Developing Brand Imagery

Starbucks

The process of creating a strong brand* involves a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts that go unnoticed by clients, customers, and other key stakeholders.  When an organization decides to get serious about defining who they are, it is necessary to do a bit of soul-searching to determine how the company views itself (from the inside-out), and how it is viewed by external audiences (from the outside-in).

When it comes to the latter point, we can probably all agree that the aesthetics of certain brands simultaneously come to mind with the emotional connection we feel with those brands.

For example, when you hear the word “NIKE”, you likely have an emotional response to the name, as well as the image of the “swoosh” logo in your head.  The same goes for Starbucks – perhaps hearing the name, you feel the comfort of drinking your favorite cup of coffee or tea, while visions of Starbucks’ product packaging come to mind.

Customers connect with brands on many different levels – with the head and the heart – and the expression of the brand must be consistently presented to appeal to one or both of these aspects at any given moment.  As a result, the visual imagery of a brand will often be the most succinct and effective way to achieve these connections.  Images and color communicate in ways that verbal messaging cannot.  So, when it comes to developing your brand – or that of your clients – consider design as an integral part of your overall brand equity*.

*See below for a handy definition of terms

Brand Imagery: Realistic

Geico gecho

Brand Imagery:  Abstract

AOL logo

Brand Imagery:  Wordmark

Nickelodeon logo

Brand Imagery:  Color

MSN logo

Brand Imagery:  Form

9-11 Memorial imagery

Brand Imagery:  Consistency

Apple web site

KEY TERMS (as defined via brandchannel):

  • Brand – A brand is a mixture of attributes, tangible an intangible, symbolized in a trademark, which, if managed properly, creates value and influence.

“Value” has different interpretations:  from a marketing or consumer perspective it is “the promise and deliver of an experience”; from a business perspective it is “the security of future earnings”; from a legal perspective it is “a separable piece of intellectual property.”  Brands offer customers a means to choose and enable recognition within cluttered markets.

  • Brand Equity – The sum of all distinguishing qualities of a brand, drawn from all relevant stakeholders, that results in personal commitment to an demand for the brand; these differentiating thoughts and feelings make the brand valued and valuable.
 

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