Brand Identity and Visual Communication
An Essay on Brand Identity and Visual Communication
Brand Identity: History and Global use
The brand identity process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains a loyal customer.
The word “brand” derives from the Old Norse “brand” meaning “to burn” – recalling the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products.
The oldest generic brand, of the Vedic period (ca. 1100 B.C.E to 500 B.C.E) in continuous use in India is the herbal paste known as Chyawanprash, consumed for its purported health benefits and attributed to a revered rishi (or seer) named Chyawan. This product developed at Dhosi Hill, an extinct volcano in northern India.
Roman glassmakers branded their works, with Ennion being the most prominent. The Italians used brands in the form of watermarks on paper in the 13th century. Blind Stamps, hallmarks, and silver-makers’ marks are all types of brand.
Although connected with the history of trademarks and including earlier examples which could be deemed “protobrands” (such as the marketing puns of the “Vesuvinum” wine jars found at Pompeii), brands in the field of mass-marketing originated in the 19th century with the advent of packaged goods. Industrialization moved the production of many household items, such as soap, from local communities to centralised factories. When shipping their items, the factories would brand their logo or insignia on the barrels used, extending the meaning of “brand” to that of a trademark.
Bass & Company, the British brewery, claims their red-triangle brand as the world’s first trademark. Tate & Lyle of Lyle’s Golden Syrup makes a similar claim, having been recognised by Guinness World Records as Britain’s oldest brand, with its green-and-gold packaging having remained almost unchanged since 1885. Another example comes from Antiche Fornaci Giorgi in Italy, which has stamped or carved its bricks (as found in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City) with the same proto-logo since 1731.
Cattle-branding is used since Ancient Egypt. The term “maverick,” originally meaning an un-branded calf, came from a Texas pioneer rancher, Sam Maverick, whose neglected cattle often got loose and were rounded up by his neighbours. Use of the word maverick spread among cowboys and came to apply to unbranded calves found wandering alone.
Factories established during the Industrial Revolution introduced mass-produced goods and needed to sell their products to a broader market – to customers previously familiar only with locally produced goods. It quickly became apparent that a generic package of soap had difficulty competing with every day, local products. The packaged-goods manufacturers needed to convince the market that the public could place just as much trust in the non-local product. Pears soap, Campbell’s soup, soft drink Coca-Cola, Juicy Fruit chewing gum, Aunt Jemima pancake mix, and Quaker Oats oatmeal were among the first products to be “branded” to increase the consumer’s familiarity with their merits. (Brand, n.d.)
Effective branding can result in higher sales of not only one product, but of other products associated with that brand. If a customer loves Pillsbury biscuits and trusts the brand, he or she is more likely to try other products offered by the company – such as chocolate-chip cookies, for example. Brand development, often the task of a design team, takes time to produce. A brand is a personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: customers, staff, partners, investors etc.
Some people[who?] distinguish the psychological aspect (brand associations like thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and so on that become linked to the brand), of a brand from the experiential aspect. The experiential element consists of the sum of all points of contact with the brand and is known [by whom?] as the brand experience. The brand experience is a brand’s action perceived by a person. The psychological aspect, sometimes referred to as the brand image, is a symbolic construct created within the minds of people, consisting of all the information and expectations associated with a product, with a service or with the company/companies providing them.
People engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand can, therefore, become one of the most valuable elements in an advertising theme, as it demonstrates what the brand owner can offer in the marketplace. [clarification needed] The art of creating and maintaining a brand is called brand management. An orientation of an entire organisation towards its brand is called brand orientation. Brand orientation develops in response to market intelligence.
Careful brand management seeks to make products or services relevant to a target audience. Brands should be seen [by whom?] as more than the difference between the actual cost of a product and its selling price – they represent the sum of all valuable qualities of a product to the consumer. A widely-known brand is said [by whom?] to have “brand recognition”. When brand recognition builds up to a point where a brand enjoys a critical mass of positive sentiment in the marketplace, it is said to have achieved brand franchise. Brand recognition is most successful when people can state a brand without being explicitly exposed to the company’s name, but rather through visual signifiers like logos, slogans, and colours. For example, Disney successfully branded its script font (created for Walt Disney’s “signature” logo), which is in the logo for go.com.
Corporate brand identity
Brand identity is the embodiment behind a corporation’s reason for existence. Simply, the brand identity is a set of individual components, such as a name, a design, a set of imagery, a slogan, a vision, etc. which set the brand aside from others.[need quotation to verify] In order for a company to exude a strong sense of brand identity, it must have an in-depth understanding of its target market, competitors, and the surrounding business environment.[need quotation to verify] Brand identity includes both the core identity and the extended identity. The core identity reflects consistent long-term associations with the brand; whereas the extended identity involves the intricate details of the brand that help generate a constant motif.
According to Kotler et al. (2009), a brand’s identity may deliver four levels of meaning:
A brand’s attributes are a set of labels with which the corporation wishes to be associated.
Brand awareness involves a customers’ ability to recall and/or recognize brands, logos, and branded advertising. Brands helps customers to understand which brands or products belong to which product or service category. Brands assist customers to understand the constellation of benefits offered by individual brands, and how a given brand within a category is differentiated from competing brands, and thus the brand helps customers understand which brand satisfies their needs. Thus, the brand offers the customer a short-cut to understanding the different product or service offerings that make up a category.
Brand awareness is a key step in the customer’s purchase decision process since some kind of awareness is a precondition to purchasing. That is, customers will not consider a brand if they are not aware of it. Brand awareness is a key component in understanding the effectiveness both of a brand’s identity and of its communication methods.
Brand implementation emerged as a discipline in the 1990s when brand owners recognized the need for consistency across branded estates. Traditionally, brand implementation was handled by various parties, including shop-fitters, interior designers and sign companies. Lack of centralized project management led to inconsistencies, while information dissymmetry meant suppliers had too much control over brand issues. Brand implementation was consequently coined as an umbrella term for all aspects of the application and maintenance of physical brand assets. (Brand implementation, n.d.)
Key problem fields
The experience of more than 80 companies operating worldwide shows that a lack of planning before the rebrand, consistent implementation, and complete control are the key problems of brand implementation. Eight large stumbling blocks stand in the way of effective implementation:
- •Inadequate communication
- •No situation and needs analysis
- •Lack of consequence
- •Undefined processes
- •Fragmented (organizational) structures.
- •Organisations not considering all touchpoints
- •No localization strategy
- •Absence of brand management strategy (Brand implementation, n.d.)