First Tuesday {September}




Compassion is the key to opening deeper relationships.

By acknowledging the pain of others with respect, compassion forms the foundation for seeing through their eyes. It’s not about trying to solve problems, but offering emotional support while challenges are overcome at whatever pace is natural. This provides an opportunity for growth, along with the obvious benefit of healing.

The responses to compassion are feelings of respect and gratitude. These are powerful motivators that form connections between people and generate a sense of loyalty. It requires honesty and patience; it cannot be forced or demanded. Perhaps this is why spiritual masters are able to channel such great compassion for others.

quote_artboard-6-copy-5It’s easy to confuse compassion with pity, but actually they are opposites. Compassion is far greater and more noble than pity. Pity has it’s roots in fear and a sense of arrogance and condescension– a smug sense of feeling “I’m glad it’s not me.” It ends up separating people by establishing an “us and them” relationship.

Brands that show compassion are not limited to the obvious categories of cause-based non-profits or healthcare. It’s open to everyone. Compassion simply requires an authentic effort to show understanding for how customers see their challenges, and an offer to support them while they seek solutions themselves.

Compassion begins with openness. Through dedication to listening with an open mind, it’s possible to discover real opportunities for service to others. And to ignite in others the same spirit of caring that will continue making a positive impact everywhere.

Happy September. Happy First Tuesday.



The IDEA Method: 4 Steps to Revealing a Brand
**Part 2 of 5
Read Part 1

To reduce the risk associated with a major branding initiative, it’s critical that your agency has a methodology in place. The approach needs to be logical, flexible and reliable, guiding stakeholders through a process that can be extremely complex, and often risky.

Our methodology has been distilled into a 4-step process we call The IDEA Method. IDEA is an acronym for it’s 4 steps: IGNITE, DISTILL, ENERGIZE. ACTIVATE.

Last month’s essay explained the IDEA Method at a high level. In this essay we’ll explore the 1st step in the process: IGNITE.

LASTCHANGES-20The branding process begins with a comprehensive research and discovery effort. We call it IGNITE because it’s the initial spark that sets the whole effort in motion; a point of ignition that’s essential to ensure the future brand has intelligence based on truth. We stop, look and listen to everything happening within your company, your employees, your market, your customers and your competitors to understand the 360 degrees of your current situation. The objective is to achieve clarity by assembling a collection of findings that all support a logical path towards brand positioning.

Without clarity there is confusion.

The cost of brand confusion is high. We see companies struggling to develop their brand in piecemeal fashion, attempting to forge into branding without taking the time to gain an understanding of it’s context. Without a comprehensive discovery in place, branding is guided by assumptions which often result in fragmented results.

Confusion within a company is reflected in the brand, resulting in unclear brand positioning. It’s tempting for organizations to control budgets by limiting investment in research early in the process. But skipping this step can lead to inaccurate conclusions that cost multiples of the proposed research dollars. The whole branding process is at risk if stakeholders are not aligned. This is best remedied by assembling facts that can offset opinions and help bring the team into consensus. This is the first step in authentic branding.

More often than not, the ignite phase will confirm what you may already know, while revealing insights you may never have even considered. Budgeting for and including research as an essential element in the process can help correct faulty assumptions and reduce the risk associated with your initiative. It’s the spark that Ignites your brand.

The Ignite discovery explores 4 critical dimensions of your brand:


icons-38Understanding the business from your organization’s perspective shows us what’s happening inside your company. The extensive intelligence collected by talking to your experienced executives is more than just fertile ground for developing industry understanding. It also reveals political schisms, departmental conflicts or other constraints that could prevent the effort from succeeding. Other mandatories are established that will drive the whole initiative.

A comprehensive internal investigation should include:

a) Stakeholder Interviews – using a predeveloped interview questionnaire, a brand strategist conducts a series of similar conversations across a range of company executives- management, sales, marketing, R&D, operations and finance. The results for a valuable study indicate areas of alignment, strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats.

b) Group Workshops – retreat meetings are used to bring stakeholders into alignment through a common experience where everyone participates in a series of facilitated processes. Ranging from several hours to several days, these sessions typically include context map, SWOT matrix and value propositions. The results are focused on consensus in areas previously identified as conflicts.

c) Employee Surveys – brands are a reflection of the people who represent them. By launching an employee survey, we gain more valuable insights into the organization’s spirit to determine if a gap exists between management and employees. It also sends an important message- that the branding process is inclusive and that everyone’s input is welcome. This helps streamline the future brand launch.

d) Historical Perspective – the expressions of your brand in the past must be recognized to maintain context for the future. We look at your existing brand identity and its expressions to become familiar with your legacy. Your customers have developed expectations based on past performance. A clear picture of what’s already happened must be established before moving forward.


icons-24Next we look outside your company at the other brands within your market. By acknowledging the brand positions already established around you, it provides an opportunity to develop a unique one for you. This is done through a combination of online research, direct inquiries and collateral material reviews.

A) Competitor Brands – the significance of the brands aimed at your customer today must be profiled to determine the unique selling principles, messages, visual language, color and style that collectively communicate their position.

B) Aspirational Brands – looking outside your industry provides an opportunity to determine the qualities of brands that appeal to similar constituents in other categories. By compiling and documenting the characteristics that differentiates them within their field, it’s easier to recognize what communications mechanisms they employ to be effective. That can have an impact on your brand as well.

C) Relevant Brands – your business operates within the context of other interdependent brands that work together in a larger context. These could be relevant purchases, like computers and cables, or relevant products like antifreeze and wiper blades. These are not competitors, but still relevant in the mind of your customer.


icons-23Your marketing is always in flux, reacting to the trends resulting from a host of external factors that are driving the customer. Gaining an understanding into the dynamics in your market today, combined with forecasts for the future, are important in determining the right position for your brand to assume.

A) Economic Factors – changes in the economy trigger changes in customer behavior, which indicate opportunities for market positioning to align with these prevailing trends. Is the market growing or shrinking? Is the consumer gaining affluence? Follow the money trail to get inside the mind of the customer.

B) Technology Factors – advances in communication, mobile and new materials open opportunities for disruption through efficiency, access or quality improvements. Understanding the role technology plays in shaping the market is critical in finding your position within it.

C) Geographical Factors – regional influences also shape markets. Considerations for weather, seasonality, walkability and access are important elements in understanding your place amongst competitors.

D) Cultural Factors – additional emphasis should be focused on cultural trends to gain context of how people will incorporate your brand into their daily lives. This includes an understanding of the role that celebrations, religion, holidays, family structures and personalities play in the market.


icons-25The final dimension is to establish a picture of your brand from the customer’s perspective. This effort is intended to determine “gaps” between how you see your brand and how the customer sees it. It’s tempting to look for the brand you think the customer wants, then attempt to deliver it. This is rarely effective. Great brands are leaders, and fulfill an unknown need the customer isn’t even aware of. Instead, rely on your vision to be the brand you believe offers a unique position in the market.

The Ignite phase delivers insights to determine if your initiatives have the potential to succeed in a crowded marketplace. It can also uncover new opportunities to further define and clarify your initial ideas.

Once Ignite has been completed, we Distill our findings into valuable insights that form a foundation for an authentic, honest brand position that’s based on reality.

>In my next essay, we’ll discuss the second step in our 4-step The IDEA Method, DISTILL, furthering your journey through a time-tested methodology for success that leads to the greatest possible reward: A customer who’s emotionally connected to your brand.


Work like you play everyday.
The Strand is a recently remodeled, low-rise, contemporary office space in Newport beach, ideally located adjacent to John Wayne Airport. Long term client, Ocean West Capital Partners tasked Flux Branding with positioning the property as a custom indoor/outdoor office environment that appeals to local professionals who enjoy the good life in Newport Beach.


Flux crafted the name, logo, visual identity, website, print collateral and email campaigns to support the concept of “work like you play everyday.” Transforming the easily overlooked former Commercenter Newport into a dynamic, high-end property with a boutique, luxury feel was achieved by highlighting the property’s private office access and patios along with its contemporary upgrades and close proximity to the spectacular coastal recreation of Newport Beach.






Hawa keeps her eye on everything. As our new project manager, we think that’s just fine.

After growing up in New York, Hawa graduated from art school in Atlanta. But before making the move back to the Big Apple, she traveled abroad to intern in Amman, Jordan and freelance in Dubai, UAE. Back in NYC, she worked as the Multimedia Production Manager at Talkpoint [a PGi Company] for three years prior to making her way into Los Angeles where she continued to work as a Production Manager at Healthy Living Magazine. Her work continued in different contract roles thereafter, giving her a extensive experience across a range of project types.

Former colleagues regard her as a subject matter expert in the world of project and organizational management. But for us, it comes down to the simple and powerful process of watching everything, knowing the deadlines and preventing conflicts. She’s the one who sounds both alarm bells and all clear whistles. We are excited to have her on team Flux to increase our capacity to meet growing demands.

A fellow foodie, Hawa can be found entertaining friends with a cozy dinner party at home, out and about at concerts and underground warehouse parties, or knocking down pins at a local bowling alley.

Here’s a few fun facts:

>FACT 1: Hawa was born in Amman, Jordan.

>FACT 2: Hawa is a dog lover – she has two of them.

>FACT 3: Hawa loves to cook, her specialty is Middle Eastern food.

>FAVORITE QUOTE: “Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferris


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