An introduction to branding

Today, we had a talk from Cath Davies introducing us to the world of branding

Thinking about brand identity

“A strong brand is created by focusing on its essence where communication managers look beyond the surface for the brands innermost substance” (Kapferer 1997:99)

The Essence of  a brand is the values, identity and the associations to do with a individual the brand in question.
Brands make a product which doesn’t just have a basic function, but instead they aim to create a product or an image that represents the values that the brand is trying to communicate to the audience. You only think about that brand when you spot a characteristic of that brand elsewhere. For example when you see the Nike tick, you automatically know that the shoes, or item of clothing that you saw it on are from Nike.

“Identity is constituted by a set of unique associations that should be defined by the brand strategist… represents what the brand stands for” (Aaker 1996:65)

The consumer of a product needs to get the associations to do with the brand otherwise they won’t buy the product, so the brand is represented by a set of unique associations that the brand has created. So the brand is saying ‘this is what our brand means and this is why you should buy it”.

“Identity is about the ethos, aims and values that present a sense of individuality differentiating a brand” (deChernatony 2001:03)

A successful campaign should teacher a consumer that the brand is made specifically for them.

Brands, consumers and emotions

deChernatony (2001) suggest that brand success is attributed to a companies relationship with consumers, it could be argued that a brands relationship with the consumer is key because it establishes a trust and the consumer will repeatidly buy into that brand.
However Kapferer (2001) maintains that consumers define brand personas, that attributes are often inscribed by the consumers. This is the opposite to deChernatony because Kapferer is saying that a brand isn’t created by a brand, but instead the consumer is the one that creates the brand.
Keller (2003); Kapferer (2005) argue that brand knowledge is the emotional affliate represented (Feelings, attachments or experiences) provided added value to the brand.
For example with the Dr Martens brand, the punks and skinheads where the people who made the brand ‘cool’ originally, and the attributes that the brand has today were created by those consumers who originally brought the product. Today, we talk about brands as if they are part of us, because they become a part of our everyday lives, people have emotional affliations with brands. We create our lifestyles around these products.

Branding Strategies

“There is no doubt that there is a demand for product that are able to speak to people personally and find new ways of fulfilling themselves personally too” (Boyle 2003:270)

For this we looked at the Dr Martens: First and forever campaign, Cath told use to ask the following questions when we looked at the images:

  • What are the symbolic associations that accompany the brand?
  • How are these associations constructed in their campaigns?
  • What are the implications of their branding techniques regarding the relationship between brand and consumer?

For example with the online advert:
The online advert taps into the memory and nostalgia that a person may have associated with the brand, so this in turn sets up a community of people who all have nostalgic memories with the Dr Martens brand. They talk about how they always stay with you, that could be your memories, but also the docs in themselves as they are typically known but be a very hardwearing shoe. This online advert creates a direct affiliation with the brand and the person on the online advert, it is almost saying that ‘we help shape the person you are now”. The telling your memory button is effective because this in turn creates a bigger community of people sharing happy memories associated with their Dr Martens, so in turn this nostalgia may make those reminiscing want another pair of Dr Martens so they can relive these memories, but it also will make others who never have owned Dr Martens want to be part of this community.

I found this talk from Cath to be really useful, this is because we got to delve deep into a brand and think about what made them do specific things, and also we were also able to use information from our previous lecture with Ian and apply it to the new pieces of information we were being given from Cath

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