Branding history, change & future
Creating a Brand Identity
Good day to you and welcome back! I wrote an essay about branding earlier and this is a so called sequel. If you are interested in branding, be sure to go and read it also. Cheers! Alright let’s get to it then. So in this essay you are going to learn about the history of branding, the change, the future and how to maintain the love.
Like discussed in the last essay, the history of branding can be traced back as far as the ancient Egypt. You’ve probably heard the story that “branding“ began in the Americas Wild West where cowboys would literally brand their cattle with glowing red hot iron rods with their name on it. But that is not the start to a history of branding. “However, Giles Lury, author of Brandwatching: Lifting the Lid on Branding, traces branding back to much earlier – around 9,000 years ago – when a Roman oil-lamp maker began stamping the word ‘Fortis’ on his lamps, thereby providing the first-known use of a trademark.” (Slade-Brooking, 2016).
In the nineteenth century, The Industrial Revolution raised the standard of living and led to the development of new mass-produced products. Families who used to live self-sufficiently on the countryside, moved in to the cities and therefor were not able to grow their own food anymore. This is how a new line of manufactured goods was born. The railways made the mass-market possible when transporting large amounts of goods with a speed never witnessed before. The newspaper, radio and (later on) the television created a new platform for advertising. Manufacturers of products started to create advertisement strategies for these new mass-communication channels. This is how the modern concept of branding took birth (Slade-Brooking, 2016). At the start of the nineteenth century the companies who differentiated their products from the selection with unique characteristics were very successful. Like the most successful cereal company in the world Kellogg’s.
“I’ll Learn Yez – said the cook to the clerk” Kellogg’s, 1908.
In the nineteenth century buying products was a risky business because you couldn’t be sure what they contained; some products even caused serious health problems. “Brands with their superior packaging and promise of consistent high standards, could offer a persuasive alternative – an easily recognisable and reassuring guarantee of quality.” (Lury, 2001). So at that time and era, consumer had to choose between A) safety and consistent quality or B) possible illness. wich one would you choose?
The Change & Future
How are things changing in the world of branding? “Traditionally our purchasing decisions were made in-store, often influenced by television, radio, billboard or magazine advertising.” (Slade-Brooking, 2016). The introduction of internet and (recently) social media, now offer a two-way communication platform between brands and customers. Various use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have offered completely new digital contact points for brands to communicate to the customers. You can see these digital touchpoints everywhere, for example in the form of ads on instagram while you are scrolling to see people hardening their positions based on miscommunication. There is also the big fact that you don’t even have to go to a physical store anymore, webshops are open 24 hours a day and worldwide shipping is much faster now than it used to be. In this world of change, brands have to consistently learn new ways how to use these new digital touchpoints to communicate with the customer.
We are living in a world of technology were we can be always on and always connected. Consumers can search for information, compare and read the reviews of other consumers about the product they are interested in. “Consumer are becoming increasingly sophisticated and educated, consuming only what is relevant to them.“ (Slade-Brooking, 2016). Brands are now challenged to create even deeper emotional connections to the consumers.
Maintaining the love
Here are some strategies on how to maintain a beloved brand status form the book Creating a brand identity – a guide for designers by Catharine Slade-Brooking.
- When thinking about who you are, keep the brand’s promise front and centre in your mind. You need to be either better, different or cheaper. Challenge yourself to stay relevant, simple and compelling.
- Keep challenging the status quo to maintain an experience that over-delivers the promise. Create a culture that attacks the brand’s weaknesses and fixes them before the competition can attack. With a beloved brand, the culture and brand become one.
- Keep the brand story clear and simple, through great advertising in paid media, but also through earned media either in the mainstream press or through social media.
- The most beloved brands have a freshness of innovation, staying one step ahead of their consumers. The idea of the brand helps, acting as an internal beacon to help frame research and development. Every new product has to back the idea.
- Make focused strategic choices that start with being honest with yourself. Find a way to listen to your consumers and stay ahead of trends. Watch for dramatic shifts because they can really open a door for a competitor. It is easier said than done, but do not be afraid to attack yourself even if it means cannibalising your current business. A good defence starts with good offence.
Slade-Brooking, C. 2016. Creating a Brand Identity – a Guide for Designers. United Kingdom, London. Lauren King Publishing. Read 23.3.2020. Referred 29.3.2020
Lury, G. 2001. Brandwatching: Lifting the Lid on Branding. Ireland, Dublin. Blackhall. Referred 29.3.2020