Nike has always been at the forefront of cutting edge philosophies in the world of design, execution and marketing. One of the most innovative in recent memory was the establishing of Nike Digital Sport in 2010, whose aim was to develop devices and technologies that allowed users to track their personal statistics in any sport in which they participated. For those interested in Nike’s marketing philosophies, head over to Fortune to read the fascinating article in its entirety.
The average American undertakes approximately 170 rituals a day–from shaking hands to picking up their cup of Starbucks. And even though no one gives them a thought, these rituals add up and shape our daily lives. What’s interesting is that the number is steadily increasing. People have added, on average, six new rituals to their portfolio over the past four years. The more stress we feel, the more rituals we carry out.
Rituals create an artificial space around us where we feel safe from our everyday pressures. Trouble at work, trouble with relationships, and trouble with children all add up to us searching for more rituals to keep our anxieties at bay. Take time to observe professional athletes as they prepare for a big race. They are usually engaged in one ritual after another in an attempt to minimize failure and create a positive place for success. However, you don’t need to go much further than surface level to see that the types of rituals we undertake today have changed. All those that involve building anticipation have been replaced with our need for instant gratification–like viewing a photograph within moments of taking it.
Rituals are immensely powerful from a branding point of view (although surprisingly few brands really get how powerful they are). It’s time for all of us to introduce a big dose of patience into our lives, into our routines, and of course, into our brands. Numerous studies show that it’s the anticipation we enjoy the most. Looking forward to a vacation tends to be more rewarding than the actual trip. Planning to buy the latest camera, with its improved features and functions, is a whole lot more exciting than using it. Yet, for some reason we’ve skipped anticipation, opting instead for instant gratification. Sadly, along the way we’ve slowly and unknowingly killed many invaluable rituals which once defined our lives. They now seem odd and outdated. The question is: Were the rituals really that outdated? Or have we become too demanding? (via Martin Lindstrom)
In this Intel Visual Life short documentary, Michael Wolff, co-founder of Wolff Olins Agency and considered one of the preeminent visionaries and perhaps the father of 20th century brand expression and identity, talks about his approach to looking at the world, including the muscles of curiosity, appreciation, and imagination. I admire the innovative branding work of Wolff Olins. This short documentary is another reminder of what it’s all about.
“I have three muscles, without which I couldn’t do my work. The first is curiosity. (You can call it inquisitiveness, you can call it questioning.) The second muscle [is] the muscle of appreciation. It’s not questioning so much as it is noticing… how joyful things can be, how colorful things can be, what already exists as an inspiration. The muscle of curiosity and the muscle of appreciation enable the muscle of imagination. Everybody knows that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What few people realize it is only through the parts that the whole gets delivered. I see seeing as a muscular exercise, like I see curiosity. It’s a kind of being open, really: If you walk around with a head full of preoccupation, you’re not going to notice anything in your visual life.” ~ Michael Wolff”