A brand consists of products and services, but it’s also much more.
Brands (the smart ones) thrive because of the meaningful connection they offer their customers. A smart outdoor gear company doesn’t primarily promote the material behind its latest tent technology. To mention things like carbon fiber and nylon appeals to the technically minded—a segment of the company’s target market—but not all. It’s certainly worth it to mention such details, but the real connection lies in the experiences one can have with the product in consideration. If said company were to produce a Super Bowl commercial, likely its best shot at make meaningful connections would be in showing a family sitting around a campfire—smiling, laughing, and roasting marshmallows—with the fire light glinting gently on the surface of the tent in the background. Let me say that again: in the background. A failure on the part of said company would be to employ Guy Ritchie-style camera shots of the tent in front of a white studio backdrop, spending each of the thirty seconds explaining why this is the best tent in the world.
This is because smart brands know the greater selling point lies not in the product or service itself, but in the lifestyles of those who purchase it. It’s not about the tent; it’s about the experiences you can have with the tent.
This methodology in turn amplifies the efficacy of the brand’s visual identity. Although it’s possible to have a mood-inducing logo (and logos should have some effect in this area), as I’ve said before: the logo isn’t the man carrying the backpack—it isn’t meant to do all the work. The emotional connection brought about by the marketing methods of the brand inspires potential customers to search for a visual element they can put on display as a show of support. This is when companies can really take off. People inherently want to put a face to whatever it is that means something to them. If a brand has this connective value, the customer will gladly display that face in whatever medium it’s available for display.
The goal is a synergetic relationship: the brand bolsters the logo, the logo bolsters the brand. That’s why it’s important for brands to have a solid presence in both areas. You can see this everywhere. Like when an emotive commercial comes on, narrated by Jeff Bridges, telling you about firefighters saving lives; and at the end, the Duracell logo fades in. The goal in that case is to quickly connect with a viewer in an impacting way (saving lives) and then declare that this is made possible in part by the brand, Duracell—giving the viewer a visual, the logo, to store in his or her memory bank.
So a brand should communicate in some way (via television commercial, print, etc.) its values and goals, and then follow up with the identity as a means of visual connection. Likewise, the logo should contain a clue of the brand’s values and goals, thus pointing to the core of the brand as exhibited in its marketing campaign.
Another consideration for brands is what mood should be conveyed when appealing to the masses? This is another topic for another day, but…
Here’s a hint.
CBS, America’s most-watched network, recently announced the renewal of eighteen television series for the new season: nine of the eighteen are dramas (five comedies, two reality and two news). Sounds like Duracell got the memo.