I ❤️ Branding!
I ❤️ Branding! (Why?)
Love is all you need… It’s all about love… and other versions of the same story, you understand what I mean. People say that if you do something with love (or better said, passion), there’s a high probability that it’s going to come out quite well.
We are all about branding: brand building and brand strategy. Why? Well, because we love branding and brands, to be more specific those brands that manage to differentiate themselves and pop-out and stand out of the crowd. We like brands that manage to reach your culture-life-house-mind not just for a passing moment but for good. We are in love with brands that are here to stay since they make and honor their promises.
In short, that’s what we are about: helping organizations articulate those strong promises that make the difference, promises that they can honor. Not very interested in brands that make promises that they can’t keep or that get you in an unrequited love type of relationship, brands that fail to return one’s love.
The contribution we bring in processes and actions that result in defining such brands makes us happy. We like to think that products and services, basically what we deliver matters and counts for a better world. Better visuals, simple, clearer messages, better products/business strategies/organizations and so on. Because, isn’t it, good branding makes better products and more desirable. And I stop here for an example:
We ran out of oil the other day. I asked my son to go and get some more. He came back with 3 bottles (about three weeks worth of oil) of Ardealul oil (brand name uses Romanian name for Transilvania), not the brand we regularly use, which is Untdelemn de la Bunica (Grandma’s oil – archaic form used for “oil”). The boy liked the name (sign of patriotism in my 10 year old boy), anyway… I ended up expressing my deep dissatisfaction with the buy and (loudly) declared that the other brand is so much better (not necessarily sure why). The others reassured me that it is just (the same) oil and shouldn’t worry about it. I did let go of the matter, without being fully convinced though… Next day comes, time to use the oil, and right before that I realize, while spending a little too many seconds opening the lid, why “Grandma’s oil” is better. Additionally to the significantly better designed label, smart and more sophisticated naming (compared to the nationalist find for the other brand), the lid makes all the difference; and, in my mind, such details add up for a better product. Therefore, even with (the same, though not the same I’m sure of that) oil. Pretty clear, isn’t it?
Where was I? We like to think that we are good at Branding and that we managed to build, in 20 years of experience, a number of qualities, not in thin air but in the people that are part of the organization. These qualities that work as a good recommendation for such type of work. And when I mean qualities I also mean internal processes and know-how, but I will explain below in the processual part of this story.
I am BRAND therefore I am
Variation on René Descartes’ famous declaration, something as accurate as can be nowadays. The truth is, we live in the world/society somewhat inside-out, where technology has become so pivotal in what we are and do, inasmuch so that our tech mediated image has taken precedence over our own presence.
What I am saying here is that the virtual/cyber identity that stands for us individuals or (corporate or state) organisations for that matter is more important than ourselves, respectively the organisations themselves. That is, the image replaced reality. Or the wrapper has outgrown the contents. And so on… and as strange as this may sound, that’s what we’re dealing with.
If we were to expand on the idea above we could declare that this issue we’re referring ourselves to, this image made of all the signs and signals of our presence, this primary image, is actually the proprietary brand. Whether corporate or not, still a brand.
Let’s talk a bit about light.
Remember the Physics Class experiment with the dispersion of light? I hope you had the chance to do/see it. It’s quite instructive and relevant (here and elsewhere). In short, when light goes through a triangular glass prism, white light disperses and all its component color rays become visible (rainbow colors). What this tells us is in fact (the fact) that what we call color or visible shape of objects even (also perceived through the organ of sight, the eye), becomes (for us) that (shape or color) only due to the presence of light and our perception of it, the physical properties of objects and the absorption of some of those rays and reflection of others. Therefore color is not in the object but only in the light that carries it. And as such, their existence or presence in our minds is mediated by this process.
Brands and processes or procedures that make it better known are quite similar to what happens with light dispersion, where their reception is aided or they are shaped through means of branding and everything related to it. I am referring myself to the way a brand takes shape, the way it’s built is based on the core brand idea, on what the organization’s specifics, what it stands for and what it has to deliver.
This becoming or incarnation that branding generates contains all the brand’s signs and signals in a flow carried out in both directions, from the organization to the public and from the public and environment back to the organization. The brand doesn’t replace the organization or what the organization does/represents but it has certainly become defining for it.
The core IDEA / The Brand Idea
(The concept of) IDEA as in Greek (coming from Plato, even Pythagoras, so Wiki says) refers to a specific, conceptual mental representation of the reality of objects, images or any entity for that matter. That is, the term idea explained in a more complex way. That’s what we are referring to here.
Rational – The (core) brand idea is a concept present in everything that the brand represents and the organisation also, with its business strategy, behaviour, voice and so on. It is a simple, clear and concise promise, so simple that it can be explained in a few lines (phrases). It needs to differentiate the brand and be definitory for its specificity and/or uniqueness.
The more simple it is, the more effective in being understood and assimilated by the members of the organisation it will be. It will also be imprinted more effectively in the mind of the public and associated with more ease with the brand signals.
It needs to relate to a specific need of the people, a need that it should address so that it can become and remain relevant. It also should be properly carried outside by the brand signs and signals while it changes the organisation, inside. The business strategy has to be properly connected to the brand idea as it honors the promises the brand with all of its manifestations makes.
Emotional – When brands end up provoking people’s emotions and create emotional experiences they have a chance in building permanence in their culture-life-house-mind. This is the ideal situation but one that involves a significant dose of responsibility as a relationship failure can have significant consequences (divorce?).
Brands that we love are brands that we go back to, that we asimilate, that become an intrinsic part of what… we are after all. These are brands we tend to forgive for their mishaps, brands we protect, we fight for, we grow loyal to. It’s a relationship that brands have to permanently maintain, cultivate and that ultimately ensures a permanent customer base if it is well managed.
We could easily name quite a number of beloved brands that have managed to successfully transfer and reach the audience with their core idea. Out of the consumer goods market area, probably some of the most well known examples: Apple with its fanboys, the Coke-Pepsi “war” with its followers, to beloved local brands that have managed to be assimilated by a large base of clients, like Dacia, ROM chocolate and others, or our national brand, Halep, so influential that it turned an entire country into tennis experts overnight.
What does building a brand require?
Our job is to develop a set of elements or so called signals that will make known or popularize the brand itself and its deliverables. I’m going to name here some of these signals: name (or naming), logo, slogan, colors, fonts, images (or types of images), communication channels, corporate messages, campaigns. Articulating such signs and signals in ways that will render and strengthen the brand and most importantly imprint and make the brand idea stick in the minds of their respective target group(s) is what we are about.
All of the above will be usually contained in a branding program to be implemented according to a scheme like the one here (see process explanation). Simpler versions might be appropriate if needed, depending on the size of the organization and the type of brand to be built/transformed, although for most situations, elements such as those should be part of the conversation and work processes.
Înapoi la dragoste (sau în concluzie)
Apropo de iubire, pe măsură ce trăim în această lume virtuală și vizuală, plină de prea mult material, să ne umplem viața de mărci pe care le iubim și care ne iubesc înapoi; să susținem cauze care ne preocupă și organizații care acționează responsabil pentru un viitor mai bun, care ne dau speranță și ne fac viața mai bună.
În ceea ce ne privește, vom continua să creăm branduri pe care le iubim, din pasiune pentru ceea ce facem și mai mult, cu dragoste pentru ceea ce ele pot deveni deoarece,
We ❤️ branding!