Brands are letting their hair down
Rich, happy, famous. Smart agencies have always struck a balance across their client roster to deliver all three for their teams.
It’s why studios were once clamouring for a slice of fashion and the arts to give their teams a creative outlet from better paying, but often less exciting corporate projects.
Now it seems, there’s fun to be had in most industries, including corporates. Fashionable art direction, smart collaborations, entertaining experiences, relaxed language, playful illustration and greater brand flexibility have found a place in some of the most established and disciplined brands.
We put it down to a few things:
The rigid corporate brand guideline has been forced to make way for a more playful and flexible suite of tools in order to continually connect with an always-on audience consuming across more channels than ever before and expecting newness everywhere they look. Today’s identities must be a flexible suite of components held together by an idea, not enforced by a logo.
Smart brands invite their different audiences to co-own the brand. That includes internal audiences and customers. The power rests with the consumer and brands can no longer control a tight monologue, particularly online. Instead, they must establish a platform for conversation and collaboration. With that comes a less polished, controlled brand veneer, and something altogether more human and authentic.
Democratisation of creativity
Creativity was once the domain of a select few. Not any more. Organisations are embracing more creative, collaborative working environments. Design is a key differentiator in customer experience. Organisatons are rapidly building their own internal creative workforces and seeking to harness the power of design thinking.
We’re all people underneath
The assumption that being a trusted corporate citizen equates to having to maintain a stern and professional demeanour is fading. Underneath, we’re all craving a more human connection. The C-Suite decision-maker you’re nurturing was pissed about the final season of Game of Thrones too. That CBA loan applicant still loves thumbing through the pages of The Good Weekend as they smash an avo. And more than one Tiffany shopper loves a bit of A$AP Rocky. The trick is delivering a more authentic and human experience whilst managing credibility and trust. But it’s a balance that’s easily achieved. And brands can shift the dial on these qualities across channels. Social channels demand a less polished, informal side to brands, but as we get closer to a transaction, we expect a greater degree of formality.
Smart brands are teaming up with cultural tastemakers to fast-track impact on their brand perceptions. And those connections can be with celebrity, influencers or other brands. Looks at Supreme x Louis Vuitton. A great local example is Drumstick x Messina, the best case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ in recent history. A mature product facing the challenges of an increasingly health-conscious consumer, their collaboration with cult gelato artisans Messina resulted in a range with instant desirability, and gave them permission to play outside their typical brand constraints.
All of this is great news for creative agencies, who can now be more human with brands in all sectors, stretching their creativity, and originality further. And just maybe, we can all make money, get famous and be happy at the same time.
– Chris Laws, Managing Director