words by CAITLIN WENEHENOEBOEN

COLLIDE is raising antennas – we are opening our eyes to decoding the contemporary narration and selecting the most ingenious, cutting-edge protagonists in the Industry. Believing that all human nuances must be exalted, we aim to move the conversation forward. 

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CRACKING BRAND UNIQUENESS AND LONGEVITY

PART I – DECIPHERING THE ANATOMY OF A BRAND: MAXIMISING EQUITY FOR COMMERCIAL SUCCESS 

In the dynamic realm of commerce and culture, understanding what propels a brand forward is crucial for those aiming to leave a lasting impact. At the intersection of creativity and strategy, THE COLLIDE FORECAST FEATURING TRENDS introduces digital course series to gain future-fit insights, ignite influential themes and bolster the tools to unlock full potential in the spheres of fashion, beauty, design and lifestyle. The first pilot launching under this initiative: EVOLVING BRANDING ANNO 2024 stands as a beacon for emerging brand owners, creatives and artists, offering empowerment and guidance to navigate the ever-changing currents of the industry – created and produced by COLLIDE’S founder Laura Mendera, multi-passionate entrepreneurial business strategist and brand identity shaper, and Sara Lucchese, contemporary researcher, trend forecaster and speaker, these episodes aren’t just a glimpse into the future, it’s an framework to set up for success in nowadays interdisciplinary landscapes and innovative disciplines.

Within the intricate tapestry of consumer sociology, each ambitious brand contributes a unique narrative, while every product adds a chapter to the ongoing saga of human desire. Brands, as cornerstones of modern storytelling, possess a unique anatomy, comprising layers of identity, values and aspirations – they are living entities intricately woven into the fabric of society. Yet, beyond the tangible manifestations of logos and slogans, lies a deeper, more elusive essence waiting to be uncovered: equity, the commercial value derived from consumer perception of a brand, forms the foundation of a solid business strategy, encapsulating the emotional connection and perceived value that an audience associate with a brand, transcending mere products or service – at its core, it is a measure of a brand’s strength and resilience, a reflection of its ability to command loyalty, premium pricing and market share. By unveiling the anatomy of a brand and maximising its equity, businesses can unlock unparalleled opportunities for growth and success.

LONGEVITY BRAND SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK, 14 OZ
by Sua Ong Tho
via ebay.com.au

The first layer of this skeleton lies in the brand’s visual identity aka DNA, as it is the face they present to the world, a conceptual embodiment of their ethos. From logos to packaging, typography to colour palettes, every visual element attributes to consumer consciousness. Consider the timeless elegance of luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Christian Dior, each exuding sophistication and refinement in their design language. Through strategic aesthetics and storytelling, they craft narratives that resonate with their audience, forging emotional connections rather than mere consumerism. For instance, Louis Vuitton, with its famous monogram and dedication to artisanship and luxury, solidified its position as a global icon, a true symbol for a certain lifestyle and (sub)culture growing around this established reputation. However, a brand’s anatomy extends beyond this appearance – it is underpinned by a set of core values that defines its purpose and principles, shaping its interactions and decisions. In an age where consumers increasingly seek integrity and alignment with their own beliefs, brands must articulate their intrinsic motivation and stand for something greater than profit margins alone. Whether it’s heritage and craftsmanship celebrated by Hermès, sustainability championed by Stella McCartney, or inclusivity embodied by Fenty Beauty’s initiatives, embracing transparency and integrity forging deeper connections and thus emphasises the relevance of a thorough understanding of the brand’s audience – the driving force behind its success. Brands that invest in building genuine relationships with their customers, like La Mer with its commitment to exceptional product quality and personalised customer care, foster a loyal ‘fanbase’. By offering exclusive rewards programs and early access to new releases, they create a sense of belonging among their clientele. This dedication to customer satisfaction not only enhances brand loyalty but also generates positive word-of-mouth, accelerating sustained growth and ensuring enduring customer relationships. Furthermore, consistency is vital for brands – by repeatedly delivering the same message and cohesive aesthetics, trust and reliability is built with consumers, who are in turn ensured of what they are to be expected. Additionally, staying consistent with branding reinforces a brand’s identity, making it easier for the consumer to recognise the brand and consequentially make a conscious choice in an overflowing market. Who wouldn’t distinguish a bottle of Coca Cola or Chanel Nº5 from a distance? That is why consistency in distinctiveness is key. But perhaps the most valuable asset in a brand’s arsenal is its authenticity – its ability to stay true to its values and resonate with consumers on a profound level. Brands like Reformation have harnessed the power of realness to champion sustainability and ethical fashion, sparking meaningful conversations and steering cultural change. By prioritising eco-friendly materials and ethical production practices, they appeal to consumers increasingly conscious of their environmental impact. This strategy not only attracts loyal customers, it also integrates with broader societal movements in sustainability, solidifying the brand’s position as a leader in responsible fashion. 

2024 marks a pivotal shift adding another layer to the concept of equity, with strategies becoming as fluid and dynamic as the industries they represent: the contemporary brand must be agile, responsive and its own leader. This new paradigm is more than just about adapting to trends but about anticipating and shaping them, building a brand identity that is as flexible as it is steadfast, as innovative as it is timeless. Where macro and micro trends in one sector often influence and inspire changes in another and cross-disciplinary innovation leads to new developments, this interconnectedness is both a challenge and an opportunity for brands looking to carve out a distinctive identity. How to navigate this intricate and establish a clear vision based on a broader perspective of cultural drivers while staying true to rules of equity? This is exactly why THE COLLIDE FORECAST FEATURING TRENDS launches the forward-looking think tank for emerging entrepreneurs, including brand owners, artists and creative executives to explore new methodologies and narrations, gaining the skill sets and confidence to unravel novelty and proven trends to get ahead of the curve – the pilot course series EVOLVING BRANDING ANNO 2024 offers unparalleled insights to craft a strategic direction towards a captivating identity. Can the code for brand uniqueness and longevity be cracked?

cover image:
BIRKIN SHADOW
by Hermès
via medium.com