If the world really is one big “global village” as Marshall McLuhan espoused, then today’s brands and logos must be its common language and symbols.
Brands (and branding) initially began as a means of giving mass-market products a soul.
Further developed in the mid-80’s, branding espoused the simple root idea that successful corporations needed to primarily produce brands, as opposed to products. That one idea now envelopes the world in a global web of so-called equalising promises of opportunities, culture, style and standing for all the inhabitants of our now logo-linked globe.
In the last two decades the dynamics of the global marketplace has been irreversibly changed by this new branding proposition. It has taken the focus off the making of things. The product is no longer king.
It has been replaced by companies now producing images of their brands. Their real work is no longer in making, or producing things for people to buy, but in the marketing of them.
Branding as a concept, with all that it entails, has expanded so far that it has now become an almost obsessive disorder. It has in some cases, become more important than the person themselves. People are no longer themselves; they now develop a ‘personal brand’ to convey to the world.
A brand is longer a thing. It is now an idea.
When brands were things, it was comparatively easy to monitor the constancy of product quality, through various quality control methods. Now that a brand is an idea it is more intangible and complex to manage this task.
The success of a brand these days is often squarely based on its consistency.
To build this consistency you need a framework of reference. This should encapsulate the fundamental properties of your brand; in short, you need to create a brand pyramid.
The brand pyramid
This pyramid starts with your core – your brand essence – and it’s surrounded by your values, attributes and personality.
- Your brand essence is the heart of your brand and business. It’s what makes your total business tick.
- The next level is your values, which represent your foundations. They are never compromised; they represent your company’s intrinsic beliefs, your culture and spirit.
- The next layer is your attributes. These are adjectives to describe your brand both internally and externally.
- The final factor is your brand personality. These are all of the human characteristics that you attribute to your brand.
To be successful today you need a rock-solid foundation to build on. If built right, in theory, this should be able to weather the storms of change, circumstance and competition.
This foundation forms the basis for the brand and its ongoing longevity. It should become the touchstone for you to maintain consistency and refer to when making decisions about the brands’ future, extensions and diversifications.
Defining each and all of these factors is vital to the creation of the ‘look and feel’ of your brand in the marketplace and how you will present yourself at all customer touch-points.
Remember that you are presenting an image of your brand at every point.
But every image should be a mirror-reflection of the brands’ true essence.