something for your mind
let’s focus on how to
keep customers happy
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
brains over beauty
design is more than
just a pretty face
sounds kinda 80’s, but
we promise you it’s not
yeah, we did this
work recently completed
by the grow team
2 thoughts. 01.09
01.09 thoughts. 3
BY ANTHONY RYMAN — MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GROW
we did this!
PO Box 12212
Being English has several redeeming values, one of which is the bulldog spirit,
otherwise defined as “stiff upper lip”. Whether our countenance and demeanour
is a result of foul weather and bland food is open to question, but there’s
something about the ‘whingeing poms’ when times get tough, that is well
The media have fallen over themselves in the rush to describe the ‘credit crisis’
as the worst since the great Depression, and other expletives too numerous
to mention. But one thing is for sure, in times of hardship, most people go
back to what they know and trust, and that is even truer of brands and
MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART
At grow, we pride ourselves on positive thinking and creating award-winning
work for our clients that reinforces their positioning and differentiation.
This allows clients to acquire greater market share and grow their business with
less effort and decreasing customer acquisition cost. I thought it wise therefore
to look at what makes us truly happy, as consumers, and what doesn’t.
This forms the central tenet of branding, to understand human behaviour and
what motivates us, in order to develop a brand that is true, believable and honest.
Studying consumers means studying human beings. So let’s start with the most
important question any marketer can ever ask him or herself: what makes human
beings and therefore your customers happy?
The ‘happiness’ question is likely to resurface frequently in the next few years;
especially as mature consumer societies are faced with formidable (economic)
competition from emerging, hard working economies. If these experienced
consumers decide that the race to the (money) top is crucial, they must all work
harder. If they decide life is about more than economic well-being, a whole new
world will open up.
To communicate the uniqueness
of the Museum of Islamic Art
and to present the museum
and its artefacts with a visually
interesting and non-stereotypically
Dynamic colours and shapes were
chosen to lead the observer into
the design. Calming tones of blue
were used together with vibrant reds
and golds inspired from the artefacts
themselves to communicate the true
stature of the Museum of Islamic Art
in Doha, Qatar.
The Museum attracted over
35,000 visitors in its opening
weekend and is now firmly
positioned as a ‘must see’
attraction for visitors and
In fact, these ‘old economies’ could lead again, this time showing the way to
leading a good life: a balanced mix of economic well being and everything else
(from having more time for loved ones, to focusing on creativity and skills versus
just consuming, to more eco-friendly lifestyles).
Let’s take a closer look at ‘happiness’: for most people, happiness is the ultimate
goal, yet often remains temporary and elusive. The booming new science of
happiness has shown that it’s within individuals’ power to maximize their own
happiness. For instance, University of Minnesota researcher David Lykken1
concluded that about 50% of satisfaction with life comes from our genes.
The rest, he found, is subject to our voluntary decisions and attitudes. So let’s
focus on the 50% of happiness that human beings can completely control.
4 thoughts. 01.09
Theories of Happiness
In the last 50 years, in mature consumer societies, living standards,
life expectancy and material wealth have soared. Income has almost tripled.
The size of the typical newly built house has more than doubled. The only thing
that hasn’t soared is happiness. In fact, it’s remained completely unchanged.2
Studies by Ruut Veenhoven at Erasmus University in Rotterdam have show
that after annual income exceeds USD 10,000; money tends to decreasingly
affect happiness until an income of USD 50,000 has been reached. Above that,
more money makes almost no difference at all. If we examine one of the central
tenets of grow’s philosophy when examining consumers, Abraham Maslow, a
US psychologist who was a leader in the humanistic school of psychology and
created a ‘hierarchy of needs’ to explain human motivation.
01.09 thoughts. 5
If wealth doesn’t bring happiness, then what does? An entirely new field
of study called Positive Psychology is dedicated to answering this question.
It’s a booming movement that focuses on what makes people feel good.
And it has proven that happiness and optimism are skills that can be taught
and learned. The key assertion of Positive Psychology is that there are provable
techniques for raising our own levels of happiness. In short, we need to maximize
just three key factors. First, we should derive more pleasure from sensory life
experiences. Second, we should become more engaged and deeply involved in
work, hobbies and relationships. And third, we should find ways of making our
lives feel more meaningful.
To test the ideas of Positive Psychology, two of its pioneers, Ed Diener and
Martin Seligman, conducted a study at the University of Illinois. They found
that the most salient characteristics shared by those with the highest levels of
happiness were strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending
time with them.
Happiness and Location
Where people live has a significant role in their level of happiness.
Several recent studies have sought to declare the world’s happiest people.
The World Happiness Database named the Danes, the Swiss and the Maltese
the happiest. What makes a nation happy? National happiness is most closely
associated with health levels, prosperity, education and trust in public institutions.
Democracy is a sure guide to happiness. It seems self-determination through
political engagement boosts life satisfaction.
Level 1 - Food, shelter, clothing
The developed world has reached Level 4, proving their worth and self
esteem and validating their success. And yet, we’re still not happy! Level 5
is next: how do companies appeal to people’s need for self-fulfilment, faith,
belief and authenticity?
So why aren’t people getting happier as they are getting wealthier?
Most people judge what they have according to what others have. So rather
than being content with satisfying one’s own needs, most people can only be
happy by being comparatively better off.
Consumers measure their comparative wealth mainly using Positional Goods like
top jobs, luxury items, and the best education. They compete for these exclusive
positional goods, judging each other by acquisition and accomplishment of
them. In societies that are not so much based on hierarchy, positional goods
have less of an effect because there are multiple niches in which people can
show their worth.
Yet in most societies, Status Anxiety is getting worse. In England we call it,
keeping up with the Joneses.” It’s eating away at happiness faster because
the rich are getting richer faster and their lives are more visible. This is causing
Middle-Class Anxiety where people with more than comfortable lives believe
themselves to be inadequate.
Why doesn’t wealth promote happiness? In his 1958 book “The Affluent
Society”, economist John Kenneth Galbraith argued that affluence allowed
us to escape miserable lives of hunger and sickness and the social conflicts
that stemmed from poverty. Yet affluence has also caused many unforeseen
dissatisfactions. Galbraith believed that the materialism would breed discontent.
He accused advertising of conditioning consumers into thinking they needed
things they really didn’t and creating artificial desires that would be inherently
disappointing to fulfil.
“Oh that a man’s
reach should exceed
his grasp, or what’s
a Heaven for?”
Psychologists Robert Biswas-Diener and Ed Diener found that though there are
regional differences in happiness, humans are hardwired to be happy. They found
Latin Americans to be the happiest people in the world. Their high spirits in the
face of relative poverty stemmed from a cultural norm that tends to positively
assess life in general.
The Dieners’ research suggested that being happy is an evolutionary
adaptation that helps us flourish in trying circumstances. The ancient mystics
believed that happiness is a ‘state of mind’. In today’s context it is a positive
and personal response to difficult times. Do we buckle under the pressure
of the growing epidemic of economic gloom or take it up as a challenge and
manage change for our own benefit? One country is even using happiness as
a measure of development. Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is introducing a
metric known as Gross National Happiness. Considerations will include how
people use and balance their time, the health of the culture and community,
and the quality of governance.3
The conclusions of Positive Psychology, Happiness Economics and others
show that happiness is chiefly an attitude of gratitude and acceptance.
Happy people are open to change and have a positive outlook on life.
They engage in purposeful activities that test their abilities, and develop
relationships of respect and closeness.
Successful brands understand the ‘happiness trend’. They know they can’t sell
happiness because true happiness is something people make for themselves.
So smart brands choose to be facilitators and support meaningful self-fulfilment
so people can create their own happiness. In fact, successful brands have a
deep and direct connection with the needs and aspirations of the consumer.
It is an emotional appeal to their senses, thereby building a long and fulfilling
relationship. Leaving behind what Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi described
as the ‘Love Mark’. Savvy consumers will endorse those brands that help them
find and create happiness in themselves.
trendwatching.com, Time Magazine, Newsweek,
BBC, National Opinion Research Center, Universities:
Rotterdam, Erasmus, Southern California, Boston
College, Minnesota, JK Galbraith, Robert Browning,
Andy Warhol among others.
2. National Opinion Research Center
3. BBC and Time Magazine
6 thoughts. 01.09
we did this!
01.09 thoughts. 7
BY LUI ROGLIANO — DESIGN DIRECTOR AT GROW
RITZ-CARLTON DOHA, COLLATERALS
Graphic Design has a long history and is known to be one of the oldest
professions in the world spanning the days when early man adorned their
caves. However in a history spanning centuries, not much has changed in
the way people perceive graphic work.
My thoughts all stem from a term I’ve been kicking around - Social Engineers.
I’m not too sure when I first came across this term or who coined the phrase,
however the central idea is that graphic designers are responsible for shaping
the environment around them. But does this seem pompous? Do we, as
designers, really have that much control or power (insert evil laugh)?
you got that
After chewing on the concept, I’ve decided that it’s almost our responsibility
to ensure that we present society with design that is more than just beautiful.
Design should be strategic, functional, engaging and challenging. It’s not just
about style, it’s about ideas. It’s about communicating key messages.
Our work may not have to be all that beautiful to make a difference - it doesn’t
have to be “up in lights” or draw attention to itself, but it should respond to
the needs/requirements of the business and not to the personal preferences
of the client. Design, after all, has a business function.
Before we even put pen to paper, most designers spend hours researching
to fully understand our subject. We draw on knowledge, experience, research
and a good working process to develop solutions. Don’t get me wrong,
the visual elements are certainly a focus - but not the only focus. It’s about
communication and if the project doesn’t communicate, then it has failed.
That’s why most designers are passionate about design. We see how effective
it can be in changing the lives/opinions/circumstances of the people that
come in contact with it. Design inspires us and we want to pass that on.
Naturally there is a commercial side to the industry which also effects
designers and our work. Clients expect more from designers than the visual.
They need us to meet their expectations and be able to communicate verbally
and in a written sense. We agree that this is a necessity and in doing so,
we commit ourselves to constant refinements to meet their objectives.
It’s a changing world and we at grow take that very, very seriously.
So what better way to get into the swing of it than with a lesson in vocab...
vocabulary, that is.
We’re often on the fringes of futurology (we love our ‘ologys’) as we search
for macro-trends that can shape or influence our clients’ business in the here
and now. On our travels we meet a huge number of new words with new
meanings. So we thought we would introduce a new word in every newsletter
in the hope you’ll sporadically use it as ‘Tai’ did in the movie Clueless.
The tinterweb is a slang word
for the internet. It’s used by geeks
who want to appear cooler than
they actually are. Example:
“I was surfing the tinterweb last
night.”, Geoff the Geek exclaimed.
Source: Urban dictionary
In a nutshell, however, it’s in our best interest to find the best solution for you
and that the answer to your design problem has gone through our well-oiled
cog of research to deliver a solution that’s more than just beautiful.