When you want to find something online, what do you do? Do you ‘Bing or ‘Yahoo it’? Or do you ‘Google it’? While this household verb was working its way into your vocabulary, the company Google was branding themselves as the world’s most used search engine. Google is so well known in fact, that in 2002 its brand name was marked the most ‘useful word’ in 2002 and has since been printed in every Oxford Dictionary since 2006.
Starting off in developing algorithms, there is no doubt Google has continued to grow, now providing a search engine, advertising, email and even word processing. But as consumers, we remember that synonymous coloured logo and the new word that became a verb.
It’s all about how organisations like Google command their brand on every platform through consistent messaging, colouring, and tone. At Evolve, we work with our clients to develop well-rounded, consistent branding. We use a variety of on and offline platforms to deliver a unified message about who they are, what they offer and why their clients should choose them. We help our clients become as synonymous in their industry as Google is in every household.
As it stands in marketing today, there are so many incredible tools readily available to promote a product at the click of a button. TV, Radio, Facebook ads, retargeting, direct mail – if you can think of it, it probably already exists. Branding underpins the where, how and what in every effective marketing campaign.
So, let’s delve deeper into how other organisations have found the perfect branding balance.
Cadbury launched their famous ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ campaign back in 2002 and to this day, we as the audience reminisce a little chocolate family running through a maze or a pro-surfing chocolate man riding a chocolate wave and we think “yeah, that would be nice.” If created today, this campaign would have been successful on social media, outdoor or even print. And the fact we remember these ads years on proves that Cadbury’s signature eye-widening, eyebrow-raising campaigns were effective in grabbing our attention and cementing its branding in the hearts of Australian chocolate-lovers.
In terms of Marketing, a brand is an idea of something, a thought or perception, which invites engagement with a charismatic personality that is backed up by a meaningful story. Without proper research, evaluation and creative execution, a brand can be the make or break aspect of your advertising.
So, what does “brand” mean for a business? Brand is the stamp you put on your product giving it a sense of authenticity and reputation. For example, household-favourite Coca Cola. Without their long-standing association as a fun, summery drink, your bottle of fresh Coca Cola is simply a fizzy cola flavoured beverage like any other fizzy beverage on the supermarket shelf. It is the brand “Coca Cola” that makes evokes brand recognition and resonates with consumers. It’s what makes them pick your product over your competitor’s.
However ‘Brand Awareness,’ or the familiarity consumers have with the qualities or images of a particular brand (Oxford Dictionary, 2019), is not something your business will just stumble upon lightly. With the saturation of today’s market, it is important that a brand is developed from the conception of its product and is highly targeted to the audience in which it intends to appeal to. In researching your target consumer, there are a few important questions that must be answered:
1. What are you selling?
2. Why does your consumer need your product?
3. What is the point of difference that sets you apart from your competitors?
4. How can you evoke these emotions in your consumer?
Take Microsoft for an example – over 20 years ago in 1995, Microsoft released the very first consumer-friendly and easily accessible computing system. It was not nearly the first version of home computing; however, it coined the term “PC (Personal Computer)” that we know and love today. The new PC system sported the archetypal Microsoft Windows logo as the revolutionary “Start” menu button, which has carried them through from their conceptualisation in the 1980s through to now in 2019 (Titcomb, 2015).
What Microsoft did was simple – they realised what the market was missing, and they created it before anyone else, making them the top of their industry for decades. They developed a brand as the premium computing product and subsequently used that brand to create a word processing that is by far, the leader of the pack. Now, to this day, even consumers who swear by Microsoft’s computing competitors (such as Apple) will purchase and use Microsoft’s word-processing system.
So now that we know what brand means, the next question to ask is how do we use it? Well, this is a whole other process now. It all depends on what your product is and how you want your consumers to access it – but it all comes down to one thing, that you can spend all the money in the world, creating every advertisement under the sun but if you don’t have the right message behind your brand, you’re not going to evoke the correct emotions within your consumer and your advertising is going to miss the market entirely.
According to the Business Insider (2016), McDonald’s golden arches were originally designed as an architectural feature to alert hungry drivers that a quick burger was within their reach. Flash forward over 70 years, the golden arches have been adapted as McDonald’s iconic logo, and while has been slightly alerted for specific locations (for example, the turquoise version in Arizona, USA that is aimed to reduce clashing with the environmental colours), the golden arches has a long-standing, worldwide brand awareness associated with it. Basically, in the eye of the consumer, those shining golden arches means a McDonald’s is near, which means quick service and tasty food is within your reach – no matter where you come from or how old you are.
As technology progresses, branding blunders have become fewer and further between. However, it is not without a few stand-out cases, that we as marketers know what not to do in terms of branding. For example, confusing or mixed messages can be the downfall of an otherwise ideal brand. There are a few (not-so) perfect instances of this in marketing history, but usually occurs when a brand will try and expand their consumer-base by reaching out to target different demographics – like when a menswear brand develops womenswear and miss the mark, or a traditional brand tries to be too modern and their advertising doesn’t convey the right message anymore. If executed correctly, this can create a huge surge in market share for the company, however, it can be a very hit and miss way to build your business and can very easily lead to the alienation of your loyal consumers and effectively backfire on your company.
Sticking to the positives, the risk or reward factor is not always a loss. Exhibiting Nike’s revolutionary “Just Do It” campaign, the company recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of using the slogan and it was not without controversy and loss that they have set themselves up for the next 40 years of business growth. How have they done this? Well, their latest campaign in 2018 exhibited NRL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, known for kneeling during the American National Anthem (which to even the American president, was seen as an act of dishonour) as the face of their “Believe in Something, Risk Everything, Just Do It” message.
With a cornucopia of content, celebrities and messages they could have delivered – why would they risk it all on something so controversial? Two words – target demographic. With a more progressive group of young millennials (who were the main support movement succeeding Kaepernick’s ‘interesting’ choice) quickly growing into the demographics that is professional, financially able and interested in a new pair of slick runners, Nike chose to risk the drop-in shares with their older generations to secure the loyalty of the younger demographic. Whilst Nike saw a 3.9% drop in shares immediately, the overall growth of their company has surged 31% since the launch of this campaign (Katumba, 2018). Go figure that one!
However, it doesn’t end there. Creating a brand is one thing but more importantly, knowing when you need to update and refresh your branding is just as important in remaining relevant to your consumers. A great example of rebranding done right is when Woolworths underwent a major modernization back in 2008. Twenty-one years after developing their slogan “The Fresh Food People,” Woolworths realised that they needed to do something new if they wanted to remain at the top of their game. While their story, their target consumer and their message remained the same, the grocery giants rolled out a brand-new logo, revamped social media and TV advertising as well as a few physical refurbishments such as wider aisles, brighter lights and self-serve checkouts. By far one of the most successful marketing campaigns in Australian history – it’s fair to say immediately after the launch, Woolworths’ sales jumped by 6.5% to more than $12 billion dollars per quarter (Hulbosch Agency).
In conclusion, your message, your audience and the platforms you’ll use to convey your message are all underpinned by consistent, unified, strong branding. Without an understanding of what you’re selling, what your consumer wants and your point of difference, your business blends in with the competitors. Just like Google, Cadbury, Microsoft, McDonalds and Nike, effective branding can take you from another product/service on the shelf to the world’s most used word. Or it can elevate your image and appeal to new audiences. Or it can be refreshed to deliver enormous profit and growth.
At Evolve we take a strategic, thoughtful approach to your business by considering exactly how you want to be seen in your industry. We consider your customers, your unique value and where you want to be to deliver a cohesive brand and marketing campaign that drives your success and growth. It doesn’t matter what industry you are a part of or what you’re trying to sell – branding is the key that unlocks your success in today’s market saturation. For more information or to discuss your company’s rebrand, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (07) 32541911.