A short bit inspired by a chat I had with a colleague — Negash Davidson — We got into a deep chat about brand perception and the misconceptions out there, essentially the yes and no answer as to why we define visual identities, yes and no it’s for the consumer, but most importantly it’s for the responsibility that comes with brand management.
On the surface, consumers on average, do not care about visual identities, and that’s exactly why you should develop and define them. Consumers generally do comparisons — price, features, value for money. This may not necessarily include lifestyle shoppers and luxury shoppers.
However, subconsciously consumers buy into the brand’s identity and pay attention to the visual identity once they have experienced the service and product quality, this is called association — The memory bank stores a reference of what was experienced and how to identify it going forward.
They themselves do not know this, as far as consumers are concerned, they got a good deal and the experience was great, the referrals or word of mouth advocacy is about the product experience. They tell their friends and families about it — They will then need to describe how to find this awesome product and what is the name of the company, how does the logo look like?
You will probably hear bits such as, “colourful”, “A BIG fruit on the box”, “Black and white label”, and so forth.
When new companies put little value on brand design and development and rush to get an identity done for an upcoming trade show, it’s often disconnected. They will say, “Consumers don’t care about this, why should we pay so much money?” Perhaps, if they had said, “Why should we invest that much money?” a different conversation could be had.
Well, that’s what business and brand management are about — Differentiation, leveraging, and offering value — Consumers buy into brands, by extension companies, but the company is not what they are thinking about. This is why we do not sell features, we leverage differences by defining benefits and objectives: Communicate through a defined visual identity.
I love analogies, so here’s one. You don’t have to feed your child on a plate, you can place your food on the table, but besides presentation, it’s about the packaging, how we present our offerings to consumers.
Here’s another, if someone gave you a quality gift in horrible wrapping paper, you would most likely think, what the @#$%, but after opening the gift you see something amazing, you will never turn away another gift from that person. However, if you received a nicely wrapped gift and after unwrapping it’s just horrible, you will always second guess a gift from that person.
So then, we have quality products and while it may or may not matter on the premise that the consumer will love the product, it must be nicely wrapped because it represents a lot more than a product, especially today when we speak about brand responsibility, and sustainable packaging or standing up for social impact.
What do you represent? what makes your product different? Is it different? Perhaps, you focus on what the company represents instead of the product, even if the quality is top-notch. Establish what it is doing differently with the product or service offering.