Our business started 30 years ago primarily as an industrial design firm. The focus was delivering human-centered design solutions that helped set our clients apart from their competition—aesthetically and ergonomically. Form followed function. Intrinsic to our business almost from the start was a desire to integrate the brand into the product. To have products reflect the meaning and value of the brands they represented. So what have we learned over 30 years of being in business that will influence everything we do for the next 30 years? That our approach and our beliefs have been dead on.
Advancing Our Belief
I recall a number of meetings with product development teams of mid-sized manufacturers early in my career. We’d been called in to address new product needs or to offer help with a new product launch already in the works. As a graphic designer and “brand guy,” I’d go along to make sure we were also addressing packaging needs or trade show booth and collateral requirements. Eventually, the conversation would get around to brand and we’d ask to review the foundational elements—the brand’s promise, pillars, positioning, personality, as well as brand standards. Very often we’d be met with blank stares. “Oh, that stuff is over in marketing. Someone else is handling that.” We then realized they weren’t even in the room.
BOLTGROUP has built its brand consulting business around the notion that the product is often the most enduring manifestation of your brand. And that the attributes—those compelling truths that focus and guide the brand—are the exact same ones that influence and dictate the design language of the product. That’s why we’ve been so successful when working with clients that manufacture durable goods. We have an intuitive instinct and affinity for integrating your product and your brand. Through every touchpoint.
A healthy brand ecosystem exists when business goals and practices are aligned with the brand strategy. That then influences culture internally throughout all departments of the organization, especially product development. This symbiotic relationship between business and brand creates moments—brand experiences that alter behavior toward your brand. The particular experience around your product in the hands of your customers and consumers becomes the most intimate interaction between your brand and audience. That brand experience begins with their initial exposure to the product—perhaps online, or at retail, or at a neighbor’s house—and continues throughout the entire relationship they have with it.
How This Affects Tomorrow—And Beyond
As technology continues to advance, we have better and more complete ways to help our clients communicate the purpose and the promise of their brand. Some of my colleagues have written about the power of your brand digitally or how interactive design and display can communicate a complete brand story to your audiences anywhere, anytime. The relationship between your brand and your product has never had the opportunities it has today. And with tools such as virtual reality and mobile access, that relationship can grow ever closer. But will your brand be ready?
Are your brand and your business goals currently aligned? Is your brand strategy influencing and driving your product development process? Where does your brand live within your organization? What we do when we work with clients is strive to influence these relationships so every touchpoint and experience with the brand and the product are the same.
We believe the customer journey is made up of “moments that matter” between the customer and the brand. The product is very often at the center of those moments. For 30 years we’ve been working hard to make sure they felt like they belonged together. And we’ll continue to do so, for as long as we’re around.