Branding so much more than a name

It’s all about trust, recognition and being different

Wacky artist makes fun of the world’s big names
The famous Bayeux Tapestry depicting events leading to the Norman invasion of England has a rival. The so-called Walthamstow Tapestry, created by wacky British artist Grayson Perry, is his view of the seven ages of man, which evidently involve brand names – scores of them. One art critic says: ‘‘It’s a brilliant thing. Although Lehman Brothers avoid a name check, the rest of the banks are picked out and shamed, as is Visa (a prostitute in stockings), Louis Vuitton (an old man taking a pee) and McDonald’s (a blue yob brandishing a bottle of booze and a bra). Nobody will make a funnier or more spiky artwork about brands and recessions.’’ Maybe nobody else would want to. Scattered around are global, and some local, brands. EasyJet, Prada, Ford, HBOS, Pampers, the National Trust, Durex, Del Monte, Ann Summers and many more get a mention on the huge (15 £ 3 metres) fabric. The artist says his work is a sort of celebration of obscure gods and beliefs – ‘‘When you divorce the names from their products and logos you are left with a kind of emotional residue.’’ Well, he obviously had fun. For organizations and their marketers their ‘‘art’’ is in making their branding work. They’re in the business of linking the products with the brands and logos and the only emotional residue is the exhaustion they feel after grappling with the concepts and practicalities of brand belief, brand choice, brand extension, brand commitment, brand knowledge, brand image, brand identity and that holy trinity of information sources for customers – advertising, user experience and word-of-mouth. Branding pioneer Walter Landor’s comment that ‘‘Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind’’ is often quoted to those in the business. Success after success for him included turning Federal Express into FedEx, the iconic red and white ‘‘batwing’’ logo on Levi jeans, and the ram’s-head shield of Del Monte. Landor said: ‘‘A good design should last. If the effort doesn’t show, then it’s a good design. It must never look designed.’’

Trust is something that can be damaged quite quickly
Giving life to a brand can be enjoyably creative, but the message is serious. It can take an awful long time to build up brand identity, awareness and trust, but trust is something that can be damaged quite quickly. That’s why companies are so protective of their trademark brands, especially those that have become so familiar to customers that they are not thought of as brands at all, but in generic terms – Hoover, Thermos, Kleenex for instance. If a portable building on a construction site falls victim to theft or arson and the local newspaper refers to it as a portakabin, the editor should expect a strongly-worded letter from the

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VOL. 27 NO. 3 2011, pp. 6-8, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0258-0543

DOI 10.1108/02580541111109552

Standardization can be good for business but surely there ought to be room for a little bit of ´ ‘‘vive la difference’’. it can also take some of the pleasure and adventure out of foreign travel if the first things you see when you get to your destination are shops featuring the same brand names as those you have left behind.’’ A by-product of globalization of brand names is that it makes it easier for foreign travelers to find what they’re looking for in the local shops. Dimofte et al. Conversely. and the McDonald’s yellow arch. whereas the flowing script may convey lightness.’’ if indeed it was one of their products.’’ She also says that a brand that wants to be perceived as reliable may write their brand name in a bold box-like font rather than a flowing italic script. some consumers tend to prefer and trust brands that are not local to them – i. ‘‘The bold would convey strength. Product names do matter. As Ford found out when it tried to market the Ford Pinto in Brazil ‘‘ Lots of money spent on advertising soon diminishes the memory of an old name and customers become accustomed to a new global product with a new name. Furthermore. Once a color – and indeed font and design – has been chosen. But there is also competing evidence that suggests that local brands have stronger loyalty than global brands. feeling that the name wouldn’t be relevant to the export market. does color matter? Is blue soothing? Is green ‘‘green’’? Does red really stimulate the appetite? Kit-Kat evidently thinks it works for chocolate bars. and two dominant colors are best. 27 NO. consistency matters. say: ‘‘It is possible that in more mature markets. otherwise no distinction is created. 3 2011 STRATEGIC DIRECTION PAGE 7 j j . British users of Procter & Gamble’s Oil of Ulay were initially resistant to its name being changed to Oil of Olay as part of a unification of the brand in the late 1990s. Those with the heavy responsibility of creating a brand have a myriad of issues to consider.’’ She says color should be congruent throughout all the identity and marketing mix variables: ‘‘Color combinations are superior to single colors for brand identification. Cultural differences were apparently the reason why Ford dropped the name ‘‘Anglia’’ for a popular English car marque.e. No more than three colors. the protection of color combinations in the courtroom is much easer than protection of a single color. There is evidence that.company’s PR people reminding them of the need for a capital ‘‘P. The company went so far as registering its shade of brown as a trademark to prevent market confusion if other organizations used it on vans or clothing. the global brands – particularly in developing countries where some consumers aspire to the lifestyle of those in more affluent parts of the world. For instance. The vision is the abstract part and the identity elements are the concrete parts that are used to tell the consumer what the brand means. says: ‘‘A brand that wants to be perceived as innovative would never use grey and orange to identify itself. the Coca-Cola bottle. They were also not too pleased with Mars when globalization led to the familiar Marathon bar suddenly becoming a Snickers bar. worldwide.’’ Aspirational characteristics of global brands The ‘‘famous for being brown’’ UPS is among the many big-firm brands that have massive global recognition – like the Nike ‘‘swoosh’’. Trademarking a color? Now isn’t that taking brand protection to extremes? Judith Lynne Zaichkowsky. Professor of Marketing and Communications at Copenhagen Business School. These colors are mundane and cheap. One example is the characteristic brown of United Parcel Service and the familiar badge with the UPS lettering. the aspirational characteristics of the global brand are less salient. ’’ VOL.

attempt to identify whether the affective and cognitive associations with global brands are the same across different ethnic consumer groups in the USA. Johny K. F.. Y.’’ And when General Motors introduced the Vauxhall Nova into South America. To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight. J. Journal of Global Marketing. it seems. (2010). by Claudiu V. by Wang Xingyuan. 548-60. Brand identity. while Judith Lynn Zaichkowsky discusses what brand managers need to know if the strategic management of brands is to be successful. and Bagozzi. the more opportunity they have to give it their trust. 3 2011 j j .. pp. apparently not realizing that ‘‘no va’’ is Spanish for ‘‘no go.com/reprints PAGE 8 STRATEGIC DIRECTION VOL. ISSN 1350-231X. Customers choose a brand they feel comfortable with.L. Dimofte. 3. 18 No. thoughtful and amusing modern art. (2010). The Post Office name had been good enough for generations but not. signaled by an effective and recognizable brand. Comment This review is based on ‘‘Global brands in the United States: how consumer ethnicity mediates the global brand effect’’. 27 NO. Keywords: Advertising.P. 81-105. ISSN 0891-1762. C. Vol. Fortunately there was an about-turn less than a couple of years later and Consignia was consigned to the Big Branding Blunders pile. Bagozzi. can be a wondrous thing. ‘‘only a name’’ are missing the point. particularly if it’s been around for a while and evokes feelings of quality. caring and experience. and the more exposure consumers have to the brand. ‘‘How do they really help? An empirical study of the role of different information sources in building brand trust’’. so to speak. Johansson and Richard P. pp. Fuan Li and Yu Wei. pp. caring and experience Such errors – and there are many of them – are the stuff of marketing folklore.emeraldinsight. for the then management.K. And if such standardization and brand globalization lead to economies and efficiencies that can be passed on to the customer. Branding can be mocked. Brand image.’’ Evoking a feeling of quality. 243-52. Johansson. which makes it all the more amazing that in 2002 the UK’s Post Office decided to call itself – for reasons best known to itself – Consignia. Zaichowsky. The Journal of Brand Management. Marketers need all the tools they can get their hands on to build that relationship.and discovered the word was slang for ‘‘small male genitals. ISSN 1069-031X. ‘‘Global brands in the United States: how consumer ethnicity mediates the global brand effect’’. Marketers know that lots of money spent on advertising soon diminishes the memory of an old name and customers throughout the world become accustomed to a new global product with a new name. ‘‘Strategies for distinctive brands’’. Brand equity. Logos References Dimofte. Wang Xingyuan et al. Creating a trusting and lasting relationship with customers. why not? Familiar characteristics are extremely important factors in brand recognition and recall. but it matters. ‘‘How do they really help? An empirical study of the role of different information sources in building brand trust’’. R. Dimofte et al. Claudiu V. Attitudes. whose artwork appears to mock the concept of branding and marketing. by Judith Lynne Zaichkowsky. 23 No. after all. W. Even Grayson Perry. Easily recognizable brand names with a proud history are. 17 No. Xingyuan. examine how user experience influences brand trust. J. (2010). worth their weight in gold. Those who say branding is. 3.com Or visit our web site for further details: www. Vol. 8. is in fact creating his own brand of quirky. Li. Vol. and ‘‘Strategies for distinctive brands’’. and Wei. Journal of International Marketing.V.