December 26, 2012

My choice of Product of the Year

End of the year.  As I read through the many lists of best-of-the-year, I thought about what product impacted me the most.  It ended up to be a rather easy choice.

There's one product this year that is gradually changing the way I think about fitness.  Making me become more conscious of what I do during the day, reminding me to be more active, which eventually is about my health.  I'm talking about my Nike+ Fuelband.  A little product that goes around my left wrist with the ability to change behavior.  For any marketer, anywhere around the World, that is a pretty powerful proposition.

As brand managers, marketing guys, innovation leaders in our organizations, we tend to think physical products, things. properties, packaging, cost structure, formulations, supply chain.... and the list goes on. Yes, we talk about emotional benefits but we seldom go deep in thinking, really re-thinking, at a higher level, how can we truly provide something more meaningful.  A greater sense of purpose.  In a certain way, we create mental blocks that are confined to our production capabilities.   Yes, Nike is constantly working on gear that enhances athletic performance and that's a good thing.  But they dared to go beyond.

It's fascinating to see this shift of selling something, to providing a benefit that actually influences you on a daily basis.  Every time I press the 'fuel' button on my band to see how many points I've accumulated, it makes me more conscious of how much energy I'm burning... but ultimately, it generates a brand experience that is changing behavior... and that is the type of innovation that is truly transformational. 

Dreaming of our own little rooftop terrace

My wife and I have commissioned São Paulo-based Architects Marina Acayaba & Juan Pablo Rosenberg to design our new house.  Our 2013 new year's resolution is to finally start building on a narrow 10x40 urban lot.  We couldn't be more excited. 

One thing we're been discussing is the rooftop.  It has always intrigued me how houses in densely populated areas, that are usually confined to smaller lots, don't take advantage of exploring the rooftop as a way to feel less contrived by the proximity of neighbors.  This makes even more sense when you think that, in this part of the World, we enjoy year-round outdoor weather.  You see it happening in hotels, clubs or restaurants and less as an added space solution for urban residences.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I were in Miami and some friends took us to Juvia, a very hip restaurant with a fabulous terrace overlooking South Beach.  The restaurant is located in the stunning parking garage designed by Herzog & de Meuron on Lincoln Road.  New York's High Line is also a great inspiration on how to convert an abondoned elevated railway into an amazing public space with a fantastic rooftop feel. 

So, I'm super happy that we're settling for a project that has our family room on the rooftop, with a deck, an open-air fire pit and views of the many trees in our Alto da Boa Vista neighborhood.

As the World becomes increasingly urban, maybe the rooftop will replace the suburban backyard as the family's weekend hangout?

How Jaws got me thinking about multi-generational marketing

This Holiday Season made me think about the opportunities for multi-generational marketing.  A few nights ago, I enjoyed watching Spielberg's classic Jaws with my daughters, who saw the film for the very first time.  It was a chance for me to tell them about how impactful this particular film was when it first came out.  For Christmas, I gave them a long skateboard, which reminded me just how much I enjoyed it when I was their age.  At our local park, it's one of those activities that brings together dads and their kids.

I notice that, every so often, I find myself exposing them to certain brands, experiences and little pieces of pop culture that were part of my story.  Brands that strike an emotional chord to me.  Brands that, deep inside, I selfishly wish can also be part of their story.  There are few brands that I think are riding this wave very well..  From Converse All Stars, to the comeback of American muscle cars with their retro 60's feel, to annimation scripts carefully written to connect to different generations... you see this manifest in so many ways.

The organizers of the Rock-In-Rio Music Festival have done an outstanding job marketing to the thousands of Brazilians who went to the first festival back in 1985.  At the concerts held last year in Rio, you could see the power of two generations enjoying the same experience.

What other multi-generational opportunities are out there?

December 11, 2012

Modern Architecture says goodbye to Oscar Niemeyer

The World of Architecture says goodbye to a Brazilian genius, Oscar Niemeyer.  The great news is that he leaves behind not only dozens of striking buildings but his greatest legacy is having used his talent to create Brasilia.

I remember visiting Brasilia for the first time as a child.  The building I was most impressed by was Niemeyer's cathedral designed as two hands praying.  The inside was just as spectacular with an amazing open space and tinted blue glass creating beautiful reflections.  It was one of those moments where I felt at completely at awe, so much beauty to elevate a temple of worship.  For a 12 year-old boy, that was probably the moment I started falling in love with architecture.