What Its Like To Be Branded

A brand is nothing more or less than the memory a stakeholder has of their interactions with a business, product or service. Their memory is constantly changing. Updated by the latest interaction and flavoured by the mental, physical, social and emotional context at the time of memory storage and retrieval, a brand is highly fluid and very personalised in the eyes of each individual stakeholder.

Branding is the linkage of memory retrieval devices or mnemonics to the business, product or service and the associated memories.

Branding can take the form of any multi-sensory trigger – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell – that aids recall of the memories associated with business, product or service. Clever branding devices are those which instantly resonate, are easy to remember in themselves and make it easy to ‘file’ the associated memories against.

Take Apple for example.

The name is very graphic. It suggests a shape, which immediately gives it visual recognition, and there are connotations that an apple has in freshness, sweetness and approachability. Apple added sound to their suite of branding devices. Anyone who has an Apple computer knows the sound you hear when you start up the computer.

Apple uses black and white well in everything it does. It has a tone, a language that sets it apart from its competitors and makes it easier to attribute memories to it rather than to a competitor. Branding is about communication.

What drives successful stakeholder communication are the 6C’s of Communication –
• Cut-through – seen & noted
• Connected – relevant
• Comprehension – understood
• Captivating – stimulates re-assessment of current behavior
• Credited – attributed to the business / brand
• Compelling – drives action (now)

Brandings key contribution is in the area of Credit. It claims ownership of memories.

The most commercially suicidal belief in modern retail is that branding is the brand. Great branding can do a lot of things. But at the end of the day, the brand is the outcome of the relationship you have with your stakeholder. Your relevance to them and what you deliver for them in every interaction is what your brand is.

In the 21st century great branding is a big advantage. But make sure you don’t lose sight of the fact that you are really in the business of creating great memories with every interaction.