Alex Pang of IFTF tells this charming tale of brand fractalness:
"At Stanford Shopping Center yesterday, we walked by this fine retail establishment.
Apple Store, Stanford Shopping Center, via Flickr
As we passed, my son (who’s three) shouted, "HEY! THAT’S THE IPOD STORE!!!"
Update, 28 April 2005: This morning I asked him, "How did you know the iPod Store was an iPod store? Did you see the iPods in it?"
He said, "No! It looks like an iPod!"’
He’s right. It does look like an iPod. When you’re doing this fractal brand thing right, everyone knows it. Especially three-year-old, precocious design critics.
I like your take on the “Fractal” idea and I hope to see you expand it more. Is this something you coined or is it from a book? If so which one? I would love to see you hammer these ideas into your own book, if it is your observations. They are much needed in the marketing field…
I think I coined it. It’s definitely not in a book.
A book? Yeah, why not? Maybe later this year. I’ve got a bunch of projects (with a big one shipping in June — more on that later) on the front burners now.
Gerd Gerken wrote a 700 pages book called “Die fraktale Marke” (The fractal brand) in the late 80s, early 90s. Yes, it´s in german and i do not think that there is an english translation.
My 4 year old son, since beginning to speak around 2.5 years old, has had an uncanny ability to recognize bmw’s (among other cars like Benz & Honda, but not all car brands- definitely no American cars, even after I point out the logo), and distinguish between an ‘old one’ and a ‘new one’. He would be sitting in the back seat, and yell out, “BMW!” and inevitably there would be one sometimes close, sometimes in a distance too far to see the logo, sometimes on a cross street facing us, or ahead or passing across at a light. He was seeing something in the overall shape, from the front, side and back. I was always amazed at both his ability (as most fathers tend to accentuate/exaggerate their son’s abilities), but also impressed that the continuity of BMW’s design can be seen by a three year old. What’s more interesting is that the newest ones, even with the logos, he doesn’t recognize, which says a lot about the BMW-ness of the old vs. new design languages. Perhaps the biggest complement to the Lexus, he would commonly mistake some of them for a Benz. When you can make an impression a three year old with your brand through your product design, you’re doing something right.