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September 2016

Is Branding Dying?

Brands are becoming more important than ever in the era of information overload.

Creating a brand is not about designing the best logo, choosing the most suitable color palette, typefaces, and imagery, or even having a balanced combination of all the above criteria. Today, a brand has to take part of people’s minds. If nobody knows about your brand, it is dead, no matter how creative the graphics are.

Branding isn’t dead, but it does not work as it did 20 or 30 years ago. However, with the way it continues to be approached by much of the marketing industry, it may as well be. The companies who will win the day, are the ones who will build facts about the brand – tell their stories loudly, and keep telling them to create an unforgettable brand experience.
Referring to storytelling, creating events, and memories, and eventually connecting with communities, today, clients are not only concerned about how their brand looks, but about who knows about their brand, and how to reach the ones that don’t.

A brand has to be out there, all the time. It has to interact, speak, and breathe with its audience. It has to reach them and tell them its story or news constantly.

Featured Article:
Hybrid Talks

Maku: The New Face Of Summer Footwear From Lebanon

After hitting their set goal on Kickstarter in just a few hours, Maku and the team behind it are off to a great start. This unique, minimal, and comfortable sandal, expected to launch next spring, is on its way to being the face of summer footwear. We got a chance to chat with founder William Choukeir and asked him a few questions. Read on to find out more, and jump on the bandwagon with us!

Maku: The New Face Of Summer Footwear In Lebanon | Hybrid Talks

Your first day on Kickstarter was impressive! What do you think is behind people’s enthusiasm?
We’d like to believe it’s because we have a great product. We spent 5 years iterating on a single product, based on real-world feedback, and feedback from early users. That means that we arrived on launch day with a product that was highly improved, and that we knew some people would love. (Though, we didn’t know it would be this successful). We knew that it’s going to take great visuals to communicate, simply, what’s great about Makus. What we believe also helped is that the sandal design is memorable. It stands out.

When you made your first pair of sandals, did you know it was going to go this far?
Not at all. I built the very first pair hoping to solve a knee pain I had. I had no intentions of turning it into a product I would ultimately sell.

Do you have any employees helping you with the increase in demand now?
We are just 3 co-founders working on this today. Things might change depending on the final outcome of the campaign.

Maku: The New Face Of Summer Footwear In Lebanon | Hybrid Talks

Do you plan to keep making the sandals by hand?
That’s unfortunately not a sustainable way of growing our brand. It takes us 4 to 5hrs build a single pair. And it’s hard to control a consistent quality. At that rate, we would not be able to meet the demand.
However, we are in discussions with manufacturers that will meet our high standards and enable us to deliver the same high quality sandals but in larger volumes.

Do you worry about the brand changing its concept and approach once demand increases and you become even more popular?
No. We are very committed to the values of our brand: quality, comfort, functionality, and design. We have all agreed from the get go that we would not be compromising on these values.

Can we look forward to seeing more varied designs, patterns, and styles in the future?
Maybe :) It’s very early in the game for us. We are thrilled by the response we’ve gotten so far. Our current focus will be on delivering on our promise and getting Maku Sandals to all our backers. After that, we’ll be able to start thinking about the next phase.

Did you do any scientific research before designing the sandals?

In 2009, a book was released called ‘Born to run’, about American Indians who run marathons every day, in sandals called Huaraches. That book created waves in the footwear industry, claiming that feet are naturally designed to work without shoes. Research from Harvard University (among others) supports this. Makus are partly based on this and similar research. Of course, we don’t make any claims at all because new research is coming out everyday, and every person is unique. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula when it comes to footwear. It’s up to each person to determine what’s best for them.

Why sandals as opposed to any other type of footwear?
I was primarily inspired by the running American Indians to create my very first pair. Being obsessed with improving everything I come into contact with, I couldn’t resist continuously improving them over the years.

Maku: The New Face Of Summer Footwear In Lebanon | Hybrid Talks
How would you describe Maku sandals in your own words?
The next best thing to walking barefoot on grass.

What would you like to say to new emerging startups who are seeking success?
Focus on building something people want. Work closely with your potential customers. Gather detailed feedback, even if it’s the type of feedback you don’t like to hear. Incorporate it into your product. Iterate as many times as needed to get to the point where your customers love it without hesitation. If you don’t have something people want, everything else you do will not work.

Click here to visit their website.
Check out their Kickstarter page here, and contribute to pre-order a pair of Makus.
Follow them on Facebook here to stay up to date.
For inquiries or more info, get in touch with the Maku team at

Featured Article:
Hybrid Talks