Why Brand Design is Important: Relationships
Tuesday, March 21st, 2023• By Kate Smith
The word “brand” can be confusing. It has gone through several evolutions of meaning and is still changing.
We used to think of a brand as an image. Cattle would be branded to indicate ownership. Brand was literally your image on your product, your logo.
Logo design is still an essential part of your brand, but your brand has become so much more.
The current meaning of brand is closer to an experience. It is everything your audience sees of your business, thinks about your business, reads about you, hears about you, perceives and interacts with regarding your offering. Your visuals, messaging, your service, your product: Your reputation.
The next evolution of brand is to the relationship model.
The default brand relationship is between the provider and the consumer. But we know no one likes to be sold to. Therefore, innovative companies are changing to the relationship dynamic.
Airbnb took the typical host/guest relationship and made it more of a neighbour to neighbour relationship. When I stay with Airbnb I become “one of the locals” and not a customer paying for a hotel.
Uber took the driver/passenger model to a more peer-based, friend to friend model. Have you heard your friend say, “our Uber driver was so cool, she…” and gives you a fun story of their trip? You don’t know who you’ll meet when you get in an Uber/Lyft/Didi. Your new friend with a car.
Uber also created an entrepreneur/supporter model between Uber and their drivers. It’s not the employee and the boss, it’s the opportunity and the work to be done. The driver chooses their hours, where they work and how they go about it, and Uber facilitates the process.
Do your customers think of you as simply a product or service provider? Could you be an advisor? A friend? The hype guy? Think of the ideal relationship with your customer and how you could cultivate that.
Your visual identity is going to indicate to your audience who you are, what you do, how you do it, who you do it for and what your relationship to them will look like.
A good branding designer will enquire extensively into your offering, your ideal clients, your vision, mission and how you want to relate to your customers. Are you friendly? Protective? Nurturing? Motivating? Authoritative?
Once they know what you’re trying to say, they use colours, fonts, shapes and composition to communicate this. Even if you don’t consciously know the meaning of a colour, font style or symbol, your subconscious registers it and starts making assumptions. This will vary from person to person. Analysing your ideal client is key.
The interpretation of your message is 55% visual. It’s the fastest way to make an impression and it’s essential to your relationship with your customers.
Here are some examples from here at Rove.
Relationship: guide and adventure buddy
Relationship: mate and saviour
Relationship: friend and motivator