Brand Experience Strategy & Activation
Design, Art & Design Fair, Verbal Branding
How do you create a brand experience to represent the new generation of art and design fairs on the west coast?
Following from her departure as CFO @ ARTSY, Sho Kim-Wechsler
asked me to help design the initial brand experience, direction of the inaugural event and launch of her new company in April of 2018. She came to me with a logo crafted by an architecture firm, and knew that would not be enough to help this start up on its bold ambition of trying to create an art & design fair with a silicon valley heart.
ifsowhat tasked me to develop a visual and verbal identity aimed at living up to the goal of representing a new generation of art & design fairs.
I helped create a north star to clarify goals and the decisions they would make. This was set out to help the new organization find alignment and move in the right direction. We identified the how, what, and why of the brand.
The new startup knew it needed a brand new look to align with the blending of a millennial audience as well as Generation X. The name If So, What? is purposely playful and self-deprecating in order to spark curiosity, and invite conversation. If So, What? is not only a question, but rather a reflection of the mission to create a new paradigm of showcasing this new generation.
Through market research we identified the analogous experiences and competitors to better identify and answer the alluding questions. I saw an opportunity for the verbal identity to expand beyond ifsowhat. To push for a new more refined name and capitalize on the marketing potential.
I realized that while most art and design fairs rely on chic and elegant identities, ifso wanted to blend both these ideas merged with a flavor born in silicon valley. They wanted a simpler, rebellious, yet friendly way of experiencing a the new generation of art fairs. This led to ifso's new brand promise: Enable thrilling new ways for the curious to immerse, engage and collect the world’s best art, design & technology of the west coast. That meant becoming more inclusive with the creative communities of the west coast. This called for communicating simply, eliminating jargon, and a clever marketing campaign.
The inaugural edition of the fair was welcomed with a positive responses to its mission and vision.
Since its showcase, ifsowhat has steadily brought this strategy to life at every brand touch point at the event. Although they decided to forgo the logo and web experience, The comprehensive brand program extends from positioning, messaging and communications to the experience of the attendees.