The Challenge

Even the most iconic brands can lose their allure over time. The leadership of an iconic global car brand approached us with an awareness that, despite healthy sales, their brand was not evoking the loyalty and emotion it once did amongst cross-sections of consumers. With this in mind, we set out to reconnect the brand with urban culture in the US, China, and Europe. 

Our Approach

  • We conducted a global ethnographic study to understand how the emerging urban culture was subverting mainstream consumer culture and shaping ideas of premium
  • We critically analyzed the value logic and assumptions upon which the client’s previous positioning strategy was built
  • Finally, we designed a new cultural territory for the brand to occupy in order to attract the next generation of consumers

The Key Insight

Over the past decade, brands appealed to a leading-edge audience through the promise of “self-expression.”  Now mainstream, this ideal is causing once edgy brands to lose their progressive status. Winning brands are those that convey a progress narrative that unlocks new ways of engaging with things and experiencing new perspectives.

The Outcome


We built a brand strategy that meaningfully combined the attributes that made the brand iconic in the first place with emerging consumer ideals


We delivered actionable design principles to activate the new positioning through product and service innovations as well as marketing communications

How can a global CPG leader identify and shape new markets that are invisible to others?
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