You may have seen my Twitter post about the creative of the video for the Tom Tom iPhone app and car kit. What I liked about it was the associations it was creating between the Tom Tom brand and descriptors like urban, sophisticated, simple, worry free, elegant and future thinking. But then I realized why the associations were so powerful. The music, brand elements and the 3D road projected from the iPhone were inspired by a brand with all these associations powerfully built in for many people: Sim City.

What was most clear to me was the music. I always liked the music from Sim City, and probably was a pivotal driver in my love for jazz. I often work to the Sim City Rush Hour soundtrack (free download) because it is stimulating but non-distracting. The ambient music in the Tom Tom iPhone demo video is very similar. I put the connection together consciously, but for most the association is there on an unconscious level. Players who played Sim City will link the positive feelings they remember from Sim City to Tom Tom, to a certain extent. A good move, because I would be willing to bet the people interested in the iPhone car kit would be on the geekier side of the general population (I am a self admitted geek) and are more likely to have played Sim City. Even if a potential customer hasn’t, Sim City did a great job of orchestrating those feelings and why try to reinvent their great work if they are making the associations you want.

This can be done by any business. Think of a descriptor you would like your brand to be described as. What brand is best described that way? (Elegant = Mercedes, Free Spirited = Echo) Analyze that brand. What colours are they using? What sort of lines does the graphics have? What sounds do they use? How is the material composed? Look at everything that speaks to your descriptor. Don’t be afraid to integrate some of these aspects into the design of your company’s material. But put your brand’s spin on it, and give credit where credit is due.

Check out the video for yourself. I think it is very well done:

Categories: Blog

Colin Finkle

Colin Finkle is an Industrial Designer working in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He is an industrial designer with a graphic specialty, meaning he has the rare talent in both 3D and 2D design, creating both the structure and the print graphics for any display. He has worked in the retail display and point of purchase industry his entire career, and had had the opportunity to work closely with clients like Warner Brother, Cadbury, Sony, and many others.


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