Today, brands do not exist as a single, contained story. Rather, they are complex, dynamic clusters of ideas that are shaped by wide-ranging human experiences and perceptions.
Identifying how a brand’s products and purpose fit within the broader cultural landscape serves as a crucial first step in identifying innovation opportunities. Smart brands are investing in understanding and mapping the relevant world around them — connecting the dots between consumer, category, and culture, and pursuing inventive ways to participate within the ideas, behaviors, and communities in those intersections.
We help our partners craft entirely new brands and discover latent brand equity to refresh old standards. Through our multi-disciplinary, people-centered approach to innovation, we ensure that the brands of today and tomorrow are aligned with the expectations of local or global cultures and engineered with the meaning, purpose, and relevance that will make them enduring favorites.
Renew. Resetting the brand strategy
Whether you are facing the challenge of developing a new brand from the ground up or unlocking an existing brand’s potential, renewing its relevance, and repositioning it for growth, you need a strategy that will align with today’s culture and tomorrow’s human expectations. We deliver that strategy through a concise, creative process that allows your organization to break through today’s cluttered consumer environment and build brands with meaning.
We conduct ethnographic research to identify how consumers are engaging with a category you might play in.
We uncover latent brand equity and develop ways to extend into new markets or stretch a brand’s meaning to reach new segments.
We establish new brands and initiate brand comebacks by developing strategies, tactics, and offerings.
Shape. Imagining the brand’s future
Most brands have a stated vision, but few take the time to carefully consider how this vision might manifest three, five, or even ten years out. Amidst today’s unprecedented uncertainty and disruption, imagining a brand’s potential future is ultimately an exercise in ambition. At IC/ brand, our approach relies on examining possible brand or category futures as design fictions.
We develop design fictions—inspirational tools and strategic signals of what might lie over the horizon—which are grounded in strategic foresight.
We explore signals of change in both brand and category landscapes, shaping a series of future brand scenarios.
We crystallize a brand’s commitments, creatively conveying today’s perspective while teasing at tomorrow’s pipeline.
Envision. Developing brand prototypes
The most loved and successful products and services have always gone beyond mere function. As winning offerings, they have stories, social cues, meanings, and purpose baked in. And new breakthrough products champion new breakthrough ideas . For the success of both, the whole of the product and brand is greater than the sum of its parts.
We develop brand-led innovation opportunities to evaluate product and service concepts as well as possibilities across formats and channels.
We rapidly prototype to explore new offerings that renew familiar brands and help brands launch new offerings to new segments/markets.
We host pop-up labs to engage with consumers, gaining insight into how the product, service, and experience might be interpreted in the real world.
Embody. Living a brand from inside out
Brand tells people who you are, what you stand for, and why your service or product has real value. Brand also sets organizational direction, establishing a common purpose and giving a company a sense of self. Whether you consider its impact on sales from consumers or the organizational energy and enthusiasm of employees, a brand is only a promise until it manifests as experience.
We learn through ethnography, which helps us understand how employees and consumers think about and connect with a brand.
We make your brand manifest across employee and consumer touchpoints so the intention comes alive through interactions.
We design new modules of experience to help organizations show, not sell.
Our process is designed to cultivate smarter and more sensitive brands that align with and drive the conversations customers are having today and will be having tomorrow.
We put brands into culture and culture into brands, ensuring the brand purpose and semiotics are aligned with what’s going on today in the market you need to own.
We identify and pull on emerging cultural levers to build new growth brands from the ground up.
We rescue and revive injured or dying brands, make brands relevant to new segments, and develop innovative strategies and activations to maintain category leadership.