its shape using live data feeds flowing from public data sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LastFM, Amazon, Getty Images and more.

The idea? To represent the integral role Seagate storage solutions play in storing 40% of the world’s data, and in enabling the data-centric business models of today’s most innovative companies.


Bts_interactive_llThroughout the last 12 months, new variants have included interactive Living Logos that respond to physical movements through Microsoft Kinect-based technology—allowing you to essentially swim amid social media posts and images.

A standalone Facebook version lets you personalize the experience using your own online images.

And another can be customized in real time using Twitter and Instagram keywords and handles, as well as your own uploaded images, for live business meetings and events.


As is typical in social media these days, reaction to the Living Logo there and elsewhere has ranged from the snarky to the sublime.

Yet regardless of where you fall on that score, the Living Logo represents a notable new entry into the annals of corporate branding.

And it seems to have sparked a trend.

Last July, Brazilian telco FS Company launched a dynamic logo that uses code and generative design to reflect the real-time activity on the company’s servers.

Just within the last few months, HavasOrtega developed a data-enabled “living logo” for a CEO summit in the Philippines.

And a UK-based design firm called Amaze is now tracking employees’ physical movements and digital activities to drive a “human-powered” living logo using a framework that sounds a lot like Seagate’s.

Which makes sense. Given the fact that Gartner reports nearly 75% of companies plan to invest in big data solutions in the next two years, the Seagate Living Logo surely stands on the cutting edge of what is likely to become a crowded field in the years ahead.

This short video, edited by Seagate’s George Shubin, will give you the inside scoop on the Seagate Living Logo and how it came to be.

(Full disclosure: I've had creative input on the development of the Living Logo, and have worked closely with these and other people working on the project at Seagate, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Pet Gorilla and elsewhere.)




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10 Digital Age Coke Taglines—From The Distant Past


So much for "Happiness."

As the marketing world obsesses over Coca-Cola's decision to trade out its hugely popular "Open Happiness" tagline to "Taste the Feeling"(see one of 25 new spots, above), it's been fun revisiting the commotion created over some of its previous slogan changes.

Check out reaction (including my own) to "The Coke Side of Life" in Ad Age a decade ago.

Indeed, whenever Coca-Cola makes marketing changes of this magnitude, it can be a hoot to take stock of its taglines from times past. You usually find some surprises along the way.


Despite being one of the world's most successful brands, there have certainly been some oddballs in Coca-Cola's advertising oeuvre—who can resist "Enjoy a Glass of Liquid Laughter" (1911), or "Proves a Big Help to Tired Housewives" (1909)?

And then there's that golden oldie: "Coca-Cola: The Great National Temperance Beverage" (1907)—which, we're told, "has none of the ill effects or 'let down' qualities of alcoholic stimulants." Yum.

Some old taglines are just inscrutable—"Same to You" (1940) sounds as if the feeling you're tasting is indignation.

And present-day regulators might have a field day with any tagline that proclaims Coke is "Pure and Healthful" (1904), and "Adds a Refreshing Relish to Every Form of Exercise" (1906), with "The Perfect Blend of Pure Products from Nature" (1923).

To modern audiences, other tags charitably might seem like aspirational positioning in the extreme—such as, "The Ideal Beverage for Discriminating People" (1906), "The Sign of Good Taste" (1957), and "The Best Drink Anyone Can Buy" (1913).

After all, everyone knows the best drink you can buy isn't Coca-Cola. It's Coke Zero.


Despite so many antiquated curios from campaigns past, many Coke taglines of yesteryear would be completely at home in the digital age.

Think about it:

  • In an era of virtual reality, 3D printing and social media poseurs, Coke promises to bring you "The Real Thing" (1948)
  • Ad skipping technology? "Relax with the Pause that Refreshes" (1947)
  • The age of Uber and Airbnb? "Share a Coke" (2011)
  • Group texting, geo-fencing and flash mobs? "Meet Me at the Soda Fountain" (1930)
  • Personal aerial drones? "Look Up, America!" (1975)

Even online activism and crowd funding fit that all-time favorite, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" (1971).

Yet perhaps it's that texting-and-flash-mob example that hits home most. As it happens, Coke classics seem especially well suited for the mobile revolution—including (among a surprising number of others):

  • "Anytime, Everywhere—The Favorite Beverage" (1918)
  • "Along the Highway to Anywhere" (1949)
  • "Call for Coke" (1953)
  • "People on the Go—Go for Coke" (1954)

Whether this is all a sign of soda-pop prescience, promotional predestination or pure chance, Coca-Cola remains a venerable brand whose slogans will provide plenty for (pop-) cultural anthropologists to ponder in decades to come.

Will future advertising aficionados still find it as amusing as we do?

As Coca-Cola itself once put it: "Always."


(Check out these and other taglines here, here and here)



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What's Next for Marketing & The 'Internet of Things'


Is 2016 the year marketing and the Internet of Things finally enter a meaningful new phase?

Don't bet on it. But there are some promising signs.

In the days since CES, much has been made of the emergence of new ecosystems enabled by so-called "smart products"—connected devices that deliver information or can be controlled using your mobile phone. 

Fitness apparel brand Under Armour was one entrant that generated a lot of attention during the show for its new Gemini 2 running shoes, which can track run duration, distance and more—without the need for syncing with a mobile device.

It's just the latest in innovative smart products UA has been rolling out, including a heart-rate monitor, new headphones and apps that, as Engadget reports today, the company hopes to use as the foundation for an interconnected ecosystem.

Indeed, while Engadget indicates these products still have a ways to go, they still point toward fitness apparel that doesn't just keep you comfortable, but also delivers useful services to you automatically and seamlessly, behind the scenes, to help you attain your goals.

From Data Collection to Data Utility

Last week, Social Times cited a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit that finds 51% of marketing executives expect the Internet of Things—or "IoT"—"to revolutionize marketing by 2020."

In the view of the Times at least, the first phase of marketing's embrace of the IoT will be what we experience today: Devices that collect data on usage patterns, facilitating new offers based on needs, or helping developers improve the products.

In Phase 2, says Social Times, brands will open up the their ecosystems to other advertisers. Think refrigerators that don't just send you alerts that you're almost out of milk, but also let Tropicana send you a coupon for Orange Juice.

It's hard to imagine the Times can possibly be wrong about that. Some brands will indeed attempt such things—it would be crazy to not explore monetizing the ecosystem in this way.

It remains to be seen, however, whether consumers will really cotton to a barrage of offers coming from the fridge, the toaster, the washing machine and so on.

I'm personally skeptical many people want an ad supported home appliance—the equivalent of a promotional announcement that "this refrigeration is brought to you by Heinz Ketchup."

Product Plus

Instead, as I write in my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, the ecosystems enabled by the IoT likely represent something far more compelling than applying ad models from one medium—essentially banner ads or mobile coupons—to a whole new one (in this case your home appliances) merely to eke out some additional revenue in ways that alienate customers.

While ad models will no-doubt be explored, ultimately brands will keep these ecosystems to themselves, finding that advertising only cheapens what may be their only point of differentiation in a world where physical products themselves are increasingly commoditized.

As I put it in the book, "In the digital age, differentiation may come less from the quality with which your products are manufactured, and more from the on-demand digital services they deliver to your customers."

And I'm not just talking about household appliances, by the way. I'm talking about everything from those Gemini 2 running shoes to your breakfast cereal, to your kids' toys, to your laundry detergent.

Smart brands will focus on delivering truly useful services via these connected ecosystems. Not the kinds that throw coupons at you. Rather, the kinds that add immediate value—Lean Cuisine frozen dinners that tell the microwave how to cook them to perfection, for instance—or provide new services, such as real-time smoking cessation support from Chantix, triggered by sensors built into a wristband.

Perhaps some of these services will prove valuable enough to warrant both freemium and premium subscription models—turning products sold once into ongoing revenue streams in ways customers appreciate, instead of loathe.

In a recent radio segment with Forbes Radio's "Jim Blasingame Show," I talk about this emerging trend as one of three that will start to gain traction in 2016.

Do note that this particular program is aimed at SMBs, so I talk about the trend overall, and then address how smaller brands and local stores can leverage existing technologies to avoid being Amazoned by the likes of, well, Amazon and its Dash devices.

Which, like those Gemini 2 running shoes, are perfect early examples of products-as-services enabled by an IoT in which many of even the earliest offerings provide tremendous value without requiring a digital interface at all.


Or follow this link: http://ow.ly/Xo7OP

(Approximately 4 minutes, 14 seconds)


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Coke Ditches 'Happiness,' Tells You to 'Taste the Feeling' (Video)


You can stop looking for "Happiness" now.

That's the word from Coca-Cola's new global CMO Marcos de Quinto, who says the decade-long "Open Happiness" campaign had become too preachy in promoting sharing and co-existence for his, er, tastes.

So now, Coca-Cola, Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, will all share a common theme: "Taste the Feeling."

Having brand consistency across its cola portfolio is indeed a no-brainer. 

And we're seriously digging the opening spot, "Anthem" (above). Be sure to catch "Under Pressure" and "Breakup," too.

In fact, there is a lot to like about each of 25 new spots released earlier today.

But here at Gen Wow, we can't help wondering if "Taste the Feeling" skates a little too close to Skittles territory.

And let's face it, there's a lot to miss about some classic "Happiness" initiatives over the last few years—especially the physical + digital variety.

Among our favorites:


Let's face it, Happiness shared is doubled. Or tripled. Or...


How Coke helps you brake for good times.


Call it the Happiness Traffic Jam


Open a bottle and light up the night sky.


A single serving—for two.


Bust a move for your favorite beverage.


Coke creates a city park and rolls out the happiness.


Happiness brings even the people of India and Pakistan together.


It takes two to use this 12-foot-tall vending machine.


Hug it, get an ice-cold Coke.


An on-campus ice breaker for the first day of school.


Cupid makes you prove you're a couple to get a Coke.


Reinventing that age-old Coca-Cola classic for the digital age.

Of course, change is the only constant—and perhaps the time is right for a Coke refresh.

But that doesn't mean we won't miss the happiness we've shared in times past.




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Play 'Buzzword Bingo'—CES Edition







This is one game that's easier to play than avoid.

We're all guilty of overusing tech industry buzzwords. And why not? They play a useful role as common shorthand that (conveniently) confers an aura of "cool" to those fluent in the lingua franca of 21st century business.

But as CES 2016 reaches its climax, many of us are finding ourselves facing buzzword burnout over what feels like an egregious level of noise pollution emanating from Las Vegas over the last few days.

“Disruptive.” “Influencer.”“(Anything)-Hacking.” “Unicorn.” I'm sure we've heard them all this week, many times over.

Never mind that some of this lingo could be headed for limbo faster than Kim (or any other) Kardashian can “Break the Internet.”

“Unicorn,” for instance, is quickly morphing into “unicorpse,” as concerns grow that companies like Gilt, Tango and SFX Entertainment may prove emblematic of some of these hard-to-find beasts with billion-dollar valuations may ultimately fare.

In the meantime, GEN WOW found some catharsis in a piece this week by Shawn Paul Wood in PR Newser, lamenting some of the most irksome buzzwords found in news stories and press releases.

When we mentioned the article in our GEN WOW LinkedIn Group, member Rick Wootten, senior director of global marketing for Seagate, mused about having some fun with it all—in the form of a game of "Buzzword Bingo."

That sparked an in-group and subsequent email conversation about developing a mobile app for facilitating a decidedly tech industry-centric version of the game at events such as, well, CES.

"It's natural for industry buzzwords to come and go in cycles, but sometimes enough of them peak at the same time to create Lingo Overload," Wootten says. "We're experiencing one of those times right now—and I think we should make the most of it!"

It's a great idea—and one that might prompt us all (myself included) to be a little more judicious about how often (and how accurately) we use these phrases.

Best of all, while it could take even the most agile development team (another buzzword) days or weeks to produce a full-blown app, we figured we'd just mock up a bare bones Buzzword Bingo card so you can start playing today.











How to Play

  1. Each time a news story or press release using one of these painfully overused words or phrases hits your inbox or browser window, mark off a square.
  1. Capture the link to the story or release for validation.
  1. Mark off a solid horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of lingo—and BINGO!

If the mood strikes us, we'll try a formal round this coming Post-CES news week. Who knows, there might even be a prize involved.

That is, if the game doesn't go too fast. A three-minute audit of my inbox and news feeds this morning produced plentiful junk jargon, including:


A particular pet peeve. Not merely because it’s so overused, but because there’s no such thing.

So far as I can tell, the total number of so-called “sharing economy” companies that are “sharing” anything comes to zero.

That Uber driver isn’t “sharing” her car. You have used an app to request a ride that you will pay a fee for using. The only thing that may get "shared" is polite conversation on the way to your destination. The far more accurate term is “the on-demand economy,” since that’s truly the distinction separating many of these new services from what has come before. Then again, I'm biased.

Perp:  Business Insider (quoting a car company executive). Again, I am including links not to call out the pub or its sources—we're all guilty of geekspeak—but rather to document buzzword use so I can claim my square.

 "IoT" & "IoE'

Ah, "The Internet of Things" or "The Internet of Everything." Whatever variant you want to use, it’s surely vying to be #1 biggest buzzword at CES this year. Perps just today include EE Times, ZDNet and EWeek.


Actually, I take back what I just said about "IoT;" this one could very well take the cake, with numerous entries this morning, ranging from Forbes’ look at “The Five Most Disruptive Innovations at CES” to WIRED's "Best of CES" and beyond.

And this is all in under three minutes.

What do you think your card might look like in the same amount of time?

Could games like this raise our awareness and encourage us to seek other terms and phrases?

Or are these words, flawed as some are, just too useful and compelling in (catchphrase alert:) the marketplace of ideas?


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