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etymology: the new simplicity

Posted by: Paola Norambuena on October 12, 2010
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The new simplicity

Interbrand's annual Best Global Brands offers insights to help you crack the code of what's driving brand value today. And, by studying this year's top risers – the survey's six fastest-growing brands – it can also reveal what it is that these brands share when it comes to their Verbal Identity.

For one: A new kind of simplicity. Take VISA (up 26% in brand value), whose Go campaign is rooted in a clearer understanding of what the brand offers in the market. Their new commitment is allowing them to find ways to be playful with their brand identity.

The new simplicity lets brands speak for themselves in any venue, like a party guest comfortable in their own skin, adaptable yet essentially unchanging. Google's ubiquitous brand voice runs from its career pages and other self-descriptions straight through to its "…and we're back!" message upon reconnection. Google (up 36%) fits in anywhere without being a chameleon – crucial in the current brandscape, where it's all about balancing a constant identity with maximum flexibility across an ever-multiplying array of touchpoints.

Apple and Blackberry likewise found pitch-perfect ways to simply be themselves. For BlackBerry (up 32%), this meant elevating one clear hero, BBM, above the smartphone din. Apple (up 37%) built momentum for the iPad launch with a minimalist approach, sitting out key conferences and maintaining a straightforward message of self-confidence.

With simplicity came transparency. J.P. Morgan (up 29%) differentiated itself in a duck-and-cover moment by openly discussing the company's wins and acknowledging its mediocre performances. The bank's strategic deployment of its "core" beliefs, and a steady focus on maintaining clients' best interests have helped them deliver on the trust they'd built over decades. Sometimes quiet insistence is the greatest virtue.

Ultimately these fast-growing brands are islands of clarity in a sea of mixed messages and market noise. Whether your competitive space is replete with rapid innovation and risk, or marked by recession, regulation and consumer insecurity, the spectacular growth of these brands suggests that the best way to persevere is to simply be simple.

Paola Norambuena
Head of Verbal Identity

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