A common misconception is that branding is how a company looks – their logo and style. It’s true that branding does include these important elements, however, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes that we don’t see.
At Herdl, we think of branding like an iceberg. There’s a small peak above the water which everyone can see but below the surface is where you find the big chunk of ice! In the same way, everyone can see the visual identity of a company, so it’s easy to think that’s all branding is about. Yet just like an iceberg, there’s a lot more going on below the surface which isn’t readily visible.
Every brand has a story and this story feeds into that brand’s personilty. This story is derived from the brand’s core objectives, what it has set out to achieve. In line with this, brands behave in certain ways and communicate with consumers using a carefully crafted tone of voice. All these elements stem from understanding the companies overarching goal.
It would be naive to think that big brands have naturally evolved to form the personalities we find today. Serious thought has gone into exactly how the brand should look, sound and feel to the consumer – what is the emotional response the brand is trying to evoke from their target market? Branding is less about how something looks and more about how it makes you feel.
We advocate the concept of brand archetypes. This idea combines the notion of brand stories and personalities with elements of consumer psychology. Big brands take form as one of twelve universal brand archetypes that we as humans subconsciously relate to and are instantly familiar with. These brand archetypes have been present throughout human history and can be found in ancient legends as well as on the high street!
For example, Nike takes the role of a “Hero” brand helping athletes become stronger, perform better and overcome obstacles. Another easy one to spot is LEGO which has adopted the “creator” archetype through encouraging value creation and developing a vision. ODEON cinemas are an “Explorer” brand enabling you to discover new experiences through film.
We are able to recognise these stories and can relate to them ourselves. It’s this familiarity which develops trust and produces the desired emotional response. It’s important to remember that branding is about extracting a companies essence and moulding this into something which makes the audience feel in a certain way – it’s this feeling that will affect their purchase decision and achieve the overall aim of the company.