Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brands : the ultimate How to Do Synthesis

 The purists will howl, but for those who don't have time to read the Marketing Bible, a little explanation, short and simple to understand, about key concepts to built a brand.


What is a brand ?
A brand is the combination of 3 elements : the product or the service (design & quality), the positionning (consummer target and style), the expresion of the positioning (communication, shop, VI…).

How to build a brand ?
A brand have to have a captain, a person who decide where we want to go, this person have to have the vision of the brand. The vision is the the focus point where we want to go. This focus point should never change, but the location of the focus point will change, at the same time of the evolution of the environement and of the evolution of the brand itself.
Define and describe the vision and the positionning is the strategic plan.

What is values (brand values) ?
Values are what that define the brand, what is his psychology, his philosophy. As for a human person, values come from the soul, the education, the experience.

What is design (especially communication design like brand design, retail, packaging, website…)?
Design is "to dress" the brand according with the strategy and value.

Now, you know where you are, you know where you want to go.
Where you are : a brand without vision, just a brand among others.
Where you want to go (the vision): to be a xxxxx oriented brand, with xxxxxx level positionning, with xxxxxx spirit.

In order to reach the vision, you have to build a brand with a specific soul, in order to be « alive ». Alive means that the consummer can feel the personnality of the brand, as for an human person, regarding his way to talk, the accent, the body moving, the meaning of the word he uses, …etc

For exemple, your values are : know-how (we like to work well, because we prefer well finished products),  respect (for ourself and for others, we take care of others as we take care of us),  elegance (that means natural comportment oriented to nice and good taste things and products) complicity (that means proximity, sharing experiences and knowledges), pleasure (for me and myself, that means taking time for life, taking time to appreciate quality and intelligence).
All those values are the soul of the brand, wich is synthesized by the concept. The concept is a pure idea, wich is the result and the begining of the strategy. In french we call this the « fond  de marque » (it can be translated in english as the foundation, but in french the sense is more deeper).

The problem is to check if what you do is ok with your brand when you design visual identity, shops, products (or services), website, communication,....
The idea is not to put the concept  on the design, but to check if that what you have designed is OK with the values and the positioning of the brand.
There is no guide book, or recipe for this. The marketing team have to judge if they are on the target, with the more possible objectivity  (that’s not so easy to be objective!).
That's why the commun way is to use consumer group, with consumers on our target. And to ask them their feeling about the designs (without any explanation about the project).

Stephane Bertoux

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