Unlocking your brand’s icon status
From zero to iconic—our six-step method
What is an iconic brand?
Imagine this: You’re walking down a bustling city street. You’re surrounded by towering billboards, storefronts, and advertisements all screaming for your attention. Out of this visual chaos, there’s that one brand—the iconic one—that instantly grabs your attention and refuses to let go. You might love it, you might hate it, but you can’t simply ignore it.
Have you ever wondered what sets these extraordinary brands apart from the rest?
Intuitively you’re absolutely familiar with what an iconic brand is. They’re loved by millions. They’re charismatic and memorable, and once seen, you can’t unsee them. Iconic brands have the ability to sear themselves into our collective consciousness. They’re always on top in our minds. We remember them, admire them, and even emulate them. They resonate with our identities, mirror our values, and speak to our deepest needs and beliefs.
Building a brand is no straightforward task, but that’s what sets the game changers apart. Companies that manage to build strong brands are the ones that are remembered.
This article equips you with tools that simplify the process of creating and calibrating a brand. I’ll introduce you to GEOBO’s six-step ICONIC method that will take your brand from zero to iconic. These steps are based on GEOBO’s expertise and research. I hope you’re as excited as I am for what’s coming up!
Let’s start by evaluating your current brand. We’ve created a quick, three-minute quiz to assess the current state of your branding. You can take the quiz right here: Iconic Brand Assessment
Overview of the six-step ICONIC method:
Winning the challenge
In the vibrant world of fashion and creative tech, achieving iconic status is a valued goal. Many businesses want a purpose-driven brand with a strong community. However they lack the time and skills to create it. And they know that a powerful brand is essential for their company. It results in trust and respect from partners, employees, and customers. It’s much easier to share your impact once you have a strong brand.
An iconic brand requires a strong and consistent DNA that aligns with people’s beliefs and values. Building this is a journey that requires a significant collective effort. An icon leaves a lasting impact on the industry, transcending trends to become synonymous with innovation, quality, and excellence.
Becoming an iconic brand is no small feat. It requires more than just a great product or service. Icons are brands that have successfully navigated the challenges of their industry, stood the test of time, and earned the unwavering loyalty of their customers.
Let’s review some examples. Here we’ll explore the defining traits of iconic brands.
Clear brand message and identity
Iconic brands have a clear and recognizable aesthetic, making them easily distinguishable from others in the industry. Furthermore, they convey a distinct message and narrative. Take Chanel for instance, a globally renowned brand. Established in 1909 in the heart of Paris, it quickly gained recognition for its pioneering designs, most notably the iconic “little black dress.” Chanel sparked a revolution in women’s fashion by liberating them from the confines of corsets and introducing comfortable, functional attire. In the present day, Chanel continues to stand as a symbol of opulence and grace, celebrated for its exquisite tweed ensembles, quilted handbags, and iconic fragrances. This defining characteristic has firmly established the brand’s unmistakable identity.
Always pushing the boundaries, experimenting with new designs and techniques to stay ahead of the curve, and yet always remaining true to their core brand message—this blend of technological advancement and brand legacy can be found in Nike and its acquisition of RTFKT. Nike is known for its legendary fashion-tech brand. It’s famous for designs like the iconic “swoosh” logo as well as the use of cutting-edge technology when creating footwear and sports apparel. Besides material-based innovation, Nike promotes its brand via cross-media campaigns. In 2021 Nike acquired RTFKT, a web3 company that specializes in NFTs, game engines, and blockchain authentication. The acquisition was a strategic move by Nike, aimed at establishing a connection with a tech-savvy, younger audience and expanding its product offerings, all while staying firmly aligned with its brand principles.
Known for their use of high-quality materials and craftsmanship, iconic brands ensure their products are built to last. They impress with their reputation. Gucci is one of the most iconic fashion brands in the world, with a history dating back to 1921. Synonymous for luxury, elegance and Italian craftsmanship, Gucci is celebrated for its distinctive green-red-green stripes, signature logo patterns, and bamboo-handle handbags. In recent years the brand has made a strong push into technology, including using augmented reality in its store windows, utilizing digital fitting rooms, and designing a mobile app that allows customers to shop from their smartphones. This commitment to craftsmanship and innovation underscores Gucci’s enduring appeal and innovation in the evolving market.
With a significant impact on popular culture, iconic brands influence trends and are celebrity endorsed. You will see these brands in movies and digital media all the time. Apple is an excellent example of a brand with significant cultural relevance. Its innovative products like the iPhone have not only shaped the technology industry but also become a central part of popular culture. Apple’s sleek and minimalist designs are frequently featured in movies, TV shows, and various forms of media, making it a symbol of modern technology.
Iconic brands evoke an emotional response from their customers, creating a strong connection and a sense of loyalty. Disney is a brand that deeply resonates with people of all ages. Its classic characters like Mickey Mouse and beloved movies like The Lion King create strong emotional connections with audiences. The nostalgia and childhood memories associated with Disney products and experiences foster a deep sense of loyalty among consumers.
Crystal clear presentation
Dedicating care to every facet of their presentation—from design to written content and product development—these brands strive for a consistent expression. Rolex, in particular, stands as a great example in the industry of watchmaking. Each Rolex timepiece is crafted with precision, employing top-tier materials and undergoing rigorous quality control measures. Rolex’s commitment to how they present their products has solidified their reputation for making reliable watches with outstanding quality and a touch of luxury.
The six steps to success
People say that there’s no recipe for success. At least that’s often the view of those who haven’t committed to consistent, focused effort over time. I firmly believe that the path to greatness lies in dedication to a well-defined set of steps. Now, we’re not suggesting you should always adhere to them, but we’ve witnessed the remarkable results that come from putting them into action.
At GEOBO our mission is to empower companies to attain iconic brand status. Our six-step method is crafted to guide them on this journey.
More than ten years of exhaustive research and professional experience have culminated in our ICONIC method—a comprehensive, collaborative process that seamlessly integrates brand strategy with human-centered design. This method is designed to challenge you and your team, and to drive transformation across all facets of your brand.
Let’s dive into the six steps that lead to success!
Step 1: Inspire
Research and inspiration
The process kicks off with intensive research, which serves as the bedrock for a comprehensive understanding of the project’s core objectives. It involves diving deep into the goals and ambitions of the brand. In addition to understanding objectives, it’s essential to identify and analyze the stakeholders involved—including target audiences, potential partners, and other key players—and grasp the broader market landscape by studying market trends, competitors, and potential opportunities or challenges.
Step 2: Conceive
Discover and develop
This stage is dedicated to the brand foundation. A brand contains a purpose, a mission, and a vision for the future. It is based on specific values and has a distinctive story. Here you are crafting the very essence of your brand. This is where you define the brand’s purpose—the “why” behind its existence. It’s also about establishing a mission that outlines what your brand aims to achieve on a daily basis. It involves envisioning a future, setting a clear and inspiring image. Brands, like people, are built on values that guide their actions. In this step you’ll identify and articulate the specific values that underpin your brand’s identity. Every brand has a story, and in this phase you’ll craft a distinctive narrative that resonates with your target audience. This story is what will set you apart from the rest.
Step 3: Outplay
Unique selling proposition and brand positioning
At the heart of our process, this step is designed to highlight the distinctiveness of your identity and distinguish it from comparable offerings. In the current marketplace, one brand must stand out from competitors and showcase everything that makes it special. This step is about emphasizing what makes your brand unique and flaunting those exceptional qualities. Here you will develop strategies and tactics aimed at identifying and setting clear steps to differentiation. Whether you possess a distinct advantage, product, efficiency, pricing structure, team, methodology, concept, or a blend of these factors, this is the pivotal stage where you must articulate the essence of your brand icon—the very heart of your company.
Step 4: Narrate
Brand personality, tone, and voice
After establishing the conceptual groundwork, your brand needs a personality. This includes creating a distinct visual identity, choosing a voice that resonates with your target audience, and shaping your brand’s character. How your brand appears and communicates matters. Here you set up a unique character and tone of voice. This phase is where you plan how your brand will appear across various media and platforms and determine the storytelling methods you’ll employ.
Step 5: Invent
Brand visual identity and design
Finally the brand is designed and takes on tangible form. This phase marks the culmination of the branding journey. At this point the brand concept is translated into tangible elements that people can see and interact with.
Name: The brand is given a distinct and memorable name that represents its identity and values.
Logo: A unique logo is created to serve as the visual symbol of the brand. It’s often a simple yet powerful image or design that instantly conveys the essence of the brand.
Palette of colors: A carefully selected color palette is established to evoke specific emotions and associations related to the brand. Colors play a crucial role in brand recognition and communication.
Fonts: Specific fonts are chosen to be consistent with the brand’s personality and message. Typography helps in reinforcing the brand’s identity.
Visual identity: All of these elements together form the visual identity of the brand—the visual representation of the brand’s personality and values.
Step 6: Champion
Brand consistency and application
Once the brand materials exist, it is crucial to employ them well and do so consistently. After the brand’s visual elements are defined, they are applied consistently across various touchpoints. Touchpoints refer to any platform or medium where customers and the public come into contact with the brand. The brand is realized across different touchpoints like websites, social media, posters, and stationery. Over time both your brand and the market may change. In the “Champion” phase, you’re prepared to adapt and evolve your brand’s assets and their application to stay relevant and responsive to shifting conditions.
Potential branding missteps
Is it possible for a brand strategy and execution to go wrong? Absolutely. Let’s explore some vivid examples of branding efforts that didn’t quite hit the mark.
New Coke (1985)
Coca-Cola, one of the most iconic brands globally, made a significant branding blunder when they introduced “New Coke” in 1985. They reformulated their classic Coca-Cola recipe to compete with rival Pepsi. However the public reaction wasn’t positive. Customers were deeply attached to the original flavor, and the change was met with outrage. Coca-Cola had to backtrack and reintroduce the original formula as “Coca-Cola Classic” just a few months later.
Lesson learned: Iconic brands should be cautious when altering their core products. They should never underestimate the emotional connection customers have with their brand. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the profound attachment consumers can have to familiar products and the need to involve them in significant changes.
Gap’s logo redesign (2010)
Gap, the famous clothing retailer, attempted to refresh its logo in 2010 with a new design that differed from its iconic blue square. The new design was met with widespread criticism and a negative public response. Within a week Gap reverted to its original logo.
Lesson learned: Iconic brands should carefully consider any changes to their visual identity. They should involve their loyal customers in the decision-making process. This highlights the importance of maintaining a consistent and recognizable brand image that customers identify with and cherish.
Nokia (post-Microsoft acquisition):
After being acquired by Microsoft, Nokia’s mobile-phone division faced significant challenges in regaining its iconic status in the smartphone market. While Nokia was once known for its durability and innovation in mobile phones, it struggled to compete with iOS and Android devices. The partnership with Microsoft did not lead to the desired revival, and Nokia eventually sold its mobile-phone business to HMD Global.
Lesson learned: Even well-established tech brands can face difficulties in rebranding and regaining market share after significant changes or acquisitions. It’s important to align with market trends and consumer preferences. This example underscores the need for tech brands to adapt to evolving technologies and consumer preferences to remain competitive in the industry.
The path and the practice
Let me emphasize this point: the ultimate aim should never be to attain icon status. Instead, it’s about embracing a bold strategy, maintaining unwavering dedication, nurturing a clear vision, and taking daily actions that will lead you there.
The journey from the ground up to becoming an icon is both thrilling and demanding. With GEOBO’s six-step ICONIC method, you’re equipped with a clear path to success. By always keeping your objectives and the big picture in mind, you’ll be better positioned to make the right decisions and take the necessary steps. Although setbacks may occasionally arise, your determination and adaptability in refining your strategy will consistently guide you toward your desired destination.
Are you ready to redefine your brand’s destiny and become an icon in the world of fashion and creative technology? Begin by taking the quiz to assess your brand’s current standing. Your journey to becoming an iconic brand awaits!
Thank you for reading! 💜