Branding is much more than just a logo. It's how people feel about your what you do.
There is definitely an emotional component to it as people do get very attached and indeed loyal to their brands. We've all experienced this when choosing specific foods in the supermarket - why do we pick one brand over the other?
We become so attached to familiar brands, that we feel unsettled and even sometimes angry when a company changes it's branding. Take Gap for example, who after a disastrous rebrand that caused public outcry, switched back to it's old logo after just one week.
In this article I will be showcasing some examples of more unusual and subtle branding, to reinforce just how diverse branding can be. I hope to inspire you to try and use a more lateral thinking in your own work to enhance the branding of your clients.
Being able to remind people of your brand through a sound is a stunningly effective yet subtle technique for increasing awareness. Every time they hear your catchy jingle or ringtone, they are reminded of your brand.
One of the most well known is the McDonald's 'I'm lovin' it" jingle. This was taken from the song of the same name by Justin Timberlake.
Here is the evolution to a more contemporary whistle version.
Another well known and loved sound is the Apple start up chime. I've known and loved this chime for years (more through relief that my laptop is working and hasn't died on me) and so when I heard it in Wall-E, I loved the reference to the Pixar / Apple / Steve Jobs connection.
Finally, I chosen another one which is so clever as you can hear it all the time and not only does it not annoy you, but you immediately recognise the brand - The Nokia ring tone.
Colour is obviously a huge part of a brand and there are many articles written on colour theory and colour matching, so I will save that for a later article.
But I wanted to mention just a few examples that grabbed my attention. First up is Singapore Airlines. They have a world renowned reputation for quality of service and attention to detail, but what I was impressed with, was how their branding seeps into even the colour of the eyeshadow of the flight attendants. Depending on their rank, they have to wear a Singapore Airlines exclusive colour of either purple or brown.
The famous blue of a Tiffany's, in particular the site of that iconic blue box makes women go weak at the knees. Tiffany's use this colour across all of their communication and if you don't believe just how powerful it is, buy your girl something from Tiffany's and watch the effect just the box alone will have on her. She will be melting even before she unwraps the actual gift. Again, the story behind the box add incredible power to the branding.
Some brand even trademark a colour such as UPS brown or the more familiar Post-It note canary yellow which has been trademarked by 3M. It's so subtle, ask anyone what colour a post- it note is and they will say "yellow'.
Here is a very comprehensive list of brand colours for your pleasure: http://brandcolors.net/
The Coca Cola Bottle is revered as a design masterpiece. It's organic curves and lines are so distinctive. It is widely is acknowledged as one of the finest pieces of design of the 20th Century.
But for me the most impressive part, or at least the forethought that went into it's conception, was that it was designed to be recognisable even when broken into many pieces. Astonishing thinking combined with beautiful execution.
Harrods is one of the most famous stores in London and possibly the world. It's a famous tourist destination, but due to how expensive it is to shop there, many people go to have a browse and buy something small. The reason they go there apart from having a look around is to get a famous Gold and Green Harrods Bag.
The bag is so iconic, that they have a specific section of their website for them and when I did a google search for a plastic carrier bag, they were all copyrighted by stock image sites!
It has an association of prestige and luxury and people want others to know that they shop at Harrods. In turn, the Harrods brand maintains it's status as a luxury brand and is advertised by it's customers long after they have shopped there.
As we are all aware, Apple are masters at branding. All of their stuff is impeccable and if you watch the Simon Sinek talk from my previous article you'll know why. But I want to focus on a more contemporary example of their clever branding.
The White headphones that come with your iPod / iPhone. Very distinctive and again they act a status symbol. Everyone who has white headphones on, has an expensive Apple product at the end of them. At first they were rare as the product they came with was expensive, but they allowed the buy subtle bragging rights of letting people know that they are cool and can afford an expensive iPod.
If you are in the food industry or are working with a client who is, using food, more specifically ingredients as part of your branding, is a great way to distinguish yourself from your competition. It also gives you a way to talk about how special your process or ingredients are and link this back to your story, to your' why'.
Whether is the Colonel's secret recipe that's used in KFC or the secret sauce that is used in the Big Mac, people will come from miles around for a unique taste. Not only that, but if your special sauce is good enough, people will spread the word about it to their friends and family.
Last time I mentioned how to use storytelling to convey your 'why'. But sometimes there isn't an interesting story, or a catchy name to latch on to.
So, are there any aspects to your own branding or that of a client that may have been overlooked? Does it have a unique look, sound, smell, ingredient that can help distinguish it from everyone else?
To sum up...
As I said in the beginning: "It's how people feel about your brand, how they might describe it to a friend"
People don't talk about a logo, they talk about something that they can relate to, something to get excited about. An object, place, a taste, a smell, an event. That difference is what customers will take away and tell their friends.
Dig deep and find the one thing that not only is different, but also gives people an easy way to tell everyone why you are unique and most importantly, why they should check you out.