It is in human psychology to stand out in a crowd, to have a unique persona built around one's self and to carve out an own niche. This desire of identity is reflected in a number of activities we carry out in the business world. I'm particularly referring to marketing a brand making it sell. But is that all there is to it? Do marketers simply brand a product and dish it out to retailers? There is a far more intricate and complex assembly of critical and tactical tasks involved.
Branding may be defined as a mode of communicating to the customers the special feeling or an image of a product that a manufacturer intends. Thus, coming into being of a new brand almost instantaneously initiates another thought process – how to make it known among the public and in what manner should that be done. A brand alone is just a name in it self. Of course, that name to a certain amount is representative of the product's accomplishments in one way or the other but we need more descriptors or enhancements to amplify and bring up the brand to a more recognizable level – one that registers effectively in the mind of a consumer, with a differential impression. This is where the 'Brand Elements' come in to play. Brand elements essentially consist of visually or verbally distinct information that identifies and differentiates a product or service by utilizing constituents such as names, logos, symbols, characters, symbols, and packaging. These elements may also include the jingle of a certain ad. All of these essentials basically compound the brand with an image that consumers form in their minds and then react towards that specific brand based on what they have perceived about it.
At this point then, we, on a preliminary basis can inspect the connection between the above mentioned elements and the brand itself. Figuratively, we can connote a brand with a person or an individual with unique or rather inimitable behaviors and the brand elements can represent the 'aura' around that person. As personality traits define a person, in a similar fashion the brand elements 'introduce' or more appropriately put, create awareness about the brand.
"Brand Awareness influences the formation and strength of the associations that make up the brand image" (Source: Keller, KL (2008) Strategic Brand Management: Prentice-Hall)
To underscore the verity that there exists a very potent connection between the brand and the brand elements and that the brand is greatly influenced by the nature of combination of those elements, it would be best to aid my discussion with examples, namely TV ads. Here the core concept of this essay can be illustrated by two Television commercials that make use of different elements to embellish the brand with a unique image.
Emirates Airlines – "Keep Discovering" Campaign (Search this on YouTube)
"Emirates' biggest ever advertising campaign, 'Keep discovering', was launched at the Global Corporate Communications conference in Autumn 2002 and quickly roled out to our key territories and across pan-European, Arab, African and Asian media"
The whole idea of the ad employs a very simple theme but it's one that has a certain magical effect to it. It begins with two men looking out of their hotel room when one suddenly notices the snowfall outside and tells his friend about it. From there on, the very ambient and beautiful sounding Emirates trademark jingle softly picks up as the two friends rush downstairs, through the reception and then out the main exit of the hotel ending up in the street with the snow falling. Both look up with smiling faces with an excited expression and then throw a little snow at each other after which there is a fade out and the tagline "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" appears and fades into the closing scene where the camera is placed in the waiting lounge of the airport focused at the window while a child runs towards it to have a closer view of the jet outside.
Before parsing and analyzing the brand elements used in this ad and relating them to the brand, I want you to move along with a preemptive notification that Emirates Airlines has tried to position their brand in a very decent, sophisticated and rather distinctive manner taking an emotion -based approach. Through out the commercial, you do not see any cabin crew, planes flying through the clouds or Air traffic Control centers – all of these would have been the conventional elements. Emirates chose it not to be this way instead they went for a metaphor-driven and a little unorthodox approach. The way the two friends look out the window, run outside and play with the snow evokes a strong feeling of nostalgia – as if perhaps they were reminded of an old childhood memory, a memory of being somewhere maybe. Then the tagline "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" further reinforces that percept of having done something memorable, something special at some place, some point in time and here Emirates implicitly implying "let us take you back there again" which calls to one's mind a unique significance. This significance was denoted by the entire environment of the commercial; the hotel, the street and the snowfall. Places, memories, nostalgia are the emotions depicted here. Such emotions may be stirred up in the mind of a person who travels a lot to different destinations and as traveling is Emirates' business, they have creatively tied these emotions to themselves and essentially represented their brand in that context. This ad campaign was called "Keep Discovering" which is the slogan of Emirates Airlines. At the end of the commercial, even the slogan is highlighted very gently as the child runs to the window anxiously observing the airplane that slowly taxies across the tarmac. Finally, the lovely soundtrack of the commercial complements the entire theme with the way the guitar chords softly progress and then the enigmatic, stretched vocal note sung while the tagline is displayed. At the end, the dramatic piano notes play and fade out delicately – an unusual amalgamation of the elements that gives Emirates Airlines an image of grandeur and dignity and that is how they intend customers to remember them.
Intel Core 2 Duo – "Multiply" Campaign (Search this on YouTube)
Intel Corporation announced its Core 2 Duo processors in 2006 accompanied by the ad campaign which they called "Multiply". This title was chosen to highlight the processor's ability to handle multiple tasks at a time hence multiplying the performance output. The campaign was produced by the ad agency, Mckann Erickson.
The ad starts with the opening caption "It's time to multiply" and then the actor appears with multiple copies of him all dancing to the music very briskly. Then the following captions appear and change to the next one "Multiply your intensity", "Multiply your computing power", "Multiply your possibilities" and finally in the end "Introducing Intel Core 2 Duo Processors" followed by the tagline "The world's best processors "also read aloud by the background voice over.
Intel has tried to create an active, new age and upbeat image of its Brand with this commercial. The dancing characters and their well-pronounced energetic moves basically stress on the dynamicism and speed of modern computing – features that Intel has integrated into the Core 2 Duo Brand. The multiple copies of the same 2 actors all following a different dance pattern and appearing at the same time symbolically represent the ability of Core 2 Duo processors to manage multiple computational tasks simultaneously with speed. Then the tagline "The world's best processors" (which seems to be rather simplistic) tries to position Intel's Core 2 Duo brand second to none.
Brands undergo the process of evolution continuous change. Everything needs to be updated and kept up with the flow of time and modernization. A TV commercial with all its elements that worked in the 80's will not be effective or beneficial useful today at all. Compare the 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial (YouTube) with the Intel Core 2 Duo ad and there will be a stark difference. Today the Macintosh commercial with all its elements (especially, the running female athlete with the old hair-do) is considered old fashioned.
Brand elements can there before direct the audience's attention to a specific or set of specific characteristics that Brand managers want their brand to be associated with. The method engaged in choosing and using the elements is directly contingent upon the image intended to be associated. These elements may also reflect the corporate culture that prevails within the workplace. To highlight this fact, consider only the logos of the two popular icons in the IT industry; Google and IBM. Google designed its logo in a very lively and vibrant colors which aside from many other things, depicts the relaxed and casual work environment at their offices. IBM's logo on the other hand appears in a characteristic blue color with a bold and strong typeface which projects its relatively sober and to an extensive, formal office culture. Even in most of their ads, one can see men dressed in suits with ties on sometimes around corporate office structures (such as buildings, cubicles etc).
So conclusively, a brand can have its meaning and purpose portrayed through the elements that it incorporates in its advertisements. The selection of these elements is basically contingent upon the way brand managers want consumers to perceive or understand the purpose of their product. If properly hated, these elements can get the message across to wider audiences and thus create an extra awareness about the brand.