Not that long ago I said to someone: "Branding is for cows. I don't do branding, I do brand development..."
And there's a huge difference. Branding nowadays doesn't mean the same thing as it used to fifty years ago. Back then building a brand was all about what that product did. Then it became how it did what it did. More recently building a successful brand is centered around how your consumer feels about you, your product and your company when they interact with it.
In our consumerism oriented society this job becomes increasingly harder, as we brand warriors fight the fight of recognition in the enormous battlefield of mass production. Weather it's a physical product, or a service, or simply a digital medium that your consumer signs up for, there's an abundance of choice they have in any areas, which in return makes our job ever the harder.
So how do we get noticed? How do we do our brand development so we can stand out? I've come to realize that the most important thing is to appeal to their emotions. When you tap into your consumer's desires, and you create what makes them feel special, you will achieve brand recognition.
One of the greatest examples of this is the brand so many of us carry around in our pockets, purses, bags... Yes, I am talking about Apple, and more specifically the iPhone. When the first iPhone came out, it was like we jumped ahead into the future. What? You can touch the screen and it will do this...? You can use it as a phone, but it's also a music device... Oh, it can also do games, and it has a camera... Wow, that's cool. All of a sudden, if you owned an iPhone you were cool. If you stood in line overnight to get your phone when it came out, you were even cooler. And every time there was a new version, you became cool again, and again, and again...
So how did Apple do it? They did it by following the simple rule of appealing to the emotional desires of their consumers. Apple was already "different" with their stylish computers, and people who owned them were most of the time also "different" (ahem, nerds...) They became Apple Branding Ambassadors, started building the fire and kept it stoked about this new thing that will be so cool, they could hardly wait to get their hands on. This created enormous waves of public interest and Apple didn't have to do much other than create an awesome product.
The consumers built the "tribe" for them. It is always better to belong to a tribe, than to be by yourself, right?! So if you become part of that tribe (by buying the iPhone) all of a sudden you belong to this cool group of people who feel proud to own that device, to show it off to those who don't own it yet, often generating envy. And guess what this caused? You guessed it, an “emotional connection” to the brand...
Human emotion is stronger than anything else. Whether it's for a product or a service, if you feel emotionally connected, you will care more, you will help grow that brand in a small way. Imagine when every member of your tribe is emotionally connected to you...! If you make them want what you are selling, you will build a successful brand.
So don't be shy, make crazy designs, come up with revolutionary ideas and make them fall in love with you!
Anna Kernbaum is the founder/owner and chief creative of Pixellent Design. You can contact Anna directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (310) 896-5071