As a tiny toy company, understanding and developing our brand has been a journey of discovery that has been supported by our fans, customers, toy shops, manufacturers, designers, friends and family.
We haven’t had the benefit or distraction of working with in-house or external ‘experts’ that companies such as Lego, Hama beads or Qixels have– it’s all our own work. As the inventor of the little pixel bricks, I know that the work of creating the brand for Simbrix is not complete, but I think that we have made some important progress that more established ‘products’ may have overlooked. Yes, it’s a big claim, but let me explain.
Let me share the Simbrix perspective on ‘branding’.
The majority of products we consume are ones that we’ve known and trusted for many years like Walkers crisps, Cadbury’s chocolate, or great toys like Rubik’s cube and Play-Doh. But to some extent, the meaning they have to us are not necessarily what the advertisers want us to think – but are the sum of our experiences, the recommendations from family, using the product when younger and the memories connected with them. If I were to look at the marketeers interpretation of the brand – such as the label, logo, font, colours, instructions. They are carefully designed to create a feeling within us to trust the product, to get our interest and inspire us.
But how much notice to we really take – With some much noise around us – what is that makes us buy? That’s the magic question and if any body really did know the answer to this questions – they could write their own cheques. Spending money on advertising clearly does play a big part in taking an unknown product and turning them into a commercial success that some of the washing brands like Persil or Febreeze have managed to achieve.
From my consumers perspective, I think sometimes that big corporate brands miss the point and miss the detail. Font choices, packaging types, logo colours – yes they do matter. But Give me a big expensive looking box that is half empty and I think I’ve been shortchanged and wonder why they couldn’t be made a smaller box. A great example is Kellogs cornflakes – lovely product, my family love them. But the boxes are huuuuuge and they barely fit in the kitchen cabinets. My wife will decant them into plastic cereal boxes to keep them with the other cereal boxes, like the other cereals. All the packaging is discarded.
As a toy inventor, I get to speak to lots of people and we often talk about Lego – almost universally loved by all. But those boxes are big and definitely have more air than bricks. I don’t think they would lose any credibility if they made their boxes slightly smaller. But this is true of many toys and craft products.
But there is one toy – a toy superstar that defies this big – empty – box rule: Rubiks Cube – it comes in a very simple minimalist clear packaging. It almost shouts – ‘all you want is the cube and that’s all you get’.
Lots of products come in big, expertly designed packages with empty spaces inside. The labels often present well-known names, but many of these have little meaning, with very little connection to their purpose. Most large companies purpose could be stuck on many other companies and it would be difficult to tell the difference. I am not knocking any product, any brand or anyone here.
The Simbrix branding journey
Simbrix branding began with the product and why it was created – put simply: to allow my children to do pixel art without their work easily falling apart. The shape of the product is our core and our purpose. We’ve spent a lot of time with our fans and listened to what they think about Simbrix and what it means for them. Simbrix has evolved totally- to better serve them.
The packaging is functionally useful in the play experience – transporting our products in reusable and recyclable containers, allowing the bricks to stored and accessed. The new inspiration deck provides lots of new ideas to try – without being rigid instructions.
Our labelling is bright and colourful to stand out on the shelf, but does allow customers to see inside the box before purchasing – useful and transparent! We chose this because so many children’s toys are in brightly colour cardboard boxes with very little content – literally more air that product – and a ‘disappointment’ in the making for the receiver of the toy and then the giver of the toy. With the Simbrix ‘play tray box’ we tried to get the packaging down as small as usefully possible. The tray does initially look bigger than it needs to be, but once you open the Simbrix bag – you’ll need that space to get good access to the bricks and store some of the designs that you make with them.
Our mission has been to encourage creativity, for boys and girls of all ages/abilities in the highest quality products we can get to. Our name is Simbrix with the tagline ‘connect & wow’ – so connect the Simbrix together to makes something that you amazes you’.
Simbrix brand is the sum of all those parts and is in every part of our package. It’s not just one thing in isolation. Look at the packaging, read my message on the bottom of the box, see through the clear reusable, recyclable box, touch the brick, open the inspiration deck, connect the brix together, share our creations on our Facebook, talk to us – these are all elements of our branding.
The Simbrix branding is heart and soul deep.
I believe that ‘branding’ is like the personality and character of a person. So in developing a brand, the important questions to ask are: What’s your purpose in life? What makes you happy? Who are you? What do you want from life? what makes you great? What do you do really do well and where could you do better?
Branding is not just your look or the label of your clothes.
We are not experts, we are just learning. These are just my views…feel free to disagree.