| Table 1 : Exploring the identity system of McDonald's|
whilst confirming the essence of fast food served with home from home values
WHAT brand identifiers ( eg colours, symbols, stereotypes, slogans, platforms, famous moments in brand's history, product features, design icons, other appeals to senses etc) are in the minds of your consumers?
(also Big Breakfast, Mega Mac)
Red & Yellow
An identity system:
· casts leading identifiers with different roles;
· connects everything up to achieve multiple effects such as "multi-positioning", "multi-recognition"...
What leading interpretations can you find when exploring McDonald's identity system? Which identifiers would you show off where if you were directing the McDonald's brand?
Signpost for distant media; nicknamed destination (golden arches)
Children's aspect of multipositioning; local community visibility; anchor of family personality
Adult appetite aspect of multipositioning; Big codes (eg value); Familiarisation slogans, eg Mac Attack
Linking identity for broadening product menu
Global and local PR platform
|Brand Identity||context as American consumer code|
|Clydesdales||These are shire horses used by Budweiser at promotional events and previously in delivering beer. They fascinate Americans and connote macho images of power, strength and working pride.|
|Cvolski||Most famous execution of a long running series of slice-of-life ads featuring blue collar workers as America's real heroes|
|This Bud's for you||Budweiser's long running brand slogan|
|Red, White & Blue||Brand's packaging colours (corresponding to America's national colours)|
|American eagle||The company's oldest trademark modelled on the bald eagle (America's national symbol)|
|Beechwood aging||As Budweiser's product legend declares on every pack, this proprietary process "produces unique taste, smoothness and drinkability - we know of no other brand of beer that costs so much to brew or age"|
|Genuine article||The heritage of being America's number 1 brand of beer|
At a time when Fuji and Konica were committed to heavy spending abroad, Kodak spent three times more than both of them combined on advertising in Japan. It erected mammoth $1 million neon signs as landmarks in many of Japan's big cities. Its sign in Sapporo Hokkaido, is the highest in the country. It sponsored sumo wrestling, judo, tennis tournaments and even the Japanese team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, a neat reversal of Fuji's 1984 coup when it won the race to become the official supplier to the Los Angeles Olympics.
Kodak's cheekiest ploy was to spend $1 million on an airship emblazoned with its logo. It cruised over Japanese cities for three years, mischievously circling over Fuji's Tokyo headquarters from time to time. To Fuji's chagrin, Japanese newspapers gleefully picked up the story. The Japanese firm was forced to spend twice as much bringing its own airship back from Europe for just two months of face-saving promotion in Tokyo.
Half of all Japanese consumers can now recognise Kodak's goods instantly. kodak's recent growth puts it within sight of second-place Konica in Japan's market for camera film. (The Economist, 10 November 1990)
| Table 3 : "Keeping a brand image up-to-date" (at American Express)|
I'd love to be able to claim that everything about our brand is the result of thorough research and careful deliberation, but I guess we all know that in real life things don't always work out that way.
Take our Centurion, for example. You see him on our Cards and our Travellers Cheques, embodying such brand characteristics as security, integrity, strength, protection, service. We couldn't have created a better symbol if we'd employed droves of researchers and designers and branding consultants. Which we didn't. The truth is altogether more serendipitous.
We owe our Centurion to an explosion of forgery after the Second World War. In the postwar years our Travellers Cheques became hugely popular, not only with travellers but also with counterfeiters. We desperately needed a harder-to-forge design, but at the time new engravings could have taken a year or more. So we asked our printers, the American Bank Note Company, to help - and from a dusty shelf they produced this guy; he'd been engraved for another job which had never been printed. From the obscurity of a printer's store-cupboard he's gone on to become one of the best-known brand marks in the world - proving that great symbols aren't always made to measure. You can sometimes get them - literally - off the shelf.
In 'Project Jigsaw', we recently undertook a complete revamp of our visual identity. We laid out all our direct mail packs and product literature and they looked as if they had come from a whole bunch of different companies. So we needed to reassert a consistent visual style that every part of the company could use. But Project Jigsaw went far deeper than a routine rethink of graphics and typography : it examined the style and tone of voice we use when we talk to our customers and potential customers.
Let me quote you a few sentences from the internal manual that resulted from Project Jigsaw:
'The transition from the 80's to the 90's was traumatic. People who were happy participants in our 'prestige dream' have changed. They now speak about getting value. Words like 'exclusive', 'privilege' and 'select' seemed to permeate every level of our communication. The tone and manner generally suggested someone who felt he was getter than most...but attempts to apply this florid (and, to today's ear, pompous) language across a wide array of marketing communications ended up working against us...looking old-fashioned and out-of-date. People talk about the world moving forward and American Express lagging behind".'
In short, our brand attributes and values might have been as good as ever, but the way we were presenting them had lost its relevance. So what are we doing about it now? Again, I quote from the manual:
'Our tone and manner should reflect those of a service company...a group which consistently reinvents itself to meet and exceed it customers' changing needs and expectations. Our voice should no longer be from the 'Chairman of the Club's Membership Committee' or from a disembodied global corporation that's full of itself. Rather, it should be the voice of a consultant... a skilled, flexible and entrepreneurial advisor and supplier. Someone who earns his customer's trust through performance nit promises. A competent, confident professional.'
And that, I think is the essence of everything we're doing to bring our brand up-to-date. The values don't change but the audience's perceptions do. The attributes don't change but the presentation must. In conclusion, I think the most important step we've taken in renewing our brand image is to be honest with ourselves; to listen to what customers were saying and admit that our corporate style had become outmoded. Once we'd taken that on board, we could see that a new style of advertising would help, but that advertising alone would not be enough.A brand is a very public thing."
Table 4 - HOW IS THE BRAND'S IDENTITY SYSTEM WORKING?
Strong brands use identifiers to work in many, many ways. HOW? Make a list of all the ways in which your brand's identity system must compete for consumer attention, such as:
·General recall of brand as top of mind
·Specific recall of brand as top of mind (eg occasion of use, calendar of mind)
·Heighten visibility/recognition of brand (eg impact in a specific media or on a new platform)
·Badge brand with personality or other image to wear
·Extend a brand
·Endow a brand with a stereotype bringing instant cosmopolitan appeal
·Local buy-in to a globally branded phenomenon
·Develop architectural strengths of high level brands (eg corporate/banner brands, see chapter 11)
·Build linkages between brands (eg corporate brand and product sub-brand)
·General reminder of brand essence
·Pre-emptive (eg symbolic) ownership of brand essence
·Souvenir of brand essence (or other empathy translator)
·Connect up values of flagship brands to benefit other brands
·Seed a brand's cachet
·Brand a word-of-mouth legend
·Identify a brand's own PR platform
·Transition a brand through evolution of its identity system
·Translate essence into lifestyle or service guarantee·Express a corporate tone of voice; a cultural style
| Table 5 : Worldwide footage|
Unlike local brands, the world class identity also enjoys making cost-effective use of such global media spots as trackside hoardings at the Olympic Games. Being seen in the neighbourhood of other world class brands is to inherit a state of international approval which local brands cannot muster. Subliminally, historical replays of such global media events create a cumulative sense of discrimination between brands with world class status and those with something rather less.
Alongside the footballing superstars of Italia's 1990 World Cup, the serious competitive pitch was reserved for brand hoardings. As events turned out, many of these identities looked under-rehearsed to play their part behind the scenes, being handicapped by over-long names or graphic logos designed to exploit media opportunities offering more time or space in front of the audience. In contradistinction, one four-lettered word made use of every camera angle. The MARS house colours - dramatic red with gold bordering and black background - proved to be a stylish flag for the confectioner's global panache. By easily scoring the most global rating points, the Mars branding was the visible winner of the championship. World Class Brands (1991), Chris Macrae
|Table 6 : Which of these alternative approaches to brand extending is more sensible?|
·Option 1 : Stretch the brand instantly by announcing that new product X is now offered by the brand
·Option 2 : Review whether the brand has any identifying codes which are relatable to product X:
->If no, and in the absence of other brand alternatives, integrate into your brand's identity system a relevant new identifier and only once this has been cultivated proceed to announce the new prod using the new identifier as signpost
Unfortunately, faddish frameworks (often compounded by measurements of so-called proven - ie historical - brand power like brand valuation and early US research into brand equity) seem to have been accessories to the folly of disorganised stretching of brands. The acid test for any framework on the future power of the brand revolves round prioritising the following line of questioning : Does this framework recognise that a brand's future power is largely leveraged - positively or negatively - by what you creatively make of it? In particular, is it agreed that the most relevant communications creativity involved in extending a brand is that which helps consumers to translate their imaginative connections between :
·where your new products and service values are going to, and
·where they think your brand is coming from?
|Table 7 : Predominant themes referenced by branding's universal design codes |
· Clubs and other affiliative institutions confirming belonging or belief systems
· Male/Female roles (more specifically: Male for impressing Females, Male for Males, Female for Males, Female for Females)
· Friendships, smiles, humour
· Fun/appeal to children's imagination, family rewards
· Mothering/growing/Environmental concerns/home-from-home comforts
· Rebels, youth, adolescence, artistic freedom, power to the people
· Sun, seasons, nature
· Purity/good health
· Biggest/World's number 1/ Leader's guarantee
· Celebration occasions:anniversaries/rewards
· Symbol of good fortune/tradition
| Table 8 - Looking into the Legend of Lacoste|
The brander should never forget that the typical consumer test of a symbol is : how pleasing is it the hundredth time your eyes meet up with it? This helps to explain why the most productive symbols have a certain cleanness of style, a hidden simplicity rather than a showy complexity.
Consider Lacoste's alligator. This is one of the world's most successful brand trademarks and has come to be pitched on probably the most impactful advertising hoarding - namely, people's breasts. It works both subliminally and supraliminally to confirm the brand's stylistic essence of "being abreast of an adult sense of humour".
How was this brand conceived? Rene Lacoste was a French tennis player and a hero in Davies Cup competitions of the twenties. Lacoste acquired the nickname of the alligator and a girlfriend embroidered an alligator on a blazer he wore on the courts. And that's where the brand's star was born.
World Class Brands (1991), Chris Macrae