The birth of LivingLogos
In line with everything that has been discussed so far in the Brainwaves, brands are moving from a static to a more dynamic presence. My strong belief is that once a brand is given a LivingLogo, the brand has made the first step in becoming a living organism.
In the figure above you can see the spectrum of different types of logos. The more we move to the right of the spectrum, the more freedom to play with the variables of a brand thus the more dynamic the brand becomes.
NOTE. Transforming brands into living organisms does not mean per se that the end logo will have organic shapes, green and animal like features or characters. Abstract identities can also act like living organisms. Anything can be a living organism.
Playing with variables
The fun part starts when we start playing with the variables of a brand. The technological revolution has made even more variables available that we can use. We link variables to internal and/or external sources and on their turn link these sources to other sources.
For example: let’s say you have a brand on the stock exchange. The Dow Jones indicator could be one of the LivingLogo variable: the colour of the LivingLogo is connected to the level of the Dow Jones indicator. Every time you see the brand’s LivingLogo you’ll get a real-time indication of what’s happening on Wall Street.
We all know the Dow Jones is influenced by multiple external sources like a company quarterly, news, house prices and even weather reports. You can create a network of networks all updating and influencing each other in order to create the optimal experience for the consumer.
In the new brand environment we are surrounded by sensory systems. A company that is already playing with these sensory systems is IBM. Personally I have to say that I did not expect IBM to have come this far in being a dynamic brand. In their animation ‘The Internet Of Things’ they beautifully show how the world changes together with their role in this new world. For their ‘smarter planet’ campaign, IBM created an interactive billboard. This billboard used a camera that adjusted its colours accordingly to the person standing in front of it.
IBM’s supply chain interactive billboard
This gives us an idea of what is possible with build-in sensory systems on devices. Think further about the camera, microphone or the three-axis gyroscope on the iPhone (which in combination with the accelerometer provides 6-axis motion sensing). The mobile ‘SixthSense’ like devices can provide brands with all the senses they want to use. Imagine integrating those senses in the DNA of LivingLogos. Then LivingLogos could see, listen and much more. That’s a slap to the current communication brand-people!
In our real world we are bound to time, the way we perceive it, the way we count it. In our future brand worlds time can be re-defined. There is a lot to play around with in terms of time perception. The concept of a day, week, month or a year is possibly not relevant for every brand. Are we going to use time to add a storyline to a brand or is the brand a (real)time representation of what’s happening in our world. Manipulating time, using ‘super slow motion’ or ‘fast forward’ to make the invisible visible.
“For our eyes it happening so slowly, but if time is compressed and you shift perspective to the plants point of view, their world comes spectacular alive!”
Fragment from BBC’s life series, episode 9 ‘Plants’
Building a personal connection
Adding smart software such as face recognition (I will avoid going into the whole privacy discussion), to the senses, we will give LivingLogos personalized memory. capable to revolutionize the level of emotional connection with the brand. If you ask people why they love a certain brand a common answer is that the brand was there in certain memorable moments of their lives. The LivingLogos can recognize and remember those moments. In this way, not only the relationship with the individuals goes deeper, but for instance the distribution strategy will make great use from this special information.
Play with the brand
The future (mobile) devices, like ‘SixthSense’, lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with digital interfaces. With simple hand gestures we can change/move objects or communicate simple tasks. The gaming industry is already far in integrating this technology into the digital worlds. Although the Wii console was the first to bring this to the masses other consoles are exploring and perfecting it. Who hasn’t yet thrown a virtual strike on the Wii? Imagine using this gaming technology in the Living Logos to get the consumer in a certain ‘Flow’. The Flow theory states that people can enter ‘a state of consciousness’. People who are in a flow experience a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. To achieve this you must find the right balance between someone’s abilities and challenges you present to that person. For instance, games use a ‘play mode’ that allows you to choose what you are in the world of the game: novice, normal, hardcore. This makes the game more accessible to a wider group of individuals. LivingLogos are also capable to personalize this balance by integrating some simple gaming principles.
Another interesting part of the ‘Flow’ state of mind is that it activates the same area of the human brain as emotions. So there is a reason to believe (and to do more some research in order to see if) that the ‘flow’ concept can help to create a deeper emotional connection with the consumer.
The ‘dynamic designers’ of LivingLogo won’t be doing a lot of drawing. Yes there will still be sketches to visualize a concept. But the real magic starts with programming. It is here where all the dimensions come together and make to LivingLogo capable to move and interact with world.
A nice example is the identity of the “adventures in motion” event. Wieden+Kennedy was commissioned to create a visual identity and interactive installationby onedotzero. Together with Karsten Schmidt, UK based computational designer, they created a Processing application that collects conversations around onedotzero from the web (Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, Facebook and blogs) and that generates the onedotzero identity. The software was used to generate print shots and the team is considering to make it available for download and even open-source it.
Embed the LivingLogo
If you look at the logo at a functional level then the logo is nothing more than an image that we stick on things. For this reason designers deliver a JPEG (or another format) so we are capable to start sticking it around. In the future the ‘dynamic designer’ will deliver a code. To place a LivingLogo we will have to take this code, like we already do with movies on the web, and then embed it wherever we want. Depending on the surface, the embedded LivingLogo will come alive and activate its sensory system and start its interaction capabilities. The brilliant advantage of this approach is that if we decide to make changes in the visual identity, the changes will come into action instantly all over the world.
Influence the evolution of a brand
By interacting with the brand, individuals can influence its evolution. The brand worlds of LivingLogos will always exist ‘online’ and will be continuously influenced by individuals all around the world. This gives the consumer the feeling of ownership over the brand and creates an instant relationship with the brand. Consumers are becoming increasingly more social and want to know ‘what’s up’ with their friends and, why not, with their brands. A successful case where the world is continuously influenced by the participants is the game ‘Spore’.
The developers prepared a world that uses artificial intelligence (AI), great programming and human intervention to let us bring up creatures which grow & evolve freely. A nice detail in this game is that if your creature mates with another creature, made by an individual on the other side of the world, a totally new species emerges; that’s what I call evolution! Now imagine the interaction between two brands in such a context, imagine the level of influence, mating and/or adaption. LivingLogos can create a leap in the evolution of a brand.
If you want the full picture read the Brainwaves magazine: issue 1 – Next steps in branding: