Back To Basics: Product Branding
by Adwright, 22 January 2019
“A great brand is a story that’s never completely told. A brand is a metaphorical story that connects with something very deep – a fundamental appreciation of mythology. Stories create the emotional context people need to locate themselves in a larger experience.”
Just do it. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that?
A giant swoosh or a basketball player making an impressive dunk.
At the mention of KitKat, what do you think of?
Take a break.
You might never have bought a pair of Nike sneakers or have ever eaten KitKat chocolate but there is some sort of immediate emotional response to the visuals of these signature symbols or taglines of these products. Equating strength with the Nike swoosh or the feeling of relief having a bite of the KitKat. That, is the power of association – branding at its finest.
A successful branding is about using your product’s physical design and promotion to tell a cohesive story about what your product is and how it is different from similar models on the market. An eye-catching logo, a memorable tagline and a dazzling website are essential marketing tools but it is the way these physical design elements are used coherently and together to create a consistent identity and feel for its product that will set it apart from its competitors and win the hearts and minds of potential consumers.
Know your brand identity – inside and out
To achieve successful branding, a brand must first and foremost have a strong narrative and sense of self. Brand narratives are not just for the sake of advertising campaigns, they need to be solid and written in stone. To know your brand identity well, a good hard look needs to first be taken at your product. Analyse your product’s purpose – what needs does it fill in the market? From there, craft your mission statement, aligning it to the company’s branding and ensure you can pass the elevator pitch test. How would you break it down and convey this in the most concise, zealous language possible?
Then, identify your target audience and why they are your target audience. Why not anyone else? Assemble a character profile based on the information you would generally expect to find on their social media page: age, education, professional background, type of residence, causes and groups they support, relationship status and what they do for fun; connect the dots about why each part of their biography positions them to be a prime customer for your product. At the same time, deduce the core beliefs of this demographic – what are their lifestyles like? Successful branding happens only when you align the values you communicate through your product with the stated values of your potential buyers. For instance, it is only when you know your customers are big on environmental causes that you know to emphasise that.
At the same time, competitor research is crucial for staying up to date with how other players in the field are speaking about their products. This will then help craft a niche for your own product to stand out. By knowing what makes you different, you give yourself an edge.
The aforementioned will essentially guide any design and marketing decision you will have to make in the future – from choosing your packaging colour scheme to advertising taglines. Always whip out your notes and return to the basics of what your product stands for and who your audience is, everything else should flow from there. Keep your product’s purpose and image of your target audience front-and-center in your mind to ensure your brand remains consistent and speaks exactly to who you want it to.
Tell the world
Tell the world your story! Once the fundamentals of your brand have been laid, craft your brand and product story. This story should aim to evoke a specific emotional response in your audience. Translate your product’s identity into every component of its physical branding to produce a coherent narrative.
This means through things like colour scheme, font, logo and website, the story needs to be conveyed. For colour, the colour palette is what would make your brand shine, it is an important visual signal for products and methods such as colour psychology should be used to choose the right colours for the tone of your brand and story. Oftentimes, it is not just about what you say but how you say it, the font your brand chooses needs to be legible and in line with the product tone. For the logo, not only should it have stunning aesthetics but it should contain messaging relevant to the story. The website should also continue to keep the target audience and brand personality in mind.
Consistency is always key
Maintain a consistent brand identity because consistency is the absolute key to product branding. Many logos and taglines make little to no sense but the brands succeed. How? They are consistent. So consistent that as soon as a customer sees a colour scheme or logo they instantly draw associations with the product. This is pivotal to the success of your product branding.
The market is constantly evolving and it is worth revisiting questions every once in awhile to check in and make sure that you have a hold on the latest trends amongst your target demographic and that your product is still aligned to their wants and needs. And if you see the need, don’t be afraid to update your logo design or branding direction. Recognise that identity is in all aspects of marketing and only then can you consider your product successfully branded.
Need help in your branding and finding your voice in your marketing attempts? Adwright has accumulated a wealth of experience in helping brands stand out from their competitors with unique and attractive brand stories. For over 20 years, Adwright has collaborated with clients that range from local SMEs to global corporations, spanning across a myriad of industries. We provide integrated solutions in branding, design, communications and beyond. Partner with us and embark on your unique brand journey today.