A Brand is the unique mix of intangible associations that consumers attribute to a specific product or organization: it stands for assurance of quality, personal identification with specific values and provides an immediate recognition of the “soul” of an item, service or person. Developing brands, we argue, is an art rather than a science, and as such requires a specific set of sensemaking abilities that is commonly found in artists and intellectuals.
The art of building harmonious brands is difficult to be measured, taught in scientific terms or transferred with frameworks and diagrams, it is rather a balanced mix of knowledge acquired on the field in contact with the target audience, observation, analysis and a fair amount of intuition that guides the educated guesses of the best brand artists. Like an elaborate painting or a complex music composition, a Brand is composed of hundreds of elements that resonate harmoniously together to create a consistent and pleasant experience that communicates value to those exposed to it. It is easy to ruin this perfect harmony with any dissonance, but those who can successfully design a true branding masterpiece are assured to seize the best spot in the gallery of consumers preference.
Like in the arts world successful artists sell their personal brands and lifestyles together with their creations, in the world of marketing, as well, a Brand is associated with all of its stances, previous experiences and history: it is therefore crucial to curate carefully every aspect of how a trademark carries itself in the public’s eyes, nothing can be left to chance. In today’s fast changing world in order to shape and manage an identity people will want to appropriate and subscribe to, a communicator has to stay updated on trends and create new ones of its own, keep on the cutting edge of innovation without alienating more conservative viewers and have a well-rounded understanding of the worldviews that its scene shares.
Like art collectors, carefully visiting art exhibitions and fairs in order to stay informed on their favorite creators and discovering new ones, today’s consumers roam the market taking notice of products and services they might add to their daily routines. They are capable of substantial investment if convinced that a specific piece will contribute well to their collection, but are extremely discerning in regards of quality and will spot a rip-off at a mile’s distance. A well constructed Brand signals, at an eye’s glance, that a specific item is worth of their attention, that its creators value quality in every area and that possessing it will make their life better and richer.
Like in a reversed auction, multiple Brands bid against each other to catch a consumer’s attention, budget, time and love: the competition is fierce and all players are willing to invest unreasonable amounts of resources into securing a special spot in the buyers private gallery, a spot they will monetize again and again in the following years or decades. A well polished label minimizes this expenditures by providing subtle associations, often at the subconscious level, that serve as a proxy for the features and perks this savvy and informed buyers look for.
Like a museum, the lives of our consumers frame and are framed by different Brands: some permanent collections are made of items and services that get purchased over and over again, shown with pride to visitors and become part of the identity of the buyer to the extent he or she would not even consider switching to any other option. Some other space is dedicated to temporary exhibitions: elements that the consumer chooses carefully but uses for a defined period of time, before exploring other options. As Brand artists we create masterpieces that elevate the spaces our buyers expose us in and keep surprising positively.
Like artists, we curate every brush stroke, every dot and every subtle shade of color that goes into the picture we are creating, step back to check how it all falls in place in its togetherness, how it blends with the surrounding environment and how it plays under different lights. The final results are Brands that don’t fear the test of time, will be appropriated, exposed, shown and used, passed on like family treasures.
Like Renaissance patrons, our costumers hire us to create something unique and completely out of the ordinary that will elevate them and their organizations for the years to come and signal to their prospects an uncompromising attention to detail and obsessive commitment to absolute excellence.
Ikono is a boutique brand consulting agency specialized in elevating undifferentiated products to the status of lifestyle brands, unlocking superior margins and repositioning common trademarks in the eyes of the most discerning global consumers with the combination of sociology expertise, trend awareness and the most advanced technology combined.