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Isobar evolution marks next-gen innovation and design as its future

This content is produced by a member of The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

2020 was a year of incredible disruption. As we were all working from home, we’ve experienced a seismic shift to digital channels across every industry. New consumer behaviors and an extreme sense of urgency helped a lot of brands to finally accelerate their transformation programs. Digitization is not a side project anymore – it’s at the core of every business.

The more we meet a brand at its interface, the more important that interface becomes: as brand experiences become increasingly connected, there is a risk that we lose valuable human moments that differentiate brands in a customer’s journey. Because of a combination of best practices and off-the-shelf technology platforms, many brands are reaching a level of parity and sameness.

Brand meets experience

In a connected world, brands are built in new ways. They require a systematic approach to branding, one that is adaptive to many touchpoints and leverages the full possibilities of a digital ecosystem. Brand systems must connect a brand’s belief with its behavior, so they authentically deliver on their promise in the lives of its consumers, employees and their wider community.

As brands differentiate themselves more and more on the digital experience they deliver, experience innovation is becoming a key instrument to create brand preference. Leaders in creative experience use creativity and craft to design moments that delight and surprise. Once they raise the bar, customers expect nothing less from their peers.

This means that brands and their agencies are looking for new integrated models to deliver connected brand creativity, digital-first branding and experience innovation that drives brand differentiation.

In our industry we see many companies building those bridges – holding companies are merging agency brands to bring brand and experience together and consultancies bolt on design and creative shops. It’s a clash of cultures between the big idea creative institutes and a world that is led by data and technology. The void is filled by those who are digitally native, human-centric and obsessed by craft.

Born in the digital age, reborn for the age of experience

Since the genesis of Isobar in 2004, we’ve always been about innovation and design. We have a track record of disruptive creative, proved by award-winning cases like Volkswagen Road Tales, Aeronaut, KFC Pocket Stores, Boss Touch & Go and Cadillac Live Store. More recently we partnered with Malaria No More to launch the Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign, bringing together pop culture, art and technology to fight mankind's oldest and deadliest enemy: malaria.

Today we’re announcing an evolution of our position and identity. Through our heritage, Isobar is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the traditional brand world and the data-obsessed technology world, crafting distinctive brands and innovative experiences for a connected future. We relaunch the Isobar brand with a commitment to this new focus. We take on the challenge to make brand experiences more distinctive and meaningful. Isobar will focus on building an evolved differentiated offering around strategy and innovation, product and innovation, brand design and systems, and content and comms.

Brand identity and systems

In line with this, we launch a new service pillar: Brand Identity and Systems. It brings together our craft in brand identity expertise, paired with our experience in building digital design systems. We believe this is a key capability that is needed to build brands at scale in a world of experience. This integrated approach to branding for the connected world aims at delivering distinctive brand systems that work across every touchpoint.

The dedication to design and innovation is captured in our way of working: Invent, Make, Change. It’s our framework that holds the unique processes, methodologies and tools that we use across the journey with our clients. It’s underpinned by design thinking and agile and growth methodologies, with a strong bias towards craft and brand creativity. The mindset of Invent, Make, Change is one that is driven by curiosity, craft and continuous pursuit of improvement. As our framework for design and innovation, it’s ever evolving and built together with our global community of connected talent.

To capture the spirit of Invent, Make, Change, we’ve refreshed our brand identity with a new set of brand visuals and animations – a playful world made from the raw building blocks that represent the craft and always-evolving mindset we put in our work.

If the past year taught us one thing, it’s that human connection is more important than ever. Technology allowed us to connect in new ways, bringing our global community closer. It made us rethink how we collaborate as a global agency to create next-gen innovation and design. It made us feel very ready for that connected future.

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