Tag Archives: Branding

A Living Fluidity

Sara Batterby’s article Brand Personification is a concise look at the living fluidity that one’s brand undergoes through the use of social media and search engine dissemination. It is also a call to recognize the “human” element of branding.

Batterby writes, “Brands, like us, have no meaningful existence outside of the constantly changing perceptions, interactions and relationships that they share with others. They must learn to see themselves this way. Through the eyes of their virtual community.”

Branding in an online world is subject to fluxuations, relationship building and collaboration, noise, and spread. One’s brand identity shifts and becomes unstable through interaction (or non-interacation) with others. It is no longer paid advertising, but publicity (i.e. conversations), that sway a brand to the ranks of the favorable or unfavorable. People have a voice and it counts consequentially. Moreover, it is the one who spends time with the work that counts, the one who helps construct our brand by making it apart of who they are.

The virtual communities that one is apart of communicates to others a part of who one is. The online identity of the brand is caught up within these micro-conversations, this labryinth of interconnectedness.

Batterby goes on to write , “This fluidity of what constitues the brand has given it a living quality that is more akin to our own existence and this should give us some insight into what to do about it.” Some companies are recognizing this and have joined the conversation. Directors, writers and artists using services such as Twitter to connect with others have put themselves into a vulnerable, albeit necessary state – they have embraced the human element of their brand.

We knew all along that behind the facade of the brand lurked real flesh-and-blood humans, but now, the facade is fading before our eyes and many brands are using social media, engaging with others and changing the way that we interact with and view their brand. Also, this flux has, in general, gone on to transform what used to be an online “profile” into a brand, a virtualization of the self.

Batterby ends by asking the deceptively simple question, “If your brand was a person, what kind of person would you want it to be?” Look within. Look without. Listen to the conversation. Listen to your self. Who are you?

Sara Batterby is the editor of WORD UP!.

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Branding and Identity: Three Questions with Håvard Gjelseth

Skop 2
Håvard Gjelseth: Producer/Director

Håvard Gjelseth is a designer. His company is “This Way Design” based in Oslo, Norway. His website is a grid comprised of images of projects that he has worked on. The grid is then divided by project type: Record Covers, Interactive, Illustration, Identity, Photos, Products, Motion, and Art: This Way Design.

Brand identity is created by way of people like Gjelseth. That is, people able to connect with the client’s needs while bringing to the floor something authentic to themselves. Creating a brand that “feels” right, that resonates with the recipient of the product or company. One look at the “grindcore” series of logos that he did for Norweigan noise-unit Jazkamer and it is apparent how special his vision is. Who else uses the images of twisting branches as a representation of “grindcore” music? Now, that’s successful and emotionally satisfying branding.

I asked Havard Gjelseth three questions and present them to you, unedited. If you are looking to work with design or in the creative field in general, I recommend you pay attention to the words of such a tasteful designer:

1. What factors do you take into account when working with the identity of a company or individual?

For me it is about the balance between what reflects the client’s personality and the unexpected twist to make it stand out. Personally I find it inspiring to tell a story when working with identities – to
find unexpected sources of inspiration; to get closer.

On top of all that of course I take pride in – and love – the handcraft part of the work, either it is photography,pixel-perfectness or the details of the typography.

2. What advice would you give to people looking to work in the design business?

1) It has to be in your heart – or it will show
2) Make sure business doesn’t swallow you, keep doing personal projects
3) Work with people better than you

3. In your opinion, what are some key elements to a successful brand?

I think I’ll answer that by saying what factors in my experience make
bad brands: Fear, complexity and similarity.

On behalf of The Eyeslit-Crypt: Thank you, Håvard Gjelseth.

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Brand Strategy: Old Man’s Hands Productions (Eon McKai)

Director Eon McKai‘s production company, “Old Man’s Hands” new 2008 “logo movie” presents a change in the Alt-Vivid brand. What are your thoughts on this “logo movie?” Do you think that this new video adequately expresses the aesthetic aims of McKai and company?

We were able to track down the older “logo movie” for “Old Man’s Hands” and compare the two. The older version shows a tattooed nude body with hands reaching out from both sides of the screen, seemingly touching the body. Also, a close look reveals the words “Eon McKai” tattooed across the woman’s stomach. When the text “Old Man’s Hands” is presented, a voice accompanies it, reading the words for us in a gritty compressed voice.

The new video shows us a flower being fondled (or broken apart or simply being touched) by what could be the hands of an old man. The scene then suddenly shifts to a saturated frame of a film reel, while the text, neatly aligned to the left, jitters, hovers. No voice or tattooed women can be seen in the new video.

The new brand image seems well-suited for conneisseurs of abstract visual media and video-art installation pieces. Perhaps, McKai is reaching out to a new audience or working from the influence of contemporary experimental filmwork. Whatever is behind the new brand image, it seems to me to be a positive step toward broadening the audience of his film and displaying his power as a film maker.

Watch the 2008 “Old Man’s Hands” Logo Movie:

Watch the old logo movie:

Old Man’s Hands Logo Movie (old)

Other McKai links:

Eon McKai Official

“The Doll Underground” Release Party @ Little Cave, 4/9/08
‘Hospital!’ Release Party @ Redwood Bar & Grill, 8/24/08

  • ‘Circa ’82’ Release Party @ Hyperion Tavern, 6/10/08
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    The Cobrasnake: Creating Culture

    The Cobrasnake (Mark Hunter) takes photographs and makes T-shirts. His brand has expanded; he has infiltrated the clubs and the streets of the world. A casual glance at his website shows only the latest T-shirts available for purchase and a dense archive of Cobrasnake’s photographs. Said simply: the man is busy. The people caught in the lens of his camera are not models, posing professionally, but seemingly random people, musicians(or people who happen to be wearing Cobrasnake T-shirts). Through the photographs, a new culture is created and takes form. Cobrasnake is not simply taking pictures, he’s creating cultural identity. Take note.

    In this developing age of openness to personal branding, the Cobrasnake’s idea of selling limited runs of handmade T-shirts and hitting the clubs to snap the young and the restless works well. Everyone, it seems, these days is using some kind of social media as an extension of their daily life. What Cobrasnake goes is gives people a base from which to view the blossoming of club culture, the fashion of a certain party or event and so on. As he says in an interview with MediaTemple, “When i started shooting nightlife it was funny because people were not used to having their photo taken by someone that wasn’t their friend. Now most people want as many people as possible to take their photo.”

    Gazing at the pictures on his website, we can see a myriad of “beautiful” people, enjoying themselves or at least being out, being seen. They do not possess the lifeless “looking past the camera” gaze that many professional advertisements rely on, but offer a more personal view of the scene. Some of them are almost inviting, comforting. After spending enough time clicking through the photo albums, you, too, may be enticed by the idea of joining the social enterprise that Cobrasnake offers. Or…

    One Twitter user, wrote, “Not sure if he hates the Cobrasnake due to hatred or jealousy.” as his tweet. Perhaps this is the feeling that many viewers of the brand experience. The Cobrasnake, by showing you what is fashionable, what is happening in the “hot spots,” may make you realize how actually detached you are from those scenes. Wanting to leap into the scene, but unable to press beyond the computer screen. Meanwhile, somewhere, maybe right now, The Cobrasnake is plotting, working, selling, and enchanting folks with an invitation to transform themselves into a new person.

    Links for more information on this enterprise:

    The Cobrasnake (Official)
    Cobrasnake Interview
    Cobrasnake on Wunderbuzz
    Cobrasnake Interview on The Brilliance

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    A Belated Introduction to this Enterprise

    Earlier this year, there was a void in my creative life. Perhaps, it was the lethargy of living for so long in a foreign country, amidst a foreign tongue, falling out of touch with artistic communities in the USA and so on. Friends leave. The day job repeats its yearly cycle. All those nice “daily life” things that happen.

    On one normal Saturday afternoon, I decided to take yet another leap into social networking territory and start blogging. I chose WordPress randomly, having heard its name before and, upon signing up, enjoyed the ease of use and the interface. Around that time, I was reading books everyday, taking notes on what I was reading and, often times, re-reading the same texts for various purposes. But, I had no one to discuss my texts with and wanted someway to share my findings, to learn more about the texts by committing them to writing and hope for some kind of feedback. I wanted to develop my written “voice.” I dove into E.M. Cioran, Bernard Rudofsky, Jacques Lacan, Carl R. Rogers and others, with all my might. Their world’s came alive to me. Their feats and ideas challenged me. Explicating the reading, helped bring it to life for me. This holds true for today, too.

    After exhausting myself, I started studying the styles of other bloggers. I had no idea as to the power of the blog and the great labyrinth of sites that are available, obscured by search engine optimization. The well seems to run deep. The blogs I read helped craft new articles for this blog, articles about social networking sites, publicity and Japanese culture. From this, I blended explications and Communications pieces with more “techie” articles. This was not the part of some master design, but more the workings of a mind with a lot of strings attached to it, too many limbs reaching around and finding things of interest. My sporadic pulling of different things can be seen in the piece “Crowley + Cioran + Morita,” a synthesis of three seemingly unrelated thinkers, a hopeful article.

    At times, the seemingly apparent connections would slip away from me and I felt sorry for my readers, those of you kind enough to read my words and spend time with me. I have been like a whack-a-mole, popping up somewhere different just as you slam the hammer down upon my head. Hopefully, you find some comfort or value in that.

    Recently, I have been working to filter down The Eyeslit-Crypt, to narrow the passage a bit more. In the recent months, I have taken great interest in writing about living and breathing people, people whom I admire and who I think are doing great things, whether in art, film, music or literature. I have written about the wonderfully prolific Ken Tanaka, America’s Funnyman, Neil Hamburger, Adult photographer/Film director Dave Naz and more. For some reason, studying other people makes me happy. I don’t mean this in a shallow “I’m so happy, its sunny today,” kind of happy, but a deep respectful happiness to see the work of someone who has sacrificed a life of ease, for a life of creative action. It is the least I can do to connect with these people and help spread their work around, work, which I truly believe in.

    So, if you look to the left-hand column, you will see “The Eyeslit-Crypt Information” been altered, reconfigured and I will briefly try to explain that change. It has been broken down into three sections:

    1. Creative Expression: I know this is still a large category, but basically, encompasses all forms of expression, the people who express and/or art/business that is making a difference, taking a more difficult path. It is about art that moves me or music that makes me want to go crazy (in a good way). It is also new social media tools, books, music, film and fashion.

    2. Life Coaching: This includes ideas and strategies of living from Lacanian Psychoanalysis to Constructive Living. Hopefully, pieces falling under this broad category will in some way be relevant to you while you set out making your own life and facing your own personal challenges.

    3. Cultural Studies: This is tied in closely with Creative Expression, but will focus more on language use, media ecology, interface humanities, sartoriasis and other topics. Awhile back, I wrote an article on the Japanese expression “KY,” which would fit nicely under the “Cultural Studies” umbrella.

    I hope this brief elucidation brings together the aims and purposes of The Eyeslit-Crypt.

    Some people who read “The Eyeslit-Crypt” may be wondering a little about who I am, where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I’ll be brief, but hopefully clear. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from an American university and spent a great deal of time studying Communication Theory and Japanese. My undergraduate thesis was about the phenomenology of the garment and its relation to the human body. I have made a lot of music in my life and have albums available through records labels like Audiobot, Pac REC, Obscurica, N0-age, Impossible, Swampland and Self-Satisfied. I also have one album available through the iTunes music store. I’ve been behind the camera as an actor for many non-nationally distributed and viral films/videos. I’ve written and directed some of those films, too. Contact me if you want to see them. You may get a laugh out of them or not.

    I have worked in corporate marketing, participated in training seminars and conducted face-to-face training/advising with corporate backing. A bit scattered, but relevant, I spent one week working closely with the Australian rock band AC/DC, translated four chapters of a Japanese philosophy book from Japanese to English, played concerts in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.

    Well, these are the things that come to mind at this point as some of the more memorable things that I have done. I know that they are just fragments, but hopefully they will give you some insight into where I’m coming from, experientially.

    Thank you for lending me your attention.

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