21st Century consumers, and young people in particular, are finding more value in experiences than in possessions. So the possessions they most aspire to are the ones that enable unique experiences. This means marketers must do more than explain the functional benefits of the products and services they offer — they must inspire people to take action and use them to create unique experiences of their own.
This often involves leaving some things to the imagination and trusting consumers to connect the dots. But when a brand moves beyond simply communicating to inspiring, it creates an almost unbreakable bond with consumers. Octopus failed to do so.
Octopus produced bath decoration products that were inspirational but very complex to use for consumers. For two years I was responsible for everything visual that came out of the company, striving to build a culture that expressed the brand’s values, which ultimately did not prevent its sale for one Euro.
To begin with there were just four product lines. When the company was sold, it produced about 120 products spanning article groups like: bath accessories, towels, deco-elements, shower curtains, anti-slip sticker, decorative tiles, mosaic bands and soap.
As well as creating much of the brand’s material culture myself, I acted as creative director, involved in all strategic decisions for the brand. The brand’s philosophy influenced everything we did from packaging that clearly differentiated and informed, to the informative website and on-line shop. My team's work spanned retail design, designer and client relation, marketing communication, new product innovations, launch events etc. Every detail was considered, hoping to prove to consumers through the material we created, that the brand’s values were not just a façade, but an authentic way of life.
The initial sell-in success of this brand shows the competitive advantage a brand can have if it embraces design at the highest level, and pays attention to even the smallest detail. Design was a key consideration in every dimension of the company, influencing brand and business strategy and every interaction with the customer.
Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about the power of design to get an idea noticed but at the same time it taught us that you've to connect with your consumers at concept stage to clarify if your product proposition is relevant to them, and most important, if they understand it and if they want it.
We have learned that the task to decorate a whole bath is very demanding and proofed its high potential to overstrain users, when asked to choose and combine designs themselves out of a vaste range of design elements. We had to acknowledge that most people are neither used to place more than one sticker nor trained to master complex design arrangements.
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