International brand-smashers

by Joanie Spencer
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At first glance, the thought of taking your brand and smashing it into a thousand tiny pieces might seem a bit self-destructive. Not so, according to branding consultant Martin Lindstrom. His concept of smashing a brand is based on the idea that a company should be able to remove its logo on its advertising — or even its packaging — and still have the brand recognizable to the average consumer.

Mr. Lindstrom suggested that a brand should have somewhere around 10 “smashables,” or recognizable components, such as color, shape, smell or icon. “Some of the most powerful brands today have at least 10 smashables,” he said. “They help a brand build its presence far above the limited attention and engagement that comes with just a logo.”

Some iconic American brands have been able to smash their brands. In fact, in 1915, the Coca-Cola company sought out a bottle manufacturer who could design a bottle so distinctive that it if were to fall on the ground and break, it would still be recognizable … a smashable Coke bottle.

An American company may have set the smashable standard, but many modern baked food companies overseas are taking the concept to the next level, according to Mr. Lindstrom. Scandinavian bakery Kanniston Leipomo Bakery enlisted the help of a local branding company specializing in package design to reimagine how it packaged its signature gingerbread cookies. Based on observations inside the bakery, distribution chain, retail outlets and in-home research, the bakery established a brand presence and package design that married the cookie to the brand by creating a heart-shaped product that was also represented on the package design.
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