Branding Precepts for Our Digital World: Keep It Fresh & Have Some Fun

Loosen up. The era of brand consistency is over and done with.

Media is fluid today and brand identities have to adapt if they are to remain dynamic. That’s the word from Jose Martinez Salmeron, Executive Creative Director for Social@Ogilvy in Washington, DC.

Brands should nowadays give themselves permission to be more surprising, to flirt with their customers, to listen to what they have to say and to cater to their desires. A modern brand should take leaps of faith, abandon self-obsessions and embrace risk. Conversely, by not doing this, the brand could become irrelevant in a hurry.

Martinez Salmeron also believes it is necessary to “embrace executional variance in a smart way, by establishing loose parameters that nonetheless can create a familial feel for an otherwise very rich group of brand applications across media and across continents.” In other words, brands are living cultural reflections–attempt to control them at your own peril.

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For a recent example of a fluid brand, Martinez Salmeron points to Duffy & Partners’ work for The Islands of the Bahamas — and how it is “a robust brand language that is endlessly adaptable, flexible and immediately recognizable.” Endlessly adaptable is a high standard, to say nothing of immediately recognizable. Add co-creation and engagement with the brand’s community, and the complexity of modern brand management is plain to see. Be that as it may, the job is to make it all seamless, simple and clear.

I am seeing this kind of flexibility/complexity in my own world right now. Our client, TeeBoxx, invested wisely in its brand identity and point-of-sale materials, now as the company readies its new website (and online store), creates sell sheets, branded merchandise, an event booth, pop up retail and so on, the applications for the new brand ID are multiple and varied.

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