Gregory Ronczewski leads the design of the TeamFit platform – view his profile on TeamFit
Top image: East and North faces of Matterhorn. Photo: Zacharie Grossen

 

Vision is the most powerful of all our senses. Over 80 percent of information people retain is received visually. It takes us a split of a second to recognize a familiar face or shape. With even a small hint we can usually recognize familiar things. Many brands capitalize on this by creating shapes that become easily recognized. What would you say when presented with a triangular chocolate bar? It’s not a Snicker, is it?

Did you know that the Toblerone shape has been trademarked? It was created in 1908 by Theodor Tobler in Bern, Switzerland. Its shape was inspired by the majestic Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, however, according to Wikipedia “the triangular shape originates from a pyramid shape that dancers at the Folies Bergères created as the finale of a show that Theodor Tobler once saw.” I still prefer the Matterhorn version. The Toblerone brand was trademarked in 1909 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Bern. The same patent office where eight years earlier Albert Einstein worked as an assistant examiner – level III. Too bad it was not the other way – then we could say that the taste inspired Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

All pretty interesting, and I bet you are now looking for something sweet, I know I am. The most intriguing aspect is how this unique shape became so iconic that it can’t be mistaken for something else. Toblerone bars are not exactly easy to eat. Breaking them apart requires strength and yet people do it with pleasure to enjoy the chocolate with honey and almond nougat. If I close my eyes, I can taste it, can you? This is exactly what all the brands are looking for. Be different, be special.

From Wikipedia: In 2016, a larger gap was introduced between each section of the triangular prism in two of the Toblerone bars in the United Kingdom. This was done in order to cut the weight of the bars and reduce costs while retaining the same package size. The change was not well received with one MSP calling for ‘government action’ by the Scottish Parliament over the change. This is the power of branding.

The automotive industry has relied on unique shapes of their cars for years. It was easy to spot a Citroën, Porsche or Land Rover. Now, when I look at Kia, Toyota, Hyundai, or even BMW, especially from the side view, it is really hard to tell which is which. Still, it is much simpler to create a memorable shape if your product is tangible.

1973 Citroën DSpecial sedan. Photographed in Haberfield, New South Wales, Australia.

 

What if your product is abstract? No weight, shape or colour to attract our senses. No taste or smell. How you distinguish yourself from the millions of products or services that we encounter every minute, day after day? Can you see a piece of software? Not even a box to put on a shelf to proudly announce “I own a copy of Adobe Photoshop.” It’s a download now, not even – it’s in the cloud.

Martin Lindstrom writes in Brand Sense: “Hearing is passive; listening is active. We use our ears to hear and our brains to listen.” Similarly, we use our eyes to look and our brains to see. It is an active process in which we can construct complicated narratives just from visual information.

I was watching the other day a TED talk by Simon Sinek. He said: “People buy not what you do but why you do it.” If you have 18 minutes to spare, this talk is genuinely worth watching. If the product is abstract, the best way to connect with the audience is to capitalize on the why question. Why we do what we do?

At TeamFit, we believe that understanding the skills you have and the skills you need to excel shouldn’t be so hard. Skills are abstract. People often have a hard time describing their skills, not to mention coming up with a comprehensive list. We can help, whether for an individual, a team or an entire company. This is why we created TeamFit. Everyone talks about skills yet the best way people had to visualize them was with a basic list. Well, not anymore. Our Skill Map changes the landscape. It fills the void in the abstract space so that you can see your skills in a new way. The best part of this is that this portrait is not static. It evolves as you acquire new skills, develops competencies, update projects and new people you work with. A visual way to see skills. That is what TeamFit is.