The word “brand” is tired. It is no longer inspiring to the savvy client. It used to be you could get clients jazzed and hungry for change by merely uttering the word in association with their products. They desperately desired to be a real “brand”.
But “brand” has become a hackneyed term, part of pop culture where every teen on Facebook is nurturing their own personal brand. But I would argue that because of this, having a clearly communicated brand is even more important. The expectations of the consumer have been raised. But “brand” is too small a word to describe what the world expects from a product or service company anymore.
What I see time again, even with Fortune 100 clients, is a brand ecosystem or brand experience that is fractured. Considering the totality of a brands equities and representing them consistently at every consumer touchpoint has gotten harder to achieve as the range of touchpoints has grown exponentially over the last couple decades. Even the biggest brands are often confusing their customers.
What we are really being tasked to do for our clients is “experience design”. This encompasses the whole of a brand, all equities and all consumer interactions. It is our job to come in with fresh eyes and tell them what is broken and what we need to do to fix it. To perform beyond the brief. Show them what could be.
In the world of consumer goods, packaging is the big gun. Experience with a capital “E”. Packaging is a touchpoint that triggers all of the senses. Sight, touch, smell, sound and (in some cases) taste. More than any other, packaging is the equity that keeps on giving. It lives on the consumers home, in their cupboard, on their desk, visible on their shelf long after the purchase decision was made. It is the one equity that can, if well executed, drive trial when a consumer encounters the brand for the first time at a store. We must remember that up to 65% of purchase decisions are made when the consumer is standing in front of the shelf, in that final 3 seconds.
If consumers are overwhelmed and are not choosing our clients offering that is our fault. It is because of an inconsistent brand strategy and an articulation that is not differentiated from its competition. You have to throw a big rock to make a splash these days.
When brands develop, execute and guard focused equities and a clear strategy is when they win. It is our job in design to be bold, be different and create a remarkable “experience”.
Because creating a “brand” is no longer enough.
Credits: Image Source: Flickr.com: Adam Goode