The search for meaning and identity has always been and always will be a very deep need. The desire to deliver a specific message to consumers, reflect a contemporary image in the business arena, attract and retain clients, and to enter the market competition. Globalization in particular generates a strong desire for identification: Imagine 300 million entrepreneurs trying to launch 150 million new businesses every year of which only one third will see the light of day.
The ultimate reason that major market players engage with and work seriously on the identification process? Simply because brand identity has powerful symbolic value. After almost fifteen years of identity development experience with both small and large firms and multinational corporations from different sectors of activity and across four continents, I would say that to be efficient and results-oriented, brand identity should comply with six principles:
Uniqueness and recognizability A brand should be individualized, patented and customized, enabling the consumer to immediately recognize the product and/or service it represents.
Adherence and faithfulness Business leaders should not limit themselves to mere differentiation. They understand that they have to go further with the brand creation process as they ultimately aim to provoke both internal and external adherence and faithfulness.
Sustainability and trends Brand creation should not be dictated by trends. Brand identity cannot merely rely on logos or colors or graphic lines- solid identity foundations are required for a lasting formula.
Adaptability and change Brand identity is flexible and open to life. Unlike living entities doomed to disappear and die once they become static and motionless, brands last and outlive. This is not because of their strength or intelligence, but rather because of their innate ability to evolve by embracing change and progress thus persisting durably.
Interconnection and coherence Brand creation is not a patchwork operation, it is an elaborate mechanism. Just like the high precision movements of all the components of a good watch work simultaneously to deliver the correct time, so must the different elements of an identity work together to build a sharp brand. With this in mind, understand that interconnection and coherence contribute to generating trust in a brand.
Universality and niches In a globalized market where we are all increasingly faced with the difficult challenge of universality it begs the question: Should brands be able to speak to everyone and in every culture? The more a brand is universal, the greater its edge over the competition.
I strongly believe that observation is among the top qualities required in first analyzing then understanding, subsequently injecting these into design thinking to effectively innovate. Aesthetics -as the result of a delicate, clever and thorough work process- must be accomplished with a great sense of care, grace, and simplicity. I like to refer here to the “Craftsman’s Spirit” originally by Kenya Hara- another facet (that of luxury) which lies in the invisible and in the detail, and ultimately makes all the difference.
If science concerns itself with what things are and how things could become, design then is the study and execution of how things should be, making life easier, safer, more effective, more enjoyable, more intelligible, and overall more meaningful.