More than its product, logo and typeface: inside Four Star's refreshed branding
Today’s audiences want to see action, not ads or messages delivered from on high. They want to engage and belong within a community, experiences that brands can support in meaningful ways. The Drum finds out how brands like Four Star are trying to sustain a strong brand amid a fragmented digital landscape.
Traditional branding has always been about a logo, a color palette, a typeface, or a slogan, and while this approach may make a brand recognizable, but it can also feel stagnant in today’s innovative world.
The aforementioned brand characteristics are largely reflective of how a brand wants to be seen by consumers, but it is not meant to engage with them as traditional branding is all about keeping up appearances.
How a brand presents itself is rigid as it is often with little to no input outside of senior leadership and the design team. This can alienate teams who are often reined in by these constraints for fear of misrepresenting the brands and limit marketing’s ability to show up in transformative ways as consumers’ needs evolve.
For Singapore-based mattress manufacturer and retailer Four Star, it associated itself with top-notch hospitality when they came on the scene in the 1960s. However, with the different needs of the younger generation today, it felt the brand has stagnated and it was time to hit refresh with a new coat of paint.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and Four Star saw an opportunity to rebrand its business and appeal to younger consumers with brand and design management consultancy, Creativeans.
The consultancy was tasked with a complete rebranding of Four Star and conducted a comprehensive brand audit to reposition them for the new generation of consumers and market demands.
It developed a brand identity that visually expresses Four Star’s positioning, values, and personality clearly and impactfully to both external and internal stakeholders.
“One of the challenges is to have the ability to understand the current market demands and brand positioning of Four Star, as everything is unpredictable during the pandemic of Covid-19,” explains Ling Huat Sing, chief executive officer of Four Star.
“With the help of Creativeans, we can ease our rebranding process. We wanted to go for key opinion leaders marketing to build brand awareness by targeting young adults/families such as government flat owners or people that want a quality mattress.”
He adds: “Creativeans helps us to develop a clearer vision of the brand direction and position in the market. Therefore, we can understand and develop marketing strategies with the market demands of younger consumers.”
Ling observes that many people regard or misconception that branding as simply changing logos and taglines, for advertisement used that is fast and able to develop the aesthetics within a short timeline.
However, he says a branding exercise needs to understand the underlying company’s mission, staff perception, consumer perception and to align them and follow through.
“Branding should be a daily ongoing concern for all companies and employees including our communication (both Internal and External), as these are what branding is all about,” he says.
“However, the company should review and work on rebranding when there is a change of the business model or strategy/ direction such as the expansion of business or change of audiences, etc.”
Looking ahead, brands must continue to engage and embrace their consumers as part of a community as they want to see action, rather than ads. This means every experience a brand deliver becomes a reflection of its core products and services.
Brands can draw inspiration from fashion brands that attract consumers with an omnichannel experience during their purchase journey.
Ultimately, a brand is more than its product, and its logo and typeface. Brands must build advocacy among employees, create community among consumers, and ultimately make a positive impact on the lives of people.