I recently had the pleasure of attending multiple conferences that included silicon valley innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors. One of the themes that kept coming up, and then was finally put bluntly by an investor at the Michael Best Technology + the Law Symposium was this:
You have enough innovators, entrepreneurs, and capital to be self sustaining here in the Research Triangle Region. The big difference… on the West Coast, we build brands.
Their words have been on my mind lately as I get asked a lot about Trig: “How do you cover the scope of design and brand in one company?” Some see it as broad, but we see it as providing a complete service. Anyone who wants a product made is going to require marketing to at least some extent, so why leave this crucial step to someone else? We have three core competencies at Trig: Insights + Ideation, Product Design, and Brand Asset Management.
The notion of concurrent design has been around for decades now, but for some reason we see far too many large companies working in silos of Marketing and Product Development. Often times the Marketing group is doing that upstream work with business development, tossing it over to the engineering team, and then getting it tossed back, and working with sales on the brand. Consumer data analysis and trend research are also sometimes done by whole other firms entirely who specialize in doing that work and only that work.
In the service industry, we also see our peers segmented into organizations. Some offering upstream consumer insights, others are planted somewhere along the process of design and development, and wholly separate companies specialize in brand assets such as tag lines, logos, web design, print media, etc.
This is chaos. It clearly is. So why are we making time for inefficient segmentation and handoffs when concurrent design has been around so long?
Trig offers Insights, Design, and Brand services… but not in silos. We work together, simultaneously considering the users needs, the solution to those needs, and the brand that will attract appropriate audiences to that solution.
When done right, the results are iconic.
Consider the classic Coke bottle. Can you see it in your mind? The silhouette of that legendary shape. What is that shape? Is that the brand of Coke? Or is that the product? Consider the whole experience of pulling that Coke bottle out of a cooler, hands wrapped around the ergonomic shape, how it feels in your hand as the top is popped, and the resulting fizz you hear.
Whether pouring it over ice or drinking it from the bottle, you are experiencing both the brand and the product of Coke all at once.
Entrepreneurs build brands → Investors invest in brands → People buy brands.
Brands endure time → Brands acquire products.
Here in the Research Triangle Region, we’ve been building great products for decades. Products like the liquid bandage, innovated by Closure Medical, and acquired by Johnson & Johnson… only to leave an empty facility a few short years after the acquisition.
Let’s stop talking about concurrent design, and start doing it from the beginning. North Carolina has the talent, skill, education, and means to elevate our businesses to Silicone Valley levels of prestige.
Let’s build brands. Together.
As An Aside
For those interested in North Carolina businesses, here is a Tangent to the Tangent: Where NC is Winning? Microbrews.
North Carolina and Virginia’s Beer industry is booming because we’ve been successfully building brands. What we’re seeing are acquisitions such as Anheuser-Busch InBev’s purchase of Wicked Weed (literally for the brand). More-so, the large breweries are moving operations into the region, not taking them away (see New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Stone Brewing as just a few examples).
The Trig team had the honor of jumping into a project for local brewery TBC (Tarboro Brewing Company) to craft their brand identity and label design. For information and images about the inspirations behind our designs you can check out the full case study here Tarboro Brewing Company Brand Identity Case Study.
For other branding identity projects by Trig, check out the Payback Partners case study and the BruVue Brand Identity and Website Design case study