Branded Environments 2020 Is Almost Here! Join this year’s presenters as they explore “Common Ground”

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The phrase “Common Ground” carries a lot of meaning these days. Learn how SEGD professionals are bridging differences and seeking solutions through design projects that span the world.

Branded Environments 2020 kicks off on Thursday. Here’s what to look forward to:

“Global Cultures” is the theme of Session One (Nov 12). Jean-Pierre Lacroix (SLD), Dan Marino (Rockwell Group), and Greg Merkel (ICRAVE) will take attendees on a world tour from Shenzen to the Persian Gulf to Singapore. Along the way, they will show attendees how to navigate the cultural sensitivities of each destination.

Lacroix will focus on consumer spaces and the challenges designers face when creating branded environments in cities such as Shenzen, China. What works to drive sales and build brand loyalties in this part of China? Lacroix will share what his team learned through trial and error.

Continuing with this theme, Merkel will explore how to interpret “fun” inside branded entertainment spaces—such as restaurants and nightclubs—in cities and countries where alcohol is either illegal (Riyadh) or not a major focus (Singapore).

“How do we find a balance between cultural norms and client expectations?” posed Merkel in a recent video presentation. “Rarely do these two things line-up … so how can we be culturally sensitive and maintain the client’s brand?”

Session Two (Nov 13) will focus on the theme “Global Practice” and will begin with Michael Gericke’s presentation “Insiders Stories of a Global Look.” Gericke (Pentagram) sets the tone by sharing stories about his firm’s global projects—from big immersive civic experiences to small impactful moments.

After a series of facilitated roundtable discussions centering on “Building Commonalities & Bridging Differences,” attendees will hear from Aaron Ruef (NELSON Worldwide), Stuart Fox (ESI Design), as well as Drew Berst and Nigel Morley (Design Innovations) on “Learning from Fandom.”

Ruef will explore how best-in-class sporting environments—such as the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park—can leverage design and provide different experiences for different guests, ultimately creating emotional connections which turn everyday ticket-buyers into lifelong fans.

“Accessibility is huge,” explains Ruef when speaking about the different zones provided for fans at Great American: quieter areas for more traditional fans, more open spaces for those who want to socialize while watching the game.

“[Designers] need to respond to those consumer needs and extend beyond what the brand is offering,” says Ruef. “It’s all about this sense of a greater event; a greater moment of community.”

Fox, from ESI Design, will present a different type of fandom—loyal viewers of different media outlets—and ESI’s challenges in designing the new WarnerMedia headquarters with its many sub brands, including HBO, CNN, and TCM.

“It was really important for our client WarnerMedia to create an environment which simultaneously makes each division unique, but also united them in a cohesive culture,” explains Fox in a recent interview. “This is the first time all those different divisions are under one roof.”

Berst and Morley will wrap-up the session by looking at how successful franchises will continue to adapt in this age of COVID-19 by utilizing new technologies to keep their fan base safe and engaged.

Branded Environments 2020 “Common Ground” will end with a virtual happy hour on Friday afternoon. So what’s not to like? Register today and stay engaged with all the great projects SEGD colleagues are designing around the globe.

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