Reflective Essay

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Considering the whole year in Kingston, I did gain a lot. Those all made me grow. I summarised them into two categories: in the class and outside the class.

 Inside the Class

Corrine’s Lectures

During the lesson, I had a very good time with my course tutor Corrine and other guest lecturers, as well as my lovely classmates. I could still remember the very first class: Toilet day. The ‘Shoe day’ also gave me very deep impression. All Those lectures given by Corrine were so helpful that through the interaction between tutor and students, as well as among classmates ourselves, I did have great class experience. This is different to the Chinese style of teaching. Before I came here, I got so use to the traditional way of Chinese school, which means the teacher talks and the students listen, that is it. Almost all the thinking during the class would be ignored during the lesson. Human beings are sort of lazy in nature. If you could not even have the chance to think and discuss of your ideas or opinions, why bother after class? Most people would just choose the let their questions go without any deeper consideration or proper answers. So interation in class is a very good thing that this course should keep.

Here are some thoughts I gained and learned from this course throughout the year. Firstly, I learnt that creativity needs observation, confidence and experiment, and so on. And to establish a product that satisfies the needs of the user, the process of observation, market research and user testing is very essential. When approaching to customers or audience, to share empathy is a effective method to promote the relationship among people, which is widely used in many areas.(Leung, 2008) Commercial market is where it can function as a critical tool to earn people on your side by sharing empathy through storytelling and personas. Followed by the future direction, looking for new business ideas and management methods is a constructive way to break through the industry bottlenecks. Introduction of new business projects to attract customers, the only way is to stand in the fierce market competition but not be eliminated out.

Guest Lecturers

Moreover, About the guest lectures, they are amazing as well. They did not only spread out the knowledge we need, they broaden our horizon in some way. Like the lady talked about Coco Chanel’s enduring success, and the other one spoke about accounting and finance by using Carl’s Cafe as an example. All those are very helpful for our later business running. I can undoubtedly say that I like most of the guest lectures very much.  

Business

The most time-consumming but valuable experience during the year is running a small creative business with the other three girls in my class. We designed a product called ‘POPCUP’. Popcup is a reinvention of the cup sleeve. It helps hot beverage drinkers protect theirfinger tips and tongues all within a sleek fashion accessory. It is an adjustable reusable cup sleeve that protects the hands and can also be used as a cool accessory, to be worn on the wrist, belt loop or bag strap. Also it is eco-friendly. The most interesting essense of our product is that we use colour-changing paints. To promote our product, all of us tried very hard. We made loads of prototypes by trying different materials. We designed online market research. We interviewed people at many coffee shops around London area. We attended two trade fairs and made our showing stands for it. We had many meetings to perfect our product. All these things we did together would be remembered and cherished by me later in my life. Particularly, during we were running our small business, the most important thing I learned is the significance of teamwork. Later on I will talk a lot more about my reflections of teamwork. 

Dragons’ Den

Dragons’ Den is a British television series. The show allows several entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their varying business ideas to a panel of five wealthy investors, the “Dragons” of the show’s title, and pitch for financial investment offering a stake of the company in return. After first several weeks’ harding working on building up our own small business, we got a really good chance to experience the Dragons’ Den in class. We also had another one at the end of our course as well.

It gives great insight into the strategic thinking of these highly successful business people and what they look for when investing in a business or a person. And to do a good job in Dragons’ Den, I think there are many skills needed-creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, organisation, timekeeping, presentation, persuasion, discussion, evaluation, and so on.

 

Outside the Class

Social Media

Moreover, I quite like the idea of twittering, blogging and other social media getting included in the whole learning experience. At the very beginning, it was a bit annoying, honestly speaking. We were busy so many assignments, course works, but we still needed to spare some precious time to write our experience, our thoughts about design or business, and so on. At that moment, when my time was occupied by loads of homework, I just hated the idea of blogging. However, time after time, I found myself fell in love with this idea of blogging. 

Now I would rather call it a ‘habbit’. Because of it, I could clearly figure it out what I have been up to lately. I could take some time off those serious academic assignment which has to be done under very strict rules. Writting blog encourages me to read more and to participated more. Also reading and commenting others’ blog are fun and gainful. Before this course, I only used all those social media to entertain myself. However, now I knew much more about how to build up your business social network and to promote your products or services by using these medias.(Lash, Lury, 2007) 

There is another big advantage of writting blog that you would periodically do reflective study of your life, not about what you have been eating but about what you have done and learned. Everyone needs to reflect of yourself, from my point of view.

Social networking

I participated in school’s student events, like boat trip and BBQ. I went to some friends’ parties and business drinks as well. The most important and helpful people I knew are Amy Hsieh, student of Kingston University, MA of Communication Design. I am using her for my interviewee of  my personal dissertation proposal. Ruif Chen, student of Cass Business School. I used him as an adviser for our product and business, and I am still using for my personal dissertation. Jordan Chung, exposure analyst at UBS Investment Bank. And I used him as a investment consultant for our business. 

Throughout those social networking activities, I found myself become more courageous to get outside of my comfort zone to meet new faces. To approach strange people and get them into my network for later usage is quite a tricky but helpful way to future succeed. Moreover, there is not always an obvious usefulness of a person. However, he/she may know someone helpful. Don’t judge a person too soon at the very beginning. (Howkins, 2001)To be patient and spend a bit more time get to know him/her more and better sincerely from your heart is very important. 

 Other Activities

Designers Block – This exhibition was held in Farmiloe Building at 34 St. John Street, London. Last Friday afternoon, 23rd September 2011, I went there with my school fellows. That was at the beginning of the year. It was very impressive that it gave me a general idea – earning money from your creative thinking. How to put your creative thoughts into business, this is always the problem, or you can call  it knot, for artists. However, as seen at the ‘Designers Block’ exhibition, this problem seems to be solved quite well.

Frieze Art Fair – October 13, london, the most impactive modern art exhibition ‘Frieze Art Fair 2011’ opened at the Regent’s Park. Frieze art fair is one of the few which flaunt on displaying only contemporary art and the artworks of alive artist, the galleries are also usually very active as well as famous today for contemporary art pieces. In the past four years, the number of participators of Frieze Art Fair surpassed 60000 people, including many curator, artists, collectors, galleries from all over the world, as well as the general public who are full of interest to the art world.  

The Museum of Everything – Different from the other exhibition,  The Museum of Everything is located in the basement of Selfridges in London.The Museum of Everything is only Britain’s museum dedicated to art by the untrained, unintentional and unknown artists of our planet. Since 2009 it has exhibited in London and across Europe and welcomed over 200,000 visitors. Another amazing thing I find about this exhibition is its website. The website itself is supposed to be called an exhibition. People can experience a lot as well as explore a lot in this little outsider art world. 

Besides all above, I also went to V&A, the National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the Design Museum and many galleries. All the exhibitions I went gave me fresh air of design, of creativity, of being creative. I also watched several famous musicals, for instance Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Chicago and so on. I traveled to several cities. I believe that these activities I attended are silent transforming influences on my later creative business.

Here are my extra reflections of teamwork. This is the segment I gained and benefitted the most from the whole business running process.

 It in any business ensures that the task at hand is executed with the help of a united effort. The significance of the united effort is that the business organisation that is concerned, functions like a single person, thereby enhancing the quality of the operations. There are, also, some other related factors, such as ensuring equality in profit-sharing and division of work. It also helps the members of the organisation to maintain avery good system, that designates appropriate authority and responsibility. A united effort, also, reflects good team building and team spirit. Teamwork ensures that there is an equal and fair distribution of work within the organisation. A fair work distribution ensures that every person or every working unit, executes any task at hand, with the best possible efficiency. The division of work, also, ensure that the work is done on time and deadlines are not extended. 

Another very good advantage of teamwork in business is that a person is able to specialise in one specific field. That is, he can optimize the quality of the work that he does, and can also work with the maximum possible efficiency. This ensures a high quality output from all individuals and the whole team.One of the biggest advantages of teamwork is that personal interest is subordinate to organisational interest. This ensures that all the team members put in the maximum possible efforts into their work, thereby ensuring a high quality and timely output. (Raffo, O’Connor, Lovatt, Banks, 2000)

All in all, I profited really much from this year! Thank you, Corrine, Thank you, all ‘Popcuppers’! Thank you, all my classmates and tutors!

 

Bibliography

Brown, T. (2009), Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, New York: HarperCollins Publishers

Carr, J. (2009), Creative Industries, Creative Workers and Creative Economy: A Review of Selected Recent Literature, Edibergh: Scottish Government Social Research

DCMS (2006), Developing Entrepreneurship for the Creative Industries: The Role of Higher and Further Education, London: DCMS

Howkins, J. (2001), The Creative Economy: How People Make Money From Ideas, London: Penguin Books Ltd.

Lash, S. and Lury, C. (2007), Global Culture Industry, Cambridge: Polity Press

Leung, L. (2008), Digital experience design : ideas, industries, interaction, Bristol & Chicago: Intellect Books

Martin, R. (2007), The Opposable Mind, Boston: Harvard Business Press

O’Grady, J. V., O’Grady, K. V. (2006), A Design Research Manual: Succeed in Design by Knowing Your Clients and What They Really Need, Gloucester: Rochport Publisher

Raffo, C., O’Connor, J., Lovatt, A. and Banks, M. (2000), ‘Attitudes to formal business training and learning amongst entrepreneurs in the cultural industries: situated business learning through ‘doing with others’, Journal of Education and Work, Vol 13(2), Online Available at: <http://www.mendeley.com/research/attitudes-to-formal-business-training-and-learning-amongst- entrepreneurs-in-the-cultural-industries-situated-business-learning-through-doing-with-others/ #page-1> [Accessed on 15 May 2012 ]

Reid, B., Albert, A. and Hopkins, L. (2010), A Creative Block? The Future of the UK Creative Industries: A Knowledge Economy & Creative Industries Report, London: the Work Foundation

Wiedemann, J. (2011), Logo Design, Köln: Taschen

Blogs

Design Thinking & Entrepreneurship in Practice: http://macekingston.wordpress.com/

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London’s Best Unsung Museums

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Alongside the V&A, Science, Natural History and British Museums, the capital has a host of smaller, lesser-known collections. Here’s our guide to London’s best secret museums.

Museum of London
The history of London, from prehistoric times to the present, told throughreconstructed interiors and street scenes, alongside displays of original artefactsfound during the museum’s archaeological digs. The Stuart, Victorian andTwentieth Century galleries are currently closed for a redevelopment project whichwill transform them by spring 2010, opening up 25 per cent more gallery space.The early galleries will remain open throughout. 150 London Wall, London, EC2Y 5HN St Paul’s or Barbican tube.


Cinema Museum
The Cinema Museum celebrates the art and architecture of the cinema theatre. The museum’s building is under a limited lease – it’s under threat and needs a benefactor – but the posters, projectors, signs and usherettes’ uniforms can still be seen by appointment. The Cinema Museum, The Master’s House, Old Lambeth Workhouse, 2 Dugard Way, SE11 4TH  Kennington tube.


Fashion and Textile Museum
Founded by Zandra Rhodes, Bermondsey’s very own celebration of the London (and international) rag trade. 83 Bermondsey St, SE1 3XF  London Bridge tube/rail.

Bank of England Museum
Tacked on to the end of the Bank of England, this museum is housed in a replica Sir John Soane interior, the largest of its kind in the world. It offers a good blend of modern, child-friendly attractions and dusty older corridors that the grown-ups will enjoy. The museum tells the history of the Bank and currency in the UK, and there’s lots of stuff about forgery.Threadneedle St, EC2  Bank tube

Cartoon Museum
Chortle your way round this amusing little museum, which displays British cartoons, caricatures, comics and animations. On the ground floor, snigger at time-honoured works by Hogarth and Gillray, WWII cartoons depicting Churchill and more recent subjects of satire: Bush and Blair. There’s an excellent selection of amusing books and cards in the shop, an extensive library and a regular cartooning workshops. 35 Little Russell St, WC1 (7580 8155/). Russell Square tube.


Centre for the Magic Arts
The Magic Circle Museum has historic apparatus, memorabilia and posters as well as the largest collection of magic books in Europe. Appointment only.
Centre for the Magic Arts, 12 Stephenson Way, NW1 2HD . Euston Sq tube. Appointment only. 


Charle Dickens Museum
It’s easy to walk past the only surviving London house in which Dickens lived. You have to ring the doorbell to gain access to this unassuming townhouse with just a small plaque to mark it out from its neighbours. Inside, there are four floors of Dickens material, from posters advertising his public speaking to rare editions of his work, in a house decorated as it would have been during Dickens’s tenancy (1837-1839). 48 Doughty St, WC1  Chancery Lane or Russell Square tube. 

Churchill Museum
It’s fitting that the man who had 300,000 people file past his coffin before his state funeral now has a museum dedicated to his life. The Churchill Museum is part of the Cabinet War Rooms, preserved to recreate the Cabinet meetings held below ground in WWII. Churchill’s extension explores both his childhood and career while his voice booms out those famous speeches. Clive Steps, King Charles St, SW1  Westminster tube.


National Army Museum
Predictably, weapons feature prominently in here: the 2,500 edged weapons, 200 pole arms and 1,850 firearms should keep bloodthirsty teenagers interested. But it’s the human side of the exhibits that make the National Army Museum work, including oral histories from World War I veterans, and the order that launched the Charge of the Light Brigade. Royal Hospital Rd, SW3   Sloane Square tube.

New London Architecture Museum
A museum in the broader sense, this has regular exhibitions about the future of architecture and planning in London. Includes an incredible scale model of London in its lobby.  The Building Centre, 26 Store St, WC1E 7BT   Goodge St tube.


Old Operation Theatre Museum
This is the oldest operating theatre in Britain, complete with wooden spectator galleries, lodged up in the roof of a baroque church. St Thomas’s Hospital is long gone from this site but its hair-raising collection of pre-anaesthetic surgical instruments survives.  9a St Thomas St, SE1   London Bridge tube/rail.


Royal Academy of Music Museum
The academy’s museum boasts hundreds of different musical instruments. Marylebone Rd, NW1 5HT  Regent’s Park tube. 


Royal Air Force Museum
Fancy a career as a pilot? In the interactive Aeronauts Gallery you can take a pilotaptitude test to discover whether you are, or not, the ‘right stuff’, plus there’s asimulator (extra charge) to help you identify if you’d be able to keep your lunchdown. Other attractions include 80 aircraft and a multimedia account of the Battle of Britain. Grahame Park Way, NW9  Colindale or Broadway rail.

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
This 120-year history of consumerism, culture, design, domestic life, fashion, folly and fate, presented as a magnificently cluttered time tunnel of cartons and bottles, toys and advertising displays, is a small part of the collection amassed by Robert Opie – son of the celebrated collectors of children’s lore and literature Iona and Peter Opie – since the day in 1963 when the then 16-year-old arrived home with a Munchies wrapper and declared his intention never to throw away anything ever again. Colville Mews, Lonsdale Rd, W11  Notting Hill Gate tube.

Museum of Domestic Design & Architeture
This outpost of Middlesex University focuses on British domestic design from 1870 to the present. Themed temporary exhibitions draw out quotidian treasures from its collections. Part of the fun is revelling in nostalgia for a lost way of life, be it butcher boys, ‘make ‘n’ mend’ or Soda Streams.  Cat Hill, Barnet, EN4  Cockfosters tube.


Museum of Immigration and Diversity
Just one building between Brick Laneand Spitalfields Market tells much ofthe story of immigration into London’sEast End. This museum has been thehome of a Huguenot master silk weaverfleeing persecution from Louis IV’sFrance, a nineteenth-centurysynagogue, a community centre whereanti-fascist marches were planned andnow it’s at the heart of the Bengali community. It houses a small exhibitionexploring immigrants’ stories. The museum only holds occasional openings as itneeds money for repairs.
19 Princelet St, E1 Liverpool St tube/rail.


Sherlock Holmes Museum
The last word in factional conceit, 221b’s study isa loving Victorian recreation and a splendid photoop. Bedrooms are fittingly scattered with iconicpersonal effects, make-believe papers andparaphernalia, and waxwork tableaux from thestories have recently been added upstairs. 221b Baker St, NW1  Baker St tube.

Museum of Fulham Palace
Located in Bishop’s Park just north of the Thames, Fulham Palace is a relativelyundiscovered London gem. Until WWII it variously served as a summer retreat andpermanent residence to the bishops of London. Its attractive grounds are its bestasset – look out for the Bishops’ Tree, a cedar with some peculiar growths: woodensculptures of churchmen peeping out over the top. After that, relax on the verdantlawn with scrumptious snacks from the rather posh Drawing Room Café. Indoors,there’s a gallery and small museum (open Saturday to Tuesday), with a handful ofwell-designed exhibits at children’s height. Kids can position their faces in a mirrorpainted with bishops’ hats, or guess the smells of herbs found in the garden (watchout for the sneaky addition of stinky manure). A quiet, pretty and highly civilisedretreat from the urban jungle. Bishops Avenue, SW6  Putney Bridge tube.

Grant Museum of Zoology
If you’re not fazed by the skeletons of a walrus,a baboon and a giant iguanadon that face theentrance, you’ll find many a fascinating animalspecimen here (quite a lot of them preserved inglass jars, and plenty of skeletons). Part ofUniversity College London, it might at firstappear chaotically cluttered, but specimens arecarefully categorised into evolutionary groups.University College London, Gower St, WC1E   Goodge St tube.

Guildhall Clockmakers’ Museum
Situated in a single room within the Guildhall Library building, this collection ofwatches and clocks is reckoned to be the oldest in the world. The collection tellsthe story of clockmakers in London and Europe and contains some of the mostdecadent and spectacular timepieces you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, EC2  St Paul’s tube.


The Importance of an Investigation of the Determinants of the UK Creative Industrie

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According to the recent report by the Creative and Cultural Skills, creative industries have become an increasingly important driver of growth for the UK economy. This is closely consistent with the conclusion of NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts) that the UK creative industries will take centre-stage as a major high growth contributor to the UK economy over the next ten years. The report produced by the Creative and Cultural Skills suggests that during the five year period from 2007 to 2011, the UK creative industries which consist of films, music, fashion, television, and video games production have experienced an annual growth rate of about 4.5% – almost twice higher than that of the rest of the country’s economy. At the time being, there are about 150,000 creative businesses in the sector. In total, they contribute about £80 billion to UK value added. In addition, these industries together have about 1.5 million employees on their payrolls – a number almost equal to that of the UK financial sector.

These above figures san really speak a lot by themselves. However, they are still not the end of the story. As suggested by Lazzeretti, the future for the UK creative industries in the next decades will be even more optimistic since a lot of growth opportunities for these are likely to arise from constant innovations and the continuous development of digital technologies. These will certainly enhance creative businesses to improve their business models and hence their contribution to the growth of the UK economy. The massive success of iTunes over the last 3 years can provide an excellent example to illustrate why the perspective for these industries will be so optimistic. Hence, in the next ten year, UK creative industries are expected to account for 7% of the UK economy, a contribution comparable to that of the country’s financial sector.

The increasing importance of the UK creative industries to the country’s economy has an important implication about the need to figure out approaches to enhance the sustainable development of these industries so that they can contribute better to the UK economy. However, until now the current literature has remained almost silent on this critical issue. Put it differently, no study has been directed toward the investigation of how the growth of these industries in the UK can be facilitated. 

The study will be very useful for the academic camp, policy makers, and creative businesses in the country. In particular, its major findings will form significant contributions to the current literature since no study so far has touched this important issue in the UK context. At the same time, UK policy makers will be provided with an insight into how critical the growth of these creative industries is to the UK economy and how it can be promoted through the employment of appropriate mechanisms and policies. In other words, the study is going to give them feasible recommendations on how to enable their creative industries to make more significant contributions to the economy. Finally, from the creative businesses’ point of view, this kind of study is essential in the sense that it will enable them to see where they are now and where they may travel to, given the country’s policies on their development. 

So because of above all, the study of this aspect should be paid much more attention as well as carried on as quickly as possible.

West End Musicals

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Walking along different tube stations, it is easy for me to pay much attention on numbers of eye-catching posters of various musicals. No need to say, museums are one of the biggest attraction in the metropolitan multi-cultural city. That is also a big reason for me to come to London to study and experience art and design.

The West End theatre district not only stands as one of the biggest performing art districts in the world, it brings a large amount of income to the economy as well. Undoubtedly, musicals in London are perfect examples which could be considered as an art master piece with good commercial value. Moreover, there are many good side effects brought by theatre economy.

                     

London’s West End is one of the world’s two biggest centres of performing arts, along with New York Broadway. It is synonymous with British theater. Precisely, West End Theatre (West End theater district), is managed by the Society of London Theatre, which includes 49 theaters. Except for the Barbican Centre, the Old Vic Theatre and several other theatres, most of them are located the West centre London, forming the theatre district in the highly developed commercial and entertainment city centre. So many theaters, concentrated in such a limited area in the world, New York’s Broadway can be compared. However in terms of history and tradition, the West End is much older than Broadway.

As a creative industry, West End is a big-earning export of foreign exchange, and its main foreign exchange earnings is from overseas tourists and export repertoire. According to the statistics of the London Tourist Board, the theater is an important reason for many tourists to visit London.

The West End economic benefits created for the British also brought considerable job market. According to statistics, about 2.7 million were employed directly related to the West End theatre industry, accounting for 12% of the entire number of employees of London’s cultural and entertainment such as theatre performers and staff, ticket agents and props apparel production industry. Besides,. 1.4 million people were working within theatre-related areas, such as a theatre publishing, record sales.More people benefitted due to the prosperity of the West End District, such as catering, hotels, transportation and other industries.

Identity for a Design Company

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When I was in during my Easter holiday, I went to several Chinese design companies to learn some practical skills. I did learnt a lot and enjoyed my time there. However I still deeply felt the chaos of these design companies. They are really in lack of one thing called ‘identity’. Before a design company design for your client, you need to set up your own identity. It does not only help yourself to build up your reputation, but also help your clients.

Any communications company setting up in the 21st century must know about strategic positioning. It has to know what it is offering and find consistent ways of delivering its message. The design studio must itself be treated as a brand, just like all the brands we work with. The name and brand may be eye-catching and well-designed, but this alone is not enough to indicate clearly how a company positions itself. Our perception of an organisation is the result of a series of actions and attitudes. We can say that, in general, name and brand help to create the first impression of a product or service. Nevertheless, this perception can only be consolidated if the company has clear objectives and is able to state them in a consistent and meaningful manner.

An efficient company needs to innovate and act with determination, courage, and attitude. Thinking, talking and doing can no longer be separated. The synergy created by the three must visible and tangible if we are to achieve our desired objectives. Therefore, when we decide to set up a new design company, we must, without question, search for a striking and instantly recognisable identity to publicise our professional skills and objectives. We must recognise the importance of developing a strategy to expand our field of activity. We have always been determined to operate on a global scale. This is totally achievable with all the IT and networking we now have. 

About Branding

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Branding is certainly not a light topic – whole publications & hundreds of books have been written on the topic, however to put it in a nutshell you could describe a ‘brand’ as an organisation, service or product with a ‘personality’ that is shaped by the perceptions of the audience. On that note, it should also be stated that a designer cannot “make” a brand – only the audience can do this. A designer forms the foundation of the brand.

Many people believe a brand only consists of a few elements – some colours, some fonts, a logo, a slogan and maybe  some music added in too. In reality, it is much more complicated than that. You might say that a brand is a ‘corporate image’.

The fundamental idea and core concept behind having a ‘corporate image’ is that everything a company does, everything it owns and everything it produces should reflect the values and aims of the business as a whole.

It is the consistency of this core idea that makes up the company, driving it, showing what it stands for, what it believes in and why they exist. It is not purely some colours, some typefaces, a logo and a slogan.

As an example, let’s look at the well known IT company, Apple. Apple as a company, projects a humanistic corporate culture and a strong corporate ethic, one which is characterised by volunteerism, support of good causes &involvement in the community. These values of the business are evident throughout everything they do, from their innovative products and advertising,right through to their customer service. Apple is an emotionally humanist brand that really connects with people – when people buy or use their products or services; they feel part of the brand, like a tribe even. It is this emotional connection that creates their brand – not purely their products anda bite sized logo.

For a more thorough understanding of branding, in simple terms, I recommend Wally Olin’s: The Brand Handbook.

Customer Loyalty

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In a down economy, price sensitivity can trump loyalty. Without loyal customers,however, businesses can lose a substantial revenue stream, higher profit margins and enthusiastic referrals. Innovative companies are staying ahead of the trend by deploying strategies built on consumer segmentation to strengthen the bonds with these high-profitpotential customers. These strategies go beyond the classic marketing applications of segmentation to drive customer-facing aspects of a business.

For most businesses, loyal customers are the ultimate quest: consumers who wouldn’t think of buying a car from another dealer, shoppers who are on a first-name basis with a boutique store clerk, coffee shop regulars who don’t even need to place an order to get their half-cafe, no-whip soy latte. Loyal customers provide businesses with a steady revenue stream, higher profit margins and confirmed evangelists who virtually—and sometimes virally—do much of their marketing for them.

Principles for creating loyal customers
Despite these success stories, applying consumer segmentation across an enterprise is not alwaysan easy sell. Some sales managers resist focusing on the most valuable customers over the long-term, preferring to acquire as many customers in as short a time as possible—especially if theircompensation is structured to reward that objective. Others may consider customer loyalty aqualitative attribute that is less important than such quantitative metrics as product sales. For thosecompanies ready to undertake an enterprise-wide segmentation initiative to increase customerloyalty, there are a handful of guiding principles that are important to achieving success:

  • Identify key customer segments
  • Create target groups of similar segments
  • Prospect for look-alikes in target markets and your own customer database
  • Deliver differentiated messages and experiences
  • Implement the approach throughout the departments within your organization
  • Measure the effectiveness and adjust your strategy

Using consumer segmentation to build customer loyalty can help companies prosper even in a difficult economy. By shifting resources away from mass-marketing channels to a focused campaign that puts their best customers front and center, businesses can improve sales and decrease costs, while building a loyal clientele that allows them to weather this challenging market.