Branding beyond packaging

The process of branding has often been revolving around the packaging of the products, the touch and the look. Indeed, these elements are critical in the overall branding process. Further to this process, we can also consider branding in the form of human contact. Every small brand is evolved not only through the external appearance and touch of the product but also the humans that convey the product meanings. In simple terms, employees of a company can easily be seen as brand ambassadors.

Imagine you met a salesman whose dress sense was untidy and look restless. Do you have confident in the product or service he is selling? Likewise, the unpleasant impression of this person is extended not only to the product itself but also onto the company image. One might start imagining the culture and quality of the company and form judgments on their products.

Hence, the impression of a company brand is formed through the appearance of its salesman.

It’s human contact that mould the brand

Smell, touch, feel

Smell, touch, feel

Consumers (humans) form impressions and beliefs on things based on their experiences. These experiences can be acquired through various senses such as smelling, feeling and listening. Through these processes, an image of the brand is formed. This image in one’s mind can be linked to a particular category of thought. For example, if you are craving for fast food, what is the first image that flashes across your mind? Perhaps, it is MacDonald, KFC, Carls Junior or Burger Key. As I am typing, this sequential thought process is my personal thought of fast food. Asking these simple questions reveals a thought process of a consumer’s insight to a particular brand. Hence, brand analysts may fundamentally framed questions that reveal such thought.

Consumers’ market knowledge

 

knowledge & insight

knowledge & insight

In major Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, having an insight to the consumers’ thought process is critical. After all, a brand analyst can form, develop and implement strategies to portray a particular image of a brand whereas consumers on the receiving end may interpret or digest only a certain degree of the messages embedded in the brand. As such, knowing what consumers feel and understand about a particular brand is important.

This is especially so for brand that has multiple products under it. Consider the case of cosmetic industry. A particular brand may have different products that perform different functions: a cleanser, toner and masks. A question to ask is the following:

Can the brand portray all the intended impressions to all of the categories or products under it?

That is, if we are to create a brand that consumers can absorb, the brand with multiple products must provide a unified message. In this case, cosmetic brands may want to package their core brands as simply “effective” , “reliable” or “trustable”. For more specific case, the brand may want to project one aim “whitening”, of which all the products under the brand would be associated with effective whitening ability.

As such, branding involves a need to have deep consumer market knowledge. Therefore, when considering branding a product, we must not neglect human involvement in shaping our brand image in the eyes of consumers. After all, humans interaction is a powerful medium of brand transmission.

Stay cool and enjoy the ride!

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