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Brand basics - Food sign Brand basics - Food sign Brand basics - Food sign

From Marking Cattle to Marking Expertise – Branding Benefits

branding-sheep
I love walking in Derbyshire and the Lake District, experiencing unspoilt nature, raw countryside and the feeling of going back to basics – and I always get a bit of a shock when I see red, pink and green patched sheep skip around fields. My kids are now asking why someone painted them so funny and I have to explain that they are marking which sheep belong to which farmer. Make that a bit more sophisticated and you have the origins of branding – marking products or livestock with a branding iron.

branding iron - history of the word branding
“The word “brand” is derived from the Old Norse brandr meaning “to burn.” It refers to the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products.” – Wikepedia

We’ve come a bit of a way since then, but perhaps more in evolving the meaning and using it to define our lives and cultures than in the actual act of differentiating one product or service from another.
Brand basics - Food sign
Back to basics. Though we all have a feeling that this type of ‘food’ is not necessarily winning health food awards…

It used to be enough to simply name the product. With competition, the market share decreases and suddenly it is no longer enough to ‘bake the bread’ in the village, you have to ensure people understand that your bread is better than that of the bakery down the road, and you have to try to sell their product as more than just a price-driven commodity that is worth paying a premium for.

Marketing has shifted from communicating FEATURES ‘what it has’ (1900) to BENEFITS ‘what it does’ (1925) to EXPERIENCE ‘what you will feel’ (1950) to IDENTIFICATION ‘who you are’ (2000) – Marty Neumeyer

brand basics - shopping isle
Where is your brand and how can your customer pick you out from the mass of competitive items?

Today’s overwhelming offers and information on products and services at our fingertips makes it ever more important for businesses to break out of the low margin – high competition cycle and to create a name for themselves that goes beyond packaging.
Brand basics - what sticks if the label comes off
“Branding is about everything.” – Tom Peters

Once people seek out your brand in overcrowded supermarket shelves or in business directories because they trust you, they relate to you or they are proud to be associated with you, that’s when brand strategy comes to fruition. When more than the label sticks, you know your brand message is being received and working for your business.
Of course not every business is built on a product that can be packaged and marketed in the ‘traditional’ sense. Much is being discussed about personal branding and reputation building for experts – and the benefits of branding are obvious even for writers, speakers or trainers that are consultancy based or have more intangible products and services.

  • More brand awareness = more opportunities
  • Commercial success from increased exposure
  • Personal development, confidence and motivation
  • Sense of achievement

The magic of it all is that even if you are developing a personal brand (hello Jamie Oliver), it won’t stop you from transferring those brand values on a business or range of products you endorse. With all the complicated layers of shopping offers and packaging, ultimately you mark your brand in the mind of your clients as the synonym for the one category they are shopping for so they know if they think FOOD, they think YOU (if that is what you are selling of course)…

brand experience, brand management, Brand Managment, brand message, Brand Strategy

The Day My Hands-Free Device Came to my Rescue

This is a weird one. I don’t drive a fancy car and in order to take a phone call whilst I am out driving, dear husband researched and gifted me with a hands-free box that clips onto my sun shield and connects to my iPhone via bluetooth.
Sadly, after months of working blissfully, I started losing connection about a week ago and despite best efforts of restarting, disconnecting and finally forgetting the device actions I didn’t manage to get my iPhone and Jabra to talk to each other again. This morning, about to head off to a client meeting and expecting a phone call on the way, I once again tried and tried, with no luck. Finally, and almost in jest, I held the hands-free box in my hands and pressed the function key for what is I guess a SIRI equivalent asking me to say a command and voiced in a rather desperate tone ‘pair with my iPhone’ – only to receive a simple step-by step guide to pairing the devices and within seconds I had a connection again!

Brand experience with a voice
Answering my desperate calls… unlike SIRI, this technology created a brilliant brand experience.

What a positively surprising outcome to a frustrating process! I want that Jabra computer everywhere! Where SIRI clearly wasn’t ready for the market, this simple version did just the job. And the brand’s tagline ‘You’re on’ is translated brilliantly into a rewarding brand experience.
I think I will always remember the day when a computer became a little bit more human (and a whole lot more helpful) without being gimmicky and trying too hard.  Thank you, Jabra! You are officially my personal brand of the week!

brand experience, SIRI

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