Let’s be friends … (its about branding really)
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You may not know it, but you choose your brands the same way you choose your friends.
In today’s world, when you think about branding and graphic design and how many products or services are pushed at us every day, how many we remember or return to with any regularity and how many actually become our brands of choice, you start to realise how special a product or service has to be to become one of ‘my’ brands.
So what makes a brand so special?
Well, I think the answer is that it becomes our friend.
I have realised over time what makes someone a good friend, as opposed to a mate, acquaintance or that chap in the pub. To be a good friend, someone has to command my trust, respect, loyalty and affection. Some friends I may respect more than trust, others I may be fond of rather than loyal to, but no matter. These are the essential tenets of a strong relationship.
Understanding what makes me call someone a good friend has helped me settle on what I believe makes for effective branding and strong brands – and its all about the heart and mind. The brands I return to have my loyalty, my trust, my respect and, in many cases, some degree of affection. They are, in effect, friends.
Developing our thinking
How many people do you come across in your daily life – professional and social? How many of them do you remember? And how many of them do you remember fondly enough to seek out? And of them, how many become friends – those you actually share time, experience and feelings with? In a day, a week, even a month, not many I wager.
Indeed, just as meeting, understanding, building affection, trust and eventually loyalty with new friends takes time and in reality does not happen often. The same is true of ‘our brands’. My brands understand me and satisfy my needs better than other brands; they make me feel good about myself or about being with them, comfort me, console me and excite me. They are my friends.
And in truth, we lose brand loyalty in the same way as we lose friends. Just as a friend doesn’t understand me so well any more when we have less in common or because our interests have moved on, so the same can happen with a brand. Lives change, friends change and brands change too.