Anything that your user can encounter is part of your brand system. And it’s a system because all of these touch-points are connected. Together, they form a complex representation of your brand. In this movie we will explore three components of the branding system: physical, mental, and sociocultural.
- We've done a good job working through the conceptual elements of a brand and now we're ready to talk about the pieces that we typically find most familiar, the physical ones. I'm talking about your office or store, products, packaging, collateral, digital media and so on. Anything that your user can encounter is part of your brand system. And it's a system because all of these touch points are connected. Together they form a complex representation of your brand. And I don't wanna use the word complex lightly, this system is incredibly intricate.
Think about it with me for a minute. At the surface you have all of these easy to understand physical touch points. A business card, the signage out front, the color of the packaging, you get it. And we can build each of these pieces independently and look at them and say, okay, yeah, this is on brand, this represents who we are. But take it a step further and think about the social interpretation of these pieces. We as people come from different cultures and sub-cultures, we've had different jobs, educational experiences, lived in different places and on and on and on.
Because of this we all interpret things differently and this adds another layer of complexity to your brand system. Take it another step and think about the order in which people encounter brands. What if I find a business card and then go to a website, what if someone sees an advertisement and then stops by the storefront, what about Googling for a review or checking out the latest brand mentions on Facebook. And just like that we left the comfortable and understandable world of physical things and ended up back in this conceptual realm.
There's really no way around it. The system exists and it's complex and that's okay. We don't have to have an answer to how to navigate this complexity, we just need to be aware and sensitive to the fact it exists. It's a way to truly reinforce the need to have your branding exist end to end. Every touch point is a reflection and a contributor to the brand experience. We can't control the manner in which people explore brands, but we can be diligent about reviewing our touch points from the perspective of our target market.
To do this, think of your system existing as three pieces, the physical, the mental and the sociocultural. The physical is your product, buildings, vehicles, marketing communication and so on. The mental is the representation of what a customer experiences and how the brand contributes to that experience with all the physical pieces. And finally, the sociocultural is any force that shifts a person's perception, trends, opinions, demographics, communication methods and attitudes.
Commit this to memory and reflect on this over time as you look at your existing physical touch points or as you create new ones. Again, the idea here is to get in this mindset of your brand as a system and not as a bunch of individual elements.
Explore best practices for researching, developing, visualizing, and managing your brand, and learn about incorporating your brand throughout various customer touchpoints and keeping tabs on your brand as your company grows.
- Components of branding
- Creating a brand strategy
- Conducting a brand audit
- Crafting your vision statement and selling position
- Evaluating brand visuals, colors, and language
- Enhancing brand touchpoints
- Measuring brand loyalty and equity