Going Beyond Just Visual
It’s not new. Anyone with a basic understanding of branding knows that branding is not just having a nice logo nor visual design system. It goes much wider, and much deeper and much further.
Any brand system consists of 3 main components. 1) Concept & Value Proposition, 2) Visual Logo and Semiotics, and 3) Products and Services. Any performing brand must ensure these 3 components coincide strategically and consistently to earn an above average return.
Much Wider & Deeper
Let me explain my thought with a simple hotel example.
A luxury hotel with the best concept and value proposition, with shiny logo and million dollar taglines needs to ensure this. Their brand promise (from (1) and (2)) is experienced with (3) products and actual services received. It may range from having brand standards of 800 thread counts for the bedsheets or daily turndown service with a fruit platter. Ceteris Paribus, only if all three coincide, then they can ask for a higher rate.
The budget hotel with the best budget hotel concept and value proposition, with simple logo and thousand dollar taglines needs to ensure this. Their brand promise (from (1) and (2)) is experienced with (3) products and services received. No over-deliver, nor under-deliver. Just right. I felt this term is appropriate here, “Call a SPADE, a SPADE”.
Products and, not or Services
Often forgotten, products and services go hand in hand. Simply, there are 4 scenarios. If you have the best service with a bad product, it is not sustainable. If you have a good product with lousy services, there is still hope to improve the service. If you have a lousy product and lousy service, no amount of communication or branding can help. Worse still, it may amplify the bad product and service.
Simple math. I think such discipline may be extended beyond the hotel industry to almost any business in general. Communicating with your customer with contextual insights set your customer expectations appropriately. They’ll know what to expect. They’ll expect that and pay accordingly. When they are happy, they come back to you, they’ll know what to expect again and keep coming back.
If we look back into the centuries, what comes first in our human memory may or may not be the actual building, the actual people, the actual events nor the actual food. What commonly holds this together is a simple NAME that triggers other memories or neural nodes. I call that NAME a brand. Think of Apple, Uber, Pyramid, Singapore, Coca-Cola, Pampers, TaoBao, SIA, Ritz Carlton, Facebook, WeChat, Kakao, Line and much more.
In some companies, branding is already being defined as a way to build and run a business model. Perhaps, it needs to take a central stand to measure the connection with customers, digital and non-digital experience, with strong correlation with business impact. That takes discipline and change.
At the end of day, any business is made up of an ecosystem with a meaning in the center of mission and vision. Having a purposeful NAME will help.
By Dr. Patrick Chin
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