IS THERE VALUE IN LIM­ITED EDI­TIONS?

B&B stu­dio’s Lisa Des­forges strongly thinks so, but only if you fol­low the rules

Computer Arts - - Contents - LISA DES­FORGES Strat­egy di­rec­tor, B&B stu­dio www.bandb-stu­dio.co.uk

Lisa Des­forges on the rules to fol­low when ven­tur­ing into lim­ited edi­tions

Done well, lim­ited edi­tions can at­tract at­ten­tion and add value to a brand, ex­press­ing their unique story in a fresh, un­ex­pected way.

A lim­ited edi­tion of­fers brands the chance to ex­plore new fron­tiers and aes­thet­ics – or even en­tirely new medi­ums – while stay­ing rel­a­tively safe, let­ting them reach new pools of po­ten­tial con­sumers and reaf­firm links with ex­ist­ing ones.

It can also en­able brands to test the wa­ter be­fore em­bark­ing on a wider re­brand. For ex­am­ple, in 2017 we col­lab­o­rated with cel­e­brated mixol­o­gist Ryan Chetiyawar­dana, on a lim­ited edi­tion for botan­i­cal drinks brand Fire­fly called Su­per­fly, en­cas­ing the bot­tle in bold il­lus­tra­tions in­spired by botan­i­cal books. We re­moved the logo from the front, cre­at­ing con­sumer in­trigue.

Af­ter the suc­cess of the Su­per­fly bot­tle, Fire­fly was em­pow­ered to re­visit the brand­ing for its core range of botan­i­cal drinks, and this year we de­liv­ered an up­scale re­brand in­spired by the lim­ited edi­tion, again draw­ing on vi­brant il­lus­tra­tions to show­case the depth of taste and flavour but with a more so­phis­ti­cated iden­tity.

Of course, done badly lim­ited edi­tions can have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on brand rep­u­ta­tion.

As some­one who’s still forced to carry a pic­ture of Will and Kate in my wal­let, sim­ply be­cause I re­newed my Oys­ter card in 2011, I’m not a fan of com­mem­o­ra­tive lim­ited edi­tions.

But in line with the 2018 Royal Wed­ding, there has been an­other pre­dictable in­flux of Fast-mov­ing con­sumer goods brands jump­ing on the band­wagon with flag-themed lim­ited edi­tions that reek of op­por­tunism, some­times amount­ing to noth­ing more than a lazy at­tempt to at­tach a tired no­tion of Bri­tish­ness to a brand.

So how to get it right? There are two rules: first, stay on mes­sage. Lim­ited edi­tions of­fer free­dom to act dif­fer­ently, but they must au­then­ti­cally link back to your brand core.

Se­condly: re­mem­ber, there’s a rea­son they’re called lim­ited. Some brands mix it up so of­ten it’s hard to re­mem­ber the orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing. Too many it­er­a­tions can be harm­ful.

Vodka brand Ab­so­lut has the right idea, hit­ting both of these core points. End­lessly ex­per­i­men­tal and cre­ative, Ab­so­lut has re­leased lim­ited edi­tion bot­tles part­ner­ing with artists such as Ron English and Libs El­liott, ded­i­cated to cities from Lon­don to Is­tan­bul, and aligned with so­cial and cul­tural move­ments us­ing its iconic bot­tle as a medium.

These bot­tles are just avail­able for a short time – thus in­creas­ing their value, both in terms of con­sumer ap­peal and col­lectabil­ity – but in stick­ing rigidly to the Ab­so­lut brand guide­lines in terms of bot­tle shape and brand­ing, there is no room for con­sumer con­fu­sion as to ei­ther the brand’s core aes­thetic or its pur­pose.

So, in a nutshell, keep it on brand, keep it lim­ited, and please don’t put Meghan Markle on my bus pass.

Do you see value in brands that re­lease reg­u­lar lim­ited edi­tions? Tweet your thoughts @Com­put­erArts us­ing #De­signMat­ters

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