In 2008 Mark Churchman and I explored the notion of Brand Behavior in the article How to Make Sure a Brand Behaves Itself published in the Design Management Review of August 2008.
We made a case for the orchestration of all brands’ manifestations according to a set of core values a brand lives by next to the more traditional visual corporate identity.
Marty Neumeier, author the Brand Gap defines “A brand is the consumers feeling about your product, your services or your organization.” This basically means that it is the emotional reaction of a consumer when interacting or thinking about a brand. This is the exact same way we as humans relate to each other.
Relationships between people are based only for a very small part on appearance. Sure we are attracted at first maybe by how somebody looks, dresses etc, but very rapidly as the relationship deepens it is about WHAT someone does, and HOW he or she does it that determines whether the relationship is a good one, or a bad one. As people we never only see our identity as our name, and appearance. It is indeed an element that makes us recognizable, and through fashion we can somewhat express what we are about. But our identity is really formed by our core values that drive our actions and reactions.
Brand are like people. Building a meaningful and ongoing relationship with consumers has never been more essential for a brand than now. With the rise of the influential consumer with the WEB 2.0 revolution and the mobile revolution we are in, understanding the building blocks of a relationship is essential for successfully designing a brand identity that goes beyond a logo, a typeface and a color scheme.
In my opinion a Brand Identity 2.0 should be looked at from these 3 aspects: Why we do what we do, what we do and how we do it
Why we do what we do | First of all a brand obviously needs to be clear about its values, establish clearly what drives the brand. This has to be in line with the expectations of their audiences/consumers.
What we do | To keep a brand’s integrity and authenticity in social media space, what it does has to be driven by the why. The choice of which conversations to engage with and clearly defining what the things are a brand wants to say is key.
How we do it | Now here it becomes interesting from a design point of view, as this really is the actual manifestation of the brand. How the brand engages in social media needs to be carefully designed, written, and styled in such a way that the true character/identity of the brand is truly experienced by the audience.
So if the how is the manifestation of the brand, and therefore what consumers actually experience, this is the brand’s instrument to influence the emotional reaction consumers will have to a brand.
Designing a brand identity in social media has to go beyond the traditional guidelines describing visual elements. A brand needs to define why it engages, what will it say, and how will it say it. By delivering the right brand experience through the dialogue, building an authentic relationship with its consumers.
Am I making sense?