The other day, I was talking to a representative of a brand selling baby products. I was inquiring about their choice of design features, materials etc and instead of getting a sense of what they believe in and why, I more or less got the response that “we have been doing it this way for 30 years now”.
While experience can certainly be a competitive strength, I was undoubtedly not impressed by this response and it only resulted in the brand appearing less credible and relevant to me. Especially since there are different philosophies and ways of doing things when it comes to baby care products and it’s up to the parents to get informed and then choose what ‘path’ to take; e.g. different types of materials come with varying types of chemical treatments with more or less known adverse long-term effects. I want to understand a brand’s insightful take on why their specific path is the right one to take.
In more general terms, I think it’s crucial for a brand to have a point of view that is both readily understood by all employees internally and can be clearly communicated to external stakeholders. With a distinctive point of view, you can obtain a more differentiating positioning in the marketplace, be more reassuring and achieve a stronger degree of perceived clarity and relevance among customers and prospects.
I’ll illustrate this with an example. A brand with a strong point of view that makes an engaging, purpose-driven brand story is Iittala. We live in a pretty short-sighted and unsustainable wear-and-tear culture driven by brands such as Zara, H&M and IKEA. Iittala takes a stand against ‘throwawayism’ by believing in lasting design – hence the brand essence of Lasting Design Against Throwawayism. Back in 2007, the company trademarked ‘Iittala Against Throwawayism’. This belief is substantiated through the offering of lasting everyday products meant to be handed over across generations. Simple design with a timeless character. Iittala’s philosophy is expressed as follows:
“What started as a glass factory in Iittala, Finland, now celebrates generations of essential objects that are made to enrich people’s everyday lives. We believe objects should be distinctive, combinable and multi-functional, with lasting design that allows for individual use and expression.
The progressive philosophy of our design heroes, Kaj Franck and Alvar Aalto, still inspires us to keep Iittala forever relevant. We don’t just create beautiful objects. We believe in timeless design that will never be thrown away.”
By actively boosting the movement against throwawayism, Iittala has obtained increased brand relevance and created cultural capital around its offering. People who connect with Iittala’s point of view feel increasingly engaged about what the brand stands for and and what it offers. They become part of something meaningful.
Brand Point of View
Does your brand have a distinctive point of view in your given context?
If so, are you proactively and clearly communicating it internally and externally to unlock brand value?
Is there potential for you to coin and own specific terms in your category to create cultural capital and elevate your brand’s relevance?
Please, get in touch if you wish to explore this further for your brand.