Emotion by Design Book Summary - Emotion by Design Book explained in key points
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Emotion by Design summary

Greg Hoffman

Creative Leadership Lessons from a Lifetime at Nike

4 (36 ratings)
18 mins
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    Emotion by Design
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    Be empathic and curious

    As described by Mike Krzyzewski, coach of Duke University’s basketball team, the vision advantage is how brand marketers win against the competition. It’s the ability to perceive and grasp things that others may overlook, subsequently employing that knowledge to craft powerful stories that evoke emotions in the audience. 

    But how exactly can you develop your vision advantage? There are two essential traits you need to cultivate: empathy and curiosity. 

    Empathy is pivotal in seeing the world from other people’s perspectives. When you’re empathic, you become more sensitive to their feelings and better understand their dreams, concerns, and even unmet needs. Using these fresh insights, you can better craft a story that reveals the brand’s values and results in revolutionary shifts. 

    Cultivating empathy calls for diversifying your team. The more different your team members are, the broader your view of the world becomes. That said, strive to recruit individuals from the underrepresented groups in your team. They can bring their colorful and unique life experiences to your brand and enrich your creative process.

    Nike exemplified the power of empathy through its Equality campaign, launched in time for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in early 2017. It was months after the separate shootings of Black Americans Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the brand wanted to make a meaningful statement that addresses the decades-long injustice to Black Americans. 

    The campaign featured a short film highlighting the importance of exercising equality within the bounds of a court but also in all aspects of life. Broadcast worldwide, Nike’s short film set off a larger global campaign for equality. 

    The second essential element to cultivate your vision advantage is curiosity. Curiosity unlocks your creative potential by pushing you to seek unconventional sources of inspiration. Just as you would regularly train your muscles to keep them in shape, you need to practice curiosity to develop a seeker’s mentality. 

    There are three easy ways to do so. 

    First, start a visual journal. This is where you store images of things that you find inspiring. Every time you come across something that triggers your imaginative brain, take a photo of it. Then, feel free to browse through your visual journal whenever you need a dose of inspiration. 

    Second, make it a habit to plan out your trips around three questions: whom to meet, what to see, and where to go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business or personal trip. What matters is that you go out to gather inspiration from wherever you are. 

    Finally, share your inspiring moments with your team. Whatever you found out or experienced while traveling can inspire other members in ways you might not have imagined. This also keeps your entire team updated, especially those who don’t go out of the office that much. 

    At Nike, they practice curiosity through different unique excursions. They sometimes visit restaurants to watch the chefs prepare meals. The team members find inspiration in observing other creative experts in their natural habitats. 

    Indeed, utilizing the vision advantage can do wonders for your team. With empathy and curiosity, it’s easier to come up with stories that resonate deeply with your audience and set your brand apart from the competition.

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    What is Emotion by Design about?

    Emotion by Design (2022) explores the creative philosophies that can differentiate your brand from the rest. It features lessons and stories from the author’s design and marketing experience at Nike.   

    Who should read Emotion by Design?

    • Business owners and leaders
    • Brand marketers
    • Anyone interested in marketing and design

    About the Author

    Greg Hoffman is the founder of Modern Arena, which provides business advice to large brands, startups, and nonprofits. He is also the former Chief Marketing Officer at Nike, where he also held other design and marketing roles for almost 30 years.  

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