Excerpt: ‘Living Identity’ by Moving Brands

In 2010, Moving Brands published a brand thinking booklet, including fundamental and inspiring thoughts and ideas about living brand identities. Moving Brands follow the “belief that brands should be as dynamic and relevant as the company, service or product they represent. Businesses grow every moment of every day – so should their brands, identities and communications” (1). For Moving Brands, a lot of brands, of course, realise that their consumers and their world changes but only few brands actually understand the meaning of this change for their own role. Dynamic, vibrant brands therefore have to “provide opportunities for people to add to, adapt, evolve, interpret, translate and influence the brand over time” (2).

Brand Narrative

The brand story plays a key role in the whole definition of an identity. This so-called brand narrative captures “what the brand stands for, what it does and how it does it” (3). Telling stories makes brands accessible through the emotional communication of facts and experiences. The brand narrative creates a “shared understanding of what the brand should be, using language, imagery, sound, movement and texture” (4) and draws the elements of the brand together. As a seed for everyone, the brand narrative allows people, also outside the business, to grow own stories about the brand which reconnect to the original idea again. (5)

After the development of a living identity in several dimensions like images, sounds or movement, the task is to “look at how the elements might behave in a range of places and situations” (6). Moving Brands sees the brand as a tree that grows out of a seed. This seed contains the DNA of the brand rather than the definition of conrete forms or colours. These parameters allow the brand to react to changes without leaving the boundaries of the brand. (7) The “DNA will enable the brand to respond to the wider world in all sorts of dynamic on-brand ways” (8).

Brand Being

Moving Brands also sees the brand as a person including its own characteristics, attitudes, emotions and behaviours. This is called the brand being, the definition of “how a brand sounds, feels, smells, tastes and acts, as well as how it looks” (9).

Moving Brands’ brand being concept

Though this study focuses on visual identities, all sensory aspects play a major role in the whole branding process. Brand “Mnemonics – identity assets such as logos, graphics, tone of voice, shapes, forms, colours, sounds, movements and so on – trigger people’s memory of the brand” (10).

Moving Brands’ approach brings the whole problem of dynamic identities to the point: “The best living identities have some consistent values, attitudes and traits, but their behaviour and character change often. In the same way, a brand should behave according to where they are, what they’re doing and what people are doing around them” (11).

To summarise, the brand narrative forms the heart of the brand. Certain assets connect with the human senses and therefore inspires interactive, multi-sensory relationships to the brand.

Moving Brands’s multi-sensory identity

Conclusion

Moving Brands’ concept gives the brand a narrative and drives a mind change of general thoughts on, especially living, identities forward. However, it brings the problem of dynamic identities to the core: It is about starting something new for strategy, identity definition and expression and it generally is about inspiring a vibrant conversation between brand and consumer. (12)

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(1)–(12): Moving Brands (2010): Living Identities, p. 9, 15, 23, 25ff., 30, 31, 36, 37, 42

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