This is branding for creative people - for those of you who bring brands to life in print, on TV or social media websites. Here you will find:
> Brand album: example TV, print and digital ads that exemplify
effective branding techniques.
How to define your brand
It is surprisingly rare to find a marketing practitioner who can say, "This is how my company defines our brand, and this is how we express that brand in social media, advertising and customer communications."
What is a brand?
Let's begin at the beginning, with the most basic questions. What is a brand? And where does it exist?
Almost everyone has an idea, an informal definition of a "brand" floating around inside their heads.
You probably do as well. But it is surprisingly rare to find a marketing practitioner who can say, "This is how my company defines our 'brand, and this is how we express that brand throughout our organization."
Go to any marketing meeting, and on one side of the table you'll find people who think "brand" means "logo and color scheme." On the other side of that same table you'll find those who believe that "brand" exists, evolves, in the hearts and minds of the audience.
It is important for client and creative to share a common understanding, a common definition of 'brand.' So if you don't have a clear definition, make that your first step.
Here's how AdCracker defines 'brand.'
"A brand is the sum of all feelings, thoughts and visual memories - positive and negative - that people in the target audience have about a company, a product or service."
Steve McNamara, AdCracker.Com.
This definition of a brand means several things. For one, it means that the "brand" resides in the minds of the audience, not in a thing such as a logo.
it also means that a "brand" is constantly evolving as people experience new information about the company, the product or service. A brand is more like a cloud than a rock.
Finally, this definition means that you can use the same creative techniques to shape any brand, whether a corporate brand, product brand, business to business or business to consumer brand.
Above: This TV commercial uses a brand character and music to reinforce visual recognition and the brand message: Energizer batteries are powerful and long lasting - they keep going and going and going.
How to create a world-class brand in 4 simple steps.
In any given campaign you'll typically place an emphasis on one or two brand characteristics, such as the brand's personality and relationship with the buyer, such as Nike.
But you should express as much of the brand as possible in every communication. That means you should start by crafting a complete brand, a holistic brand.
Here are four steps to achieve that.
1 Create a personality for the company, the product or service. Craft this personality just as you would for a real person, reflecting aspects of the brand's actual reputation and behavior.
2 Build a relationship with your audience based on the brand's promise, or benefit, to that particular audience. This isn't a one night stand. And it's all about them.
3 Craft a brand story, whether short or long, that introduces the brand and communicates the brand's history. Oh, and make it interesting.
4 Construct a complete visual identity, including packaging, logo, and color scheme as necessary.
And there you have it.
- Four practical ways to create brands that can compete with the likes of Apple, Nike, or McDonald's.
- Four simple ways to create "big brand ideas" that win hearts, change minds, and earn cash for your clients.
- Four sophisticated techniques that work for MINI as well as MEGA companies, both B2B and B2C.
Branding is not rocket science. And using the four steps you can say, "Here's how we define our brand, and how we express it in every way that we communicate with customers, prospects, supplier and employees.”
A Brand Development Checklist
To build a world-class brand for any company, small or large, B2B or B2C there are several creative elements you should consider, and perhaps, create.
- The brand's personality. How does the brand think, feel and behave in a way that makes it unique.
- The brand's relationships with relevant target audiences. What can the brand promise a prospective buyer? What value or benefit does the brand bring to a relationship with customers, the community, employees, or suppliers?
- The brand's visual identity. What does the brand look like? Be sure to consider all visual representations of the brand such as the logo, typography, colors and perhaps a brand character.
- The brand's story. "Hi there, Mr. Buyer. Let me introduce myself, my history and the people who have made me what I am today."
- Creative techniques that identify and project the brand with, for example, music or interesting characters. Your Creative Director set features 10 or so of he most effective branding techniques.
- Conceptual flexibility. Increasingly, campaigns must also have the flexibility to work cross-culturally, say, for both American and Hispanic audiences, or Asian and European audiences. Also, some, if not all elements of the branding campaign should work in social media. For example, a strong brand personality, projected through a brand character, could work on a company blog, a Facebook page and Twitter.