Gogoro - The new Gogoro2 goes 110% farther, now do the same with innovation by Chris Hubbard

This article is also available in Chinese

On May 25th Gogoro—the Taiwanese electric scooter brand—hosted a live press event to make some "big announcements.” I had been looking forward to this event. As a Gogoro owner, early adopter, and fan, I feel an intimate interest in the brand and their ability to innovate.

I can honestly say that, up till now, I’ve enjoyed most of my Gogoro experience. I wrote an article encouraging people to buy one. It’s a great scooter. In terms of design and overall quality, they didn’t cut corners. I’ve also enjoyed the feeling that, by riding a Gogoro, I’ve been doing something good for the environment. I also discussed this in my Gogoro owners review as well.  Unfortunately, I have to admit I've experienced a fair amount of frustration as well.

I was desperately hoping that some of my frustrations would be addressed during the event and that I would see some innovative updates involving the brand, business model, and scooters. I was hoping they could renew my belief in the brand. I was hoping to see signs they were listening to people like me.

What I heard instead was the launch of a new lower priced, economically designed Gogoro 2. In many ways, it’s better than the original Gogoro. They gave it a bigger, more comfortable two person seat. It has a more compact touchscreen display. It can be serviced at any scooter shop in Taiwan—as opposed to mine which can only be serviced at a very expensive Gogoro store. It goes as fast as the original but "110%" farther on a single charge. While it costs me $300nt per month for a measly 100 kilometers of battery (My actual bill averages around $1000nt each month), the new Gogoro 2 owners will get unlimited kilometers for $500 per month—a much fairer deal.

The new Gogoro 2 appears to be a smart business move. I assume they will sell a lot more of this version. While many of my friends think the new design is less than attractive, I don’t actually hate it myself. I think it looks fine. It’s just more average looking and cheaper, and in the end that’s what most people seem to prefer these days anyways—average and cheap. Something about that just brings me down though.

After the presentation wrapped up, I felt four things concerning the brand and relationship with Gogoro:

  1. Let down that my concerns as an owner were overlooked
  2. That my expensive scooter had been devalued
  3. That Gogoro is doing what they need to do to stay in business
  4. Curious as to why companies like Gogoro can’t fully realize innovation

I’ll skip the first three and discuss the fourth, more important topic—innovation—because it pertains to more than just Gogoro, but to all brands in Taiwan who are looking to innovate.

There are generally six things that any company, brand or organisation needs in order to genuinely innovative.

  1. An unorthodox, distinctive approach
  2. An ability to embrace diversity
  3. A diverse, open and creative culture
  4. Empathy for the consumer or customer
  5. The ability to execute and practically take action
  6. The ability to be confident and bold

Gogoro is doing two of these really well. First, they are clearly taking an unorthodox and distinctive approach to their product, design, and communications. Their design thinking and presentation of the product is as good and compelling as any of the most admired brands in the world, including Apple. Second, they are confident and bold. It takes confidence and a bold set of thinking and determination to do what they’ve done so far.

What I feel they probably aren’t doing very well, is the rest. If Gogoro can increase the range of the Gogoro2 up to 110% then why can't they do this with their innovation as well?

I could be wrong about this, but I’m going to assume that as a Taiwanese company their workplace isn’t a champion of diversity. There may be one or two foreigners working in their marketing department, but I’ll assume that over 98% of the workplace is Taiwanese. I can understand this, Taiwan isn't America, and having mostly Taiwanese in a Taiwanese company sounds reasonable. But It’s hard to innovate when you only have one type of thinking taking place in your organisation. Some people in government are trying to change this (read about it here) because they know that If you want to innovate, you need different types of people, with diverse mindsets, ideas, lifestyle and attitudes populating your environments and sharing their ideas. 

Second, I’ve heard Gogoro has tried to build a creative workplace environment for it’s employees. But I’ve also heard that while it appears creative, the culture lacks creative authenticity. You can create the best-looking offices in the world, but if your people don’t participate, and you don’t encourage actual creative culture, then it’s just advertising and it won’t translate into innovation.

Gogoro is partially listening to it’s customers. But since—I feel—they are still looking at us as customers instead of a community of users, it hasn’t been able to develop real empathy for us, which means they don’t understand what’s really driving our needs and feelings about the brand. If a brand can’t understand, then it can’t innovate.

Gogoro is taking actions, but perhaps not the right ones. my opinion of course. 

Gogoro is a great product, and I still recommend it. However, these days my recommendation simply comes from my desire for cleaner air, and quieter neighborhoods than it does from my love of the brand.

Currently there's no other scooter quite like it on the market. If you want a good, fast, reliable electric scooter, the only choice is Gogoro—but that could change.

Let me be clear about something. I'm not trying being "negative." In fact, most of what I've said here is fairly positive. I'm trying to be constructive by voicing my own concerns. Like many others, I love Gororo and care about their success. 

I'm also not saying that Gogoro isn't innovative—they are. I feel they are the most genuinely innovative brand in Taiwan right now. They've created a good product that's unlike anything else. I'm just trying to express my feelings that their innovation could—like the new Gogoro2—go a bit further.

I have hope for the brand: I hope they made the right decision with the Gogoro2 and that they sell enough to keep the business alive and thriving. I hope their success enables them to take better care of, and listen more attentively to the needs of it’s users. I hope in the next coming years they are able to take their innovation 110% farther as well. 

Enjoy this nice photo of me and my dad preparing for our Gogoro trip in Taiwan:

Let's go! #gogoro #electricscooter #李悟爸爸 #李悟 #李悟gogoro

A post shared by Chris W. Hubbard (@chriswhubbard) on

GOGORO - 新的GOGORO2能比原本多110%的距離,現在應該也該增加在創新上了 by Chris Hubbard

Translation by Jerry Chan - 2017年6月6日

5月25日,Gogoro - 台灣電動速可達品牌主持了一個現場新聞發布會,做了一些“重大公告”,我一直很期待這次活動,作為Gogoro的車主,早期採用者和粉絲,我對這品牌及其創新能力感到極大興趣。

我可以誠實地說,到目前為止,我很享受大部份我的Gogoro給我的經驗。 我寫了一篇鼓勵人們購買的文章 。 這是一個相當讚的速可達。 在設計和整體質感方面,他們沒有走捷徑。 我也喜歡這樣的感覺,藉著騎Gogoro,我一直在做一些有益於環境的事情。 我也在我的Gogoro車主評價中討論了這一點。 不幸的是,我不得不承認我也經歷了相當多的挫折。

我非常希望在以後的活動中能夠解決一些挫折感,並且會看到有關品牌,商業模式和車款的一些創新更新。 我希望他們能夠更新我對品牌的信念。 我希望看到他們正在聽我這樣的人的跡象。

我聽到的是他們推出了新款價格較低、較為經濟的Gogoro 2。在許多方面,它比原來的Gogoro更好。 他們給了一個更大,更舒適的兩人座位。 它具有更緊湊的觸控螢幕。 它可以在台灣任何機車店提供服務 - 而不是只能在非常昂貴的Gogoro維修中心服務。 它與原來的一樣快,但在電池充滿的情況下則可以有110%更遠的距離。 雖然台幣400的月租費只能跑100公里左右(399資費跑150公里),但新的Gogoro 2車主每月將獲得499的無限公里,這是一個更公平的交易。

新的Gogoro 2似乎是一個聰明的商業舉措。 我認為他們會賣更多的這個版本。 雖然我的許多朋友認為新的設計不那麼有吸引力,但實際上我並不恨它。 我覺得看起來不錯。只是看起來較平庸與廉價,最終來說這是是大多數人喜歡的要點 - 平庸與價格低廉。 這倒是讓我有點失望了。

發表會結束後,我認為有四件事情關係到這品牌以及我與gogoro的關係:

1. 忽視了我作為車主的擔憂。
2. 我的昂貴機車已經貶值了。
3. Gogoro正在做他們需要做的事來維持經營。
4. 好奇為什麼像Gogoro這樣的公司不能完全實現創新。

我會跳過前三個,討論第四個更重要的話題 - 創新 - 因為它不僅僅是Gogoro,而在於所有正在尋求創新的台灣品牌。

公司,品牌或組織通常需要6項才能真正創新。

1. 一種非正統的,獨特的方法
2. 擁抱多元化的能力
3. 多樣,開放和創造性的文化
4. 對消費者或客戶的同情
5. 執行和實際採取行動的能力
6. 有自信和大膽的能力

Gogoro正在做兩件事情真的很好。 首先,他們在產品,設計和溝通方面顯然採取非正統和獨特的方法。 他們的設計思想和產品呈現與世界上最受矚目的品牌,包括蘋果一樣好和引人注目。 第二,他們有信心且大膽。 到目前為止,它們有信心和一套大膽的思考和決心去做他們所做的事情。

其他要點我反而覺得他們可能不是做得很好。 如果Gogoro可以將Gogoro2的里程提高到110%,那麼為什麼他們不能同樣用在創新上呢?

我可能錯了,但我會認為,作為台灣公司,他們可能不擅長多元性。 他們可能有一兩個外國人在行銷部門工作,但我認為98%以上的員工是台灣人。 我可以明白,台灣不是美國。 但是,當您在組織中只產生一種類型的思考時,很難創新。 如果你想創新,你需要有不同思維方式、想法、生活方式和態度的員工來滿足你的工作環境。 這也是為何賈伯斯將激發出好的想法歸功於去印度和其他國家旅行。

第二,我聽說Gogoro試圖為員工創造一個具有創造性的工作環境。 但我也聽說,雖然看起來很有創意,但文化缺乏創意真實性。 您可以在世界上創建最好的辦公室,但如果您的人不參與,而且您不鼓勵實際的創意文化,則只是廣告,不會轉化為創新。

Gogoro部分聽取了客戶的意見。 但是,由於 - 我覺得 - 他們仍然把我們視為客戶,而不是一個使用者社群,它不能為我們啟發真正的同情,這意味著他們不明白什麼是真正驅使我們對這個品牌的需求和感覺。 如果一個品牌不了解,那麼就不能創新。

GOGORO正在採取行動,但也許不是正確的。 當然這是我的意見

Gogoro在我看來仍然是一個很好的產品,我仍然會推薦它。 然而,這些日子來,我的建議更多來自於更清潔的空氣,更安靜的社區,而不是我對品牌的熱愛。 另外,市面上真的沒有其他的機車讓我很喜歡。 如果你想要一個好的,快速,可靠的電動機車,現在只有一個選擇 - 在台灣就是這樣。

我還是對這品牌有希望。 我希望他們與Gogoro2做出正確的決定,並且他們的銷售足以使業務活躍和蓬勃發展。 我希望他們的成功轉變為更好地照顧的能力,更加著重用戶的需求。 我希望在接下來的幾年裡,他們能夠將創新提升110%。

How to be a brand that people love to own. by Chris Hubbard

Sometimes the easiest way to understand brands is to think about them as people. there are generally three types of people in your life: People you don't like, people you are indifferent to, and people you love.

The people you love are the one's you should be spending all your time with. They're the ones you should talk about. They're the ones you should introduce to your other friends. They're the ones with the qualities you look for in new people. 

Everything in our lives—including brands and their products—can be put into these three simple categories. Like people, the things we own should be getting the lions share of our time, attention and praise. Unfortunately, it's not hard to find yourself surrounded by things you are indifferent to, and even dislike. Most of us have, at some point, asked ourselves how we "ended up with so much stuff."

"Stuff" is simply products we own, by brands we don't love. No owner of a Harley Davidson ever referred to his motorcycle as "stuff." People don't buy a Harley Davidson just because it's a good motorcycle. It is of course, but they also buy Harley Davidson because they love the brand.

In her best-selling book "The life-changing magic of tidying up" Marie Kondo suggest that we should only own things that we love, and discard the rest. Millions of people bought this book, and are taking her advice.

So how can brands, be brands that people love to own? In my opinion, it comes down to three things:

1 - Make super high-quality products

Things I own, that I love, are always super high-quality products. I might have flinched when I saw the price tag on my Lululemon yoga mat, but the experience of using it overcomes that. 80% of my experience is enabled by it's super high-quality. And no sales person at Lululemon needed to convince me with brochures or a pitch. Its quality is obvious. When something is super high-quality, its hard not to love it. As a brand, make that a goal.

2 - Tell a new story

How's your current brand story? Do you feel good telling it? Do others appear to like hearing it? If not, then stop telling it and craft a new story immediately. Brands that people love to own always have good stories because they know that good stories are the only ones retold. The Lululemon brand name comes from the founder who simply wanted to create a name with as many "L's" as possible. Does that make any sense at first? No, but it's a damn good story, and I love to tell people about it. If you don't have a good story, start telling a new one.   

3 - Seek to build a community, not a customer base

Brands that people love to own don't have customers, they have communities and people who support them. I don't know this for a fact, but I seriously doubt a brand like Nike would ever use the word customer. Customers don't buy Nikes, athletes do, and they love the brand because they can see it clearly supporting the things they love—so they love it in return. Ask yourself if you have a community. If you don't, then you only have customers.

To be a brand that people love to own, you need all three. People might love a product you make, but that doesn't mean they love your brand—there's no promise of support in the future. For example, I love my Philips mini blender. I use it almost every day. It's a high-quality product for a good price. But do I love Philips as a brand? Nope. I have no idea what their "story" is. There doesn't seem to be any blender community that I know of yet. If I needed another beverage related kitchen appliance I wouldn't necessarily look to them first. But those are things that they can change.

Brands, like people, can change and improve. Those you disliked or were indifferent to yesterday have the ability to become super high-quality, tell great stories, and participate in communities that will love and support them. When they do, they will be brands that people love to own too. 

To see some of the brands that I love to own, check out the last part of my Bio page.

8 ways companies can unveil their greatness by Chris Hubbard

At DDG we talk a lot about "unveiling greatness." So much so that "unveil your greatness" seems to have become our official slogan. You'll see the phrase written on our office walls and throughout our company website. We love the phrase so much because it represents at least two of our core beliefs. One, that each and every company has something great waiting to be unveiled. Two, that we can help them to unveil it.

I believe there are 8 ways in which any company can begin to unveil their greatness starting today. 

1 - Identify your brand personality

Everyone has a personality, and so do companies and brands. Is your company personality more laid-back and friendly, or more corporate and professional? is it more cutting edge or established, fun or serious? Identifying your company personality is one of the key ways to gain insight into how others perceive you, how to make the most appropriate decisions, and how best to communicate with others.

2 - Be authentic

Being authentic as a company means being honest about things like the true nature of your brand personality. Who you are, how others see you, and how you desperately want to be seen can be very different things at times, and can lead companies down a dangerous path of inauthenticity. Only authentic companies have an ability to become great ones, and simply learning to embrace authenticity in small ways can lead to long-term unveiling of greatness.

3 - Think about your company culture.

Just starting to think about company culture will lead to small insights and awareness that can help to unveil greatness. A lot of big companies feel they are too burdened down with pressing business goals and day to day organizational issues to put any real thought or attention into something as seemingly insignificant as company culture. But company culture is a lot like brand personality—it's forming and defining itself whether you participate in it or not. That culture will either strengthen your greatness or weaken it. And once it's formed it's difficult to change. Simply taking the time to acknowledge this, will eventually initiate actions that can help to unveil your greatness.

4 - Be willing to make some changes

I wanted to title this one as "reinvent yourself" but then felt it was a little too drastic. You don't need to reinvent your company in order to unveil greatness, but you do need to be willing to make some changes. For example, when I did my own personality exploration, I realized that although I'm more fun and friendly—as opposed to serious and corporate—I'm also more upscale than "accessible to all." In order to communicate this, I needed to make some changes in the way people perceived me. So I updated my wardrobe. As a company, you might need to update your own digital wardrobe or the way you communicate with employees and customers. Being willing to make those kinds of changes is what will lead to your unveiling.

5 - Be patient

It's difficult to see the value in patients when the business world seems to move faster and faster and the pressures to perform become greater and greater. But no great company became that way overnight, and many more mistakes and blunders have been made by moving too quickly than by taking the time to do things right—with consciences and integrity. Patience can mean taking the necessary time to slow down, take a step back, and reassess what you've been doing all these years. Patience can also mean making changes and then giving those changes the time they need to actually unveil the greatness they have to offer. 

6 - Take accountability 

Taking accountability is about being honest about those things you aren't actually great at. Not every company can be great at innovation, and not every company needs to be. Some companies have great products with crummy names that cover up and hide their true greatness. Being able to say "we did this wrong" or "you know, this isn't that great and everyone actually knows it" is really one of the most powerful ways any company can begin to authentically unveil their greatness.

7 - Ask others to ask others what they think of you

Yes, that's correct. If you want to unveil your greatness you need to know what others think of the things you've been doing. I know if I ask my friends what they think of me, they are likely to say many kind things—because they are my friends and they love me. Internally survey employees and you're likely to get a lot of lip service. Companies get better feedback when they use outside people to do the asking because it creates a greater sense of comfort and helps eliminate the fear of being reprimanded for any less-than-glorious feedback.  

8 - Believe in the power of belief

If you don't believe you can eventually do something, then you'll never even try. And if you don't try, then you'll never do. I could never do handstands until I started to believe that it was possible. That possibility led to trying, and the trying to doing. Companies that want to unveil their greatness simply need to start with a belief that greatness can indeed be unveiled, over time, with continuous effort. 

Authentic greatness is already in you, your people and your company. By building awareness and taking action—like reading this article—the unveiling will be put into a motion that will build momentum and strength simply by continuing to give it time and attention.  

 

2 Paragraphs On - Smelling good. by Chris Hubbard

I've always believed in the importance of smelling good. I've been known to use this example: You could be one of the most attractive people in a room, dressed in the finest or latest fashions, but smell bad, and that's the main memory you will leave with people—"something about that guy was a little foul, but his shoes were nice." Alternatively, if you smell amazing—in spite of your looks or character flaws—you have a pretty decent chance of being remembered as an appealing, quality person. When you smell good, people not only treat you more favorably, but a positive impression of you will be burned into their memory forever. Science backs this up.

The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. Bad smells were designed to repulse us because they could be a sign that something could be seriously wrong and a threat to our own health. Pleasant smells ensured us relative cleanliness and safety. Because of this, how you smell can either increase or decrease your social value—whether you feel it's fair or not—permanently. Some even believe that the best way to find your perfect match could be through the nose, such as this fascinating new dating site that uses smell instead of looks to find you a date. 

 

IF YOU LIKED MY POST, PLEASE FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER BECAUSE IT WILL ENCOURAGE ME TO WRITE MORE. THANKS, CHRIS.

 

 

 

Philosophy & Branding - The brand which is unexamined is not worth having by Chris Hubbard

Do you have a good brand?
How do you know it's good? 

Have you ever thoroughly examined your brand in order to determine if it’s as good as you say it is? If you haven't, then Socrates—one of the founders of western philosophy—would have said that your brand isn't even worth having. A brand not worth having doesn’t sound so good.

Socrates was a 5th-century Athenian philosopher who developed a powerful form of argument—often referred to as the Socratic or dialectic method—which was inevitably used as the starting point for the development of the scientific method and all of western philosophy. If such a powerful method could improve science and philosophy, perhaps it can be used to evaluate brands as well.

Here's what the Socratic method might look like in this scenario:

Even though Socrates never wrote any books, or defined any theories of his own, he did ask a LOT of questions. It was this style of relentless questioning, that led to the creation of a new way of examining what we think about ourselves, and our perceptions. He was the first philosopher to focus almost exclusively on this type of self-examination of ideas and values.

How often is your brand honestly and relentlessly examining it's ideas and values—asking difficult questions to uncover the real way people within the brand think about themselves, their products and communications, and the actual brand perceptions that exist in the marketplace? How often are you digging into the disconnects between the way you see your brands versus the way others actually perceive them.

Most brands are too scared to ask questions that threaten to disturb the comfortable branding bubbles built and supported around them. And yet, without "going there" most brands will never really achieve the type of success genuinely desired for them.

Socrates believed that understanding who we are right now—honestly and authentically—is the first and most important task. His central concern became the examination of life, and his method of direct and ruthless questioning of people's most cherished beliefs made him the enemies who ultimately sentenced him to death.

The fear that many of us feel within our organizations—about asking too many questions, or revealing wrong, displeasing information—is real and valid. Start to imply your brand is in trouble, or that it's not as grand as is claimed, could—in many organizations—cost you your job. But that only reveals a bigger, more dangerous fear—the fear of the real.

For Socrates, understanding reality was a process of questioning the meaning of essential concepts that we use every day but have never really thought about. For example, what is the real meaning of the word brand? Is it even useful or meaningful anymore? Is there a better word we could be using to communicate the modern meaning? 

This type of questioning, Socrates believed, would reveal real meaning, and our own lack of knowledge or ignorance. Only this would help us to eventually achieve true peace-of-mind by allowing us to do the right things; as opposed to simply living—or branding—according to false perceptions or deep-rooted working culture.

 

Socrates was one of the first philosophers to evaluate what it meant to "be good." He believed that virtue was the most valuable possession and that no one actually desires to be, or do bad. According to him, anyone doing "the wrong thing" would actually be acting against their conscience and eventually feel uncomfortable about it. Since we all strive for peace-of-mind, "the wrong thing" isn't something we do willingly. People do the wrong thing, simply because of a lack of wisdom or knowledge.

It's hard to think there are any brands out there intentionally trying to be a "bad brand." Brands don't try to do "the wrong thing", or be unsuccessful. Bad brands become this way, simply by means of perceptions they are unaware of.

Socrates concluded that there is only one good: knowledge. And only one bad: Ignorance.  Which is why we must continuously examine our lives—and brands—in search of new knowledge that helps us to reshape perceptions. Otherwise—according to Socrates—they just aren't worth having.

IF YOU LIKED MY POST, PLEASE FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER BECAUSE IT WILL ENCOURAGE ME TO WRITE MORE. THANKS, CHRIS.

 

 

 

2 Paragraphs On - Enjoyment Matters by Chris Hubbard

When I first arrived in Taipei, I did a small amount of work for Worldshare, a small creative agency who's Clients BenQ and AUO were my first experience working with Taiwan brands. At the time, BenQ's slogan, "Enjoyment Matters" struck me as ridiculous—this bizarre video helps illustrate that feeling. It doesn't seem to pack any punch, or deliver any insight. It just feels like a statement of the obvious, which might be why it is in fact, such a good slogan after all. 

After writing the article on The life-changing magic of branding, I've come to realize how much enjoyment actually does matter. Of course, we should choose to do those things and interact with those products that honestly bring us a sense of enjoyment. But even the process is important. My boss, Mark Stocker, once reminded me—during a particularly frustrating project—to "enjoy the process." It's good advice, because enjoyment does matter, even where it seems to be completely absent. So many times I find myself simply going through the motions of an activity, interaction, task, or day, without really enjoying the minutiae of the moments. Enjoyment matters, it just sometimes takes a while to realize it. 

What I'm reading: The life changing magic of...branding? by Chris Hubbard

Reading_branding_Chris_Hubbard

A few weeks ago I was visiting a new acquaintance at his home. He generously offered to let me borrow one of his favorite books, and gave me a choice from about 4-5 titles he had prepared. One of the first books that caught my eye featured a long black braid of hair laid against a bright red cover. I'm a sucker for attractive book covers, and almost immediately went with it; I had barely even looked at the other books. 

Before I grabbed the book—my impulsive decision in hand—I became curious, and asked him which book he would prefer me to borrow. I was surprised by his response. He said he kind of wanted me to read "The life-changing magic of tidying up."—which was there on the table, but had not caught my eye—so that he'd have someone to talk about it with. As it happens, I'm also a sucker for books that claim to possess life-changing magic. And my interest in being tidy only seems to increase along with my age. So that's the book I took home.

There are three main things I took away from reading this book:

  1. Marie Kondo LOVES to tidy up. It's shocking to me how much passion a person could develop for something like "tidying up." If Marie Kondo can find this amount of enthusiasm for something as seemingly mundane as cleaning, then none of us have any excuses for not finding our own passions in life—seriously.
  2. Folding clothes—including sock and underwear—can honestly bring a sense of zen to your life, and create more useable space. 
  3. Deciding whether to keep or discard things based on if they bring you joy or not, is one of the most brilliant, insightful pieces of organizational advice I've ever heard. I think it could be applied to almost everything in our lives; how we spend our time, who we spend it with, and even how we choose to build brands, marketing and communications.

Does it bring you joy?

That's the key question that Marie Kondo suggest we ask of the things in our lives. The question is meant to give us a better way of deciding what to keep and discard. After experimenting with it myself, I believe she's right. For example, instead of keeping or discarding things based on how much they cost you, how useful something may or may not be, or what you may or may not want to do with it in the future, simply ask if it brings you joy. If it does, I keep it. If it doesn't get rid of it.

My patio has a large concrete planter built into it. When I first moved into the apartment, I discovered that it was filled with a mixture of bad dirt and bits of rock and concrete. There were a bunch of pitiful looking weeds struggling to grow in it. Looking at it definitely didn't bring me any joy. So I decided to spruce it up by replacing the dirt and planting some pleasant looking bamboo instead. The vision was simple. Little did I know how much work and money it would require. First, I had to remove all the bad dirt, which was—in spite of how simple it might sound—backbreaking work. Then I had to go buy new dirt, which had to be good dirt, which is surprisingly more expensive than I imagined dirt could be. Then I had to haul all that dirt back and get it into the planter. I bought some tall bamboo which, again, was more costly than I expected. I needed some ropes, pieces of wood, clippers, fertilizer, a hose. I even had to pay someone to drill a huge hole so that the water would effectively drain out of the planter. It required a special machine to do it and cost more than the bamboo. In the end, I spent way more money than I thought I would, and I did a tremendous amount of work. All so I could look at a simple row of bamboo on my patio. The numbers and work didn't add up. On paper, it was a horrible investment. But honestly, I now feel a very real joy when I step out onto my patio and see that pleasant bamboo swaying in the breeze. And that kind of joy is—as they say—priceless.

This got me thinking about how the technique could be applied to things outside the home. Perhaps we could even make better branding and communications decisions.

What if, when making branding and communications decisions we asked this same question? Does it bring us joy? Does it bring our customers Joy?

Maybe the questions would sound like this:

  • Does our brand, and what it represents, bring us joy? Do we imagine it brings joy to other people?
  • Does it bring me joy to look at my business card and the logo printed in the corner? Will it bring another person joy when I give it to them?
  • Will the name of our new product bring joy to those who see it on the shelf? Does the name of our old products bring the same joy?
  • Does engaging in this type of activity bring joy to our organization? Are the people involved experiencing joy?
  • Which of these designs for our new website will bring the most joy to us personally, as well as to those who arrive at it? 
  • Do our messages bring us joy to deliver them? Do they bring joy to those who receive them?
  • Does launching this new campaign bring us joy to do so, in spite of the cost and difficulty in measuring tangible returns?
  • Does our workplace culture create a sense of joy for those who are a part of it?
  • If nobody in our organization feels a sense of joy for the brand, is it at all possible for any customer to feel joy for it?
  • What aspects of our business and our brand have the most joy giving potential, and how can we make sure we invest more heavily in them?

Some people may find things to disagree about with Marie Kondo, but the fact is her strategies have proven to be superior, effective, and life-changing for many people around the world. Her book is a New York times bestseller, and her new book "Spark Joy" promises to take the concept even further. 

If a concept like this can change individual lives, perhaps it can even change brands. Imagine living in a world where brands around the world are all trying to "out-joy" each other? Sounds like an amazing place to be. It's a lofty idea, I know, but it's possible. And it could be one more way businesses can start to "realize" instead of "brand" themselves. 

If you liked my post, please follow me on Twitter because it will encourage me to write more. Thanks, Chris.

Science & Branding: Be the brand that one truly is. by Chris Hubbard

Like people, many brands at some point wish they were other than who they are. They look around and see a host of new brands who are cooler than they are, better looking, or having more success. They wish to have a different "brand self." So they attempt to make themselves into something different. But both failure and success at these attempts can lead to despair. 

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2 Paragraphs On: Moving by Chris Hubbard

ddg_Taiwan

This week, we at DDG moved into our brand new, yet not-quite-finished offices near Bo'ai rd in Taipei. The bathrooms don't have water, the tables don't have tops, but we're here and excited about the new location. Less than a few months ago I personally moved from the Songshan area to a new apartment near Guting station as well. It's closer to friends and work and has a patio area that can actually accommodate more than two people; unlike my previous place. 

There's something really wonderful about moving. It's a brand new beginning. A chance to start over and make some changes in both your environment and your life. It allows you to clear out clutter and reassess those things you may or may not need. It allows you to enrich the lives of others by passing on those unneeded items to friends or strangers who can put them to better use. It forces you to shift your perspective a bit by changing environments, interactions, and daily expectations. Moving gets you moving in a way unlike any other experience in life. it's exciting to be experiencing moves both at work and home this year.

The best and worst brand names in Taiwan by Chris Hubbard

Taiwan may be a small country, but it’s brand ambitions are large. In the past, creating powerful brand names that could hold their own internationally, probably wasn't at the top of anyone's priority list. But today, as increased competition from China and the rest of Asia—and frankly, the whole world—demands Taiwanese companies become more brand savvy, choosing the right names has become an essential component for reaching the top—of any list.

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Gogoro - An owners review by Chris Hubbard

5 months ago I was the first foreigner in Taiwan to buy a Gogoro–perhaps I'm still the only one who does own one–and it's been an exciting experience. Yes, I'm tooting my own horn a bit, but as I pointed out in my previous article, the real reasons I got behind Gogoro have far less to do with the actual product than they do with the by-product of the product. I didn't just buy a fancy scooter, I bought cleaner air and quieter streets. I invested in the energy revolution, and I want others to join me. That being said, the product itself is what I experience daily; I've ridden my Gogoro about 1600 kilometers so far. In those 1600 km of Taipei city riding I've gotten to know the product much better, and there's both positive things and negative things to say about it. 

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2 Paragraphs on: Tesla Model 3 by Chris Hubbard

The Tesla Model 3 is here, and by the numbers, it looks like it's already a big hit. I was happy to see Elon Musk–in the launch video–pointing out that the car isn't just a fancy automotive alternative; it's a replacement. Everyone's had just about enough carbon monoxide poisoning–code named smog–to last us the rest of our short lives, and I feel confident that all of it's about to change.

Back in 2009 Tesla was barely on the map, and now hundreds of thousands of people are signing up to purchase a car that hasn't even been built yet–amazing. What we're seeing is the launch of a sea-change that is about to take place before our very eyes, and I feel it might happen faster than most of us can even imagine. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that in the next 5 years the death of the gasoline vehicle will be on the horizon. That might sound unfathomable to some, but 5 years previously, so did the idea that close to 300,000 people would be reserving a Tesla. Shit, 5 years ago I also wouldn't have predicted I'd be driving around on a Gogoro.

Welcome to the electric vehicle revolution. It's about time.

2 Paragraphs On: Barbie by Chris Hubbard

Today I read – via Twitter – an extensive article on Barbie's new body, and the expected controversies to follow. Maybe it has something to do with being a man, but I just don't understand all the controversy. So there's a "plump" new Barbie? Cool! ( and like, so what? ) I personally think the "plump" Barbie looks more attractive, but I really don't think they're making her for me, or are they?

My little sister was a "plump" little kid, who had a mountain of Barbies. I never thought about it before, but I wonder if she had played with the bigger Barbie if it would have impacted her in a more positive way. We'll never actually know. But she also played with tiny rainbow-colored ponies, which don't even exist in reality, and somehow managed to grow into a very realistic woman. I think the new Barbie body types are just fine. If I had kids, I'd probably buy them the "plump" version.  But do kids need dolls to show them how humans should look in the first place? Maybe kids should be spending more time interacting with actual humans than tiny plastic replicas.

 

2 Paragraphs On: The New Coca-Cola Slogan by Chris Hubbard

Coca-cola_Chris_Hubbard

Most of my friends know that I rarely drink soda pop. But once in a great while, I do, and when that happens it's usually a Coca-Cola. My desire for a Coke tends to be ignited by the sight of those vintage glass bottles. They just give me that–feeling. You probably know exactly what I'm talking about and so does Coca-Cola, who just wrote one of the best slogans I've ever seen– "Taste the feeling."

The slogan works so well because it literally sums up what many of us now experience when we drink Coke; memories of good feelings we had while Coke was present. I think about when I was 10, watching a movie in the theatre, a party at a friends house, a backyard bbq, skateboarding after school, Friday night board games with my parents. I now avoid sugary drinks like the plague, and I'm not sure if Coca-Cola is a company I feel comfortable promoting–which isn't my intention here–but I have to admit, with one simple phrase Coke just ignited a little desire inside of me. I think I'll go taste some of that feeling this week.