[Herald Design Forum 2018]
Plus X shapes all-encompassing brand experience
It is all about the experience.
Shin Myoung-sup and Byun Sa-bum of brand marketing design agency Plus X will speak about what brand experience is exactly and how to design it at the upcoming Herald Design Forum.
Shin and Byun, who will take the floor at the forum on Sept. 14, are co-founders and co-CEOs of Plus X, which is known for its projects with BTS, YG Entertainment and Hyundai Card, among others. The agency works under the motto of “Plus your brand eXperience.”
Shin Myoung-sup (Courtesy of the speaker)
Byun Sa-bum (Courtesy of the speaker)
While “brand marketing” and “brand experience” may sound conceptual and vague, the overall idea mainly revolves around shaping a client’s brand identity through visualization.
“Branding is a process of making people realize certain value,” the two head designers told the Herald Design Forum via email.
“In a world filled with numerous brands and where (we are) getting information through numerous platforms, we have to create a clear, intuitive brand image in order to make people aware of a brand,” they added.
The designers used Korean convenience store franchise CU as an example. CU signs are ubiquitous on the streets. Upon entering a CU convenience store, customers see the interior, product display and employees’ uniforms.
The franchise’s branding is also visible on receipts and plastic bags. If consumers want to accumulate loyalty points, they open a CU app and are exposed to promotions.
Even those who are not customers see CU’s delivery trucks on the streets. In addition, the brand’s social media promotions reach out across mobile platforms -- all this is brand experience.
A brand should deliver an image, a message and its value to customers and potential customers, said Shin and Byun.
Specific experiences may differ depending on the brand and the industry, but the main logic of creating an experience through design is central.
The two stressed that designers should do more than “just creatively express.” They should think about how to express and deliver brand distinctiveness and value through various design criteria.
Shin emphasized the importance of identity.
“In the past, services and products sought their identity in their own areas. But as technology develops, they will be meeting customers through various platforms and devices,” he said. “As contact with customers has increased, it has become necessary to more clearly build a service or product identity.”
The design agency works with corporations, such as global IT firms, a delivery company, merchandising businesses and entertainment agencies. However, its recent work with K-pop act BTS stands out among its portfolio.
“By interviewing major figures in Big Hit Entertainment, we listened to how BTS has been leading on from the past to present to the future,” the designers recounted. “BTS is not made up of perfected musicians, but men who have been growing up with vrious types of music, stumbling and tripping over in the process.”
The design agency described the bandmates as youngsters who are growing, following their dreams and not settling for the present, accompanied by fans throughout the whole process.
“So we tried to come up with experiences interpreting BTS as ‘Beyond the Scene’ through every design platform such as albums, merchandise, concerts, social media and more,” the agency explained.
As for memorable projects, the agency cited its work with Chinese IT firm Alipay. It had worked on improving Alipay’s visual identity.
Through the project, the designers learned that Chinese firms are flexible to change and failures -- not a common trait of established companies.
“To express a brand -- which billions of people use for diverse services -- through design was hard, so much so that we were able to grow through the project. To learn that logic from a Korean design company can be applied and respected in the Chinese market was a proud experience,” Shin said.
By Im Eun-byel (firstname.lastname@example.org)