Most brand strategies I have seen are expressed as a collection of words and phrases. These words and phrases are often configured in either a pyramidal, house architecture, or sometimes a kind of mind-map. The purpose of these structures is to represent a variety of information that branding experts have determined to be important dimensions or variables, such as brand essence, emotional benefit, functional benefit, reasons to believe or support, etc. Very few have a brand strategy that is expressed as imagery. Design theme boards or mood boards come close to a visualized strategy, but are rarely validated with consumers.
Why is this important? The answer lies in understanding how our brains process information. An Edge article (http://edge.org/conversation/the-marvels-and-flaws-of-intuitive-thinking) by Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow, explains how our brains use two types of thinking, what he terms System 1 and System 2. System 1 is the thinking that is fast, instant, automatic, associatively coherent and largely unconscious, whereas System 2 is the more deliberate, effortful, rule-governed and logically coherent. I would argue that the artifacts of brand strategy are largely, if not completely, expressed as System 2 Thinking, yet the primary way in which we form impressions of brands is largely, if not completely System 1. The pair of images above from Kahneman's article easily express the difference between System 1 and 2 Thinking. Which one impacts you more quickly and more deeply?
So the real question is: Do you have a brand strategy that comprehends and expresses the visual associations and the consequential network of additional associations that ultimately comprise the meaning of your brand, both the current perception and your strategic vision?
We have developed a method to understand and develop these visual associations that is always very revealing and a powerful tool to embed your brand in a rich web of emotional meaning that is irresistible. As an example, we worked with a well established consumer brand who's key brand image attribute was "trusted." I guess that is better than being "untrusted" but it lacked the persuasive power to truly drive and differentiate the brand. We were able to illuminate how this abstract idea of "trust" could be visualized as "protection and comfort", leading to significant improvements to the business-building power of its advertising.
#Daniel Kahneman, #neuro-marketing
This blog offers stories and discussions on how to build more relevance and differentiation for brands. The author is Timothy Coffey, Chief Revolutionist of Launchforce Strategy, a consumer research consultancy that specializes in highly creative qualitative methods. His experience ranges from brand and research management at Procter & Gamble to innovation management at Tupperware to founding and leading an integrated marketing strategy agency. He is the author of three books, Innovation Myths & Mythstakes, The New Super Consumer, Mom&Kid, and The Great Tween Buying Machine.