- Select one of IDEO’s works (one service/product) from the past four years (that is, work between 2009 and 2016) that you find interesting. (Tip: I suggest that you select a work that you may wish to improve upon later)
- Prepare a critical evaluation of innovation and creativity aspects of your selected work.
- Use the following template to present your evaluation.
- A sample is attached on page 2.
(Font: Times Roman, 12-point font size, single-spaced, 1” page margin.)
Length: Maximum 1 page.
- Description: Details on the selected innovation (a brief description). –Limit: 5 lines (5 points)
- Reasons for your selection: Why are you choosing this innovation? Why do you think it was a great innovation? – Limit: 5 lines (5 points)
- Problems addressed/solved: Include names/description of the problems solved by this innovation – Limit: 5 lines (5 points)
- The innovation process and implementation: Who were involved? Did they form a team? Who were the members of that team? Did they do any research? If so, describe it briefly. How did they execute this plan? – Limit: 15 lines (10 points)
- One recommendation for improvement/customization in a different context: How can you improve this innovation when applied in a different context? Will resources or capabilities be different? How? I will look for “wow!” –Limit: 5 lines (5 points)
Title: Brand Strategy for the North Face (2012)
Description of the Innovation:
Repositioning a brand. North Face is synonymous to adventure. Once it established its business in Asia, it wanted to become a leader in China. The cities in China became crowded places. What could be better than spending quiet time outdoor with only the sounds of birds or rivers? The idea behind the marketing campaign, “Go Wild” was to encourage people to escape from cities and to enjoy nature.
Reasons for Your Selection:
I was intrigued by the idea that the process of gaining competitive advantage may be different in different context, despite exploiting same tangible assets and capabilities. IDEO started from learning the unique characteristics of the Chinese culture. That is, the intangible assets needed to be different. IDEO did not simply replicate North face’s successful branding strategy in America.
While trying to connect with Chinese consumer, they faced a challenge: Chinese people viewed nature differently than their Western counterparts. Nature was not an amusement park for extreme sports. Instead it was a place for renewal of the souls and the spirits. This meaning of nature emerged from the ancient culture of China. Therefore, The North Face needed to create a message that sets the nature as a spiritual sanctuary.
The Innovation Process:
The brief was: “Create a 360 Degree campaign to make North Face’s brand proposition of connecting with nature relevant to urban Chinese consumers”. To create this brand innovation and the marketing campaign, North Face formed a partnership with Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai. The campaign included:
- Online documentaries: In one of these videos they showed the founder and director of Newsweekly Magazine (Mr. SUN Mian) with his son, hiking on a mountain in the Tibet landscape. Winning this challenge together strengthened their bond, emphasizing the point that nature is not only for extreme people, but also for ordinary people.
- A funny manifesto: The design team wanted to challenge urban dwellers. Leave the chaotic and stressed life of the cities and “go wild”. Several copies of the manifesto were placed in strategic locations.
- A digital platform: To attract new customers, to connect them with outdoors, as a space where everyone could plan trips, exchange information, share experience and photos.
- A mobile app: This was done to integrate customers’ outdoor experiences with geographical information.
Recommendation for Improvement:
An evolution of this campaign could be the generation of a program with a “social goal” – gather together some famous explorers (or climbers) with normal people and involve them into a “green project.” For example: save some areas in the Andes mountain range from the invasion of touristic structures. These kinds of actions could increase the value of The North Face® brand and allow it to enter in emerging countries such as South America or Africa.