On the future of brands

Creative Review was at the Brand Perfect Tour yesterday in London. Presentations from the likes of Wolff Olins, Wieden + Kennedy and SomeOne provided plenty of food for thought

Creative Review was at the Brand Perfect Tour yesterday in London. Presentations from the likes of Wolff Olins, Wieden + Kennedy and SomeOne provided plenty of food for thought

The Idea of the Brand Perfect Tour, which is the branchild of Monotype Imaging, is to encourage debate around the future of branding and specifically to look at the problems of communicating via the enormous number of different platforms that exist today.

One of the main themes that came out of the day was the impossibility of visual consistency across all these platforms, particularly when so much communication and discussion about products and services now takes place in areas where brands have no control eg Twitter and Facebook. As Wolff Olins‘ Marina Willer said “Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is”.

Where consistency can be achieved is in tone of voice, the way an organisation behaves and the authenticity of what it has to offer the world. So consistency becomes less a matter of referring to the Corporate Identity Manual and more one of making sure the organisation knows what it stands for and is clear about it. Less a visual thing and more a behavioural one.

SomeOne‘s Simon Manchipp gave what most Tweeters seemed to agree was the most stimulating presentation. Manchipp, as well as reiterating his now familiar ‘The logo is dead’ viewpoint, argued that what brands must now concentrate on is not consistency, which he dismissed as being dull and uninteresting, but cohesion.

As usual, we were left with as many questions as answers. Here’s a few to ponder:

If the logo is dead, why do people love and care about them so much?

Do an organisation’s customers really own the brand as the new orthodoxy has it, or should a brand have the courage to tell the Tweeters and Facebook groups ‘no, you’re wrong, we’re right’? And what about all those customers who don’t Tweet or use Facebook? Who is listening to them?

The new thinking has it that companies or organisations with bad products will no longer be able to exist because the power of social networking will destroy their reputation. Reality or wishful thinking?

Should your brand look the same in every situation in which it operates?

Is the app business the same as the web was 15 years ago, ie everyone rushing to release an app just because their competitors have one without really having a good reason to do so and a whole lot of unscrupulous design firms charging whatever they like to create products they know have no use?

The next Brand Perfect event is in Hamburg on June 14. Details here


CR in Print

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The June issue of CR features a major retrospective on BBH and a profile piece on the agency’s founder, Sir John Hegarty. Plus, we have a beautiful photographic project from Jenny van Sommers, a discussion on how illustrators can maintain a long-term career, all the usual discussion and debate in Crit plus our Graduate Guide packed with advice for this year’s college leavers.

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