London has always been every brand-connoisseur's dream. Well thought of, strategically elastic and visually delightful. The English just got it right, every time. Or so I thought.
According to design blog Brand New, The Greater London Authority (GLA) has issued a tender asking for a substantially big and complex rebranding and redesign project: London. The abbreviated version of the brief is to develop a brand that will: Create a unified brand for London / Set the vision for London post-2012 / Lead stakeholders around a shared brand / Develop international promotion into a powerful policy mechanism.
One firm responding to the tender will be Moving Brands — who did the lovely SwissCom work almost two years ago — and they have decided to make their process not just transparent but open to, and informed by, public opinion. You can follow the process at A Brand for London. And, yes, that’s one of the most important metropolis asking for free brand work.
Opening the design process to public participation is innovative from the get go. Gone are the days of focus groups (focus what?!). No need to specifically target domain experts. After all, in an age where anybody with a Twitter feed can critique a public discussion, the 'inside men' are quickly losing their relevance. Your average-Joe, is in all probability a more accurate demographic fit than any trade insider.
But is this bold mode of conduct the future of innovation? Strictly brand-speaking, this could very well be the ultimate fat-loss regime for the consumer-research-cycle. Feedback is instant, literally hours. Diversity is limitless. Change is constant. And everybody is spectacularly well-informed at the end of the day.
Our company Xische Studios (www.xische.com) has been involved in the strategic brand consulting and identity re-design for Dubai's official tourism brand. In essence, branding a nation. So far, its been a quantum leap, but we're nowhere to close to there yet.
Is an 'open-design' methodology the answer to a near perfect brand? Can uber-transparency and public subscription be the secret ingredient of success? There's no way of answering that until we've tried.
Maybe we will. Maybe we just will.