Just like a home builds equity, your brand builds equity over time. The process begins with choices on color palette, logo and tagline, and is reinforced over time with careful planning, positioning and consistency.
Many years ago, I worked in marketing research. It was always interesting to see how many consumers could pick out a specific brand or product by its package design or color. Still others could make the connection simply from a font.
When you frame those results within the context of expert branding, the results are actually not all that surprising.
Building Your Signature Brand
Market research studies have consistently proven that consumers often identify a product on a subliminal level by the shape of the package, as well as its color. Consumers are making a note of these things, and they don’t even realize it.
Knowing this, it’s in a marketer’s best interest to begin building a strong brand foundation right out of the gate — one that will build equity for them over time. The shape and color of your packaging, or the font used in your logo can help illustrate the personality of your brand to a customer, and make it immediately recognizable.
My “Good Grief” Moment
Never was brand recognition more apparent to me than the first time I made out a shopping list for my husband. After several items, I was careful to include a short description of the item — including the package size and color.
Did it help him find the noted items? We’ll probably never know. Guys aren’t exactly forthcoming about these things — even if it’s in the name of (marketing) science.
Raise a Glass to Coca-Cola®
Coca-Cola® has used their distinctive contoured bottle for many years; a detail that made the transition from glass to plastic – and this design has even been incorporated into their canned soda by using the curved lines that mimic the contoured bottle. If you were to see an empty plastic soda bottle, and noted that curved contour, most of us would immediately recognize it as a Coke® brand bottle — even if their trademarked red labeling was removed.
I was such a loyal customer that back in my soda-drinking heyday, I could spot a Coca-Cola® cooler in the store from 6 aisles away. Now, that may well be as much a factor of my addiction to the bubbly beverage as it was to their brand equity — but I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Bottom line — you certainly want your image to keep pace with the times, but changing from a long-established or easily recognized package or label can be detrimental.
Gone to the Dogs
Of course we all know that it is important to have a visually attractive product package. This is certainly true in a retail setting – whether you are in a brick-and-mortar, or virtual store. Three Dog Bakery is an excellent example of conveying quality, personality and company mission in a clever and memorable way.
The site, as well as their retail outlets are themed to their market, and feature whimsical cartoon characters. Clever names, such as their Dogalog®, reinforce the brand and create their own language for their products. The website gives detailed information on the company, its founders, the pets that inspired the business, and many projects that the company is involved in – all of which reflect an ongoing commitment to the consumers and the market that they serve.
Even their company phone number reflects a brand building quality that reinforces their market position.
For canine-crazy folks like me, Three Dog Bakery scores high marks not only for their pet-friendly stores, but also for recognizing that pets are members of our family. Peruse the display cases at any of their franchise stores and you’ll quickly discover a selection of canine confections that rival what you may find for yourself at your own local bakery.
Three Dog Bakery’s retail products feature distinctive kraft, green, orange and purple packaging, signature typestyle, and whimsical dog imagery. When passing a shelf with their products on it, those familiar with the brand immediately recognize it – and those that aren’t are certainly drawn to it by the unique look. It’s easy to see why this brand has become hugely popular among pet owners.
So now it’s your turn — grab a sheet of paper and begin making a list of your brand assets. Are they coordinated? Do they reflect your company, brand and message in a positive and recognizable way?
If not, now is the time to get busy. Investing in your brand today will pay dividends for many years to come.