Branding Is About People
In the modern world, we are a part of branding. We, the people living in modern society, shout our spending habits and brand habits to the world without saying a single, solitary syllable. You, the person reading this, are saying, are promoting, a brand right now, almost for certain. Unless you are the most generically dressed person in the world.
If you are in a public place, look around: and there it is. Logos on shirts, logos on pants, apple-shaped pictures shining on the backs of phones, hats with sports logos, even possibly brand names on wristbands.
We wear companies like we are living advertisement banners. And this is, of course, not limited to the confines of normal brands—it’s also fandoms and media franchises. Over the course of a single day, I saw more Star Wars and Star Trek shirts than I own (and keep in mind I am a nerd).
Even when we don’t wear stuff with specific logos emblazoned like a flag for a company, we still refer to clothing by their brands. At the higher end of the spectrum, we know of styles by the places who make them. For instance, go to Macy’s in Countryside Mall, and if you were to ask for just “jeans” you’d have a huge wall to deal with; the communication is understood—if vague. But, say something like “I want Calvin Klein,” and they can lock right onto the exact thing. There is a specific zone for them. Specific shelves.
Branding Marries Words And Symbols To A Choice
And the fact we appreciate people, or at least envy, those who can wear the super nice brands, the ones who go around in Gucci’s, is a success of marketing so deep and stunning it’s kind of scary to examine the implications (which could be an article by itself, so I’ll leave it alone for now).
Though, as a disclaimer, funny enough, this sort of brand connection can go too far. Branding can be too successful. Remember that Kleenex, and Xerox, and Google, and Coke, are all brand names which can also be used to mean “a face/nasal wipe,” “to copy a paper,” “to search online,” and “a sugary carbonated beverage,” respectively. They need not mean the same brand as to where the trademark belongs, at least in common parlance.
But, the fashion industry for now does not have this problem. Yet. No one I know of refers to all jeans as “Calvin Klein’s” …yet. We must wait and see: I suppose. For now, though, fashion’s branding success shows to the average company the power that can come from doing one thing well and being known for it. When your name is on the lips of someone looking for quality: that’s a super power. When a shopkeeper is more than likely to know a brand’s name just by (positive) reputation: that’s a sure sign of success.
All companies want this—even if they do not sell clothes. And, to achieve it, the methods are: going for quality, having a visually strong logo, having a catchy clever name, and getting in front of the right target eyeballs. Sell shirts, sell mugs, sell things with your brand on them—and make them known for their use or esthetic. Make a product or a service someone can brag about having—even if you must make it somewhat more expensive to make it look and feel right.
And trust me, like the brands like Star Wars, if you do it well enough, people will become walking, talking, word-of-mouth spreading, preachers of your company’s quality. They’ll advertise for you. They’ll meet your branding goals halfway. Which is already plenty for success.
If you liked this article, you can read more of Brandon Scott’s work on The Hive, or at his website: www.coolerbs.com