Interview with Jacob Cass

Also check out previous spotlight with Jacob Cass.

You’re quite a multidisciplinary designer, but what can you tell us about your experience when it comes to brands and branding?

Jacob: Over the past few years, I’ve been developing my skills in a number of areas of design but my focus has mainly been in interactive design & branding. Although there is often cross over, they are still both very different disciplines in their own right. As for my experience in the world of branding, you can see my credentials & experience on my website.

What do you think which are the most important aspects when it comes to defining a good brand?

Jacob: Defining a brand’s value is never going to be a pure science, as a brand is all about perception, though if you were to do it by a formula I think that Ogilvy have done it pretty well, even if it is focused more on finance. Be sure to check out their 2011 Top 100 Brandz report, and see page 100. They calculate brand value via brand equity, financial performance, branded earnings, brand contribution and brand multiple. Although this report is aimed at the world’s largest corporations I think it is still relevant to smaller brands too. Another great brand report is the one done by PSFK which is less focused on finance, and more on being ‘good’.

Can you tell us more about your experience working with companies such as Disney, Nike & Red Bull?

Jacob: I can certainly talk about working for Disney but unfortunately, Nike and Redbull are under NDA. Anyway, working with Disney, specifically ‘Disney Digital Books’ was a real treat. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from a Facebook application where you could cast your friends as Disney characters, to building out their Facebook fan page as well as their email campaigns, banners and print marketing collateral. The biggest perk of working for Disney was having access to their asset database, where you could download super high-def images of all of their characters. Another great perk was having a legitimate reason to use pixie dust in my designs.

Social Media is starting to be more and more popular tool for every company and individual, when we refer to advertising and branding. Do you think that it will have an impact on other kinds of media such as television and press in the future?

Jacob: Social has already has had a huge impact on ‘traditional’ media. To put this into perspective, can you think of a brand that doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook? Social is not a strategy, it’s a business necessity.

What is your favourite brand and why?

Jacob: Nike always comes to mind, but that’s probably due to their brain washing multi billion dollar advertising efforts. I also appreciate the way BP has branded themselves as well, to make you think they are an ethical, green, company when they are quite the opposite.

Do you think that creative direction is underestimated in most companies? Do you agree that executive, marketing and creative direction must be equal when it comes to defining a strong brand?

Jacob: Just like running any business, it is never just one area that defines success – it is how all of the areas work together to achieve the desired goal. Creative direction and design at its core, is just another part of the marketing mix, and its need is certainly getting more noticed in today’s global market.

Mac or Windows? Why?

Jacob: They are both only tools – it’s what you do with them that matters. I personally used PC’s up until the start of 2010, but now I’m a Mac user. I use a Macbook Pro 17″ for design work attached to a 27″ monitor, and a Macbook Air 11″ for when I am traveling. I only really do emails and light design work on the Air as I try not to work when traveling, but it’s a great combo. I highly recommend it.

What is the most successful brand to date in whose definition or creation you were participating in?

Jacob: I love creating brand identities for companies of all shapes and sizes, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to say that I was the whole reason a brand succeeded. But to answer your question, I have enjoyed watching Vero Water come to fruition over the past few years. They are an eco friendly water bottling system, aimed at restaurants & hotels and I was involved with the initial branding and design efforts, including the bottle design. Their company has really boomed and it’s great to see, especially since they are reducing the world’s use of plastic bottles.