[Guest post by Anne Charbonneau, Managing Partner based in Amsterdam]
A strong brand has properties that work as an active reminder of the brand, even when the brand name in not visible. And one of the most powerful properties is a distinct design feature. Bugaboo, the leading brand of premium strollers, is a great example of a brand that has managed to create an easy-to-spot design feature across its entire range: the black and white ‘fork’ (the so-called central axis) at the heart of the structure of each stroller.
Here are a few things that Bugaboo has done well with this brand property.
1. Visual impact
The central axis is distinctive visually, helping Bugaboo strollers stand out from the crowd. As a Bugaboo buyer, its a way of signalling that you have bought a premium, high performance product.
2. Expressing functonality
This Bugaboo design property is not just a ‘look’ or an arbitrary aesthetic feature. The central axis is the visual expression of the product’s functionality and a key reason for Bugaboo’s success. It is this central axis that allows you to turn, change the direction of the stroller with just a few clicks and gives you the flexibility to choose whether your baby faces the outside world or you.
As Madeleen Klaasen, Chief Marketing Officer at Bugaboo International, explains: “In building the Bugaboo brand we have been focused on making explicit what is implicit in the design and, therefore, the consumer experience of the stroller. By doing that we have a story to tell that is not only interesting but authentic as well.”
3. Fresh consistency
The central axis has been used as a brand property consistently over 15 years to create memory structure. And during this time it has become a unifying property, used over different products in the range, as show below.
In conclusion, over the last 15 years Bugaboo has established a product look and silhouette that is as recognisable as a Coke bottle. Think about it about your own brand. Are your brand properties skin-deep or do they reflect deeper values? Are they cosmetic or embedded in your product experience like Bugaboo’s?