Branding what, why & how?
Creating a Brand Identity
Let’s talk about branding. In todays modern consumer society we are surrounded by different brands and everyone of us can think of at least one. Brands are used to promote everything from products to people. “A brand is much more than a product you buy. Brands are as relevant to businesses as to services, and they can be applied to ideas and concepts as well as to products – a brand can even represent an individual celebrity.” (Slade-Brooking, 2016) But first before we get any further to talk about branding, let’s explore why do we buy in the first place?
Why do we buy?
If you are running a business, you’re working to identify customers needs and offering solutions to those needs, right? These needs of customers can be as different and varied as customers are themselves. There are of course some basic needs for survival that we humans have; food, clothes & shelter. On top of these basic human needs there are subjective needs, which are defined by a person’s lifestyle and that is then defined in return by their culture, society, social group and class. These subjective needs make us do purchases that aren’t driven by our basics needs. “Social pressures can play an important role in this, as the need to fit in, or appear more successful than those around us, can be highly influential in our buying decisions”. (Slade-Brooking, 2016). According to a consumer culture theory, people are willing to buy one brand over another, if they feel like it reflects their own personal identity.
What is it?
Humans have been practicing branding for a a very long time. All the way back in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago pharaohs used to leave their signature in the form of hieroglyphs all over their temples, tombs and monuments. “Early man began the custom of leaving a mark on objects to signify ownership of property, to reflect a person’s membership of a group or clan, or to identify political or religious power.” (Slade-Brooking, 2016). Although the term “brand” is relatively new, first implemented by the ancient norse who “branded” their animals with hot irons to signify ownership.
Brands are easily mistaken for just a logo and a name, but it’s far more than that. “It is imbued with set of unique values that defines its character and works as an unwritten contract, promising to deliver satisfaction by providing consistent quality each time it is bought, used or experienced.” (Slade-Brooking, 2016). In the modern consumer culture of tewnty-first century the control of brands has become so strong that people are buying products of a brand rather than products that have a brand. The brand is sometimes more valuable to the consumer than the actual particular product. For example we know that many big clothing brands that represent quality and class aren’t actually made out of quality materials. But still we are willing to pay 50€ for a “quality” brands t-shirt that is made out of the exactly same or even worse materials than a 10€ t-shirt from, lets say H&M.
“Products are created in a factory, Brands are created in the mind.” – Walter Landor
Why we do it?
A successful brand differentiates itself from competitors with a set of unique values. Customers relationship to a brand is based on trust and reputation that the product of the brand continuously fulfils the customers expectations. “The primary function of a brands is to reduce our anxiety in making choices. The more we sense we know about a product, the less anxious we feel.” (Nicholas Ind, writer and partner in Equilibrium Consulting).
How: Personalising a Brand
How does branding work? Branding is about making a product or a service differentiate itself from the competitors products. Giving a personality to a brand is one way to make it stand up from the crowd. When you personalise a brand and give it human characteristics it’s more natural for consumers to build a trusting relationship towards the brand because it feels more like a human relationship. Social psychologist Jennifer Aaker has created a framework for personalising a brand called “Dimensions of brand personality” which is based on human characteristics.
There are five core dimensions:
1. Sincerity: domestic, honest, genuine and cheerful
2. Excitement: daring, spirited, imaginative, up to date
3. Competence: reliable, responsible, dependable, efficient
4. Sophistication: glamorous, pretentious, charming, romantic
5. Ruggedness: tough, strong, outdoors
“This technique can be used to distinguish between brands that otherwise belong to a similar product category – for instance, Land Rover falls into the rugged category, while Ferrari represents the sophisticated – and is often used by design agencies to underpin the creation of unique brand values.” (Slade-Brooking, 2016).
I will write another essay where I will be giving you a history lesson about branding, talk about how things are changing, What is the future of branding and how to maintain the love. Stay tuned people.
Slade-Brooking, C. 2016. Creating a Brand Identity a Guide for Designers. United Kingdom, London. Lauren King Publishing. Read 23.3.2020. Referred 24.3.2020