This article does not look to answer the obvious layman questions but just touches upon them in order to dive deeper into the subject for a Marketers better understanding.
We presume that you want to know more than basics and that you already know the importance of getting the brand name right, study of the category and competition etc. And why brand identity and campaign is important. And similarly we presume that you would know the basics of Advertising Campaigns.
This is how the flow works: Brand Strategy followed by Brand Identity followed by Brand Advertising or Communication. Brand Strategy has already been discussed in detail in the Brand Strategy and Marketing section.
The Basics: Brand vs Branding vs Identity. What do they really mean?
A brand is a perception in the minds of the consumer, branding is the process of creating the brand and Brand identity is what a brand stands for.
Part A: How to Design and Develop a Great, Unique and Memorable Brand Identity in 2020
What is Brand Identity and how is it defined?
Brand identity is a distinctive set of brand associations that the brand strategist creates or maintains. The brand is represented by these associations and implies a promise to customers and stakeholders.
There can be two parts to brand identity.
A) Core – This is a central, timeless essence of the brand that is most likely to remain constant throughout the brands’ journey including new markets and new products.
B) Extended identity – these are brand identity elements that are stated below in detail.
Brand identity consists of 12 dimensions organised around 4 perspectives – the brand as a product (product scope, product attributes, quality or value, usages, users, country of origin), brand as an organisation (organisational attributes, local vs global), brand as a person (brand personality, brand customer relationships), and brand as a symbol (visual imagery for metaphors and brand heritage)
The overall Brand Design style has to be aligned with the complete values, objectives, ethos, and fundamentals of the corporate and if needed must also unearth the unknown aspects of the company or the brand.
Key elements of Brand Identity Design:
Brand Identity is a step forward from the Brand Strategy from which we carry forward Brand Identity & Design related points to give the brand a meaningful expression. Like your Audience, Mission, Personality, Value Proposition & Competition, etc are taken forward to encapsulate the Brand Identity definition which then reflects in its:
Logo, color palette, fonts, typography, imagery etc
Social Media Template
Company Profile Template
Coffee Cup Design
Advertising Layout Differentiator
Does Brand Identity Design mean a Logo and Stationery?
Partly Yes. Logo and stationery are the expressions of the identity but the identity in itself is a more critical and strategic subject which unless right, doesn’t do justice to a brand’s potential.
What is the key to creating a great Brand Identity and impact in the marketplace?
Don’t ever copy your competitors or anyone and don’t be self obsessed. Be futuristic, long term and stay away from 4 types of Branding traps that one should completely avoid.
It must have differentiation that is refreshing, relevant and impactful and must create a lasting Impression.
Brand Identity Traps:
The scope of brand identity should be broader and strategic than tactical and there should be an internal as well as external focus to brand creation.
The 4 types of brand identity traps that can make the brand limiting, ineffective and dysfunctional:
1. The Brand Image Trap
Corporates get carried away in capturing the current essence of their brand image especially when their brand is doing well amongst its customers. Doing so literally translates the brand image into the brand identity where in the brand image should be just one input point to be considered for the larger brand identity formation.
In a way it becomes customers dictation and brand identity is more than just finding out what customers say they want. While a good brand identity has to consider its past (enduring qualities) but it has to be forward looking to the future coma reflecting the associations that are aspired by the brand.
Brand Identity Design should look at creating changes rather than just settle at accepting and representing perceptions.
2. The Brand Position Trap
A brand’s position may be similar to the Brand Promise as it can change (in relatively longer periods). But it is clearly a mistake to interpret Brand Position as synonyms to Brand Identity because the latter is more stable just like the DNA of a company / brand.
Let’s reflect upon it a little easily. Your current communication or brand campaign can be a result of your brand’s position which in itself is a part of the larger brand identity. But with time a brand can change its brand’s position more easily without deviating from brand identity.
Hence one should always decipher that an advertising tagline or a brand’s position is different from its Identity. Because a lot of the times marketers and agencies make this mistake of changing the brand identity while developing the new brand position and brand tagline.
Lastly a brand position shall not include everything that a brand identity includes but only a part of it, a part that is relevant from the point of view of current communication programs.
3. The External Perspective Trap
The orientation of brand identity exercise is largely external, that is either to create perceptions in favour of the brand or to inbuilt the perceptions already established by the brand.
External perspective trap can occur when a company fails to realise the role of its brand identity in the lives of its own people. Unless the brand identity is properly communicated internally, it will not reflect externally effectively. Employees are the torch bearers of the ethos, values, vision and the very DNA of the company and the brand.
4. The Product Attribute Fixation Trap
This is the most common trap where strategic and tactical management of the brand is solely focused on product attributes. This practice assumes that attributes are the most relevant factors for customer decisions irrespective of competition and market dynamics. Hence, this trap often leads to unoptimised strategies and sometimes creating blunders.
A brand is much more than a product and must be dealt that way at all times.
Product Attribute based brand identities fail to differentiate, are easy to copy, presume that the customer is rational, limit brand extension strategies and also reduce strategic flexibility of a brand.
A Brand Identity Design is one of the most complex things to do and it takes years of experience with best global brands to understand its actual nuances. Because a good brand identity design should resonate with all its stakeholders, even the ones who have very different motives of associating with the brand.
Part B: Everything about Advertising Campaigns
Brand Building: What is an Advertising Campaign or Communication Campaign?
An advertising campaign is a series of announcements that share a single idea and theme conveying a brand’s promise or its tactical messages.
Done for various objectives and not limited to brand awareness, brand recognition, brand preference, brand consideration, brand loyalty etc; advertising can simply referred to as an activity or profession of producing messages for products or services.
Traditionally a company was faced with two types of communications – MARCOM or Marketing Communications and Corporate Communications.
These campaigns were and still generally are media neutral i.e. having the same idea and promise for 360 degree media (which includes Mass Media or Above the line or ATL; Digital, Online & Social Media and Below the line or BTL or Events, Roadshows & On Ground Sales Promotions)
New terms have emerged now and we will try to put some light on them because a lot of people unknowingly use them interchangeably thereby affecting the meaning of a marketing conversation.
Includes both paid and unpaid forms of communication.
Advertising Campaign / Creative Campaigns / Creative Communication Campaigns
Paid versions of media are included here.
Brand Advertising / Brand Campaign Versus Tactical Advertising / Tactical Campaign
When an Advertising campaign is created to talk about and highlight the Brand Promise as the main take away, it is called a Brand Ad.
When an Advertising campaign is created to talk about and highlight the Tactical aspects of a brand like its attributes or features, service, functionality, price, discounts, sale etc then it is called a Tactical Ad. In such a case too, a Brand tagline can exist towards the end post the main tactical takeaway has been delivered. In that case, the Brand promise or tagline works as a reinforcement and not the main takeaway. In some specific cases, the brand promise is intentionally shelved from the communication.
Includes internal employee communication, which is sometimes owned by the HR department, and external communication with stakeholders.
It includes topics beyond the brand in question and delivers stories and communication around the category / industry at large.
Digital Campaign / Online Campaign
Content or Advertising Communication that is run specifically run on the digital or online platforms
Social Media Campaign
Content or Advertising Communication that is run specifically on the Social Media platforms.
PR or Public Relations
Unpaid form of communication. Like planting of stories and articles through relations with the Media. But now a days, the reality is completely opposite with almost every inclusion being paid either in cash or in kind.
Public Relations also comes with a task of managing relationships with key and important personalities relating to the trade.
Why Should You Use Brand Advertising?
To create an Asset and a Legacy.
Brand Equity creation is actively and majorly done through Brand Advertising. Sometimes even through PR & Events but in these cases, the costs and time involved eventually becomes higher than Brand Advertising. Especially with the development of digital and online platforms. It is the fastest and most effective way of building Brand Equity.
Brand Equity is not created by doing & delivering good product / service work but by creating long term favorable perceptions. Your good work can be seen as working capital. Till the time it is there, you reap the benefits. But Brand Equity is essentially the Asset, whose benefits are not only reaped in the long term with added business valuation but also in the short term as it empowers you to:
Charge better rates
Make better sales
Reduce payment cycles
Command terms of the trade
Lower down customer acquisition costs
Increase product/service usage and loyalty
Attract right talent
When does Brand Advertising or Marketing Communication Succeed?
Creativity does not work at the marketplace just as a piece of art, but has to be backed by strong strategy. The most memorable advertising that you would have seen, will always have a very strong strategy behind it. Always.
In our portfolio, there are more than enough cases where our strategic creativity has built robust brands while delivering on the business development goals right from the word go. And not after 2-3 months of running the brand campaign.
Whether it is TVC / Television Commercial, Cinema, Radio spot, Newspaper Ad, Magazine Print Ad, Outdoor / Hoardings creative, Digital Marketing creatives – Social Media, Google Display Network & Remarketing campaigns, we have created ads for all of them. And not to mention, below the line creatives like brochures, point of sale creatives, packaging and much more.
What is an Advertising Strategy or Creative Campaign Strategy?
Advertising strategy is what a brand promises to do, usually in a 2-3 years time period. It is the brand proposition on which a creative or communication campaign is developed. And it stems from the Brand Strategy where the Media Strategy also gets defined.
Are all these terms the same: Brand Campaign Strategy, Corporate Communication Strategy, Communication Strategy, and Marketing Communications Strategy?
All the terms are largely the same. Just that we also include Media Strategy / Plan along with Communication Strategy because otherwise the Brand Strategy is incomplete and the client wouldn’t know the application and efficacy of the creative communication.
What is a Marketing Strategy? Is it any different?
Yes, it is.
Marketing Strategy, amongst many other things, involves planning and finalisation of marketing ideas. This can come from the core of a brand, like its identity or its price or its distribution or something else. Imagine French Connection instead of FCUK.
Other things include creating a segmentation, targeting, positioning, marketing mix, forecasting, budgeting and selecting media mix with relevant expectations.
This can also be seen as a strategy for making users and sellers meet to benefit each other. This will lead us to Connections planning for which our Media & Innovations section needs to be referred.
How to Build or Develop the Right Communication Strategy.
For this, we study the four pillars and do conventions mining to arrive at the most disruptive idea while simultaneously creating the Media Mix & Outline. The four pillars include:
Study of the Brand
Study of the Consumer / B2B Clientele
Study of the Competition
Study of the Category / Industry
We use the most powerful yet most complex technique called Disruption for finding and redefining solutions at Brand Strategy, Communication Strategy & Media Strategy levels. It is an exhaustive science for arriving at the most disruptive idea. And we have more than a decade and a half of experience on it while handling best global brands.
This is why we are a Strategic Creative Agency and not just an Adhoc Creative Agency. Our in-depth experience of strategy and media planning, helps our brands & clients get the right creative solutions that truly work at the marketplace. As a result, we are able to create maximum impact with limited budgets.
Communication Strategy or Advertising Strategy through this exercise brings us to the Single Minded Proposition or Brand Promise that is Refreshing, Relevant and Impactful (basis which buyers mind bends towards the brand).
The Ultimate Example: Brand Equity creation through Brand Identity & Brand Advertising
Absolut Vodka is a great example where identity and communication have carved out a very distinctive and successful place for Absolut at the global level (across markets). Absolut has ridden the crest of the white spirit wave for 25 years on the back of its inspired and very focussed communication platform. They haven’t had to disrupt at a deep level to become the world’s 4th largest premium spirit.
The communication has been sophisticated enough to maintain the illusion of exclusivity while everybody drinks it.
As a result, we all know that Absolut is so much more than a brand of Vodka. And that is its greatest Asset called Brand Equity.
Small Note: We are not covering the other two kinds of disruption here i.e. Business & Product disruptions, as they are far more in-depth to be even touched upon here. Amazon & Apple are respective examples of Business Disruption & Product Disruption.