Brand identity and design is constantly evolving, striving to stay ahead of the game and provide answers for consumers and their needs. From following the category code to breaking the code, times are changing and the age of collaboration is near.
Following the Code
For the last few decades and the onslaught of mass production, branding was all about the numbers and following the category code, creating a set of recognisable touch-points that all brands with the one market tended to follow.
Breaking the Code
Then there was a recent shift – people wanted their products to be more artisan, customised and personal, so branding and web design was forced to become more innovative with unique, iconic touch-points. Breaking the category code was the new rule.
Collaboration for Solutions
And now we are heading for yet another shift for those charged with designing and creating brand identity. The future is likely to be about more than a stand-alone product or service – it’s more likely to be entwined with ‘solutions’ – joint solutions, customised solutions, personalised solutions, value-added solutions. This will mean that collaboration is required between all involved – product designers, manufacturers, branding specialists, marketers.
Brand identity of the refrigerator through the years
Let’s use the humble refrigerator as an example. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were happy to just have one – an innovation that would do away with the need for daily ice deliveries, would ensure food would last longer and meant that meals could be planned more than a day or two in advance. The touch-points and category code was simple – refrigerators would make daily life easier.
By our parent’s day refrigerator ‘brands’ emerged – their brands were all built on similar touch-points and category codes – strong, solid, built to last, a housewife’s best friend. The only real difference was for those brands offering refrigerators in different colours or designed to match walls and cupboards. And freezer compartments become standard.
Now we get to the last decade or so – refrigerators became ‘cool’ – as in stylish, chic – a statement rather than just a kitchen appliance.
We’ve had branding messages built around unique product features – adjust the temperature settings of individual compartments, adjust shelving to suit our entertaining platters, extra ways to open and easily access drinks in the door space, water dispensers, built-in ice makers and the list goes on…
Brands are now breaking the category code established in the past. Fridges aren’t just stock-standard – they are unique, customised, iconic even.
The future of branding identity
And the future…while the first try at integrating the Internet with fridges didn’t go as planned, the idea was headed in the right direction. Imagine a time when your refrigerator offers you a ‘solution’ – not just updating your shopping list when it recognises that the milk is getting low but more. This is where brand identity creation and maintenance will step up in terms of collaboration. Manufacturers, branding specialists, designers, service providers and others will need to work together to offer the next generation new and creative touch-points in order to satisfy their needs.
We envisage a time when your once humble refrigerator will – update your shopping list, make meal suggestions based on its contents, advise on healthy meal choices and portion control, send a service booking as required, and even adjust temperature controls remotely should we decide to eat out that night and not use the food stored. We may not be ready yet for a fridge that tells us what we should eat and when but the future is exciting for those prepared to think outside the box in terms of design, brand identity and collaboration.
We are already in a time of ‘breaking the category code’ and moving into ‘solutions’ so if you are wanting your branding identity to stand out from the rest of the products and services in your industry and attract a specialised target audience, contact your local brand agency Liquid Creativity. We can help you determine the best branding identity to move your brand forward.