“Crisis can breed opportunity”: should Tokyo 2020 rebrand?
Original article by Henry Wong April 7, 2020
As COVID-19 changes the events landscape, with delays to events as big as the Olympics, designers discuss how brands like Tokyo 2020 can adapt – and possibly even thrive.
Design Week interviewed Landscape Founder & Creative Director Adam Weiss alongside other global branding experts. They were asked to consider two questions.
First: Though the ceremony has been postponed until 2021, the International Olympic Committee announced that the Games would keep its name as Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Is keeping the branding the same the right decision?
→ If you’re defining the “branding” as the emblems for the games, then I think enough is changing fast enough in the world as is. The two emblems, which speak to diversity, stability, equality and human connection, honestly couldn’t be more relevant. For many, stability and predictably are hard to find right now.
Moreover, I appreciate that the symbols are complex — this complexity feels more honest to the era that we live in. The world’s current arena is science, who’s complexity (channeling Neil Degrasse Tyson) challenges the perimeter of our understanding on an ongoing basis. Additionally, the interconnected structure of both emblems alludes to the global team-effort to keep our communities safe.
The world has been in need of new — universally positive symbols for a long time. A modern peace sign? A non-corporate, team-oriented swoosh?
Second: As global events like the Olympics are being postponed — and the expensive campaigns invested in them — what are the challenges and opportunities for brands?
→ If your product isn’t a necessity you’d better hope your brand is. A scenario to consider: What brands would you actually miss were they to vanish tomorrow. If you couldn’t have their product could it be replaced or duplicated — could the center of gravity shift platforms? I think it’s likely. But if they’re gone — whose story do you miss?
A few big expected ones, but these brands stick to their values and challenge us as people to be optimistic about our potential on the other side of challenge. They are delivering the goods and going big on their cultural vision. That is, they are invested deeply in our cultural health. Apple led me to Carl Sagan, and Carl to my current philosophy regarding the importance of design. As COVID-19 solidified its presence in the U.S. Nike asked the world to stay inside on their landing page, a billboard worth god-knows how much, while Adidas tried to sell me Yeezys. Levis, maybe time to digitize your workshops… until you can open them and bring a now-shuttered favorite restaurant back to cater the spaces… Necessity is the mother of invention.
People are paying attention now. They will probably have to start making more choices and they will cut the fat.
There are products I use and appreciate, but their brands, vacant. I spend hours a week on Instagram but what’s their story? What does Twitter stand for? Both should take a page from The New York Times. Sonos is all over my home, but has no space in my heart (as I struggle through the UI while my two-year old clamors for Baby Shark).
Function + vision will rule. How are you helping your customers navigate the most stressful moments of their lives? How do you make life better? I’ll buy what I need — I’ll align with who makes me care.
Read the whole article on Design Week