A Dialogue with Michael Stiff on the Sensata INSIGHTS Brand Launch

In an industry where innovation meets tradition, the Sensata INSIGHTS brand launch stands out as a highlight of strategic creativity. Behind this groundbreaking project is Michael Stiff, a figure whose unique background combines the analytical depth of detective work with the expressive power of graphic design. In this interview, we explore the creative process, challenges, and inspirations that fueled the Sensata INSIGHTS brand launch, a project that has received high praise in the “Promotional video / TV / Film / Animation” category at the Creative Communication Awards.


Prize: Winner in Promotional video / TV / Film / Animation
Company: MonogramGroup
Lead Creative: Michael Stiff


Michael, could you share your journey into the world of graphic design and branding?
Michael Stiff: My path was shaped by a blend of curiosity and unexpected mentorship. Initially drawn to the investigative aspects of police detective work, I found a parallel in graphic design — each project presented itself as a mystery to solve. My career has spanned various sectors, from social impact to consumer goods, but it’s within the realm of branding consultancy that I’ve found my true calling, crafting brand strategies and visual identities.

What guided the Sensata INSIGHTS brand launch to success?
Michael Stiff: The challenge was to unify three acquired companies under a single new brand for a century-old manufacturing giant. Our success depended on not just creating a brand but also reshaping the corporation’s view on the importance of branding. The strategic development of a brand architecture system, inspired by the concise elegance of Adobe product acronyms, allowed us to focus on the future while respecting the legacy.

What was the creative spark behind the Sensata INSIGHTS brand?
Michael Stiff: The spark came from recognizing the potential of abbreviations to simplify complex ideas. Just as Adobe uses two-letter acronyms for its products, we wanted Sensata INSIGHTS to symbolize innovation — IoT, automation, electrification — without overwhelming the audience with jargon, thus keeping the parent brand at the forefront.

What were the major hurdles in developing this brand, and how were they addressed?
Michael Stiff: The primary challenge was navigating the client’s size and their unfamiliarity with being brand-led. By involving stakeholders at every step, we ensured the brand resonated not just externally but was embraced internally, aligning with the company’s vision and culture.

What fuels your passion for design, and how has your approach evolved?
Michael Stiff: My passion is rooted in the joy of creative problem-solving rather than the pursuit of art for personal expression. This realization, fostered by an encouraging art teacher, has guided my journey. My creativity thrives on addressing client needs with innovative solutions, a process of continuous evolution and learning.

How do you maintain relevance in the face of rapidly changing technology trends?
Michael Stiff: My focus remains on understanding our clients’ industries and strategic goals rather than keeping pace with every new trend. This approach ensures our designs are timeless and grounded in strategic differentiation.

In what ways do you seek growth and inspiration?
Michael Stiff: Growth, to me, is a holistic concept, encompassing both personal and professional areas. Inspiration is everywhere — from industry research to admiring the work of agencies I respect. It’s about constantly looking for new perspectives and solutions.

Who has shaped your design philosophy?
Michael Stiff: The strategic simplicity of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, and the honest reflections of Michael Beirut on collaboration, have deeply influenced my approach. Their work embodies the principles of effective design and the importance of teamwork.

How do you navigate the relationship between client expectations and your design ethos?
Michael Stiff: My role involves expanding the client’s vision by exploring a variety of styles, rather than imposing a personal aesthetic. It’s about finding a harmonious balance that elevates the brand.

Finally, what does receiving a Creative Communication Award mean to you?
Michael Stiff: It’s a profound honor. This project represented a comprehensive journey of brand building — both strategically and creatively. The recognition is a validation of our efforts and a milestone in my career.

This dialogue with Michael Stiff not only reveals the complex layers behind the Sensata INSIGHTS brand launch but also showcases the transformative power of strategic branding in the corporate world. Stiff’s detective-like approach to design and branding demonstrates a deep understanding of the subtleties of creative communication, making the Sensata INSIGHTS project a standard for innovation and strategic thought in the industry.

Learn more about the Sensata INSIGHTS Project by visiting our website here or by visiting C2A’s website here.



This article was edited and reposted from C2A.