What’s in a brand and how does one translate that meaning to the wider desires of a cultural base? In essence when one is buying coca cola(one of the most successful brands to ever hit the world) one isn’t really buying fizzy water, sugar cubes and color additives but the desire to connect to an idea, an aspiration, a feeling that we can all relate to and claim as a personal validation of how we choose to live life. In essence when we seek to consume a product or a service it isn’t so much the thing itself that necessitates our desire(although there may well be a very real need at the time) it’s about our desire to re affirm who we believe our selves to be and by extension who we also want to affirm to society who we want to be with….
It’s a late afternoon and I’m sitting at the offices of Collective Hardware, the melting pot of diatribe, visions and unique aspirant visions when Matt Arrow one of the key players to the imminent and already happening mecca that is Hardware Collective (click here for the latest on their fast rising projects) introduces me to the sanguine visage of Pablo Galofre founder of Columbian Power. A native of Columbia and an art curator in a past life he was curious to explore how we identified with each other and noticed in his dealings in the art world that so often what got sold wasn’t so much about the intrinsic constituent of the work itself but rather how it made you feel and to a large degree the image that artist or gallery had in society. Somehow acquiring art wasn’t just about the art itself (although that mattered) it was also about the social referencing and the connotations it implied.
“An icon is like religion,” Pablo intones- “it’s a belief system that we choose to maintain. I like to think that if you consume by beverage you believe in yourself and that is the underlying message I want to get out there. I want to challenge all the status symbols, the hyperbole in society and let the consumer be free to feel that it’s okay to be who they are for themselves and we support this idea. It’s power to be who you can be for yourself and we want to celebrate that, celebrate the individual. After all it’s about unity. That we should all be proud of who we are as individuals and unite.”
From the corner of my eye I can see Matt Arrow nodding his head.
“It’s about the shedding of the ego. Rather it’s a reflection of a spiritual journey.”
“Spiritual?” I ask. “How does consuming an energy drink make me spiritual?”
“It’s the way you connect with the audience, the way you give them the feeling that when you are involved with us, this product you are free to be yourself and not to worry about the ego. That we stand for the collective, for each other and this defines us, not our differences.” says the demure Pablo.
“Tell me about the symbol you have chosen. It has Aztec references.”
“Yes it’s a traditional Incan symbol of power, of spirituality, of a collective unity that has for many centuries has been identified as a source of unity in the Incan world and I think is widely understood in current culture.”
Matt Arrow interjects-
“You want people to look at your product and immediately identify what it stands for. It’s that simple. The Nike swoosh- who doesn’t identify with that. One look and you get it.”
“So how does one reinforce the Aztec symbol in modern day America?”
“Well, I think people are intrigued by the exotic factor, there is a certain basic understanding of what it represents but ultimately it’s the job of product placement and advertising to place a particular meaning to your product and this of course takes time.” replies Pablo.
“I’m curious where is your product sold and to whom are you marketing?”
Enrique- “Right now we are seeing a higher income crowd coming to this product. I think the message of unity and collective experience is something these people are intrigued by. It’s not like they are struggling and they have no relationship with the outside world and working strictly to make their rent. Also we are very popular with youth especially in the night club circuit, bars and high end grocery marts.”
“Is that by choice?”
“Yes and no. It’s a matter of trial and error but we are finding this is where our market currently exists and we hope to further increase our distribution channels where every there will be more visibility.”
“Finally, do you miss the art world?”
“Actually I’m still in it in a way, but now I am curating my own vision and for this I am very excited.”