Designing A Service Brand

July 2013

For decades, brands have been in the service of consumers. They’ve acted as the mental shortcuts for consistency, quality and certainty, as the interface between products and people.There was a time when broadcast dominated messaging performed well for brands. But in today’s participative and personal digital age, what do brands need to do to remain in the service of people?

Imagine a new model to enable brand design. Not as a static, broadcast message but as a dynamic entity that exists cohesively across all types of media. Not just as a tagline and logo, but as a central set of behaviours that define its essence, point of view and purpose.

The challenge to define brand behaviour does not just fall on copy and art. A broader set of skills is required, encompassing technology, content and strategy teams all working together quickly and efficiently to explore the ways in which a brand might reconnect with the people it serves. To answer this need, R/GA makes sure  strategy, creative and technology are working together as one.

In our London office, we showcase this methodology through an innovation event called Make Day. The event started as an internal experience, a time to get-together as an agency, to work in small teams to discover new opportunities for our clients’ brands. This past June, we opened up Make Day to Unilever, one of R/GA London’s biggest clients. The brief was to explore opportunities around Unilever’s global sustainability and traceability initiative, a service of the upmost importance and one that required Unilever’s range of brands to adopt different behaviours.

Andy Porteous, SVP Digital, Foods at Unilever, describes the experience: “Make Day exceeded my expectations. R/GA and Unilever folks collaborated closely together, ‘sleeves rolled up’, and we created ideas and working prototypes of a higher quality and quantity than I thought possible in 36 hours. We’re now working with R/GA to develop several of the ideas to become live traceability initiatives for our food brands. So overall it was a great and productive format for innovation.”

Whilst the initial concept session was rapid, Unilever Make Day has led to a roadmap of exciting possible futures for the traceability initiative that combine technology, storytelling and strategy in a set of compelling and utterly modern brand experiences.

Author: Drew Burdon, Head of Strategy and Planning, London