Myth-building, brand narratives and futurists are terms that flow out with ease when chatting with Prachi Singh–the mastermind behind Ferro. At a time when carving out a niche for brands is of extreme importance to cut through digital clutter, it is insights from experts like her that propel emerging talent to greater heights. An avid reader with a proclivity to explore the unusual, Prachi Singh’s visionary agency believes in reading the signs. Le Mill spoke to Singh about her unique process and learnings.
What gave you the foresight to start an agency like this one?
While I studied at NIFT, I came from a background in the sciences, and I have always been an avid reader. I felt like at fashion school there was a gap in between how trend forecasting was taught. You were told what WGSN is but no one took the time to explain the role culture played in influencing consumer behaviour. So I would try to understand on my own how politics and the economy impacted fashion journalism.
When I started working for high street retailers I understood how trends were used. After I started consulting privately as a brand strategist I was able to translate that understanding better and was able to make a case for how important culture is in shaping the narrative, because that’s the differentiator. I use semiotic design because that affects your psychology of how you think about a brand. So assimilating all of these things just makes a big difference in brands. Unfortunately, only a certain category of brands understand these nuances. When you think of brand architecture, it is essentially myth-making and narrative building that drives marketing and sales. I don’t think it has become easier to play the role of a strategist, but I would say there is an openness.
Tell us about the process, how do you arrive at a strategy?
My process is first to understand the brand. Whatever is happening in culture, any brand’s DNA will look at it from its own lens. First, it would be to understand their market, what are their long and short-term goals, understanding their aesthetic and brand values. Then I look at it from the lens of what the world will look like when the collection comes out. Post which I work on creating a compelling narrative for them. I also work on connecting the dots between every touchpoint the consumer has so that the story is amplified.
What are the tools that help you in your work?
I travel a lot, I spend time at museums, and exhibitions–that drives a lot of my research. I have been very lucky in meeting creatives and futurists, I am a part of some of those communities and they have been of great help as advisories. Engaging with them helps me in creating future scenarios and speculative designs for brands I work with. It is a collaborative process with brands and I always add my intuition in the strategy that I create.
It’s not an easy job–how do you handle conflict in opinion
There are data points you can use to make your point come across. It is a little bit easier when you have worked with brands for a longer period of time, they trust your vision. You need to have strong research to build a case if you are advising someone to change course. Sometimes it's a compromise on both ends so tweak the initial plan while keeping the larger goal in mind.
Tell us about your Instagram page–you barely talk about your clients. It has such a sense of mystery
Even when I do talk about my clients, it's about the thought behind the work I have done. I love abstract visuals and there are a lot of accounts that have that kind of content so I wanted to share those while connecting the imagery to something that I was reading. While it started as an outlet for creativity, I realised there was a gap in the market. So eventually it became an account for hungry eyes and curious minds.