FCBi’s Pam Larrick: Design, Empathy Will Attract Individuals

NEW YORK — The power of design and empathy should never be underestimated when targeting individuals to build brand and demand, attendees were told June 21 at the DM Days New York Conference & Expo.

Pam Larrick, chairman/CEO of FCBi Worldwide, and Richard Rosen, CEO of Alloy Red Brand Interaction Marketing and Advertising, were the joint keynoters at this three-day annual event attracting direct, interactive and database marketers from the region and elsewhere.

“People are no longer passive receivers of media, but are active receivers of messages,” Ms. Larrick said.

She made that comment after playing a clip from the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian,” where a group chasing Brian yells about their individuality in unison.

“They actually control the media, which reaches them through how they choose to interact with it,” Ms. Larrick said. “You have to touch the individual.”

Firms can achieve empathy by addressing individuals with understanding, recognition and demonstration. Motorola and Target were cited as examples of building brands that individuals have identified with good design and achieving a “whoa factor.”

Addressing consumers from a “My Media” perspective and giving them control is a strong way to show that a firm cares about the individual, Ms. Larrick said. She cited Nike id and the Toyota Scion as examples where consumers are given the tools to design their own products.

Mr. Rosen raised the importance of integrating branding with direct marketing, two disciplines that often seem to be fighting each other. He said marketers should look at brand integration as a science and not just media integration. The two ends should build on each other and don’t have to be seen as in competition.

Ms. Larrick summarized the presentation in a multi-step strategy.

First, design should link to social responsibility, like Avon with breast cancer. Second, design should target business-to-business services with emotional campaigns. Third, design should be efficient. Fourth, design should harness technology. And finally, it should be relevant to the community of the individual and not stopping at the individual’s world, but always yielding new experiences.

“Design and empathy are like the yin and the yang to a good brand and a good marketing strategy,” Ms. Larrick said.

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