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Memories and a FrogAsia Brand Architecture Thing

Apr 29, 2020

It never ceases to amaze me, how adept at and reliant we are of the senses. While the world is ever changing, some scenes and senses will always remind us of familiar somethings or trigger emotions of a not too distant memory. Let's take for instance the pungent smell of chopped garlic and onions... I recall the sizzle of mum's wok-cooking behind ye' old kitchen accompanied by the monotonous lines being read on the Pavlovian 6PM news, always the same - all these precursors: a teaser for dinner. I've built an appetite from the mere smell of tear inducing onions (and chopped garlic). It amazes me that we've somehow learnt to organise thoughts and sift through emotions/memories when hit with both random and regular sensory input. To be able to articulate this, and to share these experiences with others is a wonderful human thing. The more we experience, the more we draw upon, the richer our collective lives. A shared repository. A kinship fostering thingy. This ability to remember and recall is something that is counted on, ever more so now... now that we're confined to our homes.

Late 2018, David, Sarah and I began working on training materials for FrogAsia. We were tasked to teach the marketing and communications team of FrogAsia, aspects of branding, communication, creativity, design thinking and management. A series of workshops then grew into a branding assignment that is still on-going. This multi-faceted project is unique. It is a project that is as constant and steeped in value, as it is ever changing in scope. Something we're now more familiar with.

Here's an broad account of what transpired through the years, a recounting of how the FrogAsia Brand Architecture took form - of discovering the constants that remain and of exploring the changes that are still changing. Remember how everything relates to something, and the experiences we share, is always, so very profound. We jump from workshops to Leaps 2019 and end in a continuous call to action - of designing for good.

The first slide, was a picture of a simple box

The Constants

We began by reiterating and reaffirming its core tenets. In FrogAsia, it is prescribed as HEART Values. The HEART Values govern all that they do. The Values are: Here to Make a Difference, Enjoy What You Do and Who You Do It With, Act with Integrity, Reach for Perfection, and Think Ahead and Out of the Box. With these five Values, we made a translation. First, we considered a single word for each HEART Value. For each HEART Value, a noun, or a verb representing the essence of said Value. A Principle. Second, we considered how each Value may be perceived by means of sight and by touch. The merging of these perspectives were foundations to the development of a set of mnemonics we call 'The Brand Architecture'. Because every 'thing' represents 'something'. We can use that.

The Brand Principles

The Brand Architecture encompasses the entirety of an ecosystem that is the cornerstone for every Frog communique. All things considered, it looks like this:

The Brand Architecture in context

The Ever-Changing

With a foundation finally set (we took a while to get there), we began the brand experience workshop. In 3 sessions, we explored brand touch points through the schema of People, Process and Place. Here are some highlights:

Learning empathy - we had everyone paint a song. Everyone painted what they felt this one song evoked. Each presented their paintings in comparison to the other with a profound realization that everyone brings to the plate a perception of music, colour and associations... that are in some cases, unique, and in other cases, not unique. The understanding that some musical notes, evoke a particular emotion, and some colours relate to particular intensities is often attributed to learnt associations. With that in mind comes a deeper appreciation of the colours we choose and a solidarity in the human psyche we tend to share.

Team Paintings

What is life without borrowing from theatre pedagogy! We spoke of je ne sais quoi and mise en scene. Asking questions of why and how. Diving deeper into first principle analysis and honing in on crafting compelling brand stories and eventually, products or campaigns.

I remember sitting in a lecture hall listening to my lecturer speak about blocking and Mise-En-Scene. I do the same here, 15 years later.

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. – Shakespeare

They produced... dioramas with drama vs Ice Bear in this melancholic cave.

Then, we sketched and built a Rube Goldberg machine. This was about getting comfortable with seemingly disparate things and learning to tame them. We walked through learning approaches, workflows, processes and systems. And we do this, by having fun. Here's how it looks like when attempting to bring order to chaos...

Truth be told, the video of our machine (above) was not entirely true. This is how it really was!

Sarah explains

After a lengthy session about the processes involved in creativity; everything from incubation to ideation to testing and prototyping, we arrive at the end of the sessions and presented participants with a certificate for Leap Frogging!

Certs coz, why not!

The Consolidation

After the branding workshops, come 2019, we began planning for the massive production of Leaps of Knowledge. We often speak of Leaps as the consolidation of all that branding. Truth. What began as an exercise to remind ourselves how we are sensory beings and that knowledge lends a hand in crafting a brand, is now primed for change... scale, synergy and agility. These three aspects were the objectives met through the crafting of and training for application, the Frog Asia Brand Architecture based on HEART Values - the constant.

Next post... taking the FrogAsia brand further with Leaps of Knowledge 2019 and how we got to this...

November 2019.

And this...

That's Red Hong Yi on the left!