People have done research on, theorized and written shelves upon shelves about the term brand building. For us it’s very simple, though this doesn’t mean it’s easy. On the contrary, the art of not making something complicated is one of the hardest things you can do. Our ambition is to make branding strategies into something concrete, simple and something concrete to use in day-to-day work.
The right branding strategies direct our behaviour
If you want to be challenging you could say that branding is about brain washing – but with democratic and generally accepted methods. We need to enter our target group’s brains and create new or reinforce already existing connections between the synapses to affect thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Freud used the famous couch, but since we are affecting so many more people, we have to rely on the blunt, but continuously refined, methods of communication.
Capture the essence
This simple analysis gives us a view on what’s needed to succeed. We have to find out what thoughts, feelings and behaviour that the brand is associated with and compare with those thoughts and feelings that he brand is really connected with. We have to capture the soul of the brand. Then we have to find the colour, form and message that reaches and affects the synapses in the right way. After that it’s about consistently and methodically communicating this.
Body and soul
There are many expressions for almost the same thing. You can talk about a company or product’s image, profile, sound, DNA. We choose to consistently use the term brand as there are many established theories and practical experience of how this term should be used. The word brand isn’t an entirely one-sided term. It is used in some different ways in literature. We therefore would like to share how we define it. A brand consists of two parts:
- The concrete part – the body
- The immaterial part – the soul
The concrete part
The concrete part is about what we can see and experience with our senses. It can be broken down into many parts. The name: What the product or phenomenon is called. The word: How the name looks. This is often about what typography has been chosen. Image A’s visual form or symbol is often attached to the word. The name, the word and the image together create the logo. The other graphic environment: The look of headlines and body text, decoration elements, the character of images etc. The character of the messages: The tone of the text, type of argumentation, slogans and pay-off that make the message concise in only a few words or expressions. The physical environment: The look when it comes to for example the reception area, offices, clothing and fairs. When it comes to established brands you often take for granted that the name and logo are set in stone. Other parts can and should be made more precise as the work continues.
The immaterial part
The immaterial part consists of those values that the concerete part can be charged with. It’s the thoughts, feelings and associations of the target group that make up this part. It’s possible to say that there are two immaterial brands; one part is how the sender would like the brand to be perceived, the other part is what the target group actually thinks and feels. The difference between these two reveal how well or badly the brand strategy is working. Positioning is the term used to describe the contents of the immaterial part of the brand. The advantages of strong and consistent content of a brand are so obvious that we won’t cover them here. When it comes to the immaterial part, many brands are characterized by the absence of a conscious strategy and a split image of how they are perceived in the ”market”. We see it as one of our most important tasks to analyze this as a basis for future communication.
When you start building a brand optimally you begin by defining its content, i.e. the immaterial part that is derived from the business idea and the commercial goals. Thereafter you shape the concrete part that is a tool to transfer the content and create the right experiences. Then you continue your consistent work and keep checking if you are meeting your goals. When it comes to established brands the situation is different. Name, name tag and logo are already known and cannot be changed, at least not too much. When it comes to the immaterial part and the content there is history and an established reality that you cannot undermine.
Rich in research
The initial stages are very important and decisive for a good result. The reasons are two-fold. Firstly it’s important with building knowledge around the existing brand and visions around the future of the brand. But this also creates a relation to those whose task it is to implement the new. By letting key groups for the future implementation join in the work at an early stage we ease the later acceptance and hopefully the entire decision process. We have distinguished the following neccessary parts of the initial phase
- Current situational analysis – We collect most of the communication that is relevant for the brand today. This is compiled and analysed.
- Competitor analysis – The corresponding material for competitors is collected. This is also compiled and analysed.
- Marketing survey – The survey should be structured enough so it can be broken down into different variables.
- Internal surveys – The co-workes and management team are of course especially important as they, in practice, give the brand its defined content. We could therefore strongly recommend involving these deeply in the process.
When these phases are completed we have not only collected necessary knowledge for the continued work. We have also started an internal psychological process that creates a mental preparedness for a change to happen. This will facilitate decision-making and the necessary acceptance.
External communication can’t develop until brand strategy is in place. Principally it’s possible to say that it has to be conducted very consistently to create synergistic effects and make sure the brand is charged in the right way. With a marketing strategy you’ve got the tools to succeed in this.
If you would you like to know more about how Navigator can help you with your branding strategies, you are very welcome to get in touch.