Fernanda Amarante is an incredibly talented brand design strategist. She has been bringing marketing ideas for the last 14 years while also winning awards for it along the way. Her design strategy has influenced the identity of some of the most iconic brands such as Reese's, Twizzlers, Kit Kat and many others in her tenure.
What makes a design work at Hershey?
Successful design truly shows where insights, brand strategy and marketing objectives meet into a compelling visual articulation. This is only possible when there is true integration of design and marketing/brand teams, when they progress in lock-in step. Our brand and marketing teams bring design into the conversation as part of building their strategic framework. Consumers see that coming to life in store and at the shelf.
Where do you see commercial design going in the future? Will it be more interactive? Or do you see it plateauing?
More and more, we see a very diverse visual language making its way into the market with design being extremely accessible to all companies, big and small. I feel it’s not a matter of more of less interactivity; we no longer can limit ourselves as to what Design should or shouldn’t deliver: as touchpoints are more and more interconnected, it becomes a philosophy behind how brands show up in the world. That makes the competitive landscape even more fierce, as emerging trends continue to arise from different places, demanding from us, design strategists, increasing flexibility and an endless sense of curiosity. We’ll see storytelling ever so prominent across different ecosystems, and changes in landscape happening faster and faster.
Do you think a business will be successful if they don't include social media into their marketing plan? Or do you think it's essential now?
Quite frankly, including social media isn’t an option anymore. Social media is just another crucial medium in which people connect with brands, often on a much more individual basis than other mass media vehicles. The question isn’t on whether or not businesses should include social media in their plan – it’s a matter of how to leverage it in a way that makes sense, creates a role for it in the marketing mix and, again, is grounded in the brand visual vocabulary and philosophy, adding to the experience we create for our consumers.
What do you love about working at a global company?
I love the ability to be in a continuously changing environment. We learn so much by seeing some of our consolidated brands perform very differently in emerging markets – it is a wonderful exercise of very diverse thinking when it comes to brand building and brand meaning. The nuances of communicating flavor, appetite appeal and introducing brands into entirely new markets make our days very dynamic and interesting.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you wondered what was going to happen next?
So many times! Haha. I started off as a hands-on designer, and shifting to a design & brand strategy role was a change I made while seeking a spot closer to the decision-making process. As I progressed through my career, the shifts were always based on how to continue to add value while delivering the highest level of design-based strategic thinking, and it would be impossible to trace back the steps with a final end goal of being in a design strategy role in a consumer goods corporation. When wondering what was going to happen next, I always keep in mind where my heart is and how to continue to push myself into always learning and evolving as a strategic design leader.
To you what does great design mean?
Great design does not require explanation. What people see as great design is simply the visual articulation of extremely sharp marketing strategy, visualized through impeccable design intent, choices, and principles.
If you were stuck on an island what five items would you want with you?
Hopefully, my fiancé could come with me – I’d have my running shoes, sunglasses, some sort of music playing device (can we pretend an iphone and a bose sound bar are the same item?), a hammock and my drawing set. Please put me in an island with coconut trees – I absolutely love fresh coconut water and I miss it dearly from my home country Brasil.
If you could travel back in time where would you go?
I’d love to see the 1920’s and all the inventions, progress, the modern art movement, the beautiful fashion and the wonderfully eclectic aesthetics of that time. I would specifically want to go to Paris and witness all the happenings of that magical age!