Updates, Workshops

Beirut, A Case of Rejuvenation - Workshop


Still continuing with our Beirut Design Week events, we gathered on Thursday for a City Branding Workshop, in order to figure out solutions to make Beirut a more livable city.

Soon after Blue Hat’s offices started filling up in the morning, Blue Hat’s co-founders Judy Maàmari and Sami Hmaidan gave a small word and introduced our Partner from Istanbul, Elif Taş. The participants, along with Blue Hat’s team, were then asked to introduce themselves, state two or three of their lovemarks, then state a city they love.

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The participants were then asked to jot down some ideas while enjoying breakfast. Two blank posters titled “In my dream city there is…” and “What are my expectations from today’s workshop?” were stuck on the wall where participants were asked to add their ideas on sticky notes.

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Soon after, all participants took a seat to listen to Taş explain the workshop’s aim and introduce warm-up exercises. Taş, Hmaidan, and Maàmari first handed out papers on which participants had to link cities with famous festivals or events, as well as their respective slogans.


When this exercise was done, the co-founders handed out papers with questions about Beirut based on the ‘round robin’ naming exercise. Each paper had one question, totalling in 15 questions. Participants were asked to write down a quick answer, taking no longer than 30 seconds, then pass the paper to the person to their left to write another answer.


After warming up, all participant joined forces to rank the city based on the international scales of The Saffron City Brand Barometer, divided into two categories: asset strength and buzz strength. These categories had subcategories in them like ‘cuisine & restaurants’, ‘good weather’, ‘ease of getting around on foot or by public transport’, and ‘media recognition’. Each was rated over 10, and their averages were rendered over 10 in order to place Beirut on two axes.


This exercise helped participants pinpoint the problems the city suffers from in order to decide on which one to focus on solving for the rest of the workshop.


Participants were then divided into three groups which made sure to incorporate as many of the various fields present as possible: a designer, a researcher, a copywriter…

Each group was handed a map of Greater Beirut in order to perform a zoning method called the ‘love/hate map’ and were asked to point out the streets or areas they love and/or hate using colored round stickers.


Some groups even decided to mention why they love or hate those areas by adding icons to the round stickers like a car for traffic and trees for green spaces.


Afterwards, they were introduced to the concept of personas and brand archetypes, in order to build their own persona with needs that require solutions. They were also introduced to Wally Olins’ Brand Tangibility Model, found in his book ‘The Brand Handbook’. They had to figure out a core idea behind the plan that solves the problem they chose to focus on.




Group 1 decided to focus on Beirut’s historical attractions, especially on the seaside. They aimed to create a reconciliation after the Civil War as well as reintroduce the tramway. They chose the "EGG-shaped building" as a town hall for Beirut city that hosts events, get-togethers, and is a space for citizens to discuss the city's issues. They also focused on providing public spaces such as the corniche, with separated zones for Shisha smokers, public gym, and sports / promenade areas.


Group 2 - BEIRUT: YOUR BRIDGE (بيروت جسرك)

Group 2 focused on zoning, adding attractive zones to the city’s intersections using installations shaped as bridges. bridges, as well as focusing on the ‘good shopping’ subcategory from the Saffron’s Barometer. Their concept revolved around empowering Beirut's neighborhoods through high-streets that include facilities and shopping destinations for convenience and specialty / artisanal stores. 



Group 3 focused on improving the ‘ease of getting around on foot or by public transport’ through revamping the already existing busses, introducing proper bus stops, and a carpooling app for those who don’t wish to ride in busses.

The workshop was concluded with an evaluation of the different outcomes based on 3 criteria: desirability, feasibility and creativity. 

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For more updates


Top 5 Trends that Design & Branding Consultancies Should watch in 2016

When it comes to branding, consumers and B2B buyers have high expectations of what a brand ought to be and what should it stand for. Although visual branding and messaging is critical to a brand’s success, yet intangible values of "what makes a brand?" are becoming increasingly important and should permeate all that you do as a business. Nowadays, consumers not only want to have a relationship with your brand, they want to be a part of it. They want to be associated with brands that reflects their own tastes and personalities -that reflects them.

Below you will find the top 5 trends that are shaping the field of branding, and that could help you turn your brand into a true lovemark:

1- Authenticity & Transparency

In the age of abundance (information), customers now more than ever want to know who you are, what do you do, how do you do it and most importantly why do you do it. Customers nowadays are looking for more than just a product or a service, they are looking for the people behind the brand and investigating the rationale behind the brand's existence.

It is vital that customers find meaning in the products that they are purchasing. Customers want to trust and believe in you. According to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, “90% of consumers would switch brands to one associated with a good cause and 84% seek out responsible products whenever possible.” That's why, it is paramount that you look into your brand's essence and values, and accordingly, evaluate your internal culture. Integrity and transparency must be at the core of your business--at the core of your brand.

Applied best by: 



Source: IDEO Instagram

Source: IDEO Instagram

Source: IDEO Instagram

Source: IDEO Instagram

2- Age of Collaboration

According to a wise GOT character Tyrion Lannister "We make peace with our enemies, not our friends". Truth cannot be far from it. Who said we cannot collaborate and even innovate by teaming up with our competitors? So long are the days in which the secret of the trade had to be guarded vigilantly and handed down from generation to generation. We now live in an age where collaborating and sharing knowledge with like-minded people and entities can yield great results and help us venture into untrodden paths. There's something brilliant and memorable about co-branded products; they are mostly fun and unexpected. That's why, strategic partnerships can be a highly effective way to break into new markets, discover new ways to solve problems, appeal to customers, and boost your brand awareness. It is a  win-win situation because on such projects the success of one brand will only bring success to its partner brand, too. 

Applied best by:


Source: Hub Spot Blog

Source: Hub Spot Blog


Source: Trend Hunter

Source: Trend Hunter


3- Video Usage and Live Streaming

According to Cisco, consumer internet video traffic will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, which marks a 64% increase since 2014.

Owing to apps like Boomerang, Snapchat and Periscope video usage has boosted  significantly and in a short period of time. Videos make it easy for consumers to share natural, relevant and interactive content and summarize entire experiences in a two-minute video. The rise of the video has challenged consumers to tell their stories in concise and creative manner, by adopting storytelling techniques. It has also provided an opportunity to bring influencers on board to help brands reach their customers and consumers in a more engaging way.

Best Applied by: 


4- Simplicity

The rise of digital led to a clutter of data that is bombarding consumers everywhere. It is harder than ever for people to absorb, process information and make a decision. That is why brands must follow the golden rule: "Less is more!" Iconic brands have always adopted such a motto when it came to designing products, services, or experiences by offering to fulfil their consumers' needs quickly. For example: Apple products are “beautiful” and “intuitive.” Google’s homepage is “clean” and "crisp." Amazon and Zappos have both perfected streamlined discovery, purchase, and delivery in a "simple" and "seamless" journey.

 In fact, "63% of consumers are willing to pay more for a simpler experience, and 69% are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences" (HBR, Margaret Molloy). Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer, at Siegel+Gale mentioned that, “Brands that offer simpler customer experiences are rewarded with passionate customer loyalty, more innovative employees and greater revenue". That's why, embracing simplicity can strengthen your brand and help protect it from industry disrupters who continuously serve as a reminder that even brands with the highest simplicity scores cannot stop innovating, otherwise, you might risk losing their place in the market.

Best applied by: 

Source:  Ad Week  

Source: Ad Week 



Source: neat.

Source: neat.


5- Engagement over Awareness

With the pervasiveness of digital touchpoints, engagement is of much higher worth to a brand than higher-funnel metrics such as awareness. Earlier this year, Instagram has announced a proposed change to how its photo feeds will be filtered and viewed. With their new algorithm, Instagram will stop arranging photos in the feed in simple reverse chronological order, instead sorting them algorithmically based on users' behaviorThat is why, to ensure  followers always get to see a brand's content. brands and Social Media Influencers are challenged to post content that is more engaging and relevant to their followers in order to have their posts appear on users news feed and must compete to catch their followers' attention.

Best applied by:

LATI FASHION - #StoryofMyLife #قصةـحياتي (Sharing Awkward / Funny Moments that could happen to women during an important event)

Meme: When I go to an event...and I discover that I have forgotten to remove the tag on my outfit. Source:  Lati Fashion  

Meme: When I go to an event...and I discover that I have forgotten to remove the tag on my outfit.
Source: Lati Fashion 

Meme: When I go to a dinner... and it turns out that I am OVER-dressed Source:  Lati Fashion  

Meme: When I go to a dinner... and it turns out that I am OVER-dressed
Source: Lati Fashion 

Meme: When I am in a dinner... and I discover the tragedy at home Source:  Lati Fashion  

Meme: When I am in a dinner... and I discover the tragedy at home
Source: Lati Fashion 

More Articles

Design and Strategy: filling "The Brand Gap"!

A Brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s not what YOU say it is. It’s what THEY say it is.
— Marty Neumeier

Business strategy and design thinking haven’t always been on the same page, but let’s think about it for a second while considering renowned and loved brands: What’s the first thing that come to your mind when Apple is mentioned? It's certainly not the fruit, but an aspirational brand with next generation products. What about Mini Cooper? It's about the sexiest vehicles in the small size category. What made an energy drink like Red Bull become a symbol for adventure and extreme sports? Let's explore together how a Business Strategy and Design Thinking come together to empower brands through a summary of the workshop given at Blue Hat discussing Marty Neumeier’s famous book: “The Brand Gap”. 

Someone loved the book!

Someone loved the book!

The only way you can create a charismatic brand is by creating a cohesive, collaborative working environment that unites strategic and creative components.
— The Brand Gap

A strong connection between design and strategy should be ensured to empower your brand!

To take part in developing business strategy, designers must understand the business landscape focusing on the user experience, and be their brand's advocates. In other words, they need to ask themselves if their design thinking aligns with the company’s strategy.

As strategy changes, so should design, and if design changes, there should be a strong strategic reason for that change. Designers' input is essential for strategic success. As they are empowered to influence strategy, this will help your brand thrive in the new ecosystem.

EXAMPLE. AirBNB for Instance didn't invent the concept of renting rooms / apartments online, it has existed long before AirBNB. What made AirBNB succeed is that they noticed that apartments were poorly represented with dull and unclear images on the online portals that existed. Their Design-led decision to have a team of photographers as part of their organizational structure who ensure that every entry on AirBNB look as a desirable destination through high-quality mesmerizing photography  made the company become the number 1 website worldwide for renting apartments and rooms.

A strong brand can give your company a competitive edge.
— The Brand Gap

“The Brand Gap” is your guide to experience something logical and creative, in the words of Marty Neumeier, and to learn how to implement the five branding disciplines: differentiation, innovation, collaboration, validation and cultivation. Once done, there will be no trouble reaching customers and dominating the market niche.

Understand that in closing the gap between strategy and creativity, you’ll be able to build an irresistible brand that will make customers take notice.
— The Brand Gap


Our brains act as filters and we only notice the things that are different. Being unusual and different main criteria of any successful brand.

Who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter?

Not having appealing answers to these questions to customers means you don’t have a focused brand. When your customers think of your brand, it should be their destination, while staying ahead of trends.

EXAMPLE. Volvo’s brand differentiation was that their heavy, boxy cars made them the safest ones on the market. 


A brand is a collaborative project. No brand can develop in isolation: To build a charismatic brand, a team with all sort of skills is needed. Don't have a team? Outsourcing your service to a third-party is a good idea. Having consultants helping on your projects is definitely a must. 

EXAMPLE. The best example of collaboration is in Hollywood where directors, actors and other specialists come together to make a great movie, then when the project is done, split up and move on to different projects.

From the "Freshwater" movie in the Old Town Helena (Source: Helena City News)

From the "Freshwater" movie in the Old Town Helena (Source: Helena City News)


Creativity is where you can make a mark for yourself in the market. Is innovation your goal? Inspire your customers, develop and express novel ideas, always look for NEW ways. Let your brand stands out!

EXAMPLE. Take Volkswagen : The brand straddled this line between risk and innovation with its humorous, attention-grabbing VW Bug automobile.


Validation means bringing the audience into the creative process. Break the monologue and focus on a dialogue. Nowadays, when your company sends out a message, you get a response! Make sure your brand is following the 5 essential validation keys: Distinctiveness, Relevance, Memorability, Expandability, Depth. These 5 keys will help customers recall your brand without thinking of a competitor.

EXAMPLE. It would be weird if Nike started making hand soap.
That will be failure at two levels: relevance and expandability. Soap is not an extension of the Nike as a sports brand, nor does it relate to its target audience. 


Keep your brand alive and ensure it’s not becoming stale or boring. It’s okay if your brand has inconsistent elements, as long as it holds true to its defining characteristics, and has a collaborative performance.

EXAMPLE. Red Bull's Felix Baumgartner stunt: Red Bull is not about the product only. A huge hit for the energy drink company, and a world record was set for the highest skydiving jump by Austrian extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner in 2012. His jump was watched in real time on YouTube by 8m people. The brand broke away from the usual into the unusual, and tried things that have never been done before.  

Felix Baumgartner: The Red Bull Stunt that captivated the world (Source: )

Felix Baumgartner: The Red Bull Stunt that captivated the world (Source:

Well, next time you should definitely join us at Blue Hat to attend our workshops! 

Are your business strategy and design thinking on the same page? Share your thoughts!