Designing Living Brands

In my last post, I talked about celebrity branding. Well, you can’t mention celebrities these days without mentioning lifestyle. Lifestyle branding has undoubtedly been the holy grail of brand aspiration in the past decade – not just for celebrities but across the board for everything from cosmetics to cars. The original lifestyle brand pioneers – think Ralph Lauren - have been typically presented by a well-defined image underpinned with a strong philosophy, set of values and ownable aesthetic. But the two-dimensional and somewhat ‘cookie-cutter’ approach that has been adopted by many in NO way mirrors the way we live our lives now. Rather than prescribing lifestyle on a mass scale, we are moving to a new evolution of - and design of - what we are terming ‘living brands’ with a re-focus of aspiration around ‘real’ lifestyles.

The new breed of lifestyle brands may have a heartland area but extend their offers to create a broader and more eclectic branded experience. Jones Soda diversified into Jones Soda candy and Jones Soda flavoured lip balm - completely apposite lifestyle extensions for a brand that is all about flavour. And Jones has – and is continuing to be – recognised and awarded for their unique packaging that features constantly changing labels that are generated and submitted by the consumers themselves – Brands like this focus on building an image around discovery and individuality and meeting different expressions, and interests, of our characters outside of their expected boundaries. And, yes, it may create more of a struggle to be everything to everyone but these brands approach lifestyle as individual and personal. They realise that it’s not about such indulgent and stereotypical visual messaging but about creating a more fluid and flowing aesthetic and a design approach that builds its own interpretation of modern living and life.

It’s these same sentiments that have been brought into play with the creation of Jme: Chef Jamie Oliver’s first foray into lifestyle branding. Elevating Jamie from the kitchen to the home, it changes the way people interact with lifestyle brands by offering a constantly evolving and growing collection of useful and lovely things, innovated and designed both by Jamie himself and by different designers all over the world. The brand ethos is emotive rather than ‘branded’ and corporate so it actually fits in with the personal style of individual homes. Rather than imposing an aesthetic, the strong Jme marque is collaborative and adaptable allowing the Jme brand to exist in a fluid and natural way and hold together the eclectic and evolving collection of products and packaging.

Time to start creating living, breathing brands.

Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner Pearlfisher, will be presenting at the IIR’s annual FUSE event – FUSE: Reclaim The Future – with the Jamie Oliver team on 15 April 2010, Chicago

To find out more about Jamie Oliver and Jme, check out



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