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In Session

What 50,000 years of cultural evolution can tell us about branding today

In Session Visual Storytelling EE16
Design Matters' Debbie Millman became obsessed with the overnight boom of social media. With extensive research, she has cracked the code to why humans want to share their stories, align themselves with specific brands, and has discovered the next cultural wave on the rise.

"Branding and storytelling is a profound manifestation of the human experience." 

—Debbie Millman, Design Matters

Part 1: The earliest visual cues


  • Why are humans infatuated with telling stories? 
  • The history behind symbols and what it can tell us about branding today. 


Part 2: The '5 waves' of branding


  • The "5 waves" of branding throughout history and their direct relationship to major cultural shifts.
  • The roots of modern branding and how brands have captivated different generations of consumers.  


Part 3: Human connection at the core


  • Why do we believe these stories, and why do we follow brands? 
  • Overview of the cultural waves and understanding the obsession with social media. 


Part 4: Where are we now? 


  • What is the next wave, and how do new generations connect with brands?
  • Why brands must create compelling content in order to reach today's consumer.


Part 5: Deliberate differentiation 


  • Advice for the natural brands to differentiate when the word "natural" has become litigious. 
  • How can brands work around people's short attention spans?

This session—Visual Storytelling, How to Use Art & Language to Grow Your Brand—was recorded at Natural Products Expo East 2016.  

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