Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Why bother?, part of Branding for Designers.
- Defining, servicing, and maintaining a good brand presence is a hard job. It takes time, resources, and good talent. Once the brand presence is in place, the job has only begun. The brand must be policed but allowed to evolve. It's a lot of work so why bother? Increased value and perception are the two primary reasons for all of this hard work. Value is about money, and perception is what we believe to be true.
Let's start with increasing value. A good brand makes a good company. In an overcrowded and saturated marketplace, a good brand stands out. A weak one is dismissed. The next time you buy salt, ask yourself why am I buying Morton's Salt? Unless you're a master chef, salt is salt. But Morton's has maintained the lead for a century because we trust the brand. Compare your local grocery store brand coffee with Starbucks.
Hill Valley Market Coffee is a good quality option. It has a pleasant taste. Grandparents prefer the instant version. Each cup costs about eight cents to make. At Starbuck's I can get a cup of coffee for a little more than two dollars. Why am I willing to spend over 4,000% more for Starbucks coffee? Is the quality 4,000% better than Hill Valley Market Coffee? Of course, the answer is no, but the Starbucks visuals, store atmosphere, service, status, tribal connection, product, and packaging, down to your name written on the cup creates a remarkable brand experience.
If Starbucks can maintain these promises, I will continue to buy coffee there, and I will tell my friends to go there also. I've become an unpaid salesperson for the Starbucks brand because it reinforces my identity. Perception is the second reason brand management is critical to any company success. Reality is irrelevant compared to the perception. This is unfair but a fact of life in a world of instant and multiple communication methods.
Major brands have been rumored to be in league with Satan, hiding his symbol in the logo. Or serving chickens so mutated they could no longer be called chicken legally. A rumor is impossible to contain, but the actual actions and products of a company create perception. As I talked about earlier, every interaction with a brand adds to this perception, and this response changes with each point of contact. A brand will always be either positive or negative.
It will be clear or confused, or it will be friendly or hostile. No brand will ever be perceived neutrally. We constantly question our world and make decisions about what we purchase, whom we befriend, and what we believe. A product or company cannot survive without an intelligent brand strategy and ongoing management. That's where we enter the process.
- The history of branding (pre- and post-1950)
- The elements of branding
- Conducting research
- Solving problems and presenting solutions
- Creating logos and identity systems
- Building a visual system with color, typography, and more
- Communicating branding with manuals and vision books