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Design Never Sleeps panel underscores the power of brand immersion

SINGAPORE — The highly anticipated Design-First Experiences: The Key to Elevating Your Brand Perception event, hosted by Design Never Sleeps, wrapped up successfully on November 22. This panel brought together key industry leaders in event production, design and branding, to delve into the impact of immersive events on brand perceptions in the digital age.

Held at Matchbox (Mothership HQ), the discussion featured prominent industry experts who are shaping exceptional brand experiences. Moderated by Jean Tet, Co-founder of Design Never Sleeps, the panel included Rainy Fu, Senior Art Director at Spotify New York, Sherman Pun, Deputy Director at the Singapore Global Network, Kent Teo, Founder of Invade, Melanie Speet, Head of Marketing & Communications, Branded, and Hanyi Lee, Creative Partner of Anak. Their collective global experience and insider knowledge provided attendees with a wealth of lessons and inspiration. The event featured eye-opening discussions on elevating brand perceptions, connecting with Gen Z audiences, the value of physical interactions and measuring event success.

Rainy shared that a design-first strategy, where design is part of business strategy, is key to enhancing brand perception and customer loyalty: “Design can be a part of business strategy from the beginning. Spotify is a cultural powerhouse because we leveraged design early in the game. We looked at aesthetics and function, instead of just function and product. That’s how we drive successful campaigns, like Spotify Wrapped, that everyone has on their phones.”

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Hanyi also touched on her agency’s guiding philosophy in creating authentic and memorable experiences: “We’re always creating, or attempting to create, something that we hope is unique – not just for Singapore, but the region. We want to do something that’s never done before.”

The panel also shared more on cross-cultural differences, and the need for companies to tweak their brand strategy to engage authentically and effectively with audiences across different target markets. Sherman explained, “We need to be aware of cultural differences. Take community networking, for instance. In the Bay Area, there are many eager entrepreneurs and go-getters, while networking in Southeast Asia tends to be slower, as people take longer to warm up to each other. We need to think of ways to create an environment for people to open up to each other.”

On the importance of in-person interactions in the age of the metaverse and generative AI, Melanie shared, “We’re not quite close to achieving a truly immersive digital experience. People have realised how important it is to be face to face with each other – you can’t make deeper and more meaningful connections otherwise. That’s why we’re focusing on the experience with people in the here and now .”

Furthermore, Kent agreed with Speet on technological advancements. “It’s important to maintain a curious mindset towards such technologies, though some of these are still in their experimental stages. When we talk about mirroring in-person events in the virtual world, people are not quite ready to adapt yet. We should look at these tools as a means of amplification that support existing events.”

The panel also discussed the importance of forging meaningful connections with Gen Z, and increasingly, Gen Alpha, audiences. Rainy also talked about her experience using Roblox in Spotify, and introducing new interfaces inspired by TikTok to capture younger audiences who are loyal to that format. Teo highlighted how Invade is using curated lifestyle festivals, shows and markets to tap on a younger demographic that enjoys crafting and making their own products by hand.

“The response to our inaugural event has been encouraging,” said Jean. “The discussions were enriching, and we’re glad that our attendees left with actionable strategies for transforming their brands and elevating their brand perception. We look forward to more opportunities to get together with experts and share our collective expertise with brands seeking to craft unique experiences for their customers.”

Design Never Sleeps is eager to continue spearheading innovation and helping brands tell their brand story through its unique and accessible Creative-as-a-Service subscription model. With an established presence in New York and Singapore, Design Never Sleeps aims to redefine and transform branding with design-first principles and best practices that transcend all boundaries.

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