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Brand identity isn’t really a complicated concept at all, how and why does something need to be identified. In terms of commercial business why do we need branding? What do we think branding does? Is a brand identity just a logo, a few colors and maybe a snappy tagline? Good branding is based on an awareness of how do we need an object to be perceived in the world. That perception should generate more sales that will generate more money. “The components of the brand are created by the business itself, making brand identity the way in which a business wants consumers to perceive its brands, not necessarily how it is actually perceived”. (investopedia 2014). Although the object or service that a brand represents can change over time, the identity needs to flex with it in order to capitalize on the “share of mind” or the “market share” of a product. “Brand can often be the key discriminating factor in a customer’s decision to select one product over another. Brand is essentially the sum of all experiences related to the product, service, and companies that make and deliver the product. Brand perceptions are shaped by functional experiences (i.e. speed, quality, reliability, ease of use) as well as emotional experiences (i.e. make me feel better, improve my performance, make my life/job more gratifying or easier) the customer associates with the product and company”. (Infotyrends. 2014) This association or reliability, cost effective, quality etc. is important as people want to be associated with company’s that share the same values as them. Old ways of thinking don’t apply to new modern principles, and it is these principles and values that advertisers are appealing to. The strategy of selling a lifestyle in the 1940’s by appealing to peoples need for progression and modernist principles isn’t as relevant or comprehensive today as it was then.
For instance when considering the role of the alpha male protagonist which have one role “to sell more products or services by mirroring society’s values and beliefs. As the decades rolled by, they adapted accordingly. Sometimes, if they were charismatic enough, they even influenced culture”. (Kattan, O) Brand appeal can work on two levels; it requests attention by using influential and charismatic characters and persuasion. “Appeal is the power to attract, please, stimulate, or interest. Brands that think in terms of “appeal” are more likely to try to attract, please, stimulate, and provide interest for their specific consumer – all behaviors of engagement, which truly is the foundation of building lasting relationships” .(Brand appeal, 2014)
The visual associations of the Three logo are inspiring, progressive, engaging and reputable.
Today advertisers are still dangling seductive streamline curves for all to see, offering an opportunity to buy a lifestyle for the right price. This strategy seems awfully reminiscent of years gone. In Fig.1 the brand is trying to identify itself as young, stylish, fun, confident & reliable, which will attract a particular profile of customer. So in these terms the brand is really appealing to a generalized audience profile with these attributes. To sum up the personality of this logos intention in one word one might say “Exciting”.
Clearspace = Confident = Reputable
Curved lines = Fun = Progressive
Jagged lines = Stylish = Inspiring
Sans Serif = Reliable = Engaging
“Consumers make purchasing decisions based on any number of associations they have with individual brands, and companies spend millions on advertising and marketing activities so that they can influence what those associations might be. Just as we each choose our friends based on their personalities, brands can elicit the same sort of response in consumers. In light of this, wouldn’t it be interesting to know which human personality traits consumers tend to apply to brands?. (Friend, C. 2010). Although “excitement might be the buzz work for the Three Network brand identity there are many other strategies that appeal to peoples Sincerity, Competence & Sophistication Our understanding of the strategies that we use to seduce and convince is really the tools of how we label, mark, sign or brand the world we live in.
Three categories of identity are 1)“The identity can be monolithic, meaning that the whole company uses one visual style and that the consistency between the corporate identity and the product identity is very strong, the product reflecting the corporation directly. 2)“The identity can also be endorsed where the subsidiary companies (brands) have their own style, but the parent company remains recognizable in the background” 3) “The branded corporate identity in which the subsidiaries have their own style, and the parent company is not recognizable. The products represent the brand identities rather than the corporate identity”. (Cenonex.2014).
On this 1920’s version of AT&T’s logo previously called Bell Telephone Company
which was associated with the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. the object analysis reveals a simplistic strategy when compared to more contemporary communications. At this time nothing or very little was known about audience profiles, it was doubtful that much attention was given to seduction and persuasion like it is today, in fact most national company’s had most if not all of the market share and share of mind of their product as the world was starting to become more advanced at a rate unseen before.
This change has altered our culture, landscape, values and our understandings – one of which is how we choose to see ourselves. Our cultural shift invited technology over for a cup of tea, our need to be loved and satisfied by the new accessible all singing all dancing machinery and flickering images that typify the 20th century still resonates with us today. In the book Mesmerization Gee Tomson highlights the words “spells” and “memes” which serves up a frightful caricature of society’s reliance on todays advertisement industry. “The use of the word “spells”, for describing the prescriptions that together make up the maps of culture within mesmerization. Conjuring up images of shamans, witches and cauldrons of bubbling potions, the word was hardly an appropriate metaphor form our present, hi-tech age of ever-more-connected communication. But there’s more to the term; it also reflects our innate propensity to be spellbound, the desire to be entranced, to be mesmerized; a propensity, that despite the modern, rational, scientific world we live in, are still unable to shake off”. (Tompson G, 2008)
In this marketing world of the spoon-fed, fun size, multipacked communication our reliance on being told what we need is stronger than ever and yet oblivious to the things we don’t need. Now the blessed brand is king watching it’s all singing all dancing public vying for its attention. “Brand is the product the core ideals/principles; marketing is the push of connecting with audience. Marketing strategies are easily changed (or “pivoted”, if you will) without disrupting the core proposition (the brand). The brand is the engine for the marketing chassis”. (Kelly, G. 2014)
Nevertheless even if something humorous, catchy, evocative, sexy, are said enough times it will get lost in a sea of messages, and if not it is inevitable that at some stage the identity or strategy will need to be redesigned to create a different illusion that appeals to the new market around the corner. “Certain graphic elements age better than others. Companies pin the fate of their illustrative logos on the longevity of the particular drawing style they chose. Typefaces are increasingly susceptible to looking dated, which may account for some degree of graphic identity reinvention. Like hairstyles and clothing, certain graphic embellishments go out of fashion as quickly as they come into favor”. (NA. 2014)
Much like the visual representation of a company’s logo some Identity strategies have had to change is order to stay popular or to just stay in business. Some of these are Coca cola which is now marketed to everyone. Madonna, the rock, pop and electronic princess. The seriously unpopular banking system. Adobe systems, changing how we buy soft products. Our changed understanding about Identity has come about as a result of necessity fueled by fluctuations in our cultural and economical society or national identity.
“The aspect of a brand has some parallels with the idea of national identity, but the comparison is a tricky one. The techniques of brand communication, such as graphic design, for example, don’t have much relevance for countries, since countries aren’t single products or organizations that can he “branded” in this sense”. (Wally Olins. (2002).
As our understanding changes over time we get a different perspective on how people relate to products and this understanding greatly helps to generate new creative ways to reach new customers. Companies use marketing strategies such as brand association through story telling, advertising core values and developing brand-positioning maps. These current strategy’s use promotion and attraction but in reality what’s actually happening within the consumer is more important than the amount of money a company uses to promote and attract. When someone uses a product they don’t talk about the core values of the brand or the responsibilities of the company or even the cost and function of the product, they talk about their experience that they have had. When considering a product like Spotify; “People wont talk about the value of being liberated, inspired, etc. they will talk straight about “I can get all my music for a small price or for free with a few adds in the middle” they will speak right to that value. These are the behaviors that brands will be able to use to create new value the brand will be the sum total of what people bring to them and not something that is created in a studio”. (Dmexcovideo, 2011)
When people see the Facebook logo they don’t necessary feel good and want to go on Facebook, there is no experiential value attached to the logo itself but rather the experience comes from the interaction with the product. Allowing people to make their own choice is more attractive than vulgar repetition, people will find more value in a brand if its not forced upon them. “A crucial communication task for unknown brands is to build the knowledge in consumers’ minds necessary to become established. However, communication effectiveness may depend on prior familiarity of the advertised brand. The findings of two experiments using television ads and computer Internet ads revealed that brand familiarity influenced repetition effectiveness. In particular, repetition of advertising attributed to an unfamiliar brand showed decreased effectiveness; when the same advertising was attributed to a known, familiar brand, repetition wear out was postponed. Negative thoughts about tactic inappropriateness were seen to arise with repetition, particularly for an ad for an unfamiliar brand, driving, in part, the decreases in repetition effectiveness”. (Campbell, M & Lane, K. 2003). The beggar in a street will make more money if he does not ask for the money but rather let the passers by make the decision for themselves instead of feeling uncomfortable when being asked much like the brand stopping you in the street forcing you to interact with it in some way. Technology is changing the world of branding and our current understanding is changing with it again due to the connectivity and accessibility brought on by the Internet. There is so much out there now that attraction and promotion are becoming out dated.
“This is a mindset of the early 1990s before all these other platforms were available to brands to market and engage with their consumer base. See promotional content for most brands and marketers is easy to evaluate the ROI (return on investment). Because they can see how many people clicked on the link they provide, drove traffic to their site, and then they can determine how many of those people actually purchased something. This is no longer as effective as it once was. Now brands must understand the art of “Engaging Content”. (Shaw, I. 2014)
The brand can also be considered as the conversation, behavior and experience that customers actually have with the product this is why UI/UX (user interaction / user experience) is becoming increasingly important in web design. If the user has a good experience with a website when they engage with it because it is fast, functional, visually appealing, responsive and simplistic then the user is more likely to make a positive decision in regards to a bookmark, share, purchase, or start a conversation. Engaging content provides information to the customer so that they are making the decision for themselves effectively giving them the power of choice rather than the brand prostrating itself, effectively begging. Placing power in the hands of the consumer by offering advice allows the person to feel empowered, much like with UI/UX the content creates a pleasant experience that is on the customer’s terms and not brand.
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