Branding as an Experience with Kitamoto Koichiro
Founder of CICATA, Inc.
by Christina Lauren|
17 Sept 2018
“There is nothing useless in experiences,” claims branding design CEO Kitamoto Koichiro, quoting wise words from a profound source-- his mother. Exceptional words indeed, considering CICATA, Inc., is a design firm whose motto is to “Maximize your brand value”; and what other company is better equipped to optimize the namesake of businesses worldwide than one with twenty years of valuable experience and a quality reputation to follow. It is this same accreditation that keeps the brander creative under intense pressure, stating: “I’ve been working for this long in the design industry; I’ve thought my experience of twenty years would make me stay creative under pressure,” he says. For those who don’t know, CICATA, Inc., is a company specializing in business support, product planning and development, visualization and organization management. The brains behind the enterprise? Koichiro, whose clientele includes the likes of Cartier and Nike, among a long list of other impressionable names. With such a strong foundation, the company’s philosophy to maximize brand value is crucial. “Take a look at Luis Vuitton,” states Koichiro, referring to a source he deems as influential as it is admirable.
“Although it is a historical brand from a specialty store of luggage bags, it sublimates to the brand concept ‘travel’,” he says. “While expanding to match the times, it has developed a number of collections and always receives a fresh impression. When we work, we want to be careful not to be addicted to the same stereotype,” the designer continues. This approach keeps ideas fresh and innovative while adhering to a standard that never tires. In addition, Koichiro maintains originality through differentiation: “We don’t offer unilateral design to our customers,” he says— “we will provide optimum design after talking properly to our clients.” So where does the main source of this creative inspiration stem? Koichiro may not have grown up pining to enter the field of design, rather, his journey began simply by staring up at an advertisement one afternoon and thinking, “I want to do that.” In this acknowledgment, the designer states, “In a poster ad., I was captivated by the visual and copy gimmick. Since then I have wanted to make similar [pieces of art] and become a designer.” It is this same analytical sense through which Koichiro has pieced together the steps of his creative process as a brander. “I regularly hypothesize the scenery and the social situations that surround me. Based on that accumulation, I try to instill the appropriate creatives to my clientele,” he says. The brander’s approach to design is simple. “I believe design is one of the tools that solve a problem; therefore, a design that doesn’t solve a problem is meaningless to me. At my company before designing, we discuss with our customers an attempt to understand their situation, products, services, and find a solution to their problems. From there we will provide the best design tools and will continue to follow-up for a long time afterward,” says Koichiro. Communication is key to a successful partnership, and it is through professional discourse that the designer can cope with criticism. When asked how he responds to negative feedback, the founder claims: “I will take it obediently if the criticism is correct. However, if it is through judgment that is not good, I will discuss it properly with them.” Fair enough. And Koichiro is fair; when asked about a project in which client feedback may have affected final production, the owner states that “we don’t usually resist the feedback from our customers because we think brands are going to be built up with customers; instead; we try to think things from a medium to long-term perspective.” But let’s talk about Kitamoto Koichiro as a person. The brander stays humble by keeping up with the latest design trends influenced by household names such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, even ranging from your average bookstore collection of designer books to magazines. Even more adorable is the tiny thing he is most passionate about-- the growth and support of his child who is undoubtedly the driving force behind the designer’s creative brilliance. Finally, Koichiro’s humanitarian wings flourish when asked about his personal and professional goals for the future: “Widely contributing to more people,” states Koichiro. “We want our branding to benefit our customers in a way that allows them to foray into an industry they didn’t have before, and never thought possible,” he says.
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