Event Recap: Flip! 2016 Brand Workshop

AIGA SB rolled out the red carpet and bright sunshine this past weekend for Flip! 2016, a two-day brand workshop with Marty Neumeier. A sequel to 2015’s inaugural Zag! workshop, this year’s event hosted fifteen creative professionals—some from here in Santa Barbara and others from around the United States, the UK and New Zealand. Once again, everyone converged on Casa Las Palmas in Chase Palm Park to learn the principles of brand strategy from the man who literally wrote the book on it.

That book, The Brand Gap, is now thirteen years old—and during that time many companies have successfully closed the titular gap between business strategy and customer experience—so Marty based this weekend’s workshop on its sequel, 2015’s The Brand Flip. Our attendees learned the ways that customers now run companies and effectively dictate branding, and how to capitalize on that. Each lesson grew from the last, beginning with the all-important customer identity question and moving through customer aims, tribal mores, company values, strategic onlyness, touchpoint design, and ultimately prototyping and presenting the transformed brand.


Readers of The Brand Flip will of course already be familiar with those terms, but our attendees got direct help applying each principle 1) from the person who collected and explained them, and 2) from direct peer-to-peer feedback. The group powered through issues affecting several of their represented brands—designing a great customer experience, empowering customers to tell (and not be told) the story, and the ideas of joining over buying and being over having—issues that persisted across the various industries and professions represented. It wasn’t a social hour—it was a lively, tightly focused brainstorming session in a room full of seasoned pros ready to solve each others’ problems. By the end, each participant was unfazed when they presented their work and, as Marty said, “found out how short five minutes really was.”

However, that intensity doesn’t mean there wasn’t any fun. The entire group descended on the Boathouse at Hendry’s (on Friday) and the Lark (on Saturday) for post-session wind-downs. This year’s successful event was slimmed down significantly from Zag! 2015, but much smoother for it—and just like last year, there are rumors for next February too. Thanks to Marty for once again sharing his wisdom, event coordinator Patty Devlin-Driskel for pulling together a smooth sequel, and our AIGA SB volunteer board and membership for assistance in a pinch. Last but not least, thanks to our Flip! class of 2016:

Returning alumni Doru Bere (Dreambox Creative), Irene Hoffman (Irene Hoffman Design+Advertising), and Reuben Woods (Woods Creative Agency). New faces Dino Adelfio & Andrew Liverman (RowClub), Faye Cox (OurBooks), Michael Dale (Firebrand), Steve Finnegan (Words Agency), Craig Hedges (Craig Hedges Creative), Jill Howry (Howry Design Associates), Boris Ishakov (Local Motors), Lynne Johnson (Balanced Body), Cassi Lindberg (Yardi Systems), and Vicki Strull (Vicki Strull Design). We hope to see you in 2017.

Rock Star Gig Rating: On a scale of “zero” to “insane,” this two-day bonanza was like cramming the entire Coachella Festival in a small club. Well, maybe just one of the two weekends—but you get the idea. It rocked.

Photos by Marianne Cothern, Keir DuBois, Nicki Gauthier, and Patty Devlin-Driskel.

By Keir DuBois
Published February 23, 2016
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