Brand You Challenge

This Challenge named Brand You followed a lecture from Stephen Kirk on the same subject matter. The exercise was all about making a reflection on which brands have a meaning to me based on a conscious, informed and critical analysis. This became a test about the awareness I have from what surrounds me.

As Marty Neumeier says in Zag: the number-one strategy of high-performance brands: a whiteboard overview, “a brand is a consumer’s gut feeling about a product, service or company” (2007:18). Brand Value or Purpose are key concepts that, nowadays, brands need to define and communicate to the consumers in order to gain their trust. Consequently, the brands each one of us buys from tell so much information about who we are as a person.

THE BRAND ME

This assignment asked each one of us to think about the brands we are loyal to and write them down. Nowadays, we live surrounded by brands and it’s impossible to escape this cycle of competition between brands. We had 30 minutes to reflect and prepare, followed by a presentation of our brand list to the class.

I have chosen thirteen brands from different kinds of products and services: Pinterest, WhatsApp, Gmail, Google Drive, Youtube, Zara, Mango, Aldo, Innocent, Novum, Lipton, Sapo and Público. Some of the brands I only started using or purchasing recently, yet all of them I still use on a daily basis.

Within each brand, the task was not only select but also justify analysing its core elements. Therefore, during the lecture, Stephen Kirk gave us tools to guide our reflection. These considerations should include the advantages from the particular brand; it’s unique proposition, meaning why we are using this brand and not the competitors; it’s values, mission and vision; and lastly the design side of the company’s brand (Kirk, 2018).

In other words, Anne Miltenburg in her book Brand the change characterizes a strong brand as significantly different; always articulating why with what it’s done; storytelling; transparent communication; made by people to people; solid name; realistic and trustworthy (2017:19).

Starting from the first brand chosen, Pinterest is a website and an app I started using from the beginning of my university days and has been by my side since then. This year, when I was listening online to the Web Sumit 2018 – day two, co-founder and CEO of New York-based co:collective, Rosemarie Ryan, said some words that describe really well my position with this brand. “It’s really critical that those platforms are creating a native environment where people will have a good experience, I think Pinterest are doing a pretty good job with that. (…) If I think about the platform that they have built, it’s a marketplace for ideas and inspiration, it’s a perfect place for a costumer and a brand to come together, it’s a natural place.” To me as a consumer, this brand is not pretentious, the feed is user-friendly and keeps up with the promise of inspiring and helping to research what is new in the market.

Another brand that I mentioned was WhatsApp. For me, the process of selecting communication apps is completely conditioned by which one are the people I want to communicate with using. However, I’m loyal to Gmail and Google Drive due to the good design that makes easy the use of their interface. This allows fast usability for a tool that is usually used on a daily basis. A further reason to why I keep using Google Drive is that it has always facilitated team working by live updating the documents making them editable for more than one user at the same time.

Platforms that keep all kinds of information in the same place and make it simple to access are always a benefit. Youtube is a platform that I use for work and for leisure time as well. While, it gives me free access to videos about events, theory and more, that have credibility to include in my works, it also gives me content for leisure time.

Retail brands like Zara, Mango or Aldo, for me, represent a reasonable relation between price and quality. A second reason why I keep buying from these brands is the design of the pieces that personally is appealing. Moreover, I grew up seeing my family buying from these companies, so I was also influenced when I started buying my own clothes.

Lipton and Innocent present two opposites for me. I am a Lipton consumer since a young age, therefore I can say that this is related to habits transmitted by my family. However, Innocent sells beverages from a healthy perspective that fits better the lifestyle I have chosen recently. Despite that Innocent covers the values I stand for now, the nostalgia that Lipton represents to me maintains my loyalty as well.

Novum is a Graphic Design magazine that has followed my way through this discipline. It gives an academic and up to date perspective of this field. This publication is made of a different variety of insights, such as interviews, case studies and competitions.

Finally, Sapo and Público are news websites from the country I am from, and especially since I’m living abroad, those are the ones I keep track on to know what is happening in Portugal.

CRITICAL REFLECTION

“Your personal reputation, like a company’s brand, lies outside your control. It’s not what you say it is – it’s what they say it is. The best you can do is influence it.” (Neumeier, 2007:19). More important than making the consumers purchase once, the goal is to make them loyal to the brand. To gain this trust the company needs to communicate the “Core Ideology” (Neumeier, 2013:41) of the Brand, which Marty Neumeier defines as “a combination of core values and core purpose” (2013:41). But what makes this Value and Purpose stand out?

Our society is constantly bombarded by messages. “Research shows that most commercial messages contain too many elements, all competing with one another for our understanding” (Neumeier, 2007:8). In the present, the world of Branding is all about this idea. This assignment makes an alert for the power of asking why, how and what are we buying a certain brand. It is essential to understand how brands work, especially as a Brand Designer or Manager.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kirk, Stephen (2018) Brand You. London [Lecture at Universtity for the Creative Arts, 10 October 2018].

Miltenburg, A. (2017) Brand the change. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: BIS Publishers.

Neumeier, M. (2007) Zag: the number-one strategy of high-performance brands : a whiteboard overview. Berkeley: New Riders.

Neumeier, M. (2013) The Dictionary of Brand. [online] At: https://www.liquidagency.com/brand-exchange/free-download-dictionary-brand-google-brandlab-edition/ (Accessed on 09.01.19)

Web Sumit, Day 1 (1972) [Live Event reproduced online] At:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJYfpWmZv-Q&t=19304s (Accessed on 29.11.18)

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