The Brand Pattern

October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Obey Pattern

 Branding Is About Creating Patterns, Not Repeating Messages

A brand pattern is more than how a brand looks. It is the coherence and consistency between how the brand acts, looks, and responds over time. Brands are temporal — their past, present, and future is available in one URL. This kind of interface demands iterative management. The limited elements of traditional brand strategy, such as brand bibles, guidelines, values, and promises were not designed to accommodate this. So we must begin to create the tools that will make a brand perform.

A pattern needs to bridge the totality of what a brand can be — it must be the master plan to create strategic consistency — as well as the micro plan to create a single, relevant tactic.

It must encompass systems (which are expansive and multiple) and narratives (which are reductive and singular). By doing so, brands are given room to unfold and grow iteratively without the need for radical change.

A brand pattern creates consistency between the Artifacts, Behaviors, and Concepts of a brand. Artifacts, Behaviors, and Concepts are the simple ABC of a new kind of brand consistency. Artifacts are the logos, names, slogans, colors, icons, shapes, sounds, and products of a brand. Behaviors are the states, traits, actions, performance, and response of a brand. Concepts are the plural thoughts and visions that strategically bind an organization. These must become inter-related and interdependent.

Through this pattern, a brand creates a flexible inter-consistency that retains its value without losing its relevance and connection with a dynamic audience. Through this inter-consistency, the brand becomes more believable, because the myriad of mediums and access points support rather than repeat one another other.

Artifacts, Behaviors, and Concepts are the ABC’s of a new kind of brand consistency.

When we create a pattern of ABCs, a TV channel’s brand, for example, is no longer the constant logo in the corner of the screen, or a series of interruptive advertisements. The brand’s identity is defined by the set of interfaces it lives on: the design of the video player, the interactions of the user, and the discrete set of functionalities that gives the user dynamic control of the content. The identity of the iPhone is not just the Apple logo on the back. Instead, the iPhone brand is recognized by the reconfigurable app grid on the front, a pattern that can be personalized by the individual. Ikea is not just the yellow and blue brand, or the Swedish furniture store; it is a shopping event that connects multiple experiences through a physical maze. By using patterns, we place the brand in something, rather than just on it.

A brand pattern creates more value than repetition. It provides coherence among disparate mediums and continued relevance that can adapt and respond to its audience. A brand pattern connects a product to an experience and an audience, allowing the brand to continually grow.

Read the full article here.


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