Five trends in branding for 2018.

Five trends in branding for 2018.

The leaders of the newly founded Brown&co say they’re not just a new agency—they’re a new kind of agency. This means many things, one of which is you won’t find the team in an expensive studio, operating with a hefty overhead. Instead, you’ll find them connecting remotely with the latest technologies and collaborating with top freelance talent from all around the globe.

Working with people in this way—a flexible way that empowers them to build their work around their lives, a way Brown&co believes people work best­—allows Brown&co not only to bring out the best in each other, but to offer their clients superb value and ultimately a better end product.

The agency is spearheaded by Dave Brown and Troy Wade, both formerly of Brand Union, alongside David (Bic) Bicknell, the cofounder of Tin Horse and Echo Brand Design. Brown, who also serves as head of 2d design at Brown&co, and Bicknell, who is head of 3d design, recently shared a handful of important branding insights with HOW.

  1. The Increasing Importance of Provenance

Brown says that when it comes to engaging with a brand, consumers are caring more and more deeply about the origin of both product ingredients and manufacturing. “This has fueled a response from brand owners to communicate provenance much higher up the brand agenda,” Brown says. “A sense of authenticity and trust genuinely needed in today’s much maligned marketplace.”

  1. A “Back to the Future” Approach

“Notably, a retro or ‘back to the future’ approach has seen growth in popularity in consumer brands, harking back to the trusted craft & heritage of those formative years,” Brown says, adding that great examples of this trend in practice can be seen in the international premium beer category.

Brown&co put this retro creative strategy into practice in their approach to the relaunch of Efes, an iconic Turkish beer brand. The goal was to communicate both provenance and the fact that it’s real beer, as well as a sense of Turkish pride. “The influence of historic identity can have the ability to bring back that real sense of soul to a brand stripped out and diluted over the years, and reengage those consumers who may have moved on,” Brown says.

  1. A Growing Need for Environmental and Social Sustainability

Millennials, Brown says, are wanting to buy less, but to buy better. “They care about where things are from and how things are made,” he says, noting that products need both environmental and social sustainability built in. For this reason, Brown says, “strong back stories are essential.”

  1. Less Fancy, More Authentic

Brown has noticed that lately, the trend for premium brands and products is for them to look less fancy and more authentic. “You’re buying provenance now,” he says, “and overly marketed–looking brands are giving the impression of less authenticity and therefore less quality.”

  1. Increasing Trend Toward Craft

From beer to shaving foam, Bicknell notes that the increasing trend toward craft in consumer brands has never been more evident, with “numerous independently owned businesses challenging the dominance of multi-nationals with a more distinctive and memorable product.

“Craft Brands are disrupting commerce by creating unique propositions that appeal to discerning consumers in ways that the old brands fail to do. Today, we care about product personality much more than we ever did, and we increasingly consider a brand’s provenance and values, even the ethics of the company that produces it.”

Bicknell notes that when Brown&co created the identity for Thorndown, a small, family-owned wood paint and preservatives business, their approach was never “to compete with the likes of Cuprinol or Ronseal as a chemical manufacturing company, but rather to build on the traditional values of a English West Country producer,” with more than 25 years invested in the area. “Their product range is inspired by the natural Somerset landscape and the founders inherent love for maintaining the beauty of timber in outdoor spaces.”

Published on How Design | 9 October 2017 | Dave Brown, Co-Founder at Brown&co

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Troy Wade

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