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Kimberly Gloria Choi, Founder of Marchbaby Collective, Talks About Marketing, Rebranding and Creative Books

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Kimberly Gloria Choi is a graphic designer and illustrator, founder and manager of MarchBaby Collective.

Kimberly was born and raised in Ipswich (UK), and moved to Hong Kong at 10, where she studied Fine Arts.

She completed a Visual Communications Degree in Singapore, where she currently lives and builds her company.

MarchBaby Collective, the company she founded, designs temporary tattoo and body art, from sketch to production.

They also provide onsite tattoo services for festival and events, both outdoor and indoor.

Keep on reading to find out more about the books that have influenced Kimberly’s thinking in different life stages, but also her recommendations on design thinking, creativity and rebranding.

Estimated reading time for this interview is 10 minutes. If you'd rather listen to it, you can do it on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

To be honest I believe everything has a connection, action then reactions.

I am hereby sharing with you three of my favourite non-business books that have influenced my business thinking in my different life stages:

1. Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley & David Kelley

I read this during my first job in a startup (Luxola – now Sephora Southeast Asia), working as a designer. This was before I started my small business – MarchBaby Collective.

I have always wanted to do something on my own, besides my full time job. It’s always a great way to express yourself with other designing tasks, you know, just to keep your creative juices flowing.

The Stanford d. School and IDEO U have always interested me, and here I came across this book that was written by Tom and David Kelley.

They said: Creativity is something you practice, not just a talent you’re born with.

Too many amazing words to be shared from this book, I’ll just pinpoint short paragraphs that show some points of view:

  • “What do we mean by empathy in terms of creativity and innovation? For us, it’s the ability to see an experience through another person’s eyes, to recognize why people do what they do. It’s when you go into the field and watch people interact with products and services in real time – what we sometimes refer to as “design research.” Gaining empathy can take some time and resourcefulness. But there is nothing like observing the person you’re creating something for to spark new insights. And when you specifically set out to empathize with your end user, you get your own ego out of the way. We’ve found that figuring out what other people actually need is what leads to the most significant innovations. In other words, empathy is a gateway to better and sometimes surprising insights that can help distinguish your idea or approach.”
  • “The uncertainty of the uncharted path ahead can be daunting. Sometimes it feels as if circumstances are conspiring against us, and we find ourselves revised in place.”
  • “It can lead to company paralysis when talk becomes a substitute for action.”
  • “The desire to be best can get in the way of getting better.”

I like the idea of them marketing themselves, also branding for the schools and company IDEO U. It is such an amazing idea of combining creative thinking in Business.

2. 从品牌的角度看设计 Brandjam – Humanizing Brands through Emotional Design by Marc Gobe

A powerful new concept from renowned designer and business guru Marc Gobe. I’ve always known that I’ll be working for designing or art-related job fields. And branding has been fascinating to me, now that I look back I realize how much advertising and branding books I’ve been crazily reading during my teen days.

It changed my creative thinking of how impactful branding is to a company, how emotions can tie to designing and business, to manipulating.

I’ve always been a sentimental and observant person, I could spend hours just looking into the details of the streets and the expressions on peoples’ faces. Just to figure out what are they thinking, where they come from, what’s their story. Some friends have said I’m crazy or even wasting my time. But creativity is in the details from all walks of life. I believe I can find answers from lives.

Not being dramatic here. As I said, all is connected.

Design is the First Spark

Design = realizing the facts of human through observing and analyzing. Brainstorm new ideas, be the first pioneer, connect the visuals and culture, presenting company culture, create brand elements, touch base with emotion, sensational, challenging, picture of future, collective consciousness.

3. 品牌森林X 品牌消費 Rebranding X Consumption Jungle by Tommy Li (HK)

One of the most successful rebranding guru pioneers from Hong Kong – Tommy Li.

He has managed to save many dying companies with poor branding stories and give them a New life.

Honeymoon Desert – used to be a local small family dessert store along the road sites, and is now a successful home-brand with a supply chain across South-East Asia.

Tommy transformed the brand in a black humor way of concept, by combining elements of monster cartoons (background of the SARS period) with their signature dessert, he then applied these elements on customized tableware and interior into the stores. Brand managed to sustain itself and even grow bigger. Great case study to read, highly recommended for marketers, branding professionals.

Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

I search answers when I need them, they are significant only when I seek and find them through the lines in a book.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

Definitely Brandjam.

It gives me a perspective of design thinking into all kinds of business. It eventually helped my marketing skills along my career path.

What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I try to read everytime I can. I always keep a few English books in Kindle and Ebook for Chinese books (best when you want to travel light and are being squeezed in the metro but trying to get your mind out of this space). But I’m still an old soul, preferring paper and dust reading. 🙂

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

Most of the time I just remember the information when it’s significant.

I also love to highlight the lines that I found have struck my thoughts, mark for next time when I reopen the book. Each reading journey has different perspectives of understanding.

How do you choose what books to read next?

I am a person who likes to read multiple books at the same time, and it really depends on my state of mind for what I feel like reading.

Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

I never prioritize my choice of reading from certain recommendation, believing the need for reading comes from the hunger of knowledge and is different for every individual. Each book has an opinion, and one opinion recommends another opinion.

I’ll have my own opinion of what books are worth my read.

Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

The Art of Strategy: I am curious of how strategy can apply on all kinds of industries. By reading this book, I want to find out things I might not have known before, or maybe I have been played by this strategy mind game (as a customer, consumer). And I want to see if this book could drastically change my logical thinking in my daily life.

Way Of The Wolf, by Jordan Belfort. I actually have read the Wolf of Wall Street novel before. But this time I want to understands this man without any Hollywood beautifying filter. Try to get into his head. Simply want to know how he used charisma and psychology to manipulate people. And I’m certain, all dictators, leaders in history, they all have their very own charisma, unique tonality that attracts people’s attention. To be continued…

Links where you can follow Kimberly Gloria Choi or find out more about her projects:

All books mentioned by Kimberly Gloria Choi in this interview:

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