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A Brand is = Collectively, what people say, feel and think about your product, service or company.
A Strong Brand is = A collection of coherent ideas and experiences with a product or service over time.
A great brand is a great story
defined by Paul Isakson
Take a look at this video for Volkswagen.
Originally created for T.V. this video has been posted online and now exists as a viral. The ad, generally missed on television, has since received millions of hits online and lots of positive attention in the press. The colour palette is rich, and the music is modern and electronic. The story is unique, showcasing Volkswagen’s commitment to building their cars with care, attention and technical expertise.
Lars Axelsson, Volkswagen, describes the rationale behind the concept, “As traditional advertising is becoming less effective, and the competition is becoming more aggressive, we believed we needed a more innovative approach to draw attention to the website”
In contrast the print advert below, whilst being instantly recognisable as Volkswagen, is completely different in style. The colour palette and design is clean and minimal, especially when contrasted with the viral. The concept tells viewers how owning a Volkswagen will never go out of fashion. The four icons on the key ring depict four differing styles and cultures, demonstrating Volkswagen’s unilateral appeal.
The final example of a great piece of advertising is a specific microsite showcasing the new Polo.
The microsite expertly balances creativity and the user journey. The videos are cinematic and aspirational. The user experience is well thought out, allowing users to customise their car and build their own tool kit. It gets close to recreating an on-screen experience online.
However, does using these disparate forms of advertising render the brand disjointed and incoherent? Do people get different experiences when touching the brand?
Throughout all these disparate pieces of advertising material, the brand values come through strongly. All three are innovative, technically excellent, clever and fun. The concept which defines Volkswagen is “Volkswagen Thinking”, the idea of creating a product which is seen as a democratic people car, but also as a desirable object. So the answer is no, Volkswagen is a strong brand. I personally think this shines through in their advertising, but the proof is in a steady increase in growth and products over a fifty year period; a period in which hundreds of similar companies have ended up on the scrapheap.
“For a brand to stand the tests of time, it has to have roots that help it stay true over time. Why? Because lasting relationships are built on a foundation of trust. If you are constantly changing who you are and/or what you stand for, how can anyone come to trust you?”
So in conclusion everything you produce as a company must reflect this brand. A brand identity represents your company's values, services, ideas and personality. A consistent and well-positioned brand can make your company; it can generate loyalty in your customers, and make you the envy of your competitors. By understanding branding we'll be able to help our clients find their values and tell stories that set them apart from the crowd.
To end controversially, here is the latest viral video from Diesel.
Is this video coherent in the Diesel marketing strategy. Does it reflect their brand and, more importantly, is it good for their brand? Please comment?
If you're interested in further reading there are a few great resources below.
Excellent white papers covering all aspects, lots of social media info too.
Author of 'brand tags' discusses all things brand
More related to User experience a case study on McDonalds and how they utilise branding
Lots of stats and viral videos here