Think It. Blog It.



2013 is here, and on the wings of its arrival, has come 'the Quiet Revolution', something I have quietly been yearning for, for some time.

With so much noise in our daily lives, and increasing on a day-by-day basis in a collusion with digital media, it's seemed to have reached a critical mass, and heralded a movement to hush it – consumers are becoming increasingly choosy as to when and where they feel ‘noise’ is appropriate in their lives.
Social noise - in the form of Facebook, and its constant "friendly" updates... I don't care!
Visual/brand noise - in the essence of poor design... I don't like it!
Advertising - in its many brain thumping guises... I don't want it!
Not to mention, 'actual' noise - the type that reaches your ears, the only one of the five senses that we can't voluntarily switch off. We're powerless to ignore it, so instead, action is being taken against  it. 

The Movement
Last year, 2012, saw a trend emerge, detachment from ‘social noise’; social networking sites – most notably Facebook. It seems, however dear the friendship, we're no longer impressed with the bombardment of their presence. Before Facebook, I don't recall her ever having called me to tell me that she'd just made a sandwich. What possesses her to tell me now? The mind boggles. Social media has created somewhat of an unsocial, yet noisy beast, in a misguided quest to prove our sociability.
2012 was the year that the movement took off, with a considerable number of people closing down certain social media accounts, encouraged by high-profile commentators such as WIRED Magazine, in their how-to article 'How to quit Facebook’, and CNN’s iReport on ‘Living without Facebook’. Will 2013 see this number grow?

2012 also saw the release of the book 'Quiet' by Susan Cain, who argues for our noisier counterparts (extroverts) to ’listen, rather than speaking up’. Introverts have a different kind of wisdom, and a different approach to problems compared to extroverts, but today’s noisier culture has favoured the loud approach, resulting in extroverts being heard, and introverts being ignored, even misunderstood. Susan Cain’s 2012 TED Talk explains a quieter approach should be valued more in today’s society.
2013 has already seen the book's uptake grow, and is now racing up the bestsellers lists.

Brands and Design
So there’s a clear movement to remove the noise in our lives, but what does this mean for brands, our experience with brands and design?

This month (Jan 2013), has seen the London's best loved retailer Selfridges launch it's ‘No Noise’ campaign in collaboration with Headspace. It looks to celebrate the power of quiet directly, in the creation of a less stressful retail environment, but also in consumer’s lives in general – promoting the benefits that can arise from moments of peace. One way in which they are demonstrating this, is by removing the ‘brand noise’ from a selection of curated products ranging from food to clothing accessories. The Quiet Shop, as it is called, which houses these products in store, celebrates both the minimalism and the symbolism of these products without their logos. (See the ‘No Noise’ site here)

And so onto design...

Windows 8 OS was released last year, 2012, and given the time and space to amass reviews, it is coming out unfavourably. But why? It’s a fresh, modern take - and people are always adverse to change. But, on this occasion the key seems to lie in the design. In an attempt to thrust itself in into the heart of our age of media consumption, Microsoft have designed an desktop operating system (OS) which mimics the operating systems found on media consumption products such as tablets and smart phones. What we’ve since discovered however, is that tablet style OS design does not smoothly translate to a desktop computer, the needs of the consumer are different, and they are driven to buy either product for very different reasons. Tablets: primarily and often purely for media consumption on the move – consumers want quick access to applications, and feeds. Computers: primarily for heavy-duty multi-tasking, and the creation and completion of tasks.
The new Windows OS is proving to be too complex, and consumers are negatively responding to it. Rather than reducing, it creates more noise (in the form of distractions; tiles which cover the screen, windows which takeover the screen, and functions that do not correlate to natural desktop use), in an environment which we require to be uncluttered and fuss free – fundamentally, this is not what consumers want from a desktop operating system.
In this case, the point boils down to understanding when and where ‘noise’ is appropriate in the consumers’ world.

To illustrate the point, I direct you to a YouTube video by Brian Boyko ‘Windows 8: the Animated Evaluation’. Incidentally, he's very 'loud' - but his point and his message to Microsoft is clear. Cut out the noise, cleaner, better design, happier consumers.
So, to refer back to my earlier statements, rather than "I don't care, I don't like it, I don't want it". Perhaps then, you’ll get "I care, I love it, I want it" from the consumer.

Of course the Apple brand have historically offered a masterclass in the less is more approach, creating consumer desire through simple and minimalistic design. The approach runs through the brand, throughout its advertising, and critically, into the palms of the consumer's hand in their product design.

In conclusion; yes there is a trend towards ‘quiet’ this year, but ultimately I think the message that is coming though loud and clear from consumer to brands, is to take into account and understand when and where ‘noise’ is appropriate in their lives.

Generation of Web addicts

We truly are a generation of web addicts!  According to new research two thirds of us 'need' the internet to function in everyday life! 


Source: The Wall

The Power of Good


One evening this past November, I found myself involved in an intense game of Buzzword. In this game, players work in pairs to convey a given word to their teammate without using the word directly. Late into the game, I was given the word "dove".

Here, most players would begin shouting words like "bird" or "peace" and give clues like "rhymes with love." I took an alternate approach.

My clue: "A brand of soaps and shampoos that aims to empower..."

But before I could finish, my partner exclaimed "Dove!"

I was surprised at first by how quickly my partner picked up on my clue. After all, he wasn't an advertising or marketing student like myself and did not habitually take a deep interest in soap brand positioning. He certainly wasn't in Dove's target demographic of women and girls either.

Yet he, a mechanical engineering student, was not only aware of Dove's unique do-good social mission to inspire self-esteem in women, but was enthusiastic for the brand as result. That's the power of good.

Good gets noticed. In a product category that too often sells by making consumers feel inadequate or unattractive ("But wait until you try OUR product..."), Dove takes a stand for self-worth and confidence with no strings attached.

Take, for example, Dove's Facebook 'Ad Makeover' campaign last year. On Facebook, Dove combatted ads that target users' insecurities and supplanted them with supportive messages. Instead of women being served up headlines like "Muffin Top?" and "Need a bigger bust?," Dove reminded them that "The perfect butt is the one you're sitting on." Further, Dove invited all Facebook users to pen positive message of their own to appear in ads for other users. Dove effectively shielded women from negative marketing messages and showered them in empowerment.

Doing good worked for Dove not only because it helped the brand stand out but because its message became a rallying call consumers wanted to attach themselves too. Even my engineering friend, who will likely never buy Dove for himself, would count himself as a fan.

A couple more examples: Nike's ads don't celebrate Nike products, they honor athletes – great and ordinary. Apple's 1997 "Think Different" campaign didn't sell computers at all, it paid due tribute to great creative and world-changing minds. People are attracted to Nike, Apple, and Dove because they stand for something big and champion for something good.

All people desire to feel good about their decisions and Dove is a purchase easy to feel good about. That's the power of good.

Written by Stephen McVerry 

Back Across The Pond!

When Jo asked  me to write my final blog post, I completely ignored her. I am not ready to deal with leaving Ergo without something chocolaty to comfort me. Am I insane or did six week just fly by?— probably a bit of both. I think I might have more culture shock going back to the States than I did when I came to  London.


Five countries, 11 cities, and seven languages later, I think returning home will be the biggest journey so far. Believe me, Jersey is a whole country of its own.

Although my first blog post was about defying the stereotypes, I have to admit, I expected my visit here to be stereotypical study abroad experience. For those unfamiliar with the American abroad, we go hard. We tend to treat it as a giant vacation, blow all our money, and would rather catch a drink at the pub than...much else actually. It sounds fun, and a lot of it is true, but I feel my time here was anything but typical.

I never realized I would leave London...a Londoner. I have my pub, drink espresso and tea over coffee, buy football team scarves, pronounce it "pound" not "pounds," and catch myself yelling "cheers" to everyone I know. Going back to "cawfee," "wahder," and "subs" won't have the same charm anymore. London has become my second home, and like all our homes, I am going to yearn for it a week after I leave.

London has opened my eyes to the world and myself.  Although I haven’t been everywhere, I feel as though I have taken a more global perspective on things.  I realized what I want to do with my life, where I want to be, and who I am.  I discovered more things about myself these past three months than in the past three years of University.

Thank you London, for making this Jersey Girl part of the London World.

Written by Kara Romanetz 

Trolling and Social Media

We've all had those anti-bullying classes and campaigns in primary school, or at least the Golden Rule drilled into our minds. Getting a bunch of kids in a room together and someone is bound to start picking on someone else. But what happens when we move to the Internet? Do our old ideas about bullying work with 21st Century technology?


Internet trolls are hardly a new concept. They lurk in the darkness of comment threads and forums waiting to attack with grossly offensive words. Anonymity has made it easier than ever to voice an offensive opinion, even if that person is not a troll. A stray negative comment can have serious consequences, like the case with British diver Tom Daley or Natasha MacBryde.

Cyberbullying has grown exponentially over the last few years as social media grew. Several laws have been past and many prosecuted over negative and offensive online conversation. The technological separation from face-to-face bullying has allowed bullies to insult more frequently and without censorship. It has become harder to say "You're ugly" than typing it.

Celebrities that used to be the leaders of the social media revolution are now in hiding behind their PR and Media teams. On Sunday, musician Chris Brown deleted his Twitter account amidst personal attacks about his relationship with ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Brown, once an influential tweeter, was forced from his social media by a few, but loud, string of Twitter attacks. He no longer controlled the conversation, and just when he tried to confront these tweeters, he was bullied into ultimately deleting his Twitter account. Taking back the conversation backfired.

Social media has created many opportunities for the betterment of society. It has radically changed politics and the dissemination of ideas. It has opened up platforms for change, creativity, debate, and social relations. The Red Tape Challenge is reforming British law. Presidents and candidates are interacting with voters on a more personal level. News can reach anyone with internet access. We have become a better, more educated society because of social media.

However, everything comes with a price. Trolls and "haters" were born out of the darkness of the Internet. Most people are not, but the trolls and negative comments are they very loud minority. For every million positive comments, you will most likely only remember that searing one. Criticism is fine, but when it turns racist, insulting, or violent, that is not what social media was created for.

Is social media a positive or negative impact on culture? We need to gain control before we lose complete control of social media. We want to spread ideas and opinions, not outright attacks. Shunning the rowdy minority could bring social media into another Golden Age. Otherwise, the conversation will get more and more out of control and the positive change from social media will be eclipsed by the poetry of "u r sucha tool lol."

Written by Kara Romanetz 

Social Media & Politics #2


Team Obama showed us that social media is crucial in 21st Century politics. The American Election is now over, so what is social media's role now?

President Obama has the unique opportunity to use his branding power: influencing GOP-led House of Representatives. Think about it. Obama's team convinced people to vote for him, why not use that same power to urge them to action in some other way. As we've seen in the SOPA and PIPA disaster, Americans and the Internet have the power to radically change legislation.

What if Obama rekindled that election energy and channelled it to pressuring the legislature? Most citizens are uninformed or under-informed about legislation currently going through Congress. Americans are forced to hear second-hand analysis from news sources, which of course, can be very bias and watered-down. Obama has the chance to bring certain policies to light in a clear way. Facebook or blog posts about pending laws would inform more people. Informed people are more likely to take action, passing passivity for passion. The President has the match, all he needs to do is light it.

Westminster has already realised the power of social media on law-making. In April 2012, PM David Cameron launched the Red Tape Challenge to target regulation reform. 


Here's the good part: it is led by UK citizens and businesses. This online forum gives the public a space to target the policies that are working and which need to be scrapped. The website claims that piled-up regulations have hurt the economy and society. This project is aimed at making it easier to become a bigger part in society.

The crazy thing? It is working brilliantly. Its estimated around 6,500 regulations are expected to be scrutinized, of which 1,500-3,000 changes will have a measurable financial benefit to business. Half of the regulations examined may be scrapped completely. The Government transformed citizens into a giant search engine of public opinion. Hard to believe all this is from social media, right?

The past few years it is possible to successfully integrate social media and politics. It is this time in history that we ordinary citizens have the chance to make a real difference. Who knew posting a Facebook update had the potential to do so much?

Written by Kara Romanetz 

How Social Media is Changing Politics


This is the most re-tweeted and favourited photo in the history of Twitter!

"Four more years" is all you need to know about the picture's significance. Team Obama tweeted this moments after the US President was re-elected to a second term.

The broken records aren't the only important thing to take away from this tweet. From elections to revolutions, social media has defined and refined the political landscape.

Because of high availability and low cost, Labour MP Kevin Brennan said we could become a direct democracy. Parliament could receive public opinion in real time during legislation debates. Some MP's even envision policy voting happening via Twitter. #toogoodtobetrue?

Direct democracy is met by a ton of opposition. Representative democracy prevents potential "wild and irrational decisions," which social media could fuel. The result? Mob rule. Could giving too much power to everyone undermine democracy?

Social media does have a niche for moving the masses. All you have to do is look over at the Syria and Egypt protests. The Internet has brought us closer together, and has given us a forum to exchange ideas, knowledge, and hilarious cat videos. What we do with that privilege is up to us, but I personally believe it does a lot more good than bad.

Just look at the UK's Red Tape Challenge. The prime minister launched this project to get feedback from citizens and businesses about legislation. Since its launch, 28,000 comments resulted in over 150 pieces of "unnecessary" legislation scrapped.

As long as we remember that social media does not represent everyone, then there is great potential for social media in politics. Legislators can use to gauge public opinion, address concerns, monitor changing attitudes, and gather psychographic information. The people have tweeted, "Let our opinions be heard!"

Written by Kara Romanetz 

The Principles of Infographics

We love our infographics at Ergo. So much, in fact, that we thought it might be entertaining to write a blog post about it. However, a written blog post about infographics seems so...dull. We wanted to explore why we use them and just how popular they have become. Hmm, so we want to talk about data and make connections in an interesting way. I wonder what we could use...

This calls for an infographic!


Here are also a few of our favourites we've collected from the web: 

"Anatomy of a Cupcake" by Small Batch Creative 
It is so simple and elegant, yet gets the point across in a creative way.  

"Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Napping" by Patio Productions
Who doesn't love an excuse for napping? Although a little more text-heavy than the others, it has great research to back it up.

"Price on your head" by Peter Grundi
A very clever (and quite shocking) way to buy a new Mercedes...with body parts.

"The Internet: A Decade Later"
by Bested Sites
The coolest thing about this infographic is that it is animated. It adds a completely new dimension of fun and literally animates the information.

"A Case Study in Social Media Demographics"
by Online MBA

This uses a futuristic space theme to talk about who uses social media. Great design and data.

Special Thanks to Kara Romanetz for making this infographic happen!

Links to Sources: (for our Infographic) | 
Wired "You Suck at Infographics" | Google Trends | Adage "Infographic Suddenly Media Uzi Choice" | Adweek "Infographic Overload" | Royal Pingdom "Internet 2011 in Numbers" |  Gigaom "Here's What our Web |  Addiction Looks Like in 2016" |  Washington Post "How Big Can the Internet Get?" | Mashable "One Day Internet Traffic" | Bit Rebels "Social Media Analytics: Traffic Impact of Infographics"


Winning Gold ­- Pride vs.Technology


I'll admit it. I have inadvertently rooted for the wrong swimmers each Olympic Games. I blame it on the swim caps. In a sea (quite literally) of white and black caps, how am I to tell the difference? I can't very well sit there counting the lanes to find my swimmer again – it hardly amounts to an enjoyable viewing experience. So instead, I pick a lane, and hope for the best. When they zoom into the swimmer at the end of the race – I'm usually affronted by a 'god damn it!'.

Thankfully, the Australians' bright gold swimming caps don't force me to do primary school math. I love — Oh wait, no, I got that wrong too this time.

For the first time in 44 years, the Australian swimming team took to the starting blocks looking just like every other country. The gold caps were gone!

Ultimately (and tragically in this case), it came down to a choice between performance and tradition. The black and white caps rolled out by Speedo were the top-of-the-line in Fastskin3 technology. Developed using head-scanning data, and proven to aid the hydrodynamics of the swimmer through the water, reducing drag force by a considerable percentage – and therefore essentially making you faster. The traditional gold caps were still available, but lacked the fit and performance of its counterpart. The swimmers had to decide, and it's not a surprise most chose performance.

But after Australia's lacklustre performance, is it the colour (a representation of national pride) or the technology that is more crucial to a winning performance?...

Australia's Chef de Mission Nick Grimes certainly trumped for performance during the Games. and brushed aside concerns that fans could not follow the Aussies in the pool.

And silver medalist Christian Sprenger, also disregarded the need for a coloured cap. "It's not really about the colour, it's about having your name on the cap and representing Australia."

Unfortunately this was not translated in the overall team performance – making it Australia's worst Olympic swimming performance in decades. It seems, the power of the Australian gold was underestimated.

(Consider this; the colour is exactly what represented Australia, what gave them a sense of belonging, what enriched their souls and their performance).

The Olympics is a perfect example of national pride branded – and to us, obviously needs to be reflected in the kit design. When that collective individuality is left on the factory floor, athletes lose that special identity and the swelling pride that goes with it. It seems silly that something as nonsensical as a gold swim cap could affect a professional athlete. But those golden swim caps gave Australians pride in the pool. It set them apart, their nation could follow them (knowing they were rooting for the right swimmer), and they were always gold, just like the swimmers themselves.

Not to be biased, but we loved the GB kit. It just oozed Britain, and we had our best Games yet in it. Taking away Australia's golden caps is like removing the Union Jack off GB's uniforms. It wouldn't change the look of the uniform much, but that symbol of pride is lost. You took the nationalism away from the nation, so what do you have left? A heap of generic fabric?

I believe the loss of the golden caps had a subconscious role in the swimmer's minds, and conviction to achieve. Without their gold, there will be no golds... Food for thought for Rio 2016.

Written by Kara Romanetz & Selina Hull 

Ever Wondered Where The Internet Lives?

I’ve always wondered where the internet lives!

And now, Google have treated us with a rare glimpse inside their vast data centres around the world. It’s a fascinating and intricate maze with thousands of servers, cables and pipes that stretch on for miles - their engineers even get bicycles to help them get around quickly!

It is the most powerful server network in the universe..  I am in awe! 


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