brand identity ? - just click me
What social associations come with a brand identity ? what about Japanese brand identity?
Technologically sophisticated ? Efficient but boring ? Cheap and durable ? A little kooky ?
All cultures come with a plethora of stereotypes, and tying a brand to a national identity can carry some risk. Over the past 50 years, Japanese companies have mostly tried to downplay their country of origin, in part because of historical and contemporary antagonisms in their major export market, the US.
Even today, an accepted brand like Toyota continues to spin off baby brands like Lexus and Scion, in part to mask, however superficially, its Japanese roots.
So it is interesting when a Japanese brand discards discretion for an emboldened embrace of its culture in brand identity. The contemporary consumer is multicultural, seeks the exotic, and may even perceive Japan as being (kookily) cool.
But where the brand really begins to innovate, is with its philosophy of "un-branded" fashion. UNIQLO-clothes sport no overt logos, which fans of the (paradoxical) "no-brand" Japanese brand "MUJI " (look it up ) will no doubt warm to. The premise is that consumers can make their own fashion choices. do you ?
They do not need to have a style dictated to them from on high. In a country like Japan, where a surprising majority of young dressers in the street can be classified by the fashion magazine they subscribe to, this is nothing short of a seismic shift in thinking.
The idea is simple yet empowering: Your clothes don't define you; you define your clothes.