Principles of Iconic brand design 4: dramatic brand showcase

Returning to the FUSE stage this year is Tess Wicksteed, Strategy Director at Pearlfisher. This time she will be sharing the podium with Tom Barr, VP Coffee Design at Starbucks. Tess's series of blog posts will outline the key brand building principles that can evolve brands from exciting challengers to globally loved icons. Read the whole series here.

Icons have very high opinions of themselves - they consider themselves important because they have something to say and they want to say it in a way that makes you listen. As a result they make bold definitive statements about themselves in ways that no-one else can follow.

Brands function as propaganda machines and their communications reflect this. In terms of their role in culture they don't have the option to persuade us gently like a novel or regularly like a newspaper - they are only products at the end of the day and therefore don't deserve too much sustained attention. They have to cut through our basic boredom with consumer culture and say something startling to make us sit up and take notice.

The best brand showcases draw an incredibly compelling analogy with some real or imagined myth that is a common part of our cultural imagination and associate themselves with it - the best example is still the launch of apple - even if not many people had actually read 1984 everyone was familiar with the vision of techno fascism because it was the dominant dystopia across culture generally. The language they used hit a deep chord of understanding in us and aroused our fears as well as our hopes and opened our minds to whatever their alternative vision for the future was. Before we had even fallen in love with their product we saw the role they could play in our lives and were longing for it.

It's interesting that since then they haven't made any similarly mythic statements, instead focusing on realizing the vision they set up, ensuring that the world does not look like 1984. Start big and all you have to do is keep on doing what you're doing.
Watch the full ad here.

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