Marketing & Strategy

Tokyo 2020: When the abstract world meets the games

The logos for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were recently revealed, and so far, they have been the target of many critics. Something expected for an identity so simple - and yet so deconstructive.

Olympic Games Tokyo

Above are the official emblems of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games at Tokyo, released at the end of July of this year. In order to better understand the factors that led to these graphic representations, I couldn't help but want to find out everything I could in terms of the reasoning behind them.  

According to the Olympic Committee, the first symbol illustrates the letter "T" - in this case "TOKYO, TOMORROW AND TEAM". The Paralympic symbol illustrates the universal sign of "="  - meaning equality. The circle - present in both emblems - represents a more inclusive world. (Source: Official Website Tokyo 2020)

The color black – the combination of all colors – represents human diversity. And the red, the power of every beating heart. (Let's not forget it also represents the sun within the Japanese flag.) 

THE ESSENCE OF IT ALL

“When the world comes together for Tokyo 2020, we will experience the joy of uniting us as one team. By accepting everyone in the world as equals, we will learn the full meaning of coming together as one. The Tokyo 2020 emblems were created to symbolize the power of this unit.” (Source: Official Website Tokyo 2020)

The brand identity and the logo itself were created by designer Kenjiro Sano, who's work was chosen among 104 other competitors. He is well known for his prowess in various creative fields and has won numerous awards on an international scale.

Kenjiro Sano 

THE PROBLEM

Despite not liking the color scheme, I must confess that I find quite interesting the fact of seeing something that differs so greatly from past games, and that genuinely reflects Japanese culture and art. 

Olympic logos

After watching the explanatory video, I fear that the logos are something more along the lines of abstract art and less of a brand that actually communicates something specific.


In terms of typography, it certainly seems a bit more occidental than Asian (some even refer to it as a reformed version of Clarendon). The straight serif disappoints those who expected the classic combination of geometric symbols and sans serif fonts, something perhaps done intentionally with the purpose of conferring more detail to the whole minimalist set. 

But most likely, it is possible that the intention was to provide a nostalgic evolution from the Tokyo 1964 logo, designed by Yasaku Kamemura (notice the yellow). After all, the Japanese are nothing if not devoted to their traditions.

 Tokyo 1964 2020

But the biggest problem - and asset- from this identity lies in its simplicity, and the fact that it generates different interpretations, in a world as connected s this one.

The act of representing diversity through universal geometric symbols is not an easy one - even more so when the task entails presenting them in a new and innovative way. Now imagine what is must be like to design a logo as global as the Olympic games. Challenging, huh?

PLAGIARISM?

It's no surprise when the world accuses a brand of copying something previously seen somewhere. And with Tokyo 2020 it was no different.

According to sources, Belgian courts will issue a lawsuit against the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  Designer Olivier Debie claims that the Olympic logo is a copy of one of his designs, specifically the Théatre de Liège, launched in 2013. 

 Tokyo and Theatre de Liege

I personally don't pay much attention to rumors on plagiarism. For me, good ideas may arise in different places, making it common for things to look similar, especially in a technology-driven era. I do, however, consider that this particular case is beyond common sense. Both designs are extremely similar in proportion, balance, number of elements, form, typeface, and in... well, almost everything. I probably would have felt - and done- the same thing Olivier Debie has done.

The Committee insists that it thoroughly researched all trademarks on an international level before announcing the winning artwork. Mr. Sano claims he had never seen the other design. Could that be true? In any case, I  honestly doubt Mr. Debie will win - although he does have a point.

We still need to wait five years until the games, and many interactions and deconstructions will still be made with this identity. Perhaps it will improve with pictograms and be slightly altered with some dynamic graphic arrangements, making it a bit more commercial, without losing its Japanese delicacy.

As they say: "2020 is right around the corner." Let's wait and see.

Follow Giovanna Lettieri at EsttudioG

National Congress of Marketing in Mexico: Day 2

Congreso Nacional Mercadotecnia Mexico

The second (and final) day of the 6th National Marketing Congress in Mexico City was nothing short of an insightful and notable experience revolving around the world of Marketing, Advertising and Media. 

The day kicked-off with a conference by Fabian González, Marketing & Corporate Communications Manager of Comex, who dealt with the issue of Street Art: the urban art of selling and how this is linked to the company’s marketing strategy. He shared some great insights on how to take advantage of this wonderful communication tool: 

  • Creative strength + independence = inspiration
  • Color + art = transforming power
  • Communication + awareness = action
  • Empowerment + entitlement = movement
  • Individual expression + content = unique and unrepeatable
  • Urban art + brands = disruption

We amidst the era of democratization of content, where art is reachable to all of us. Brands should take advantage of this to emotionally connect with consumers and inspire them.

Meanwhile, Adrián Peregrino, CEO of Spotify Mexico spoke about the digital music industry and shared some interesting facts with the audience:

  • Technology has radically changed the way we listen to music. When Napster was launched, the record labels lost 50% of their business.
  • 59% of the music industry income in Mexico is coming from digital platforms. For the first time digital data is more relevant than the physical one.  
  • There is a 79% annual increase of music apps in the world, while video streaming is increasing by 114%.

There is no doubt Nike is one of the most renowned brands when it comes to innovation. And this was confirmed when its E-commerce Marketing Leader, Ana Lizz Pardo took the stand and spoke about social videos, highlighting some stimulating points, such as:

  • Digitally savvy kids grow up and change everything
  • It’s a she-conomy
  • Social networks fuel the participatory economy
  • Consumers control the relationship
  • Localism creates a new way of life
  • Internet has an emotional side
  • Context is king
  • Facebook video is the new YouTube
  • Real-time storytelling
  • Viral is the only currency

“In social media, you are not competing with other brands, you are competing against the user’s family and friends.” - Ana Lizz Pardo.

José Alberto Terán, CEO & Founder of Terán TBWA gave some valuable advice based on his extensive experience working on several pitches for new accounts. He suggests to:

  • Choose your battles, don't go for everything
  • Work with your best-in-class team
  • Pay attention to the brief
  • Be organized to win and be prepared to invest
  • Act as a brand
  • Adopt a posture, choose a topic
  • Do you want to be right or do you want to win?
  • Make it smart, make it beautiful, have fun
  • Rehearse
  • Use your best presenters
  • Never give up - fight until the end
  • If you win, quickly celebrate and then start working. If you loose, have a postmortem.
  • Winning a pitch is just the beginning

When it comes to positioning, Corona is without a doubt an expert. Acting as the brand's representative, we had the pleasure of listening to Jorge Inda, Brand Director of Corona and Bud Light about the 4 key elements to develop a successful branding: superior product, a distinctive positioning, consistency and the establishment of consumer loyalty programs.

Jorge also suggested we go out of the traditional, and sometime subjective scheme, and instead ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the brand's vision?
  • What is my play field?
  • Which elements will allow us to win?
  • How can we create physical and mental availability?
  • How can we improve the world?

To continue with a superb lecture, we received Mike Arciniega and Arturo Diaz, Creative VPs and Founding Partners of Archer Troy, one of the top independent agencies, recognized for their campaigns for the film industry. They took us through their vision of the creative process to achieve a brand positioning.

Mike and Arturo raised a series of valuable points for all brands that seek to develop effective creativity that leaves a mark in consumers' heart and mind:

  • The foundations of our business are the ideas. Ideas move the world
  • Explore your surroundings and generate reference frames all the time
  • Come up with ideas instead of occurrences.
  • Generate simple but powerful ideas.
  • Never get stuck with the same idea. Go beyond.
  • Don’t use the same style in your ideas; versatility will be your strongest tool.
  • Exercise your thinking daily
  • Love your ideas or abandon them
  • Creativity always give you revenge
  • There are no manuals in creativity

“To find that great idea, muses should find you working.” - Mike Arciniega and Arturo Díaz

On key topic in marketing these days is Big Data. Mario Nissan, Performance Director of Flock, offered some great observations on this matter:

  • It’s important to have a data strategy. Big data is about quality of information, not quantity.
  • Big data should be: Smart and clean data.
  • We all leave a digital footprint when we go online. Brands should take advantage of this.
  • We should always ask: What issue is it solving? Is it useful for people?
  • Focus on the consumer is key.
  • We should seriously consider always the privacy and security of the information.
  • Don’t forget to study this concept and test it. Data Marketing is more reachable than we think.

Just a few hours before wrapping up the event, Alejandra Rueda, Shopper Marketing VP of Primer Nivel Group explained the trends that will set the consumer shopping habits for the next years:

  • Security: Consumers are feeling vulnerable and brands should make them feel safe.
  • Authenticity and innovative: Individualization is essential.
  • Hybrid consumers: Consumption is segmented and experiential
  • Diverse Society: Traditional roles are evolving.
  • Constant social movement: Connectivity allows shopping access 24/7.
  • Time management: Products should make consumer’s life easier.
  • Connectivity: Consumption guide is set by the virtual world.
  • Health conscious: There is an increasingly cultural consumption of healthier products.
  • New social classes.

Iliana Pérez, Marketing and Business Development VP of Hill-Knowlton Strategies discussed the concepto of Innovative Influence and highlighted these key points a brand should consider:

  • Today the most demanding critic is the consumer. They have access to all the information.
  • Consumers area looking for unique experiences, but most important, they want it now! Timing is critical nowadays.
  • Brands must not only worried about being present, they should be useful. This is key.
  • We need to constantly innovate. Brands should have 365 days of disruption, WOW is not enough, we must maintain. 
  • Find insights. An insight is that thin line between what consumers say they want and what they really want.

The final lecture was held by Álvaro Rattinger, CEO of Merca 2.0 who explained the concept of Asymmetric Marketing - a result of small actions that produce exponential results. These are the small details that can bring big results and where the focus should be when a brand is looking to innovate.  Álvaro explained the following:

The concept that consumers want everything for free is false. When you make an effort for them your consumers are willing to pay for it, when you don’t, then they want it for free.

  • Innovative daily. The more you practice, the less chances you will have of failing.
  • Innovation is not about budget, is about making things happen. Is about willingness.
  • Creativity is not innovation
  • Be platform agnostic
  • Be metric centric
  • Use Big Data as an ally for the customization of products
  • Be consumer-centric

We can certainly say that this year’s congress has far exceeded the audience expectations.  Personally listening to the experiences and best practices of the marketing and advertising industry leaders of Mexico is not only an enriching benchmarking exercise but also an inspirational experience for us marketers.

Congreso Nacional Mercadotecnica Mexico

Photo credits: Martha Debayle

Translation by: Edgar Estévez

National Congress of Marketing in Mexico: Day 1

Congreso Nacional Mercadotecnia Mexico

Grupo Kätedra and the prestigious magazine Merca 2.0 were hosts to the 6th annual National Congress of Marketing in Mexico City – the nation’s gathering for everything related to marketing, advertising, communications and media.

The two-day event took place at the World Trade Center, home to the most relevant business, cultural and entertainment festivals in Mexico. Big names in the marketing industry shared the most relevant concepts of our modern times: social media, content marketing, e-commerce, experiential marketing, ROI and other topics – all relevant to the creative industry as well as entrepreneurs and professionals of the passionate discipline that is marketing. A sense of innovation, exploration and creativity was felt in every panel and conference during the Congress, an event that received over 3,000 guests, specialists and authors of the most extraordinary strategies of the past decade.

Jaime Aparicio, Regional Director of Easy Taxi, kick-started the two-day event with the first conference, in which he cited the 10 changes that are being witnessed in the modern-day customer:

  • ¼ of the current population in Mexico (30 million) are millennials, of which 274% are more influenced by blogs, websites, social media, a generation that is constantly hyper connected.
  • These consumers prefer experience to all else and are concerned about their health and the planet.
  • 70% of millenials have a high regard to the approval and opinion of their peers when it comes to decision-making. 61% of these tend to review products and services online.
  • 90% use multiple screens at the same time and 48% use social media to learn about new trends.

Jesús Padilla, Director of PayPal Mexico explained the new tendencies regarding mobile payments, in terms of consumer behavior, available technologies and the global and local context in which the brand is occupied in:

  • PayPal projects that the level of expenditure through e-commerce will be of 290 million dollars.
  • In Mexico, 50% of sales within the fashion industry are processed through mobile devices.
  • 88% of smartphone owners in Mexico are between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • It’s projected that between the years 2015 and 2017, the demand of mobile solutions for brands will increase.
  • Between 2019 and 2020, there will be a rise in the number of purchase platforms for mobile devices.
  • In the year 2020-2022, online shopping will become an omni-channel experience.

Romeo Márquez, Happiness Ambassador in Gelattina gave an in-depth view on the subject of millennials - the consumers of the future:

  • They look for ways of making money before turning 18
  • They are willing to try new ways of interaction
  • They are multitasking and multiscreen
  • 60% write product reviews online
  • They trust their friends more than corporations
  • They are concerned about helping the planet
  • They don’t have an immediate interest in buying a house, a car or getting married.
  • Their purchasing power is too much to be ignored by brands

Carlos Herrero, President of Strategy, Communications and Media spoke about the main mistakes within the industry of Public Relations. The experienced professional mentioned the four main pillars of PR: positioning, credibility, reputation and empathy.

He made a special emphasis on the fact that Public Relations is not meant to substitute advertising, but rather to complement it. One mistake made by agencies is that they are unaware of certain key aspects of their clients and seldom identify a precise target, or pay attention to the product’s main attributes.

He also mentioned that Public Relations is a human science, and as such, should be measured as one. It should not be measured in terms of money, but in terms of the relationships that are created and brand improvement. For Carlos, brands should integrate digital communications in their PR plan.

Another interesting topic is the future of content marketing, expressed by Gonzalo Sevilla, Director of New Business for ESPN Latin North. He goes on to explain that the concept of Content Marketing goes further back than one might imagine. However, today it’s more important than ever. Content marketing is the act of telling relevant stories with a commercial purpose.

He also insisted in the importance of brand legitimacy, which is vital for a brand’s credibility and sustainability when it comes to a successful content marketing strategy.

Key steps for a successful CM strategy:

  • Look for a relevant story to tell
  • Integrate the brand with that story in an organic way
  • Tell the story without losing sight of both the communication platform and target
  • Legitimize the brand
  • Generate power of influence in the consumer.

Carlos Quintana, General Manager of Lagencita shared the means to having a successful dialogue with the current consumer:

  • Content Marketing: When it comes to creating content, brands should remember consumers are not stupid.
  • Branded entertainment: Brands are the principle generators of entertainment.
  • Wearables: 1 out of 5 people have a wearable gadget. It’s a 5,800 million dollar industry.
  • Communications in movement: One third of all purchases during the last Black Friday were made via mobile devices.
  • Supremacy of audiovisual content: One quality video can elevate sales in a 74%.
  • Gamification: 70% of businesses within the Forbes Global 2000 will invest in gamification in the near future.
  • Right-time marketing: A well published tweet at the precise moment during an important event can generate up to 400% retweets and 421% favorites.
  • Generation of experiences: Definitely preferred over products
  • Native advertising: Current investment in native ads is 4,800 million dollars. This is expected to grow to up to 8,000 by the year 2018.
  • Big data: 94% of businesses require personalization. We must define micro-targets.
  • Collaboration: We live the era of economic cooperation.

Guillermo Pérezbolde, CEO & Founder of Mente Digital taught the basic steps in measuring the ROI of social media strategies, by diving into the interesting concept of ROO (Return on Objective’s.)  This term refers to actions that do not necessarily produce a sale, but that facilitate them. ROO is not a concept that measures currency, but the fulfillment of objectives, actions and accomplishments according to these.

He also stated that aside from that, brands needs to generate brand awareness, engagement and need to work on their Online Reputation Management (ORM).

Metrics that can be used when it comes to ROO:

  • Audience
  • Engagement
  • Conversation
  • Influence
  • Conversion
  • Scope / Reach

Emilio Trabulse, Director of Marketing in Grupo Martí shared the key elements that generate brand experience:

  • Thinking like the client
  • Market segmentation
  • Differentiation
  • Innovation
  • Simplicity
  • Credibility and congruence
  • Added value
  • Personalized service
  • Social responsability
  • 360° communications
  • Off/Online experiences

One experience – even a good one - is not enough in order to sustain a lasting impression on a customer. Brands must prevail over time.

Experienced advertising executive Sebastián Arrechedera, CEO of Arrechedera Claverol, shared advice on what to consider when choosing an advertising / creative agency:

  • Step out of your comfort zone: Dare to experiment and let the agency guide you during the process.
  • Research, analyze and filter: Avoid gathering different agencies with different profiles. Be precise, research the firm’s background and pick the option that best suits your brand.
  • Don’t look for a “provider.” Instead, seek a partner. Don’t hire an agency in order to tell it what do. Consider it a strategic partner with experience within the area.
  • Believe

Day 1 of the National Congress of Marketing was enriching thanks to the expert advice and experiences of its lecturers. It is, without a doubt, a terrific example of the quality and level of professionals within the industry of Marketing and Advertising in Mexico. 

Nominated for the Journalist of the Year Award

I am extremely honored to have been nominated for the Journalist of the Year Award by the folks of Cannes Lions Dominicana. It's very flattering to be considered for the first edition of an award that values the efforts of all those whole love the industry and enjoy writing about it. 

One can't help feeling tremendously grateful and motivated!

Journalist of the Year Cannes Lions