At last year’s Cosmoprof North America I got to see my creative partner at united*, Andy Johnson, literally kill it on stage with an amazing presentation on how young, even start-up brands and entrepreneurs can develop their point of view and bring their brands to market so that they are truly differentiating. The message was that there is so much passion and energy in this industry, but that this doesn’t compensate for poorly designed brand strategies. Really sharpening a brand’s point of view and how and where to tell the story is something that many companies need help with, for sure. Companies big and small.
People were in line for almost 30 minutes after the 2010 session to talk to Andy and pick his brain on their ideas, brands and ways of coming to market. And this year he is back for more! In fact, be on the look for Andy at Monday’s session from 1:30 to 3:00, August 1, Private Label – Emotional Branding– How to Navigate and Attract? where his topic will be “emotional branding”.
If your brand can’t elevate itself to connect on a truly emotional level, then all your telling is a functional story, and that is tough ground to live on 100%. Functional stories are usually good for the first guy, but often not for the second.
Take the mineral cosmetics trend. The way Leslie Blodgett pioneered the idea of mineral cosmetics and literally changed many women’s view of make-up was amazing. She created a revolution in 1995 and now a legion of brand followers. So, if you are going to enter the mineral cosmetics segment now, are you just a “me too”, and how do you create a unique angle to your brand.
Innovation is a completely overused word in branding, but one of the key questions that Andy will examine in your brand’s point of view is one of sequence, right? In other words, are you trying to create the trend, ride the trend, hang on for dear life to the trend, or reinvent and add something new to the trend. This really affects how your brand message comes to life, and every touch point matters from your name, to your visual language and packaging, to your go-to-market strategies including social and digital media.
Andy will literally break down the four things you need to do to become an irreplaceable, emotionally-centered brand, and you will take heart in his fourth key point, which will be the capstone: f*** the shallow water and go into the deep end, because if you have a great idea, you need to go all out and do it right from the very beginning. There are no second chances. After all, we have to ask ourselves who the next Leslie Blodgett is or trend maker that is going to completely upset the industry, again. Stay tuned and be there on Monday August 1st in Las Vegas!
For feedback on this story, contact Perry Seelert | strategic partner // united* | www.uniteddsn.com | 917-267-2857
Andy Johnson // Creative Partner
Andy joined forces with partners Lawrence and Perry in 2006 to launch united*, which in a short period of time has become a renowned award winning creative agency with offices in both New York and San Francisco. Since co-founding united* Andy has led the companies expansion into multiple disciplines from strategic brand planning and packaging design, to print, web and marketing development.
Born in Derby England, Andy studied graphic design at Derby College, graduating with Honors. He began his extensive career in branding design working for some of the world’s most prestigious design companies. Beginning in London at Coley Porter Bell, Tilley Cato Gobé Desgrippes and Jones Knowles Ritchie. Before crossing the pond to establish himself in New York, working with the Sterling Group and world-renowned Landor Associates.
During his time with Landor, Andy was responsible for heading up several key clients: Procter & Gamble, the rebranding of the Philip Morris Co. and Spalding. He continued to expand his international experience by managing the rebranding of the Brazilian, BASF owned paint manufacturer Suvinil.
In 2001, Andy joined Daymon Worldwide as Creative Director, with a specific goal of elevating the level of the creative product and introducing a strategic branded approach to own brand. During his three years with the company Andy was integral in increasing the design department’s revenue from $3 million in 2002 to $7 million in 2005, while elevating the level of creativity to an award-winning status.
Andy continues to be a phenomenal designer, and, as creative director is actively involved in all projects and client relationships. He is continually inspired by current culture and trends, which has lead him to the west coast to be closer to his passion of surfing and snowboarding.
Andy heads up the united* SF office.