• Transform magazine
  • December 07, 2023

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Challenging the future to be different from the past

1HQ Kostas Konstantinou

Kostas Konstantinou, creative director at global brand specialists 1HQ, discusses the importance of constantly evolving strategic thinking, as demonstrated in projects undertaken with Lipton Tea Polska and Twister Mythicools.

Are we born curious? The function of sight allows us to sense and observe for the first time: as soon as you’re born you experience beauty, affection, creation, diversity and skill, initiating the desire to decipher the world. However, the magic of curiosity tends to fade as we grow up. As children, we want to be fearless explorers, but do we then mature into adulthood and learn to fall in line? 

1HQ stands for One Hard Question. We work with brands to answer questions to define their meaningful difference, ensuring these brands are relevant, credible and distinctive. Therefore, as a brand agency within a changing and challenging sphere, we ask ourselves; How do we move forward and challenge the future to be different from the past?

We strive to evolve our strategic thinking by asking closely connected questions; helping us journey beyond the ordinary, and to grow into the extraordinary. We choose to respond to a determining question – usually a question not talked about. It helps us bring together effective solutions, expanding our mind to unearth ‘gems’ not discovered before.

1HQ Netherlands applied this process to a piece of work for Lipton Tea Polska to refresh their black tea range. Consumers were falling out of love with black tea, and we were tasked to attract a younger crowd, whilst maintaining the bond with existing consumers. We were compelled to ask; how do we dig into nostalgia – known for its post-pandemic effectiveness - whilst aiming to project into the future? Informed by research we determined that younger people travel more, bringing flavours and experiences shared on their journeys into their everyday. We reinvigorated the packs and narrative, bringing to life the provenance and flair of these tea varieties through illustration as well as emotion.

The world around us has drastically changed over the years. The Covid-19 pandemic caused collective suffering around the globe, and somehow also managed to outline human capabilities. Brands played into the notion of escapism as we looked for ways to entertain and distract. When we worked on Twister Mythicools, we put the passion for imaginary, play and discovery for kids at the heart of our work. With extensive research conducted on post-lockdown consumer needs, there was a clear need for a narrative and an experience that was both transportive and escapist - for young kids and those that are young at heart.

Today, individuals are having to navigate the climbing cost of living, whilst war and social unrest create a sense of unease across the world. This drives brands to invest time into relationship with consumers beyond the transactional, resulting in ‘meaningful difference’ and engaging ways to stay relevant within this changing landscape. 

As adults, we tend to ask fewer questions; we’ve become used to receiving what’s around us. For example, asking ‘why’ encourages us to think forward, outside of habitual behaviour; coaching us to continue being curious and retrace the desire to learn. Our world of branding and design requires enhanced curiosity, as it’s a catalyst for growth, creativity and change. Although the expectation to accept and get used to social norms is slowly lessening, and while ‘being curious’ is still somewhat ‘encouraged’, in some contexts, questioning almost seems too testing and unnecessary.

As we increasingly try to relax and challenge certitude; diving into the nuance that’s fundamental to asking questions, we have a better chance in thriving, as businesses as well as individuals. Especially in these ever-changing and shifting times - we have the potential to unravel our capability to answer untapped questions.