BrandWorld: An Introduction to Branding

Todays lecture began with the fundamental question; what is branding?. Branding is something we are exposed to every single day in almost every aspect of modern life, however it’s definition is something less often completely understood, less easily comprehend into words. A brand is an organisation’s personality, attitude and identity, their way of expressing their values through a visual language. Brand values explain how a company would like to be perceived, and these are incredibly important in understanding a company before branding it. We discussed the many ways branding can be applied. This could be through print based platforms (leaflet, flyer, stationary, press advertisement, brochures), PR (events, sponsors, brand ambassadors, staff, press release) and product itself (materials, eco-friendly, finish, packaging, price point, experience). These platforms are known as touch-points.

For this project, it was important to understand the order of design. A design begins with a client, who hires a designer to create work, which is then output to a target audience. Often it is mistaken that the work created by the designer is for the client, but this is incorrect. The work created needs to be aimed at a target audience, who could be a completely different demographic to the client. To aid the designer in creating the product to be aimed at the ideal audience, a client may provide a persona; an example of the ideal user of the product with details about their life separated into 6 categories: psychographic, geographic, socio-economic, behavioural, motivations, product-related. These are all characteristics which influence behaviour, determining if a particular person would be interested in what you are creating based on their upbringing, personality, interests and so on. The introduction of these categories was new to me but is a great way to categorise audiences and give the designer a person to aim for when creating material. The psychology behind why a person may love or hate your product is incredibly interesting to me, and so this lecture on these six characteristics of behaviour was incredibly interesting in understanding the way that the brain makes decisions on products based on past experience, amongst other things.

Another thing to consider is a theory created by anthropologist Abraham Maslow called ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ which refers to how people are motivated. Maslow’s theory suggests that there are levels of satisfaction, and another cannot be reached until the one before is completed. The first level is biological and physiological (breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, excretion) and highlights human functions that are required for the most basic of survival. Once achieved, the next level is safety (security of body, employment, resources, morality, family,  health, property). This is essentially to be able to feel safe in a lifestyle in which you are able to live without concern. The third level is love and belonging (friendship, family, sexual intimacy). The fourth is esteem (self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others); reaching a point where you are proud of the achievements you have made in your life and are receiving respect from others. The final level is self-actualisation (morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts). Maslow’s theory is applicable to the existence of human beings in general but can also be applied to consumers. It is widely believed that consumers build brands, not companies. The contribution of consumers to the life of a brand is essential is its longevity and so the ability to understand your consumer is vital. Consumers give brands their value by developing perceptions of the brand and its products.

Before the brief reaches the designer there is a lot of work to be done by the client in order to ensure the designer has all they need to create work that the client would be happy with. We will be gaining an understanding of this as we spend the week as clients, creating a job bag for a designer containing all the information needed to brand our company.

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