Blow is a creative bureau for brands.
Yes, it’s ‘Bureau’. Why? Well, for starters at least one French person works here and we'll be damned if we didn’t respect his French heritage.
We create powerful brand images in design and marketing communications through strategic insight. We consider this truly creative – connecting truths about brands into successful brand identities. Design solutions have to be aligned with a brand’s overall positioning in the market and in the minds of consumers or clients to be of value.
Designers don’t get how complex brands are, strategists don’t get how beautiful. Blow's expertise is design and brand strategy – but as it is with the nature of these two things in particular, the thinking behind it can be applied to an abundance of problems.
“When to going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
- Hunter S Thompson
Our thinking is ancient, prehistoric even. Spoiler. No, it’s not Sun Tzu, he’s relatively well recorded (By the way, if you want learn about marketing, make it easy for yourself and find a book about marketing, not large scale military strategy). What we had in mind is as old as cognition itself, probably. Or in other words, for our working hypothesis, we have likely around 400.000 years of empirical evidence.
Think of brands as star constellations. But firstly...
No. We don’t think astrology is anything but nonsense. Can the moon have an effect on the water in your cells? Who knows?! But that’s about the extend, unless we count solar flares – then we take it all back. House of Aquarius rules!
Outstanding consumer experiences with one particular brand are far and few between. Most people are interacting with products and services of an ever expanding number of brands on an ever expanding number of occasions: Your cereal, your pants, your light bulbs, your car, advertising... do we need more proof that we exist in a gigantic entropy? Only sometimes, somewhere, someone does their job right and a brand experience stands out to a consumer. It was significant enough to be remembered – consciously, or not. An outstanding brand experience is like the brightest star among a plethora of stars. And just sometimes, you run into another brand touch-point of the exact same brand, by chance – or by re-marketing. But be that as it may, if it matches your initial outstanding experience; a pattern is formed. This is significant because over millennia we have developed one most effective way to remember and understand the world: A narrative pattern. Stories tap into the existing circuitry of our brains, as our own life is remembered as a story and two dots connecting will have you believe that something is starting to take shape. And indeed it is.
Let's imagine these standout events as two stars. Imagine these two seemingly disconnected but similar brand experiences are the eyes of a giant dragon in the sky. 'Oooh!' It gets better, because there are nine more stars that outline the dragon’s shape on the firmament. 'No way!' Yes, way! Let me explain... These over there, that’s the claws. Then in the centre, the body and these three are the tail – you see the dragon. And then you go: 'Oh wow! That’s really a dragon.'
The grandeur of this revelation has to be compelling, has to ring true. What looks like an eggplant cluster of stars is never going to be a dragon. But once sold on the semiotics, the brand image, it’s easy to identify all the touch-points because you memorized how they align to create a meaningful shape – a pattern. It’s your dragon now; almost a little secret, because not everybody would know it’s there. But if tomorrow another ad tells you, the three stars in the dragon’s tail are really the collar of a celestial Pomeranian, you won’t be swayed. There is no Pomeranian. But the dragon makes a lot of sense. Brand reality and consumer reality are aligned and on that basis communication is meaningful. Not only this, you are now able to look at a million stars and find eleven of them that make a brand – a very impressive cognitive task, aided by pattern recognition.
These constellations need to make sense for people to memorize and empathise with – this cannot be overstated. A convoluted and incoherent story is almost impossible to remember. For example, a dragon eye cannot simply be a cluster of three stars – to stay within our exemplary metaphor. If that is the case, you are probably not a dragon. Be something different. Define your own narrative.
It’s Blow’s job (we’ve heard it all) to find interesting insights about brands that lead to the creation of memorable and compelling experiences – the ones that make sense. We weave them into a constellation that your customers like so much they won't share any part of it to build a different constellation. Owning a part of the sky is comparable to owning a chunk of the market. Losing a star in your constellation to another brand will likely result in the loss of significant market share. But defining and understanding a brand in this fashion will make it easier, if not intuitive, to create outstanding and irreplicable experiences.