There’s no point in having a great brand if nobody knows about it. In a crowded and noisy marketplace, having a quality product is not enough – you have to promote it. The trick is to be heard without appearing to try very hard – to make the brand sell itself. So giving your brand its own ‘voice’ in a creative and engaging way is vitally important.
To give an example of what I am talking about, nobody could deny that SIA and its signature brand personality, The Singapore Girl, is one of the most effective brands in the global marketplace. The strength of the brand is due to the consistency with which all the advertising and communications speak about the brand. All SIA brand touchpoints, from the marketing communications, to the inflight service, speak with one ‘brand voice’.
Sometimes, brand DNA should be promoted to the wider public, to build general brand awareness. The most effective way to do this is to build a physical environment where the brand is articulated fully as the brand owner intends it. This is done not so much to sell products as to physically demonstrate to the public and other custodians such as retailers what the brand stands for and how it should be presented.
Think of the way Nike’s brand has been built through exceptional product design, and retail interiors. Think of the outstanding creativity of Apple, and how the brand is embodied in their mould-breaking product design.
In our own work we always seek to identify the core differentiators of the brand and apply exceptional creativity to give the brand a distinctive voice. Another way to do that is to focus on the brand story.
The most authentic brands have a story behind them, a narrative which explains why the brand is how it is. This narrative is what helps customers decide if the brand story is part of their own story.
But the tale has to be told, and be ongoing. Brands should evolve dynamically as we do, without letting people forget who they are, where they have come from and where they are going.
Sometimes the marketplace has become so familiar with a brand that it is taken for granted, like the original jeans brand Levi’s. We were privileged to be asked by Levi’s to design a travelling exhibition to celebrate their 150th anniversary, and one of the issues we were asked to address was the lack of awareness in Asia that Levi’s invented denim jeans back in the 1870s, and that their classic 501 label was the original patented design. So Levi’s decided to remind the marketplace of their brand story as well as what the brand stands for today.
Levi’s Exhibition In Kuala Lumpur
Based on the theme ‘150 years new – from 501 to Type 1’ we designed a modular exhibition which used the trademarked Levi’s button and rivet as a hub around which to relate how the company evolved from its origins in 1853 to become an original American icon, highlighting their leadership in terms of product innovation as well as worker’s rights and community involvement.
But as well as giving your brand a voice and telling your brand story, you also need to know everything about your customer and the other brands which are competing for their attention – in other words, you have to know your market. Which brings us to our next step to building a brand.