No, we’re not here to talk about branding playgrounds, creating logos for equipment or parks – we’re here to talk about the playground of a brand. Yes – a brand. Just hold tight, give this a read and you’ll see what playgrounds and brands have in common. Do you remember your favourite playground? It may have been the large one located in some massive park in the inner-city, or it could have been your backyard sandpit or even just pulling two couches together, adding a sheet and calling it a fort. Regardless of the size or even what the playground had in it there was ALWAYS fun to be had! That’s the key to a great playground – how much fun you have whilst within its boundaries. So, some of you may think a playground is just those massive steel structures with slides, monkey bars and all that – and whilst that’s correct, it’s not entirely true. According to the Oxford dictionary a playground is defined as ‘A place where a particular group of people choose to enjoy themselves.’. That’s it – a place where you enjoy yourself. As a child I saw the world as my playground – well everywhere except the kitchen at home. No matter where I was, there was always some fun to be had (unless I was told to quieten down). As I grew older, that concept that the world was my playground changed into only a few places were where I enjoyed myself. Then as an adult, most of life is filled with work with only some time to play. Reflecting on this notion I noticed a parallel between what I defined as playgrounds at certain stages of life, and that of playgrounds in brands. To help explain this we will look at two well-known brands of today; Nike & Apple.
Nike’s core brand & playground (Solid Black is core)
Apple’s core brand & playground
Nike is the child in this example. Nike’s brand is fun, without limits – it’s playground is the world, but it does have that one element of their brand that is the kitchen. Nike’s kitchen is their logo mark – the tick. The tick is not to be messed with, manipulated or distorted in any way as it is their core brand identity. Everything outside of this Nike tick is fair go (from observation).
Source: You take a look at their website, design, marketing and it’s all fun, vibrant, trendy, high energy and different. They have fun with their brand. Their playground is large and expansive. And it’s very deliberate because their products are what people use in their own playgrounds – sporting fields, running, riding, swimming and so much more. It fits their target market. Then on the flipside you have the tech giant Apple. Apple’s brand behavior is more like how adults behave. Going about our daily life of work and having moments on the weekend where we let our hair down and have some fun. Keep in mind though that Apple’s core is more than just the apple logo. It includes their custom font (San Francisco), colours of both products and design, sizing of elements, finishes, language and way more that makes up their core brand. Apple’s core brand identity takes up a large part of who they are but there is still margin for fun. Their core products playground is generally within the screens of their devices, whereas their secondary products like Beats by Dre, Apple Music and Education have a slightly larger playground.
Source: – Notice that their background is the playground, yet the site itself and the iPad page is relatively clean and consistent to the brand. Despite not having the same size playground as Nike, Apple does know how to play, and they play well – it’s just they have a different place they enjoy themselves. The one of the keys to both brands success is that they have figured out what their core brand should be in comparison to the size of their playground by doing their market research and figuring out who their target market is. Nike is a lifestyle brand, all about sports, health and having fun whilst doing it. This is directly reflected in their brand. Apple are a tech brand targeted towards professionals & students – and again, their brand reflects this through their excellence, attention to detail and professionalism. As great as it is looking at two of the most well-known brands on the planet and seeing their playgrounds, how does this apply to your brand? Simply this. Like every human, every brand has a playground. You just need to discover where on the scale your brand sits. Is it on the fun, creative & vibrant side like Nike, or more professional like Apple? If you want to discover where your brand sits on this scale, get in touch with us and we’d love to sit down with you!