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Brand New World

The world is branded. From head to toe, and in every facet of our lives, we are completely branded. Unless you’re hiding in a cave, living off organic wild activated mushrooms, and sporting the latest 2-piece leaf suit, there is no way to escape this. Brands saturate our lives, but there are certain ones that stand out and resonate with consumers more than others. To understand why this happens, we need to define what a brand is in today’s world.

The art of branding has come a long way since some cowboys burned their names onto cow’s asses to help identify them when they were sold. A name, logo, and simple design used to be all that mattered years ago. To define a brand today, more than just the visual representation of a product or service has to be considered. There are emotional and psychological factors that need considering. David Ogilvy describes a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes; its name, packaging, price, history, reputation, and the way it’s advertised”. Consumer perception is a large part of what makes a brand memorable today. Marty Neumeier reinforces this; a “brand isn’t what you say it is…it’s what they [consumers] say it is”.

In addition to the physical and visual, brands have an emotional dimension. They need to occupy that precious top-of-mind space of the consumer, and as Leo Burnett says, “before you can have share of market, you must have share of mind”. For this to happen, it is important that brands understand their purpose; who they are, why they exist and what they stand for. This helps to create a persona that is relatable to consumers and aligns to their personal values and beliefs. The physical attributes that a brand can control in the way of product, service, design elements and advertising are incredibly important, but they need to be strategically aligned to remain true to the brand purpose. The experience consumers have with a brand transcends the mere purchase of a product or service. They have to be part of a journey.

Brands today have taken on a more dynamic meaning. They are defined by a physical and visual presence (logo, name, design, product etc) that is fundamentally aligned to a core philosophy (why the brand exists and what it stands for), that resonates with a potential consumer (by aligning to their personal views and behaviours) and evokes a positive emotional response throughout all interactions and experiences. By understanding these influencing factors and different elements will we be able to create memorable brands.