Branding is a tricky exercise. You want a brand that is respectable and memorable for all the right reasons but there is no clear roadmap to get you there. At Plug & Play we are a branding agency as well as a web design agency so we decided to share some interesting branding facts to help you get your creative juices flowing. So sit back relax and enjoy some branding based fun.
1. Don’t skimp on the budget for branding or it will come back to bite you.
The Design Council published findings from it’s Designing Demand programme and the evaluation of the programme showed strong returns to business: for every £1 businesses invest in design, they can expect over £20 in increased revenues, over £4 increase in net operating profit and over £5 in increased exports. In addition, businesses reported boosts to confidence, strategic thinking, brand and business identity.
2. Farmers were the original brand experts.
The word ‘brand’ originates from the old german/english word to burn. Farmers used to burn their cattle with hot irons to indicate ownership with a symbol. It makes sense then that certain brands eventually denoted not only ownership, but reputation too.
3. Some of the oldest and most respected brands are true dynasties.
Japan has a long history of creating mon. These are often circular symbols created to represent families and more recently businesses. The most famous of these is the Imperial Seal of Japan symbolising the chrysanthemum. This seal can be found on Japanese passports. Similarly, in the UK, the British Monarchy’s family crest is found on British passports. Each of these symbols and their respective brands carry great weight in terms of the many messages they communicate. Originally these symbols were representations of influential families, but now they represent entire nations and the culture within them.
4. We are bombarded by so many logos that we are almost blind to them.
Brand is considered more than just a logo these days, but it’s difficult to argue that a logo doesn’t play a part in your brand. Roland Muller wrote in the forward to his book Los Logos “Estimates suggest, that every day 6,000 logos pass across our field of vision, trying to communicate their messages and tell us their stories.” When I stop to think about this and consider for example, what’s on my desk while I write this – it’s staggering. I see logos on, laptops, monitors, lip balm, tissues, phones, books, pens, my wallet, cold and flu medicine, my car keys… and that’s just the logos I can see. There are other items I instinctively recognise, thanks to their branded packaging colours.
5. Every brand has a personality so get to know yours well.
Brand Personality. Malcolm McDonald and Hugh Wilson offer one of the best summaries on brand personality I’ve read recently. In his book ‘Marketing Plans – How to Prepare Them, How to Use Them’ he states: ‘Brand personality is a useful descriptor for the total impression that consumers have of brands, and in many ways are like people, with their own physical, emotional and personality characteristics. Thus two brands can be very similar in terms of their functions, but have very different personalities.’ Malcolm goes on to explain how the sensual, rational and emotional appeals of a brand each offer a way to distinguish/appeal to their customers. They then go on to suggest that a value can be broken into a 20/80 split. 20% of the product or service value comes in it’s function, whereas 80% can be found in the product surround.
“A recent example of this is Proctor and Gamble’s purchase of Gillette for £31 billion, of which only £4 billion was for tangible assets. The bulk of the remaining £27 billion was for brand names and relationships with markets.”
6. Your marketing and branding start within your company. Win your employees over first.
According to Hooley, Piercy and Nicouloud. Internal marketing and branding can help with staff motivation.
“If you brand/market internally you are more likely to get buy-in from staff and they are then more likely to be passionate advocates of your brand. The people who watch and are most affected by advertising are employees.”
7. Breaking through the clutter is key, so be creative.
According to the Perception Research Services:
“Our research has found that people typically spend under ten seconds at most grocery categories and typically fail to even see and consider over 33 percent of the brands in each category. For a design system to be effective it must break through the clutter and hold attention long enough to implant a message.”
8. If you don’t have your own halo, borrow someone else’s.
Competitors piggyback on the success of larger/ better-known brands. This is known as the brand halo effect. As the term suggests, individuals benefit from other brands reputations through association. Hence why brands often collaborate with one another. Think: GoPro/Redbull or Uber/Spotify. Supermarkets will also use better-known brands as an opportunity to sell more of their own brand items. For example, when you’re looking for baked beans down the aisle, the likelihood is that you will recognise and head towards Heinz’s products first. Supermarkets will often then place their own cheaper brand items directly beside the market leaders, knowing that once the customer gets there, a number of them are looking to save money are likely to then chose their products.
9. Your brand is your emotional link with customers.
In the Package Design Workbook by Stephen DePuis and John Silva, they argue that customers consider price and perceived quality in their purchasing decisions first. But when everything else is the same, the decision becomes emotional. You can influence those emotions with branding.
10. Your word is your bond. Don’t break it or you break your brand.
When you make a sale you are engaging in a brand promise. All the hopes and dreams customers have about your product and what it will do when they click the ‘buy now’ button are riding on you. Nothing burns fingers and reputations faster than failing to deliver on something you have promised.
11. Share your brand and your values with customers.
Brand Values – Notice that many brands now are taking a socially responsible stance in their marketing campaigns in the hope that you’ll buy into them through shared values. Most noteworthy would be the immensely successful, long-standing Dove – Real Beauty Campaign. All beauty industries are exploiting the larger populations insecurities about how they look, but rather than encouraging these insecurities, Dove ‘differentiated’ themselves and advocated self-acceptance for every shape and size. Think with Google published an article about one of the most watched video ever – Dove’s real beauty sketches campaign clocked up 163 million views at the time of publishing.
12. People are comfortable playing follow the leader.
“Humans often make decisions on the basis of what others have done before, rather than on the information in front of them. This cognitive shortcut makes it easier for people to make what they deem to be correct decisions. It also means that people and events are not assessed independently.”
This behaviour trait has recently been confirmed and highlighted by the not so fuzzy topic hitting the headlines in the states: Execution. Jessica Hamzelou a journalist writing in the New Scientist published 20th January 2018, wrote:
“We looked at whether execution rates were linked to higher rates of homicide per population,” says Frank Baumgartner at the University of North Carolina. “But that wasn’t the case at all.” Instead of reflecting crime rates the team found that an execution was more likely to take place in a country if another execution had previously been carried out there. This effect is known as an information cascade, says Baumgartner.”
This same behaviour trait will still stand in other facets of day to day life. By establishing your brand as the market leader and winning over the influencers within your marketplace, the chances are that the rest will follow.
13. It’s not about the product, it’s about how you feel about the product.
According to Mcdonald, 80% of the products appeal is product surround and only 20% is that of the core product. The example he cites to exemplify this is the infamous Coca Cola/Pepsi blind taste test. More recently there was an equally insightful study carried out by the Universtaet Bonn in collaboration with Insead Business school. Participants were asked to taste different wines whilst being observed in an MRI scanner. When participants were told that the same wine had a higher price, their reward centres in the brain physically responded with more activity. Same wine, completely different experience.
So now that you understand how valuable your brand is, what are you going to do about yours? If you’d like to talk to some branding experts about how we can deliver value to your business, get in touch.