Sunday, May 13, 2012

::: BRANDING ::: Sending a Consistent Message

I have worked with branding for over 20 years and always thought I truly understood the concept. I've designed logos and brands, knock offs, look a likes and had ridiculous briefs to answer including changing the Nike 'swoosh' by 10% for a large scale retailer it was a huge challenge as was emulating the Adidas 3 stripe track suit without a law suit being applied. I have studied style guides, adhered to branding rules and restrictions recreated AFL logos, had a close relationship with Elmo and Big bird for Sesame Street and yes I thought I understood intellectual property, marketing and branding.

 It was only recently however that the perfect definition of branding presented its self and it all dawned upon me as if new.


Suspended in mid air driving on a tall bridge over Melbourne city a dirth of visual stimuli around me I hovered above a slew of bland factory walls in my periphery, I was enjoying that nothing zone of relaxed motoring then my vision was punctuated boldly by a lone sign.

There was no image just a word in signature format and colour and I knew what it meant.

I knew what the company produced, the interior design, the price range and level of service I would expect. Why I even knew the return policy the company size, could visualise uniforms and merchandising.

That is effective branding!

A clear and consistent message that changes just enough to encourage us just enough to keep coming back. I love a Mom and Pop business and a good family business is what this world has been built upon. I believe in the small guy, the under dog and never say die.

But...
as we all keep whining about how hard it is to compete things for small business just keeps gets tougher. The fashion labels I know that have survived within Australia have been taken over by umbrella companies, receive substantial government backing or are large enough to diversify and react to the global economy where the money is hemorrhaging of shore and will takes decades to realign - apparently our insatiable appetite for new 'fluff' - physical filler, cheap goods has tipped the scales and our small change is flooding into countries where labor is dirt cheap. Our local industry has died and we are at the funeral complaining.

We are decimated by a heavy intake of data in our daily lives and by 11am our delicate brains are overwhelmed, we truly do not require this much information, its an assault to our senses.

Mentally to sift through or find the time to get to what we desire or need can be exhausting even with effective search engines, perfectly designed designed shopping malls and online stores.

Which brings me back to my recent epiphany regarding branding. As a Fashion designer I scoffed at branding and knew that it was all largely a matter of perception especially in regard to clothing and the perceived amount of 'worth' attached to a brand.

Now however since my 'brand' recognition moment I see it almost as a relief. We know what to expect from a brand, it will be a measurable predictable experience, we know what we expect to pay and how that purchase or experience will go.

While our collective mere human brain is fried by stimuli, brand recognition and consistency provides as much comfort and relief as the 'shop down the road' or 'store down the street' owned by the Mom and Pop.

I don't love it but I finally admit I get it.

There has been a notable marketing shift over the past three years or so into the trend of the 'hokey' and 'homely' the 60's and 70's twee. Its being recreated by the large corporations to convince us they are human after all. 

Designed to warmly embrace us soft edge marketing convinces us the inexpensive or luxury goods or brands are loving us back -just like the family business of days gone by or so we can dismiss the child's hands in the third world county that helped fashion the item to keep margins down ensuring the transaction more attractive to us.

The evolution of branding and marketing is now beginning to shape us, shift wealth and effect world economies.

Its something I find very interesting.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vernia Soriano said...

An effective branding doesn't need to have flowery words and colorful backgrounds to work its ways and impress its audience. A single word or phrase can connect people if it contains the right meaning and is striking enough to be a trend. Effortless, but effective.

Vernia Soriano