05 Innovation


Creating emblematic brands: imagining new ways of life

Francesc Xavier Ruiz Collantes

To imagine a new leading brand is to imagine a new way of life. Innovating in creating brands is not just a question of giving a novel, great sounding brand-name to a product or service or set of products or services, regardless of whether they are more original or rather more ordinary. Innovating in creating a brand is not about simply assigning a set of values to the brand either, values to be conveyed through statements and which personalize the brand aside from the rest. Creating a brand is not just about placing a new “character” into the market and giving it a specific personality to make it differentiated and distinguished.

Thinking up a new brand is much more demanding and complicated than that, and entirely more fascinating. Thinking up a new brand is not just about thinking about markets and clients; is it, above all, thinking about the world and the people who experience it and live in it. Their daily routines, their exceptional events, their rituals, desires, frustrations, expectations, desires, phobias, their ways of perceiving and conceptualizing reality, their myths and their beliefs.

The real innovation of a brand that aspires to be emblematic does not lie only in the novelty surrounding the product or service, nor in the brand’s personality as a component of what is available in the market. None of that means anything if the focus is not on proposing a new way of life for the specific groups of people to which the brand is aimed, a new way of going about their activities and of perceiving their reality, either totally or in some part or aspect of it.

For example:
Apple defines a way of life in which technology and aesthetics are indivisible, a way of life in which high technology user experiences merge with the type of aesthetical gratification associated with art and select design. But the “Apple way of life” shines on every other sphere of life and in doing do, encourages its users to surpass conventional limits in their daily lives.

Ikea defines a way of life in which the provisional nature of every day contexts can be resolved by a piece of furniture that adapts to each moment of our lives. Ikea invents the creation of an ambiance for a nomadic existence in which it isn’t necessarily the individual who is moving, but the furniture that defines certain circumstantial experiences, in an environment that should feel absolutely personal to us.

Lacoste defines a lifestyle which blends a sporting air with distinguished elegance. Lacoste stands for a sport which depicts a luxurious life drenched with sporting values rather than actually with sweat, of the more refined sports, less endurance based, and socially more distinguished and select.

Imagining new ways of life is creating proposals for narratives that clients can experience. That is why innovating in the creation of a brand implies creating new stories.

Often when we talk about the relationship between narratives and brands, we think of the history of the brand’s communication: its origin, its founders, when it boomed, etc. However, in the creation of a brand, the narrative that the brand proposes to its target audience is the most essential aspect, as it allows them to experience it through their relationship with the brand.

Apple’s brand-narrative is the story experienced by its users who, by following the scenario that Apple creates for them, will always tend to get a little further ahead than what is standard, and will use technology in a creative way to gain not only excellent results, but to enjoy the experience from an aesthetical perspective.

That is why imagining ways of life and communicating them ultimately implies creating narratives that are proposed so that they may be experienced by the target audience of the brand. And in doing so, absolutely everything that is involved with the brand reaches its audiences, both tangible and intangible aspects, not only objects and devices, but also symbols and statements, both logical and mythological aspects. Because creating emblematic brands fundamentally implies creating the great stories that surround the culture of consumption.

Francesc Xavier Ruiz Collantes

Francesc Xavier Ruiz Collantes

Head of the Master in Strategy and Management Creative Brand, UPF-IDEC

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