Orikami Lab, the Dubai-based Design Innovation Hub, has led a full-scale transformation of the brand experience for Spectrum Watches, one of the oldest watch brands originating from the region. They collaborated on delivering a scalable and livable design system and narrative for the brand.
The need to move with Dubai’s evolution from a trading hub to an incubator of high-quality brands was the main catalyst for the project. Orikami Lab had the unique challenge of working with a traditionally well-respected market leader to develop new synergies between their existing client base, and the new Changemakers (Millennials) it aimed to win over. Despite the many challenges, the transformational process took just under three years to complete.
While renowned for its quality, Spectrum Watches had found itself lost in a sea of high-profile brands, especially in today’s internet era, which has seen many brands fall victim to transient consumer demand. Spectrum Watches enjoys great offline success, and its superior craftsmanship is comparable to some of the most prestigious European watchmakers. To tap into the ever-influential online market, however, it needed a new visual identity, which served as the backdrop for the rebranding.
Spectrum Watches is well respected by consumers across the MENA region. The buyers primarily run offline businesses in GCC, Levant and African countries. Now backed by a new brand identity and visuals, Orikami Lab has enabled Spectrum Watches to be present online and reach a wider global audience. It has allowed the brand to pivot to an online retail model as well as strengthen its offline wholesale model.
“Visual identity is just the tip of the iceberg, it is what shows the most. But it’s the story that needs to be told before any visuals can be created. This is where Orikami Lab spent most of its time and effort to go beyond just providing a new visual identity to their client. They went to the heart of the business and helped boost the business. We definitely could not have done it without their creative process,” said Sabin Lakhani, the brand owner.
Orikami, driven by its human-centered design philosophy, worked with Spectrum’s management team to not only redesign the brand’s visual appeal but also its entire attributes – delivering a fresh identity and distinctive position in the market. With the brand’s focus on buyers who want something new – quality, story and value – the fresh brand identity will achieve significant growth and open the company up to an entirely new customer base.
Hiten Nainaney, Co-Founder and Chief Tech Catalyst at Orikami Lab, said: “Spectrum has a fantastic product, yet its appeal was limited among changemakers. For us, the challenge was not only to rethink the brand design and appeal, but to also create a niche brand identity that would help win over a whole new generation of customers. The implicit trust of the Spectrum team was our driving force as we conducted extensive market research, workshops with the team and created a new face for Spectrum as well as a strong digital footprint.”
Sabin Lakhani added: “We had a success story in Spectrum which needed to be amplified and repackaged in tune with the changes in retail trends. Orikami Lab’s innovative and creative approach to the brief, coupled with its focus on driving product differentiation and segmentation through market studies, was a clear fit to our goal of taking Spectrum Watches to the next level. From brand positioning to selling strategy, we are now geared towards global growth, appealing to all who love variety, quality, value and luxury.
It required patience in ensuring that the brand owner's personal values shone through but also matched the original values of why Spectrum Watches was established. What I loved about this process with Orikami Lab is that they heeded to our requirements and worked hard at creating a middle ground with a new vision leading towards commercial success without losing its core. Most companies would not get this invested but they did.”
Orikami Lab approached the brand repositioning of Spectrum Watches through a compelling narrative based on design-thinking principles. It centred its approach around the brand’s homegrown appeal and diverse customer groups. Orikami Lab identified these groups through six distinctive personalities – including the ‘inventor’, the ‘creative and the ‘truth seeker’, ultimately leading to a celebration of ‘Changemakers’.
Richie Nainaney, Co-Founder and Design Director at Orikami Lab said: “Over the duration of the rebranding, there were continuous 'check-ins' and alignments regarding customer profiles, tone of voice and design standards. This was undertaken through immersive market research and trend reports. The brand transformation journey took more than 55 hours of in-depth research and over 10 hours of collaborative workshops highlighting our commitment to bringing evidence-based transformation of the brand to appeal to a whole new generation of changemakers.”
The extensive background work conducted by Orikami Lab included identifying and engaging an unofficial community of peers across industries that fit with the persona profiles. They became channels of validation and sources of feedback across significant milestones such as the brand story, persona groups and the design direction.
In addition to extending counsel for designing the watches to match different personalities, Spectrum also drove the launch of a total omnichannel brand package – covering conventional retailing and digital sales. “Today, consumers are used to digesting large amounts of imagery and content from brands daily through social media. Recognising this, we created an image bank consisting of over 300 images including animations that accompanies a marketing programme which will roll out this year on social media,” added Richie Nainaney.
With a new website, social networks, logo and signage, Spectrum is now firmly positioned as the watch brand of the future – a homegrown success story that appeals to the new generation of changemakers.