Branding has many functions that go beyond its most basic requirement of identification of a product. Branding, when done well, frames what consumers can expect from a product and can become an important part of the proposition itself. While creating a brand experience independent of the product is not always the goal of marketing, creating distinctive brand positioning is needed.
- Coke stands for Happiness
- Apple stands for Creativity
- Harley-Davidson stands for Freedom
How your brand expresses itself from its name, logo, corporate ID, packaging design and copy, web design and copy all the annoying rules that fill its style guide is the most tangible manifestation of your brand’s essence; intimations before purchase of the brand’s soul, validation and reminder of its promise after trial.
No matter what industry, changing the culture is hard, lonesome, demanding work. But in our experience, most higher education brands don’t need to change their culture as much as they need to capture it and create a consistent “Brand Experience.”
Brand as motivational tool
The roar of the dotcom revolution, reduced to the whimper of de-listed penny stocks, left behind at least one important legacy. It changed forever the employer/employee dynamic.
Maybe it’s not as easy as it was to quit on Friday and find a better job by Monday, but the revolving door of employee turnover hasn’t slowed dramatically.
Employers need to earn the loyalty of their employees. Employees need to be reminded why they should get up and go to work. Off-site vision quests, benefits and perks only go so far.
Brand design extends your ad budget
If you’ve got an unlimited ad budget, skip this section. The rest of you, trying to squeeze every ounce of value from each hard-fought penny, listen up.
In this world of fractured media the number (and cost) of messages needed to hit your target between the eyes increases every season. Consumers are multitasking and zoning out from ad saturation (or digitally avoid your messages entirely). But these same consumers are meeting your brand face-to-face on shelf or online.
Brand design protects turf
The current cycle of innovation is constant. The time you can afford to rest on the laurels of product superiority is shorter than a pit stop. Today’s improvement is tomorrow’s price of entry. No wonder companies are becoming addicted to the heroin of R&D, minute “product improvements” and promotions. Again, brand design can help.
Your consumers’ connection with your brand results from its behaviour over time. But the connection is sustained at the level of look, feel and voice. If your consumers know most of the brands in the category are alike, what criteria do they have left with which to make their choice?
We’ve all stayed with brands we suspect have lost their original claim to superiority because of an emotional connection. Their “voice” speaks to us. Or, they make up for their deficits (or parity) with a great personality. We like them more.
Brand design or voice can’t cover up for product flaws. Bill Bernbach said: “Nothing is worse for a bad product than good advertising.” But investment in brilliant brand design can provide as much insulation against encroaching competition as investment in product improvement R&D.
- Discover an ideal in one of five fields of fundamental human values.
- Build your culture around your ideal.
- Communicate your ideal to engage employees and customers.
- Deliver a near-ideal customer experience.
- Evaluate your progress and people against your ideal.