True product branding is an art.

Over the last hundred years, the art of branding has shifted from announcing that a product or service existed to becoming a culture shaped by that product or service. First, let us remember a simple definition of branding is: what you stand for. How does the public view you? What are the ideas they hold? Are they good or bad?

A short history

Let’s review the history of branding. We’ll see how the modern definition differs from that of the past.

A major step in the creative revolution came in the 1980s when entertainment and experience became the top priority. Branding was about creating a memorable experience for the customer. Not just the facts.

Advertising basically relied on creating an external brand image. One that counted on awareness, memories, and affection to drive sales. This model may have worked then, but with increased access to the internet, it’s a new world. Word-of-mouth reports, social networking, and personal experience have replaced even the emotional connections. This is because consumers now have easy access to the internal climate of any company. Therefore businesses cannot say one thing externally and internally act another way. Society wants honesty. And that runs true even with ads and products that they see and buy.

The Shift

Also, the most recent shift in branding uses sociological anthropology to shed light on this phenomenon. Man instinctively wants and seeks to live a life of meaning. One of the largest influence we have to define “meaning” comes through the filter of culture. In a consumer-driven culture, we want the brands that we associate with. If the meaning behind the values of a company matches the consumer’s values then they fuse themselves together. So we can see through values that it is the culture that traditionally gives individuals the pieces that compose their self-worth.

In today’s economy, our worldview and culture come from many places. We have an unprecedented amount of choices due to the global community that we live in. Strategists are beginning to ask: what role does a brand play in consumption? What they are seeing is that “brands are symbolic units which are used, along with other symbolic units drawn from careers, music, fashion, religion, etc., to create this mosaic of the self.”1 Moving beyond entertainment, awareness, and features, brands are now as good as values.

In Conclusion

So, In conclusion, if a brand’s values are compatible with a customer’s values, that product or service becomes part of the customer’s expression of who they are and what is important to them. Contact us to find out how you can promote your business values to customers who are already supporting similar interests.

 

1 Heilbrunn, Benoit. “Cultural Branding Between Utopia and A-topia.” In Schroeder and Salzer-Morling. Brand Culture. Routledge, 2006.