Brand building: Aston Martin creates a compelling narrative

Art of Living by Aston Martin ice drive

No matter how strong the brand history and heritage, businesses needs to constantly evolve to remain relevant. Branding today involves building a complex narrative – it includes clever and subtle storytelling. This is especially the case with luxury marques. With a shift in consumer behaviour and a more global market, makers of premium cars are creating an experiential world for their customers. It is no longer solely a case of owning a luxury product, but more about gaining access to an exclusive club.

One interesting case study we’ve been observing at Spinach Branding is Aston Martin, the luxury British carmaker with a highly alluring heritage to include possibly the most evocative brand partner James Bond. Yet even Aston Martin isn’t immune to changing patterns of consumption – a wider, global clientele will naturally have different responses to history and heritage. Enter Art of Living by Aston Martin, a new inititiative for the company to explore the world beyond its exotic cars through partnerships with creatives and companies who share similar brand values.

Aston Martin organises exotic trips as part of its Art of Living brand extension

Aston Martin’s chief creative officer Marek Reichman admits the experience works on multiple ways. Speaking at the opening of No. 8 Dover Street, the brand experience centre in London, he says these other activities also informs his work. ‘In designing our icons we need to envisage where they wound fit, helping us express who we are and what we are,’ he offers. ‘We listen to our customers. Some like to borrow our cars to take part in a Tuscan drive and our ice drives are hugely popular too.’ He recalls a recent road trip to Lapland noting that nothing quite beats seeing the cars in the beauty of this incredible landscape. ‘Our brand value of beauty is what is woven into these experiences.’

No. 8 offers an immersive brand experience away from the more traditional car showroom environment – a trend on the rise in the car sector (see our previous post on this subject here). The space doubles up as a gallery and with clothes and accessories on display by the likes of Hackett – the British designer recently created a collection especially for Aston Martin. The day we visit, N0. 8 has on exhibition rarely-seen work by the celebrated fashion and advertising photographer Mark Shaw: A Moment in Time.

Henrietta Tiarks Among The Trees' sees Mark Shaw capture the Duchess of Bedford as she models a green suit by Jules François Crahay of Nina Ricci at Palais Royale, Paris 1959. Copyright © Mark Shaw/

Art of Living also allows customers access to Aston Martin’s ultimate driving experiences. At its pinnacle are the ‘ultimate drives’, offering adventures spanning continents to include challenging drives and helicopter rides, gourmet dining, and sightseeing. An alternative adrenalin-fuelled experince will provide access to some of the world’s top motor races – 24 Hours of Le Mans, Goodwood Festival of Speed, and experience with brand partners Red Bull Racing. Reichman says he is particularly impressed with the content of the new ultimate drives, ‘which truly are once-in-a-lifetime journeys. Anyone attending these experiences will get to indulge in the soul of the brand’.

Images: Aston Martin Art of Living © Aston Martin; Jackie and daughter Caroline on the beach in Hyannis Port in 1959 for the cover of Mark Shaw’s book on John F. Kennedy, Henrietta Tiarks Among The Trees’ sees Mark Shaw capture the Duchess of Bedford as she models a green suit by Jules François Crahay of Nina Ricci at Palais Royale, Paris 1959. © Mark Shaw /

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

Mod Party on Cruise. A hip party scene photographed by Mark Shaw for a 1962 US Lines Cruise ship advertising campaign. Copyright © Mark Shaw/
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