| What is a brand for us? |
You can imagine it as a person.
A brand is a person you trust, with whom you willingly show up in company with whom you feel good. You recognize his timbre, you have a lot of memories and associations connected with him. You know what he likes, what he reads, this person is predictable and honest to you.
You can also imagine it as the most effective seller in your company.
It sells your product – it is not a product itself. It is a promise, a fulfilment of your client’s aspirations, a need of a higher order, which he or she satisfies by purchasing your product or service.
You can imagine it as a piggy bank.
If you have a well-built brand, every penny you spend on marketing falls into the safe of the brand, which continues to gain value. You don’t really spend money on advertising, but you INVEST in the brand. You will get this money back in the future with interest.
You can imagine it as the foundation.
Without it, every advertising, employer branding, PR, CSR activity will be like building a house on sand. Like the work of the lazy pigs from the fairy tale “The Three Little Pigs”;.
| What is not a brand for us? |
Logotype and name
Just like a man, it’s not only his or her appearance and name.
A product or service
You produce products, but in the store you sell a promise.
A unique feature that distinguishes the product is just one of the thousand elements that make up the formed brand. Something that is extremely easy to counterfeit – brands are inimitable. Just like people.
A marketing text
Brand book is not „a few sleek sentences for the needs of the management board and ISO auditors”. If you treat it as a tool from the very beginning and convince the company’s employees to use it, it will become the basic working tool for marketing, HR and management departments. The basis of internal PR and employer branding.
| Basic terms |
Brand architecture also known as brand strategy. A very important step in the brand building process. It defines the relationship between the manufacturer’s brand and the brand of the product/service, as well as between other brands in the company’s portfolio. The brand strategy may be monobrand (one brand for the company and its products) or multibrand (there are at least two brands next to each other in different relationships – e.g. the manufacturer’s brand and the product brand). Determining the architecture is a consulting- and strategic-level service, this decision should not be transferred to the level of packaging design or visual identification.
As a brand audit, we understand the verification of its clarity, consistency and understandability. The last aspect is important not only for customers, but also, and perhaps even above all, for the company’s employees. A process that requires a lot of trust and willingness to cooperate on the part of the company – we analyse communication materials, brand portfolio, their width and depth, brand management, including the structure of the marketing department. We examine the competitive environment and conduct surveys among the company’s employees.
BIG IDEA is a general strategic and creative idea. Sometimes it is also called a communication platform, although there are supporters of distinguishing between these concepts. It is much more than an idea for one advertisement – if we take the ŻUBR beer campaign as an example, then the big idea could be: we are talking about Żubr beer like about the animal that gave it its name. CAMEL used to rely on a similar “big idea” with advertisements such as “Never throw a burning camel out the window”. As you can see, BIG IDEA is not a specific word-graphic solution, but an idea behind it.
BRAND BOOK is the bible of the brand and its manual. A document TAKING PRECEDENCE over the visual identification system, and even more so over the LOGO BOOK (rules for using the logo, description of colours and typography). These documents may or may not be included in a brand book. The most important thing in it is to define the brand’s strategy, its foundations, DNA and personality. It is a place for a mission, vision, values, positioning, as well as, for example, a description of BRAND ARCHITECTURE. An absolutely basic study in the company that all employees should be familiar with (to a different extent).
BRANDING is a long-lasting and continuous brand building process. The basic branding work is the brand strategy, its subsequent visual identification and finally its development through consistent marketing activities and the way the company is managed. It can therefore be said that branding is a philosophy of sales management, and in fact of the entire enterprise. We build a brand at every level, although it is marketing that creates it and shows it to the world. The Hungarian HELL energy drink factory is all lit up in red, and on the other side of the street there is a blue ANGEL gas station. Here, each employee has contact with the brand and it is easier for them to identify with it. For this, however, consistency is needed – a brand cannot be different for show, and different inside the organization or in its CSR activities. Here you need consistency, i.e. coordination of the branding process. Branding also means marking with the brand all phenomena accompanying the sale of a product or associated with the brand. Packaging, colour, smell, music and even some emotions. Thanks to this, we create a set of elements that after some time (quite a long time, but it is worth investing in this time) will bring your potential customer to mind associations with your brand. When you see purple in the store, you know Milka is there. When you hear the distinctive jingle coming from your computer, you know Windows is there. And when somebody says something about “giving wings”, others will surely think “Red Bull”. The word itself has a wealth of meanings and consequences for marketing – a brand used to be a symbol burned on a cow, which was supposed to assign it to a specific owner. Branding is therefore the process of applying marks of the "owner", which is the brand. We mark with it everything we want to associate with it. From the product to the style of company management. This is branding.
BRIEF is a detailed description of the agency’s task. VERY detailed. It is also a kind of order specification – everything should be consistent with it. It is also a great test of whether you know everything about your brand and whether you have the appropriate documents. A good brief attracts good ideas and makes them so tailored to the posed challenges that they cannot be used for the needs of any other brand. They are as individual as a brand – practically inimitable. A good brief requires cooperation with the agency, preferably it is prepared on the basis of its guidelines.
Advertising is not a scientific field and unfortunately has no codified terminology. Hence, there are often many discrepancies in the use of certain terms. “Claim” and “tagline”; certainly belong to this group. We propose to use them interchangeably as the leading slogan of the brand expressing its essence. It may change, as does the logo, but not very often, and of course it should always refer to the same values. However, slogan is something else, i.e. it is limited to one campaign or even one advertising creation. The claim is, for example, “Just do it” by Nike. Whereas examples of slogans are “Make every yard count” or “Find your greatness” – there are really a lot of them. Claim/tagline usually appears under the brand logo.
Even the best-structured or completed brief may be misunderstood, requiring some explanation or even provoking and inspiring further questions. Therefore, what is very important in the agency-client cooperation process is debriefing – a meeting during which questions are asked about the brief in general. In our case, it often takes the form of workshops, because it requires a lot of commitment from us and the client. Debriefing in our work model can also be very fruitful for the client, making him or her aware of certain areas, problems or challenges that he or she has not taken into account so far. Personal contact (or via teleconference tools) is very important during debriefing. Then the discussion becomes vivid and many interesting conclusions or even ready-made solutions result from it.
Key visual is a set of the main graphic elements used in the campaign. It can take many forms depending on its type. In the case of a campaign using press, outdoor and internet, we create (in BRAND SO ON agency) an image in the form of a square (universal format) with a slogan and copy, other necessary elements (logo, contact details, etc.) and graphic extras. It is a kind of container from which we select elements according to the needs and technical capabilities of the carrier. Virtually everything will appear in the press, while on the internet banner perhaps only a slogan, logo and background. It is best practice to prioritize items ranging from absolutely mandatory to optional, used only in certain formats. A KV can also be a pattern, if we create a KV only for printed publications or a photo used in POS (advertising at points of sale).
The logo book is a very short document specifying the rules of using the mark (logo) and describing its structure (proportions, spacing, typography). In addition to the grid and specifying the proportions and the font used (if it is not specifically designed for the mark), it also contains examples of acceptable use (on different backgrounds and in different colour variants) and unacceptable use for the mark. It is the smallest document codifying brand elements. Usually it is a part of visual identification system and BRAND BOOK.
“A horse is a horse, of course” wrote a Polish encyclopedist, not very familiar with the topic. Therefore, let us define this concept somehow and, above all, determine what the logo is and what it is not. Well, a logo is a graphic symbol of a brand, the basic but not the only one, because a graphic “symbol”can also be a colour, a fragment of a logo or a brand hero. It should contain the brand name included in the LOGOTYPE and – not necessarily – a pictorial mark, i.e. a graphic symbol. The latter is not always present, and Panasonic, for example, can do without it, although it is useful. As we can use it in limited spaces where the inscription will not fit or will be illegible. A simple, well-constructed pictorial mark is almost always legible. We must remember that a logo is not a brand, but its carrier, and BRANDING is not inventing a name, logo and visual identification system. A logo is one of the most important elements of a brand, but a good brand will do great without it. It is enough to look at a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, where more and more often the only identifying element is a characteristic triangle, sometimes supported by a red colour.
LOGOTYPE is one of the elements of the logo that presents the brand name. It can be quite simple in terms of typography, such as IKEA, or more sophisticated, such as Coca-Cola, which is actually a logo and a pictorial mark at the same time.
We give brands human characteristics. Not only as brand creators, but even us ordinary people, we tend to personify or animate ideas (personification of Death or Justice) and even objects. We give names to the favourite ones and we often talk about them as about humans. The practice of giving human characteristics to brands stems from our natural need – we know people best and often take them as a point of reference. A brand’s personality is therefore its human characteristics, the kind that we value in people. It can be cheerful, serious, reflective, creative, etc. Modern marketing goes even further in this process, using Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes. An archetype is a kind of pattern, a matrix that we follow, completely unaware of it. Some of us are cheerful, someone has the charisma of a leader, someone is constantly rebellious, and someone else is always curious about the world. Marketing inspired by Jung has created (this was done by the authors of The Hero and the Outlaw – Magaret Mark & Carol Pearson) 12 archetypes on which brands are built. Placing a brand on one of them is the beginning of the process of building its personality. We create the rest as part of the brand strategy.
A slogan is simply a catchword used in a campaign. The campaign can be based on many slogans (created for the needs of the carriers or differentiating advertisements, if there are so many of them that they could tire the recipient). This among other things differs it from the claim/tagline accompanying the brand usually for a long time, and certainly for the entire campaign. So “Żona bez ż to tylko ona” (which means “żona” (in Polish “wife”) without “ż” is just “ona” (“her” in Polish) is a slogan of the Polish company Żywiec, and its tagline – “Chce się Ż” (I want Ż).
The communication strategy is usually a campaign strategy. This is the stage when the brand is well defined and we start advertising. When creating a campaign, and especially a creation for it (although the selection of media is also important), we rely on the brand’s strategy, and on its basis and on the basis of the campaign’s goals (e.g. promotion, product launching, etc.), we create a communication. It includes the creation and selection of media, which are then planned in detail.
It is the absolute basis for marketing activities in line with the spirit of branding. You could say: without it, don’t show your brand on the street. Otherwise, you can safely assume that you throw away half your advertising budget. It is a document describing how to talk about a brand. This is actually the basis of the brand book, which is its extract. Often the brand strategy is also defined as the brand’s architecture, which is certainly part of it. Whenever we talk about a well-constructed brand, we mean a brand with a clear strategy. We create such strategies at BRAND SO ON.
A pictorial mark is a graphic mark used next to the logotype in the logo. The pictorial mark is the famous NIKE swoosh or the sign of Puma or Citroen. Very convenient for any application where a synthetic, reduced brand mark is needed. However, it is not a necessary element of the logo, as evidenced by, for example, SONY or GAP.
It is a book containing tips on how to use the logo and identification elements on materials communicating the brand. It usually contains designs of printed ephemera (business cards, letterhead, folders), advertising gadgets, internal marks, company clothing, etc. It is usually a very complex publication, although in our opinion brand communication should not be codified in too detail, and we certainly advise against introducing rigid patterns for advertisements or exposed printing elements (e.g. press advertisement or catalogue cover). Our task is not only to constantly repeat that the X brand exists and has a specific logo and company colours, but above all to build its identity, uniqueness and image. We have to give it a minimum of freedom of expression.
We use the terms tagline and claim interchangeably. Compare – claim.