MetaMarketing.2 - Time to Brand
Taking action in the real world.
Welcome to the second edition of MetaMarketing!
Today’s marketing subject's importance could be easily compared to nurturing vegetables with organic fertilizers and some mindful attention.
Because branding can be many different things.
And many different things aren’t really branding.
But brands come from branding.
So are brands, vegetables?
Or a better and more objective question: what is branding?
What is an accurate answer to the question above?
And why I’m adding more questions on top of other questions?
Holy moly, is making questions even an act of branding?
I shall call our friend ChatGPT to help with this endeavor.
Chat, explain to me like I'm 5 years old: What is branding?
Imagine you have a special toy that you really like and want to show to your friends. You want them to know that it's your toy and that it's really cool. So you decide to put a special sticker on it with your name or a picture that you like. That sticker is like your brand.
If a toy could be considered an organization; company; product or conference, the analogy above would make perfect sense.
Because if we think about it, toys are usually mass manufactured.
A teddy bear found on a store shelf has probably thousands of identical broddy teddies.
And so do organizations. Most companies and products are identical in many different ways.
a) Offer the same service as others.
b) Offer a product with the same raw ingredients as others.
Think about this: Coke and Pepsi are both (water + sugar) = (soda in a can).
Also: Uber and Lyft are both transportation apps that connect and move (passenger + driver) = (point A > point B)
Some brands offer better services or ingredients that are more organic and expensive, others offer more technological solutions, others offer better guarantees and customer support, and others, offer something cheaper and more accessible.
But let’s forget about price tags or quality for now.
If you have two identical teddy bears in front of you.
There is no way to know which one is better.
But one of them has a cool sticker that goes with it.
Which one would you pick?
Remember, stickers are a piece of paper, so they are extremely cheap to manufacture and carry no true “raw value” whatsoever.
But they carry symbolic value, they depict a narrative.
Thus, they carry the feeling of “importance” for the owner.
So this introduction shall be wrapped with a final question:
Which teddy bear would have more personality?
2.1 Branding as Personality
A Character for your project.
If all human beings are biological organisms composed of consciousness, feelings, and the capacity of interpreting and articulating language, then what makes every single one of us unique in our own way?
The word "personality" comes from the Latin word "persona," which means "mask" or "character."
In ancient Rome, actors in theatrical performances would wear masks to represent the different characters they were portraying.
But over time, the term "persona" evolved to include the concept of an individual's distinctive character or identity beyond theatrical performances. It came to refer to the qualities, traits, and behaviors that make a person unique and different from others.
So branding as personality is the behavior of your company or product.
Psychologically, behavior is contextual.
Living in a society means interacting with many different social spheres: work (formally), school (politely), temples (spiritually), home (comfortably), cinema (leisurely)…
We all have many different behaviors for many different contexts that require a different set of conduct. Or in more ancestral and Roman terms, we have multiple masks for multiple theatrical performances.
But this is an analysis of the behavior of people, which are the target and consumers of a brand.
What does behavior mean from the point of view of a brand (company or product)?
In MetaMarketing.1 we talk about how the word “marketing” means “to insert something new in the market.”
The book “Marketing Warfare” written by Al Ries and Jack Trout in 1985 compares the competitive landscape in business to “battlefield scenarios” and provides marketing strategies for companies to gain a competitive advantage.
So the behavior of a brand is how it conducts itself in a competitive scenario amidst other brands.
This competition nevertheless, is not necessarily for your or for mine pockets (as consumers) but for our attention.
Precisely because before a consumer gives a chance to a new product.
The consumer needs first, to become aware of its existence.
That’s what we call Brand Awareness.
Like noticing the authentic teddy bear on the shelf.
So branding as personality guarantees that you will cause a heartwarming first impression.
But to have personality means being different and unique.
The word "style" has its roots in the Latin word for a writing tool, but it has evolved to encompass the broader concept of personal expression and distinctive mannerisms in various domains of human activity.
It is, for example, a word extremely relevant in the world of fashion.
And fashion, as an industry, is a platform for creative expression, it encourages collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches, explores aesthetics, and reflects cultural movements. It serves as a dynamic and influential medium for artistic expression, bridging the gap between art and everyday life.
So personality, style, and aesthetics are concepts directly related to artistic expression which together, formulate a behavior.
It is nevertheless, the role of a designer to capture all of these concepts when helping someone create a new brand.
And if the best designers are artists, then to truly craft an authentic brand, the client should be willing to cross a bridge between art and everyday life.
And that is the type of movement that can’t ever be done with 100% of comfort.
Unless you are able to deposit confidence in your designer.
2.2 Branding as Style
And style as the instigator of action.
Capturing the true essence of style or beauty is perhaps the hardest challenge when crafting a new brand.
For being an aesthetic phenomenon, a good style pertains to feelings and authenticity not only of the creator but also of the receptacle. Humans.
This essentially means one thing.
“Beauty is a concept that machines will never be programmed to understand.”
Bellacrown. VI - Crystalline Silicon
AI can generate a thousand different concepts for a logo in a split second but AI can’t really curate results as humans can. For AI, the many different options will be seen as mere data. Outputs.
Unless it is instructed to, machines will never have a natural inclination to prefer orange rather than red. Or thin lines rather than thick strokes.
In the same way, not every person will have a preference in regard to colors or shapes.
But finding the balance between message, trends, culture, and meaning is the most important goal for a new brand.
A brand exists in order to communicate what it represents in many different ways. So whether you are crafting a logo, an ad, or a website… Branding is what connects every single creation of your company in a unified message. Like the immense amount of roots (artworks, copywriting, social media profiles, website, ads, packaging, sales collateral…) of a plant (the brand) that meets itself in one single place: the fruit (the value proposal).
Style is always contextual in time and history. An ever-changing concept that regards what is relevant today and what could still be relevant in the day of tomorrow. Trends, nevertheless are the healthy soil, where you can assure your seeds will grow with health.
Culture is contextual to location and origin. Capturing the culture of where a brand is being created is fundamental for it to not only communicate to its surrounding but also export a style and aesthetic that will be unique to other parts of the globe. It starts as the fence of your crop but can expand beyond any size if the cultivation is done right.
The meaning behind your branding is a complex semiotic endeavor that is able to transmit not only your messaging but also the many different reasons why your brand came into existence. It is very much the reason why you started the cultivation.
2.3 Branding as Roots
And the growing impact of your brand.
To communicate a brand means exploring the different mediums where your audience is. In the past with much fewer screens, that would be done in printed mediums: billboards, newspapers, magazines, brochures, posters, mail.
But nowadays, advertising is mostly done in digital mediums. In Design.2, we talk about the differences between consumers and users. If we are to think about it, this article is a branding effort from Agency and you are consuming it through a screen.
So what could this mean in regard to growing the impact, reach, and awareness of your brand?
Plants’ roots are known to anchor the plant in the soil and through resilience, grow far beyond its origin, fairly because they need to reach out nutrients in a resource competition.
Every single communicational effort coming from your brand could be considered the countless bifurcation of your roots towards new nutrients.
But there are so many different ways to communicate nowadays that we are left to wonder: “Which way to go for nutrients?”
The first and most important answer to that question is only one. Because if the roots expand toward the absorption of the nutrients, it means the absorbed nutrients should arrive in the same location, and that should be the website of your brand, which is entitled to explain everything about it.
2.4 Visual Identity
And the importance of starting with the right logo.
In the world of branding, professionals often come across the term "branding," but not everyone fully understands its meaning, myself included. We often hear that a good logo should be recognized in the long term, with its simple, solid, and distinctive form. But how exactly do some traits become memorable?
Contrary to popular belief, I believe that functional visual identity is a reflection of good marketing work based on the quality of service or product offered by an individual or company. An effective logo is much more than a visually appealing representation; it should convey the essence and values of the brand.
Let's take the iconic Apple logo as an example. We remember it not only for its simple and recognizable form but also for the experience associated with the brand: the speed of its phones and the efficiency of its computers. If a small company decides to adopt an apple as its logo, it is important to understand that we are not selling apples. We need to survive in the market and attract customers, and this doesn't depend solely on the logo.
A well-executed logo and visual identity bring significant benefits. They provide identification, differentiation, trust, and memorability. By developing a consistent and unique visual identity, even when using an apple as a visual element, we can show that we are different from other typical technology establishments. The simplicity of a common fruit can be powerful enough to ensure that we are not forgotten during our journey.
The way we communicate is essential for our customers to feel secure when using our product. Our apple is seen in small icons and large billboards without difficulty. By conveying an image of a sophisticated technology company, we are capturing the attention and trust of consumers.
In conclusion, the importance of a logo goes beyond its visual appearance. It reflects the brand's identity, value proposition, and the experience it provides. A well-designed logo and consistent visual identity help establish emotional connections with consumers, setting us apart from the competition and increasing our presence in the market. Therefore, when considering a logo, we should not only focus on its form but also on how it aligns with the marketing strategy and proposed values.
About the Authors
Made in 1996. Born & Raised Brazillian. Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Communication. Adept to autodidactism. Curious Soul. Published Author. Founder of Sentient.
That’s me in a nutshell but you can learn more about Agency and myself on the About page!
+1 302 261 3824
Marketing Director, Brand Designer, Co-Founder at Dogma Studio, Ex-Twitch Streamer, and Cinematographer.
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