Surviving & Thriving: Innovating Through Recession to Success

Innovation, that oh-so-elusive yet desirable trait touted as the engine for economic growth by our hackneyed politicians, is actually the life blood of any business but never more so then in our current economic market. 


Fresher, smarter thinking is critical in business for ongoing growth and prosperity. Product and service development is a constant, iterative process to respond to competition and market demands.


New products, methods and ideas are about constant change which for some can be uncomfortable and stressful while for others it’s the essential variety on which they thrive. 


Take the humble egg, largely overlooked and seen as a commodity purchase with generally poor packaging, weak brands and negligible consumer recognition. Clonarn Clover, a small Irish family artisan egg producer has launched a new brand, O’Egg, to market with white eggs in a pink box ! They are the only artisan free range producer of white eggs in Ireland, said to be far superior for lightness in baking, and sold at a higher price to the common brown egg. 


O Egg White Eggs Icograda 


The O’Egg white eggs are packaged in an unlikely bright pink box, ensuring on shelf impact, targeted at a female consumer. Also the O’Egg brand is supporting “Action Breast Cancer”, with the logo for same prominently displayed on pack which also resonates with their target market. Product, brand, packaging and marketing inventiveness on a modest budget to shake up a sector which has seen very little ingenuity in a quite a while.


In this period of economic fluctuation, armed with the immeasurable online resources at our finger tips, we are actually presented with multiple opportunities unlike any generation before.


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A great online example is EBookFling, a startup that creates a virtual e-book swap, facilitating lending of e-books between consumers using lending features enabled by Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. 


Ebookfling How To


Borrowers upload titles of what they own and can swop with anybody signed up to the service for a temporary swop enabling them to “try before they buy”. Readers get exposure to try new authors without the risk of up front expense and the author gets a type of exposure not previously available. It’s a win:win with a service facilitating more fluid transactions between buyer and seller. 




Some might say our economy is in the toilet but Poo-Pourri is a fantastic example of entrepreneurship and product innovation. In a little over three years this start up business has grown to a €3 million enterprise. Poo-Pourri is made from a secret mix of essential oils sprayed into the toilet bowl and used to mask the smell in the bathroom before the deed is done, rather then after, like traditional deodorisers. Its far more effective and eco friendly ! Today the range consists of more then 60 products successfully selling in five countries.


Poo Pourri Sign


It is essential to become a fast discoverer with low cost, swift experimentation, prototyping and piloting, all of which leads to new insights and opportunities. Successful innovation (product or service) requires key ingredients some of which include:

• Ideas which solve important problems for your customer whose needs you must understand intimately

• An ability to get to market quickly before the market changes or your customer needs shift

• A fully integrated branding, design and marketing strategy focussed on your target markets needs

• Knowledge of barriers, adoption cycles and inertia within your target market

• Adequate resources and funding


Start with the end in mind. If your solution solves a problem that real customers have, your chances of success are increased. If your innovation is easily adopted by your target customers, based on a thorough understanding of their needs, then you have a much greater chance of success.


Country Crest Range


Country Crest is another Irish food manufacturer turning the highly competitive ready meal market on its head with innovative packaging and added pack functionality to meet their customers needs with its From the Orient range. A “collectibles” range of complete meal solutions in a NY style deli box, which is very different and distinctive on shelf compared to its competitors (all in trays and carton sleeves), the food is a “grab and go” solution which can be heated in 3 minutes and eaten from the box.


When you produce something really successful you can’t afford to slide into complacency. Your competitors are aggressively assessing the market looking for the next big thing or how they can topple you or take a chunk of your market share. Even when you’re on the crest of the wave your business must have a proactive strategy to relentless innovate, develop and search for new opportunities to stay ahead.


Most importantly though you have to get noticed to sell your product or service, capture your target markets imagination and create excitement through powerful branding and great design.


Do you have a great new innovation ready to bring to market ?

Is there an area of your business or market, tired and overlooked, crying out to be reinvigorated and transformed? 


Drop us a line or give us a call.

We’d love to help you make your brand the next big success story.

T: +353 1 8322724

E: [email protected]


Great Ideas – Solving Problems & Building Economic Prosperity

I had the good fortune to attend Offset 2010, the annual conference for the creative industry, in Dublin this weekend and suffice to say it exceeded expectations.


The back-to-back programming over the three days included a rich and varied choice of very high calibre speakers, many of which are international icons in their chosen fields of expertise. As an event intended to excite, inspire and challenge those of us who work in this industry, it definitely achieved that on a variety of levels.


Offset Speaker Images


The three speakers who most impacted on me included Scott Dadich – Creative Director Wired Magazine and Executive Director Digital Magazine Development Condé Nast, George Lois – an Advertising Executive and Designer widely regarded as being one of the greatest innovators in advertising and Lance Wyman – a inspiring Designer who is credited with helping define the field of graphic design, and is a specialist in branding and wayfinding systems.


A brief bio on each of these individuals and their achievements, will give you some insight into why it was such a privilege and inspiration to hear them speak.


Scott Dadich oversees the design, photography and production for Wired Magazine coupled with being the lead executive responsible for the building of digital editions of Condé Nast titles for electronic reading devices like iPad. A global publishing entity, the Condé Nast stable of publications includes household brand names such as Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Epicurious, Condé Nast Traveller, Reddit and The New Yorker to name a few.


Wired Covers Obama Mstewart


It was intriguing to hear how he’d worked with the creative team in Wired Magazine to adapt the publication for electronic delivery, all of which was initiated long before iPad came to market. Wired’s reader app for iPad, when introduced in May 2010, became app of the week within days of its release and was downloaded approximately 100,000 times !


Wired Covers Asugar Pixar


Dadich is among the foremost speakers on contemporary publishing and technology and one of the most dynamic creative directors in the industry. He’s the only magazine professional to have won both the National Magazine Award (NMA) for Design and the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) Magazine of the Year award three consecutive years in a row: 2008, 2009 and 2010. He’s also received more than 100 other national design and editorial awards, including 50 gold and silver design and photography medals from the SPD.


George Lois with a career spanning five decades, is widely regarded as a pioneer, innovator and advertising genius, the superman of Madison Avenue, to quote New York Magazine !  A larger then life character and legendary profanity spewing ad man (which he more then lived up to on Saturday) George Lois has a visceral instinct for communication, with messages that are delivered in a nano second. The atmosphere tangibly sizzled with the passion of his delivery at 18:09 on Saturday evening. Its fair to say we were riveted to our seats and the hour past far too quickly.


Mtv Logo


He put MTV on the map with “I want my MTV” campaign, brought the Tommy Hilfiger brand to the international stage and renamed/relaunched Stouffer’s frozen foods as Lean Cuisine. He’s best known though for his near 100 covers designed for Esquire Magazine which are regarded among the most memorable propaganda imagery in any medium and certainly the most provocative in the history of the magazine industry. He’s also author of nine best selling books.


Esquire Covers Warhol Kenne


Describing himself as the “crossover guy” who’s successfully leveraged as much from graphic design as he has from guerilla advertising tactics, even now he’s still an undiminished tour-de-force. In his 79th year and an unconstrained figure of roaring fire and sharp humour, it’s difficult to imagine what it really would have been like to work full time with such ferocious energy when he was at the height of his career. 


Esquire Covers Binwoman Nix


Lance Wyman is another man with an incredibly distinguished career spanning over four decades and a winner of countless awards too. He’s a prolific graphic designer best known for his work in brand design, packaging and wayfinding systems. Wyman is most noted for his design of the 1968 identity, entire stadia and communications collateral for the Mexico Olympics, which although designed to be of the moment (groovy minidresses included), remains one of the most enduring icons of 20th century graphic design.


1968 Mexico Logo


Lance Wymans branding and wayfinding systems also includes work for Washington DC Metro, the Royal Saudi Airport in Jeddah, the LG Arts Center in Seoul, the American Museum of Natural History in New York and pedestrian skywalks in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton in Canada. Time magazine listed his work for the Minnesota Zoo as one of the ten best designs of 1981.


Lance Wyman Mexico 68


A warm approachable man, he was unassuming and gently humorous as he shared insights into his work and some of his most remarkable projects with us. Lance Wymans many awards read like a roll call in design “Oscars”, including from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Society for Environmental Graphic Design, Art Directors Club of New York and the Milan Triennial. His work has also been published in the New York Times and plethora of magazines including Life, Time, The Architectural Forum, Progressive Architecture, Graphics, Print, ID and Communication Art to name a few.


So having listened with rapt attention to each of these iconic individuals speak, generously sharing their insights, experiences and opinions, what did I take from them individually and collectively ?


Each man has powerful individualism, both in their characters and work ethic, which is clearly demonstrated in the results each has achieved. None would settle for mediocrity or plagiarism or “group grope” as George Lois so aptly put it.


To have a future you must have a healthy economy and to have a healthy economy you must have great ideas and imagination, a message perhaps more potent in our current climate then ever before.


Exceptional graphic design is the transformation of an idea into an amazingly big message, which communicates in a nano second to its target market. To quote George Lois, and I did mention his language was consistently colourful, “If you don’t get it immediately, its a piece of s–t !” It must have “culture busting creativity”.


Professional designers across all their different disciplines are innate problem solvers, contributing their communication skills, knowledge and expertise to help make money, given the freedom to do and the will to make it happen.


Visual and verbal expression are indivisible and design that really works must:

• catch the eyes

• capture the mind

• warm the heart

• have lasting impact


Without doubt, real creativity can solve virtually any problem and each man, in telling his story, mentioned challenges which may have floored less creative, persistent or resilient individuals.


Great design can be an engine metabolizer for economic prosperity, driven by laser sharp ideas which support new developments and change, resulting in tangible benefits both now and into the future for the greater good.