SXSW Interactive 2013

Building Brands, Not Just Apps


Born digital companies have yet to match the level of brand experience that the best non-digital companies have traditionally built. Users are ready to embrace a web-native brand that embodies an ethos rather than just an app or core technology. Nike isn't about shoes; it's about the lone struggle and athletic triumph. Virgin isn't about music or flights; its about rule-breaking adventure and life-style.

We still interact with web products as technologies. Our experiences are more about 140 characters than a global pulse, or status updates rather than deep relationships.

Wander is building the best way to explore the world, while simultaneously expressing the ethos of travel, adventure, and exploration of the world around us. This session will cover best some best practices, pull examples from a long tradition of great brand building, and seek to inspire companies to spend more time and attention on the relationship their users have with them.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What traditional non web-native brands have successfully moved from products to experiences and from discrete events to drawn-out digital interactions?
  2. Which web-native brands are doing a good job of brand building?
  3. What would a brand-centric approach to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare look like? How would that have changes the company had it been a core value from day one?
  4. Are lean-startup methodologies the antithesis of careful brand building? How can they co-exist?
  5. What makes users ready to embrace a web-native brand now?


  • Keenan Cummings, Cofounder / Product,UX,UI Designer, Wander
  • Jon Troutman, Lead Product Designer, General Assembly


Keenan Cummings, Cofounder / Product,UX,UI Designer, Wander

Meta Information:

  • Tags: design
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Design and Development
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced

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