6 Critical Aspects of A Brand
“Products are created in the factory, the brand is created in the mind.” – Walter Landor, one of America’s most successful identity designers.
But I can’t invade someone’s mind, so what can I, as a brand developer, do? The brand that is created in the consumer’s mind is the result of multiple components. We typically think of the visual aspect, but that is only a slice of a much larger pie. Every point of contact a consumer has with a company reinforces the brand perception.
In the visual world, this is the message of the communications, the logo, the website, environment, and printed matter. These are important parts. The logo, for example, is the entry point to the brand. But what happens if I have a beautiful logo, and the most exciting web presence, but the cashier is surly and disagreeable? All the visual success is trumped by a bad customer service experience. These are the points, or places where the consumer comes into contact with the brand.
The visuals: This includes the Logo, Identity System, Printed matter, Website, Broadcast, and Signage. Are they clear and professional, or convoluted and in disarray?
Customer Service: Does the customer receive courteous and efficient service? If so, they will have a good emotional connection with the brand. But if they are treated rudely, or feel manipulated, the customer will have a negative perception of the brand.
The Product: Is the product useful and made with quality, or is it a badly manufactured knockoff? A good design solution can never make a bad product good.
The Company Actions: Is the company engaged in sustainable practices, or are they burning rainforests? In today’s market, the consumer is especially aware of the ethical conduct of a company.
Employees: Are the employees treated fairly and compensated appropriately, or is the product created with sweatshop labor? This doesn’t dictate that every company should be paying the highest salary possible. But people are aware of companies with discriminatory practices or bad working conditions.
Expectations: Does the product or experience meet or surpass what I expected? Did that hamburger taste as good as it looked on the commercial, or was it bland and overcooked? Clearly, there are a lot of variables at work here. The most successful companies are those that maintain strict quality control and brand management in each of these.
The brand is created by the public’s perception. And that perception is the result of many elements, from the reputation, actions, promises, customer service, to the product and graphic visuals. It’s a big job, and there’s a reason why it’s critical.