Canadians are Nice

I’ve known about Canadians and their niceness since university. I fell madly, then obsessively in love with a feisty Toronto girl in the late 80s. She introduced me to the Pogues, so it didn’t end all badly. It goes without saying that there are tons of nice Canadian bloggers and they more than make up for any bad memories.

Heather and I traveled to Calgary, Canada this past weekend to present at the Conference and my stumbling bumbling ways lead to a dry-mouthed version of my presentation on branding and identity. For the presentation, I dug a little deeper into Apple’s Keynote. It’s miles better than the evil of PowerPoint.

When anybody says that marketing or branding doesn’t work I can now point directly to the strong response from audience members when I showed the rebrand of Canada Dry that Landor did. Those who spoke up preferred the old brand look, even if the new direction was cleaner, easier to read and easier to spot on a grocery shelf.

I haven’t presented in long long while, and I’m very rusty. Plus, having a Bluetooth pointer that my iBook couldn’t see meant that I kept having to hunch over the laptop and stab at a key to advance the show. That and my microphone cord trip ups must have negated any good things I might have had to say. I think it went well, but I need a good Naval Jelly session to de-rustify.

I mentioned in my presentation that I’d link to the sites/firms that I mentioned in that session and here they are:

Hicks (work section, but his links are good as well)
Santa Maria (personal brand, links)
Storey (personal brand, links)


Design blogs I mentioned:
Design Observer
Moco Loco

I’ll likely add a few slides to my presentation and post the thing as a PDF. The best parts of the presentation were the audience contributions. We had some great discussion about making mistakes with a brand, and I was caught ill-prepared with examples. Post-conference discussion was had about Coke’s famed New Coke blunder back in the day, but more recently there was a brand who spent a ton of money re-branding and the response was so negative, they went back to their previous look. It’s driving me crazy trying to remember who it was. Maybe 5 years ago? 10?

I mentioned during the discussion that it’s actually very hard as a small brand to make a mistake you can’t fix. Small brands have a luxury of experimentation and evolution that larger brands have to be more careful about. I also mentioned that even an individual can brand themselves and one audience member asked about my logo. I had tried to avoid using my own work as examples (I always hated professors/instructors who did that) and trying to explain your design decisions for your own brand is a little weird. I found my inner Chief Marketing Officer and worked it through.

Heather did a great job with her presentation. It was great to hear her read and talk about her evolution online. I’ve missed her BlogHer sessions and I think this went even further. I felt fortunate to be a part of this session. She’s inspirational for me in so many ways and I felt a lot closer to her hearing her talk about the history and where she is today.

The conference was intimate and nice. I left feeling a bit reinvigorated (the Guy Fawkes bonfire featuring fantastic fireworks may have helped). Photos to follow when I have a spare moment from the unpacking, the laundry and the making of quesadillas for Leta.