IxD103 – Week 10 – Beyond the brand

Week 10 – Beyond the brand

“The word ‘brand’ is overused, sterile and unimaginative.” — Michael Eisner, Disney

Today’s lecture began with this interesting quote, one which could be argued with, however to a certain degree I completely agree. Every where you look today there is branding. As I sit and look around my desk right now, I could count around 5 different brands, in a matter of seconds! Branding is sometimes taken for granted, as in people do not take the time, effort or have the understanding of what it takes to build a sustainable brand.

Many brands are created, but not all succeed. The reason being that many forget about developing brand values…

Above I have inserted a diagram which Daniel presented to us. The basis of it is, you need to create an emotional connection with your customers through your own self-belief and passion for your brand. People do not always buy products or brands based on facts, majority of the time a consumers purchases are driven by emotions or impulse.

Daniel also introduced a book named “Lovemarks”, a controversial title for a somewhat controversial narrative of branding. In the book, Kevin Roberts defines how we become emotionally attached to brands. Although I completely agree with how a person can feel loyalty and devotion towards certain brands, I think that the way the book has been written over exaggerates this. I think he has written it in a very intelligent way which definitely intrigues people like myself to read the book, due to its almost comical tone.

The diagram above describes the difference between having love and respect, both or none, for a brand. I think this is also a really cool way of displaying the emotions people have towards certain products.

The next thing we discussed was the BxP Value Proposition Map…

The best way to understand it is values are at the core of the model and are the intersection of the brand, the product (you) and the experience.

1. Brand

Brand is the number-one indicator of value for a customer. Users develop emotional connections to brands that far supersede any alliance to features.

2. Experience

The experience of your users is key to reinforcing brand perception because it connects your product’s utility with your users’ emotional reaction. Experience encompasses everything from onboarding to social media presence to customer service.

3. Product

Ironically the very last piece to your value proposition. Your product might simply do something ten times better than the products before it did. It might solve a problem that hasn’t been solved yet. Or it might address an untapped need in the market.

What can I learn from this?

This breakdown has actually really helped me to figure out what I am missing in my own brand. To help users develop an emotional connection to my brand I need to reinforce consistency across all of my platforms and touch-points. I need to spend more time focusing on things that others might consider to be minor, including icons and text size. This will help to optimise the experience people have when interacting with my brand. The Product (me), is what I have been putting too much pressure on this far. Although I know it is important to always keep improving on myself, I think this is going to take time, therefore focusing on my brand and the experience I give to people interacting with it, is primarily the most important thing. I need to learn to be more open and honest with myself as a designer. This will help my personality shine through, helping users develop an emotional connection to my brand. That’s the secret to building a sustainable brand.

Branding Exercise…

Daniel got us to complete a short exercise based on the BxP Value Proposition Map. We had to choose any branded item which was close by to us, and give our own opinions of them, based on the map. I decided to go for a Sharpie Permanent Marker.

  1. Brand – Quirky branding, fun and playful, but also gives the notion of a sturdy reliable item, because of the bold packaging and strong cap.
  2. Experience – For me, buying new sharpies is the highlight of my year, I know that if I invest in these more expensive markers, rather than buying the cheaper poundland versions, I will have a marker I can rely on and that will last longer. The variation of colourful caps, gives for a nice aesthetic also.
  3. The Product – Although I know that there are cheaper alternatives to Sharpies, I would never really consider any other permanent markers, not because I think they’re actually the best marker, but because of their name and the positive reputation which surrounds them.

What can I learn from this?

Like I explained before, the story and emotional connection towards a brand sells the product. This is why planning out your branding process with so much detail to attention is essential if you want to see a positive outcome. This exercise was great as it allowed me to talk about my own experiences with products, which makes it easier to see how you can improve upon your own.

We then were set two tasks, a minor task linked here…

and a major task, linked here…

Reflection of Week 10…

I hope you enjoy looking at my tasks! I thought week 1o was a really insightful week. Behind the Brand was a topic that really helped us ease back in after our long easter break! My interest and passion for branding is continuously growing each week and I am finding marketing and how customers react to certain brands to be a very interesting topic. I continued to do some more research about brands who almost went bankrupt. The link for this blog post is here.

Overall, Week 10 was a very motivational week. When the tools which make the path to success are laid our clearly in front of you, it helps reenergise the drive to do well. I am excited to see where I can now take my brand, with a better understanding and broader knowledge.

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