Kirjoittanut: Flóra Lang - tiimistä SYNTRE.
Brands and Branding
When one heard the word, branding over 50 years ago, one would have thought something very different from us in the 21st century. While we think of products, businesses, and such things, from early times until the 1970s, branding meant burning a symbol on something, such as an animal. (Clifton 2009) Although the thought is different, the meaning is not all that much. In this essay, I am going to discuss the modern version of branding, to which we can add an extra word for it to become commercial branding. I am going to touch a little of 3 different themes of this very diverse topic, to get a better but still surface-level understanding.
“We relate to brands the way we relate to people.” – Michael Platt
What is branding?
For a long time, I thought that a brand means the logo, the visual identity, the slogan, and things along those lines. When I started to work on my new project, called Orna (branding), is when I realized that although the logo, the slogan, and all the above-mentioned things are the symbols and visual representations of a brand, they are not THE BRAND.
According to Neumeier (2019), the brand is a “gut feeling”, in other words, an impression a company makes on its customers, which later on will create a reputation. So the logo, the slogan, and even the name is just a representation. To go even further, a brand is simply what the customer makes it to be. In the case of Orna, the brand is made up by our one customer, and we talk about Pepsi, which is made up by millions if not billions. Because although we look at the same logo and color palette, we all perceive it and get that “gut feeling” that Neumeier talked about in different ways.
On the other hand, most literature looks at branding in a more analytical way. Some say that branding is the mission, vision, and value proposition mixed all together and represented by the brand (Entrepreneur Staff 2013), while others state that a brand is an asset and is created through trust with the customer, which may lead to brand loyalty. (Dandu 2015) “Brands are essentially patterns of familiarity, meaning, fondness, and reassurance that exist in the minds of people” – Tom Goodwin
While branding has all these different definitions, depending on whom we ask, they can all go hand in hand and explain what branding is.
The representation of branding: visual identity through colors
As discussed above, logos and such are not the brand but are a visual representation of it. The biggest part of this representation is the visual identity and its colors.
Colors are particularly important when creating the visual identity of a company. The colors a brand chooses will determine the logo, the attitude, the emotion of potential buyers, and even the marketing of the product or service, which can directly affect the success of the given company.
Based on surveys and studies, colors can represent different things. For example, purple represents quality products and products intended to be luxurious and glamorous. Purple can also be used for art-related things. On the other hand, red is the symbol of passion and power as well as anger and anxiety. (Clark-Keane 2022)
When one chooses the colors of a new brand, it is essential to look into the color psychology of branding in order to be as clear as possible with the representation.
C-D Mapping in branding
C-D (centrality and distinctiveness) map is a tool for a company to strategize its branding, by visualizing itself and its competitors on 2 scales to improve through pricing and sales. The central scale shows how popular a brand is, on what level that brand represents the industry, and how central they are. The distinctive scale presents how much the brand stands out and how many characteristics it might have compared to its competitors. Each company will aim for a different position on the map depending on different factors, however, it will affect the perception of the product or service it may offer and also its sales volume and pricing. When creating a C-D map, we make it into quarters. (Dawar et.al 2015)
FIGURE 1. C-D map (Dawar & Bagga 2015)
The sales volume can depend on how central the brand is, meaning the more central it is the better or it can depend on the distinctiveness, the less distinctive products will sell more. So why would companies aim for anything other than the mainstream quarter? That is when the price comes into the picture. Although the more distinctive products will sell less, they will also cost more, which covers the unconventional and aspirational brands as well, leaving the peripheral quadrant “useless”.(Dawar et.al 2015) Why would anyone aim for that?
Peripheral brands will have low prices and a smaller volume of mostly non-loyal consumers such as one-time ones or laics, however, these brands will have lower expenses as they save on CMR (customer relationship management) expenses for example. (Dawar et.al 2015)
Overall branding is a particularly difficult topic but also fascinating, at least for me. It has that abstract point-of-view which makes it hard to grasp but can be easily instructed. It is still relatively new, which gives a lot of freedom and excitement and more uncertainty. In this essay, I have looked at the meaning of branding, a small part of its representation, and a tool for its strategy and management process. I am excited to learn more through Orna.
Clark-Keane, C. 2022. 8 Ways to Use Color Psychology in Marketing (With Examples). Updated on 25.7.2022. Read on 4.12.2022. https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2022/07/12/color-psychology-marketing
Clifton, R. 2009. Brands and Branding. Read on 4.12.2022.
Dandu, R. 2015. What Is Branding and Why Is it Important for Your Business. Uploaded on 14.10.2015. Read on 4.12.2022. https://www.brandingmag.com/2015/10/14/what-is-branding-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-business/
Dawar, N. & Bagga, C. 2015. A Better Way to Map Brand Strategy. Harvard Business Review. Read on 4.12.2022https://hbr.org/2015/06/a-better-way-to-map-brand-strategy
Entrepreneur Staff. 2013. Branding. Read on 4.12. 2022. https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/branding
Neumeier, M. 2019. What Is Branding? 4 Minute Crash Course. Uploaded on 31.12.2019. Watched on 4.12.2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO4te2QNsHY