Opinion: How can an iconic brand rediscover the magic?
What makes a brand iconic? David Airey in his book, ‘Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities,’ says in order to be called an icon, a brand must be “simple, distinctive, memorable and adaptable.” But in addition to having a strong and memorable brand look, Airey says a brand needs to satisfy public demands and establish emotional bonds with its customers to be iconic.
People are truly loyal to iconic brands because of the symbolism they represent. Consuming those brands enables people to express their own identity, status and a sense of belonging in line with the brand and its values.
But what happens when a brand’s consumers no longer believe that what the brand represents is relevant to their own ideology? Iconic brands remain so because they constantly understand and reflect the changing needs and desires of their consumers. They must be adaptable. It’s that challenge that PB Creative helped Unilever address on behalf of the global men’s personal care brand Lynx.
Lynx successfully built up an iconic status by being the default choice in most young men’s bathrooms. The brand became known as the ‘tongue in cheek’ trigger to attraction and paired with the advertising strapline of the ‘Lynx Effect,’ it became part of the consumer’s everyday language. But extensive research recently showed that traditional notions of masculinity were no longer relevant and that there was a need for the brand to grow up with its consumers, while still appealing to its core younger market. Our brief was simple, make the Lynx brand iconic again.
In the FMCG sector, creating and maintaining an iconic brand status is an added challenge. In a crowded shelf environment, packaging has to fight for supremacy and there is little time or opportunity to consciously sway a consumer’s choice. Instead, brands need to rely on consumers’ subconscious behaviour to make selections within three to four seconds. Our approach at PB Creative to the brand repositioning was to create an identity that was unmistakably Lynx. Delivering personality with clarity, the brand is instinctively appealing while clearly communicating its emotional and functional benefits to the target audience.
Lynx had always had black packaging, but colour was incrementally added over the years via decorative illustrations on pack to help navigate through the growing number of fragrances in the range, and in turn the brand had strayed away from its roots. We turned the brand identity on its head and took Lynx back to its ownable black space by distilling down the fragrance character into a new set of graphic icons, creating concentrated hot spots of colour and personality. In tandem, we crafted a new confident keyline brand mark that allowed the black of the pack to shine through again.
The result is a more premium looking pack with clear signposting of the fragrance range and a visual tone of voice that communicates understated confidence. By ‘iconising’ the brand identity, we have created a holistic, unified proposition that has been rolled out globally for the first time.
In essence, Lynx has returned to its iconic brand status because we recognised changes in the ideologies of its target consumers and reflected these in a new brand identity that is delivered with personality and clarity, creating understated stand-out on shelf. Lynx has found its magic again.
Ben Lambert is co-founder and director at PB Creative