• Transform magazine
  • May 25, 2024

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Five minutes with Jim Misener

Jim M B&W

Jim Misener, president at global brand consultancy 50,000feet, chats with Transform about how his agency creates brands for a digitally transforming world.

I think it is fair to say the US economy isn’t in the best state right now – there’s been big issues in the financial sector in the past few weeks, for instance. Do you believe brand-centric transformation and creativity can unlock growth and push back against recessionary forces?

Absolutely. There is a lot of discussion about how creativity can be an unstoppable driver of growth. As Steve Jobs said, "Creativity is about nothing more than looking at things differently, connecting the same sets of tools differently." It's this change in perspective, this difference in ways of seeing, that can lead to invaluable strategic insight.

When we look ahead and see changes in markets, audience behaviour and dynamics across industries, it is incumbent on us as brand partners to look at things differently. To begin, we need to ask “Where can we offer the greatest value to audiences? How can we help our clients achieve their goals? What challenges can we help solve? What can we create together that no one else has—or can?” Ultimately, we want to use creativity to solve our client challenges and use it as a driving force to deliver significant return and positive impact.

 

You have worked with an impressive roster of clients over the years. When these companies roll out new technologies, products and services, how do you build and strengthen trust among customers and consumers during these moments?

In many ways, brand transformation is about exploring and defining relevant and resonant ways to build trust with your customers and consumers. Innovation requires that businesses and brands take a leap of faith in the promise of a technological evolution or invention, and brands are asking customers or consumers to take that leap with them. Therefore, brand experiences should support those leaps, ease disruptions within customer journeys and strengthen trust with customers.

Brand marketing needs to ask and then answer: how do we speak to our audience in ways that make sense to them, that deliver timely and relevant information along the journey in the moments in which they need it and that serve it up from beginning to end? Whether it is educating them on an unfamiliar technology, tool set, experience, or journey, we must cultivate all these things. Inspiration can be powerful encouragement and incentive to drive change and inspire action.

 

There are a number of aspects within modern design that are considered quite important. How do you, at 50,000feet, link these themes with digital transformation efforts?

Great designers have an ability to see the world differently. And in turn, they can help us see the world differently. Through its many magical forms, design helps to create deeper, more meaningful and more inclusive connections with audiences.

One of many emerging areas of brand development enabled by technological innovation that holds tremendous opportunity is the evolution of multisensory brand experiences. Sonic and kinetic branding are some of the fastest growing areas of brand development, both of which can create seamless extensions of more traditional manifestations of brands and integrate them into our day-to-day experiences.

Multi-sensory branding is opening a world of channels, formats, and platforms for brand marketers to connect with their audiences in more inclusive and novel ways. Virtual reality and other technologies allow you to step inside and feel entire brand experiences more holistically, helping to foster greater understanding, deeper engagement and stronger connections.

I have volunteered for years with the visually impaired community, many of whom have limited or little to no vision. When you start to understand how much technology has enabled them to participate in the world around them through innovations in keyboards, screens and the integration of sonic and aural experiences, it is incredibly powerful. It is inspiring to see how creativity across brand, design and technology can create experiences that improve our lives and the lives of others.