People are drawn towards relationships, excitement, relaxation and comfort. These draw away from us as we become time poor, surrounded by complexity and ruled by spin. We yearn for reliability, trust, freedom and choice.
It seems change is accelerating and with it reshaping our habits and the way we work, play and rest. We work more and more off radar screens, play as spectators not participants, and rest in short holiday bursts of a week here and a week there. With generation X, Y and etc the ever-present generation gap perennially calls for analysis. The times are not just a-changing, they are accelerating. The hype is media convergence, the reality is media fragmentation.
We want to reach out to things that are reliable in the time we have for ourselves and in our work time. We want our expectations exceeded, not just met. We need soul food. From our advisers we want insights not just activity. From our devices we want simplicity, innovation, amazement. These are diversions in a world disturbed by machine gun news reporting, the big lie after big lie in politics, the fear of what lies outside our houses and beyond our borders.
Product placement and advertising wallpaper our cultural environments. Inside these walls of brands we want to reach in and pull out the brands that make a difference to us, our families, our organisations, our business, our society.
We reach out to Nudie, an i-Pod, anything by Virgin, a Harley Davidson. These "keep it real", Ali G's motto. They connote the four C's - cult, culture, community and communication. Mention these brands and your audience immediately gets them, their look and feel, their values, their buzz.
Brand building involves a process. It requires the skills of a multi-disciplinary team. It begins with assessment of the product, service, enterprise, market and overall circumstances. This moves towards the selection of a sign, be it a word, image, logo, sound or computer animation. Along the way colours, tag lines, descriptors and other related information must be selected. The management, accounting, legal and communication strategy must all be brought into alignment with the graphic design work. And all this well before marketing, let alone advertising begins. Even then new skills are needed. We live in a different world to yesterday, the old truths are less reliable as to what people will be ready to believe as regards what they read, hear and see.
We watch less TV, read fewer newspapers, talk less to our neighbours. Our heads are deep in email in-trays, home office desks, Blackberrys, SMS, websites, food and clothes fashions, working out our superannuation and health payment regimes, and a lot more self service even in service industries. With it seems shorter attention spans, fewer and more spread leisure hours and greater narcissism we have turned off some radar screens and the Other. The critical question for brand developers include;
- What turns us on?
- Where are we buying, looking and going?
- What process should be used to build or improve a brand?
The above piece was distributed as a one pager at the Dilanchian Business Luncheon seminar on branding. The seminar, "Keeping it Real: Case Studies in the Brand Building Process", involved speakers from many disciplines including:
- creative strategy & concept development - Creed Chris O'Hanlan, MediaZoo Pty Ltd www.mediazoo.com.au
- pr/communications consultant - Grant Common, MD, Network Communications www.networkpr.com.au
- marketing consultant - Alan Sarkissian, Principal, Audience of One www.audienceofone.com.au
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