How People Recognise Brands: I Can Guarantee It’s Not What You’re Thinking!

How do you think people recognise your brand? Is it by its logo, its colour, its pack, its jingle? Well, you may be surprised to learn these are all only pieces of the puzzle. A brand is a combination of elements, that together make it recognisable. But consistency and compatibility are often the two missing parts that are most often forgotten in building a brand.

Before I get started, I would like to suggest that you read a highly popular post on the topic of brand image here on C3Centricity, if you missed it before. It’s called “What Every Marketer Needs to Know about Brand Image, Equity, Personality & Archetypes” and will give you some great background information.

It covers the topic of brand image metrics in quite some depth, so is a great primer. But I feel that there is so much more to brand recognition that needs to be considered, than the elements that I mentioned in that post.

For example, more and more brands today additionally rely on a face, a voice, an aroma, a unique packaging style, a slogan or a sound that immediately identifies them. And when they do, their brand image gains in depth as well as emotional engagement.

In fact I believe that brands that lack connection with their customers are missing these powerful additions. They rely on mere basics to build their brand’s image, but they are no longer sufficient in today’s online -dare I say virtual? – world.

So here is my very personal perspective on some of the best examples in each of the additional areas I just mentioned. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

FACE

Progressive’s Flo and Dr Rick

Some of the faces which represent brands are of celebrities, while others are of unknown people who become celebrities thanks to the brand’s advertising.

One of the first faces I think of for a brand is Flo from Progressive. She won the hearts of Americans, ever since she was first introduced in 2008, with her helpful but quirky discussions with potential customers.

Flo made insurance less confusing and more friendly through her “girl next door” looks and sparky attitude.

In 2012, an animated box was added to their campaign concepts, to represent the company’s products in what was hoped to be a more fun and young-spirited way. Apparently, the vast number of ads with Flo – over 100 – had resulted in a “love her or hate her” relationship, but the box didn’t have the success of Flo.

About five years ago Progressive finally found the answer to attracting younger adults, coming out in 2017 with the “Group session” ads, one of which you can watch below. These were later morphed into self-help sessions with a group leader called Rick, who comes back in 2021 as Dr Rick (see more below). 

Dr Rick claimed to help the younger adult target group Progressive wanted to attract by claiming to help them from becoming their parents. The “On call” campaign was born and appears to have succeeded where the animated box didn’t. Continue Reading

Your Brand has an Image, but Does it Have a Great Personality too?

Your brand is not what you think it is! It’s what your customers think it is; its brand image, personality and its value to them.

I was lecturing at Miami University a few years ago on brand image and personality. These are two vital elements of branding. They need to be clear and consistently represented in all your communications.

If you’re having issues with your own brand in either of these areas, then you’ll find the following article both interesting and valuable.

 

Why We Buy Brands

According to Wikipedia, a brand is:

“a set of marketing and communications methods that help to distinguish a company from competition and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers.” 

Although this definition in my opinion, is a little sterile for something as exciting as branding, I do appreciate that it mentions customers. However, for me, a brand is created in both the minds and hearts of its customers.

There has been so much said about the importance of emotions and resonating with the customer, that we shouldn’t forget it. But be honest we often do! And this is where image and personality play vital roles. They are both more or less created in the heart, rather than in the mind of the customer.

We usually buy brands without even knowing why we buy them. We can, of course, provide a clear, reasoned answer if asked, but explanations come from the mind. The heart is what makes us buy.

 

Branding Elements

A brand is made up of a number of components, with which people learn to identify and recognise it. These include its logo, colour, pack, shape, taste, aroma, sounds and feel. There may also be other things that are directly associated with the brand, such as a celebrity, an event or a cause it supports.

A brand needs to have a clear image, personality and equity in the minds of its customers. These come not only from these branding elements, but also from the customer’s own personal experience with it.

All these factors must be both respected and complementary in order to build a strong brand with which customers can identify themselves. If they’re not, then the brand is at risk of not developing correctly, or even worse, of becoming just a commodity.

Therefore, It is vital for marketers to know and understand what their brand means to its customers. Not just what it means for their organisation. And then, of course, to follow it over time through regular measurement.

 

Brand Image Essentials

A brand is associated with many thoughts and ideas, that we translate into statements or attributes for measurement purposes. These are what current and potential customers think or feel about it. They may have developed from exposure to its communications, as well as from their own personal experiences.

These elements are usually grouped into three types: the rational/functional benefits, the subjective/emotional elements and the cultural/relational factors.

The third group was added by David Armano of Edelman Digital almost fifteen years ago.  Continue Reading

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want me to catalyse your growth and profitability, just book a call.

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