How to work with Nike, Gatorade and Redbull: former Starbucks design VP Stanley Hainsworth on stretching global brands

The former VP global design at Starbucks and co-founder of Seattle-based agency Tether, Stanley Hainsworth, has shared the challenges and offered up advice on how to work with global brands such as Nike, Starbucks, and Redbull.

Speaking to The Drum at the Design Indaba Festival in Cape Town, for which The Drum is media partner, Hainsworth said that the main challenge of creating content or brand extensions for well- known companies is that “they’re always the target”.

“They’re the first to be praised and the first to be criticised,” he commented. “I enjoy having that pressure on it because it really forces you to be on top of your game. You can’t do something that’s already been done before and you can’t do something that looks like it’s been copied, you need to be original.”

Hainsworth, who has previously served as creative director at Nike and Lego, and currently works with brands including YouTube, Pepsi and BMW, stressed the importance of remaining authentic to the brand when launching branded extensions, otherwise consumers can “sniff it out”.

By example Hainsworth said that when Nike expanded into school supplies the company “bombed” because consumers said, “That’s not Nike, I won’t buy that”.

“I love stretching a brand but it all has to go back to that core of ‘why did you start that company in the first place?’” he added.

Tether is currently working on a new in-house project to allow designers, illustrators and musicians to upload content and allow others in the industry to adapt or combine their work while they are asleep.

The ultimate aim of the project is to allow brands such as Gap or Converse to take the designs or content and use it to create products or brand experiences.

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