Co.Create

Facebook's Design Chief Kate Aronowitz Takes on Director of Brand Role

The social networking giant’s former director of design aims to bring marketing and product disciplines closer together.

Many brands have invested in marketing on Facebook, but how successfully they present their persona varies wildly. Those looking to engage with their consumers through the social networking giant have a new resource now that Kate Aronowitz, the company’s former director of design, has taken on the role of brand director.

The appointment is an interesting one for those who see marketing and design as part of one integrated vision. Not only does Aronowitz have a pedigreed past that includes senior design roles at LinkedIn and eBay, but she hopes that in her new role, she will bring the company’s creative and design disciplines closer together. Aronowitz will now work with the creative services team—the marketing experts who interface with agencies and brands. Her role will involve "working closely with clients that run advertising on Facebook to make sure that what they’re delivering to people is interesting, engaging content. Just really to lift the creative and the quality that’s coming through the site.

"What I’m excited to do coming from the product side of Facebook is build a bridge with our creative team and build more understanding for how the product is built, how we think about it," says Aronowitz. "Any time great creative has a strong understanding of the interface it’s being placed into, I think you can have greater success. Having been on the team that actually built the tools that our advertising clients are using I can only believe that will help elevate the level of creative."

While a brand Facebook page is pretty commonplace, Aronowitz says there are still challenges when it comes to perceptions of how Facebook can aid marketers. "The biggest thing we’re wrestling with right now is that when people think about advertising on Facebook they immediately just think, how can I be social? Social brings these stereotypes to mind, like grumpy cat or the Old Spice campaign." Her focus, she says, is to cement the notion that there’s no real "Facebook creative" but that "great creative in general is just great creative on Facebook."

She’s also looking at ways that marketers can make their online personas more personal. "The people that have liked your brand are obviously interested in what you have to say, so I think it’s about making your content really relevant and interesting for people," she says. "For example, as a designer I’m a fan of Adobe. They recently put out a really cool placement that showed the evolution of the Photoshop toolbar over the past 20 years. To anybody else that’s not a designer that would mean nothing. But to me, it made me reflect on the fact that I’ve been using Photoshop for almost 20 years. The important thing for brands to think about is who would they be if they sat down one-on-one with the people who use them? When people can get to that essence, the creative really pops off the page."

A design mind in a creative solutions department also aptly reflects the times, where the notion of marketing and creating product are moving ever closer together. Aronowitz says a series of conversations with clients fueled her excitement for this new role. "I got to spend more time with clients, talking with them about the integration of marketing and product, talking about how brands can be more social, what being social really means. A lot of these disciplines are coming together and people are realizing there are strengths when we can work together rather than keeping the marketing folks on one side and the design and product folks on the other. I think the people that succeed are the ones who know how to bring them together."

[Image Courtesy of Facebook | Flickr user NOAA, and Anthony Ryan]

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